Stories for February 2016

Released Tuesday, Feb. 2

Swiss Bishops’ Conference opposes ballot measure on deportation of immigrants

Swiss voters will go to the polls on February 28 to decide whether to approve a ballot initiative that would lead to the automatic deportation of foreigners convicted of any crime. The justice...

Cardinal Sarah emphasizes importance of silence in the liturgy

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has stressed the importance of moments of silence in the...

4,000 religious gather in Rome as Year of Consecrated Life concludes

Over 4,000 consecrated persons have gathered in Rome for a five-day gathering to mark the conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life. All forms of consecrated life—the Order of Virgins,...

Pontifical Theological Academy considers human dignity

The Pontifical Theological Academy held its biennial conference on January 28 and 29 at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. The conference’s topic was the transcendent dignity of man...

Strong track record of priestly vocations in Seoul

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul will ordain 20 men to the priesthood on February 5, according to a report from the Fides news agency. The South Korean archdiocese has a strong track record...

‘The Son of God was not an anarchist,’ Pope tells consecrated persons

Over 4,000 consecrated persons who had gathered in Rome for a conference concluding the Year of Consecrated Life met with Pope Francis in the Paul VI Audience Hall on February 1. Setting aside...

Catholic theological institute to open in Vietnam

Vietnam’s bishops have announced that a theological institute will open in Ho Chi Minh City this coming September. The institute will offer courses in biblical and dogmatic theology. When...

Vatican dismisses rumor that Pope will act in movie

The prefect of the Vatican’s new Secretariat for Communications has dismissed reports that Pope Francis will make his acting debut in a forthcoming movie. The Pontiff will make an appearance in...

Bishop Schneider: 'semi-heretical' Church leaders lead the faithful astray

Bishop Athanasius Schneider charges that many “semi-heretical” Church leaders are misleading the faithful, in a provocative interview for the Rorate Caeli website. Bishop...

New Orleans archdiocese goes silent on social media to dramatize danger of human trafficking

The Archdiocese of New Orleans, Louisiana observed a "day of fasting" from social media on February 1, in a gesture designed to draw attention to the fight against human...

Pope speaks of 'great respect' for Chinese culture

”The Chinese people are moving forward, and this is their greatness,” Pope Francis told an interviewer for the Asia Times, observing that China, like all societies, moves “through...

Italian cardinal speaks out against civil-union proposal

Cardinal Velasio Di Paolis has said that a proposal for legal recognition of same-sex unions would be "fundamentally against the Italian constitution." The retired president of the...

Rome relaxes Jubilee Year ban on concession carts

The city of Rome has relaxed a ban on carts and trucks selling food and souvenirs around St. Peter's Square. The ban, introduced for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, had been imposed to ease...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 3

USCCB files brief in support of regulation of abortion clinics in Texas

Joining with other Christian organizations that oppose abortion, the Office of General Counsel of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court)...

Canadian nun recounts ordeal as captive in Cameroon

A Canadian nun held captive for two months in Cameroon—likely by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram—has discussed her ordeal. Initially, “they were laughing and humiliating...

Iraqi Jesuit saved 1,000 manuscripts

An Iraqi Jesuit estimates that he saved 1,000 ancient manuscripts, including biblical and liturgical books, from the advance of the Islamic State. “If Daesh burns down a church we can...

France: mixed reactions to new law on end-of-life care

French lawmakers have passed legislation on end-of-life care that rejects euthanasia but permits “terminal sedation” and the withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration for the...

Pope concludes Year of Consecrated Life with call to encounter, wonder, gratitude

Calling upon consecrated persons to live lives characterized by gratitude, wonder, and an encounter with the Lord and others, Pope Francis concluded the Year of Consecrated Life with Mass at St....

Pope reflects on God’s mercy and justice

Continuing his Wednesday reflections on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his February 3 general audience to God’s mercy and justice. “The Sacred Scriptures present God as infinite mercy,...

Vatican statement: religious violence is ‘particularly heinous’

At the conclusion of Pope Francis’s February 3 general audience, Rinaldo Mirmara, a historian and president of Caritas Turkey, presented the Pope with a copy of his new history of the Battle...

Vatican newspaper denounces UK approval of ‘gene-editing’ of human embryos

The United Kingdom’s Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority has approved a request by scientists to genetically modify and then destroy human embryos conceived through in vitro...

Russian Patriarch discourages high expectations for pan-Orthodox council

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has warned against what he regards as unrealistic expectations for the outcome of the pan-Orthodox council that is scheduled to be held in Crete in June. The...

Mexico's violence, corruption, is not Our Lady's plan, Pope says on eve of visit

“I come to Mexico as a pilgrim, to look for something among the Mexican people,” Pope Francis said in an interview with a Mexican news service as he prepares for his visit to the country next...

UNESCO confirms Jordan site as place of Christ's baptism

With a formal ceremony on February 2, the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has acknowledged Al Maghtas, Jordan, as the site of Christ’s Baptism, declaring it as a...

Released Thursday, Feb. 4

Delaware judge: priest-penitent privilege may be unconstitutional

A Delaware superior court judge has questioned the constitutionality of a state law that protects the secrecy of sacramental confession. State law mandates the reporting of suspected child abuse...

Vote to stay in EU, European bishops’ official urges UK

The general secretary of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has urged voters in the United Kingdom to choose to remain in the European Union. A...

Holy Land Custos calls on Muslim clerics to confront extremism, Christians to stay in Syria

Stating that it is impossible for jihadists “to control such large parts of Syria and Iraq for such a long time without support from the general population,” the Custos of the Holy Land...

Cardinal Parolin meets with religious, inaugurates nunciature in Slovenia

The Vatican’s Secretary of State began a three-day journey to Slovenia on February 2. At a Mass in Ljubljana Cathedral marking the end of the Year of Consecrated Life, Cardinal Pietro...

Objections raised to Anglican-Presbyterian agreement

The Church of England and the Church of Scotland have agreed to the Columba Declaration, an ecumenical statement that calls for closer cooperation between the two bodies and permits clergy to...

Leading Orthodox theologian: forthcoming council is ‘extraordinary and exceptional event’

A leading Eastern Orthodox theologian has offered an overview of the upcoming Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. Writing in First Things, Archdeacon John Chryssavgis said that the...

Canadian cardinal urges lawmakers to protect conscience rights in assisted-suicide legislation

Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto made a plea for the conscience rights of health-care workers in February 3 testimony before Parliament about a proposal to allow physician-assisted...

Syrian refugees need more aid, says Vatican 'foreign minister'

The Vatican's top foreign-policy official has called for better funding for Syrian refugees. Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States, told a London audience that...

European Parliament condemns Islamic State 'war crimes' against Christians

The European Parliament has approved a resolution that classifies the Islamic State's campaign against Christians as war crimes. The resolution states that the Islamic State's killings of...

Pope meets with Argentine cross-cultural educational group

Pope Francis met on February 3 with members of the Scholas Occurrentes foundation, an Argentine group that promotes educational projects to bring together young people from different...

Turkey returns ambassador, who was recalled after Pope spoke of Armenian genocide

The government of Turkey has returned its ambassador to the Holy See, who had been recalled last year in protest after Pope Francis spoke about the Armenian genocide. The Pontiff incurred the...

Australian churches offer sanctuary for immigrants facing deportation

Some Christian churches in Australia are offering to provide sanctuary for immigrants, after a court ruling that the government is authorized to deport the immigrants to Nauru. About 260 people, of...

Kenyan bishops pleased with government's decision to withdraw proposed regulations of religious bodies

The Catholic bishops' conference of Kenya has applauded the decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta to withdraw a proposal for the regulation of the country's religious bodies. The bishops...

Released Friday, Feb. 5

French leftists press for universal ban on surrogacy

Decrying the exploitation of women, especially those in impoverished nations, a coalition of self-described leftists in France, including pro-abortion and lesbian organizations, is pressing for an...

As ambassador reinstated, Turkish, Armenian governments differ over Vatican statement

Turkey reinstated its ambassador to the Holy See because of the wording of a recent Vatican statement, according to the Turkish foreign ministry. Turkey recalled its ambassador in April after...

Australia’s religious speak out against Pacific trade deal

Catholic Religious Australia, which represents the nation’s male and female religious orders, has joined a coalition opposing swift ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade...

Obama, at mosque, defends religious liberty

Speaking at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, President Barack Obama defended religious liberty, compared anti-Muslim sentiments to anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism, and called on Muslim leaders...

Sierra Leone prelate speaks out against abortion

Lawmakers in Sierra Leone, sometimes ranked as the world’s poorest nation, have passed a law legalizing abortion, and the bill awaits the president’s signature. Joining other...

Pontifical council, World Council of Churches discuss Christian witness in multi-faith world

Officials from the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue met in Geneva on February 3 and 4 to discuss their 2011 document, “Christian Witness in a...

Pope visits curial offices

On February 4, Pope Francis paid a surprise visit to the offices of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New...

Pope, Russian Orthodox Patriarch schedule unpredecented meeting

Pope Francis will meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow on February 12, in Cuba. The Vatican and the Moscow patriarchate announced plans for the historic meeting on February 5....

Former Salvadoran colonel faces extradition, trial for 1989 murder of six Jesuits

A court in North Carolina has approved a request for the extradition of a former Salvadoran army officer, so that he can face trial in Spain on charges connected with the 1989 murder of six Jesuit...

Latin American prelates decry push for abortion as response to Zika virus

Catholic prelates in Latin America have reacted strongly against a drive to promote abortion as a response to the spread of the Zika virus. Because the Zika virus is connected with severe birth...

New bishop for Anglican ordinariate means 'we're here to stay'

The ordination of the first bishop to lead the Anglican ordinariate in the United States means "we're here to say," Msgr. Harry Entwistle, who leads the Anglican ordinariate in...

Long lines of pilgrims to venerate relics of Padre Pio in Rome

Tens of thousands of pilgrims have lined up in Rome to venerate the remains of St. Pio of Pietrelcina—Padre Pio—and St. Leopold Mandic. Relics of the two saints will be exposed for veneration at...

Zambia's president meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on February 5 with President Edgar Chagwa Lungu of Zambia. A Vatican statement released after the meeting indicated that the conversation had centered on Church-state relations,...

Released Monday, Feb. 8

Prayer unlocks the heart of God, Pope tells Padre Pio prayer groups

Thousands of members of Padre Pio prayer groups, in Rome for the veneration of the relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina and St. Leopold Mandic, gathered in St. Peter’s Square on February...

Pope Francis: Christ and the Church ‘fish’ for men and women

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Lk. 5:1-11), Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his February 7 Angelus address that the mission of Christ and the...

Papal appeals for Syria, respect for human life from conception to natural death

Following his February 7 Angelus address, Pope Francis issued an appeal for Syria. “I follow with deep concern the dramatic fate of civilian populations involved in heavy fighting in Syria...

Papal condolences following Taiwan earthquake

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a message of condolence following an earthquake that killed dozens in Taiwan. “The Holy Father was saddened to...

Zambia’s bishops decry ‘political hooliganism,’ warn priests against partisanship

Decrying “political hooliganism” and repression, Zambia’s bishops recently issued a statement surveying the state of the nation as elections approach in August. “The...

Patriarchs call for prayer, fasting for suffering Church in Syria, Iraq

The heads of the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church have called upon Catholics to pray and fast for the suffering Christians of Syria and Iraq, especially on Ash...

182 madrasas closed in Pakistan for promoting extremism

Since December 2014, the Pakistani government has closed 182 madrassas, or Muslim schools, for promoting extremism, according to an AsiaNews report. The closings have followed the Peshawar school...

European bishops’ commission welcomes European Parliament’s condemnation of ISIS

The Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) has welcomed the European Parliament’s use of the word “genocide” in condemning atrocities committed...

Maronite Patriarch sees Lebanon empty presidency pushing Lebanon toward collapse

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Beshara al Rai has warned that Lebanon is "on the brink of collapse" because of a long political stalemate that has blocked the election of a new president, the...

Australian abuse panel will take Cardinal Pell's testimony by video link

The head of an Australian royal commission investigating the sex-abuse scandal has agreed to take testimony from Cardinal George Pell by a video link. Cardinal Pell, who has already given...

In video message to Mexico, Pope anticipates visit with 'great joy'

In a message to the people of Mexico, released less than the week before his arrival there, Pope Francis says, “I feel great joy” at the prospect of the visit. “I want to come as a missionary of...

Germany cannot accept so many refugees: Cardinal Marx

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich has called for "a reduction in the number of refugees" entering Germany. Although he has said that Europe should welcome refugees, Cardinal Marx-- the...

Outspoken member removed from Pope's sex-abuse commission

An outspoken member of the special papal commission on sexual abuse has been removed from his role—but refuses to step down quietly. The Vatican announced on February 6 that Peter Saunders...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 9

American, Indonesian officials renew push for family planning

Government officials from the United States, Indonesia, and other nations renewed their push for family planning at 2016 International Conference on Family Planning, which recently concluded in...

Maltese bishop rues ‘privatization’ of Confession

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, a Maltese bishop called upon confessors to be merciful and to see themselves more as doctors than as judges. Noting that the Second Vatican Council called...

Film highlights Soviet brutality against Polish nuns

Les Innocentes—a French film being released in the United States as Agnus Dei—premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in late January. Based on a true story, director Anne Fontaine...

Russian Orthodox bishops emphasize that doctrine cannot be changed

In a statement concluding a recent two-day meeting in Moscow, the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church emphasized the immutability of doctrine. The bishops cited Archbishop Seraphim Sobolev...

Lutheran leaders emphasize ‘quest for unity’ with Catholic Church

The leaders of the Lutheran World Federation have issued a statement welcoming Pope Francis’s upcoming trip to Sweden to commemorate the anniversary of the Reformation. “It is...

Prominent US curial official named nuncio

Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Peter Wells, a Tulsa priest who has served as Assessor for General Affairs of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State since 2009, as the apostolic nuncio to South...

Italian group for divorced/remarried Catholics gets special invitation to papal audience

Pope Francis has invited members of an Italian group, devoted to helping divorced Catholics, to attend a papal audience, the Crux news site reports. The Pontiff called Deacon Paolo Tassinari, who...

'Never tire of forgiving,' Pope urges Capuchin confessors

Speaking on February 9 to Capuchin friars from around the world, Pope Francis exhorted them to be good confessors, and “never tire of forgiving.” At a Mass in St. Peter’s...

In new interview, Pope reflects on European malaise

European society needs to re-examine its responsibilities and its cultural roots, Pope Francis said in an interview published February 8 by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.  The Pope...

New undercover video shows National Abortion Federation 'really interested' in proposal for fetal-tissue sales

Undaunted by a federal court’s injunction against release of undercover videos involving the National Abortion Federation (NAF), the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) has released a new video, in...

Christians boycott Iraqi parliament's 'peaceful coexistence' conference, saying talk produces no action

Iraqi Christians boycotted a conference on "the protection of peaceful coexistence," sponsored by the country's parliament, to protest the lack of effective action to protect...

Northern Ireland: Catholic bishops oppose move to allow abortion in cases of severe fetal defect

The Catholic bishops have issued a statement urging lawmakers to reject a proposal that would "permit the direct and intentional killing of unborn children with life-limiting...

Gallup diocese has spent $3.5 million in legal fees for bankruptcy

The Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, has spent $3.5 milion in legal fees and associated costs during its bankruptcy proceedings. The diocese, which filed for federal bankruptcy protection in...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 10

Cardinal Parolin defends clerical celibacy

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, delivered the concluding address at a recent conference on clerical celibacy as a pathway to freedom. Speaking at Pontifical...

Pope appears in video on monthly prayer intention

Pope Francis has appeared in a video designed to publicize his general prayer intention for February: “that we may take good care of creation-- a gift freely given-- cultivating and protecting...

Prelate decries North Korean rocket launch

The chairman of the Philippine bishops’ public affairs committee has joined his nation’s government in condemning a North Korean rocket launch. Referring to “the insane minds...

Cardinals discuss curial changes, decentralization

The Council of Cardinals—the body established by Pope Francis in 2013 to assist him in the reform of the Curia—has concluded its thirteenth meeting, which took place on February 8 and...

Cover penitents with a blanket of mercy, Pope tells Missionaries of Mercy

Pope Francis has called upon priests who will serve as Missionaries of Mercy to cover their penitents with a blanket of mercy, as two of the sons of Noah covered the nakedness of their father. In...

Live in relationship with God the Father, Pope tells Pompei’s youth

Pope Francis has sent an audio message to the Territorial Prelature of Pompei in support of its Lenten youth initiative. “Jesus asks us to do good for the sake of good,” he said....

Pope reflects on Old Testament jubilee year

Continuing his Wednesday reflections on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his Ash Wednesday general audience to the jubilee in the Old Testament. “We learn from Scripture that the Jubilee Year is...

Pope meets with Iraq’s prime minister

Pope Francis met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the Vatican on February 10 and discussed the importance of protecting the rights of Christians and other minorities. “During...

Lay member of papal abuse commission defends vote to remove outspoken member

A lay member of the papal commission on sexual abuse has defended the group's decision to ask Peter Saunders to take a leave of absence. Marie Collins, an Irish abuse victim who has admitted...

Russian Patriarch responded to Pope's open invitation, says Cardinal Koch

Pope Francis "opened the door" for a meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in November 2014, when he said that he would meet with the Russian prelate any time, the president of...

Bishop reports terror attacks in Central African Republic, and 'nothing is said'

A Catholic bishop in the Central African Republic has told the Fides news service that the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) terrorist group has attacked six villages in his diocese in recent...

Armenian Orthodox Patriarch ruled incapable of decisions because of Alzheimer's disease

A Turkish tribunal has confirmed a medical diagnosis that Armenian Orthodox Patriarch Mesrob II of Constantinople is no longer capable of making his own decisions because of advancing dementia, and...

Former Texas priest charged in 1960 murder case

A former Catholic priest, now living in Arizona, has been arrested and charged with the murder of a young woman in Texas more than 55 years ago. In 1960, Irene Garza disappeared after going to...

Firing of tenured faculty prompts uproar at Maryland Catholic college

A heated controversy has erupted at a Catholic college in Maryland, after two tenured faculty members were fired, apparently for criticizing the policies of the school's new president. Simon...

Two appointed to head sections of new Vatican Secretariat for Communications

Pope Francis has appointed directors for two sections of the newly created Secretariat for Communications. Natas Govekar, a Slovenian theologian who now works at the Centro Aletti in Rome, will...

Polish bishops object to article post by European bishops' conference

The Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has removed an article from its web site after receiving a protest from the bishops' conference of...

Colombian president disputes link between Zika and microcephaly

Reacting against suggestions that the Zika virus is responsible for severe fetal defects, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos has reported that his government has studied over 3,000 cases of...

Released Thursday, Feb. 11

Background: World Day of the Sick

February 11 is the 24th World Day of the Sick, a commemoration instituted by St. John Paul II that takes place each year on the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. The title of Pope Francis’s...

Church of England warns against unlimited Sunday shopping hours

In a move that has prompted opposition from the Church of England and unions, the British government will allow municipalities to lift limits on Sunday shopping hours. Since 1994, stores in...

Philippine cardinal: donate savings from Lenten fasting to feed the hungry

In a brief Ash Wednesday pastoral letter, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila called upon the faithful to fast and then donate the money saved to a charity that feeds the hungry. “In this...

Malaysian prelate warns families against secularization, divorce

In a pastoral message for the lunar new year, a Malaysian archbishop called upon families to resist temptations to secularization and to heed the example of the Holy Family rather than seek material...

Cardinal Nichols celebrates Vespers at Henry VIII’s palace

At the invitation of London’s Anglican bishop, Cardinal Vincent Nichols led a Vespers service on February 9 at Hampton Court Palace, a British royal residence from the reign of Henry VIII...

Benin bishops’ website: nation’s prime minister should resign

As Benin prepares for a February 28 presidential election, the nation’s bishops sponsored a conference that denounced corruption and called upon Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou to resign because...

Pope Francis at Ash Wednesday Mass: be reconciled to God

Celebrating Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis called upon the faithful to heed two exhortations in the Scripture readings for the day: “be reconciled to...

Papal appeal for prayers for sick and for meeting with Russian patriarch

Following his reflection on the Old Testament jubilee year during his Ash Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis called upon the faithful to pray for his upcoming meeting in Havana with Patriarch...

Pope hears priests' confessions, visits St. Mary Major

Pope Francis attended a February 11 meeting of priests in the basilica of St. John Lateran, and heard the confessions of several priests. The priests of the Rome diocese had gathered in the...

Cardinal Sandri urges support for Good Friday collection to help suffering Christians in Holy Land

Good Friday "is a day that never seems to end in the Holy Land, where apparently interminable violence must be endured," Cardinal Leonardo Sandri writes is a message to all the world's...

Northern Ireland defeats bid to allow abortion in cases of severe fetal deformity

Lawmakes in Northern Ireland have defeated a proposal that would have allowed for legal abortion in cases in which the unborn child was diagnosed with a fatal physical defect. After a heated...

Judge rules abuse victims can seek punitive damages from Chicago archdiocese in McCormack cases

An Illinois judge has ruled that sex-abuse victims can seek punitive damages from the Archdiocese of Chicago for harm they suffered at the hands of the former priest Daniel McCormack. Judge Clare...

UN officials, promoting abortion as response to Zika, likened to King Herod by Peruvian cardinal

Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima, Peru, has likened UN officials to King Herod because of their aggressive promotion of abortion as a response to the spread of the Zika virus. "Today we...

Australian archbishop blocks speaking appearance by sponsor of same-sex marriage measure

Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, Australia, has blocked a speaking appearance at a Catholic conference by a lawmaker who had sponsored legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. Cathy McGowan,...

Italian police charge Argentinian-born priest in €30-million fraud scheme

Italian police have arrested an Argentinian-born priest who is suspected of defrauding donors of €30 million ($34 million) in a complex money-laundering scheme. Msgr. Patrizio Benvenuti, who...

Released Friday, Feb. 12

Malawi’s bishops decry food, medicine shortages

The Episcopal Conference of Malawi lamented food and medicine shortages and skyrocketing food prices as the nation grapples with a severe drought. As medicines are stolen from hospitals,...

Spokesman for Colombia’s bishops laments pro-abortion response to Zika

An official of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia decried support for abortion in response to the spread of the Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects. “The delicate situation...

Jewish, Muslim leaders in Russia welcome Pope-patriarch meeting

Muslim and Jewish leaders in Russia welcomed the historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. “The Orthodox world is led by our patriarch, the Catholic one by the...

Drug trafficking a ‘scourge’ in North America, says Vatican Secretary of State

In an interview devoted to Pope Francis’s apostolic journey to Mexico, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, described drug abuse and trafficking as “one of the scourges of the...

US bishops’ conference inaugurates Catholic-Muslim dialogue

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced the formation of the National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue, whose Catholic co-chairman will be Archbishop Blase Cupich of...

500,000 venerated relics of Padre Pio, St. Leopold

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on February 11 as the veneration in Rome of the relics of...

Church unity more important than ever, says Italian cardinal

The unity of the Church has assumed a greater importance than ever before, an Italian prelate wrote in a front-page column in the Vatican newspaper. In a “culturally divided and lacerated...

Syrian bishop pleased that Pope-Patriarch meeting will focus on suffering Christians

A Syrian bishop has said that the suffering Christians of his country can take some comfort from the knowledge that their plight helped to bring together Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch...

Furor mounts at Maryland Catholic college; president reportedly disparaged role of faith

A tense dispute at Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland has escalated still further, with reports that the school's embattled president, Simon Newman, has made disparaging remarks about...

New Mexico officials seize records from Catholic schools, archdiocese

Law-enforcement officials in New Mexico have seized student records and personnel files from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and its Catholic school system, in an investigation into sex-abuse complaints...

Mexican prison riot will not change plans for Pope's visit

A deadly riot at a Mexican prison will not alter plans for Pope Francis to visit a different prison during his stay in Mexico, Vatican officials have said. More than 50 inmates were killed, and a...

English bishop urges faithful to rediscover Confession during Jubilee Year

An English bishop challenges his people to take advantage of the sacrament of Confession, particularly during Lent of the Jubilee Year. In a pastoral letter that is to be read in all churches of...

Vatican envoy urges UN to tackle inequality

The Vatican's representative at UN headquarters in New York has called upon international leaders to address social and economic inequalities that block the road to development. "While...

GOP candidate Trump raps Pope's 'very political' visit to Mexican border

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized Pope Francis for his plan to visit the US-Mexico border, during a television interview on February 11. Questioned about the Pope's...

In historic statement, Pope and Russian Patriarch speak for persecuted Christians, defense of family

“We are not competitors but brothers,” Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill declared in a joint statement that punctuated their historic meeting on February 12. After a...

Released Monday, Feb. 15

Meeting with Russian patriarch was candid and fraternal, says Pope

During his two-hour flight from Havana to Mexico City on the evening of February 12, Pope Francis spoke with reporters about the historic joint statement he had just signed with Patriarch Kirill of...

In Mexico City, Pope laments drug trade, calls upon faithful to imitate St. Juan Diego

On February 13, his first full day in Mexico, Pope Francis addressed political leaders at the National Palace, spoke to bishops at the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, and celebrated Mass at the...

‘We have opted for Jesus and not for the devil,’ Pope preaches in Ecatepec

On February 14, Pope Francis traveled by helicopter from Mexico City to Ecatepec, a nearby city of 1.7 million. Preaching at an outdoor Mass, Pope Francis said that Lent is a time to rediscover...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: many feel ‘betrayed’ by joint statement of Pope, Russian patriarch

In a lengthy interview, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) said that the joint declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill showed two parties operating on “completely...

Correspondence between St. John Paul II and married woman is 'tempest in teapot,' says biographer

A BBC television documentary, disclosing a long and close friendship between St. John Paul II and a married woman, is "a tempest in a teapot," says papal biographer George Weigel. The...

In Chiapas, Pope condemns exploitation of indigenous peoples

Pope Francis denounced the exploitation and oppression of indigenous peoples in Mexico, during a Mass celebrated in Chiapas on February 15. Chiapas, a state in southern Mexico is heavily...

Mount St. Mary’s faculty demands president's removal; trustees and students indicate support

In an 87-3 vote, faculty at Mount St. Mary’s College in Maryland called upon the college’s president, Simon Newman, to resign, the Washington Post reported. In a separate public...

Bishops must report abuse complaints to law enforcement, papal commission reaffirms

A papal commission on sexual abuse has confirmed that bishops are obliged to report credible complaints to law-enforcement officials, thereby contradicting widespread reports. Cardinal Sean...

Vatican officials 'not cooperating' with papal panel on sexual abuse, member charges

A member of the special papal commission on sexual abuse has expressed frustration that some Vatican officials are resisting the group's recommendations. "The implementation is the...

Pope has long private prayer session before image of Our Lady of Guadalupe

After celebrating Mass at the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe on February 13, Pope Francis spent 20 minutes in silent prayer before the renowned image of the Virgin, fulfilling one of his top...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 16

Iraqi prelate: ‘our diocese is at its end’

An Iraqi prelate whose see was taken over by the Islamic State in 2014 told a recent pro-life gathering in Jerusalem that “our diocese is at its end.” Archbishop Youhanna Boutros...

NY governor bans ‘hateful’ therapy for youth with same-sex, transgender inclinations

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has ordered health insurers not to cover conversion therapy and has banned its use with minors. “Conversion therapy is a hateful and fundamentally flawed...

Italian PM rebukes cardinal in civil-union debate

The president of the Italian Episcopal Conference has requested that senators be permitted to cast their vote on pending civil-union legislation secretly, as allowed by senate rules. Cardinal...

Russian patriarch: meeting with Pope was of great historical significance

Two days after he met with Pope Francis, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow described their encounter as “an event of great significance for the history of Christendom.” Preaching at Our Lady...

Nigerian cardinal: Boko Haram members are our ‘kith and kin’

Nigeria’s leading prelate has praised the government’s efforts to combat corruption, according to the Abuja-based Daily Trust. Addressing his brother bishops on February 14, Cardinal...

Portugal’s parliament overrides presidential veto of abortion, adoption bills

Overriding vetoes by President Aníbal Cavaco Silva, Portuguese lawmakers passed bills that legalized adoption by same-sex couples, ended copayments for abortions, and ended mandatory...

Coptic bishops mark anniversary of Libya beheadings

Numerous Coptic Orthodox bishops and clergy gathered in Samalut, Egypt, on February 16 to mark the anniversary of the beheading of 21 Christians who had been abducted by the Islamic State militants...

Pope Francis: better for families to be tired, struggling than isolated, seeking luxury

On the afternoon of February 15, Pope Francis traveled by helicopter from San Cristóbal de Las Casas to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the city of 600,000 that is capital of the Mexican state of...

First stage of renovation completed at Nativity basilica in Bethlehem

The first stage of a massive renovation project at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem has been completed. Authorized by the Palestinian Authority, and mostly financed by Palestinians, the...

Pope urges Mexican priests to fight against drug traffic, violence, corruption

Celebrating Mass on February 16 in a Mexican state that has been scarred by drug traffic, Pope Francis exhorted priests not to accept an acceptable situation. At a Mass in Morelia, the capital of...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 17

Patriarch Kirill: Russia, other nations should work jointly against terrorists in Syria

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church said that Russia and other nations should work together to combat terrorism in Syria. “This is a common problem for the whole humanity, and therefore...

USCCB president’s message for papal visit

On the fourth day of the Pope’s apostolic journey to Mexico, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a message to Catholics in the United States and...

Safe water, sanitation are focus of papal message for Brazilian Lenten campaign

In a recent message on behalf of the Campaign of Fraternity, the Brazilian bishops’ annual Lenten campaign, Pope Francis welcomed this year’s focus on safe drinking water and basic...

Vatican astronomer discusses gravitational-wave discovery

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, the director of the Vatican Observatory discussed the recent detection of gravitational waves about whose existence Albert Einstein theorized. “The...

Amid protests, Bosnia’s judiciary upholds hijab ban

Amid protests across Bosnia and Herzegovina, the nation’s high court has upheld a ban on the wearing of the hijab in the nation’s legal institutions. The ban, announced in October,...

Orissa survivors meet, express solidarity with Middle East’s Christians

One hundred survivors of the 2008 anti-Christian persecution in the eastern Indian state of Odisha (then known as Orissa) met recently in the Kandhamal district under the auspices of the local...

Blasphemy bill withdrawn in Georgia

A lawmaker in the Caucasus nation of Georgia has withdrawn his proposal to ban “insults to religious feelings,” the New York-based EurasiaNet news service reported. The bill, which...

Papal condolences following death of former UN secretary-general

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a telegram of condolence in Pope Francis’s name following the death of Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Boutros-Ghali, 83,...

Vatican spokesman raps Trump for criticizing Pope on immigration

Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican's chief spokesman, has fired back at American presidential candidate Donald Trump, who criticized Pope Francis for speaking out about...

Vatican to UN: Zika epidemic does not warrant attack on innocent victims

The world's response to the Zika epidemic "should not be dictated by panic but due vigilance," the Vatican delegation insisted in a statement to a UN discussion of the disease. The...

Pope's message of hope to Mexican youth

Young people are the wealth of Mexico, Pope Francis said during a Tuesday-evening encounter with 50,000 young people in a soccer stadium in Morelia. After hearing testimonies from several young...

Vatican moves to resume exchanges with Egypt's Al Azhar University

The Vatican has extended an invitation to Sheikh Ahmed al Tayyeb, the head of Egypt's Al Azhar University, to meet with Pope Francis and resume a series of formal exchanges, the Fides news...

As Venezuela's crisis deepens, cardinal urges order, care for common good

As Venezuela threatens to slip into chaos, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas has issued an urgent call to his people to "fight for the defense of life of all people, to promote the common...

Irish government minister reportedly avoided hearing sex-abuse complaints

Ireland's finance minister, Michael Noonan, has been accused by a former political colleague of deliberating dodging a meeting to discuss sex-abuse complaints.  According to the...

Australian abuse victims raise funds to travel to Rome, witness Cardinal Pell's testimony

Australian sex-abuse victims have raised more than $90,000 in a crowd-funding campaign to send representatives to Rome, to watch Cardinal George Pell give testimony before a royal commission on...

Released Thursday, Feb. 18

Aleppo bishop says ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels are killing civilians

A bishop in Syria’s largest city has lamented the killing of civilians by “moderate” Syrian rebels and said that Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, are liberating parts of...

Colombian bishop laments plight of the Wayuu

Nearly 4,800 children from Colombia’s indigenous Wayuu people have died of malnutrition or lack of safe drinking water over the past eight years, according to a report from the Spanish news...

Synod of Bishops ponders ‘synodal Church’

The general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops recently concluded four days of study devoted to “the Synod of Bishops at the service of a synodal Church.” Cardinal Lorenzo...

Leading Lebanese Muslim: extremists misinterpret Islam

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, a leading Lebanese Muslim figure said that “certain religious notions espoused by extremist Islamic movements, which they interpret as central tenets of...

Decrying injustice, Pope concludes journey to Mexico

On February 17, his final day in Mexico, Pope Francis flew from Mexico City to Ciudad Juárez, the city of 1.3 million across the US-Mexican border from El Paso, Texas. Visiting a...

Catholic bishops in Holy Land decry treatment of Palestinians

The Catholic bishops of the Holy Land have issued a statement lamenting the "inhuman" conditions in which the Palestinian people are living, the Fides news service reports. The Justice...

Irish bishops speak of 'uncertain social climate' in pre-election statement

In a message to Irish voters, the country's Catholic bishops say that they "share the anxiety of many citizens of Ireland at the fact that there is an uncertain social climate in the...

Cardinal Pell agrees to new meeting with abuse victims

Cardinal George Pell has indicated that he is willing to meet with Australian sex-abuse victims who have vowed to travel to Rome to witness his testimony to a royal investigating commission. The...

British PM Cameron shows 'poisonous form of radical moral liberalism,' says Cardinal Pell

British Prime Minister David Cameron has accepted a "poisonous form of radical moral liberalism," Cardinal George Pell writes in his foreward to a new book. In the foreword to The...

Spanish court rejects criminal charges against bishop who compared abortion to Holocaust

A Spanish court has rejected the charge that a bishop violated the law and incited hatred by comparing abortion to the Holocaust. Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla of Alaca de Henares outraged...

Pennsylvania diocese to close parish schools, create regional-school system

The Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, has announced plans to eliminate all parish-based Catholic schools, and replace them with a system of regional schools. The new system-- which will be run under...

Former Vatican prosecutor: every bishop should see 'Spotlight'

Every member of the Catholic hierarchy should watch the film Spotlight, in the opinion of the prelate who once served as the Vatican's top prosecutor in abuse cases. "All bishops and...

Trump's views 'not Christian,' Pope says

Pope Francis has inserted himself into the US presidential campaign, telling reporters that the views on immigration held by Republican candidate Donald Trump are “not...

Pope open to discuss contraception as response to Zika epidemic

Pope Francis hinted that the use of contraceptives may be morally acceptable as a response to the Zika epidemic, during an question-and-answer session on February 18. Speaking to reporters who...

Released Friday, Feb. 19

Report: Armenian Catholic parish destroyed in Turkey

Amid clashes between the Turkish military and Kurdish separatists, an Armenian Catholic parish and a mosque have reportedly suffered significant damage in Diyarbakir, The Armenian Weekly...

Report: bishop praises Russian intervention in Syria

Sputnik, a news agency owned by the Russian government, reported that a bishop in Syria’s largest city has praised Russian intervention in Syria as “a good thing.” According to...

Quebec religious community in major abuse settlement

Attorneys for the Montreal Metropolitan Deaf Community Center have secured a $30-million class-action settlement involving the Clerics of Saint Viator. Between 1940 and 1982, at least 60 deaf...

Philippine bishops issue statement on pornography

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has issued a Lenten pastoral message on pornography. Describing pornography as a “grave evil” and a “scourge,”...

Moscow patriarch visits Antarctica

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow visited an Antarctic Russian Orthodox church on February 17 to pray for deceased explorers and bless holy water. Consecrated in 2004, Holy Trinity Church, located at...

Papal preacher begins weekly Lenten sermons

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, devoted his February 19 Lenten sermon to the theme of “Worship in...

Vatican spokesman downplays Pope's comments during airplane interview

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, has insisted that Pope Francis had not intended a "personal attack" on Donald Trump. In a February 19 interview with...

Cardinal Pell demands investigation after 'outrageous' leaks of renewed abuse charges

As Australian activists escalate their personal attacks on Cardinal George Pell, the cardinal has called for an investigation into leaked reports that police have re-opened an investigation into old...

Moscow Patriarchate renews criticism of Ukrainian Catholic Church

The Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow has renewed its sharp criticism of the Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church, after a brief lull during the "summit meeting" between Pope...

Christian refugees endangered by other migrants: German cardinal

Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, Germany, has said that Christian refugees face threats and intimidation by other migrants in transit camps. "Concern is growing that politicians and the...

Church in Israel faces 'complete crisis,' Jerusalem vicar reports

The Catholic Church faces a “complete crisis” in Israel, because of financial pressures and new pressure from local government officials, the vicar general of the Jerusalem patriarchate told the...

French Cardinal Barbarin under pressure for failure to remove accused priest

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, is under pressure to resign after acknowledging that he allowed a priest to remain in parish ministry after learning that the priest had been accused of...

Returning from Mexico trip, Pope again venerates icon of Salus Populi Romani

Following his usual practice, Pope Francis visited the basilica of St. Mary Major, to pray before the icon of the Virgin Mary, Salus Populi Romani, after his return from a pastoral trip to...

Released Monday, Feb. 22

Deepen your commitment to express mercy, Pope tells jubilee pilgrims

On February 20, Pope Francis held his second special monthly Saturday audience for pilgrims who have come to Rome for the extraordinary jubilee year of mercy. “In this Holy Year of Mercy,...

Pope reflects on journey to Mexico, meeting with Russian patriarch

In his February 21 Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on his recent apostolic journey to Mexico and his meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. “The spiritual ‘center of...

Pope renews call for abolition of death penalty

Stating that “even a criminal has the inviolable right to life,” Pope Francis said that “all Christians and men and women of good will are called today to work for the abolition of...

Christians are determined to remain in Syria, says prelate

The Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, has told Aid to the Church in Need that Christians are determined to remain in the war-torn nation. “The reason...

Myanmar cardinal calls for greater respect for religious liberty

As a new government assumes power in Myanmar, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon expressed hope for national reconciliation, including forgiveness of the military leaders who ruled the nation from...

Indian bishop works to counter suicides among farmers

An Indian bishop is striving to counter the high suicide rate among impoverished farmers in his diocese. “The Catholic mission Diocese of Amravati is one of the drought-hit areas where the...

Work for the dignity of Jesus, Pope tells Mexico’s Jesuits

In a brief video-message, Pope Francis called upon Mexico’s Jesuits to “keep working for the dignity of Jesus.” Jesus “is working in every man and woman in Mexico,”...

Fidelity and mercy are inseparable, Pope tells Curia and Vatican personnel

Pope Francis celebrated a special jubilee year Mass on February 22, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, for the staff of the Roman Curia, the Governorate of Vatican City State, and the institutions...

Canadian archbishop: no anointing for people planning assisted suicide

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa has told his priests that they should not administer the Sacrament of Anointing to people who plan an assisted suicide, since their desire to end their own...

Abuse victims will be present for Cardinal Pell's testimony

A royal commission investigating sex-abuse complaints in Australia has given permission for victims' representatives to be present when Cardinal George Pell gives testimony. Cardinal Pell,...

Helena diocese finds mediation cuts bankruptcy costs

Bishop George Thomas of Helena, Montana, told the National Catholic Reporter that a conciliatory approach toward sex-abuse victims helped to minimize the expenses associated with the bankruptcy...

10,000 children among Syria's war casualties

More than 10,000 children have been killed during the civil war in Syria, the apostolic nuncio in that country estimates. Archbishop Mario Zenari told an Italian radio audience that civilians...

Schismatic traditionalist Bishop Williamson plans to ordain another bishop

Bishop Richard Williamson, the traditionalist prelate who was dismissed from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) in 2012, plans to ordain another bishop for his schismatic group. Bishop Williamson...

Father Lombardi steps down from Vatican Radio post

Father Federico Lombardi, the chief Vatican spokesman, is stepping down from his post as general director of Vatican Radio. Father Lombardi will continue to serve as director of the Vatican press...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 23

Report: ISIS releases 43 Christian hostages

The Islamic State has released 43 Christians who were taken captive during a February 2015 military offensive in northeastern Syria, according to the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization...

Jesuit who worked as Sandinista government minister dead at 82

Father Fernando Cardenal, a Jesuit liberation theologian who supported Nicaragua’s Sandinista revolution and served as the nation’s education minister from 1984 to 1990, died on February...

Peruvian bishops issue election statement

Stating that “our political system is affected by high levels of corruption,” Peru’s bishops have issued a reflection as the April 10 general election approaches. The bishops...

Venezuelan prelate laments collapse of health care

The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference’s justice and peace commission, led by Archbishop Roberto Lückert León, has issued a statement decrying the “profound deterioration”...

Guatemalan bishops decry sex-education legislation

The bishops of Guatemala have issued a statement strongly criticizing a sex-education bill under consideration in the nation’s legislature. The bill proposes a “totally...

Settlement between Missouri diocese, parish employee fired after same-sex marriage

The Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph has agreed to an undisclosed settlement with a woman who was dismissed from her position as her parish’s coordinator of social ministry after her...

Community asks prayers for Mother Angelica

Mother Angelica, the founder of the Eternal Word broadcasting network (EWTN), is still clinging to life, and her sisters at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery have issued a new call for...

Roman catacomb restoration funded by foundation in Azerbaijan

The Vatican reported on February 23 that an ambitious restoration project at the catacombs of Sts. Mercellinus and Peter has been completed. The restoration, underwritten by the Heydar Aliyev...

US Catholic colleges have liberal rules for students entertaining opposite sex, study finds

A new study of American Catholic campuses, conducted by the Cardinal Newman Society, finds that 95% of Catholic colleges and universities allow students to visit the dorm rooms of members of the...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 24

Aleppo bishop: ‘nearly all our churches are damaged’

A bishop who ministers in Syria’s largest city has told Aid to the Church in Need that “for the last 20 days we have been under bombardment, almost daily bombing.” “And...

Ukrainian Catholic leader renews criticism of statement by Pope, Russian patriarch

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has renewed his criticism of portions of the recent joint statement of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow but said he was moved by Pope...

Christian children face Muslim proselytism in schools, says Church official in Malaysia

The head of the education commission of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu said that some Christian children are facing Muslim proselytism in schools in her region of Malaysia. “Some people...

Bishops from North, South America gather in Tampa

A group of bishops from the United States, Canada, and Latin America has gathered in Tampa for the 40th official meeting of the Bishops of the Catholic Church in America since 1967. “Jesus...

US ecumenical group celebrates 10th anniversary

Christian Churches Together, a US-based ecumenical organization, recently concluded its tenth anniversary convocation. Participants gathered in Arlington, Virginia, to discuss poverty, race,...

Over 10.5 million saw Pope in Mexico

Over 10.5 million people saw Pope Francis during his recent apostolic journey to Mexico, the Spanish news agency EFE reported. 9.4 million people lined various papal motorcade routes, and 1.15...

Pope reflects on mercy and power

Continuing his Wednesday general audiences on the theme of mercy, Pope Francis devoted his February 24 audience, the eighth in the series, to mercy and power. “The Scriptures show that...

Patriarch Kirill: 'powerful forces' opposed meeting with Pope

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow says that "powerful forces" outside Russian Orthodox Church were opposed to his February 12 meeting with Pope Francis.  The Russian prelate, who is...

Cardinal Pell to testify for Australian royal commission beginning Sunday

Cardinal George Pell will testify before a royal commission investigating Australia's sex-abuse scandal beginning on Sunday night, February 28. The Australian cardinal-- who now serves at the...

Vatican receptionist found dead; investigation underway

The Vatican has called for an investigation into the death of a young woman who worked as a receptionist at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives and works. Miriam Wulou, a...

Vatican Secretary of State avoids direct opposition to Italian civil-union legislation

The Vatican's Secretary of State did not oppose a bid to recognize same-sex unions in Italy-- although he did insist that civil unions should not be given equal status with marriage-- in...

Filipino archbishop: Madonna concert could be occasion of sin

A Catholic archbishop in the Philippines has warned his people not to attend a Madonna concert in Manila, saying that her "suggestive" performances could have a corrupt moral...

Belgian bishops report $4.4 million paid to abuse victims

The Catholic bishops of Belgium have paid almost €4 million ($4.4 million) to abuse victims, a new report has shown. The report from the Belgian bishops' Commission for the Protection of...

Islamic leader: how can US Christians explain support for same-sex marriage?

The leader of Egypt's Al Azhar University has asked how Christian leaders who accept same-sex marriage will explain that position to Jesus Christ. Speaking in Indonesia, where he is visiting,...

Released Thursday, Feb. 25

Nigeria’s bishops decry corruption, welcome progress in fight against Boko Haram

At the conclusion of their recent meeting in Abuja, Nigeria’s bishops welcomed the government’s progress in the fight against the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram. “We...

Patriarch calls on Orthodox, Catholics to oppose de-Christianitization, persecution

In the final days of his journey to Latin America, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow traveled to Rio de Janeiro, where he prayed for persecuted Christians at the statute of Christ the...

Jerusalem bishop: work with Assad to defeat Islamic State

At a recent conference in Cologne, Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of Jerusalem called upon the international community to work with the Syrian government to defeat the Islamic State, which...

Niger’s bishops appeal for peace

Amid tensions surrounding Niger’s February 21 elections, the bishops of the largely Muslim nation appealed for calm. “The Catholic Christian community prays and does not cease praying...

Vatican conference on Pope Benedict’s 1st encyclical

On February 25, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum is hosting a conference on the tenth anniversary of Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical. Writing in L’Osservatore...

Orthodox patriarchs to meet to resolve jurisdictional dispute

John X, the Orthodox patriarch of Antioch, and Theophilos III, the Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem, will meet in Cyprus in an attempt to resolve their jurisdictional dispute over the Orthodox...

Illness forces Pope Francis to cancel appointments

Pope Francis cancelled his appointments for Thursday, February 25, because of illness. The Vatican announced that the Pope had a "slight indisposition" and was running a...

Pope answers children's questions in new book

The Italian house Rizzoli has published a new book that contains 31 letters to Pope Francis from children all around the world, together with the Pontiff's replies. L'Amore Prima del...

English Catholic university opens Benedict XVI Centre

St. Mary's University Twickenham has launched a "Benedict XVI Centre" for research on religion and social sciences. Citing Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the document by St. John Paul II on...

Cardinal Müller cautions: Italian civil-union proposal must not compromise marriage

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has echoed an argument by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, saying that same-sex unions can never be considered equivalent to...

Georgian Orthodox Church rejects ecumenical document for worldwide Orthodox council

The Georgian Orthodox Church has rejected a document on ecumenism, prepared for the worldwide council of Orthodox leaders scheduled to take place in Crete in June. The rejection of the...

Yakima diocese discourages attendance at pro-life fundraiser addressed by Laura Ingraham

The Diocese of Yakima, Washington, has instructed pastors to discourage Catholics from attending a fundraising event for a pro-life effort, at which talk-show host Laura Ingraham will be the...

Released Friday, Feb. 26

Russian patriarch ‘very frustrated’ by Ukrainian Catholic criticism of statement

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow told reporters that he was “very frustrated” by Ukrainian Greek Catholic criticism of his February 12 joint declaration with Pope Francis, according to a...

Italian senate approves same-sex civil unions

In a 173-71 vote, the Italian senate has approved legislation to legalize same-sex civil unions. The measure passed after the bill’s sponsors removed a provision that would have legalized...

Islamic leader: ‘terrorism is not part of Islam’

The cleric honored by some Muslims as the leading Sunni authority said that “terrorism is not part of Islam,” according to an AsiaNews report. Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of...

India’s Franciscans to seek freedom for 1,000 prisoners

India’s Franciscans have agreed to seek the release of at least 1,000 prisoners during the jubilee year of mercy. Negotiating with civil officials, the Franciscans will focus on those...

Indonesia’s bishops speak out against corruption

The Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia has joined Muhammadiyah, the nation’s second-largest Muslim organization, in opposing legislation that would weaken the authority of an...

Cardinal: interreligious dialogue counters modern deafness to God

Addressing an interfaith conference in Qatar, the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said that “we have to teach the contents of our respective beliefs, and we...

Papal preacher devotes Lenten sermon to receiving God’s word

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, delivered a Lenten sermon on February 26 entitled “Receive with...

God cannot be solitary because God is love, Pope tells conference participants

"God does not simply have the desire or capacity to love; God is love," Pope Francis said in a February 26 address. "Charity is his essence; it is his nature." Speaking to...

Papal diplomats face unprecedented challenge, says Vatican's 'foreign minister'

Vatican diplomats will have to "make an unprecedented effort" to achieve peace under conditions that Pope Francis has characterized as a "piecemeal" World War III, Archbishop...

Boston's Mayor Walsh rejects 'personally pro-life' label

Boston's Mayor Martin Walsh has apologized for referring to himself as "personally pro-life," and said that he would never use that term in the future. Walsh, who is Catholic, spoke...

Canadian bishops decry proposal for to allow physican-assisted suicide

"Suicide is not part of health care," the Catholic bishops of Canada say in a response to a government report recommending legalization of physician-assisted suicide. The...

Chinese pastor's sentence: 14 years for resisting removal of cross

A Chinese Protestant pastor has been sentenced to a 14-year prison term after resisting the removal of a cross from his church building, the AsiaNews service reports. Rev. Bao Guohoa hired a team...

HIV infection more likely among African women injected with Depo-Provera

Women injected with the Depo-Provera contraceptive are more likely to become infected with the HIV virus, a new study has found. The peer-reviewed analysis, combining information from 24...

Mexican pro-life leader arrested

One of Mexico's most prominent pro-life leaders has been arrested, on charges that he embezzled funds from his pro-life organization. Jorge Serrano Limon reportedly is accused of embezzling...

'Mercy Bus' draws hundreds of lapsed English Catholics back to active faith

A "Mercy Bus" offering opportunities for Confession has drawn several hundred people back to the active practice of the faith in the Diocese of Salford, England. The Mercy Bus, an...

Released Monday, Feb. 29

Pope visits drug-treatment center as part of ‘Friday of mercy’ initiative

Pope Francis made an unannounced visit on February 26 to the San Carlo community, a treatment facility for drug addicts operated by the Italian Center for Solidarity. Accompanied by Archbishop...

Argentina’s new president meets with Pope

Pope Francis received President Mauricio Macri of Argentina in audience on February 27. Macri, who assumed office in December, gave the Pope a poncho, a cross, and Argentine music CDs, while Pope...

Place the person at the center of enterprise, Pope tells Italian businessmen

Pope Francis challenged 7,000 members of the General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria) to create a “real alternative the consumer model of profit at all costs” by placing...

Pope Francis: God awaits our conversion

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading at Mass (Lk. 13:1-9), Pope Francis devoted his February 28 Angelus address to God’s patience in awaiting our conversion. Christ “invites...

Papal prayers for refugees, Syria

Following his February 28 Angelus address, Pope Francis called for prayers for refugees. “My prayer, and undoubtedly yours as well, always includes the dramatic situation of refugees who...

The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christian unity, Pope tells Ethiopian patriarch

Pope Francis received the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in audience on February 29 and said that the blood of Christian martyrs is a summons to Christian unity. With 41...

Cardinal Pell, in commission testimony, acknowledges 'catastrophe' in Church handling of abuse cases

Cardinal George Pell began testifying on February 28 before an Australian royal commission on sexual abuse, and acknowledged that many reports of abuse had been dismissed “in absolutely...

Efforts to aid refugees should not be motivated by proselytism: Cardinal Müller

The prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has said that Christians in Europe should assist refugees as an act of love, not with the motive of converting them. "We...

Oscar-winning 'Spotlight' team prods Church on sexual abuse

Accepting an Academy Award for Best Picture for his movie Spotlight, producer Michael Sugar said that the film "gave a voice to survivors (of sexual abuse)." In his speech, Sugar...

Pontiff thanks Italian police who serve around St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis met on February 29 with members of the Italian military-police force that patrols around St. Peter's Square, and thank them for their work. The Pope acknowledged the...

Pakistan executes governor's killer, despite threat of Islamic retaliation

The government of Pakistan has carried out the execution of a Muslim zealot who confessed to killing an official who had proposed changes in the country's blasphemy law. Mumtaz Qadri was...

Louisiana judge strikes down law that requires priest to report abuse mentioned in confession

A Louisiana judge has ruled unconstitutional a new state law requiring priests to report sexual abuse that is mentioned in a sacramental confession. Judge Mike Caldwell made his ruling in a...

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