Action Alert!

Stories for March 2016

Released Wednesday, Mar. 2

Ukrainian Catholic leader: we are more than an ‘ecclesial community’

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. Referring to the Eastern...

Church in Hungary celebrates jubilee of St. Martin

In addition to commemorating the extraordinary jubilee of mercy in 2016, the Church in Hungary is celebrating the 1700th anniversary of the birth of St. Martin of Tours in Szombathely. Famed for...

French bishops lament agricultural crisis

A delegation of 15 French bishops attended the annual Paris International Agricultural Show on February 29. Referring to the closing of farms, harm to the environment, and high taxes, Bishop...

Central African Republic: bishop welcomes election of new president

A Spanish missionary bishop whose diocese has been ravaged by attacks from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has welcomed the election of Faustin-Archange Touadéra as the Central African...

Swiss voters reject marriage initiative, automatic deportations

By a slim 51%-49% margin, voters in Switzerland have rejected a ballot initiative that would have defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman and would also have ended tax penalties against...

Pope Francis reflects on mercy, rejects 'blood money' for Church

Continuing his Wednesday general audiences on the theme of mercy, Pope Francis devoted his March 2 audience, the ninth in the series, to mercy and correction. “In these weekly catecheses...

Vatican newspaper publishes arguments for allowing women to preach at Mass

The Vatican newspaper has published essays suggesting that women should be allowed to preach at Mass. Under existing canon law, only priests and deacons are authorized to preach at Mass. But in a...

Australian abuse commission will recall elderly bishop for questioning

A retired Australian bishop is being recalled to testify before an Australian royal commission on sexual abuse, despite the fact that he is terminally ill. Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who led the...

Cardinal Pell sets up meeting with abuse victims, as critics call for resignation

Cardinal George Pell has arranged to meet privately with sex-abuse victims on Thursday, March 3, as he continues to testify before an Australian royal commission investigating the abuse...

Lord Sacks wins Templeton Prize

Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, has been named as the winner of the 2016 Templeton Prize for "affirming life's spiritual dimension." Lord Sacks, who...

Europe must recover spiritual roots, Pope tells French visitors

“Europe is the only continent that can bring some sort of unity to the world,” Pope Francis said in a March 2 meeting with a small group of Christian socialists from France. In a wide-ranging...

Cardinal Müller repeats: no change in Church teaching on divorce

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has underlined his stand against any change in Church teaching on marriage and divorce, in a pair of German-language...

Pennsylvania grand jury finds widespread abuse, cover-ups in Altoona-Johnstown diocese

The attorney general of Pennsylvania has released a scalding report from a grand jury that found evidence of a widespread cover-up of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Attorney...

Pakistan: cause opens for beatification of slain government official, Shahbaz Bhatti

Church officials in Pakistan are collecting testimony for the cause of beatification of Shahbaz Bhatti, the government official who was killed in 2011 because of his support for Christians accused...

New undercover video shows more traffic in fetal body parts

The Center for Medical Progress has released a new undercover video showing the involvement of abortion providers in the sale of fetal body parts. In the latest in a series of exposés, the...

Supreme Court hears arguments on Texas abortion law

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on March 2 in the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, a challenge to the new state law that imposes medical standards on abortion providers in...

Released Thursday, Mar. 3

Iraq to discipline officials who defraud Christians

Iraq’s justice minister has announced that officials who are complicit in defrauding Christians of their property will be suspended or fired. Offered bribes, some officials have deeded...

Bishops should not seek salvation in politics, says Vatican cardinal

It is the task of the laity, and not of bishops, to take an active part in the political life of Latin American nations, Cardinal Marc Ouellet said in a March 1 address. “Guided by the...

South Dakota governor vetoes bathroom legislation

In a victory for transgender activists, Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota has vetoed a bill directing students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of their own biological sex. The bill...

Cardinal Tauran: Pope proposes a new civilization in ecological encyclical

Laudato Si’ is “not an encyclical on climate change,” but a social encyclical that proposes “nothing less than a new civilization,” according to Cardinal Jean-Louis...

Lenten postcard campaign directed at Costco, StarKist

The Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking has begun a Lenten postcard campaign asking Costco and StarKist to ensure that persons who have been enslaved do not work in their...

Archbishop Naumann: consider the Supreme Court in assessing presidential candidates

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City has asked Catholics to consider the importance of Supreme Court nominees as they assess presidential candidates. “The sanctity of human life,...

Pontifical council publishes guide to Confession

The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization has published a pastoral guide to the Sacrament of Reconciliation as “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative approaches. In his...

East Timor's prime minister, Vatican Secretary of State celebrate new diplomatic accord

Pope Francis met on March 3 with Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo of East Timor, for a conversation that centered on Church-state relations. Following the meeting with the Pontiff, the prime...

Admitting sin is necessary condition for receiving God's mercy, Pope tells congregation

Preaching at a morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae on March 3, Pope Francis reminded his congregation that in order to receive God's mercy, one must first acknowledge one's...

Planned Parenthood president to speak at Georgetown

Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, will speak in April on the campus of Georgetown University, America's oldest Catholic institution of higher...

Cardinal Pell concludes testimony, meets with abuse victims

Cardinal George Pell met privately with sex-abuse victims on March 3, after concluding four days of testimony by videolink before an Australian royal commission. "It was hard: an honest and...

To defend life, defend virtue, Pope tells Pontifical Academy

Speaking on March 3 to members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which is holding its general assembly this week, Pope Francis said that “human life is defended and promoted most effectively only...

Released Friday, Mar. 4

Not rivals, but brothers: Russian Orthodox official reflects on recent joint declaration

The grave challenges that humanity faces move Catholics and the Orthodox faithful “to live and act not as rivals but as brothers,” Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said in a...

Report: 1.3 million Nigerian Christians have fled their homes since 2000

Open Doors, an organization that advocates on behalf of persecuted Christians, has published a 47-page report on violence against Christians in northern Nigeria. “Not just radical Islam,...

West African bishops: Church must defend the truth about marriage and family life

The Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa met recently in Accra, Ghana, and called for a renewed commitment to evangelization, peace, and the defense of family life. “In the face of...

Italian prelate calls mafia to conversion

Following an escalation in local mafia-related violence, an Italian prelate issued a letter calling for conversion. Urging the faithful not to become “indifferent, almost anesthetized or...

Prelate calls for greater European cohesion

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community gathered in Brussels on March 3 to discuss “Europe’s vocation to promote peace in the world.” The...

Papal preacher devotes Lenten sermon to evangelization

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, preached a Lenten reflection on March 4 devoted to the proclamation of...

12 sainthood, beatification causes advance

In a March 3 audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis approved the publication of decrees that advance a dozen sainthood causes. In approving separate...

Pope has changed Vatican protocol on meeting divorced heads of state

Pope Francis has changed the rules of Vatican protocol regarding meetings with the spouses of visiting Catholic heads of state who are divorced and remarried. In the past, in meetings between the...

4 Missionaries of Charity among victims of terrorist attack in Yemen

A terrorist attack on a retirement home run by the Missionaries of Charity in Aden, Yemen, has left at least 16 people dead, including four members of the religious order founded by Mother...

Cardinal Pell asks for fair treatment, says he will not resign

Cardinal George Pell lamented that he had become a "hate figure," but vowed that he would not resign unless Pope Francis asked him to do so, in an interview following his four days of...

Vatican spokesman: Pope never received request to meet with Australian abuse victims

Pope Francis never received a request to meet with Australian sex-abuse victims who were in Rome this week, according to Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office. The...

Restore central role of Confession, Pope urges

Pope Francis called for a restoration of the central role of Confession, in a March 4 address to participants in an annual course offered by the Apostolic Penitentiary. As confessors, priests are...

Vatican statement defends response to sex-abuse scandal

Responding to new questions about the Church response to sexual abuse—raised by the popularity of the movie Spotlight and the testimony of Cardinal George Pell before an Australian royal...

Convicted LA gang member receives letter of encouragement from Pope Francis

The latest surprised recipient of a personal message from Pope Francis is a young convict serving at a detention center in Los Angeles. Carlos Adrian Vaquez, Jr, who is serving an 11-year...

Pennsylvania bishop pledges cooperation with investigators in abuse inquiry

BIshop Mark Bartchak of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania, has promised the full cooperation of the archdiocese in an investigation of sexual abuse by clerics there. The bishop issued his statement...

Judge backs Massachusetts diocese, rules $750k gift to closed parish can go to diocese

A Massachusetts judge has ruled that a $750,00 gift to a parish in the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, should be given to the diocese, since the parish has been closed. The late Irene...

Released Monday, Mar. 7

Pope celebrates penitential liturgy, compares sin to blindness

As part of the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative, during which confessions were heard for an extended period of time, Pope Francis celebrated a penitential liturgy in St. Peter’s...

Pope Francis: ‘intensify the inner journey of conversion’ during remainder of Lent

Reflecting on the parable of the prodigal son, Pope Francis called upon the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his March 6 Angelus address to “intensify the inner journey of...

Pope decries murder of Missionaries of Charity in Yemen

Pope Francis lamented the March 4 killing of four Missionaries of Charity and 12 others at a home for the elderly in Aden, Yemen. Two of the religious sisters were from Rwanda; the others came...

World’s Catholic population approaches 1.3 billion as African, Asian numbers soar

Between 2005 and 2014, the world’s Catholic population rose from 1.115 billion (17.3% of the world’s population) to 1.272 billion (17.8%), according to statistics made public by the Holy...

Pope pays tribute to Ukrainian Catholics’ loyalty as hierarchy reaffirms communion

The governing body of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church—the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches in full communion with the Holy See—gathered in Rome to commemorate the 70th...

Pope, Curia begin Lenten retreat

Pope Francis and members of the Roman Curia traveled to a retreat house in Arricia, a town 15 miles from Rome, for their Lenten retreat. The retreat began on the evening of March 6 and concludes...

Toronto's Cardinal Collins leads charge against assisted suicide

Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto issued a call for opposition to physician-assisted suicide, in a homily that was delivered to parishioners at all of the more than 200 churches in the...

Missionaries of Charity pledge to continue work in Yemen

The Missionaries of Charity have vowed to continue their work in Yemen, despite the killing of four sisters serving at a retirement home in Aden. The order announced, in a message relayed to the...

Domestic-partner benefits for Church employees in Michigan

The Michigan Catholic Conference has announced that it will provide health-care coverage to "legally domiciled adults" living with their employees. The new policy, which the conference...

Canonization of Mother Teresa to be set March 15

Pope Francis will sign a decree authorizing the canonization of Mother Teresa on March 15. At an ordinary consistory (a meeting of the cardinals present in Rome) on that date, the Pope will...

Abuse victims demand records from Gallup diocese as part of bankruptcy settlement

A lawyer representing sex-abuse victims has said that his clients will not approve a settlement with the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, until the diocese releases records of accused priests. The...

Debate flares in Naples over jewels of St. Januarius

In Naples, Italy, a dispute has erupted over control of the treasures in the museum of St. Januarius, and a collection of treasures said to be more valuable than the British royal jewels. Since...

Singapore will welcome over 1200 new Catholics at Easter vigil

The Archdiocese of Singapore expects to welcome 1,227 people into the Catholic fold at Easter-vigil services this year. The new Catholics will be evidence of rapid growth for the Church in the...

Released Tuesday, Mar. 8

Priest abducted in Yemen

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, an Indian Salesian priest ministering in Yemen, was abducted from the home for the elderly in which four Missionaries of Charity and 12 others were killed on March 4,...

Cardinal Marx calls on Europe to be ‘constructive actor’ for peace

As the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) gathered in Brussels on March 3 to discuss “Europe’s vocation to promote peace in the world,”...

Think of mercy when tempted to violence, says prelate

Condemning recent brutal killings in his diocese, a Mexican bishop has called upon those tempted to violence to think about mercy. “The world today does not encourage us to have...

Mexican bishop backs actions against music that glorifies drug trafficking

The governor of the northern Mexican state of Coahuila has announced plans to ban “narcocorrido” music at municipal events. Rubén Moreira Valdez also announced that the state...

Massachusetts bishops issue statement on opioid abuse

Stating that the need for legislation is “critical,” the bishops of Massachusetts have issued a statement on the opioid abuse crisis. “We must be mindful that on one hand,...

Papal foundation funded 91 projects to spur agriculture in Africa

During 2015, the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel awarded nearly $1 million to support 91 self-help agricultural projects in the Sahel region of Africa, according to the Holy See Press...

US bishops’ sex-abuse charter must be followed, says bishop

The movie Spotlight and the grand jury report finding widespread abuse and cover-ups in a Pennsylvania diocese are reminders that “we must remain vigilant in our efforts to protect children...

Mexico City archdiocese, in online comment, rejects Pope's criticism of Mexican hierarchy

In a striking rebuke to Pope Francis, an editorial posted on the web site of the Archdiocese of Mexico City argues that the Pontiff was misinformed when he criticized the Mexican...

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch warns against forming Christian militia

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has warned against the formation of Christian militia groups to defend their communities in Iraq, the Fides news service reports. The Chaldean...

Pope appoints members of commission to study cause of Cardinal Stepinac

Pope Francis has named five Catholics-- three bishops and two academics-- to a joint Catholic-Orthodox commission that will explore the wartime record of Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac. The...

Italian prelates reflects on how Christ's suffering is relived by mankind, in Good Friday meditations

Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, who has composed the meditations that will be used for the Stations of the Cross in the Roman Coliseum on Good Friday, told Vatican Radio that his theme will be how the...

Vatican Lenten Retreat: Church must focus on God, not on herself

At the annual Lenten Retreat for the Roman Curia on Tuesday, Father Ermes Ronchi exhorted the Vatican leaders to "think of the beauty of a Church that does not shine the spotlight on...

Georgetown defends appearance by Planned Parenthood leader; African cardinal disagrees

Georgetown University has defended an appearance by Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards in a student-run lecture series. In a formal statement on the lecture, Georgetown cited its status...

English bishop: protest persecution of atheists

An English bishop has issued a call for Christians to defend atheists from persecution. Writing in the Universe, Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton-- who chairs the international-affairs committee for...

Released Wednesday, Mar. 9

Cardinal Turkson: we tolerate irresponsible consumerism as we once tolerated slavery

The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace spoke recently at a New York college on “Catholics, capitalism, and climate.” Drawing on the papal encyclical Laudato...

Vatican newspaper chides EU over proposed refugee deal with Turkey

In a front-page L’Osservatore Romano op-ed article, the newspaper’s vice-editor criticized European leaders for their lack of “cohesion and unity of purpose” in addressing...

Mercy is not ‘do-goodism,’ says Cardinal Parolin

In a preface to a new book on mercy and Roman saints, the Vatican’s Secretary of State emphasized that “mercy is not ‘do-goodism,’ simply because it is not our...

Missionaries of Charity wished to remain in Yemen despite dangers, says bishop

The apostolic vicar of Southern Arabia said that the Missionaries of Charity slain in a March 4 attack decided a year ago to remain in Yemen despite the dangers. “They told me there was...

Arabian bishop: ‘it is an evil thing to kill in the name of God’

Commenting on the recent murder of four Missionaries of Charity and 12 others at a home for the elderly in Yemen, the bishop responsible for the pastoral care of Christians in Bahrain, Kuwait,...

Indian nuns encourage cornea donation

Sixty religious sisters in India have agreed to become “ambassadors of sight” who encourage people to donate their corneas when they die. “If the family consents, the sisters...

Vietnam: diocese counters high abortion rate with home for unwed mothers

To counter an abortion rate that approaches 70% among students, a Vietnamese prelate, Bishop Cosme Hoàng Van Dat of Bac Ninh, founded a home for unwed mothers in 2009. Dominican sisters...

Rhode Island Catholic school promises 'accommodations' for transgender students

Bowing to pressure from "transgender" activists, a Catholic secondary school in Rhode Island has said that it is prepared to make "reasonable accommodations" to students who...

Pennsylvania bishop removes tribute to predecessors in wake of critical grand-jury report

In the wake of a grand-jury report that denounced the handling of past sex-abuse complaints in the Altoona, Pennyslvania diocese, Bishop Mark Bartchak has ordered the removal of banners that had...

AP report: no progress on Vatican tribunal to hold bishops accountable in abuse cases

No action has been taken to implement plans for a Vatican tribunal that could discipline bishops for their failure to respond to sex-abuse complaints, according to a March 9 Associated Press...

English cardinal: campaign against terror should not see all minority views as threatening

England's leading Catholic prelate has cautioned that the government's campaign to combat terrorism could go awry, resulting in damage to civil liberties. "There is no doubt that the...

Ukrainian bishop: Rome does not understand Eastern Catholic perspective

A bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church argues that the Vatican does not understand the perspective of the Byzantine Catholic community. Explaining the unhappiness of many Ukrainian Catholics...

Croatian archbishop confident that Cardinal Stepinac's canonization will not be delayed

The president of the Croatian Catholic bishops' conference does not expect delays in the cause for beatification of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac.  Archbishop Zelimir Puljic of Zadar said...

Release of slain governor's kidnapped son seen as hopeful sign in Pakistan

The son of a slain Pakistani governor, who himself was kidnapped nearly five years ago, has been released, prompting new hopes of a breakthrough in the country's handling of Muslim...

Released Thursday, Mar. 10

USCCB tribute to slain Missionaries of Charity

The Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issue a statement paying tribute to the four Missionaries of Charity who were slain in Yemen on March...

Euthanasia is not palliative care, European bishops’ commission emphasizes

A working group of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has published an opinion on palliative care. The document comes amid discussions on the...

Cardinal: papal visit to Mexico was an ‘event of grace’

The cardinal archbishop of Morelia described Pope Francis’s recent journey to Mexico as an “event of grace” that “we continue to savor, study, and...

Prelate laments US Catholic silence on Middle East wars

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego said that “the most massive failure of the Catholic community at all levels in the past 20 years has been to address the question of our ongoing involvement...

Yemen: bishop meets with surviving Missionary of Charity

The apostolic vicar of Southern Arabia met with the one Missionary of Charity who survived the terrorist attack on a home for the elderly in Aden, Yemen. Sister Sally “is doing reasonably...

Bangladesh: high court considers constitutionality of Islam as state religion

In a move welcomed by the nation’s religious minorities, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh is considering whether to overturn a 1988 amendment declaring Islam the official religion. Hindus...

Irish bishops defend pro-life constitutional amendment

Ireland’s bishops “strongly oppose any weakening of the affirmation of the right to life of the unborn,” according to a statement issued at the conclusion of a three-day meeting of...

Vatican issues new controls on spending for causes of saints

Pope Francis has approved new rules governing the expenditure of funds in the causes for beatification or canonization of new saints.  The new rules, which were approved by the Pontiff for a...

Hispanic students under-represented in US Catholic schools, study shows

Although roughly two-thirds of all Hispanic students in the US are Catholic, only 2.3% attend Catholic schools, a new report has found. A study by Boston College-- looking into the role of...

1,800 join Eucharistic procession outside Planned Parenthood in Colorado

About 1,800 people participated in a Eucharistic process, led by Archbishop Samuel Aquila, outside a Planned Parenthood facility in Stapleton, Colorado, on Saturday. Organizers of the Eucharistic...

Religious education conference hears 'transgender' plea for acceptance

Two speakers made the case of Church acceptance of 'transgender' members at a workshop at the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.  Father Christopher Bazyouros, the...

Released Friday, Mar. 11

Caritas: Greece is becoming a ‘refugee camp’ as borders close

Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, lamented the decisions of leaders in Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, and Macedonia to slow or halt...

Report urges genocide declaration for ISIS killing of Christians

The Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians have sent a report to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the United States to designate the killing of Christians in the Middle East as a...

Prominent Brazilian Franciscan murdered

A Brazilian Franciscan priest who took part in the 2015 synod of bishops on the family was murdered on March 9 during a carjacking attempt. Father Antônio Moser, 75, was professor emeritus...

Defer immigrant deportations, USCCB argues in friend-of-court brief

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined 24 other religious organizations in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in United States v. Texas, a case before the Supreme Court. In...

Pope appears in video on monthly prayer intention

Pope Francis has appeared in a video designed to publicize his general prayer intention for March: “that families in need may receive the necessary support and that children may grow up in...

Greece legalizes cremation despite Orthodox opposition

The cremation of the dead recently became legal in Greece despite opposition from the Greek Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church of Crete. Prelates of the Orthodox Church of Crete gathered in...

Last known Cristero rebel dead at 103

The last known member of the Cristeros force that fought against Mexico's anti-Catholic regime has died. Juan Daniel Macias Villegas, who was 103 years old, was buried in his home town of San...

Focus on family in 4th Lenten Sermon

In the 4th in his series of Lenten Sermons, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the pontifical household, explored the treatment of marriage and family in the Vatican II document, Gaudium...

Prosecutors were warned of abuse in Altoona diocese

Three prosecutors in Pennsylvania were warned about widespread sexual abuse in the Altoona diocese as far back as 2002, but did not take action, a local news outlet has learned. The news report--...

Russian Orthodox official says major differences with Vatican remain

Despite the historic 'summit meeting' between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, there remain serious differences between the Holy See and the Russian Orthodox Church, according to the chief...

Israeli Christians critical of government policies, survey finds

Christians living in Israel are less likely to support Israeli government policies than their counterparts in the US, a Pew Research study has found. Among Israeli Christians, 80% believe that...

Syrian Orthodox Patriarch hopeful that refugees will retain Orthodox culture

In an encyclical letter, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Mar Ignatius Ephrem II has voiced his concern that refugees who are forced to leave their homes in Syria will maintain their religious and cultural...

Boston Globe to end sponsorship of Crux web site

The Boston Globe is ending its involvement with Crux, the web site that the Globe established less than two years ago to reach a Catholic reading audience. In a memo to the newspaper's staff,...

Released Monday, Mar. 14

Pope Francis: annulment changes were intended to render speedier judgment

Recent changes in annulment procedures were designed to eliminate “difficulties in obtaining access to the ecclesial legal structures,” Pope Francis told 700 participants in a formation...

Meet Jesus on the path of humble service, Pope tells jubilee pilgrims

On March 12, Pope Francis held his third special monthly Saturday audience for pilgrims who have come to Rome for the extraordinary jubilee year of mercy. “As we draw near to Easter in this...

Schedule announced for papal trip to Poland

The Holy See Press Office has confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Poland in July. The trip, which will begin on July 27 and conclude four days later, will be the Pope’s 13th apostolic...

‘Vatileaks II’ trial resumes

Following a recess of three months, the “Vatileaks II” trial has resumed. Emiliano Fittipaldi and another journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi, are charged with “soliciting and...

Pope Francis: the adulterous woman represents all of us

Reflecting on the woman caught in adultery (Jn. 8:1-11), Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his March 13 Angelus address that “misery and mercy” meet...

Pope announces winner of teaching prize

In a video recorded for an awards ceremony taking place in Dubai, Pope Francis announced that a Palestinian woman has won the Varkey Foundation’s second annual Global Teacher Prize. The...

Last letter of slain Missionaries of Charity: ‘we live together, die together with Jesus, Mary’

The Italian bishops’ television network has published the last letter of the five Missionaries of Charity who served the poor, elderly, and disabled in Aden, Yemen. Four of the five sisters...

Islamic State video shows burning of Christian books

The Islamic State has released a video showing the burning of Christian books, the Fides news service reports. The video, posted on the internet late last week, shows the burning of books and...

Papal messages condemn terrorist attacks in Turkey, Ivory Coast

Pope Francis has released statements condmening acts of terrorist violence in Turkey and in Ivory Coast. In Turkey, an attack at a bus depot in Ankara on March 13 killed at least 34 people and...

Top Vatican diplomat calls for dialogue as response to religious extremism

The Vatican's top foreign-policy official has argued for international cooperation and inter-religious dialogue as the best ways to combat the rise of religious intolerance. Archbishop Paul...

Ukrainian Orthodox body says Soviets suppressed Catholics for supporting Nazis

A statement from the Ukrainian Orthodox body in union with the Moscow patriarchate has claimed that the brutal suppression of the Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church during the Stalin era was a...

Released Tuesday, Mar. 15

Cardinal laments plight of migrants, disintegration of Italy’s social fabric

In a lengthy address to the permanent council of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa touched on a number of themes, including the persecution of Christians in the...

Archbishop of Canterbury: those concerned about assimilating migrants are not racist

In an interview with the Parliament’s weekly magazine, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury called upon Britain to be welcoming to migrants but said that concerns about their assimilation are...

Prelate: Innocent XII, like Pope Francis, wanted a poor Church

Cardinal Francesco Monterisi served as the Pope’s special envoy at a Mass concluding a yearlong commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the birth of Pope Innocent XII, who reigned from 1691...

Number of jubilee pilgrims reaches 3 million

Three million pilgrims have passed through the holy door of St. Peter’s Basilica since the jubilee year of mercy began, Archbishop Rino Fisichella said on March 14. The president of the...

Malaysian bishop, mufti meet

Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang, a Malaysian state of 1.7 million, has met with Penang’s leading Muslim cleric, according to an AsiaNews report. The meeting follows the historic January...

USCCB president: sign ‘stop the Christian genocide’ petition

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has urged Catholics to sign an online petition calling upon the State Department to designate the killing of the Middle East’s...

Justice Department announces initiative against religious discrimination

The US Department of Justice has announced “Combating Religious Discrimination Today,” an interagency “community engagement initiative designed to promote religious freedom,...

Canonization dates for Mother Teresa, 4 others announced

Pope Francis decreed the dates of five canonizations during a March 15 consistory in the Apostolic Palace. Blesseds Stanislaus Papczynski (1631-1701) and Elizabeth Hesselblad (1870-1957) will be...

Bishop raps Notre Dame's decision to honor Vice President Biden

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne/South Bend, Indiana, has criticized the University of Notre Dame for its decision to award the Laetare Medal to Vice President Joseph Biden. Bishop Rhoades—in...

Warring parties in Syria routinely target civilians, Vatican envoy tells UN forum

A Vatican spokesman, addressing UN officials in Geneva, said that it is "urgent" to deliver humanitarian aid to non-combatants in Syria, saying that civilians are victims of "crimes...

Former Vatican official admits leaking documents

A suspended Vatican official admitted that he had provided confidential documents to Italian journalists, as the "Vatileaks II" trial continued on March 14. "Yes, I handed over...

Three former Franciscan provincials in Pennsylvania face charges for failing to curb abusive friar

Three former Franciscan provincials face criminal charges for giving new pastoral assignments to a friar who was allegedly known as a child molester. Fathers Giles Schinelli, Robert D'Aversa,...

Irish primate: recover the principles of the 1916 proclamation

As Ireland celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising that led to the country's independence, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has questioned whether the people of Ireland today...

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch disavows Christian militia

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has announced that the Chaldean Catholic Church "has no connection, either direct or indirect, with the so-called Babylon Brigade, nor with any armed militia that...

French premier pushes cardinal to take responsibility for priest's abuse

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has called upon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon to "take responsibility" for sexual abuse by a priest in that archdiocese. After a charge of abuse was lodged...

Father Virgilio Elizondo, key figure in Hispanic thought, dead at 80

Father Virgilio Elizondo, a Texas native who became a leading figure in Hispanic Catholic thought, died on March 14, apparently of self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Father Elizondo, the son of...

Released Wednesday, Mar. 16

Bishops’ commission welcomes forthcoming EU document on social rights

The EU’s executive body, the European Commission, has announced that a European Pillar of Social Rights will be drafted over the next year. The document will outline the rights of employees...

Central African bishops call for peaceful, fair elections

The Association of Episcopal Conferences of the Central Africa Region has issued an appeal for just and peaceful elections. “We launch an appeal to peace, harmony and unity on the occasion...

South African bishops issue pastoral letter on racism

Citing “the violence of centuries of colonialism and the violent decades of apartheid,” the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has issued a pastoral letter on...

Leading Nigerian bishop decries corruption

In a recent interview, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria denounced corruption as a “a social disease that has spread, permeating all echelons of society, from...

Iraqi president: Christians are nation’s ‘original members’

During a three-day visit to Egypt, Iraqi President Fuad Masum met with Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II and said that Christians are “original members” of Iraq, as manifested by...

Kidnapped priest is one of only 2 in Yemen

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, the priest kidnapped during the March 4 terrorist attack on the Missionaries of Charity’s home for the elderly in Aden, is one of two priests who minister in Yemen,...

Pope reflects on mercy and consolation

Resuming his Wednesday general audiences following last week’s spiritual retreat with the Curia, Pope Francis devoted his March 16 audience, the tenth devoted to mercy, to the theme of...

Vatileaks defendant: Chaouqui's threats prompted leaks

Msgr. Lucio Vallejo Balda, who has admitted to passing confidential Vatican documents to reporters, told a Vatican tribunal that he acted under pressure-- not from journalists, but from his...

Benedict XVI speaks on crisis of faith, theme of God's mercy, in new interview

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI speaks about a “deep crisis” of faith in the Catholic world after Vatican II, and strongly supports the emphasis that Pope Francis places on God’s mercy,...

Cardinal Kasper: Pope's post-Synod document is imminent

Cardinal Walter Kasper has said that the long-awaited document from Pope Francis, summarizing the conclusions of the Synod for the Family, could be released this weekend. The German cardinal told...

750,000 join pro-life march in Lima

An estimated 750,000 people participated in a pro-life march through downtown Lima, Peru, on March 12. Lima's Cardinal Juan Cipriani Thorne, addressing the crowd, stressed that women who have...

Open borders to refugees, Pope urges European leaders

Pope Francis urged European countries to open their borders to refugees, during his regular weekly public audience on March 16. "I like to see leaders who open their hearts and their...

Priests not obligated to wash women's feet in Holy Thursday ceremony: Cardinal Sarah

The prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship has explained that priests are allowed-- but not required-- to wash the feet of women during the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy...

India's Cardinal Gracias backs petition drive for new trial of Christians convicted during 2008 mob violence

Cardinal Oswald Gracias has thrown his support behind a petition campaign for the release of seven Christians who were convicted, in a hasty trial, for the 2008 murder of a prominent Hindu leader in...

American architect designed chapel where Pope Francis celebrates morning Mass

Catholic News Service profiles the American architect who designed the chapel where Pope Francis now routinely celebrates morning Mass. Louis Astorino, a Pittsburgh native, was originally called...

Released Thursday, Mar. 17

Leading Indian cardinal concerned about fundamentalist Hindu influence

The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India expressed concern recently about an “aggressive minority” of Hindu fundamentalists who do not respect the nation’s...

80% of Syrian Christians support Assad, says bishop

While “we will not say he is an angel,” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not a “demon,” the Chaldean Catholic bishop of Aleppo told journalists in Geneva. Bishop...

Obama to visit Havana’s cathedral

President Barack Obama will visit Havana’s cathedral on Palm Sunday and meet with Cardinal Jaime Ortega, according to an Associated Press report. The visit will take place on the first day...

Open yourselves to friendship with Christ, Irish prelate says in St. Patrick’s Day message

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has issued his annual St. Patrick’s Day message. “Although a small number of people attempt to drag Ireland...

Fight root causes of terrorism, bishop says following Ankara bombing

Following a car bomb explosion in Ankara that killed 37 people and injured over 100, the apostolic vicar of Anatolia said that “terrorism must be fought at its roots, not in its outermost...

Full English text of rare Benedict XVI interview now online

Catholic World Report has published the full text of a lengthy interview with Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, in an English translation. In the interview the retired Pontiff-- who has rarely made...

Priest in Central African Republic is finalist for new $1 million peace prize

A Catholic priest from the Central African Republci is one of four finalists for a new international peace prize. Father Bernard Kinvi, a Camillan priest, was nominated for the Aurora Prize for...

Tomb being prepared for next Pontiff to die; Vatican says work is routine

The Vatican press office has issued a statement to ease concerns about a report that a new papal tomb is being prepared in St. Peter's basilica.  The I Media news agency reported on...

Eyewitness account of killing of Missionaries of Charity in Yemen

The National Catholic Register has obtained an eyewitness account of the killing of four Missionaries of Charity in Yemen earlier this month. Sister Sally, the sole survivor of the brutal raid on...

US says ISIS guilty of genocide against Christians, other minorities

US Secretary of State John Kerry has issued an official finding that the Islamic State is guilty of genocide against Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq. The formal finding by the...

Vatileaks trial postponed after defendant Chaouqui hospitalized

The Vatican has announced a three-week postponement of the "Vatileaks II" trial, after a doctor said that one defendant needs 20 days of "total bedrest." Defendant Franceca...

World problems have human faces, Pope tells university students

The world's most pressing problems "are not faceless," Pope Francis observed in a March 17 talk to students participating in an international meeting of the Model UN. The Pope told...

Irish diocese withdraws from family-life center to preserve public funding

An Irish diocese has ended its ties with a local family-life center, in order to ensure that the institution will continue to receive government funding. The Elphin diocese reacted to political...

Portuguese president visits Pontiff

Pope Francis met on March 17 with Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.  The Portuguese leader-- who was making his first formal state visit since assuming the presidency-- spoke...

Pope's document on Synod will appear after Easter, Vatican spokesman says

The long-awaited document from Pope Francis summarizing the conclusions of the Synod on the Family will not appear until after Easter, a Vatican spokesman has announced. Father Federico Lombardi,...

Released Friday, Mar. 18

Ecumenical patriarch: struggle against materialism during Lent

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who holds a primacy of honor in Eastern Orthodoxy, called upon Orthodox Christians to “struggle against the materialistic and covetous way...

4.5 million refugees from Syria’s civil war

Caritas Italiana, the relief and development agency of the Church in Italy, has published a 24-page report marking the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian Civil War. According to...

Malawi’s bishops decry abortion, homosexual unions, gap between rich and poor

The bishops of Malawi have issued a lengthy pastoral statement on current social, political, and economic issues. “First, as your Pastors, we cannot sit back and watch in the face of...

Prisoners have human dignity, Argentina’s bishops emphasize

Every prisoner retains his status as “a person, a son of God, and a member of the human family” and should retain access to the “goods essential to every person: food, worthy...

Paraguay’s bishops approve Guarani Bible

The bishops of Paraguay have approved the Ñandejara Ñe’ê, a 2006 translation of the Bible in the indigenous Guarani language, for liturgical use. If approved by the...

Local government: Church does not own Córdoba cathedral, once a mosque

The Catholic Church does not own the cathedral in Córdoba, Spain, according to a city government report. The Great Mosque of Córdoba was built in 784 on the site of a...

Papal blessing for Neocatechumenate families

Pope Francis gave his blessing to 250 families from the Neocatechumenal Way who were sent out on "family missions" at a March 18 ceremony in the Vatican's Paul VI auditorium. In his...

Vatican basilica will be darkened for 'Earth Hour' on Saturday

St. Peter's basilica were be darkened for an hour on March 19, as the Vatican observes the "Earth Hour" organized by the World Wildlife Fund. The lights on the dome and facade of...

Pope to visit Armenia in June?

The possibility of a papal trip to Armenia in June is under discussion at the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi has disclosed. The papal spokesman said that possible arrangements are being...

Papal preacher sees an end to Catholic-Protestant conflicts

Father Raneiro Cantalamessa, the preacher to the pontifical household, focused on ecumenical affairs in the 5th of his Lenten Sermons, delivered on Friday, March 18, in the presence of Pope Francis...

Pakistan recognizes Easter as holiday for Christians

Pakistan's national assembly has approved a resolution recognizing Easter as a holiday for Christians, and Holi and Diwali as holidays for Hindus, the AsiaNews service reports. The...

Dublin's Archbishop Martin praises courage of chaplains aiding rebels during Easter Rising of 1916

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin paid tribute to the courage of Catholic priests who ministered to the wounded and dying during the Easter Rising of 1916. At a St. Patrick's Day Mass, the...

Belarus: government keeps tight restrictions on foreign priests, bars Catholic radio

Two Polish Catholic priests have been denied permission to enter Belarus, and although one priest's application is not being reconsidered, the country's Catholic bishops noted that...

Released Monday, Mar. 21

Pope’s Instagram account gains 1.5M followers

Pope Francis launched an Instagram account on March 19 and swiftly gained 1.5 million followers. The account is managed by the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications. “Instagram...

Pray and proclaim the Word, Pope tells new bishops

Pope Francis ordained two priests to the episcopate on March 19 and called upon them to be servants who preach and proclaim the Word of God. The two new bishops are Archbishop Miguel Ángel...

Contemplate the humility of Christ crucified, Pope preaches on Palm Sunday

Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s Square and devoted his homily to the abasement of Christ on the cross. “The humiliation of Jesus reaches its utmost in the...

Pope recalls World Youth Day

At the conclusion of his Palm Sunday Mass, Pope Francis delivered an Angelus address in which he recalled that World Youth Day will be celebrated in July in Kraków. Every Palm Sunday since...

Chile moves toward legalization of abortion

In a 66-44 vote, the lower house of Chile’s National Congress voted to permit abortion in cases of rape or disability. President Michelle Bachelet’s government supports the bill,...

Papal condolences following airplane crash in Russia

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, sent a message of condolence in the Holy Father’s name following a plane crash in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, that claimed 62...

Pope mourns victims of terrorist attack in Istanbul

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, sent a message of condolence in the Holy Father’s name following a suicide bombing in Istanbul. The Islamic State is...

Abp. Gänswein: Pope will not change teaching on Communion for married/divorced

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the prefect of the pontifical household, has repeated his prediction that Pope Francis will uphold the Church's teaching that divorced-and-remarried Catholics...

Salesian priest seized in Yemen remains in terrorist hands; fate uncertain

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, the priest who was seized by during a terrorist attack in Yemen on March 4, remains in the custody of Islamic extremists, his Salesian superiors have...

President Obama meets with Cuban cardinal

President Barack Obama met with Havana's Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino on March 20, as White House aides acknowledged the prelate's important role played in restoring diplomatic ties...

Vatican UN envoy calls for international effort to promote peace in Africa's Great Lakes region

Speaking on March 21 to a UN session on conflict resolution in Africa's Great Lakes region, the Vatican's representative said that the international community should work to promote human...

Important passage missing from early translations of interview with Pope-emeritus Benedict

The first English-language translations of a rare in-depth interview with Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI accidentally dropped an important passage in which the retired Pontiff discussed the necessary...

Argentine bishops to release documents on Church response to military regime

The Catholic bishops of Argentina plan to release documents related to the role of the Catholic hierarchy during the years when Argentina was ruled by a military junta. Bishop Carlos Malfa, the...

French survey finds majority support for resignation of Cardinal Barbarin

A French newspaper survey has found that 63% of the public believes that Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon should step down, because of complaints that he failed to removed an accused clerical...

Irish archbishop pleads for information about people who 'disappeared' during years of violence

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armah, the Primate of All Ireland, has urged urged anyone who has information about the fate of people who "disappeared" during the violence of the 1970s and...

India: Christian group asks government protection from violence during Holy Week

The Global Council of Indian Christians has asked the country's government for protection during Holy Week, noting that "violence against individual Christians and churches continues...

Israel: Christians concerned by government restrictions on Easter Vigil

Christian leaders in Jerusalem have protested restrictions imposed by Israeli police on the annual Easter Vigil ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Each year, Orthodox prelates share...

Orthodox Patriarch underlines importance of worldwide Synod

"Orthodoxy is the Church of collegiality," Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople writes in an encylical letter released in preparation for this year's pan-Orthodox Synod...

Released Tuesday, Mar. 22

Vatican newspaper lauds Obama visit to Cuba

The vice-editor of L’Osservatore Romano welcomed President Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba as the end of the post-World War II era of conflicts and as a manifestation of dialogue,...

Pope mourns victims of accident in Spain

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has send a telegram of condolence to the bishop of Tortosa, Spain, following a bus crash that killed 13 foreign students and injured...

Syrian prelate: US helped create ‘jihadist monster’

Secretary of State John Kerry’s declaration that forces of the Islamic State are committing genocide against Christians cannot erase the United States’ role in the creation of the...

Holy See diplomat decries violence against women, says mothers are not adequately appreciated

Addressing the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women, the Holy See’s chief diplomat at UN offices in New York lamented “old and new forms of violence directed against...

Cardinal Parolin calls for humane treatment of migrants

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, traveled to the Republic of Macedonia, where he visited a refugee camp, and to Bulgaria, where he commemorated the 25th anniversary...

Austrian theologians urge openness to refugees

Fifty Austrian theologians, heads of religious communities, and Church officials recently signed a declaration on refugee policy in which they described “the protection of people in need, who...

Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem: US finding of genocide against Christians comes too late

Archbishpo Fouad Twal, the Latin-rite Patriarch of Jerusalem, has taken issue with the US announcement that a genocidal campaign against Christians is taking place in the Middle East. "The...

Pope's schedule for Holy Week unchanged; Holy Thursday Mass outside Rome

Pope Francis will be the first Pontiff in many years to celebrate Mass on Holy Thursday outside the city of Rome, when he travels to a center for refugees at Castelnuovo di Porto. In a gesture...

Pontiff, European bishops react to terror attack in Brussels

Pope Francis sent a message of sympathy and solidarity to Archbishop Jozef De Kesel of Brussels after the Beglian city was struck by terrorists on March 22. At least 30 people were killed, and...

Gay US ambassador is persona non grata on Catholic campus in Dominican Republic

A Catholic college in the Dominican Republic has announced that the US ambassador to the country, who is openly homosexual, is unwelcome on the campus. The College of St. John the Baptist said...

House of Lords balks at 'genocide' declaration

The British House of Lords blocked a move to declare that the Islamic State is guilty of genocide. The proposal-- introduced as an amendment to the Immigration Bill-- fell by a vote of 148 to...

Priest-activist killed in Congo- had opposed illegal mineral trade

As Assumptionist priest who had led the fight against the exploitation of local mineral reserves in the Democratic Republic of Congo was killed on March 20, reportedly by members of the nation's...

Archbishop Fisichella explains Pope's choice to wash feet of refugees

By washing the feet of refugees during the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, Pope Francis is dramatizing the need to show respect for every person, argues Archbishop Rino Fisichella,...

SSPX leader: talks with Vatican continue, with Pope's support

The head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) reports that conversations with the Vatican are continuing, and that Pope Francis has supported efforts to promote reconciliation with the...

El Salvador: police on guard for gang violence during Holy Week ceremonies

Police in El Salvador are making a special effort to prevent gang violence during Holy Week ceremonies. Gang violence has risen at an explosive rate in El Salvador. With 6,670 murders last year,...

Patriarchate of Jerusalem says Israeli occupation of Palestinian land must end

The Catholic bishops of the Holy Land have issued a statement arguing that the root cause of Israeli-Palestinian violence is "occupation, which is deprivation of freedom and human...

Italian book, promoted by Milan archdiocese, details nun's story of abuse by priest

An Italian nun recounts being repeatedly molested by a priest when she was a child, in a book published with the approval of the Archdiocese of Milan. Giulia and the Wolf is the story of a...

Gallup diocese files plan to compensate abuse victims

The Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, has filed a financial reorganization plan, which could enable the diocese to exit bankruptcy. Most of the funds in the $22M reorganization plan-- which requires...

Released Wednesday, Mar. 23

Leading European, US prelates lament Brussels attacks

Leading European and American prelates have joined Pope Francis and the Belgian bishops in mourning the victims of the March 22 terrorist attacks in Brussels that left over 30 dead. “In the...

Spanish Catholic organizations blast EU proposal on migrants

Caritas Spain, the Spanish Conference of Religious, and the social apostolate of the Spanish Jesuits recently issued a joint statement blasting a proposed agreement between the EU and Turkey on...

Record number of pilgrimages to Fátima in 2015

The Sanctuary of Fátima in Portugal hosted a record number of pilgrimages in 2015. 587,128 people in 4,390 registered groups from 90 nations made pilgrimages to the shrine last year,...

North Carolina diocese to open seminary

Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte has announced the opening of a minor seminary. The seminary, which will be led by Father Matthew Kauth, is expected to welcome nine men in the fall. The...

Churches targeted in South Sudan’s civil war

A recent UN report documented the widespread murder and rape of civilians in the South Sudanese Civil War, which began in 2013. The belligerents have “targeted places of refuge, including...

Pope reflects on the Triduum and mercy

Pope Francis devoted his March 23 general audience to the theme of mercy and the Triduum. “As we prepare to celebrate the Paschal Triduum in this Holy Year of Mercy, we are invited in a...

Luxembourg’s royal family meets with Pope

Pope Francis received Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and his family in audience on March 21. During the 30-minute meeting, the royal family gave the Pope a family portrait, while Pope Francis...

Russian Orthodox Patriarch condemns 'heresy' of a right to sinful behavior

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow decried the "exile of God from man's life and that of society" in a homily for the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the AsiaNews service...

Australian archbishop, recovering from severe disease, reflects on suffering

In a Holy Week reflection, Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia, reflects on his own struggle with a serious illness: Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which left him almost completely...

'Homeless Jesus' statue unveiled at Vatican

A life-size bronze statue, the "Homeless Jesus," has been placed in the Sant'Egidio courtyard of the Vatican during Holy Week. The statue, the work of Canadian artist Timothy...

Somalia's few Catholics survive in secret

Catholic World Report offers a sobering picture of Catholicism in Somalia: a country where, after decades of anarchy, a provisional government is gradually seeking to regain control of territory...

Saudis nurture Islamic radicals in Europe, Syrian bishop warns

In terrorist attacks such as the bombing in Brussels, "unfortunately innocent people reap what European powers have sown in Syria and Iraq in the last few years," Archbishop Jacques Hindo...

Supreme Court appears split on 'Little Sisters of the Poor' challenge to contraceptive mandate

The US Supreme Court appeared to be evenly divided during oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, a key challenge to the contraceptive mandate in the “Obamacare” health reform. Four of the eight...

India: one Christian convict granted bail as petition drive for new trial continues

One of seven Christians hastily convicted on murder charges after a burst of anti-Christian violence in India's Kandhamal district has been released on bail, after an international petition...

French buyer refuses British government request to return St. Joan of Arc's ring

A theme park in France has refused an English request for return of a ring that is believed to have belonged to St. Joan of Arc. The ring, apparently given to St. Joan by her parents at her First...

Released Thursday, Mar. 24

Pope calls for ‘unanimous condemnation’ of terrorism

At his March 23 general audience, Pope Francis renewed his condemnation of terrorism and appealed for prayers for the victims of the Brussels bombings. “I once again appeal to all people of...

Convert to Christianity murdered in Bangladesh; ISIS claims responsibility

Hossain Ali, a retired Bangladeshi man who converted from Islam to Christianity in the 1990s, was brutally murdered in Kurigram on March 22. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the...

Patriarch: Iraqis must unite against ISIS

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, called for Iraqi national unity against the Islamic State. Christians, Muslims, Yazidis, and others should “prove...

Italian Catholics recall missionary martyrs

Since 1993, March 24 has been observed in Italy as a day of prayer and fasting in memory of missionary martyrs. The initiative, overseen by the Italian bishops’ mission foundation,...

Tunisia announces campaign against Islamic extremism

Tunisia, which experienced a string of terrorist incidents in 2015, has announced a campaign to counter Islamic extremism among youth, Agence France-Presse reported. Mohamed Khalil, the...

Relatives of Romero, Argentine victims greet Pope

At the conclusion of his March 23 general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis embraced Cecilia Romero, who was 18 when her uncle, Blessed Óscar Romero, was martyred in...

Vatican to release archival material on Argentine military dictatorship

At the request of Pope Francis, the Holy See will “open up for consultation the Vatican archives relating to the period of dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983),” according to a press...

Pope Francis at Holy Thursday Chrism Mass: respond to God’s ‘excess of mercy’ with gratitude

Following the celebration of Terce from the Liturgy of the Hours, Pope Francis presided at the Chrism Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on Holy Thursday morning. “I would like to speak of...

Washing feet of refugees, Pope stresses brotherhood

Pope Francis celebrated the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, March 24, at the CARA reception center for refugees seeking asylum.  During the ceremony the Pope washed the...

Archbishop Hebda named permanent head of St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese

Archbishop Bernard Hebda has been named Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis, where he has served as apostolic administrator since last June. Archbishop Hebda became the interim leader of the...

In India's Syro-Malabar Church, only priests' feet are washed on Holy Thursday

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church did not alter its Holy Thursday liturgy, despite a papal directive that allowed priests to wash the feet of women during the ceremony. In the Syro-Malabar Church,...

Ottawa archbishop, in Easter message, urges rejection of assisted suicide

In an Easter message, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa calls upon the faithful to reject assisted suicide. Acknowledging the fear and pain that may be experienced by people facing...

French cardinal apologizes for abuse; supporter notes prelate acted promptly on complaints

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, has issued an apology for sexual abuse by priests of the archdiocese. In a March 24 statement, the cardinal quoted the words of Pope Francis, saying that...

Released Friday, Mar. 25

Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum: full text of meditations

The Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has released the meditations for the Way of the Cross at which Pope Francis will preside. The Way of the Cross takes place on...

Restoration announced for Christ’s tomb at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre

Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian Apostolic leaders have announced that Christ’s tomb at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem will be restored within the next year. The...

Study examines international religious gender gaps

A study published by the Pew Research Center has found that women around the world are slightly more likely to be members of a religion than men are (83.4% vs. 79.9%). In nations with Christian...

Thousands to enter Church in US at Easter

About 40% of the dioceses in the United States have reported the numbers of catechumens and candidates who are expected to enter the Church at Easter. T he highest figures were supplied by the...

Report finds ‘slow-motion genocide’ in West Papua

The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Australia, has charged that “slow-motion genocide” is taking place in West Papua, an historically Christian...

Jerusalem patriarch: Holy Thursday homily

Patriarch Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, celebrated the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The prelate preached on the...

Vatican downplays concerns about health of Benedict XVI

Reacting to stories that suggested Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI is close to death, the Vatican has issued a statement indicating there there are not "any particular concerns" about the...

New NJ state law takes effect, ends Newark archdiocesan sale of cemetery monuments

A new state law has taken effect in New Jersey, ending the sale of cemetery headstones by the Archdiocese of Newark. In 2013, the archdiocesan cemeteries began offering headstones. (Technically...

'Spiritual vacuum' leads to extremism, Anglican bishop argues

Anglican Bishop Richard Chartres of London has warned that promoting "universal abstractions" in schools will not ward off religious extremism. An exclusive concern for abstract...

Custodian fined for destroying images of Buddha, Mary Poppins in Omaha cathedral

The former custodian at St. Cecilia cathedral in Omaha was fined $100 and order to pay court costs after pleading guilty to the destruction of a display in the cathedral that had included a...

Vatican, Rome under heavy security during Easter Triduum

The City of Rome has redoubled security precautions in the wake of the Brussels bombings, with special vigilance around the Vatican during the Easter Triduum. Police have announced that sensitive...

Released Sunday, Mar. 27

Pope Francis: Easter Vigil homily (full text)

“Peter ran to the tomb” (Lk. 24:12). What thoughts crossed Peter’s mind and stirred his heart as he ran to the tomb? The Gospel tells us that the eleven, including Peter, had...

Pope Francis: Easter Message Urbi et Orbi (To the City and the World)

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Easter! Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God’s mercy, out of love for us, died on the cross, and out of love he rose again from the dead. That is why we...

Released Monday, Mar. 28

Vatican newspaper warns against 1-sided portrayal of Islam

L’Osservatore Romano published a column on the front page of its Holy Saturday edition cautioning against one-sided media portrayals of Islam. In the column, Zouhir Louassini, a Muslim...

Belgian primate cautions against hatred of Islam

The people of Belgium remain in a state of “shock” and “anguish” following the recent terrorist attacks, but political leaders are not vengeful, Archbishop Jozef De Kesel of...

Good Friday: papal preacher reflects on ‘existential and personal’ reconciliation

Pope Francis presided at the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord at St. Peter’s Basilica on Good Friday. As is customary, the preacher to the papal household, Father Raniero...

Holy Thursday: Pope washed feet of Christians, Muslims, and Hindu from 8 nations

During the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at a refugee center in Castelnuovo di Porto, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 persons from eight nations. The 12, according to the Vatican newspaper,...

Pope dines with Roman priests

For the fourth consecutive year, Pope Francis went to the apartment of Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu on Holy Thursday following the morning Chrism Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, where he...

Pope laments Christians ‘burned alive, throats slit and decapitated’

Pope Francis presided at the Way of the Cross in the Colosseum on Good Friday evening. The Pontiff concluded with a prayer in which he invoked the Cross of Christ 30 times. He began: O...

Italian cardinal: refugee crisis is opportunity for Europe to rediscover its soul

The “immense joy” of the Resurrection is mingled with the “inexpressible pain” of 60 million migrants and refugees, an Italian cardinal said in an article published on the...

At least 70 dead in attack on Christians in Pakistan; Pope decries massacre

On Easter Sunday evening, a suicide bomber attacked a park in Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, killing over 70 people and injuring more than 300. The Islamist militant group...

Mother Angelica dead at 92

Mother Angelica, the founder of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), died on Easter Sunday, April 27, after a long illness, at the age of 92. A native of Ohio, Rita Rizzo joined the Poor...

At Easter Monday audience, Pope points to Mary as witness to hope

"Life has conquered death! Mercy and love have conquered sin!" Pope Francis said at a midday audience on Easter Monday, March 28. Before leading his audience in praying the Regina...

Animal-rights activists disrupt Easter Mass at New York cathedral

New York police arrested one man, and several others were escorted out of St. Patrick's cathedral in New York, after a demonstration that disrupted the noon Mass on Easter Sunday. Security...

Georgia's governor will veto religious-freedom bill

Georgia's Governor Nathan Deal has announced that he plans to veto legislation that would have protected religious groups from being required to approve same-sex weddings or hire openly...

Nigerian cardinal alarmed by president's decision to join Islamic anti-terror coalition

Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja has voiced his misgivings at the decision by Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari to enlist the country's armed forces in an Islamic coalition against...

Kidnapped priest reported still alive in Yemen, despite reports of crucifixion by Islamic State

Despite reports that an Indian priest was crucified by the Islamic State in Yemen on Good Friday, both a local bishop and the priest's Salesian religious superiors say that they believe he is...

Released Tuesday, Mar. 29

USCCB president pays tribute to Mother Angelica

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops paid tribute to Mother Angelica as an “extraordinary woman, devout believer, and media pioneer” following her death at...

20th anniversary of slaying of Trappist monks in Algeria

On the night of March 26-27, 1996, seven Trappist monks were abducted from the Priory of Our Lady of Atlas in Tibhirine, Algeria by members of the insurgent Armed Islamic Group of Algeria. Two...

Holy Tunic displayed in France for veneration of faithful

The Holy Tunic of Christ, a relic venerated in Argenteuil, France, since the Middle Ages, has been displayed for the veneration of the faithful at the Basilica of Saint Denys. Amid concerns about...

Israel permits young Gaza Christians to celebrate Easter in Jerusalem

For the first time in eight years, Israeli officials have permitted Christians from the Palestinian territory of Gaza who are under the age of 35 to travel to Jerusalem for Easter. “We...

Papal condolences following terrorist attack in Iraq

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a message of condolence in the Holy Father’s name following an ISIS suicide bombing at a soccer game in...

India: 1.5 million Muslims join in condemnation of Islamic State

About 1.5 million Muslims in India have signed a statement condemning terrorism, and 70,000 Islamic clerics have joined in a fatwa condemning the Islamic State. The clerics agreed that terrorist...

At UN, Vatican envoy decries victimization of women in warfare

Speaking at a UN Security Council session on the role of women in preventing conflicts in Africa, the Vatican's representative called attention to the people-- especially women religious-- who...

In China, 20,000 baptized at Easter; government alarmed by Church growth

"An estimated 20,000 people were baptized on Easter night" in China, the AsiaNews service reports. Despite the disapproval of the Communist regime, converts continue to enter the Church...

Canadian priest suspended after gambling away $500,000 raised for refugees

A Chaldean Catholic priest in Ontario has been suspended from ministry after admitting that he stole funds that had been raised to help new immigrants. Father Amer Saka, who was serving a parish...

Released Wednesday, Mar. 30

Lahore archbishop: churches were guarded, but attack on park unexpected

The archbishop of Lahore, the site of an Easter Sunday terrorist attack that targeted Christians in a park, said that “the government had provided all the necessary security measures to...

Guard against Western influence, Senegal cardinal warns

Cardinal Théodore-Adrien Sarr, the recently retired archbishop of Dakar, Senegal, warned West Africa’s bishops not to succumb to Western influence, particularly American efforts to...

Brussels archbishop: violence in the name of God cannot be tolerated

An ecumenical prayer vigil took place in the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels on Easter Monday evening following the March 22 bombings that killed 35 and injured over...

Displaced Mosul Catholics celebrate Easter

Nearly two years after the fall of Mosul to the Islamic State, most the faithful of the city’s Syriac Catholic diocese celebrated Easter in Iraqi Kurdistan, the autonomous region to which they...

South Sudan’s Christian leaders lament civil war

Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba, joined by other Christian leaders in South Sudan, have issued a statement lamenting the nation’s continuing civil war, which began in...

Pope Francis reflects on David’s plea for mercy

Pope Francis devoted his March 30 general audience to Psalm 51 (50), in which the psalmist begged God for mercy. “This Psalm is traditionally seen as King David’s prayer for...

Caritas vehicle hijacked in Congo; driver killed

For the 3rd time this year, a vehicle belonging to Caritas, the Catholic relief agency, was ambushed in the Democratic Republic of Congo on March 25. The driver was killed and another passenger...

American girl, losing eyesight, will have 'bucket list' meeting with Pontiff

A 5-year-old American girl who is losing her eyesight was scheduled to meet with Pope Francis on Wednesday, March 30; but a delayed flight postponed the meeting. Lizzy Myers, who suffers from...

Ransom demand for priest abducted in Yemen?

Government officials in India have reportedly received a ransom note from the Islamic State, demanding millions of dollars for the safe return of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, the Salesian priest who was...

Fiat used by Pope in New York now up for auction

The Archdiocese of New York is auctioning off the Fiat hatchback used by Pope Francis during his visit to the city last year. The Fiat 500 Lounge Hatchback was donated by the Chrysler Corporation...

Lord Sacks decries 'ethnic cleansing' of Christians in Middle East

The former chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth has protested the "ethnic cleansing" of Christians in the Middle East and called for an international response. "The ethnic...

Supreme Court seeks new briefs in 'Little Sisters of the Poor' case

In a rare move that seemed to indicate a desire to find common ground in a key religious-freedom case, the US Supreme Court has asked for additional briefs from all parties involved in the Zubik v....

Turkish military seizes churches in offensive against Kurdish separatists

Turkey's military forces have seized several churches in the historic town of Diyarbakir, in the course of an offensive against Kurdish separatists there, the Fides news service reports. The...

Mother Angelica is in heaven, Pope says

Pope Francis expressed confidence that Mother Angelica is in heaven, in a remark made during his weekly public audience on March 30. The Pope acknowledged employees of EWTN, the network founded...

Peruvian prelate says support for pro-abortion politicians is sinful

A Peruvian archbishop has warned his people that support for politicians who support legal abortion and same-sex marriage is immoral. "A Catholic cannot vote for those candidates," said...

Released Thursday, Mar. 31

Moscow Patriarchate to host international conference on persecution of Christians

The Russian Orthodox Church has confirmed plans for an international summit meeting on the persecution of Christians, to be held in Moscow in October. The meeting, to be held October 28 to 30,...

Post-Synod document to be released April 8

The long-awaited document by Pope Francis, concluding the work of the Synod on the Family, will be released on Friday, April 8, the Vatican has announced.  The papal document, an apostolic...

No reason to celebrate Reformation, says Cardinal Müller

Catholics "have no reason to celebrate" the Reformation, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says in a new book-length interview. Cardinal Gerhard Müller...

Polish bishops seek complete abortion ban

The Catholic bishops of Poland have issued a call for a full ban on abortions. Existing law in Poland makes abortion illegal except in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal deformation, or threat...

Vatican investigating renovations of Cardinal Bertone's apartment

The Vatican has confirmed that an investigation is underway regarding the financing of renovations for the apartment now inhabited by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Secretary of...

Pope's prayer intentions for April 2016

The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for April 2016. The Pope's universal intention is: "That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious...

Rome conference focuses on Divine Mercy

Opening a 4-day European Apostolic Congress on Mercy, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna contrasted the limited and sometimes insincere mercy that humans show one another with the boundless...

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