Stories for December 2016

Released Friday, Dec. 2

US bishops’ conference grants nearly $4M to assist Church in Latin America, Caribbean

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America recently granted over $3.8 million to 204 projects to assist the work of the Church in Latin...

Illinois bed & breakfast fined $81K for declining to host same-sex ceremony

The owners of Timber Creek Bed & Breakfast in Paxton, Illinois, have been fined over $81,000 for declining to host a homosexual civil union ceremony in 2011. The Illinois Human Rights...

Caritas: mixed review of UN climate conference

Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s federation of relief and development agencies, said that the recent COP22 UN climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco, sent a “positive yet weak...

Attack on Christians in Egyptian village

A group of Muslims in an Egyptian village, fearing that a community center would become a church, burned down the center, looted businesses owned by Coptic Christians, and attacked 15 Christian...

Ecumenical Patriarch points to areas of agreement with Pope

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who holds a primacy of honor in Eastern Orthodoxy, emphasized the many areas of agreement between Pope Francis and himself in response to the...

2 million pilgrims expected in Spanish town for jubilee year

More than two million pilgrims are expected to travel to Caravaca de la Cruz, Spain, in 2017 for a jubilee year. Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Pope’s vicar for Rome, will open the holy...

Oklahoma priest recognized as first US martyr

In a December 1 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. Among them was a...

Papal thanks for Piarists’ work in educating the poor

Pope Francis has sent a message to the Piarist Fathers, who are celebrating the 400th anniversary of their founding, thanking them for their dedication to providing free education for poor...

Russian Orthodox Patriarch to dedicate new cathedral in Paris

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow will dedicate a new cathedral in Paris this weekend. The cathedral of the Holy Trinity, located near the Seine just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower,...

Uruguay’s president meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on December 2 with President Tabaré Ramon Vazquez Rosas of Uruguay. A brief Vatican statement released after the meeting said that the conversation had centered on the...

Indonesia: 200,000 Muslims demand arrest of Christian governor for blasphemy

An estimated 200,000 Muslims participated in a massive demonstration in Jakarta on December 2, calling for the immediate arrest of a Christian governor who has been charged with blasphemy against...

Franciscan religious killed in Congo

A Franciscan woman religious was killed on November 29 in Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sister Clara Agano Kahambu, who taught at the Christ the King School, was assaulted by a man...

Released Monday, Dec. 5

Promote economic inclusion and dignity of human person, Pope tells business leaders

Pope Francis met with international business leaders taking part in a Fortune-Time Global Forum and called upon them to place the economy at the service of the human person and seeks ways to include...

Pope Francis: convert, for God’s kingdom is in our midst

In his Angelus address for the Second Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis called upon the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square to convert. Reflecting on St. John the Baptist’s call to...

USCCB: December 12 to be day of prayer for immigrant families

Dioceses in the United States will mark the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12) as a day of prayer and solidarity with families of immigrants. “So many families are wondering how...

FBI: 59 anti-Catholic hate crimes in 2015

A total of 69 people were victims of 59 hate-crime offenses motivated by anti-Catholic bias in the US in 2015, according to a report recently issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The...

US Jesuit discusses influence on Silence

Father James Martin, SJ, the editor of America magazine, has discussed his role as consultant to Martin Scorsese’s film Silence, which portrays the work of Jesuit missionaries in Japan under...

Talmud scholar, Weigel meet with Pope

Pope Francis received Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz and George Weigel in separate private audiences on December 5. Steinsaltz is a leading scholar of the Talmud; Weigel, who wrote Witness to Hope, the...

Ecumenical Patriarch praises Amoris Laetitia in Vatican newspaper column

Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has voiced his admiration for Amoris Laetitia, in a column published in the Vatican newspaper, L‘Osservatore Romano. The Orthodox leader...

Syrian Orthodox prelates denied visas to visit London

Two Syrian Orthodox prelates were denied permission to enter the United Kingdom to participate in the dedication of a new cathedral. Archbishops Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf and Timothy Mosa Alshamany...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 6

Cardinal Dolan welcomes papal statement on abortion and confession

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has welcomed Pope Francis’s statement in the apostolic letter Misericordia et Misera that “I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the...

EU court rules against Romanian Catholic parish that sought return of its property

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against a Romanian Greek Catholic parish that sought the return of its property from the Romanian Orthodox Church. In 1948, Romania’s Communist...

South Sudanese bishop warns of potential massacre

The bishop of Yei, South Sudan’s second-largest city, told the Fides news agency that people there are at risk of being massacred by the president’s forces in the nation’s ethnic...

John Kerry meets with Pope

Pope Francis received US Secretary of State John Kerry in a December 2 private audience. While the Holy See Press Office did not disclose the topics of their conversation, Kerry tweeted,...

Asian bishops discuss family life, consecrate families to the Holy Family

The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences gathered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, for a seven-day meeting devoted to “The Asian Catholic Family: Domestic Church of the Poor on a Mission of...

Cemetery desecrated in Galilee

A Christian cemetery has been desecrated in Kafr Yasif, an Arab town of 10,000 in northern Israel whose residents are mostly Christians and Muslims. “Blasphemous and obscene graffiti,...

Promote ‘ethic of responsibility’ to replace nuclear deterrence: Vatican envoy

“The logic of fear and mistrust that is epitomized by nuclear deterrence must be replaced with a new global ethic,” a Vatican representative said in an address to the International...

Sheen beatification cause delayed again as New York archdiocese appeals decision to transfer remains

A New York judge has granted the New York archdiocese a temporary stay of a court order calling for the transfer of the remains of Archbishop Fulton Sheen from New York to Peoria, Illinois. The...

Vatican hosting its first Rembrandt exhibition

The Vatican has opened an exhibition of works by Rembrandt van Rijn: the first exhibit of the Dutch artist ever shown at the Vatican Museums. Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican...

Bishops work to bolster fragile peace in Democratic Republic of Congo

The Catholic bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are acting as mediators to ward off a national crisis created by President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to relinquish his...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 7

Cardinal Koch: it is better to commemorate the Reformation than to celebrate it

The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity told a French Catholic newspaper that it is better to “commemorate” the 500th anniversary of the Protestant...

Swiss bishops ask pardon for sexual abuse

Switzerland’s bishops gathered at Valère Basilica in Sion on December 5 and asked God for forgiveness for sexual abuse within the Church. “At the express request of Pope...

Bishop helped broker ransom of 226 hostages from ISIS

In February 2015, the Islamic State attacked Christian villages in northern Syria, seizing over 200 hostages. The Associated Press has published a report on how Syrian Christians around the world...

Jewish leader decries genocide of Christians in Middle East

At a December 5 interfaith forum in New York, the president of the World Jewish Congress pleaded for concerted action to stop the genocide of Christians. “Today we are witnessing the...

Uganda entrusts Caritas with care of 42,000 refugees

In five months, a Ugandan grassland has been transformed into the world’s 2nd-largest refugee camp, according to Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and...

Pope calls on Christian artists to create beautiful works as a ‘spark of hope’

In a December 6 message to the 11 pontifical academies on the occasion of a joint meeting, Pope Francis spoke about beauty in the midst of cities. Reflecting on the meeting’s...

Pope begins series of audiences on Christian hope

Having concluded his series of Wednesday general audiences on mercy, Pope Francis has turned to the topic of Christian hope. “Today we begin a new series of catecheses dealing with...

Vatican confirms ban on homosexual candidates for priesthood

The Vatican has confirmed that homosexual men should not be ordained to the priesthood. In a new instruction for the training of seminarians, entitled The Gift of the Priestly Vocation, the...

Bishop Schneider says ‘schism already exists’ following dispute on Amoris Laetitia

Because of the heated debate on the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, “we are witnessing today a bizzare form of schism,” Bishop Athanasius Schneider said in a French television...

In new interview, Pope explains synodality, condemns media disinformation

Pope Francis explained his understanding of the “synodal Church,” and issued a strongly worded condemnation of defamation and disinformation in the media, in a new interview with the...

Pope notes link between fight against corruption, quest for human rights

At the conclusion of his regular weekly public audience on December 7, Pope Francis called attention to two days designated by the UN for special observances: the International Anti-Corruption Day...

Christian governor to face blasphemy trial in Indonesia next week

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (popularly known as “Ahok”), the Christian governor of Jakarta, will go on trial for blasphemy on December 13. The charge against Ahok stems from a campaign...

Cardinal Turkson suggests open debate on Amoris Laetitia

Cardinal Peter Turkson suggested an open public debate on the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, in remarks to the National Catholic Register. “For all of these people who’ve said...

Church leaders press Venezuelan government on human rights

Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas has said that the government of Venezuela must fulfill its commitments to preserve a fragile dialogue with opposition leaders. “We must set the many...

Released Friday, Dec. 9

Pope contrasts Adam’s ‘no,’ Virgin Mary’s ‘yes’

In his Angelus address for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Francis contrasted the “no” of our first parents with the Virgin’s...

Papal prayers for Indonesian earthquake victims

Following the recitation of the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square on December 8, Pope Francis prayed for victims of a recent earthquake in Aceh on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The...

Pope prays for Rome, world in traditional homage to Immaculate Mary

Following a custom that dates back several decades, Pope Francis left the Vatican on the afternoon of December 8 and traveled to the Piazza di Spagna in Rome, where he offered an act of veneration...

Cardinal Dziwisz retires; successor named

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz as Archbishop of Kraków for reasons of age. The 77-year-old prelate was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of...

New bishop of Rockville Centre named

Pope Francis has name Bishop John Barres of Allentown as the bishop of Rockville Centre, NY, one of the United States’ ten most populous dioceses, and one larger than some of the United...

Association approved for female Vatican employees

The Vatican has approved its first association for women employees. Membership in Donne in Vaticano (Women in the Vatican) is open to the 750 female employees of the Holy See and Vatican...

Leading scholars urge Pope to clarify Amoris Laetitia

Two leading Catholic scholars have urged Pope Francis to stop what they term the “misuse” of Amoris Laetitia, and more than 20 scholars have backed the four cardinals who submitted...

Christian refugees unlikely to return to Syria, Iraq, prelate fears

The Christian refugees who have fled from violence in Syria and Iraq are not likely to return under current conditions, according to the apostolic administrator of the Jerusalem...

Vatican establishes diplomatic relations with Mauritania

The Vatican has established diplomatic relations with Mauritania. The Vatican announced on December 9 that an apostolic nunciature would be established in the African country, while the Islamic...

Be mediators, not rigid ‘middlemen,’ Pope exhorts priests

Priests should offer their lives in service to their people, not pursue their own interests, Pope Francis said in his homily at a morning Mass on December 9. The Pope drew a contrast between...

Swiss bishop: no last rites for people planning assisted suicide

A Swiss bishop has told his priests that they should not provide the last rites for people who are planning to end their lives by assisted suicide. “The readiness of a suffering patient to...

Beijing shows no willingness to accept papal authority, says Cardinal Zen

The participation of an excommunicated bishop in the ordination of a new bishop last week was “a slap in the face of the Holy Father,” says Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired Bishop of...

Belarus denies permission for foreign-born Catholic priest’s appointment

The government of Belarus has denied permission for a Catholic priest from Russia to serve in a parish in Vitebsk, the Forum 18 news service reports. The government rejected a request for...

Released Monday, Dec. 12

Pope warns against agribusiness models that eliminate biodiversity

Describing agricultural development as “the best response possible to poverty and food shortages,” Pope Francis warned against “models of agribusiness” that can...

Pope addresses seminarians, discusses belonging, relationships, exclusion

Pope Francis spoke extemporaneously with seminarians from the Pius XI Pontifical Regional Seminary of Puglia in a December 10 audience at the Apostolic Palace. In his prepared remarks, published...

Leading Russian Orthodox official meets with Pope

Pope Francis received a leading Russian Orthodox official, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, in audience on December 10. The prelate serves as president of the Department of External Church...

Sudanese cardinal retires

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Gabriel Wako, 75, from the governance of the Archdiocese of Khartoum in the largely Muslim nation of Sudan. Ordained to the priesthood at 22...

On Gaudete Sunday, Pope emphasizes importance of joy

Pope Francis spoke about joy during his Angelus address on December 11, Gaudete Sunday. Reflecting on a portion of the day’s Gospel—“the blind regain their sight, the lame walk,...

Pope laments plight of Aleppo

Following the recitation of the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square on December 11, Pope Francis lamented the plight of war-torn Aleppo, Syria. “Every day I am close, especially in prayer,...

25 dead in attack on Cairo church

At least 25 people were killed on December 11 when a bomb exploded in a church adjacent to the Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo. Egypt’s president and grand mufti condemned the attack,...

Laos: 15 martyrs beatified

An Italian missionary, a Laotian catechist, and 13 others slain out of hatred for the faith in Laos between 1954 and 1970 were beatified in Vientiane, Laos, on December 11. “Their heroic...

‘We have a mother,’ Pope says, celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe

Celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s basilica on December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis reminded the faithful that “we are not and never will be an orphan people; we have a...

Papal appeal to Assad for peace in Syria

Pope Francis has appealed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for “an end to the violence and the peaceful resolution of hostilities” in that country. The personal message from the Pontiff was...

Nonviolence is theme of Pope’s message for World Day of Peace

The Vatican has released the message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Peace, which is entitled: “Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace.” The World Day of Peace is observed on January 1. As...

Bishop Conley reaffirms Church teaching on marriage, notes confusion on Amoris Laetitia

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, has strongly reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on marriage, assuring his priests that Amoris Laetitia “does not repudiate the indissolubility of marriage, or...

Archbishop Coleridge: dubia prompted by search for ‘false clarity’

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, has suggested that the prelates seeking clarification of Amoris Laetita are pursuing a “false clarity that comes because you don’t...

Indian priest faces life sentence for abuse

A Catholic priest in India’s Kerala state has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of raping a minor girl. Father Edwin Figarez was sentenced to two life terms, to run...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 13

Nigeria: church collapse kills 160

A Protestant church in Uyo, Nigeria, collapsed during its first worship service, killing at least 160. Commenting on the collapse of Reigners Bible Church International, the Associated Press...

California bishop emphasizes he stands with Hispanics

During a recent procession in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton said that “the journey of life is difficult at this time for Hispanics in the United...

80 mayors at Vatican meeting on refugees

Eighty European mayors gathered at the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on December 9 and 10 for a conference on the theme of “Europe: refugees are our brothers and...

Papal message to forum on migration, development

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, sent a message in the Pope’s name to the 9th summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development. The summit took place...

Pope speaks with seminarians about the tabernacle, wearing oneself out in service

The Holy See Press Office has released a transcript of Pope Francis’s impromptu December 10 remarks to seminarians from the Pius XI Pontifical Regional Seminary of Puglia. The press office...

Opus Dei leader dies at 84

Bishop Javier Echevarría Rodríguez, who has led Opus Dei since 1994, died on December 12 of a lung infection. Born in 1932 in Madrid, Bishop Echevarría was ordained to the...

‘Clericalism is a very ugly thing,’ Pope says

Pope Francis warned priests against clericalism once again, in his homily at a morning Mass on December 13. The Pontiff contrasted the humble faith of repentant sinners with the arrogance of...

Two priests ordained in Kandhamal: site of India’s anti-Christian massacres

More than 3,000 people attended the December 12 ceremony at which Bishop Aplinar Senapati of Rayagada, India, ordained two men to the priesthood in Orissa, the state that saw a series of bloody...

Portuguese Catholic politician to be next UN secretary-general

Catholic World Report profiles Antonio Guterres, Portuguese Catholic politician who will be the next secretary-general of the UN. Guterres, an active Catholic and founder of a Catholic...

German Cardinal Cordes backs plea for clarity on Amoris Laetitia

Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, the retired president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, has voiced his support for the four cardinals who have submitted dubia seeking clarificaiton of Amoris...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 14

USCCB president calls for prayers for persecuted Christians

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called for prayer for persecuted Christians following the terrorist attack on a...

Joint performance of Sistine, Russian Orthodox choirs

The Moscow Synodal Choir joined the Sistine Chapel Choir in a December 11 concert at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs in Rome. The concert included the joint singing of...

Pope says late Opus Dei prelate constantly served Church and souls

In a message following the death of Bishop Javier Echevarría Rodríguez, who led Opus Dei from 1994 until his death on December 12, Pope Francis expressed condolences as well as...

At UN, Vatican diplomat emphasizes dignity of the elderly

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations emphasized the dignity of the elderly during an address to the UN’s Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing. Noting that the number...

Pope Francis: this Christmas, let us open our hearts to Christ

Reflecting on a passage from the Old Testament (Is. 52:7-10), Pope Francis said during his Wednesday’s general audience that Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled in Christ. “The...

Prelate calls for action to mitigate civilian suffering in war

Addressing a conference devoted to the review of an international conventional weapons treaty, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and other international organizations in...

Canadian bishops take different stands on sacraments for Catholics planning assisted suicide

Two groups of Canadian Catholic bishops have issued instructions for pastors regarding the pastoral care of people planning assisted suicide. One group of bishops tells priests that Catholics...

Council of Cardinals studies changes in Roman Curia

The Council of Cardinals met in Rome this week to continue its study of plans for changes in the Roman Curia. At a December 14 briefing for reporters, Greg Burke, the director of the Vatican...

Cardinal Arns, Brazilian social-justice warrior, dead at 95

Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns, the retired Archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil, died in that city on December 14 at the age of 95. Known for years as an outspoken champion of human rights and an...

Vatican finds founder of Institute of the Incarnate Word guilty of sexual misconduct

Father Carlos Miguel Buela, the founder of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, has been found guilty of sexual misconduct after a Vatican investigation. Father Buela, who established the...

Massachusetts reverses ruling that churches must accommodate transexuals

State officials in Massachusetts have reversed an earlier ruling that churches are not exempt from a new policy requiring all public institutions to accommodate ‘transgender’...

Cardinal Zen: Chinese defiance shows failure of Vatican ‘ostpolitik’ approach

Cardinal Joseph Zen has said that the Chinese government deliberately challenged Pope Francis by forcing the participation of an excommunicated bishop in the ordination of two new Chinese...

Czech Catholic Church finds news sources of revenue as state compensations decrease

The Catholic Church in the Czech Republic has invested in farming, brewing, and buildings to use funds won from the government in restitution for the suppression of the Church during the years of...

US Church leaders, in joint statement, urge officials to reject coercive measures on gender identity

Prominent American Catholic educators have joined with other Christian leaders in a joint statement calling upon political officials to reject pressure to apply gender-identity ideology to...

Minnesota judge: archdiocese not responsible for legal fees in abuse victims’ appeal of court ruling

A federal bankruptcy-court judge in Minnesota has ruled that the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis is not responsible for the $355,000 in legal fees incurred by sex-abuse victims who had sought to...

Ohio Governor Kasich vetoes one pro-life bill, signs another into law

Governor John Kasich of Ohio has vetoed a bill that would have banned abortion after the fetal heartbeat was detected, but signed into law a bill banning abortion after the 20th week of...

Released Thursday, Dec. 15

Lithuanian prelate: ‘mentality of the Soviet empire is still alive’

Amid growing concern in Lithuania about a potential Russian invasion, the nation’s leading prelate warned that “the old mentality of the Soviet empire is still alive, and many in Russia...

EU bishops issue statement on poverty and social exclusion

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community has issued “Rescue the Weak and the Poor,” a statement on poverty and social exclusion in Europe. “In...

Pope recalls St. John of the Cross

Following his December 14 general audience in Paul VI Audience Hall, Pope Francis recalled St. John of the Cross, whose feast was celebrated that day. Paying tribute to the “zealous pastor...

Cultivate peace by promoting nonviolence, Pope tells ambassadors

Pope Francis received six new ambassadors on December 15 and called upon them to cultivate nonviolence, the theme of his recent message for the World Day of Peace. “Nonviolence is a typical...

Pope recalls Lourdes apparitions in message for World Day of the Sick

A text from the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Magnificat—“the Almighty has done great things for me”—provides the theme of Pope Francis’s message for the 25th World Day...

Leading Ukrainian prelate: Catholics suffer discrimination in Odessa

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, said that Eastern-rite Catholics in Odessa, the nation’s third-largest city, are “perhaps the most...

Cardinal Kasper says Catholic-Lutheran couples should be allowed to share Communion

Cardinal Walter Kasper has said that the Church should move to allow Lutherans who are married to Catholics to share Communion. Cardinal Kasper—whose proposal to extend Communion to couples...

Pope focuses on gratitude, self-giving in address to Bambino Gesu hospital staff and patients

In a December 15 audience with staff and patients from the Bambino Gesu hospital for children, Pope Francis remarked that “the quality of [medical] care does not depend only on logistical...

India: bishops decry contraception, offer incentives for large families

A bishop of India’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church has issued an appeal to married couples to stop using contraceptives. “Men and women should engage in creation as long as their...

Anti-Christian ideology on the rise in Europe, Vatican envoy tells OSCE

The Vatican’s representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has repeated a plea for action to curtail violence and discrimination against...

Three new members named to Vatican bank board

Three lay financial experts have been added to the board of the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). The three new members are: Scott Malpass, an American and former chief...

Egypt: top Islamic cleric visits Coptic Orthodox leader after Cairo church bombing

Sheikh Ahmed al Tayyib, the imam of Al Alzhar University, paid a call on Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II on December 14, expressing his sympathy and solidarity after the bombing attack on...

Italian priest will not install creche in cemetery; fears offending Muslims

An Italian priest has announced that he will not set up a Nativity scene in the public cemetery for which he is chaplain, because the display could offend Muslims. Father Sante Braggie said that...

Released Friday, Dec. 16

Court strikes down Louisiana governor’s LGBT executive order

A Louisiana court has struck down an executive order by Gov. John Bel Edwards that had compelled businesses to bar discrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgendered persons if they wished to...

Congress strengthens international religious freedom law

Without opposition, the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, which strengthens the 1998 International Religious Freedom...

President Obama pays tribute to the Maccabees

At a White House Hanukkah reception, President Barack Obama paid tribute to the Maccabees, who led the Jewish revolt against Hellenistic pagan oppression during the 2nd century B.C. On December...

Ghana’s bishops decry attacks following presidential election

The bishops of Ghana have called upon police to protect political opponents following the December 7 presidential election. While congratulating “all Ghanaians for conducting themselves so...

Russian Orthodox spokesman: end mandatory abortion coverage

The head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations has called upon the Russian government to end mandatory abortion coverage in health...

Pope Francis: Cardinal Arns showed ‘path of truth in charity’

In a telegram of condolence, Pope Francis remembered the late Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns of São Paulo, Brazil, as an “intrepid pastor” who was “an authentic witness of the...

Notre Dame VP named to Vatican bank board

The Cardinals’ Commission of Vigilance of the Institute for Works of Religion, informally known as the Vatican bank, has named the vice president and chief investment officer of the University...

Pope meets with Colombian leaders to discuss peace accord with FARC rebels

Pope Francis met on December 16 with Colombia’s president and with the leader of the country’s main opposition party, to speak about the prospects for final approval of a peace agreement...

Pope plans quiet 80th birthday celebration

Pope Francis will celebrate his 80th birthday on December 17, without fanfare. The Pope has indicated that he plans to spend his birthday quietly at his residence, working a normal schedule. No...

3rd Advent Sermon: ‘the sober intoxication of the Spirit’

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the pontifical household, spoke about “the sober intoxication of the Spirit’ in his Advent Sermon on December 16. Preaching the third in a...

Curb access to weapons of mass destruction, Vatican envoy urges UN

In an address to a session of the UN Security Council, the Vatican’s representative laid heavy emphasis on the need to ensure that terrorists and militia groups do not obtain access to weapons...

Skyrocketing crime rates make children, teens unsafe in Honduras

A soaring rate of violent crime in Honduras has made the country unsafe for young people, prompting many to seek refuge in the United States. The Norvegian Refugee Council estimates that only...

Released Monday, Dec. 19

Pope Francis: Virgin Mary, St. Joseph are models of trust in God

The Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph are models for the faithful, Pope Francis emphasized during his December 18 Sunday Angelus address. “As Mary, in offering herself freely to the Lord...

Papal appeal for Congo

Pope Francis appealed for calm in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as Joseph Kabila, the nation’s president since 2001, prepared to remain in office beyond the constitutional term...

Pope emphasizes mercy to the poor in message to benefit concert

In a video message to a concert benefiting a children’s hospital in the Central African Republic and earthquake victims in Italy, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of practicing mercy as an...

Pope to make pilgrimage to Fátima

Pope Francis will make a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima in Portugal on May 12 and 13, the Holy See Press Office announced on December 17. The pilgrimage follows an...

Malta’s president meets with Pope

Pope Francis received Malta’s president, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, in a December 17 audience. Coleiro Preca also met with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin,...

Papal tribute to Nomadelfia’s founder

Pope Francis paid tribute to Father Zeno Saltini (1900-81), founder of Nomadelfia, a community in Grossetto, Italy, whose members take their inspiration from the early Christian community in the...

Blood of St. Januarius does not liquefy; Naples residents see bad omen

A miracle that has taken place repeatedly for centuries—the liquefication of the blood of St. Januarius—did not occur as expected last week, causing worries among the faithful. St. Januarius, a...

Share your joy—with grandparents—Pope urges young Italians

At a December 19 audience with young members of Catholic Action, Pope Francis that that “in the heart of a Christian there is always joy.” “And this joy multiplies when it is...

Vatican official speaks of intolerance of Christianity in Europe’s public life

Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, the Vatican’s undersecretary for relations with states, spoke about the intolerance of Christianity in Europe’s public life, in an address to the Organization...

Venezuelan bishops: government actions aggravate economic crisis

The Catholic bishops of Venezuela have issued a complaint that emergency actions taken by the government have deepened the country’s economic crisis. “They have worsened the crisis...

Pope-emeritus Benedict praises Mother Angelica

Pope-emeritus Benedict paid tribute to the late Mother Angelica during a December 15 meeting with journalists from the Catholic News Agency—which is affiliated with the EWTN network that...

Vatican restoration work nears completion on apartments of Pope Alexander VI

Restorers at the Vatican are nearing completion of a project to revive the spectacular artworks in the apartments of Pope Alexander VI. The apartments feature the frescoes of a 15th-century...

Colombian archbishop threatened by opponents of peace agreement

Archbishop Dario de Jesus Monsalve Meijia of Cali, Colombia, has revealed that he has received death threats because of his involvement in efforts to broker a peace agreement between the country’s...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 20

Pope, on 80th birthday, reflects on grace of memory

Pope Francis concelebrated Mass with members of the College of Cardinals on December 17, his 80th birthday. The Mass took place in the Cappella Paolina (Pauline Chapel) of the Apostolic...

Federal court: no conflict between practicing Christian faith, processing same-sex marriage licenses

Stating that there is “no objective conflict” between one’s duties as a deputy county clerk and “religious opposition to same-sex marriage,” a federal district court...

Vatican newspaper decries ‘xenophobic,’ ‘populist’ electoral gains in Europe

An unsigned front-page article in the December 20 edition of L’Osservatore Romano lamented the “frightening electoral growth of xenophobic and populist forces” in the nations of...

Report: parish looted in Congo

Violent protests erupted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as President Joseph Kabila’s constitutional term expired. With no election scheduled in the future, there are mounting fears...

Jerusalem prelate: ‘Syria and Iraq are destroyed’

“Syria and Iraq are destroyed,” and Christians in the Holy Land suffer from “growing extremism and fundamentalism” among followers of other religions, the apostolic...

Pope offers condolences to Putin following ambassador’s assassination

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, sent a telegram of condolence in Pope Francis’s name to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the assassination of Russian...

Prelates’ ‘correction’ of Pontiff could come early next year: Cardinal Burke

Cardinal Raymond Burke has said that he and other prelates may issue a “formal correction” of Pope Francis sometime early next year, if the Pontiff does not answer the dubia submitted to...

Pope drops in unexpectedly on Vatican council that organized Jubillee

Pope Francis paid an unexpected visit to the offices of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization on December 20, to thank the staff for their work in organizing events for the Jubilee Year of...

New director of Vatican Museums is first woman in that role

Barbara Jatta has been appointed by Pope Francis to be the new director of the Vatican Museums. Jatta, who will be the first woman to occupy the director’s post, will assume her new role...

‘Vatileaks’ convict receives papal clemency

Msgr. Angelo Vallejo Balda, who was convicted in July for his role in the “Vatileaks II” scandal, has received a “conditional pardon” from Pope Francis and been released from...

Vatican will not bar bishops from attending government-backed Assembly

The Holy See will allow Chinese bishops to participate in the December meeting of the Assembly of Chinese Catholic Representatives, although the Vatican refuses to accept the legitimacy of that...

Laotian martyrs beatified: victims of Communism

Seventeen martyrs of Laos have been beatified, in a ceremony held at Sacred Heart cathedral in Vientiane, the nation’s capital. All of the seventeen martyrs died under the Communist regime...

Vatican policy does not bar homosexual priests: L’Osservatore Romano analysis

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has published an essay by an American priest, arguing that the Church’s stand against the ordination of homosexuals to the priesthood, recently...

Jerusalem archbishop argues against restraints on mosque loudspeakers: ‘dangerous precedent’

The apostolic administrator of the Latin-rite Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem is arguing against an Israeli proposal to remove the loudspeakers used by mosques to fall Muslims to...

Controversy within Knights of Malta over dismissal of chancellor

A controversy has erupted within the Sovereign Military Order of Malta after the grand master of the Order, Fra Matthew Festing, dismissed the group’s chancellor, Albrecht von Boeselager....

Study claiming no emotional suffering after abortion was deeply flawed, analysis shows

A professor at Ohio’s Bowling Green University has produced a terse but devastating critique of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), purportedly showing...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 21

Pope Francis: Christ’s Nativity is source of hope

Continuing his new weekly series of catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis devoted his December 21 general audience to Christ’s Nativity as the source of hope. “Our...

Pope renews appeal for Congo peace

Pope Francis issued his second appeal this week for calm in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Violence has erupted there following President Joseph Kabila’s decision to remain in office...

Pope laments ‘murderous folly of terrorism’ following Berlin attack

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a telegram of condolence to the archbishop of Berlin following the attack on the Christmas market next to the city’s...

USCCB president issues Christmas message

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a Christmas message entitled “The Gift of Ourselves.” “People in need of God’s love rejoiced...

Senator refers Planned Parenthood to FBI for potential criminal prosecution

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has referred Planned Parenthood and several affiliates to the Department of Justice and the FBI for investigation and potential criminal...

Pope goes shopping for new shoes

Pope Francis made an unannounced trip outside the Vatican on Tuesday, December 21, to shop for new shoes. The Holy Father visited a store about a mile from the Vatican that specializes in...

Nigerian priest kidnapped; diocese rejects ransom demand

A Catholic priest was kidnapped in Nigeria’s Delta region last week, continuing a trend of attacks on clergy in the region. Father Jude Onyebadi was seized by three armed men on December...

Indonesian police launch offensive against suspected terrorists before Christmas

Police in Indonesia killed three suspected terrorists in a raid on December 21. Officials said that the police raid came as part of an offensive against an Islamic terrorist group that was...

Released Thursday, Dec. 22

Church seeks Congo agreement by Christmas

Church leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are attempting to broker a compromise between supporters of President Joseph Kabila and opposition leaders, the Associated Press...

Veracruz bishops, vindicated in court, call on faithful to work for more just society

The bishops of the Mexican state of Veracruz have issued a statement reviewing events of the past year and calling upon the faithful to work for a more just society. In April, the bishops, making...

Iraqi archbishop: ‘we pray that President Trump will help us’

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) visited a camp in Erbil, Iraq, for 6,000 Christians who fled the advance of ISIS and criticized the Obama administration for failing to help them. The camp is managed by...

8 sainthood, beatification causes advance

In a December 21 audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis approved the publication of decrees that advance eight sainthood causes. In approving...

In call to TV show, Pope says Christ’s birth overturned the world’s values

Pope Francis spoke by telephone with the hosts of Unomattina, an Italian morning show on the television network Rai 1, as the show marked its 30th anniversary. During the December 22 call, the...

Pope rips ‘malicious’ resistance to Church reform

Pope Francis lashed out at “malicious” opponents of Church reform, in a December 22 address to the leaders of the Roman Curia. The Pope had stunned Rome in 2014 when he used his...

Vatican staff workers receive papal thanks

“I thank each and every one of you for the effort you make every day in doing your work and trying to do it well,” Pope Francis said at a December 22 audience for Vatican staff workers...

Texas woman files religious-discrimination complaint after dismissal for refusing to endorse contraception

A Texas woman has filed a religious-discrimination complaint after she was dismissed from her post as a health educator because she refused to endorse contraception. Alexia Palma, a childhood...

Italian lawmaker proposes marriage without fidelity vow

An Italian legislator has put forward a measure to eliminate the requirement that couples pledge mutual fidelity as part of their marriage vows. Laura Cantini, a senator of the Democratic Party,...

Papal commission to investigate strife within Knights of Malta

Pope Francis has set up a special committee to investigate discord within the Knights of Malta, after the grand master of the venerable order ousted the chancellor. Albrecht von Boeselager, who...

Released Friday, Dec. 23

Cardinal Mahony: churches may offer sanctuary to ‘DREAMers’ who face deportation

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Roger Mahony, who served as archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011, discussed the plight of “DREAMers”: persons who were brought...

Agreement reported in Church-mediated Congo talks

An unexpected agreement in principle has been reached in Church-mediated talks between supporters of President Joseph Kabila and opposition leaders, the Reuters news agency reported. Kabila, the...

EU bishops criticize proposed changes to European asylum law

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community—joined by Caritas Europa, Jesuit Refugee Services, and seven other Christian organizations—has released an...

Ukrainian Church leader issues encyclical on gender ideology

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church recently issued an encyclical on the dangers of gender ideology. The church is among the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches in full communion...

Moscow patriarch: godless society ‘destined to self-destruction’

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church cautioned against one-sided commemorations of the centenary of the Russian Revolution. “It is important to avoid overstating or forgetting the...

Cardinal calls on Italian lawmakers to confront life’s most important questions

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, celebrated Mass for members of the Italian Parliament on December 20 and said that the current “climate of...

Christmas celebrations banned in Brunei

The sultanate of Brunei has banned public celebrations of Christmas. Christians are allowed to celebrate in their own homes, but a new law makes public displays—including any Christmas...

In Christmas message, Church leaders in Holy Land plead for peace

Christian leaders in the Holy Land exhorted world leaders to “way in the ways of peace and reconciliation” in a joint Christmas message. Christmas, the Church leaders said, brings...

Massive volcano near Naples begins rumbling

A volcanic field off the shore of Sicily, near Naples, has become active, scientists report. The Campi Flegrei volcano is much larger than nearby Mt. Vesuvius, the volcano whose eruption...

French public university names Catholic priest as president

A Catholic priest has been named president of the state-run University of Strasbourg, provoking protests from some scholars who see the move as an infringement on state secularity. Father Michel...

Papal charity delivering Christmas aid to Ukraine conflict region

The Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the charitable arm of the papacy, is delivering nearly €6 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine for Christmas. The aid will be delivered to the regions...

Knights of Malta linked to condom-distribution programs

Malteser International, a charitable agency operated by the Knights of Malta, has been heavily involved in distribution of condoms in developing countries, the Lepanto Institute has...

French police on guard against Christmas terror incidents

Police in France have arranged surveillance at 2,400 churches and other religious buildings for the Christmas season, authorities there have revealed. Over 90,000 police officers and anti-terror...

Released Saturday, Dec. 24

Pope Francis: Homily at Christmas Mass (with link to video of Mass)

“The grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men” (Tit 2:11). The words of the Apostle Paul reveal the mystery of this holy night: the grace of God has appeared, his gift...

Released Sunday, Dec. 25

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

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas! Today the Church once more experiences the wonder of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and the shepherds of Bethlehem, as they contemplate the...

Released Monday, Dec. 26

Papal condolences following Russian plane crash

Pope Francis expressed his condolences to the Russian people after a Russian defense ministry plane crashed near Sochi, killing all 92 people aboard. The Pope made his remarks following his...

Pope appeals for prayers for persecuted Christians

During his St. Stephen’s Day Angelus address, Pope Francis recalled the martyrdom of St. Stephen and appealed for prayers for persecuted Christians. “The protomartyr Stephen, full of...

1st Mass in Aleppo cathedral since 2012

The defeat of rebel forces in Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city, has allowed Maronite Catholics to celebrate the first Mass in their cathedral since 2012. The Reuters news agency reported...

Chaldean patriarch, in Christmas message, thanks Iraqi, Kurdish armies

In his Christmas message, Patriarch Louis I Raphael Sako thanked the Iraqi and Kurdish armies, as well as Christian fighters, for “liberating the Iraqi lands occupied by the ISIS...

Church-mediated Congo talks at impasse; cardinal appeals for calm

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s leading prelate appealed for calm and for respect for the constitution after talks between supporters and opponents of President Joseph Kabila reached an...

Christianity’s role in Europe is service, not colonialism, Pope says

Christianity should have an influence in Europe, but it “must not become a colonial enterprise,” Pope Francis said in an interview with the French daily La Croix. In his latest...

Knights of Malta say Vatican investigation is “unacceptable”

The Knights of Malta have rejected as “unacceptable” the plan by Pope Francis for a Vatican investigation into the dismissal of the chancellor of the ancient Catholic charitable...

Kidnapped priest pleads for help in video

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, an Indian priest who was kidnapped in Yemen early in March, pleads for help in a video that was posted on the internet on December 26. The authenticity of the video had not...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 27

Cardinal Marx: Christmas inspires courage in midst of terrorism

In his Christmas homily at Munich’s Frauenkirche, Cardinal Reinhard Marx called upon German Catholics not to give in to anxiety, hatred, and mistrust amid terrorist attacks. Caving in to...

Malta’s leading prelate prays for continued respect for the unborn

In his Christmas homily at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta preached that the Nativity allows us to see the face of Christ, the desire of nations, who was...

Pope encourages Taizé youth to stand firm in Christian hope

Pope Francis encouraged European young adults who will take part in an annual Taizé meeting not to allow anyone to rob them of their Christian hope. The French ecumenical monastic...

Open the door to Christ and others, prelate preaches at Bethlehem

Preaching in Bethlehem on Christmas night, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa said that “at Christmas, first of all, the Gate of God is opened, from which comes the Son, Emmanuel,...

Romanian president will not approve Muslim prime minister

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis has said that he will not nominate a Muslim woman to be the country’s prime minister, although her party won December elections. Iohannis said that...

Chinese official emphasizes importance of ‘independent and self-governing church’

The 365-member National Assembly of Catholic Representatives began three days of meetings in Beijing on December 27. The Assembly will select leaders of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association...

Ohio bishop urges Governor Kasich to end capital punishment

Bishop Daniel Thomas of Toledo has urged Ohio’s Governor John Kasich to end capital punishment in the state. The bishop’s plea to Governor Kasich comes as Ohio prepared to execute a...

No public ‘correction’ of Pope, Cardinal Brandmüller says

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller—one of the four cardinals who submitted dubia to Pope Francis regarding the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia—has said that any “correction”...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 28

Salesians: video of kidnapped priest is authentic

A recently released video of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, an Indian priest kidnapped in Aden, Yemen, in March, is authentic, according to fellow Salesian priests. “The Salesians of Bangalore...

Russian Orthodox Church sends Christmas message to Pope Francis, Protestant leaders

The chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate sent Christmas greetings to Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the Lutheran community...

Vermont diocese to observe ‘year of creation’

Vermont’s Catholic diocese will observe 2017 as the “Year of Creation.” Recalling Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’, Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington said...

Belarus government underreports church attendance, prelate charges

The leading prelate in Belarus, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk-Mohilev, charged that the nation’s government is underreporting Catholic church attendance at Christmas and Easter...

Nepal restores Christmas as holiday

Reversing a decision made earlier this year, the government of Nepal restored Christmas to the list of public holidays. In the spring, the government of former Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli, a...

Patriarchs lament persecution of Middle East’s Christians

The Middle East’s Christians continue to suffer from severe persecution, the region’s Eastern Catholic patriarchs said in separate Christmas messages. Maronite Cardinal Bechara...

Grenade explodes near Philippine church

A grenade exploded outside a church on the Philippine island of Mindanao during Christmas Eve Mass. The grenade was placed under a police car near Santo Niño Church in the town of...

Cleveland bishop resigns

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Richard Lennon from the governance of the Diocese of Cleveland, the Holy See Press Office announced on December 28. The official Vatican...

Polish cardinal named archpriest of Roman basilica

Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko the archpriest of the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Cardinal Rylko, 71, succeeds Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló, 81,...

Pope Francis reflects on Abraham’s hope

Continuing his weekly series of catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis devoted his December 28 general audience to “Abraham, father in faith and in hope.” “Our...

No major changes at government-backed Chinese Catholic assembly

The Ninth Assembly of Chinese Catholic Representatives has re-elected the incumbent leaders of China’s most powerful Catholic organizations, indicating that no significant changes in policy...

Released Thursday, Dec. 29

1st Christmas Mass in Mali city since 2012

In 2012, jihadists captured Gao, one of Mali’s ten largest cities, and destroyed the Catholic church there. The Christian population fled. The Associated Press reports that following the...

Bangladesh: terrorist attack on parish foiled

Bangladeshi police foiled a planned terrorist attack on a parish in the nation’s capital. The Islamist organization New Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh had planned a Christmas suicide...

Nigerian bishop describes new wave of Islamist terror; 16 churches destroyed since September

A Nigerian prelate said that Islamist Fulani herdsmen are committing massive violence against Christians in his region. Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of Kafanchan told Aid to the Church in Need that...

Negotiations continue to secure release of priest kidnapped in Yemen

The Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia has issued a statement on the recently released video of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, an Indian priest kidnapped in Aden, Yemen, in March. Like the...

Leading Jesuit biblical scholar dead at 96

Father Joseph Fitzmyer, a leading Jesuit biblical scholar, died on December 24 at the age of 96. Father Fizmyer entered the Society of Jesus in 1938 and was ordained a priest in 1951. An...

Released Friday, Dec. 30

Honduras: bishops discuss family, politics in message

In their recent Christmas message, the bishops of Honduras recalled Christ’s birth in Bethlehem and spoke of 2017 as a journey from Bethlehem to Nazareth in which they will place special...

Panamanian prelate calls for solidarity with migrants

During Christmas Mass at one of the oldest churches in Panama, Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa called upon the faithful to be “true Christians” and show solidarity to...

Los Angeles archbishop celebrates Christmas Mass at prison

Archbishop José Gomez celebrated Mass on Christmas morning at Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles. Over 150 inmates were in attendance. After Mass, he visited other inmates in their...

Dominican Republic: bishops lament presidential veto of pro-life bill

President Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic has vetoed a bill that would have forbidden abortion except when a mother’s life is at risk, after “all attempts have been made to save...

Nearly 4 million saw Pope at Vatican events in 2016

An estimated 3,952,140 people attended papal events at the Vatican in 2016—up from 3,210,860 the previous year, but down substantially from 2014 (5,916,800) and 2013 (6,623,000). These...

‘Madonna of the Miracle’ to be displayed in St. Peter’s Basilica

Domenico Bartolini’s painting “Madonna of the Miracle” was on the stage in Paul VI Audience Hall during Pope Francis’s general audience of December 28. According to...

Background: papal message for January 1, the World Day of Peace

On January 1, the Church commemorates the 50th World Day of Peace. Pope Francis’s message for the day, released December 12, is devoted to “Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for...

Syria’s President Assad pays Christmas visit to convent

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad visited a Christian religious community on Christmas Day. Accompanied by his wife, Assad traveled to the Greek Orthodox monastery of Our Lady of Saydnaya,...

Catholic group files suit to block rule that could force doctors to perform sex-reassignment surgery

The Catholic Benefits Association and the Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota have joined in a lawsuit against the federal government, challenging regulations that could be used to force health-care...

Bishop rips lack of attention to bloodshed in South Sudan

Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe of Yei, South Sudan, has denounced the “deafening silence of the media” and the “indifferent gaze of the international community” in the face of...

Cardinal Dolan to offer prayer at Trump inauguration

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan will be one of six religious figures delivering invocations and readings during the inauguration ceremony for President Donald Trump. “I am honored...

Vatican Radio ending independent operation

Vatican Radio will end more than 80 years of independent existence on December 31, 2016, being absorbed into the new Secretariat for Communications. Broadcasting programs will continue—at...

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