Action Alert!

Stories for January 2017

Released Monday, Jan. 2

Make Christ’s ‘logic’ of compassionate encounter your own, Pope preaches at Vespers

In his last public act of 2016, Pope Francis presided at Vespers, the chanting of the Te Deum, and exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Peter’s Basilica on the evening of...

Pope Francis: because of Mary, we are not orphans

On January 1—the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God—Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and emphasized in his homily that “we are a people with a...

Pope reflects on Mary’s attentive cooperation with the Lord

In his Angelus address of January 1, Pope Francis reflected on the Blessed Virgin Mary’s “silent and attentive” cooperation with the Lord as seeks to understand “what God...

Pope condemns Istanbul attack, deplores ‘plague of terrorism’

Following his Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square on January 1, Pope Francis recalled that the day was also the 50th World Day of Peace and lamented the new year’s attack on an...

Scholar: 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith in 2016

Massimo Introvigne, a sociologist who directs the Center for Studies on New Religions, told Vatican Radio that he estimates that 90,000 Christians were killed in 2016 because of their faith. 70%...

Arson attacks on Chilean churches continue

Militants from the indigenous Mapuche people set fire to a church in Ercilia, Chile, on December 21. Three days later, arson destroyed a parish and school in Chamichaco, according to the Fides...

Top Knight of Malta reaffirms allegiance to Pope Francis

The grand master of the Order of Malta has written to Pope Francis, confirming his fidelity to the Pontiff. In a January 1 letter to the Pope, Fra’ Matthew Festing praises the Holy...

Protect children, Pope urges world’s bishops

In a letter to the world’s bishops, written for the feast of the Holy Innocents, Pope Francis has called for extra efforts to protect children. Reflecting on the slaughter of children by...

Iraqi city officials urge Christian refugees to return after Islamic State driven out

City officials in Basra, Iraq, are welcoming Christians back into the city, promising help in rebuilding churches. Khalaf Abdul al Samad, the president of the city council, visited an Armenian...

Controversial Archbishop Capucci, expelled from Israel, dies at 94

Archbishop Hilarion Capucci, the former Melkite Catholic patriarchal vicar for Jerusalem, has died at the age of 94. A native of Syria, Archbishop Capucci was arrested by Israeli police in 1974...

McDonald’s opens near Vatican, despite prelates’ objections

A McDonald’s franchise has opened its doors just a few blocks from St. Peter’s Square. The fast-food restaurant, located in a building that is owned by the Vatican in the Borgo Pio...

Released Tuesday, Jan. 3

Dublin archbishop laments rising violence

In his January 1 homily attended by the nation’s president, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin lamented growing gang and drug-related violence in Ireland. Preaching at the Church of Saint...

Cardinal Marx calls for renewed focus on the common good

In his New Year’s Eve homily at Munich’s Frauenkirche, Cardinal Reinhard Marx called for a renewed focus on the common good in a “pluralistic society that is more and more about...

Norway: partial separation between state, Lutheran body

The Church of Norway—a Lutheran body—ceased to be Norway’s official “public religion” on January 1, and its ministers are no longer government employees. “We...

New CEO of Catholic Relief Services

Sean Callahan, the chief operating officer of Catholic Relief Services, became the organization’s president and CEO on January 1. Callahan succeeds Carolyn Woo, who was previously dean of...

Aleppo’s Christian leaders pray for peace

The Maronite and Chaldean Catholic bishops of Aleppo joined the patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church on January 1 in praying for peace. The Catholic and Syriac Orthodox prelates, joined by a...

Moscow patriarch grateful for developments in Syria

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has expressed gratitude for recent developments in Syria, in which ISIS and jihadist rebels have suffered setbacks. Looking back on 2016, Patriarch Kirill...

28 Catholic pastoral workers killed in 2016

Twenty-eight pastoral workers were killed in 2016, according to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The 28 include 14 priests, nine sisters, a...

Vatican warns against fake papal quotes on Islam

The Vatican has issued a warning against quotations falsely attributed to Pope Francis, claiming that Christianity and Islam are fundamentally the same. Greg Burke, the director of the Vatican...

New system for publicizing Pope’s monthly prayer intentions

Pope Francis has introduced a change in the way that he makes public his monthly prayer intentions. Since the late 19th century, the Apostleship of Prayer has taken responsibility for publicizing...

Massachusetts bishop indicted for abuse dies at 83

Bishop Thomas Dupre, the first American prelate to be indicted for sexual abuse, has died at the age of 83. Bishop Dupre resigned his post as leader of the Springfield, Massachusetts diocese in...

Iraqi prelate sees ‘grass-roots revolt’ by Muslims against terrorists

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako says that Muslims in Iraq are mounting a “grass-roots revolt against terrorism, against violence.” The Chaldean Patriarch told the AsiaNews...

Catholics comprise 31% of new US Congress

Catholics account for 31% of the members of the new US Congress, the Pew Forum reports. The percentage of Catholics in Congress has grown dramatically in the past 55 years: from 19% to 31%....

French presidential candidate Fillon rouses Catholics, challenges secularism

Francois Fillon, the Republican candidate for the French presidency, is “tapping a wellspring of Catholic voters who have begun coalescing into a potentially decisive voting bloc,”...

Pope’s policies seen weakening prosecution of sex-abuse cases

Pope Francis is preparing to roll back some of the reforms calling for tough treatment of priests accused of sexual abuse, reports Michael Brendan Dougherty of The Week. Dougherty reports that...

Released Wednesday, Jan. 4

Patriarch: commemorate Bolshevik revolution without celebrating it

The Bolshevik revolution of October 1917—which helped usher in over seven decades of Communist rule in Russia—should be commemorated but not celebrated, the head of the Russian Orthodox...

Slovenian bishops lament chapel desecration

The spokesman for the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference has issued a statement lamenting the January 2 desecration of a mountain chapel near Ljubljana—an incident in which the words...

Colombian prelates encourage nonviolence, forgiveness

In homilies and messages for the new year, Colombian prelates called for a commitment to nonviolence, peace, and forgiveness. A revised peace agreement signed by the government and the...

Venezuela: bishop’s office robbed

A Venezuelan bishop’s office was robbed as he celebrated Mass on January 1 at the adjacent cathedral. As Bishop Rafael Conde Alfonzo of Maracay celebrated Mass, the criminals entered...

Vatican newspaper discusses theologian’s influence on Pope Francis

In an article published in both La Civiltà Cattolica and L’Osservatore Romano, Father Allan Figueroa Deck, a Jesuit at Loyola Marymount University, discussed the influence of an...

Amnesty International decries Pakistan’s blasphemy law

Amnesty International has published “As Good as Dead,” a 68-page report on Pakistan’s laws against blasphemy. “The majority of blasphemy cases are based on false...

Maronite patriarch deplores conversions for sake of divorce

In an address to judges of ecclesiastical courts, the head of the Maronite Catholic Church deplored the conversion of Lebanese Maronites to other Christian communities or to Islam in order to obtain...

Pope Francis reflects on Rachel’s tears

Continuing his weekly series of catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis devoted his January 4 general audience to the Old Testament figure of Rachel, weeping over her...

In India, Church to sponsor school for transgender students

In India’s Kerela state, Catholic religious plan to open a school catering especially to transgender students. “The Church has been very supportive” of efforts to help...

Papal plea for prison reform after dozens die in riots in Brazil

After dozens of men were killed in violent gang conflicts in a Brazilian prison, Pope Francis issued an urgent plea for prayers, and for prison reforms, on January 4. “I invite prayer for...

Released Thursday, Jan. 5

Italian Catholics march for peace

Continuing a 49-year-old tradition, the Church in Italy held a national march for peace on December 31. Pax Christi, Caritas Italiana, and Catholic Action joined the Italian Episcopal Conference...

Bishop warns against ‘classist,’ Puritan mentality in Church

In a Christmas homily excerpted in the Vatican newspaper, a Maltese prelate warned Catholics against a “classist” mentality and the “trap of Puritanism.” “The Jews...

Franciscan who preached to Curia dead at 96

Father Faustino Ossanno, a Conventual Franciscan who served as a professor of moral theology at the Pontifical University of St. Bonaventure (the Seraphicum), died on December 29 at the age of...

US: Catholics donated $7.3M in 2016 in response to natural disasters

Catholics in the United States donated $7.3 million to special collections in 2016 in response to domestic natural disasters. Beginning in January, parishioners donated $3.2 million in response...

India: men acquitted in rape of nun

Citing lack of evidence, a judge in Chhattisgarh, India, has acquitted two men who had been accused of taking part in the gang rape of a nun at a nursing home in Raipur in June 2015. The sister,...

Cardinal demands that Nigeria’s president address new wave of attacks on Christians

Cardinal Anthony Okogie, the retired archbishop of Lagos, has demanded that the nation’s president take action against the Muslim Fulani herdsmen who are killing Christians in Kaduna...

DR Congo’s president agrees to leave office in Church-mediated agreement

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s episcopal conference has brokered an agreement between President Joseph Kabila and opposition leaders. Kabila, the nation’s ruler since 2001,...

To encourage vocations, learn to listen to young people, Pope suggests

In a January 5 address to vocations directors from Italian dioceses, Pope Francis said that the work of encouraging vocations calls for “passion and a sense of gratitude.” In calling...

Pope meets Italian earthquake survivors

Pope Francis met on January 6 with survivors of the earthquakes that devastated central Italy in October. About 800 people from the Diocese of Spoleto-Norcia, led by Bishop Renato Boccardo and...

1,000 vigilante killings a month in Philippines, missionary reports

The summary execution of suspected drug dealers in the Philippines is “the most cruel death penalty ever seen,” a missionary priest told the Fides news service. Father Shay Cullen, an...

Repair work stabilizes earthquake-damaged facade of Norcia basilica

Repair workers have successfully stabilized the facade of the historic basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia, Italy, which had been destroyed by earthquakes last October. As the first stage in a...

Transgender plaintiff sues Catholic hospital for refusing to perform sex-reassignment surgery

A New Jersey woman has brought suit againt a Catholic hospital for refusing to allow gender-reassignment surgery. Jionni Conforti, who now identifies herself as a man, said that she was...

Released Friday, Jan. 6

Bishops say Turkish government concerned about Christians

Two bishops who minister in Turkey expressed gratitude to the government for providing security outside churches in recent months. In the wake of recent terrorist attacks, “people are...

Myanmar army bombs church; parishioners reported missing

Two parishioners have disappeared after speaking with journalists about army air strikes on their church in Mong Ko, Myanmar (Burma), according to media reports. Local residents last reported...

Indonesia: Catholic students lodge blasphemy complaint against Islamist activist

The Union of Catholic University Students of the Republic of Indonesia has filed a blasphemy complaint with police after a leading Islamist activist criticized the Christian doctrine that Jesus...

Pakistan: Christian evangelist arrested for blasphemy

A Christian shopkeeper in Kamahan, Pakistan, has been detained on blasphemy charges after pages of the Qur’an—one with his name written on it—were found in the street. The...

USCCB task force calls for prayer, engagement to address racial tensions

A task force of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has published a report calling for prayer and engagement by dioceses to address racial tensions in communities. The Special Task...

Cardinal laments Venezuela’s ‘socialist totalitarianism’

In his new year’s message, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas lamented the serious shortage of food and medicine in Venezuela, which he linked to “the socialist totalitarianism that...

Pope contrasts Magi’s ‘holy longing for God,’ Herod’s ‘cauterized conscience’

Pope Francis presided at the celebration of Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on January 6, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, and contrasted the Magi’s “holy longing for...

African cardinal: does Amoris Laetitia open door to polygamists?

South African Cardinal WIlfrid Napier has questioned whether the logic of Amoris Laetitia suggests that polygamists should be allowed to receive Communion. Reflecting on the papal document on his...

Legal executions down in US for 2016

The number of legal executions in the US dropped to 20 in 2016: the lowest number in the past 25 years. Two states, Georgia and Texas, accounted for most of the executions carried out in 2016,...

Kidnapped priest was warned not to visit Yemen, Indian government official says

An Indian government official has said that Father Tom Uzhunnalil had been warned not to visit Yemen, where he was kidnapped last March. The Indian missionary priest “went to Yemen ignoring...

Released Monday, Jan. 9

+Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, 85

Father Michael Scanlan, a Franciscan friar who helped transform an Ohio college on the brink of closure into a university renowned for its vibrant Catholic identity and fidelity to the...

Cardinal: welcoming migrants, refugees is part of Christian humanism

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, an Italian cardinal lamented xenophobia and the “noisy desire to build walls of separation between one nation and another.” Cardinal Gualtiero...

Czech bishops raise questions about government’s preference for foster care

The Czech bishops’ justice and peace commission recently raised concerns about a government proposal that would limit the placement of abused and neglected children in institutions. Under...

2017 is ‘year of the parish’ in Philippines: emphasis on Fatima message

The Church in the Philippines is celebrating 2017 as the “year of the parish” as part of a novena of years in preparation for the 500th anniversary of the Gospel’s...

Pope baptizes 28 children

In a Mass celebrated ad orientem in the Sistine Chapel, Pope Francis administered the Sacrament of Baptism to 28 children of Vatican employees on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which fell...

Pope reflects on Christ’s baptism and the mission of the baptized

In his January 8 Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the significance of Christ’s baptism by St. John the Baptist. “Jesus came precisely to close the distance between man and...

Pope calls for prayers, assistance for the homeless

Following the recitation of the Angelus on January 8, Pope Francis asked those present in St. Peter’s Square to pray for the homeless and to assist them. “Think about all those who...

Columnist Nat Hentoff dead at 91

Nat Hentoff, a Jewish atheist who became a leading advocate for the pro-life cause, died in Manhattan on January 7 at the age of 91. A native of Boston who began his professional life in...

‘Very high’ chance of terror attack on Rome, Italian official fears

The possibility of a terrorist attack in Italy is “very high,” warns one of the country’s top civic officials. Franco Gabrielli, the head of Protezione Civile—the office...

Italian priest describes conversion of Mafia boss

An Italian priest has offered dramatic testimony about the religious conversion of hardened Mafia killers, in an interview with the Italian daily Il Giornale. Father Marcello Cozzi says that he...

Pope condemns terrorism in address to Vatican diplomatic corps

In his annual address to the Vatican diplomatic corps, Pope Francis denounced terrorism as “a homicidal madness which misuses God’s name in order to disseminate death, in a play for...

Vatican now has diplomatic ties with 182 countries

During his annual address to members of the Vatican diplomatic corps (see today’s top CWN news headline story), Pope Francis welcomed new bilateral agreements between the Holy See and the...

Cardinal Müller: no need to clarify Amoris Laetitia

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has said that there is no need for clarification of Amoris Laetitia. Speaking to a German...

Pope reflects on foreign trips in new Italian book

In a new Italian book entitled In Viaggio (“On a Journey”), Pope Francis speaks about his the foreign visits he has undertaken since becoming Roman Pontiff. In excerpts of the book,...

New lawsuit challenges $60 million bequest to Legion of Christ

A Rhode Island court has cleared the way for a lawsuit against the Legion of Christ, alleging that the order used fraud and undue influence on a wealthy widow to become her sole...

Italian archbishop, after attending exorcism, testifies to reality of devil

An Italian archbishop, after attending an exorcism, has announced that people who do not believe in the existence of the devil are “mistaken.” Archbishp Erio Castellucci told the...

Security tight as 1.4 million Filipino Catholics join annual procession

As estimated 1.4 million people participated in an annual procession in Manila, under heavy security because of fears of a terrorist attack. The procession of the Black Nazarene—a wooden...

Indian cardinal decries acquittal of nun’s accused rapists

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai has issued a public statement decrying the decision of a Chhartisgarh court to find two suspects not guilty in the rape of a Catholic woman religious. The court...

Egyptian President unveils plans for Coptic cathedral in Cairo

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al Sisi has announced a plan to build the largest Christian church in Egypt, on the outskirts of Cairo. The Egyptian leader announced the project at the...

Archbishop suggests presidential pardon for political prisoners in South Sudan

Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba, South Sudan, has recommended a presidential pardon for all political prisoners, as a means of kindling a “national dialogue” that might avert...

Released Tuesday, Jan. 10

Priests attacked in Roman basilica

A man entered the sacristy of a Roman basilica on January 7 and used a broken bottle to attack two priests. Worshippers at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore heard shouts from the sacristy as a...

Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop Gomez issue migration-week message

The president and vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have issued a message for National Migration Week, which the bishops’ conference commemorates during the...

President Obama offers Christmas greetings to Orthodox Christians

President Barack Obama has issued a statement on the celebration of Orthodox Christmas. “During this sacred season, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and reflect on the commandment...

Malta: prelate sees renewed hope for EU as Church identifies 3 ‘normative objectives’

Representatives of the bishops’ conferences of the European Union met with Malta’s prime minister on January 6 as Malta began a six-month term presiding over the Council of the European...

Anglican leader calls on British to ‘live well together’ amid differences

In his message for the new year, the head of the Church of England spoke of refugees as a “a blessing to our way of life” and called on the British to reconcile following the Brexit...

Stay focused on message of salvation through faith alone, Lutheran leader emphasizes

The general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation called upon Lutherans around the world to remain focused on Martin Luther’s teaching of salvation through faith alone during 2017, the...

India: high court bans religious references in elections

Emphasizing India’s nature as a secular state, the country’s Supreme Court has ruled that candidates may not invoke religion, race, ethnicity, or caste when campaigning. Catholic...

Knights of Malta reiterate stand against Vatican investigation

The Knights of Malta have indicated that they will not cooperate with the Vatican commission formed by Pope Francis to investigate a dispute within the order. In a statement released on January...

Pope renews attack on ‘clericalist attitude’

Pope Francis renews his critique of a “clericalist attitude” in a homily at daily Mass on January 10, contrasting the teaching of Jesus with that of the Pharisees. Jesus taught with...

90,000 Christians killed in 2016, report says

About 90,000 Christians were killed in 2016 because of their faith, accorindg to World Religion News. Most of the deaths occurred in tribal conflicts in Africa, where over 60,000 people were...

Situation ‘desperate’ in Venezuela, reports president of bishops’ conference

The people of Venezuela are living “amid much desperation” because of the government’s failure, the president of the country’s episcopal conference said in a report to his...

New books by ‘Vatileaks II’ figures promise new sensations

Two forthcoming books, by authors who figured prominently in the “Vatileaks II” scandal, threaten to cause more headaches for Vatican officials, with sensational promises of exposing...

Most Jesuit-college alumni in US Congress support legal abortion, study finds

In the new US Congress, most of the representatives who graduated from Jesuit-run colleges and universities are strongly in favor of legal abortion, according to a study by Matthew Archbold of the...

Report: doctrinal congregation suggested corrections to Amoris Laetitia

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) raised a number of questions about Amoris Laetitia, and suggested several corrections, before the papal document was published, according to a...

Released Wednesday, Jan. 11

USCCB initiative issues action alert on immigration

Justice for Immigrants, an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has urged Catholics to contact their representatives and senators, asking them to “support humane...

Priest missing in Mexico

A priest of the Diocese of Saltillo, Mexico, disappeared on January 3. Father Joaquín Hernández Sifuentes, a parish priest in Aurora, Coahuila, was scheduled to begin a vacation...

Belarus may ban religious symbols in medical settings

Doctors and other medical personnel in Belarus may soon be forbidden to display icons in their offices or wear religious symbols such as crosses. In a letter to the nation’s health...

Church in Nepal dedicates 2017 to the family

Bishop Paul Simick, the apostolic vicar of Nepal, has dedicated the year 2017 to strengthening the family. The Himalayan nation of 29 million was a Hindu kingdom until 2006 and has few Christians...

Pope Francis reflects on ‘false hopes and worldly idols’

Continuing his weekly series of catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis devoted his January 11 general audience to the “false hope of idols.” “The Scriptures...

Egypt: Muslim leader visits Coptic cathedral

Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, extended Christmas greetings to the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church during a recent visit to his cathedral. Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria...

In Ethiopia, Church works against genital mutilation

A commission of the Eastern-rite Ethiopian Catholic Church recently held a three-day conference with school leaders and teachers to help them counter the practice of female genital mutilation. In...

St. Louis Archbishop Carlson rips proposal for abortion ‘sanctuary city,’ says Church would not comply

Archbishop Robert Carlson has spoken out strongly against proposed legislation that would make St. Louis a “sanctuary city” for abortion, and vowed that the archdiocese will not comply...

Cold snap killing vulnerable children in Sudan

An unusual pattern of cold weather has caused the death of malnourished refugee children in Sudan and endangered many others, relief officials report. Icy cold in the region of Jebel Marra, in...

Catholic schools cannot oppose same-sex marriage, says UK government official

Dame Louise Casey, the “integration czar” for the British government, has stated that “it is not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage.” Dame...

French presidential candidate Le Pen criticizes rival Fillon for emphasizing Catholic faith

Maxine Le Pen, the presidential candidate of France’s populist National Front, has assailed her leading rival, Francois Fillon, for making frequent references to his Catholic faith during the...

Vatican: investigation of Knights of Malta is legitimate

A Vatican committee set up to investigate a dispute within the Knights of Malta will proceed with its work, despite the Order’s resistance, the Catholic News Service (CNS) reports. The...

Filipino government to provide free contraceptives for the poor

The government of the Philippines will provide free contraceptives to 6 million poor women, in a drive to ensure “zero unmet need for family planning.” President Rodrigo Duterte has...

Boston archdiocese to convert sacramental records to digital form

The Archdiocese of Boston has announced plans to covert parish sacramental records into digital form. Parish records dating back to 1789 will be digitized, in a program that is being undertaken...

Pope’s special prayer intention for January 2017

The Vatican has released a video in which Pope Francis sets forth his special prayer intention for January 2017, for the cause of full Christian unity. Beginning in January, the Vatican is using...

Dominican prelate pleads for government action against crime wave

Bishop Gregorio Nicanor Pena Rodriguez, the president of the episcopal conference in the Dominican Republic, has appealed to the country’s government for action against crime. The bishop...

Over 800 dead since September in tribal violence in Nigeria

Tribal violence in the Nigerian state of Kaduna has caused over 800 deaths since September, Bishop Joseph Danlami Bagobiri of Kafanchan reports; move than 1,400 homes and 12 churches have been...

Pope raps choice of abortion to preserve good looks

During his public audience on January 11, Pope Francis decried the choice of a woman to procure an abrtion in order to preserve her figure. In speaking about the pursuit of superficial goals such...

Released Thursday, Jan. 12

Top 10 biblical archaeology discoveries of past year

Christianity Today recently published a list of the top 10 biblical archaeology discoveries of 2016. Among them are the unsealing of Christ’s tomb at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and...

Cardinal Nichols urges British government to welcome refugees

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster renewed his call to the British government to welcome refugees, especially from Iraq. “All refugees should be offered assistance,” his...

Russian Orthodox leader grateful for ‘resurrection of faith’ since Communism’s fall

In his Christmas message, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow reflected on the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the “resurrection of faith” in Russia since the collapse of...

USCCB, CRS: pass legislation on human trafficking and supply chains

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services have asked the faithful to urge lawmakers to support legislation addressing human trafficking and business supply...

Restoration campaign for famed Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio

The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro has launched a fundraising campaign to repair the famed statue of Christ the Redeemer. “Christ the Redeemer, with his open arms, is the greatest showcase...

40% of recent sainthood causes are from Italy

40% of the sainthood causes since 2006 have come from Italy, Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said on January 9. Cardinal Amato referred to the 351...

Pope recalls Polish saint, warns against fraudulent charges to papal audiences

At the conclusion of his January 11 general audience, Pope Francis paid tribute to St. Albert Chmielowski, a Polish Third Order Franciscan who died on Christmas Day in 1916. In 1949, the future...

Bishop opposes death sentence for Dylann Roof, convicted of mass killings at South Carolina church

Bishop Robert Guglielmone of Charleston, South Carolina has issued a statement regretting the decision of a jury to condemn mass killer Dylann Roof to death. Roof, who was convicted of killing...

Vatican sought to stop Armenian genocide, new research shows

A new book based on research in the Vatican’s secret archives shows that the Vatican’s representative in Turkey took extraordinary measures to stop the genocidal campaign against...

Vatican computers hacked in major international scheme

Italian police have uncovered a major international computer-hacking operation that compromised private communications at the Vatican. Police in Rome announced the arrest of two engineers who are...

Syrian prelate urges West to end sanctions and support for rebels

Syria’s leading Catholic prelate is calling on Western nations to end their sanctions against the Syrian government and their support for rebel factions. Syrian Catholic Patriarch Ignatius...

Ousted leader appeals disciplinary action by Knights of Malta

The German man who was ousted as chancellor of the Knights of Malta has appealed the move, adding another layer of complexity to the controversy within the ancient order. Albrecht von Boeselager,...

Vatican McDonald’s franchise agrees to feed homeless

The controversial new McDonald’s franchise opened near St. Peter’s Square has agreed to provide 1,000 free meals weekly for the homeless people of Rome. Archbishop Konrad Krajewski,...

Sicilian chapel converted to synagogue on anniversary of expulsion of Jews

Archbishop Corrado Lorefice of Palermo has agreed to donate a 15th-century chapel in the city’s Jewish quarter to be used as a synagogue. The transfer of the little chapel of Santa Maria...

Fetal-tissue firm drops suit against undercover-video producers

A California firm that partnered with Planned Parenthood to market fetal tissues has dropped a lawsuit against the pro-life group that produced undercover videos about the...

In France, 5% of population attends Mass, but over 50% identifies as Catholic

Just 5% of the French population attends Mass on a regular weekly basis, but 53% of the country’s people still identify themselves as Catholics, according to an extensive new survey undertaken...

Irish bishops will discuss proposal for married priests during ad limina visits

The Catholic bishops of Ireland, who are making their ad limina visits to Rome in January, will speak with Vatican officials about a proposal to allow a return to ministry by clerics who left the...

New Vatican dicastery to launch campaign for awareness of vulnerable migrant children

The Vatican’s newly formed dicastery for Integral Human Development will launch a media campaign on January 15, aimed to raise public awareness of the problems and dangers facing migrant...

Panama World Youth Day will be held early in 2019

The next international celebration of World Youth Day will be held in Panama in early 2019, Cardinal Kevin Farrell has announced. The prefect of the new Vatican dicastery for Laity, Family, and...

Released Friday, Jan. 13

Report ranks persecution of Christians by country

Open Doors, an organization that advocates on behalf of persecuted Christians, has published its 25th annual ranking of persecution of Christians by country. The 2017 list of 50 countries...

Priest alleges Florida diocese retaliated after he cooperated with abuse investigation

A priest who actively assisted police as they investigated child pornography allegations against a fellow priest has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Palm Beach. After a Sunday Mass in...

Paris cardinal, other religious leaders meet with French president

French President François Hollande met recently with Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim leaders to discuss terrorism and radical Islam. The president welcomed the “manner in...

Pope Francis calls on immigrants in US to turn to Mary

Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles celebrated Mass at Dolores Mission Church on January 12 in commemoration of National Migration Week. Toward the end of the Mass, a video message from...

Vatican releases preparatory document for next Synod of Bishops

The Holy See Press Office has released the preparatory document for the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will take place in October 2018. The synod’s theme is...

Papal thanks for Vatican security officials

Pope Francis met on January 13 with officials of the Vatican’s security service, thanking them for their service. “I know that you run risks,” the Pope said to members of the...

Paul Ehrlich, prophet of ‘overpopulation’ doom, invited to speak at Vatican conference

Paul Ehrlich, who predicted the near-extinction of the human race through overpopulation in his 1968 best-seller, The Population Bomb, has been invited to speak at a Vatican conference on...

Ancient Roman church offers overnight shelter to homeless during cold weather

The church of San Callisto, in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, has been opened to the homeless people of Rome as an overnight shelter during a cold snpa. Bishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal...

Russian cathedral, converted to ‘museum of atheism,’ returning to religious use

A Russian Orthodox cathedral that was converted to a “Museum of Atheism” under the Communist regime will be restored to use as a cathedral. As a museum, St. Isaac’s Cathedral in...

Knights of Malta: chancellor’s removal not solely related to condom program

A spokesman for the Order of Malta has said that the dismisal of the group’s former chancellor, Albrecht von Boeselager, was not solely related to his involvement in a condom-distribution...

Missing priest found dead in Mexico

A Mexican Catholic priest who had been missing since January 3 was found dead on January 12. Police in the state of Coalhuila confirmed that they had discovered the boy of Father Joaquin...

Bishops of Malta: divorced/remarried should receive Communion if ‘at peace with God’

The Catholic bishops of Malta, in guidelines for the implementation of Amoris Laetitia, have said that those who are divorced and remarried should receive Communion if, after a careful consideration...

Palestinian President Abbas to meet Pope, open embassy to Holy See

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with Pope Francis on January 14, during a visit to Rome for the opening of a new Palestinian embassy to the Holy See. The Palestinian embassy,...

Released Monday, Jan. 16

St. John Paul’s warnings about capitalism have come to pass, Pope Francis tells business leaders

Pope Francis received members of the Global Foundation on January 14 and called upon business leaders to imitate St. Teresa of Calcutta by overcoming indifference to the poor. The Global...

+Cardinal Gilberto Agustoni, 94

Cardinal Gilberto Agustoni, the prefect emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura, died on January 13 at the age of 94. Born in 1922 in Switzerland, the prelate was ordained a priest of the Diocese of...

Palestinian president meets with Pope

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Pope Francis on January 14 as he visited Rome for the opening of a new Palestinian embassy to the Holy See. Abbas also met with Cardinal Pietro...

Pope Francis: the Church, like John the Baptist, proclaims Christ

During his January 15 Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading (Jn. 1:29-34) and on the baptism of Christ. Christ’s baptism “is a decisive historical...

Pope recalls plight of child migrants, example of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Following his January 15 Angelus address, Pope Francis recalled that the day was the World Day of Migrants and Refugees and recalled the theme of his message for the day, “Child Migrants, the...

Pope visits Roman parish, distinguishes witness from proselytism

On the afternoon of January 15, Pope Francis made a pastoral visit to the Chiesa di Santa Maria a Setteville, a parish built in 1973 on the outskirts of Rome. The Pope spent 10 minutes visiting...

Guinea’s president meets with Pope

Pope Francis received President Alpha Condé of Guinea in a January 16 audience. Condé also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, and Archbishop...

Italian cardinal: ‘only a blind man’ denies confusion over Amoris Laetita

An Italian cardinal has argued that “only a blind man could deny that there’s great confusion, uncertainty, and insecurity in the Church” because of Amoris Laetitia. Cardinal...

Italian police identify siblings arrested in cyberattack on Vatican

Italian police have identified a brother and sister who were arrested last week in connection with a hacking attack on the Vatican and on Italian government officies. Giulio and Mario Occhionero,...

Archbishop of Canterbury to apologize for violence of Protestant Reformation

The Archbishop of Canterbury will issue a statement this week apologizing for the violence that followed the Protestant Reformation. Dr. Justin Welby, who has sought to strengthen ties with the...

Vatican ‘foreign minister’ outlines Pope’s top priorities in world affairs

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, outlined the top foreign-policy priorities of Pope Francis in an interview with the National Catholic...

Show mercy to those most in need, Cardinal Tagle says at international congress

Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila encouraged the faithful to imitate Christ by showing mercy to those in need, in his homily at the opening Mass for the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy. The...

Palestinians being stripped of land, rights, American bishop reports

An American bishop told Vatican Radio that “the tension is palpable” in the Holy Land as prospects for a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine founder. Bishop Oscar Cantu of...

Papal condolences after air disaster in Kyrgysztan

Pope Francis has sent his condolences to the victims of an airplane crash in Bishkek, Kyrgysztan. A cargo plane crashed in a residential neighborhood of the capital city on January 16, killing...

Papal ghostwriter apparently copied his own work into Amoris Laetitia

Sections of Amoris Laetitia are copied from an essay written more than 20 years ago by a close associate of Pope Francis, a Catholic University professor has revealed. Writing in Crux, Michael...

Released Tuesday, Jan. 17

Cardinal DiNardo: encounter, solidarity can help overcome racism’s effects

In a brief message for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said that “while there have been real gains in our country, we must not...

Morocco bans burqa sales

Citing concerns about security, the government of Morocco has banned the importation and sale of burqas. Few women in the North African nation wear the burqa; most wear the hijab, or...

President Obama pays tribute to religious freedom

President Barack Obama paid tribute to religious liberty in a presidential proclamation for Religious Freedom Day. The day, observed on January 16, commemorates the anniversary of Thomas...

Catholic organizations petition President-elect Trump on climate

The Catholic Climate Covenant, an organization which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops helped form in 2006, has urged President-elect Donald Trump to “demonstrate bold...

English bishop welcomes prime minister’s mental health reforms

The English bishop responsible for pastoral concerns related to mental health has welcomed an initiative by Prime Minister Theresa May to improve mental health care. “I am delighted that...

Stone slabs stolen from 8 French churches

French authorities have arrested seven people in connection with the theft of stone slabs from eight churches in the Burgundy region of France since September 2015. The seven are also suspected...

Group has spent $45M to aid Middle East’s persecuted Christians

In the past six years, Aid to the Church in Need has spent $45 million assisting the Middle East’s persecuted Christians, according to Crux’s John Allen. With aid provided by the...

Dispute escalates between Vatican, Knights of Malta

The Vatican has underlined its commitment to an investigation into controversy within the Knights of Malta, after the head of that order charged that an investigating committee was troubled by...

Former CDF prefect speaks on curial reform, prosecution of abusive priests

Cardinal William Levada, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), said that he does not anticipate a downgrading of the Vatican’s doctrinal agency, and...

Malta archbishop defends Amoris Laetitia guidelines

Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta has defended the guidelines published by the island nation’s bishops for the implementation of Amoris Laetitia. Responding to the charge that the Malta...

In French presidential race, Fillon holds large lead among practicing Catholics

In this year’s presidential contest, Francois Fillon continues to hold a formidable lead among French voters who are practicing Catholics, a new survey shows. The poll by the weekly Famille...

Attorney-general nominee Sessions promises tough enforcement of pornography laws

Senator Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated by incoming President Donald Trump to serve as attorney general, told a Senate confirmation hearing that he would “vigorously” enforce...

Pro-life group unwelcome at ‘Women’s March’

Organizers of a ‘Women’s March’ protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump have removed a pro-life group from the event’s list. The New Wave Feminists, who oppose...

Stockton diocese to emerge from bankruptcy

The Diocese of Stockton, California will soon emerge from bankruptcy protection, after a court approved a plan for financial reorganization. The plan, which provides $15 million to victims of...

Pope raps Christians who do not want change

In his homily at a morning Mass on January 17, Pope Francis criticized “lazy Christians, Christians who do not have the will to go forward, Christians who don’t fight to make things...

Released Wednesday, Jan. 18

Background: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

In 1908, Rev. Paul Wattson, then an Anglican religious in Graymoor, New York, began a Church Unity Octave with the support of Anglican and Catholic prelates, including Cardinal William...

Cardinal DiNardo on immigration: ‘we need not sink into the darkness of isolation’

In a statement supporting Pope Francis’s recent video message to immigrants in the United States, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo noted that “in the days and weeks ahead, there will be intense...

Church destroyed in Sri Lanka

A group of Buddhists, led by a monk, recently destroyed a Protestant church in Paharaiya, Sri Lanka. “First, they threatened us verbally,” said Kamal Wasantha, a convert from Buddhism...

Cardinal Dolan to offer prayer from Book of Wisdom at Trump inauguration

At President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York will offer a prayer for wisdom recorded in the Old Testament. The prayer—which St....

Prelate: Iraqi Christians don’t want ‘humanitarian corridor’

The Syriac Catholic archbishop of Mosul said that Iraqi Christians wish to live in harmony with others throughout the country and do not wish to be confined to a “humanitarian corridor”...

Bishop interprets Amoris Laetitia in manner consistent with prior papal teaching

Bishop Steven Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter has issued “A Pledged Troth,” a pastoral letter on Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris...

Pope Francis reflects on Jonah and hope

Continuing his weekly series of catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis devoted his January 18 general audience to “Jonah: hope and prayer.” The prophet Jonah...

Cardinal Pell: new personal attacks are a bid to thwart economic reforms

Cardinal George Pell has charged that new public attacks at him are intended to thwart the economic reforms that he is leading at the Vatican. The Australian cardinal, who now heads the...

2016 was ‘truly ecumenical year,’ says Cardinal Koch

The president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity rated 2016 as a “truly ecumenical year” as he looked forward to the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Cardinal...

Planned Parenthood coached staff to cover up child abuse, former employee discloses

A former Planned Parenthood employee has said that the organization trained its counselors to skirt laws requiring them to report the sexual abuse of young girls. In 2011, an undercover...

New earthquakes strike central Italy, rattle Rome

A series of earthquakes shook central Italy on January 18, with the epicenter near the town of Amatrice, which was devastated by quakes last year. The tremors were clearly felt in Rome, near 90...

Vatican stamp to honor Luther

The Vatican will issue a stamp to honor Martin Luther this year, marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The Vatican regularly issues stamps to mark special occasions and to...

Pope remains popular with American public, poll shows

Pope Francis has maintained his high approval ratings among Americans, a new Pew Research poll finds. The survey found that 70% of all respondents give the Pope a favorable rating, with only 19%...

Catholic nun told she cannot wear habit in Nebraska school

A Catholic religious sister has been told that she cannot wear her habit while teaching in a Nebraska secondary school. Sister Madeleine Miller was hired to teach in a public school in Norfolk,...

Bishops of Kazakhstan launch appeal for prayer for clear teaching on marriage

Three prelates from Kazakhstan have joined in an urgent appeal to the faithful to pray for a clear statement of Church teaching on marriage, to eliminate confusion and error in the wake of Amoris...

Irish primate urges statesmanship after collapse of government in Northern Ireland

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh has called upon political leaders in Northern Ireland to “sustain the painstaking progress which many of you and your predecessors helped to deliver”...

Farm animals gather in St. Peter’s Square for annual observance

St. Peter’s Square was filled with farm animals on January 17, for the annual “Farm under the Sky,” organized by Italian farmers’ groups on the feast of St. Anthony the...

Released Thursday, Jan. 19

Rising attacks on Christians in India

During the typical week in India, there are ten incidents of anti-Christian violence, such as church burnings or attacks on clerics, The Guardian reported. “There is a clear pattern of...

US prelates welcome next synod’s preparatory document

Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark and Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia have issued a joint statement welcoming the release of the preparatory document of the 2018 Synod of Bishops, whose...

Pope Francis: Reformation’s 500th anniversary is ‘privileged occasion’ for living the faith

Pope Francis received an ecumenical delegation from Finland on January 19 and said that 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, is “for Catholics and Lutherans a privileged...

Italian cardinal: ‘populism does not solve problems’

In a recent meeting with journalists, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa said that populism is not the answer to the problems facing Europe. The prelate is president of the Italian Episcopal...

French, German bishops issue statement on child migrants

Reflecting on Pope Francis’s message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the bishops’ conferences of France and Germany recently issued a joint statement on the plight of child...

Nigerian prelate laments lack of missionary commitment

A Nigerian archbishop said in a recent homily that a lack of a sense of missionary urgency among priests and religious is the greatest challenge facing the Church in Africa’s most populous...

At Davos Forum, Cardinal Parolin urges Europe toward constructive engagement with migrants

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Vatican’s Secretary of State told the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations that “we have to learn the lesson...

Lawsuit charges SNAP works for lawyers, not sex-abuse victims

A former fundraiser for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has filed a lawsuit against the group, charging that it “callously disregards the real interests of...

Duterte writes to Pope Francis of his ‘profound respect’

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has written a private letter to Pope Francis, speaking of his “profound respect” for the Holy See. The Filipino leader, who made...

Pope thanks organizers of exhibit on Jubilees

Pope Francis met on January 19 with the organizers of a public exhibit that focused on the history of Jubilee years. The exhibit, entitled Antiquorum Habet, was on display last March through July...

Released Friday, Jan. 20

USCCB awards $2.3M to projects in Eastern Europe

The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has awarded over $2.3 million to fund 75 projects. “A new generation...

Cardinal Dolan calls for participation in novena for life

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who chairs the US bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has invited Christians to take part in the annual “9 Days for Life” novena around...

Catholic, Orthodox prelates discuss terrorism and Islam

The Catholic-Orthodox Forum, which allows for discussion between Catholic and Orthodox prelates on life, marriage, family, and other social issues, recently held its fifth meeting since 2008. The...

Bishop encourages Irish to welcome immigrants

Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore, the chairman of the Irish bishops’ Council for Justice & Peace, called upon fellow Irishmen to be welcoming to migrants and refugees, who are coming to...

Taiwan’s president tells Pope she hopes for ‘new era’ of relations with Beijing

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan has written a letter to Pope Francis lauding his recent Message for the World Day of Peace. In her letter—dated January 5, and released on January...

Nigerian cardinal: let us ‘declare war’ on Fulani terrorism

Nigeria’s leading prelate, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, celebrated Mass on January 19 for the release of Father Gabriel Oyaka, who was kidnapped a year ago. “This is a tragedy that has...

Pope offers congratulations, prayers to President Trump on inauguration

Pope Francis sent US President Donald Trump his greetings, and an assurance of his prayers, on his Inauguration day. The Pope voiced his hope that Trump would be “guided by the rich...

Maltese bishop denies threatening to suspend priests who balk at Communion for divorced/remarried

A bishop of Malta has denied rumors that he had threatened to suspend any priest who refused to administer Communion to Catholics who are divorced and remarried. According to a report that had...

Archbishop of Canterbury: remember ‘lasting damage’ from Reformation

The Archbishop of Canterbury, worldwide leader of the Anglican Communion, has encouraged a recognition that the Protestant Reformation did grave damage it wrought to the cause of Christian unity....

Vatican mediator stays away as Venezuelan crisis talks falter

A Vatican archbishop who has been acting as mediator in talks between the Venezuelan government and opposition leaders has declined to join in the latest sessions, in a gesture that appears to show...

Bishop sees hope for rebuilding Somalia

Bishop Giorgio Bertin, the apostolic administrator of Somalia, sees hope for the future of the troubled African county, but argues that the country desperately needs to re-establish its own...

Released Monday, Jan. 23

Paraguay’s president meets with Pope

Horacio Cartes, Paraguay’s president since 2013, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on January 20. Cartes also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State,...

Marriage prep should be time of evangelization, catechesis, Pope tells Roman Rota

Pope Francis spoke about the relationship between fides (faith) and foedus (covenant) in his annual address to the Roman Rota on the occasion of the beginning of the judicial year. Speaking in...

Vatican blessing of lambs for Feast of St. Agnes

Following an annual tradition, Pope Francis received two blessed lambs on January 21, the memorial of St. Agnes. The rite took place in the Chapel of Pope Urban VIII in the Apostolic Palace. The...

8 beatification causes advance

In a January 20 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 a decree...

Pope calls on Dominicans to be salt, light amid ‘carnival of worldly curiosity’

Pope Francis celebrated Mass on January 21 to conclude the Dominican Order’s jubilee year commeorating the 800th anniversary of its founding. The Mass took place at the Archbasilica of St....

Pope Francis reflects on Christ’s preaching in Galilee

During his January 22 Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 4:12-23). Capernaum, the cosmopolitan trading town for which Christ set out, was—from...

Pope Francis: pray for Christian unity, earthquake victims

Following his January 22 Angelus address, Pope Francis called on those gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for the intention of Christian unity as well as for recent victims of earthquakes...

Trump executive order reinstates ‘Mexico City policy’

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order banning the use of federal funds to promote abortion overseas. The executive order reinstates the “Mexico City policy” that was...

‘Wait and see’ on Trump’s presidency, Pope tells interviewer

Pope Francis adopted a “wait and see” attitude toward President Donald Trump, in a new interview with the Spanish daily El Pais. “I don’t like to get ahead of myself, or...

Mafia, terrorism feed ‘culture of death,’ Pope says

The Mafia is “an expression of the culture of death,” Pope Francis said in a January 23 address to members of Italy’s National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism...

Vatican Museums launch new multimedia web site

The Vatican Museums has unveiled a multimedia web site, which enables visitors to explore thousands of items from the vast collection. The web site—the product of three years of...

Nuns joined in Women’s March

America magazine has profiled some of the women religious who participated in the Women’s March in Washington. Sister Simone Campbell, who heads the Network lobby, was one of the speakers...

Italian prosecutor seeks jail time for former executives of Vatican bank

An Italian prosecutor is seeking prison sentences for Paolo Cipriani, the former executive director of the Vatican bank, and for his deputy, Massimo Tulli. Cipriani and Tulli resigned their...

Released Tuesday, Jan. 24

Cardinal applauds Trump executive order on ‘Mexico City policy’

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has welcomed President Donald Trump’s executive order reinstating the “Mexico City policy.” Announced under President Reagan at a 1984 UN conference in...

Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to polygamy law

The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear a case challenging Utah’s state law against polygamy. Kody Brown, whose television show features him and his four wives, had sought to...

Bishops call Israeli occupation of West Bank, Gaza a ‘scandal’

At the conclusion of a recent visit to the Holy Land, bishops from eight nations decried the situation in areas occupied by Israel following the Six Day War in 1967. “For 50 years the West...

Caritas: refugees at risk from abnormal weather

Caritas, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, warned that refugees in northern Greece and Serbia are at risk of freezing to death because of an abnormally cold...

German prelates criticize government over Afghan deportations

The German Bishops’ Conference, joined by a Lutheran body, has criticized the German government for its decision to repatriate 11,900 Afghan migrants whose asylum requests have been...

Vatican envoy concludes visit to Aleppo

On January 23, Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso concluded a six-day visit to Aleppo—the first official visit by a representative of the Holy See since the recent end of the fighting there. The...

Do not glamorize evil, but communicate hope, Pope says in message

On January 24—the memorial of St. Francis de Sales, the patron of journalists—the Holy See Press Office released the Pope’s message for the 51st World Communications Day, which...

New exposé: no prenatal care at Planned Parenthood

Although Planned Parenthood officials frequently say that their clinics offer valuable prenatal care, a new undercover survey finds that most Planned Parenthood clinics turn away women who ask for...

Filipino president looses obscene tirade against Catholic Church

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines unleashed an obscenity-laced tirade against the Catholic Church on January 24, charging that corruption is rampant among the clergy. “I...

Italians at their best in response to earthquake, cardinal says

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the president of the Italian bishops’ conference, said that the public reaction to a series of destructive earthquakes in the center of the country have shown...

Italian cardinal cautions on living-will legislation

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the president of the Italian bishops’ conference, has raised questions about legislation that would allow for living wills, saying that he is “not a little...

Ivory Coast: bishops warn tensions inhibit reconciliation after civil warfare

The Catholic bishops of Ivory Coast have warned that a “deleterious climate” is blocking the path to reconciliation in the African country, which was shaken by violent upheavals for a...

Released Wednesday, Jan. 25

USCCB committee chair weighs in on changes to health care law

The chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development emphasized in a recent letter to senators that “a repeal of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act...

Cardinal Wuerl’s prayer at President Trump’s inaugural prayer service

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington offered a prayer for the United States during the interfaith inaugural prayer service on January 21. The service, attended by President Donald Trump and Vice...

India: evangelist in coma following police interrogation

A Protestant evangelist in Hyderabad, India, suffered a brain hemorrhage and fell into a coma following a police interrogation, according to World Watch Monitor, which reports on the persecution of...

Iraqi patriarch: inciting violence against other religions should be a crime

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, said that it should be a crime to incite violence against those who profess other...

US withdraws from TPP; bishops had expressed concern about trade agreement

At President Donald Trump’s behest, the United States has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement signed by 12 nations, including the US, in 2016. The US...

Cardinal Nichols: God is source of society’s unity

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster celebrated the silver jubilee of his episcopal ordination on January 23. “Today so many speak about the need to build a more coherent society, one in...

Pope Francis reflects on Judith and hope

Continuing his weekly series of catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis devoted his January 25 general audience to “Judith: a woman’s courage and the people’s...

Leader of Knights of Malta resigns at Pope’s request

The grand master of the Knights of Malta has submitted his resignation, at the request of Pope Francis, after a dispute with the Vatican over the removal of the group’s...

Christians must ‘learn from one another’ to achieve unity, Pope says at ecumenical service

“Authentic reconciliation between Christians will only be achieved when we can acknowledge each other’s gifts and learn from one another,” Pope Francis said as he closed the annual...

SNAP director resigned just before lawsuit was filed

The national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) resigned from his post just days before a lawsuit was filed against the group. David Clohessy, who had been...

Fighting in Kachin destabilized region, bishops tell Myanmar’s leader

Four Catholic bishops from the Kachin province of Myanmar met recently with the country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to discuss the continued fighting in the region. The bishops expressed...

Staff distressed by cost-cutting changes at Vatican Radio

Vatican Radio employers have been shocked by abrupt changes in the broadcast schedule, the French daily La Croix reports. Vatican Radio is no longer an independent agency; it has been absorbed...

US public favors ‘significant restrictions’ on abortion, new poll confirms

A new national poll has confirmed that most Americans want “significant restrictions” on abortion. A slim majority (52%) of respondents identify themselves as...

Released Thursday, Jan. 26

March for Life: 20,000 expected at National Prayer Vigil for Life

Over 20,000 people are expected to take part in the National Prayer Vigil for Life, which begins this evening at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in...

USCCB awards $1.2M to Church in Africa

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Africa has awarded over $1.2 million in grants to pastoral projects there. “It is an important step for...

Northern Ireland: Catholics achieve employment parity with Protestants

For the first time, Catholics have achieved employment parity with Protestants in North Ireland, the Belfast Telegraph reported. Three decades ago, the unemployment rate among Catholics was twice...

Dissident Irish priest defies CDF, celebrates Mass publicly

Defying a 2012 order from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a dissident Irish priest, Father Tony Flannery, has celebrated Mass publicly. The priest said that he was “not...

Cardinal Wuerl speaks on conscience, Church teaching, and Amoris Laetitia

Addressing a group of seminarians, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington reflected on conscience and Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. “When we begin our reflections...

Pope Francis: look to the Cross on the road to Christian unity

Concluding the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Francis celebrated Vespers at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls on January 25. “For the Church, for every...

Chinese bishop rejoins Patriotic Association; regime still withholds recognition

Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai has rejoined the Catholic Patriotic Association, which he had denounced in 2012, the AsiaNews service reports. However, the regime still evidently does not...

US bishops rap Trump’s plan for border wall

The US Conference of Catholic BIshops has taken issue with President Donald Trump’s plan for a wall at the Mexican border to stem the flow of immigrants. Bishop Joe Vasquez, who chairs the...

Lay church workers killed in Bolivia, South Sudan

A lay missionary worker has been killed in Bolivia, and a catechist in South Sudan. Helena Kmiec, a Polish native who had been working at a child-care center in Cochabamba, Bolivia, died of...

French Cardinal Etchegaray, vice-dean of College of Cardinals, retiring at 94

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, the vice-dean of the College of Cardinals, is leaving Rome at the age of 94 to spend his last days in his native France. A former Archbishop of Marseilles, Cardinal...

Released Friday, Jan. 27

Mexican bishops decry Trump border-wall plan

The Mexican Episcopal Conference has issued a statement decrying President Donald Trump’s executive order on border security. “The first thing that hurts us is that many people who...

UN tribute to Austrian bishop who opposed border fence

The UN refugee agency recently paid tribute to Bishop Ägidius Zsifkovics of Eisenstadt, Austria, for rejecting the construction of a border fence on Church property. “A moral stand by...

EU bishops’ commission reflects on mental health

A working group of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community has published a 32-page opinion on mental health in Europe. Drawing upon papal and episcopal documents, the working...

English bishop calls for prison reform

Following the publication of a government report on suicides, self-harm, and assaults in UK prisons, an English bishop decries prison overcrowding and staff shortages. “Dostoevsky wrote...

Polish bishops mark Day of Islam

On January 26, the day following the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Church in Poland commemorated a Day of Islam. The Joint Council of Catholics and Muslims and the...

Caritas to assist Italy with refugee humanitarian corridor

The Italian government has agreed to open a humanitarian corridor to allow refugees from the Horn of African to travel from Ethiopian refugee camps into Italy. Once in Italy, Caritas, the...

Pope orders fresh review of liturgical translations

Pope Francis has ordered a new review of the principles that guide translations of the liturgy, America magazine has confirmed. The Pope reportedly formed a commission to review Liturgiam...

Shared suffering should bring Christians closer together, Pope tells ecumenical commission

In a January 27 message to a joint commission of Catholic and Oriental Orthodox theologians, Pope Francis offered the hope that the suffering of believers in the Middle East today will bring...

Italian bishop chides Trump on torture

Responding to President Donald Trump’s statement that he would not object to the use of torture, the secretary of the Italian bishops’ conference said that torture is always...

Pope says all recent decisions of Knights of Malta are ‘null and void’

Pressing ahead with his takeover of the Knights of Malta, Pope Francis had declared that all recent decisions by the group’s leadership “are null and void.” The Pope’s...

Venezuela’s crisis threatens thousands of lives, archbishop says

The continuing economic crisis and political stalemate in Venezuela is costing thousands of lives, says Archbishop Ubaldo Ramon Santana Sequera of Maracaibo. “I don’t see why our...

Memory of Holocaust guards against repetition, Pope tells Jewish group

Speaking on January 25 to a delegation from the European Jewish Congress, Pope Francis said that it is important to keep alive the memory of the Holocaust, to guard against the possibility that such...

Chaldean Patriarch visits towns liberated from Islamic State

On January 27, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako visited the region of Iraq recently recaptured from the Islamic State, to confer with officials who are beginning the rebuilding process...

March for Life encouraged by Trump’s ‘full support’

Hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans joined in the Annual March for Life in Washington, DC, on January 27, their enthusiasm buoyed by a promise of support from the Trump...

Released Monday, Jan. 30

Vatican message for World Leprosy Day

Cardinal Peter Turkson, the prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, has issued a message for World Leprosy Day, which fell this year on January 29. In the message,...

Pope Francis discusses ‘hemorrhage’ of religious vocations

Pope Francis spoke about the “hemorrhage” of vocations to the consecrated life during a January 28 address to members of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the...

Pope reflects on poverty of spirit

Pope Francis described the Beatitudes as the “Magna Carta of the New Testament” during his January 29 Sunday Angelus address. Reflecting on the first Beatitude—“blessed...

USCCB: strong opposition to President Trump’s executive order on refugees

The chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Migration announced his strong opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees. The order, according to the United...

Report: over 900 churches destroyed by Boko Haram

Over 900 churches in 19 states in northern Nigeria have been destroyed by the jihadist organization Boko Haram since it began its terrorist activities, according to Nigerian media reports. The...

Action alert on immigration legislation

Justice for Immigrants, an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued an action alert calling on Catholics to contact lawmakers in support of the BRIDGE (Bar Removal...

Vatican close to agreement with Society of St. Pius X

The Vatican is close to a long-awaited agreement to regularize the status of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Archbishop Guido Pozzo, the secretary for the Ecclesia Dei commission that has been...

Martyrs sustain the Church, Pope says

“The martyrs are those who carry the Church forward,” Pope Francis said in a homily at a weekday Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. “They are those who support the Church, who have...

‘Come out of the caves,’ Pope challenges laity

Pope Francis dared lay Catholics to “come out of the caves” and join in the work of evangelization, in the latest papal interview to become public. “They have to go out; they...

Maltese bishops ‘following the Pope’s directives’ on Amoris Laetitia

The bishops of Malta are merely following the directives of Pope Francis in their interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, Archbishop Charles Scicluna said in a radio interview. Archbishop Scicluna...

Pope no longer delivering addresses to bishops making ad limina visits

Pope Francis has broken with the tradition of delivering an address to each group of bishops making ad limina visits to Rome, notes veteran Vatican-watcher Sandro Magister of...

Pope, Vatican ecumenical office send sympathies to Quebec terror victims

Pope Francis has sent a message of condolence to the victims of a bombing at an Islamic cultural center in Quebec. In his message, sent to Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec, the Pontiff offered his...

Bishop assaulted in New Jersey cathedral during Mass

Bishop Manuel Cruz, an auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, was punched in the face by an assailant as he began to celebrate Mass in the city’s Sacred Heart basilica on January...

Pakistani court clears defendants charged with arson attack on Christian neighborhood

A court in Lahore, Pakistan, has acquitted all 155 defendants in a case involving an arson attack on a Christian neighborhood. The trial arose from mob violence that erupted in Lahore in March...

Knights of Malta accept Pope’s intervention

The Sovereign Council of the Knights of Malta voted on January 28 to accept the resignation of Fra’ Matthew Festing as grand master of the group: a resignation that had been demanded by Pope...

German bishops suggest joining with Protestants for religious education

The German Catholic bishops are calling for cooperation with Protestant groups in providing religious instruction in the nation’s schools. Religious education is available to students in...

Irish premier urges Pope to reconsider status of dissident priests

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny has asked Pope Francis to reconsider Vatican disciplinary measures against several priests. During a meeting with the Pontiff, Kenny reported that he had raised...

Released Tuesday, Jan. 31

Canadian bishops lament attack on Quebec mosque

Bishops across Canada lamented the January 29 Quebec City mosque shooting that left six dead and 17 injured. “Such murderous violence is to be condemned in the strongest possible...

5 US cardinals speak out on President Trump’s executive orders on immigrants, refugees

At least a dozen US bishops, including five cardinals, have issued comments on aspects of President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders on immigrants and refugees. Cardinal Blase Cupich...

Vatican cardinal hopes ‘no other country will follow Trump’s example’ on wall

Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, told an Italian news agency that “hopefully, no other country will follow Trump’s...

EU bishops’ commission welcomes court decision on surrogate motherhood

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the nations of Europe may have a variety of laws relating to surrogacy—thus upholding Italy’s authority to remove a child from a...

Hungary aims to be hub, support for persecuted Christians

A Hungarian government official said that the nation intends to become a hub and supporter for persecuted Christians. “More Christians are being persecuted today throughout the world than...

Iraqi patriarch: Trump executive order harms the Middle East’s Christians

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, said that he opposed US President Donald Trump’s decision to “prioritize refugee...

Vatican, World Council of Churches preparing joint statement on Education for Peace

Staff members of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue met this week with their counterpart from the World Council of Churches, to work on a forthcoming joint statement on Education...

Mexican archbishop: apologize to emigrants for failure to provide jobs and security

A Mexican archbishop has suggested that his country owes an apology to the people who migrate to the US in search of safety and economic opportunity. “We have to ask the migrants for...

Filipino bishops take stand against return of death penalty

The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have issued a firm statement against the return of capital punishment. “We regret that there are strident efforts to restore the death...

Dutch doctor cleared of charges after restraining patient for euthanasia

A Dutch doctor has been cleared of charges after an incident in which the doctor directed family members to hold down a “euthanasia” patient who was struggling to stop the administration...

City says San Francisco archdiocese failed to cover employees’ health costs

The city of San Francisco has said that the local archdiocese owes more than $3 million in health-care costs to employees, under the terms of a new city ordinance. The city has also assessed the...

New Archbishop of Krakow seen as strong conservative, ‘culture warrior’

Writing in Catholic World Report, Filip Mazurczak reports that the newly installed head of the Krakow archdiocese, Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski, is “not a typical ‘Francis...

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