Stories for February 2017

Released Thursday, Feb. 2

Papal encouragement for climate movement, religious life

Following his February 1 general audience, Pope Francis recalled that the following day, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, is the World Day of Consecrated Life. “May their life...

USCCB calls for transparency in mining industry’s transactions with foreign governments

Bishop Oscar Cantú, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, called upon Congress to reject measures that would reduce...

Iraqi archbishop’s US visit postponed because of executive order

An Iraqi archbishop invited to visit New York and Washington by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) is unable to make his visit because of a recent executive order by President Donald Trump temporarily barring...

Cardinal Marx lauds Merkel, criticizes populism

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, the president of the German Bishops’ Conference, lauded Chancellor Angela Merkel on February 1 as she received an award honoring her commitment to assisting...

Archbishop of Canterbury: ‘we have failed terribly’ on abuse

Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury apologized following media reports that a prominent evangelical Anglican, John Smyth, physically abused 22 young men. An Anglican charity documented the...

Ukrainian Catholic leader meets with families of slain protestors

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church met recently with families of the “heavenly hundred”—those slain during the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests that led to the removal of...

Trump preparing new executive order to protect religious freedom

President Donald Trump is preparing to release a new executive order, designed to protect religious freedom. Speaking on February 2 at the National Prayer Breakfast, Trump said that religious...

For religious orders, survival is not enough, Pope says

Celebrating Mass on February 2 for the World Day for Consecrated Life, Pope Francis warned religious against the “temptation of survival”—a tendency to retrench rather than bearing...

Iraqi archbishop welcomes Trump order to help religious minorities

An Iraqi archbishop has welcomed the new US policy—set in an executive order by President Trump—that gives preference to religious minorities in applications for refugee...

Rumors in Rome anticipate date in 2017 for accord between Vatican, SSPX

Talks between the Holy See and the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) have advanced far enough so that Vatican insiders are discussing dates for the signing of an agreement, according to a...

Pope’s prayer intention for February 2017

The prayer intention of Pope Francis for February 2017 is “that all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our...

Released Friday, Feb. 3

USCCB rues Trump’s decision to retain Obama’s LGBT executive order

The chairmen of two committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to leave in place a 2014 executive order on sexual orientation...

Mexican bishop: Trump’s economic views contradict Christian faith

Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristóbal de Las Casas said that President Donald Trump’s “cares most about business, money, and economics,” which is in...

Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Canterbury criticize Trump’s policies

In a joint radio appearance, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster and the head of the Church of England criticized President Donald Trump’s policies, which they both characterized as rooted...

Sovereign Order of Malta thanks Pope for intervention, sees ‘renewed vigor’

Albrecht von Boeselager, the grand chancellor of the Sovereign Order of Malta, thanked Pope Francis for “his guidance that helped end … crises” in the order’s...

Ukraine’s bishops urge prayers for peace

Amid escalating violence in eastern Ukraine, the nation’s Latin-rite bishops pleaded for prayers for peace. “Ukraine needs peace,” they said on February 1. “We know that...

Report finds rising hate speech against Christians in Turkey

A report published by Association of Protestant Churches of Turkey found rising hate speech and threats against the nation’s Christians. The report also found that “many students had...

Leading Russian Orthodox official hopes Trump’s policies will help persecuted Christians

The head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations expressed hope that President Donald Trump would change American foreign policy in the Middle East, which he...

Filipino leader moves to rein in vigilante squads

Under pressure from the Catholic Church as well as international human-rights activists, President Rodrigo Duterte has taken a step to curb the extra-judicial killings of suspected drug dealers. ...

Vatican Secretary of State signs diplomatic accord with Republic of Congo

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, signed a church-state accord with the Republic of Congo on February 2. During his stay in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo,...

Pope encourages Nobel laureates to pursue nonviolence

Pope Francis has sent a message to a meeting of Nobel Peace Prize winners, encouraging them “in their efforts to promote understanding and dialogue among peoples.” The meeting of Nobel laureates is...

Priests leaving for Europe, African bishop reports

A Catholic bishop in Ivory Coast has revealed that 78 priests have left the country, apparently to seek security in Europe. Bishop Marcellin Yaoo Kouadio of Yamoussokro said that some of the...

Released Monday, Feb. 6

Papal video message for Super Bowl

Pope Francis issued a video message for Super Bowl LI, in which New England defeated Atlanta 34-28. “Great sporting events like today’s Super Bowl are highly symbolic, showing that it...

Pope emphasizes: ‘every life is sacred’

Lamenting the “logic of rejection and demographic decline,” Pope Francis lent his support to Italy’s pro-life day. Following the recitation of the Angelus on February 5, the...

Pope emphasizes good works in discussing call to be salt, light

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading at Mass (Mt. 5:13-16) during his February 5 Angelus address, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of good works and freedom from worldliness as he...

Prevent money-centered economy from claiming more victims, Pope tells Focolare

Pope Francis met on February 4 with 1,100 members of the Focolare Movement who are part of the Economy of Communion, an anti-poverty initiative begun in São Paulo in 1991. “It is...

Pope appoints special delegate to Sovereign Order of Malta

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu as his special delegate to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Since 2011, Archbishop Becciu has served as the sostituto—one...

Accord between Holy See, Congo

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, traveled to the Republic of the Congo to sign an accord with the nation’s prime minister on February 3. The accord...

Posters criticizing Pope appear on streets of Rome

Posters criticizing Pope Francis appeared on the streets of Rome on Saturday, February 4. The posters featured a photo of the Pontiff wearing a grim face, and asking, “Where’s your...

SNAP president resigns, following director, after lawsuit filed against group

The president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has resigned her post, just a week after a lawsuit was filed against the group by a former employee. Barbara Blaine, a...

Trump to meet Pope in May?

US President Donald Trump is likely to meet with Pope Francis in May, when Trump travels to Sicily for a meeting of G7 economic leaders. The White House has confirmed that Trump will attend the...

Filipino archbishop resigns after clash with Vatican on reported apparitions

Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa, the Philippines, has resigned, several months after he was the object of a reproval from the Vatican over his endorsement of reported apparitions. Archbishop...

Vatican unveils Charter for Health Care Workers

At a Vatican press conference on February 6, the new dicastery for Integral Human Development introduced a new Charter for Health-Care Workers. The press conference was held in anticipation of...

Iraqi prelate: foreign troops, sectarian militias could endanger Iraq’s future

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako has said that there is no need for either foreign troops or sectarian militia groups to protect Christians in Iraq’s Nineveh Plains region,...

In homily, Pope again warns against ‘rigid’ focus on Commandments

Pope Francis once again decried a “rigid” approach to Christianity, in his homily at a morning Mass at the Vatican on February 6. God created the world and then created man, the Pope...

Reformation anniversary is ‘opportunity to take a further step,’ Pope tells German ecumenical group

Meeting on February 6 with an ecumenical delegation from Germany, Pope Francis said that the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which is being observed this year, is an “opportunity to take...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 7

Catholic, Lutheran leaders invite Pope Francis to Germany

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, the president of the German Bishops’ Conference, welcomed Pope Francis’s statement on February 6 that the 500th anniversary of the Protestant...

Church in Iraq calls for assistance to rebuild towns liberated from ISIS

Stating that the vast majority of displaced Iraqi Christians wish to return home, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate has called for financial assistance from the US, the EU, and the Iraqi government...

Myanmar: 60 Christian churches destroyed since 2011

Reporting on the underreported story of the persecution of Christians in Myanmar (Burma), John Allen noted recently that more than 60 churches have been destroyed in Kachin state since...

Prelate urges Tillerson not to move US embassy to Jerusalem

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace called upon Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not to move the US embassy in Israel...

Puerto Rico’s bishops grateful that Obama commuted activist’s sentence; Pope intervened

Speaking on behalf of all the bishops of Puerto Rico, Archbishop Roberto González Nieves of San Juan recently gave thanks to God that former President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of...

Pope’s 2017 Lenten message focuses on rich man, Lazarus

Pope Francis reflected on Christ’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus in his message for Lent 2017, which begins March 1. “Let us find inspiration in this meaningful story, for it...

Chinese official, tied to organ harvesting, invited to Vatican conference

Huang Jiefu, the Chinese official in charge of his country’s organ-transplant program has been invited to participate in a Vatican conference on organ trafficking, in spite of evidence that...

Rome police search for source of posters criticizing Pope

Police in Rome are trying to identify the source of the posters that appeared around the city this past weekend, criticizing Pope Francis. The posters, written in a local dialect, were evidently...

Australian royal commission finds 7% of Catholic priests accused of abuse

The royal commission investigating sexual abuse in Australia has released findings that show more than 4,000 accusations against Catholic institutions and Catholic clergy. The Australian Royal...

Israel OK seizure of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has approved legislation that gives retroactive legal authority for the seizure of Palestinian land on the West Bank for the construction of Israeli...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 8

Vatican newspaper: the Church is distinct from partisan politics

In a front-page opinion piece in the February 8 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Italian historian and journalist Lucetta Scaraffia wrote that Pope Francis has firmly upheld Catholic teaching...

EU bishops’ commission reiterates position on migration

The EU has signed an agreement with the Libyan government to curb the flow of migrants from Libya into Europe—prompting the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European...

Fight corruption, Romanian Orthodox Church urges

Some 600,000 Romanians took to the streets to protest a law that would have weakened penalties for corruption. Following seven days of protests, the government repealed the measure. Amid the...

Hungarian government gives grant to Russian churches

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary has granted funds to the nation’s Russian Orthodox diocese to complete the reconstruction of the cathedral in Budapest, which was badly damaged in...

Ukrainian Catholic leader affirms ‘love and devotedness’ to Pope

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, has affirmed his “love and devotedness” toward Pope Francis. Last year, the major archbishop...

Pope reflects on link between Christian hope, mutual support

Continuing his weekly series of catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis devoted his February 8 general audience to hope as the “font of mutual comfort and...

English bishop sees ‘growing problem’ in discord over Amoris Laetitia, asks prayers

An English bishop has asked for prayers for the Church because of the “growing problem” arising from different interpretations of Amoris Laetitia. Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth...

Orthodox, Anglican leaders join in call for end to modern slavery

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople have released a joint appeal for an end to all forms of modern slavery. In their statement—released at the...

Cardinal Marx: no reason for questions on Amoris Laetitia

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich has said that there is no reason for confusion regarding the meaning of Amoris Laetitia, since the papal document is “very clear.” Cardinal Marx told...

Vatican journal article questions authority of ban on female ordination

A new article in the Italian Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica raises questions about the teaching of St. John Paul II that women can never be ordained to the priesthood. The essay in Civilta...

Duterte blasts Filipino bishops, says he will ‘go to hell’ to end drug traffic

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has angrily rejected criticism from the country’s Catholic bishops, who said that vigilante groups have created a “reign of terror” by...

Cardinals meet with India’s president, discuss kidnapped priest

Three Indian cardinals met on February 9 with President Narendra Modi, to discuss the plight of Father Tom Uzhunalil, the Indian missionary who was kidnapped in Yemen last March. Cardinals...

Gallup diocese emerges from bankruptcy

The Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, has emerged from bankruptcy, with court approval of a reorganization plan that provides $17.6 million in compensation to 57 sex-abuse victims. The Gallup...

Released Thursday, Feb. 9

Samurai beatified in Japan

Dom Justo Takayama Udon (1552-1615), a samurai who converted to Catholicism at the age of 12, was beatified as a martyr in Osaka, Japan, on February 7. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the...

Pope draws attention to plight of Rohingya Muslims, human trafficking victims

In remarks made following his February 8 general audience, Pope Francis appealed for prayers for the Rohingya Muslims, who suffer intense persecution in Myanmar (Burma). “I would like to...

Morocco: conversion from Islam should not be punished by death

Retracting a 2012 ruling, Morocco’s High Religious Committee has ruled that persons who convert from Islam should no longer be punished by death by religious decree. The committee...

USCCB, CRS: action alert on human trafficking legislation

Catholics Confront Global Poverty, a partnership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services, has called upon Catholics to urge their representatives to support...

Pakistan’s parliament outlaws lynching, forced conversion

The Pakistani parliament has passed a law outlawing lynching and forced conversions. The move was welcomed by lay Christian activists. Samuel Pyara, president of the Bright Future Society, told...

Humanitarian crisis in portions of eastern Ukraine

Amid escalating violence in eastern Ukraine, thousands have been left without electricity and water, according to Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development...

Pope deplores anti-Semitism

Pope Francis received a delegation from the Anti-Defamation League on February 9 and denounced anti-Semitism “in all its forms as completely contrary to Christian principles and every vision...

Pope: troubled by ‘rigid’ religious orders that attract vocations

“The decline of religious life in the West worries me,” Pope Francis said in an exchange with superiors of men’s religious orders. Nevertheless the Pope said that he was troubled...

Hong Kong cardinal optimistic about accord between Vatican, Beijing

Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong has indicated that he thinks the Vatican can reach a satisfactory agreement with China on the appointment of bishops. In an essay for the AsiaNews service,...

Pope lauds Jesuit journal for courageous editorial approach

Pope Francis met on February 9 with the editorial staff of Civilta Cattolica, to celebrate the publication of the 4,000th issue of the Jesuit journal. The Pope praised the publication for its...

Catholic schools challenge barren culture and sow hope, Pope says

Speaking on February 9 to the members of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Pope Francis said that Catholic schools “have the mission of offering horizons open to...

Financial questions stall momentum of French Catholic presidential candidate

The presidential candidacy of Francois Fillon, who has made an explicit appeal to the Catholic tradition in France, has been rocked by accusations that he used his influence to obtain sinecures for...

Women bring harmony to family, Pope says

The distinctive role of woman is to bring harmony into the world, Pope Francis said in his homily at a morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on February 9. “Without the woman there is...

Israeli seizure of Palestinian land offends against justice, bishop says

A new Israeli law that retroactively legalizes the seizure of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements is an offense against justice, said Bishop William Shomali, the patriarchal vicar for...

Europe must ‘rediscover soul,’ Cardinal Bagnasco says

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa has said that the European community must recover its spiritual and moral bearings or face social disaster. Speaking to reporters on February 9, the...

Released Friday, Feb. 10

Anti-Defamation League welcomes Pope’s condemnation of anti-Semitism

Following a February 9 audience with Pope Francis, the Anti-Defamation League welcomed the Pope’s denunciation of anti-Semitism. “We know you understand and share our concern about...

Aleppo described as ‘post-apocalyptic’

The spokesman for Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, described the situation in east Aleppo as “post-apocalyptic” and...

Nigerian bishop decries violence, corruption

A Nigerian bishop has decried widespread corruption and violence in Africa’s largest nation, according to the Lagos-based Guardian. Archbishop Augustine Akubeze of Benin City urged...

Background: World Day of the Sick

February 11 is the 25th World Day of the Sick, a commemoration instituted by St. John Paul II that takes place each year on the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. The title of Pope Francis’s...

Ohio city bans conversion therapy

In a 12-0 vote, the city council in Toledo, Ohio, has made it a crime for a mental health provider to “engage in sexual orientation or gender identity change efforts with any...

Colombian missionary nun kidnapped in Mali

A Colombian religious working in Mali was kidnapped on February 8, reportedly by Islamic jihadists. Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez was one of four sisters present in a residence in Karangasso when...

Pope sees both promise and danger in health-care industry

The health-care industry presents “a situation with lights and shadows,” Pope Francis said in a February 10 address to the health-care commission of the Italian bishops’...

Released Monday, Feb. 13

Pope names special Medjugorje envoy

Pope Francis has named Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warszawa-Praga, Poland, as his special pastoral envoy for Medjugorje, the town in Bosnia-Herzegovina that has been the site of alleged Marian...

Pope Francis: the Sermon on the Mount calls us to a ‘higher justice’

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel at Mass (Mt. 5:17-37), Pope Francis said during his February 12 Angelus address that Christ calls us to a “higher justice” beyond...

USCCB committee chair welcomes court decision blocking Trump executive order

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration has issued a statement welcoming an appellate court ruling that halts implementation of portions of...

Cardinal: proclaim to young people the beauty of priestly, religious vocations

In an article that appeared on the front page of February 12 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia reflected on the 2018 synod, which will be devoted to young...

Coalition targets jihadist who inspired attack on French priest

The coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq targeted a jihadist who inspired the 2016 murder of Father Jacques Hamel while celebrating Mass at his parish in St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray,...

Council of Cardinals gives Pope Francis a vote of confidence

The Council of Cardinals has relased a statement pledging “its full support for the Pope’s work,” in a highly unusual expression of confidence in the Roman Pontiff. The...

Chinese official: underground bishops cannot be recognized

A top Chinese official has cautioned that the Beijing regime has not reached an agreement with the Vatican on the appointment of bishops, and dismissed any possibility that bishops of the...

Statistics show marriages more likely to survive if couples had no other lifetime sexual partners

Federal government statistics show that the prospects for an early divorce are minimal among American couples who have never had any sexual partners other than their spouses, and increases with the...

Pope writes preface for abuse victim’s book

Pope Francis has written the preface for a new book by a sex-abuse victim. Sexual abuse is “an absolute monstrosity, a horrendous sin,” the Pope writes, introducing the boko by Daniel...

Australian archbishop decries eugenic approach to abortion

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, has condemned a proposal to liberalize abortion laws in Queensland, and especially the notion that women should be free to abort children who are...

In homily, Pope warns against conflicts within hierarchy

In his homily at a morning Mass on February 13, Pope Francis said that in the absence of a true sense of brotherhood, conflicts can fester and lead to destruction. The Pope spoke about how Cain...

Jerusalem patriarchate denounces Israeli law on seizure of Palestinian property

The Latin-rite Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem has issued a statement decrying a new Israeli law that retroactively legalizes the seizure of Palestinian lands in the West Bank for Jewish...

To combat terrorism, reject ‘unfettered pursuit of profit,’ Vatican envoy tells UN

Addressing a UN session on terrorist attacks on societal infrastructure, the Vatican’s representative called for international action to protect civilians from the deadly...

Cardinal Nichols raps UK restriction on Syrian refugees

England’s leading Catholic prelate has criticized the government’s decision to restrict the number of refugees from Syria. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced that the government...

Vatican disciplines Peruvian founder of lay movement, bars contact with group

Luis Fernando Figari, the Peruvian founder of the Sodality of Christian Life has been barred from contact with the group, after a Vatican-ordered investigation. Figari, who founded the Sodality...

Historic church in Holy Land, damaged by arson in 2014, reopens

The Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, has reopened, more than two years after it was severely damaged by arson. The church—set on the...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 14

USCCB: prelates express solidarity with Middle East’s Christians, other religious minorities

The chairmen of three committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, joined by the chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services, expressed solidarity with the Middle...

Catholic Charities: fundraising campaign to assist migrants, refugees

Catholic Charities USA, the network of diocesan charitable agencies, has launched a four-month, $8-million fundraising campaign to assist “immigrants and refugees of all faiths who are already...

Cardinal Marx welcomes election of Germany’s new president

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the head of the German Bishops’ Conference, welcomed the election of Frank-Walter Steinmeier as the nation’s president. The German president has a largely...

Leading Russian Orthodox official speaks of Ukrainian Catholics’ ‘enmity and hatred’

The chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations delivered an address in Fribourg, Switzerland, to mark the first anniversary of Pope Francis’s historic...

Christian cemetery vandalized in Tunisia

A Christian cemetery has been vandalized in Sfax, a city of 330,000 in Tunisia. The Vatican newspaper infrequently covers such acts of vandalism, but its editors published a report on the...

EU bishops’ commission: ‘preemptive peacebuilding’ should complement defense efforts

Representatives from the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) took part with EU and NATO representatives in a conference devoted to...

Vatican launch for cardinal’s book defending German/Maltese bishops’ reading of Amoris Laetitia

The Vatican press has published a short book by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio arguing that Amoris Laetitia allows for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist in some...

Georgian Orthodox priest accused in plot to poison Patriarch

A Georgian Orthodox priest has been arrested and charged with a plot to murder the Orthodox Patriarch Ilia II. Father Georgy Mamaladze, who handles real-estate affairs for the Georgian...

Russian Orthodox clerics sees joint effort with Catholic Church to help persecuted Christians

The Russian Orthodox Church plans to work closely with the Vatican to call attention to the plight of persecuted Christians. Metropolitan Hilarion, the chief external-affairs spokesman for the...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 15

USCCB urges senators to support Conscience Protection Act

The chairmen of two committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have called upon senators to pass the Conscience Protection Act of 2017 (S. 301), sponsored by Sen. James Lankford...

Valentine’s Day banned in Islamabad

On February 13, a Pakistani court ruled that St. Valentine’s Day could not be promoted in the media or celebrated publicly in Islamabad, the nation’s capital. The celebration of...

Increased security at Cologne cathedral

Stating that “people should have no anxiety when they go to the cathedral,” police officials have announced heightened security measures at Cologne Cathedral. The measures, which will...

Korean missionaries expelled from China

The Chinese government has expelled 32 South Korean Christian missionaries from the country. The missionaries were based in Yanji, and many of them have worked in China for over a decade,...

Kenya’s bishops warn of famine

Some Kenyans are dying of hunger brought on by drought, the chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops said at a recent press conference. Bishop Philip Anyolo spoke of “tales of...

Boast of grace and afflictions, Pope says in reflection on St. Paul and hope

Continuing his weekly series of catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis devoted his February 15 general audience to a text from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Rom....

Pope Francis: indigenous peoples should give informed consent to development projects

Pope Francis received participants in an Indigenous Peoples’ Forum convened by the International Fund for Agricultural Development. “You have come together to identify ways of giving...

Cardinal Burke sent to Guam for sex-abuse trial of archbishop

Cardinal Raymond Burke has traveled to Guam, to take testimony in the canonical trial of Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana. Archbishop Apuron, who has been accused of molesting a number of young...

Council of Cardinals weighs reorganization of Vatican tribunals

At meetings in Rome this week, the Council of Cardinals began to study the prospect for reform of the Vatican’s tribunals. The Council also continued its examination of the offices of the...

Vatican announces awards for Catholic social thought

The Vatican today announced the winners of the 3rd annual “Economy and Society” awards, which recognize efforts to promote Catholic social teaching. The awards, which will be...

Trump administration has not requested meeting with Pontiff

The White House has not yet requested a papal audience with President Donald Trump, Vatican sources have disclosed. President Trump will be in Rome in May for meetings of the G7 industrial leaders....

Vatican worried by populism, nationalism, Secretary of State says

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, said that “all the issues that Italy and the Holy See hold dear were tackled” during bilateral talks this week, marking the anniversary of...

Venezuela: Pope has offered to meet with leaders to help resolve crisis

Pope Francis has indicated a willingness to meet personally with representatives of both the Venezuelan government and the political opposition, in order to re-start talks to address the country’s...

Anglican bishop in South Sudan accuses government troops of atrocities

An Anglican bishop has reported widespread rape of civilian women by troops of South Sudan’s army. Anglican Bishop Paul Yugusk of Lomega said that soldiers stationed at a military outpost near the...

Friar chosen to lead Lenten Retreat for Vatican officials

Father Giulio Michelini, a Franciscan who teaches Biblical theology, has been chosen by Pope Francis to lead the annual Lenten Retreat for the Roman Curia. Father Michelini, who teaches at the...

Cardinal suggests joint commission to study historical Catholic-Orthodox disputes in Ukraine

The president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity has suggested the creation of a joint commission to resolve historical disputes between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the...

Syrian Orthodox bishops assail Patriarch for reverencing Qu’ran

Six bishops of the Syrian Orthodox Church have accused their Patriarch Ignatius Ephem II of “betrayal of the faith,” after the Patriarch made a gesture of respect for the Qu’ran...

Released Thursday, Feb. 16

Historic cathedral transferred back to Russian Orthodox Church

A century after the Bolshevik Revolution, officials in Saint Petersburg, Russia, have returned St. Isaac’s Cathedral to the Russian Orthodox Church. The church, built in 1858 in what was...

Arab bishops discuss migration, other challenges

The Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions has concluded a three-day meeting in Jordan. According to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the prelates heard “poignant...

British prelate: ‘safely reduce’ prison population

Responding to a speech on prisons by a government official, the English bishops’ liaison to prisons called for a reduction in the prison population. “Prisons play an important role in...

South Sudan: bishop demands justice after nun’s murder

Nine months after a Slovak missionary nun was slain in South Sudan, a bishop has demanded information from the government. “We demand [for] justice,” said Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe...

EU bishops’ commission: integrate migrants into a ‘cohesive and welcoming’ society

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), joined by Caritas Europa and eight other Christian organizations, has called upon EU policymakers to give greater...

Pope recalls Saints Cyril and Methodius

Following his February 15 general audience, Pope Francis recalled that the previous day was the liturgical memorial of Saints Cyril and Methodius, apostles of the Slavs and co-patrons of...

Members of European Parliament condemn Trump’s reinstatement of Mexico City policy

A large majority of members of the European Parliament have supported an amendment condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to ban the use of federal funds to promote abortion...

More essential than ever for Catholic hospitals to maintain distinct identity: Cardinal Burke

Catholic health-care institutions are needed today more than ever, Cardinal Raymond Burke told a conference on Catholic hospitals in Ohio last week. “Our country suffers the scourge of an...

Church in Australia has paid over $200 million to sex-abuse victims

The Catholic Church in Australia has paid about $213 million in compensation to sex-abuse victims since 1980, a royal commission has reported. The commissions said that more than 3,000 people...

Cardinal Burke asked chancellor of Knights of Malta to resign, order’s interim leader says

The new acting head of the Knights of Malta has said that it was Cardinal Burke, not the order’s ousted grand master, who asked for the resignation of the chancellor, Albrecht von...

Chaldean patriarchate rejects calls for revenge against ISIS, made by militia groups

A militia leader in Iraq who has called for revenge against the Islamic State has no right to “make such statements involving Christians” and “does not represent them in any...

Venezuelan leftists disrupt Mass, denounce Church involvement in political crisis

Leftists disrupted Mass at a Catholic church in Caracas, Venezuela on February 11, as tensions escalated between the Catholic hierarchy and supporters of the socialist government. Demonstrators...

Released Friday, Feb. 17

USCCB committee chairmen call on President Trump to protect religious liberty

Four bishops who chair committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have called upon President Donald Trump to enact religious-liberty protections. A draft executive order has...

Trump administration keeps Obama’s LGBT envoy

The Trump administration has decided not to eliminate the position of Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, a position created by the Obama administration in 2015. Randy Berry, the...

Iraqi Christian refugees call for quicker resettlement

Demanding speedier resettlement, Iraqi Christian refugees took part in a protest outside a UN office in Beirut on February 13. “We understand the frustration of the refugees that are living...

Pope urges prayer for peace, laments arms trafficking

In his February 16 weekday Mass homily at Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis preached on the tragedy of war and the importance of prayer and work for peace. “In today’s world there...

Pope receives Special Olympics athletes, speaks of joy of sports

Pope Francis received a group of participants in the Special Olympics World Winter Games and spoke about the joy of athletics. “In a way, at the heart of all sporting activity is joy: the...

Texas bishop: Trump’s executive order on refugees is ‘draconian’

In a letter read recently at all Sunday Masses in the Diocese of Fort Worth, Bishop Michael Olson criticized President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees. The prelate said that the...

Pope lashes out at ‘corrupt’ global system, intolerance of foreigners

Pope Francis said that “no people is criminal and no religion is terrorist,” in a message to a California conference of popular movements. “Christian terrorism does not exist,...

Welcome cultural changes, diversity, Pope urges Roman university students

“Migrations are not a danger, but a challenge to grow,” Pope Francis said in a February 17 meeting with students at Roma Tre University. During a visit to the Roman institution, also...

Michael Novak, influential Catholic author and teacher, dead at 83

Michael Novak, the American Catholic author, teacher, and political figure, on February 17 at the age of 83 after a battle with cancer. In his most influential work, The Spirit of Democratic...

Denver archdiocese issues caution on blogger’s ‘visions’

The Denver archdiocese has issued a new caution about the work of a blogger who claims to receive messages from the Virgin Mary. The archdiocese released a statement saying that the predictions...

Egyptian Copt gunned down; Islamic militants suspected

A Coptic schoolteacher was shot and killed in Egypt’s Sinai region on February 16, and officials indicated that a local affiliate of the Islamic State was suspected of orchestrating the...

Released Monday, Feb. 20

USCCB, CRS urge Secretary Tillerson to support Green Climate Fund, clean-energy investments

Two bishops who chair committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, joined by the president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, have called upon Secretary of State Rex Tillerson...

Evangelize with renewed zeal, Pope tells Marians of the Immaculate Conception

Pope Francis received members of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception on February 18 in the midst of their three-week general chapter in Rome. The Marians—officially known as...

Pope to visit Rome’s Anglican church

Pope Francis will visit All Saints’ Anglican Church in Rome on February 26. The visit is part of the church’s commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the first Anglican worship...

Pope Francis: respond to evil with goodness, love family members who are enemies

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 5:43-58), Pope Francis devoted his February 19 Angelus address to the Christian response to evil. “Jesus does not ask his disciples to...

Pope prays for victims of violence in Congo, Pakistan, Iraq

Following the recitation of the Angelus on February 19, Pope Francis asked those gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Kasai-Central...

Pope Francis: praying for evildoers is ‘Christian path to holiness’

Pope Francis visited Castelverde di Lunghezza, a suburb a dozen miles from the center of Rome, and made a pastoral visit to the Church of St. María Josefa of the Heart of Jesus, named after...

House hearing on religious liberty in US

The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing on the state of religious liberty in America. Four people offered testimony at the February...

Cardinal Burke: never asked for resignation of Knights of Malta chancellor

Cardinal Raymond Burke has flatly denied a claim that he asked for the resignation of Albert von Boeselager as chancellor of the Knights of Malta. The cardinal told the National Catholic Register...

Vatican froze over $2 million in suspicious transactions last year

Vatican financial authorities froze more than €2 million ($2.125 million) in funds last year, as part of the continuing crackdown on suspicious financial transactions. Gian Pietro Milano,...

Norma McCorvey dies: plaintiff in Roe v. Wade case, later a pro-life activist

Norma McCorvey who was “Jane Roe” in the Roe v. Wade case, but later became a commited Christian and pro-life activist, died in Texas on February 18 at the age of 69. At first an...

Syrian Orthodox Church weighs special synod to address Patriarch’s gesture of respect for Qu’ran

The Syrian Orthodox Church may convene a special synod session to address tensions that erupted after Patriarch Ignatius Ephem II raised a copy of the Qu’ran, in a gesture of reverence, during...

Rebel troops destroy Catholic seminary in Democratic Republic of Congo

Armed men assaulted a Catholic seminary in Kananga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on February 18, thoroughly ransacking the building before they were driven off by government...

French law requires pro-life web sites ‘openly state’ opposition to abortion

Under a new French law, approved last week by the National Assembly, pro-life activists could face a two-year jail sentence if they operate web sites that do not “openly state who they are,...

Prominent French cleric under investigation for abuse

A prominent French priest and Vatican consultant is being investigated on sex-abuse charges by a Church tribunal, the French daily La Croix reports. Msgr. Tony Anatrella, a therapist with an...

Vancouver archbishop sees ‘lethal crisis’ in drug overdoses

Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver has called attention to “lethal crisis of drug overdoses,” urging Catholic pastors to respond to the problem. The archbishop cited a government...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 21

Pope meets with parish children, charity assistants

During his February 19 visit to a parish in suburban Rome, Pope Francis answered questions from children and spoke with Caritas assistants. The Pope addressed questions about the papacy, his...

Parishes looted, abandoned in Congo

Bishop Félicien Mwanama Galumbulula of Luiza recently spoke with the Fides news agency about the “unimaginable atrocities against peaceful citizens” in the Democratic Republic of...

California bishop praises President Trump’s travel ban

Stating that “I am not against refugees, since I was one myself,” a Chaldean Catholic bishop who ministers in California defended President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on travel...

Ukrainian Catholic leader recalls Cardinal Slipyj’s heroism

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, has written a letter paying tribute to his predecessor, Cardinal Josyf Slipyj (1892-1984), on the 125th...

German Catholics, Lutherans to hold ecumenical festival

The German Bishops’ Conference has announced that Catholics and Lutherans will take part in a major ecumenical festival on September 16 as the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation...

Cardinal Tobin decries populist racism, xenophobia

In an address to the US Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark lamented the “dark clouds gathering” around the United States. The...

Pope Francis discusses duties to migrants, refugees

In an address on migration, Pope Francis discussed how the political community, civil society, and the Church ought to react to the phenomenon of mass migration, especially forced migration. The...

Vatican officials join Egyptian Muslim leaders in conference on combatting extremism

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, travels to Egypt this week to join in a conference at the Al Azhar University on combatting...

Australian bishop: I too was victim of clerical abuse

An Australian bishop has revealed that he himself was a victim of sexual abuse. Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Parramatta told a royal investigating committee that he was abused by a cleric...

Cardinal Desmond Connell, retired Archbishop of Dublin, dead at 90

Cardinal Desmond Connell, the retired Archbishop of Dublin, died on February 20 at the age of 90, after a lengthy illness. Ordained to the priesthood in Dublin in 1951, the future cardinal was...

South African bishop: no violence against foreigners, but strengthen border controls

A South African bishop has condemned a rash of violence against foreigners in that country, and warned that a scheduled public demonstration against immigrants is “cause for serious...

Migrants flooding into Guatemala, heading for US

Hundreds of migrants are pouring into Guatemala, evidently hoping eventually to reach the US, the Fides news service reports. Since the beginning of this calendar year, more than 1,200 people...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 22

Ghana’s bishops to reconsecrate nation to Sacred Heart

As Ghana prepares to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of its independence, the nation’s bishops have announced that they will reconsecrate the nation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Ghana...

Patriarch calls for Lenten prayer for peace in Iraq

The head of the Iraqi-based Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, has called upon the faithful to offer their Lenten prayer and fasting for...

Famine in South Sudan; papal appeal for aid

An estimated 100,000 people in South Sudan are on the verge of starvation, and some 4.9 million are in urgent need to assistance, according to international relief agencies. At the conclusion of...

Egypt: road planned through ancient monastery’s land

The Egyptian government is planning to build a road through land belonging to the Monastery of St. Macarius the Great. The monastery, located between Cairo and Alexandria, was founded around 360,...

San Diego bishop: ‘we must all become disrupters’

In an address to the US Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego called for disruption. “President Trump said he was the candidate of...

Pamphlets in Congo’s capital call for destruction of churches, schools

Pamphlets that are being circulated in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are calling for the destruction of Catholic churches, religious communities, and...

Pope Francis reflects on creation and hope

Continuing his weekly series of catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis devoted his February 15 general audience to a text from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 8:19-27). St....

Vatican warns against misuse of Pope’s image, Holy See’s symbols

The office of the Vatican’s Secretary of State has issued a statement warning against the misuse of the Pope’s image. Prompted by reporters’ questions as to whether this warning...

Jesuit general: all doctrine is subject to discernment

The superior general of the Society of Jesus has said that all Church doctrine must be subject to discernment. In an interview with a Swiss journalist, Father Arturo Sosa Abascal said that the...

Circus troup entertains at papal audience

The Rony Roller circus gave a short performance in St. Peter’s Square at the conclusion of the regular weekly general audience of Pope Francis on February 22. The show included acrobats and...

Cardinal Zen fears Vatican will sell out China’s underground Catholics

Cardinal Joseph Zen voiced his fears that the Vatican is “going to make a very bad agreement with China,” in an interview with LifeSite News. The retired Bishop of Hong Kong said that...

Czech, Slovak prelates cite dangers of immigration surge

A flood of immigrants can pose dangers to society, and a surge in Islamic immigration raises special concerns, two prelates from Slovakia and the Czech Republic said at a conference on religion and...

Cardinal Coccopalmerio insists: no confusion over Amoris Laetitia

Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the author of a new book interpreting Amoris Laetitia, insists that there should be no confusion about the message of the papal document. In an interview with...

Vatican calls for adherence to ceasefire in Ukraine

The Vatican’s UN envoy has urged that “all necessary steps should be taken to enforce the ceasefire in Ukraine.” Archbishop Bernardito Auza spoke of the “grave...

Released Thursday, Feb. 23

Vatican newspaper op-ed cautions against advance end-of-life directives

A palliative care specialist, writing on the front page of L’Osservatore Romano’s February 23 edition, cautioned readers against drafting advance directives for end-of-life...

Popular movements call for sanctuary, disruption; blast racism, ‘all forms of human hierarchy’

Participants in the First US Regional Meeting of Popular Movements issued a “message from Modesto” following a four-day meeting in the California city. Cardinal Peter Turkson and two...

Pope Francis: the Torah manifests the ‘paternal and visceral love of God’

Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka presented Pope Francis with a new edition of the Torah, or first five books of the Old Testament. During their meeting, which took place on February 23 in the...

Border bishops issue statement on immigration

Twenty bishops from Texas and northern Mexico met at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle in San Juan, Texas, and issued a 19-point statement on immigration. In...

Action urged on Planned Parenthood funding

Human Life Action, which works closely with the US bishops on pro-life legislation, has called upon pro-life Americans to urge their senators to rescind a Title X funding rule that went into effect...

Leading Russian Orthodox official laments persecution, says ‘Islamic terrorism’ does not exist

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volkolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, met on February 21 with representative from 11 Arab states. “The...

Venezuelan cardinal: Church will not join crisis talks until elections scheduled

Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino has announced that Catholic bishops will not participate in talks between the Venezuelan government and opposition leaders until elections are scheduled. The talks are...

Better an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic, Pope says

It is better to be a sincere atheist than a hypocritical Catholic, Pope Francis said in a homily at morning Mass on February 23. Speaking about the day’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus...

Papal commission on sexual abuse is floundering, members report

Two members of the special papal commission on sexual abuse said that the group is underfunded and does not meet regularly, in testimony before an Australian royal commission on abuse. Kathleen...

Pope greets Argentine soccer team

Greeting the Argentine soccer team Villareal CF at the Vatican on February 23, Pope Franis said that soccer, “like other sports, is an image of life and society.” The Pope remarked...

Another Catholic aid group involved in condom distribution

The Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) has been involved in condom-distribution programs, the Lepanto Institute has found. The Lepanto Institute cites a number of documents in its analysis of...

Former Vatican bank officials sentenced for financial misconduct

Two former top officials of the Vatican bank have been sentenced to jail terms for violations of Italian financial regulations. Paolo Cipriani, the former executive director of the Institute for...

Cardinal Burke leaves Guam after taking testimony in abuse trial

Cardinal Raymond Burke has left Guam, after taking testimony from witnesses in the sex-abuse trial of Archbishop Anthony Apuron. The American cardinal was sent to Guam in his role as chief judge...

Coptic Christians murdered, Islamic group vows more attacks in Egypt

Two Coptic Christians were shot and killed in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on February 22, continuing a series of attacks on Christians in the region. The killings came shortly after the release...

Released Friday, Feb. 24

Belgian court: religious freedom includes kosher slaughter of animals

A Belgian constitutional court has ruled that the right to religious freedom permits Orthodox Jews to slaughter animals in a kosher manner. After some legislators had sought to take action...

USCCB: bishop decries Homeland Security’s memos on border security

Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, the chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Migration, criticized two memoranda on immigration enforcement and border security issued by the Department of...

Pro-life cooperation between Orthodox, Catholics in Russia

Orthodox and Catholics in Russia are working together to protect unborn human life, an official of Aid to the Church in Need said in an interview. “Unfortunately, abortion is very prevalent...

South Sudan’s bishops lament war crimes; ‘this famine is man-made’

As famine spreads in South Sudan, the nation’s bishops issued a pastoral message in which they pleaded again for an end to the nation’s civil war and decried war crimes committed by both...

European ecumenical initiatives to have greater focus on theology, witness

Representatives of the Conference of European Churches—a fellowship of Orthodox and Protestant communities—met with representatives o the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences...

Over 200 parishes have closed in German diocese

The Diocese of Essen, Germany, celebrated its sixtieth anniversary on February 23. Since 1957, the number of Catholics has declined from 1.4 million to 791,000, in part because of a decline in...

In testimony before abuse commission, Australian prelates split on sacramental seal

Australian prelates faced intense questioning from a royal commission investigating sexual abuse, and gave different responses to questions about the secrecy of sacramental...

Another Copt murdered; Christians begin to flee Sinai peninsula

Another Coptic Christian has been killed by Islamic militants in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula: the 3rd such killing in two days and the 6th in a month. Gunmen burst into the home of Kamel Youssef in...

Pope sees urgent need to protect water supply

Pope Francis underlined the importance of access to water, in a February 24 talk to a conference on that topic organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Access to potable water is a basic...

Released Monday, Feb. 27

Manifest a ‘poor Church with and for the poor,’ Pope tells French bishops’ delegation

Pope Francis received 29 members of the French bishops’ Catholic Delegation for Cooperation on February 25 and thanked them for making “visible a poor Church with and for the...

Pope Francis: be close to couples, announce that marriage is sign of love of Christ and the Church

Pope Francis told parish priests taking part in a course on the canonical annulment process that they “are called by every person and every situation to be traveling companions, to witness and...

Pope deplores discrimination against persons with disabilities

Pope Francis received members of the Capodarco Community on February 25 and decried discrimination against the disabled. The community, founded in 1966 by Father Franco Monterubbianesi, works...

Pope Francis: entrust yourself to the Father rather than to the pursuit of mammon

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 6:24-34), Pope Francis said in his February 26 Angelus address that God’s “beneficent and solicitous gaze watches daily over our...

Pope visits Anglican church in Rome, recalls St. Paul’s humility in face of divisions

Pope Francis visited All Saints’ Anglican Church in Rome on February 26 as part of the church’s commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the first Anglican worship service in...

Pope considering visit to South Sudan

During a visit to All Saints’ Anglican Church in Rome, Pope Francis said that he is considering a visit to war-torn South Sudan. The nation’s Catholic, Anglican, and Presbyterian...

SSPX near purchase of headquarters in Rome; rumors swirl of agreement with Vatican

The traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is reportedly close to an agreement to purchase a parish property in Rome that could become its headquarters, and rumors are swirling in Rome that the...

Report: Pope has eased penalties on some abusive clerics

Pope Francis has intervened to lighten the penalties assessed against some priests found guilty of sexual abuse, according to an AP report. Citing informed Vatican sources, AP says that the...

Hundreds of Copts in flight from Sinai peninsula after murders, threats

Hundreds of Coptic Christians have fled from their homes in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula after a series of targeted murders by Islamic extremists, the AsiaNews service reports. Seven Christians...

Vatican moves eight candidates toward beatification

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints has released a series of decrees, attesting to the martyrdom of one candidate for beatification, and the heroic virtue of seven...

Knights of Malta chancellor confirms: former grand master asked for resignation

Albert von Boeselager, whose dismissal from his post as chancellor of the Knights of Malta sparked a crisis within the fraternal order, has confirmed that it was the group’s former grand...

President of Pontifical Academy for Life salutes deceased Italian politician who led fight for legal abortion

The head of the Pontifical Academy for Life eulogized an Italian politician who led the fight for legal divorce and abortion in that country. Archbishop Vincenzio Paglia, who was appointed last...

US bishops welcome Trump’s decision to reverse Obama transgender rule

Two leading US prelates have welcome the decision by President Donal Trump to reverse an executive order, made by former President Obama, requiring public schools to treat “transgender”...

New monastery in Ireland is first since Reformation

Bishop Michael Smith of Meath presided on February 25 at the foundation of a new Benedictine monastery in his diocese: the first new monastery to be established in Ireland since the 16th century,...

Detailed photos capture frescoes in Sistine Chapel

The Vatican Museums have announced the completion of a project that produced life-sized, detailed photos of the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. The collection of 220 photos, taken using special...

Slovenia gives same-sex couples most legal rights

Slovenia has enacted new legislation that gives same-sex partnerships the same legal rights as male-female marriages, except that homosexuals are not allowed adopt children or conceive children...

Melkite Catholic prelates reach agreement, end ‘open rebellion’

At a meeting in Lebanon last week, the Synod of the Melkite Catholic Church reached an accord ending a heated dispute that had led Patriarch Gregory III Laham to say that some bishops were in...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 28

Prelate decries rising anti-Semitism

The Massachusetts prelate who chairs the US bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs deplored recent anti-Semitic incidents. “I want to express our deep sympathy,...

Convert to Christianity reportedly tortured in Syria after church publicized baptism

A case decided by the Oklahoma Supreme Court has brought to light the dangers that converts to Christianity face in Syria. John Doe, the pseudonym of the convert, was a Syrian who lived in the...

US missionary missing in Niger

Four months after his abduction in Niger, an American missionary remains missing. Jeff Woodke, 55, worked for Youth with a Mission and assisted the residents of Abalak with literacy, agriculture,...

Anglican leader reflects on papal visit

Robert Innes, the Anglican bishop in Europe, reflected on Pope Francis’s historic February 26 visit to the Anglican church in Rome. “This was the first time a Bishop of Rome had...

Iraq: patriarch blesses giant cross in liberated town

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, blessed a giant cross in Telekuf-Tesqopa, a town recently liberated from the rule of ISIS. The prelate described the...

EU bishops’ commission issues social justice recommendations

Commemorating the UN’s World Day of Social Justice, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has issued six recommendations to help combat poverty in...

Medjugorje bishop: reported apparitions are ‘not credible’

Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, in whose diocese Medjugorje is located, has issued a public statement repeating his insistence that “there have been no apparitions of Our Lady in...

In interview with homeless magazine, Pope stresses acceptance of refugees

Pope Francis has given a new interview, to an Italian magazine put out by homeless people. In his session with Scarp de’ tenis (“Tennis Shoes”), a publication subsidized by the...

Pontifical Academy for Life, emptied of members, delays annual assembly

The Pontifical Academy for Life has postponed its annual assembly, because at the moment the Academy has no members other than the new president, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia. Last year Pope...

Michigan priest sues SNAP for defamation

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has been hit with a new lawsuit, by a Michigan priest who charges that the group defamed and libeled him. The lawsuit filed by Father...

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