Stories for September 2017

Released Saturday, Sep. 2

Pope Francis’s telegram of condolence following death of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor

Pope Francis: Message for the Holy See’s national day at the 2017 world’s fair (full text)

The theme of the 2017 world's fair (officially called Expo 2017), which is taking place in Kazakhstan, is "Future Energy"; the Holy See's pavilion has the theme of "Energy for the Common Good: Caring for our Common Home." Accordingly, the Holy Father, in his brief message, reflects on the use of energy resources.

Papal audiences: September 2

The Pope received Cardinal Ouellet (the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops), the Italian ambassador, three nuncios, and members of the Korean Council of Religious Leaders.

Pope addresses Korean Council of Religious Leaders (full text)

The Pontiff called for a "shared commitment to various issues: the sacred dignity of the human person, the hunger and poverty which still afflict too many peoples, the rejection of violence, in particular that violence which profanes the name of God and desecrates religion, the corruption that gives rise to injustice, moral decay, and the crisis of the family, of the economy and, not least of all, the crisis of hope."

Released Monday, Sep. 4

Pope Francis: Angelus address on Matthew 16:21-29; prayer for hurricane, flood victims

Pope Francis devoted his September 3 Sunday Angelus address to the Gospel passage of the day (Matthew 16:21-27). After reflecting on the passage, he prayed: May Mary Most Holy, who followed...

Colombian bishop asks president to address insecurity, violence in Quibdo

Bishops of Mexico, Central American nations call for protection of migrants’ rights

Kenyan high court nullifies presidential election result

The Vatican newspaper covered this story on the top of its front page.

UN leader calls for restraint, calm in Myanmar to avert humanitarian catastrophe

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the nation in late November.

With Vatican approval, bishops of England, Wales restore traditional dates of Epiphany, Ascension

"The Bishops' Conference is to be lauded for taking this decision," Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said in an August letter.

Thriving Ukrainian Catholic parish in abandoned Pennsylvania mining town

Member of German bishops’ justice and peace commission appeals for family farms, sustainable agriculture

Russian Orthodox patriarch lauds effects of 2016 meeting with Pope Francis

In an address to the Third Summer Theological Institute for Catholic Priests, Patriarch Kirill praised the impact of the February 2016 meeting in Havana with Pope Francis. The patriarch also took aim at "uniatism" (the Eastern Catholic churches).

Catholic bishop protects 2,000 Muslim refugees in Central African Republic

US Bishops’ anti-racism committee chair: pray for peace in our communities

Bishop George Murry called for prayer on September 9, the feast of St. Peter Claver and the US bishops' annual Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities.

Cardinal DiNardo on Hurricane Harvey: God hears the prayers of His faithful

US Catholic China Bureau holds conference

The article's author is a Protestant who delivered a talk the conference.

Arizona, New Mexico bishops support DACA’s continuance

727 Hondurans have disappeared en route to US, Church agency says

Catholic faith at the core of Walsh University

EEOC: Sam’s Club violated 1964 Civil Rights Act by discriminating against transgendered person

The link will take readers to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's determination letter (PDF).

French ecumenical initiative marks 80 years with discussion of catholicity

Father Paul Couturier (1881-1953), a French ecumenical pioneer, established the Dombes Group in 1937.

Nuncio begins mission in Niger, 2 years after appointment

More than two years after his appointment by Pope Francis, Archbishop Piergiorgio Bertoldi has begun his diplomatic mission in the largely Muslim nation of Niger. In 2015, dozens of churches were burned down in the African nation; the prelate observed reconstruction efforts and celebrated Mass in a parish that had been rebuilt.

Report: Nigerian Christians who flee Boko Haram face persecution, discrimination in refugee camps

Leadership of Synod of Bishops to host seminar on condition of youth

Catholic-Orthodox committee to plan next stage in theological dialogue

The last stage culminated in a document on synodality and primacy in the first millennium.

Papal audiences: September 4

The Pontiff received an Argentine bishop, the founder of the Neocatechumenal Way, and the bishops of Honduras.

Canon lawyer critiques Australian Jesuit’s acceptance of same-sex marriage

Canon-law expert Edward Peters responds to Father Frank Brennan's announcement that he favors legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Peters dismisses Father Brennan’s explanation that civil marriage is a separate matter from the Catholic ideal of marriage. Peters explains the relationship between civil and sacramental marriage. In the process he also explains the requirement of “canonical form”—which can complicate the discussion, but does not alter the fundamental character of marriage.

Vatican urges action against exploitation of migrants by human traffickers

"Irregular migration is not freely chosen, but rather forced on people because legal and secure channels are simply not available," a Vatican spokesman says, in a statement urging world leaders to protect migrants from exploitation.

Cardinal Cupich: some of the best Christians don’t have faith

Chicago's Cardinal Blase Cupich speaks of parish closings, politics, and secularization in a wide-ranging interview. Speaking about the question of unbelief, he says that "some of the greatest Christians I know are people who don’t actually have a faith system that they believe in, but in their activity, in the way they conduct themselves, there is a goodness there.” 

Beatification cause opened for papal envoy who strengthened Church in China

The Diocese of Concordia-Pordenone, Italy, has opened a cause for the beatification of Cardinal Celso Costantini (1876–1958), who was appointed the Vatican's first apostolic delegate to China in 1922. His work is credited with giving the Chinese hierarchy the organizational strength that ensured the survival of the "underground" Church in the Communist era. The process for his beatification is likely to be slow, because of remaining tensions between Rome and Beijing.

Late British cardinal lobbied for election of Pope Francis, new book claims

The late Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor held a reception in Rome just before the 2013 conclave to encourage cardinals from the British Commonwealth nations to support the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, according to a new book.

The British cardinal, who died last week, was ineligible to participate in the papal election because of his age. But he joined in pre-conclave talks and organized a reception at the British embassy to discuss his enthusiasm for the Argentine cardinal. That account appears in a forthcoming book, The Keys and the Kingdom” Britain and the Papacy from John Paul II to Francis, by Catherine Pepinster, the former editor of the Catholic weekly The Tablet.

If the report of the reception is accurate, it would seem to be a clear violation of the rule against lobbying before a conclave.

Filipino bishop fears for hostages’ safety as troops liberate Marawi from terrorist control

As the Filipino military completes its drive to oust Islamic terrorists who had sought to seize the city of Marawi, Bishop Edwin de La Pena pleads for a cautious approach that will safeguard the lives of hostages captured in the city’s cathedral.
"Unfortunately, there are no negotiations,” the bishop reports, “because the militants are extremists and in their hate ideology they have left no room for dialogue. Moreover President Duterte has chosen the hard line and there are no channels for possible negotiations.”

Chaldean Patriarch rebukes US-based critics for ‘unrealistic’ goals

The Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Baghdad has dismissed criticism from a group called the Chaldean National Congress, saying that the US-based organization has sought to "use the Chaldean name for personal interests." The Patriarchate said that the group has made no positive contribution to the effort to provide security for Christians living in the Nineveh Plains.

Mexican bishop: judiciary has lost credibility

A Mexican bishop says that the judiciary system has 'lost credibility' after the leader of a powerful drug-trafficking gang was released shortly after his arrest. "Impunity exists," said Bishop Rutilo Muñoz Zamora of Coatzacoalcos.

Nigerian priest murdered

Father Cyriacus Onunkwo was taken from his vehicle on September 1; his body was found in a neighboring town the next day. Police see the killing as "a clear case of abduction and murder."

Prize-winning reporter shows ‘reckless disregard for truth’ in series on priests’ children, analyst argues

Boston Globe reporter Michael Rezendes won a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for his involvement in the “Spotlight” series that tore open the sex-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. But in a new “Spotlight” series, on children fathered by priests, Rezendes ignores some facts and invents others, argues Thomas Nash in this Catholic World Report critique. In fact Nash argues that in a television interview with CBS This Morning, Rezendes showed a “reckless disregard for the truth”—the standard for libel.

Released Tuesday, Sep. 5

Pope Francis: video message to Colombian people ahead of apostolic journey (English text)

The Pope's apostolic journey to Colombia begins on September 6. To watch the Spanish-language video, click here.

Pope meets with members of Shalom community, answers questions extemporaneously

Pope Francis met in Paul VI Audience Hall with a large crowd from Shalom, a Brazilian charismatic community founded in 1982 that was later recognized as an international association of the faithful. Click here for video coverage of the September 4 audience.

British diplomat: papal visit ‘extremely important’ for fostering Colombian peace, reconciliation

Holy See calls for renewed efforts to combat human trafficking, help victims

Father Michael Czerny, head of the Vatican delegation, made his remarks at the UN's 5th thematic session this year on facilitating safe, orderly, and regular migration.

Pakistan’s Catholics to observe 2018 as Year of the Eucharist

Syrian archbishop sees little chance of internationally recognized autonomous Kurdish territory

The prelate's cathedral is located in the largest city in Rojava, a self-declared Syrian Kurdish autonomous region.

South Korea continues military drills after North Korean nuclear test

The Vatican newspaper's report on North Korea's latest nuclear test appeared on the top of the front page.

Rohingya crisis: Myanmar blocks all UN aid to civilians

Pope Francis will visit Myanmar in late November.

German bishops’ conference is part of alliance against xenophobia, violence, and hatred

Other members of the Alliance for World-Openness, Solidarity, Democracy, and the Rule of Law include Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim groups, as well as organizations associated with employers, trade unions, and the Olympics.

Russian diplomat: spread of Islam in Europe promotes cooperation beween Vatican, Orthodox

Chicago archdiocese to receive relic of St. Teresa of Calcutta

Pennsylvania school pays settlement, must permit transgendered students to use ‘pronouns and restrooms’ of their choice

Cardinal Marx, Lutheran leader issue joint statement on German election

The two spoke in favor of European unity and immigration and warned against “discrediting or excluding” anyone on the basis of “faith, color of the skin, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.”

Chile’s Bachelet introduces same-sex marriage legislation

Pope Francis will visit the nation in January 2018.

China: officials demolish parish buildings; 10 protestors injured

India: pro-Hindu ruling party names Catholic as nation’s tourism minister

Who Is the “Bad Shepherd”? Characteristics and biblical images proposed by Pope Francis

Father Diego Javier Fares, an Argentine Jesuit, notes that Pope Francis has said that a good shepherd has "the smell of the sheep." The bad shepherd, on the other hand, is the one who "sells, or rather, undersells the inheritance received freely."

Ecumenical Patriarch is keynote speaker at Bose conference on Orthodox spirituality

The Bose Monastic Community is an Italian ecumenical monastery founded in 1965 by Enzo Bianchi, a Catholic layman. This year's conference--the 25th annual conference--begins on September 6 and is devoted to "the gift of hospitality."

30 Vatican employees train for interreligious marathon

Cathedral shrine to Mother Teresa dedicated in Kosovo

The Pope's special envoy for the September 5 dedication is Cardinal Ernest Simoni, 88, who suffered torture and imprisonment under Albania's Communist regime.

Taizé leader emphasizes centrality of the Bible

The French ecumenical monastic community was founded in 1940 and hosts thousands of young adults every summer.

Resignations and appointments: September 5

US bishops denounce Trump’s ‘reprehensible’ decision to end program for children of immigrants

Dissident Irish priests argue against implementing all-male diaconate

As Irish bishops consider a plan to train the country's first permanent deacons, the Association of Catholic Priests-- a group that has called for major changes in Church teachings-- suggests postponing implementation until a Vatican commission on female deacons reports its findings.

Irish national seminary to begin year with all-time low enrollment

Pope’s visit to Colombia will be primarily pastoral, nuncio says

While the Colombian government's peace agreement with rebel groups may dominate the headlines, Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, the apostolic nuncio in Colombia, tells Vatican Radio that "the Pope himself has underlined the pastoral nature of his visit." The Pope's trip-- the 20th voyage of his pontificate-- will begin on September 6 with his arrival in Bogota. he will make stops in Villavicencio, Medellin, and Cartagena before returning to Rome on Monday, September 11. The last papal visit to Colombia was by Pope John Paul II, 31 years ago.

Scotland consecrated to Immaculate Heart of Mary

Soaking rain was no deterrent as 5,000 Catholics joined their bishops in the consecration of Scotland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The ceremony took place at the Marian shrine of Carfin.

English bishops move Epiphany, Ascension back to traditional days

Mother Teresa named co-patron of Calcutta archdiocese

Archbishop Thomas D'Souza announced that Mother Teresa will be Calcutta's 2nd patron saint, alongside St. Francis Xavier.

Holy See calls for UN ban on cluster munitions

An international convention is not effective, since some of the world's most powerful nations-- the US, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Israel, and Pakistan-- have not accepted it.

National Public Radio profiles beer-brewing Benedictines in Norcia, rebuilding after earthquakes

Christian patriarchs protest breaches of ‘status quo’ agreement on religious sites in Jerusalem

The "status quo" is the agreement, dating back to the Ottoman Empire, that protects the existing arrangements of religious bodies in the Holy Land. Orthodox and Catholic leaders united in a statement protesting Israeli policy decisions that, they say, undermine the "laws, agreements, and regulations that have ordered our life for centuries."

Vatican: no meeting schedule for Pope, Iraqi leader al Sadr

Last week a spokesman for Muqtada al Sadr said that the Iraqi Shi'ite leader would meet with Pope Francis during a forthcoming trip to Europe. The Vatican has revealed that no such meeting is scheduled, nor has any request for a meeting been received.

Colombian rebel group announces ceasefire before Pope’s visit

The ELN is the smaller of two groups that have been fighting the government for years. The larger group, the FARC, had already struck a peace agreement.

Cardinal in Central African Republic: militia groups are not Christian

Released Wednesday, Sep. 6

The Pope’s apostolic journey to Colombia (Sept. 6-11): links to itinerary, text of all talks

Colombia: the Church’s efforts on behalf of peace, reconciliation

Since 1964, the Colombian conflict has claimed over 175,000 lives and displaced over 4.7 million people.

Through REPAM, bishops of Colombia, other nations promote ecology of Amazon basin

Guatemala’s bishops come to defense of apostolic nuncio

Guatemala's bishops expressed "deep indignation for the unfounded accusations spread by a daily newspaper" after a paper (La Hora) reported that the apostolic nuncio helped arrange a meeting at which the nation's president announced the firing of a UN anti-corruption official. The bishops had earlier denounced the firing.

Myanmar’s bishops ask Pope not to use term ‘Rohingya’ in defending minorities

New threats from North Korea

The Vatican newspaper gave this story front-page coverage in its September 6 edition.

123,000 Rohingya refugees flee Myanmar in under 2 weeks

Pope Francis will visit Myanmar in late November.

Michael Cromartie (1950-2017) remembered as evangelical apostle to the media

Kosovo’s Muslims, Catholics come together at dedication of cathedral in honor of Mother Teresa

Diocesan phase of Cardinal Otunga’s beatification process completed

The Nairobi cardinal, still recalled with much fondness in Kenya, died 14 years ago.

Canada’s bishops offer prayers, express concern for Hurricane Harvey victims

Sociologist Mark Regnerus Takes on the Economics of Cheap Sex

Study Lays Out Growing Post-Christian Landscape of America

Venezuelan government agency shuts down Catholic radio station, then permits it to reopen

Transgender case: court allows PA school district to continue violating student privacy

Brain Injury and the Civil Right We Don’t Think About

A medical ethics professor discusses the lack of adequate care for those in a minimally conscious state. "Legal protections have eluded this population precisely because they have been disenfranchised by their injury," he writes. "They have fallen outside the scope of legal protections and been subject to abuse and neglect."

Court Upholds California Requirement That Health Plans Cover Abortions

New Hong Kong bishop calls for ‘healthy realism’ in dealings with China

Boko Haram’s renewed campaign sparks sharp rise in civilian deaths

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, who signed dubia, dead at 79

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, the retired Archbishop of Bologna, Italy, died on September 6 at the age of 79. Cardinal Caffarra was one of the four cardinals who submitted dubia to Pope Francis,...

Rising figure in British Conservative Party takes firm pro-life stand

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Catholic lawmaker who has been touted as future Conservative Party leader, states: "Life is sacrosanct and begins at the point of conception." Rees-Mogg also indicated that he is firmly opposed to same-sex marriage. 

Spanish archbishop sacks philosopher who criticized Pope’s apostolic exhortation

Josef Seifert was dismissed from his post at the International Academy of Philosophy by Archbishop Javier Martinez Fernandez of Granada. The archbishop said that Seifert's criticism of Amoris Laetitia "damages the communion of the Church, confuses the faith of the faithful, and sows distrust in the successor fo St. Peter."

China to become world’s most populous Christian nation?

If current trends continue, China will have more Protestant residents than any other country in the world by 2025, a Purdue sociologist calculates.

India: journalist who criticized Hindu-nationalist leadership assassinated

Gauri Lankesh, a leftist who styled herself as a "secular, non-sectarian citizen," and criticized the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, was shot and killed near her home.

Pope begins trip to Colombia

Pope Francis left Rome on Wednesday morning, September 6, to begin the 20th foreign trip of his pontificate: a visit to Colombia. The Pontiff is scheduled to arrive in Bogota at 4:30 in the...

Official of bishops’ conference in South Sudan released on bail after arrest on food-poisoning charge

Filipino bishop: preach boldly, even in the face of government hostility

"We must teach even if they threaten us," said Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, the former president of the Filipino bishops' conference. "We must tech even if they kill us, and if they kill us our message will echo even more because the best way to teach is through martyrdom."

Papal greeting to 25th International Ecumenical Conference of Orthodox Spirituality

Released Thursday, Sep. 7

Pope Francis: Message for the opening of the 25th International Ecumenical Conference on Orthodox Spirituality at Bose, Italy

Pope Francis: Telegrams to heads of state during flight to Colombia

Colombian cardinal: papal visit ‘really very important’ at this moment in nation’s history

Pope Francis arrives in Colombia

Click here for video of the welcoming ceremony.

The Pope’s visit to Colombia and the knots to unravel

Omnis Terra is published by the Pontifical Mission Societies.

Lawmaker calls on Egypt’s PM to publish regulations on church construction

Protests against Trump DACA decision

The Vatican newspaper placed its coverage of President Trump's decision--and the protests against it--on the top of the front page on September 7.

In video sent to Pope, leading Colombian drug trafficker offers to surrender

UN reacts to North Korean nuclear threat

The Vatican newspaper gave this story front-page coverage on September 7.

Vatican foreign minister: respect treaties that call for protection of refugees

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States, made his remarks during a panel discussion in Slovenia.

Pope, en route to Colombia, asks journalists to pray for peace in Venezuela

Indian archbishop: abuse charge against priest is government harassment

In Sudan, Christian refugee children must recite Islamic prayers before being fed

Interview with Caritas leader on Colombia and the papal visit

Human-Trafficking Fighters Hope for Lift From Proposed New Legislation

Court Sides With Wisconsin Photographer Who Declines to Cover Same-Sex Weddings

The court ruled that the photographer is exempt from some anti-discrimination laws because she does not have a storefront.

Theme of Brazilian bishops’ annual ‘Cry of the Excluded’ initiative: struggle for human rights, democracy

"The people need to occupy the streets in a conscious and organized way to gain, defend, and guarantee their rights," said Bishop Angélico Sândalo Bernardino, the retired prelate who is in charge of the initiative.

Argentine bishops commemorate World Day of Prayer for Creation with interreligious prayer at mosque

The "moment of prayer and union," attended by Catholics, Jews, and Muslims, took place at the Al Ahmad Mosque in Buenos Aires. The theme of the bishops' reflection for the day was water as a gift from God and a human right.

Vatican tribunal continues hearings in misappropriated-fund case

A Vatican tribunal held a 2nd hearing on September 7 in a case involving the alleged misappropriation of funds by two former administrators of the Bambino Gesu hospital. After a short session,...

US bishops join pro-life groups in support of Conscience Protection Act

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has joined with 32 pro-life groups in appeal to the House of Representatives to pass the Conscience Protection Act, which protects the rights of health-care personnel to avoid involvement in abortion procedures. "Even many 'pro-choice' Americans realize that the logic of their position requires them to respect a choice not to be involved in abortion," the statement reads.

Former Trump aide Bannon says Catholic Church has ‘economic interest’ in immigration

Steve Bannon, the former White House strategist, charged that American Catholic bishops have pressed for immigration reform because "they need illegal aliens to fill the churches." Bannon said that the bishops have "an economic interest in unlimited immigration."

Senators question Catholic faith of judicial nominee

During Judiciary Committee hearings on two nominees for the federal judiciary, Democratic senators questioned Notre Dame Law professor Amy Coney Barrett about her Catholic faith. "The dogma lives loudly in you," Senator Dianne Feinstein of California told Barrett.

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, who identifies himself as a Catholic, said that "going into a person's religion is not the right thing to do in every circumstance." But he defended his questioning of Barrett because "she's been outspoken." Article VI, Section III of the US Constitution stipulates that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Illinois authorities ask court to hold ex-priest as ‘sexually violent person’

Daniel McCormack, who was first ordained and later retained in ministry despite evidence of sexual misconduct, has completed a prison sentence, but authorities argue that he remains a threat. The Chicago archdiocese has paid several million dollars in damages to McCormack's victims.

Pope praises National Hockey League statement on sportsmanship

Pope’s first day in Colombia: stress on reconciliation

In the first full day of his visit to Colombia, September 7, Pope Francis said that he was making “a journey of peace and reconciliation,” and spoke consistently about the need for...

Released Friday, Sep. 8

The Pope’s apostolic journey to Colombia: video coverage of latest events

Rohingya endure fresh hardship as camps hit breaking point

In its September 8 edition, L'Osservatore Romano devoted front-page coverage to this French media report.

Surge in priestly vocations in Indonesian diocese

Much of the growth comes from vocations to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, a religious institute founded by Blessed Jules Chevalier in 1854. Since its founding in 1919, the Diocese of Manado has been governed by a bishop who is a member of the institute.

Kenyan bishops: respect Supreme Court decision that invalidated presidential election

This Reuters article offers helpful background information on Kenya's electoral crisis.

Xi tells Trump China is committed to North Korea’s denuclearization

The Vatican newspaper devoted front-page coverage to this story in its September 8 edition.

Maronite bishops concerned about salary increase for public school teachers

Over two-thirds of students in Lebanon are educated in private schools, and a recently announced public school salary increase potentially affects private schools' continued viability. The archbishop of Beirut asks, "If they [private schools] stop working, will the State be able to provide education for these students?"

Irish bishops hold 2-hour meeting with new prime minister

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who assumed office in June, is openly homosexual and has announced a 2018 abortion referendum.

USCCB spokesman responds to ‘outrageous and insulting’ claims about bishops’ immigration position

After former Trump aide Bannon said that the Church has ‘economic interest’ in immigration, the chief spokesman for the US bishops' conference said that "this isn't Catholic partisanship. The Bible is clear: welcoming immigrants is indispensable to our faith ... Our pro-immigration stance is based on fidelity to God's word and honors the American dream. For anyone to suggest that it is out of sordid motives of statistics or financial gain is outrageous and insulting."

As US focuses on Harvey and Irma, Catholic Relief Services works on world’s other crises

Miami archbishop suspends weekend Masses, parish activities as hurricane approaches

"Due to the emergency and for their safety, the faithful are dispensed from their obligation to attend Mass this weekend," Archbishop Thomas Wenski said. "Parish priests should follow instructions of civil authorities regarding need for evacuation in their area."

Vatican newspaper pays tribute to Robert Hugh Benson book

Both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have praised "Lord of the World," the 1907 apocalyptic novel by Father Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914). The Vatican newspaper has now published an article praising Benson's " Friendship of Christ," a collection of sermons published in 1912.

America’s Changing Religious Identity

11% of Americans are "white Catholic," 7% are "Hispanic Catholic," and 2% are "other nonwhite Catholic," according to the new report. Catholics in the South now outnumber Catholics in the Northeast or Midwest, and the majority of Catholics under 30 are Latino. The report also found that 24% of Americans are religiously unaffiliated.

Nineveh Christians rebuild their homes, but threats remain in Iraq

"I am optimistic, yes, very optimistic," said a Syriac Catholic archbishop. "When you look around the villages, you see that life is back again."

As German police attempt to deport refugees, hundreds of churches are trying to shelter them

Cardinal Ravasi condemns cult of ‘Santa Muerte’

The president of the Pontifical Council for Culture decried the "depravities, blasphemies, and idolatries" associated with the "perverse cult among Mexican narcos."

Evangelize with joy, Pope urges Latin American bishops

Speaking to the Latin American bishops' conference, CELAM, on the 2nd day of his visit to Colombia, Pope Francis said that evangelization should always be a call to "the encounter with the living Christ." He urged the region's bishops to expand the roles played in the Church by women and young people. And he insisted: "Without joy, we attract no one."

Nigerian ex-policeman arrested, charged with priest’s killing

A former police officer was charged with masterminding a kidnapping syndicate, allegedly responsible for the abduction and murder of Father Cyriacus Onunkwo.

Cardinal Nichols foresees revival of faith in Britain

In a new book, Hope in Action, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster argues that a climate of mistrust in religion is finally breaking, and more people are open to faith. The book is a collection of the cardinal's speeches and statements.

Venezuelan cardinal: ‘we cannot give up’ in struggle against Maduro government

"We cannot lose hope, we cannot give up," said Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas, speaking of the Venezuelan bishops' opposition to the regime of President Nicolas Maduro. The cardinal spoke after he and other Venezuelan bishops met privately with Pope Francis in Bogota.

Pope pleads for reconciliation at Mass in Bogota

Pope Francis exhorted the faithful to lift the "thick darkness" that has hung over Colombia during years of civil war, as he celebrated an outdoor Mass in Bogota. The Pontiff insisted on an end to the "thirst for vengeance and the hatred which stains the hands of those who would right wrongs on their own authority." An estimated 1 million people attended the papal Mass-- among them, many who have suffered because of the long struggle between Colombia's government and rebel guerrillas, and many refugees from the current political unrest in neighboring Venezuela.

Cardinal Dolan rips Bannon’s ‘preposterous and rather insulting’ statement on bishops’ immigration stand

"And the Bible is so, so clear that to treat the immigrant with dignity and respect.. is a Biblical mandate."

Vatican envoy addresses UN panel on culture of peace in childhood development

Priest recommends cremation in India, cites shortage of burial spaces

Q&A with Anthony Esolen on writing, poetry, literature

Cardinal Bertone: not a defendant, but main focus of Vatican trial on misappropriated funds

John Allen observes that in the trial of two former Bambino Gesu Hospital executives, the most interesting questions involve the former Vatican Secretary of State. "In some ways, one wonders if Bertone, at least in terms of his reputation, might have been better off if prosecutors actually had indicted him."

Extremists fuel conflict involving peaceful Rohingyas, bishop reports

Bishop Alexander Pyone Cho of Pyay, Myanmar, says that the Rohingya minority is peaceful, but extremists have "generated more and more violence" against the minority group. The area struck by the violence is completely closed, the bishop reports, and no reliable news is available about recent developments.

Syrian President Assad visits Orthodox monastery

Archbishop Lori criticizes Senators for ‘deeply disappointing’ questioning of judicial nominee

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the US bishops' committee on religious freedom, said that the questioning of Notre Dame law professor Amy Barrett by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which concentrated on her Catholic faith, was "offensive to basic human rights." The archbishop said that the questions "harken back to a time in our country when anti-Catholic bigotry did distort our laws and civil order."

Released Monday, Sep. 11

Curial reform is 75% complete, says Council of Cardinal Advisors’ secretary

Pope Francis offers final greetings to Colombia

Pope Francis: Letter for International Meeting of Prayer for Peace (Germany)

The Pope in Colombia: Vatican Radio coverage

Vatican Radio has offered extensive coverage of the Pope's apostolic journey, posting over 40 English-language stories.

North Carolina court upholds statute allowing lawsuits for adultery

+Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, 81

The prelate oversaw the reform of the Legionaries of Christ and served as president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See from 2008 to 2011.

At least 270,000 Rohingya flee Myanmar violence in 2 weeks, UN says

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Myanmar in late November.

Vatican foreign minister visits Iran

Archbishop Paul Gallagher said that "the Catholic community in Iran has an important role and is fully respected."

Church leaders pray for victims of quake off Mexican coast

Resignations and Appointments (September 8)

Resignations and Appointments (September 9)

Cardinal Parolin on migration, cultural identity, and globalization

The Vatican Secretary of State's essay appears on page 8.

Grammy winner composes arias based on St. John Paul’s poetry

US blasts UN support of China’s birth control policy

"As long as UNFPA supports or participates in any program of coercive birth limitation, the United States will not fund UNFPA," said a US diplomat.

China passes new religious regulations ‘to prevent extremism’

"Freedom in all sectors of society has been shrinking since Xi Jinping came into power," one analyst observes.

Iran: Christian children required to study Islam or leave school

Same-sex marriage: Justice Dept. supports Christian baker in brief filed with Supreme Court

Cuba: hurricane causes cancellation of annual Marian pilgrimage

Stained glass windows of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson removed from Episcopal Church’s National Cathedral

Council of Cardinals holding 24th meeting to plan Curia reforms

Filipino cardinal: country cannot be ruled by killing

Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila insists that "the country cannot be governed by violence," as Filipino Church leaders continue to denounce the vigilante campaign against drug traffickers, encouraged by President Duterte, which is responsible for 1,000 extra-judicial killings a month.

India: Christian activists urge Church leaders to speak out on Hindu violence

Indian archbishop objects to compulsory school attendance on Sunday

India's government has proposed mandatory attendance for elementary-school students next Sunday, to mark the birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Archbishop Andrews Thazhath of Thrissur says the proposal is "against the spirit and deed of the constitution."

Lay council in Nigeria’s Ahiara diocese refuses to accept bishop

A council of lay leaders in the Nigerian diocese of Ahiara has announced that Bishop Peter Okpaleke “has no place in the Ahiara diocese.” Their public statement rejects a demand from Pope Francis and a plea from the country’s bishops for acceptance of the bishop appointed in 2012.

Notre Dame President Jenkins raps Senator Feinstein for attack on judicial nominee

Father John Jenkins takes California Senator Diane Feinstein to task for questioning the Catholic faith of Amy Barrett (a Notre Dame law professor). "It is chilling to hear from a United States Senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge," Father Jenkins writes.

Pope bruised in minor popemobile accident

Pope Francis suffered bruises on his face when he stumbled into a bar on the popemobile as it lurched through a crowd in Cartagena, Colombia, on Sunday, September 10. The Pope was cut over his left eye and sported a very visible bruise under it, but was not seriously hurt and continued with his scheduled appearances. "I was punched," he joked, explaining his battered appearance.

Kansas City (Kansas) archdiocese puts priest on leave, probes ‘financial irregularities’

Vatican lists all Chinese bishops: a sign of impasse in talks with Beijing

The Vatican publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, has published a listing of all the Catholic dioceses in China, with their bishops: an accounting that has previously been unavailable to the public. The listing shows the many Chinese bishops who have served time in prison camps, and several who are still in custody. Veteran Vatican-watcher Sandro Magister of L'Espresso sees the listing as another sign that talks between Rome and Beijing have bogged down.

The Vatican yearbook, the Annuario Pontificio, lists all bishops in other countries, but for years has not listed the Chinese dioceses.

Most Nigerian bishops—but not all—favor government decentralization

Speaker of House of Commons urges gay activists to force churches to perform weddings

John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, told gay activists at a reception: "I still feel we'll only have proper equal marriage when you can bloody well get married in a church if you want to do so, without having to fight the church for the equality that should be your right."

Pope exhorts Colombians: be slaves of peace

Pope Francis urged the people of Colombia to "be slaves of peace, forever," on the final day of his visit. He encouraged them toward reconciliation after years of civil war, "taking the first step" toward a restoration of peace. "These have been intense and beautiful days," the Pope told the crowd in Cartagena, the last stop on his tour.

In-flight interview: Pope hopes Trump will reconsider immigration policy

Pope Francis said that he hopes American President Donald Trump will reconsider ending a federal policy that allows the children of illegal immigrants to remain in the US, during a...

New papal document could re-ignite debate on liturgical translations

Pope Francis has amended the Code of Canon Law to give national bishops’ conferences the primary role in approving the translations of liturgical texts. The motu proprio Magnum Principium, released...

Released Tuesday, Sep. 12

Apostolic journey of Pope Francis in Colombia: return to Rome and telegrams to heads of state (including President Trump)

India: interreligious alliance to combat violence against children

Pope returns to Vatican, visits Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

India: Christian lay activists urge clergy to speak out against Hindu extremism

Caritas Venezuela feeds the hungry

60% of Venezuelan children under five are malnourished, according to a recent study.

Italian president calls for reflection on climate change following intense storms

The Vatican newspaper gave front-page coverage on September 12 to President Sergio Mattarella's remarks.

Catholic Chapel Near Ground Zero Survived 9/11, Now Fights To Stay Open

NYPD chaplain has never missed a 9/11 anniversary ceremony

British bishop raps critics of Catholic teaching on sexual morality

"When on matters of sexual morality, people do not espouse chastity, they open themselves to deep-seated forces within," said Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth. "They can even unwittingly allow the Evil One to bind himself like a serpent tightly around their hearts. They then self-justify their situation and when challenged lash out, full of rage. Like with a drunk, you can’t reason with them."

Polish bishops call for legal protection of Sunday rest

Priest, sisters at Key West basilica weathered hurricane, doing fine

According to an earlier report, Father John Baker had decided to remain in Key West in order to minister to those who did not evacuate.

+Father René Laurentin, 99

Father René Laurentin, a prominent Mariologist who served as a peritus at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), died on September 10 at the age of 99. A student of neo-Thomist philosopher...

Ireland: 5,000 attend grandparents’ pilgrimage at shrine of Our Lady of Knock

Grand imam of Al-Azhar: “only religions can save the world from a suicide of civilizations”

Nations Sharply Critique, Approve UN Women’s Three Year Plan

When it Comes to Child Well-Being, Is One Parent the Same as Two?

Prelate decries proposal to break up Nigeria

Report: family of Nigerian convert to Christianity has him jailed on false charges

Massacre in Central African Republic: “We’re going to do something to you Christians that won’t be forgotten for many generations”

Resignations and Appointments (September 12)

Indian priest, kidnapped in Yemen last year, set free

Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, the Salesian missionary priest who was kidnapped in Yemen in March 2016, has been released.

Bishop Paul Hinder, the apostolic vicar for southern Arabia, announced the priest’s release on September 12. He provided no details, but thanked government officials who had worked for Father Uzuhunnalil’s safe return. The government of Oman reportedly played a key role in the process.

Officials in India, Father Uzhunnalil’s native country, had indicated in August that they were optimistic the priest would soon be free. No details about his condition or his captors had been available.

Father Uzhunnalil was taken captive in a raid by Islamic terrorists on a home for the elderly in Aden, run by the Missionaries of Charity. Four nuns and twelve other people were killed in the raid.

Belgian religious order refuses papal order, will continue to allow euthanasia

Rejecting an order from Pope Francis, the Brothers of Charity have announed that they will continue to allow euthanasia at the 15 psychiatric hospitals they administer in Belgium. At a September...

‘Underground’ Chinese bishop, arrested in May, turns up in Beijing hospital

Bishop Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, China, who was taken into custody by government officials on May 18, has revealed that he is in a hospital in Beijing. The faithful of Wenzhou had heard nothing about...

Chicago archdiocese bans guns from churches, schools, parish properties

Church leaders in Zambia object to government’s ‘safe-sex’ campaign

New Chinese regulations designed to smother ‘underground’ religious communities

Released Wednesday, Sep. 13

Vatican statement on release of Father Thomas Uzhunnalil

US Bishops’ Conference Executive Committee issues statement following catastrophic hurricanes

UN Security Council approves new sanctions against North Korea

The Vatican newspaper (9/13 edition) devoted its most prominent front-page coverage to this story.

Rohingya crisis in Myanmar is ‘ethnic cleansing,’ UN human rights commissioner says

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Myanmar in late November.

Report: miners murder 10 members of uncontacted indigenous group in Amazon basin

The Vatican newspaper (9/13 edition) devoted front-page coverage to this story.

3 Kenyan Christians called out by name, then beheaded by suspected Al-Shabaab militants

Al-Shabaab, a jihadist group that controls parts of Somalia, is also active in Yemen and Kenya. It has an estimated 7,000-9,000 members.

ISIS militants attack convoy in Egypt’s Sinai, kill 18 police

Although the jihadist group has suffered recent losses, it still controls over 10% of Syrian and Iraqi territory.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s funeral rites: Archbishop Bernard Longley’s sermon at solemn Vespers

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who died on September 1, served as Archbishop of Westminster from 2000 to 2009.

Report: at least 80 makeshift mosques in Athens under police surveillance

Family members beaten, held hostage in anti-Semitic attack in Paris

40,000 Jews have left France since 2006, over half of them in the last 3 years. An estimated 440,000 remain.

Barcelona police close off Sagrada Familia church following false bomb report

The famed basilica, designed by Antoni Gaudí, was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

‘Chainsaw-wielding Florida nun takes matters into her own hands to clear Hurricane Irma debris’

Supreme Court temporarily allows Trump administration’s refugee limits to take effect

Unmarked mass grave discovered at orphanage site; prosecutors say no crime committed

The orphanage, closed in 1981, was operated by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

For the 1st time, the apostolic nuncio to Italy is not Italian

Brazil: 4th National Missionary Congress denounces corruption, privatization, ecological destruction

"We are angry to see the devastation of the Amazon and the degradation of nature," stated the Congress's final message. "This reality, far from discouraging us, imposes a vigorous missionary action on us."

Pakistan’s bishops express solidarity with Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

Father Stanley Rother to be beatified in Oklahoma City on September 23

The missionary priest was martyred in Guatemala in 1981.

French bishop: ‘the migratory phenomenon invites Europe to greatness of soul’

The bishops' conference published this statement on the 2nd anniversary of the Pope's call to Europe's Catholic institutions to shelter migrants and refugees.

Pope Francis’s 9/13 general audience: English-language summary

Click here for the Vatican's YouTube video of the general audience.

At Wednesday audience, Pope recaps trip to Colombia

Pope Francis reflected on his visit to Colombia during his regular weekly audience on September 13. The Pope said that the main purpose of his trip had been to promote reconciliation in a country...

Council of Cardinals continues planning for reorganization of Roman Curia

The Council of Cardinals held its 21st meeting at the Vatican this week, as it moves toward completion of a plan for the reorganization of the Roman Curia. At a briefing on September 13, Greg...

Study finds American donors respond generously to disaster relief

A study of donations to disaster relief shows that older, better educated, and more religious people are more active donors. Not surprisingly, wealthier people give larger gifts, but the typical gift is $50, with many thousands of middle-class households contributing.

Tracing Oman’s role in release of kidnapped priest

Former Irish president criticizes Vatican for supporting parents’ physical discipline of children

Ireland’s former president Mary McAleese has scolded the Holy See for not incorporating the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child into Church teaching. She cited the Church’s approval for corporal punishment of children by parents.

Massachusetts pro-lifers criticize Cardinal O’Malley on honors for pro-abortion politicians

Australian bishops call for month of prayer before vote on same-sex marriage

News analysis by Phil Lawler on the week’s top stories

Commentary on Magnum Principium, the anti-Catholic display in the US Senate, and the Belgian brothers' defiance of the Pontiff.

Released Thursday, Sep. 14

Resignations and appointments (9/13)

Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, 64, as apostolic nuncio to Israel and apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine--one of the more sensitive Vatican diplomatic posts. The experienced diplomat succeeds Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, 75.

Venezuela’s Maduro backs talks with reluctant opposition

The Vatican newspaper (9/14 edition) devoted front-page coverage to this story.

EU bishops’ commission hosts meeting on ‘shrinking civic space’

French intellectual sees ‘neo-Protestant challenge’ to traditional Catholic/secular political culture

Is this the face of St. Mary Magdalene?

Australian study: ‘deeply homophobic environment,’ ‘denigration of women,’ and discipline of celibacy contribute to abuse of minors

The study was written by two former priests associated with Catholics for Renewal, an organization that has called for radical changes in Church governance.
In a 2010 study, psychologist Richard Cross showed that the rate of abuse among Anglican priests in Australia—who are not bound by the rule of celibacy—was roughly equivalent to that among Catholic priests.

Archbishop George Stack: homily at Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s funeral Mass

Nuncio: Pope Francis will not visit DR Congo until elections are held

Mark Regnerus: Christians are part of the same dating pool as everyone else. That’s bad for the Church.

Fearing violent protests, Massachusetts Catholic college disinvites Charles Murray

Vatican diplomat: trade agreements must conform to demands of justice

Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic made his remarks at a meeting of the Trade and Development Board of UNCTAD, the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

Father Thomas Uzhunnalil meets with Pope Francis

Pope Francis has met with Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, the Indian Salesian priest who was kidnapped in Yemen in March 4, 2016, and released 18 months later on September 12. During the September 13...

US bishops’ executive committee decries ‘demonic ideologies of white supremacy, neo-Nazism and racism’

Egypt: Coptic churches ‘closed for security’ reopen

Philippine president rejects Islamist militants’ hostage release offer

Among the hostages is Marawi vicar general Father Teresito Soganub, abducted in May from the city's cathedral.

Mosque in Abu Dhabi renamed for “Mary, Mother of Jesus’

The crown prince, Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, ordered the name change to "consolidate bonds of humanity between followers of different religions.”

Pope to new bishops: listen to your people, cultivate discernment, avoid rigidity

Pope Francis asked newly appointed bishops to “cultivate an attitude of listening” in their pastoral work, in an address delivered on September 14 to participants in an orientation...

Papal homily: no Christ without a Cross, no Cross without a Christ

Resuming his regular morning Mass at the St. Martha Residence after a summer hiatus, the Pope said that it is wrong to see Jesus only as a spiritual teacher. "A Christ without a Cross is not the Lord," he said. At the same time, he continued, to see the Cross without Christ is to fall into a meaningless tragedy.

Kidnapped priest: no mistreatment; captors provided medicine

Father Thomas Uzhunnalil said that his captors-- who still have not been fully identified-- provided him with diabetes medication. "I never thought I would be killed," he said.

Key figure in Knights of Malta dispute loses suit against Catholic media outlet

Albrecht von Boeselager, who was the focus of a dispute that prompted a papal intervention into the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, has lost a lawsuit against a Catholic media outlet that...

Released Friday, Sep. 15

Papal message to international conference on desertification

The message, signed by Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, refers both to ecological issues and to the "interior desertification rooted in our failure to love God and neighbor." The conference is the 13th follow-up meeting of signatories of this 1994 UN anti-desertification agreement (background). The United States and over 190 other nations are parties to the agreement.

Schedule of Pope’s 10/1 pastoral visit to Cesena and Bologna

The Pope will visit Cesena, a northern Italian city of 97,000, to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Pope Pius VI. He will then travel to Bologna to take part in the conclusion of an archdiocesan Eucharistic Congress.

Vatican diplomat criticizes austerity policies, calls for a new ‘New Deal’ stimulus

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi suggested that world leaders should follow the example of President Franklin Roosevelt and the advice of economist John Maynard Keynes, using government spending to raise economic prospects. The archbishop who also criticized "xenophobic rhetoric," made his remarks at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, at which a new UN trade and development report was presented.

Pakistan’s parliament discusses recent murder of Christian student

Family members say that "the teachers did nothing to stop the violence" against Sharon Masih, the only Christian in a class of 70 students.

Chaldean patriarch fears civil war in Iraq as Kurdish independence referendum nears

Click these links for background on the Chaldean Catholic Church and Iraqi Kurdistan. Western leaders are also concerned about the referendum.

Aleppo prelate calls for dialogue, forgiveness; ‘never war again’

Chilean bishop calls for greater commitment to migrants

Faith groups provide the bulk of disaster recovery, in coordination with FEMA

Rohingya crisis: UN Security Council condemns excessive violence in Myanmar

The Vatican newspaper (9/15 edition) devoted front-page coverage to this story. Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Myanmar in late November.

Vatican newspaper pays tribute to Blessed Pino Puglisi

In a front-page article (9/15 edition), Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti recalled that September 15 is the anniversary of both the birth (1937) and the martyrdom (1993) of the Palermo priest who denounced the Mafia.

New Kosovo shrine to Mother Teresa ready to welcome pilgrims

Nordic bishops meet in Iceland

The prelates are discussing the implementation of recent papal documents, including Amoris Laetitia (on love in the family) and Magnum Principium (on liturgical translations).

Senate committee votes to overturn Trump administration’s overseas pro-life initiatives

The measure has little chance of success in the full Senate. Two Republican senators (Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski) voted to overturn the pro-life initiatives, while one Democrat (Sen. Joe Manchin) joined the majority of the committee's Republicans in supporting them.

Italian abbey elects 1st abbot since 18th century

The Cistercian abbey of Chiaraville, founded in 1135, was suppressed by Napoleon in 1798; monks returned in 1952 but not did elect their own abbot. The Cistercian abbot general will confer his blessing on the new abbot on September 16.

US bishops’ executive committee: ‘extreme disappointment’ at Trump’s DACA decision

Santa Fe archdiocese releases names of 74 clergy, religious found guilty of sexual abuse

Eritrea: Protestant woman discusses persecution

Religious believers face ‘raids, fines, imprisonment and torture’ in Uzbekistan

Vatican official recalled from Washington after child-porn charges

The Vatican has recalled a diplomatic official who was working in the office of the apostolic nuncio in Washington, DC. The official—who was not identified—was the focus of a police investigation involving child pornography. The Holy See declined a prosecutor’s request to waive the official’s diplomatic immunity, choosing instead to bring him back to Rome to face a Vatican investigation.

Burundi’s Catholic bishops call for national unity

The bishops issued a statement after a UN report charged the country's government with human-rights violations. The bishops, who have been critical of the government, said that the top priority should be "blocking the way to all those who choose the path of war."

Cardinal Sarah offers energetic defense of traditional liturgy

At a conference marking the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, Cardinal Robert Sarah strongly defended the use of the traditional liturgy. "These communities need paternal care," he said of parishes dedicated to the Extraordinary Form. The cardinal also repeated his encouragement to priests to offer Mass ad orientem.

Cardinal Sarah's influence at the Vatican may have decreased, as his views on liturgical matters clearly do not match those of Pope Francis. But as John Allen of Crux writes: "If anyone expects Sarah now to go gentle into that good night, muting his strenuous defense of liturgical tradition, they can forget it."

Polish bishops critical of government’s stand on immigration

The Polish hierarchy, which has enjoyed generally friendly relations with the country's current political leadership, has become openly critical of the government's determination to restrict immigration. "We must be open and compassionate and ready to help those most needy, weak and persecuted, migrants and refugees," said Archbishop Wojciech Polak of Gniezno, at a Mass at the Marian shrine of Jasna Gora.

Pope thanks street performers for bringing joy to audiences

"The vocation of your life and work is joy," Pope Francis told members of the Italian National Association of traveling show people-- a group that includes circus performers, amusement-park workers, street performers, and musicians.

Pope’s homily: focus on Mary’s courage and strength

In his homily at Mass on September 15, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Pope Francis said that Mary is a model in understanding Jesus as "a sign of contradiction." Mary never denies Jesus, he remarked; she stands by Him at the Cross.

Released Monday, Sep. 18

Pope Francis: Address to participants in the general chapter of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (full text)

The institute was founded by Father Jules Chevalier in France in 1854.

Papal audiences (9/16)

Pope Francis received Cardinal Marc Ouellet (the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops), participants in the general chapter of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the bishops of Nicaragua, who were in Rome for their ad limina visit.

Papal message to participants in National Pilgrimage of Families

The message was signed by the Vatican's Secretary of State and addressed to the archbishop of Pompeii, site of the famed shrine to Our Lady of the Rosary. The pilgrimage was organized by the charismatic Renewal in the Holy Spirit movement.

Aquinas College (Nashville) sharpens focus to teacher training

The college is administered by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (Nashville Dominicans), an institute that continues to attract numerous vocations.

800th anniversary of Italian Cistercian abbey

On September 15, Casamari Abbey commemorated its 800th anniversary. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, was the papal legate for the occasion, which Pope Francis commemorated with a letter.

Interview with Vatican foreign minister on North Korea, the Rohingya crisis, and Iran

Archbishop Paul Gallagher is the Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States.

Cardinal Farrell discusses his new dicastery’s work

Cardinal Kevin Farrell has led the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life since its inception a year ago.

Marawi bishop: situation is critical but improving

In May, militants of the ISIS-affiliated Maute group stormed the Philippine city of 200,000, burning schools and churches and abducting the vicar general and other Catholics from the cathedral.

India: 9 years after brutal anti-Christian pogrom, where is the justice?

Omnis Terra, a publication of the Pontifical Mission Societies, recalls the 2008 persecution in the eastern Indian state of Orissa (since renamed Odisha).

‘Red pope’ begins 10-day visit to Japan

The prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, historically known as the 'red pope' because of his authority over mission dioceses, has begun a 10-day visit to Japan, a nation that is only 0.4% Catholic.

Cardinal Nichols offers prayers for victims of London bombing

On September 15, a bomb exploded at the Parsons Green tube station in London, injuring 30. Click here for an updated summary of news on the explosion.

North Korea launches another missile, escalating crisis

The Vatican newspaper gave this story front-page coverage in its 9/16 edition.

Deadliest ISIS attack in Iraq in recent months

The Sunni Muslim jihadist group targeted a southern Iraqi city through which Shiite Muslim pilgrims travel.

Vatican newspaper: arms industry helps drive North Korean crisis

In a front-page op-ed, Giuseppe Fiorentino (the paper’s vice-editor) argued that the Korean peninsula is the most heavily armed area in the world and that the armament industry has little interest in promoting peace in the region. Fiorentino also wrote that Kim Jong Un is able to persevere in his dangerous course because the US needs to work closely with China, a Pyongyang ally that is slow to take action and “controls a good slice of Washington’s public debt.”

Slaves on our streets: Cardinal Nichols chairs think tank’s first roundtable on abolishing modern slavery

Nepal’s new criminal code punishes all religious conversions

Pope Francis: Angelus address on Mt. 18:21-35 (full text)

A video of the address is available here.

Federal court: farmer’s market cannot ban vendor who won’t host same-sex weddings

Historic Armenian church desecrated in southeast Turkey

Tunisia lifts ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims

Priest, other hostages In Marawi rescued by Filipino troops

Father Chito Suganob and 13 other hostages seized by Islamic terrorists who took over the cathedral in Marawi in May have been freed by Filipino government troops on September 16. Military officials have declined to provide details on the operation, explaining that their campaign against the Islamic extremists in Marawi is still continuing.

Italian paper airs story, based on suspect document, of Vatican involvement in kidnapping

An Italian newspaper has published a sensational story claiming that Vatican officials played a role in the abduction of Emanuela Orlandi, the teenage daughter of a Vatican employee, who disappeared...

Father Uzhunnalil: still not sure why kidnappers did not kill him

Father Thomas Uzhunnalil told reporters that to this day he does not know why the Islamic terrorists who seized him in March 2016 allowed him to live. Father Uzhunnalil was overcome with emotion when he recalled the Missionaries of Charity who were killed in the terrorist attack on a nursing home in Aden, Yemen. The priest, who does not understand Arabic, was unable to identify his captors.

Political leaders need prayer, Pope says in Monday homily

The faithful should pray for their political leaders, the Pope told a congregation in the St. Martha residence; and leaders should pray for God's guidance. Even leaders who are not believers should "confront yourself with your conscience, with the wisdom of your people, but do not remain isolated with the small group of your political party.”

Do not be resigned to secular alienation, Pope urges Japanese bishops

In a message to the Catholic bishops of Japan, Pope Francis listed alienation, suicide, and “an obsession for work and earning” among that country’s urgent social problems. He encouraged the bishops not to become resigned, nor to be bogged down in “paralyzing dialogue,” but to emulate the example of the country’s martyrs and the “hidden Christians” who preserved the faith.

Baltimore archdiocese refuses to release files of deceased priest accused of abuse

The archdiocese turned down a petition for personnel files involving the late Father A. Joseph Maskell, who died in 2001, having denied allegations of abuse. A spokesman for the archdiocese said that although the accusations are taken "very seriously," the disclosure of confidential files would not resolve questions and would "create a precedent that would likely soon be followed by requests for the release of personnel records of other priests and employees of the Church.”

Christians are not ‘guests’ in Syria, says Assad

Syrian President Bashar Assad said that Christians are "part of the origin of the nation, and without them there is no pluralistic Syria," in a September 17 address.

Vatican, religious superior to confer on discipline for Belgian brothers involved in euthanasia

Brother Rene Stockman, the head of the Brothers of Charity, will confer next week with Vatican officials regarding the appropriate disciplinary response to Belgian members of the order, who have defied a Vatican order by continuing to allow euthanasia at psychiatric hospitals they administer.

Australian bishop tells voters: read ‘signs of the times’ on same-sex marriage

While most Australian Catholic bishops have urged the faithful to support marriage, and the episcopal conference has called for a month of prayer before a nationwide poll on same-sex marriage, Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Parramatta has said that Catholics are not obliged to reject legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Saying that the Church's teachings will not change, he encouraged voters to read the "signs of the times" on the issue.

Released Tuesday, Sep. 19

Princeton University’s president criticizes senators for probing judicial nominee’s Catholic faith

Papal audiences (9/18)

On Monday, Pope Francis received Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi (the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture), two apostolic nuncios, and the bishops of Bolivia, who were present in Rome for their ad limina visit.

Resignations and appointments (9/18)

Pope Francis accepted the resignations of a German bishop (75) and a Lithuanian bishop (72).

Heroic virtues of Venerable Van Thuan celebrated in Rome

The Vietnamese prelate was imprisoned in a Communist reeducation camp for 13 years.

Togo’s bishops condemn political repression

The African nation of 7.8 million is nearly 30% Christian and 20% Muslim, with half the population retaining indigenous beliefs.

Pope spends much of Sunday with young people

Pope Francis spent hours on Sunday (9/17) with 550 Italian youth who were accompanied by Franciscan friars. The Pope addressed them in the morning (following a reading from Psalm 121) and answered their questions in the afternoon.

Canada to be consecrated to Blessed Virgin Mary for nation’s 150th anniversary

Hamas says it is ready to hand Gaza to a Palestinian unity government

The Vatican newspaper (9/18-9/19 edition) gave front-page coverage to this story.

US, South Korea conduct bombing drills to warn North

The Vatican newspaper (9/18-9/19 edition) gave front-page coverage to this story.

Synod cardinal: youth can help Church understand what Jesus asks of us

As the Vatican prepares for the October 2018 synod on youth, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, said that “we must look to young people not just so that they help us understand how to announce the Gospel, but also to get a better insight of what Jesus asks of His Church, what He expects of it, what should be cut out and sewn up again for such mission.”

Representatives of Catholic Church, World Council of Churches discuss peacebuilding, migration

Vatican cardinal urges Japan’s seminarians to announce the Gospel

“All humanity, including the people of Japan, are in need this extraordinary and generous redeeming grace and loving mercy,” said Cardinal Fernando Filoni. “All of us need this salvation that the law of the karma or destiny cannot offer because it comes only from God as revealed by Jesus Christ.”

Rome’s interreligious half-marathon draws 2,000 and a papal blessing

Vatican newspaper pays tribute to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

The prelate, a staunch defender of Catholic teaching on marriage and the family, died on September 6.

Cardinal DiNardo: ‘We hope the Holy See will be forthcoming with more details’ on child-porn investigation of embassy official

European Court of Human Rights affirms jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts

Eritea: Orthodox patriarch is among 10,000 prisoners of conscience

Pope Francis: Letter on the 100th anniversary of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini’s death (full text)

New York’s Little Italy: 91st annual Feast of San Gennaro

Bishop McElroy: ‘Attacks on Father James Martin expose a cancer within the US Catholic Church’

Indian bishops protest after Hindu extremists burn cardinal in effigy

Foundation executive defends spending in Vatican criminal trial

The former president of the Bambino Gesu Hospital foundation strongly defended the spending of over €400,000 to refurbish the apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Judges on a Vatican tribunal appeared skeptical, but Giuseppe Profiti said all arrangements for the renovation were handled by the Vatican city-state, not his office.

Pope gives new name, new focus to John Paul II Institute on Marriage and Family

With a motu proprio issued on September 19, Pope Francis has closed the Vatican Institute set up by St. John Paul II to study marriage and family life, replacing it with a new Institute with a...

South Sudan: bishops condemn atrocities, see ‘no justification whatsoever’ for civil war

The Catholic bishops of South Sudan have condemned the widespread atrocities and human-rights violations in a civil war “which we have frequently described as having no moral justification whatsoever.”

Process of curial reform nearing completion, says member of Council of Cardinals

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay says that the Council of Cardinals will soon be ready to present a complete plan for reorganization of the Roman Curia. “It will take two or three more meetings,” he says, adding that “by June perhaps we’ll be seeing the end of the tunnel.”

International seminar explores themes for Synod of Bishops on youth and vocation

Compassion means taking action, Pope says in homily

In his homily at morning Mass on September 19, Pope Francis said that Christian compassion means “drawing near” to those in need. He decried the tendency to lament a tragedy or injustice without taking action. “This is not Christian,” he said.

Pope sends best wishes to former Vatican Radio director on 100th birthday

Father Antonio Stefanizzi was director of Vatican Radio from 1953 to 1977.

Australian archbishop sees gains in efforts against child abuse

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane that “we still have a long way to go” in the effort to protect children. But today, he said, Australia’s Catholic schools “are probably the safest places in the nation for a child to be.”

Music director hired by Florida diocese while under FBI investigation for child exploitation

Michael Wustrow has withdrawn his application for a post in the Orlando diocese, where officials were conducting a background check after having offered him a post. Wustrow has been relieved of his current post with the Rockville Center, New York diocese as the FBI pursues a criminal investigation.

Archbishop of Sydney encourages Australian voters to uphold marriage

New book floats sensational theory: Vatican officials arranged child’s kidnapping

A new book by an Italian investigative journalist raises questions about the possible involvement of Vatican officials in the unresolved disappearance of a teenage girl in 1983. Emiliano...

Released Wednesday, Sep. 20

Interview with George Weigel on his new book on Pope St. John Paul II

Resignations and appointments (9/19)

Pope Francis appointed a new bishop in Spain.

Growing ‘climate of hatred’ toward Christian, Hindu students seen in Pakistan’s schools

Resume the mission to Japan’s non-Christians, Vatican cardinal says in Nagasaki

Cardinal Fernando Filoni is Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; Japan is 0.4% Catholic.

Maryknoll sister recalls Father Stanley Rother

Father Rother (1935-81) will be beatified in Oklahoma City on September 23.

Suu Kyi: Myanmar ready to welcome back Rohingya refugees

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Myanmar in late November.

Blood of St. Januarius liquefies in Naples

See our liturgical calendar for information about the saint and the liquefying of his blood on his feast day.

Russian-backed Syrian troops battle ISIS, advance toward US-backed rebels

Boko Haram: 15 dead as female suicide bombers target Nigerian aid seekers

Notre Dame professor among winners of 1st ‘Expanded Reason Prize’

The prize is an initiative of the Ratzinger Foundation and Francisco de Vitoria University in Madrid. The award ceremony will take place at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

480 homilies of Cardinal Siri released on DVD

Cardinal Giuseppe Siri (1906-89) was archbishop of Genoa from 1946 to 1987.

French bishops launch crowdfunding campaign to help Iraqi refugee students

Seminar on youth concludes in preparation for 2018 Synod of Bishops

The theme of the October 2018 synod is “youth, faith, and vocational discernment.” The seminar took place from September 11 to 15 at the Jesuit General Curia in Rome.

New York’s highest court rules against ‘aid in dying’

US bishops’ conference announces emergency Hurricane Irma collection

In Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis reflects on how to teach hope

After devoting last week’s general audience to his apostolic journey to Colombia, Pope Francis has returned to the theme of Christian hope. Click here for the full text and here for a video of the audience.

Pope prays for Mexican earthquake victims

Vatican foreign minister speaks at UN on Central African Republic, human trafficking (full text)

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, made his remarks on September 19.

Cardinal Filoni at Hiroshima: ‘the place where Christ renewed his sacrifice in the 20th century’

Filipino bishop asks Duterte to allow residents to return to Marawi

Togo: bishops back constitutional reform, urge peace amid protests

As protests spread in Togo, with citizens demanding democratic reforms to end decades of one-party rule, the country’s bishops called for constant prayer, urged the military to remain neutral, and backed the calls for political reform.

Cardinal Müller sees lack of theological rigor at Vatican, hints at return to Roman Curia

Filipino priest, released from captivity, will return to Marawi, work for concord

Freed by Filipino troops after being held for four months as a hostage of Islamic militants in Marawi, Father Chito Soganub says: “My seizure was God’s will.” He intends to return to Marawi to work for coexistence between Christians and Muslims, saying that they are “brothers and we believe in the only, unique God.”

Catholic college closed in India as Hindus complain of conversions

Officials in the state of Madhya Pradesh closed down a Catholic college that served the poor, after Hindu nationalists complained that the school was designed to encourage conversions. Authorities claimed that the school did not have proper legal permits—a charge that Catholic leaders dispute. Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal spoke of “harassment against Christians and an anti-Christian atmosphere surrounding our mission.”

SSPX refused permission for Mass at shrine of Our Lady of Knock

Officials at the Irish shrine said that because the SSPX was in “an irregular canonical relationship with the Catholic Church,” priests of the traditionalist order were not allowed to celebrate Mass there.

SSPX refused permission for Mass at shrine of Our Lady of Knock

Officials at the Irish shrine said that because the SSPX was in “an irregular canonical relationship with the Catholic Church,” priests of the traditionalist order were not allowed to celebrate Mass there.

French Cardinal Barbarin will face prosecution for failure to report sexual abuse

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon will face criminal charges for an alleged failure to report accusations of abuse against a priest in his archdiocese. The cardinal will face trial next April, along with six other priests who reportedly had knowledge of the abuse complaints against Father Bernard Preynat.

Cardinal Barbarin has consistently denied covering up evidence of abuse. He has explained that a previous archbishop had returned the priest to active ministry after handling complaints dating back to the 1980s, and when new complaints were lodged, Cardinal Barbarin informed public authorities and suspended the accused priest.

The decision to prosecute the cardinal reverses an earlier decision by a French prosecutor, who announced last year that “the investigation did not demonstrate any criminal offense.”

Released Thursday, Sep. 21

Pope receives head of Muslim World League

On September 20, Pope Francis received the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, which tweeted a video clip of the encounter.

Resignations and appointments (9/20)

Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two Brazilian prelates because of age (both are 75) and named their successors.

Vatican cardinal calls Hiroshima the ‘new Golgotha,’ urges renewed missionary zeal

“From the glory, grace and truth brought by Christ, the people of Japan cannot be excluded,” said Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. “God has not stopped at the doors of this country, which although noble and cultured, awaits the Kingdom of God.”

Antilles bishops assess hurricane damage

Mexican bishops appeal for solidarity with earthquake victims

Trump, Macron, UN leader speak on North Korea nuclear threat

Vatican newspaper criticizes Trump’s UN speech

In a front-page opinion piece in its 9/21 edition, L’Osservatore Romano’s vice editor took President Donald Trump to task for failing to discuss climate change in his UN speech. Giuseppe Fiorentino also said that Trump’s “America first” philosophy runs counter to the need for a multilateral response to climate change and the North Korean threat.

Vietnam’s bishops offer candid criticism of new religion law (full text in French)

“Freedom of belief and religion is not truly considered a human right” in Vietnam, the bishops’ conference said in a recent statement. “The authorities spend God knows how much money, resources and personnel to acquire information, conduct discreet inquiries, control religious activities.”

Oceania bishops call on governments to protect ocean from corporate exploitation

Indonesia: religious orders renew commitment to interfaith dialogue following trial of Christian politician

Colorado cake baker, partisan redistricting, travel ban on Supreme Court docket

More than 40 million slaves, 152 million child laborers

Cardinal DiNardo: statement on Mexico City earthquake

Bishop Barron speaks at Facebook headquarters on ‘how to have a religious argument’

Holy relics: preparing the remains of soon-to-be beatified Father Stanley Rother

Rabbi Sacks: Cultural climate change

“The West had three master narratives which we have held since the 17th or 18th century,” writes the former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. “Today, they have all broken down.”

President Trump: high holy days message

Ave and Irma: how this small Catholic university weathered the storm

Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for WhatsApp ‘blasphemy’

Pope reiterates promise to act firmly against sexual abuse

Pope Francis repeated his assurance that the Church would “respond with the application of the firmest measures” against sexual abuse of children, in his prepared remarks to a September 21 audience...

Vatican ‘foreign minister’ urges UN action on test-ban treaty, abolition of nuclear arms

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, said that the Holy See is “troubled by the continued lack of progress in achieving the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, in a September 20 address at UN headquarters in New York. The archbishop argued that the ban “is more urgent when one considers contemporary threats to peace.”

The archbishop added: “Nuclear arms offer a false sense of security. The uneasy peace promised by nuclear deterrence has time and time again proved a tragic failure.”

During his visit to the UN, Archbishop Gallagher signed, on behalf of the Vatican, a Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, which will enter into force if and when it is ratified by 50 nations.

India’s laws against conversion are divisive, could prompt violence, warns Jesuit theologian

Israeli church vandalized; Jewish extremists suspected

Vandals caused “huge damage” at a Catholic shrine in Beit Jimal, Israel, on September 20. Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, the apostolic vicar for Jerusalem, said that the attack was the work of “fanatics.” The vandalism appeared to be the latest in a series of attacks by Jewish extremists against Christian churches.

Vatican police move homeless from St. Peter’s Square in daytime

Vatican police have begun removing homeless people who sleep in St. Peter’s Square during the day, in response to disturbances. The homeless are allowed to sleep in the square at night.

Jesuit order, Vatican Secretariat for Communications sign agreement to continue cooperation

The Society of Jesus has historically played a key role in the Vatican’s offices of public communications, particularly Vatican Radio. The agreement anticipates that the Jesuits will continue to contribute to the work of the new consolidated Secretariat.

Released Friday, Sep. 22

Papal audiences (9/21)

Pope Francis received in separate audiences the new Lithuanian ambassador, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the apostolic nuncio to Belgium, the members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and the members of Italy’s Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission.

Pope elevates Nigerian apostolic vicariate to diocese

An apostolic vicariate is typically established in a missionary territory; it is governed by an apostolic vicar in the Roman Pontiff’s name (Canon 371). A diocese, on the other hand, is typically governed by its own bishop.

Pope Francis: Address to Italy’s Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission (full text)

“Fighting against the mafias means not only repressing,” the Pontiff told members of the commission—the 4th since 1963. “It also means reclaiming, transforming, and building, and this involves commitment at two levels,” political and economic.

Vatican cardinal, World Muslim League leader discuss religious violence, violations of religious freedom

The head of the World Muslim League, Muhammad Al-Issa, also met with Pope Francis.

Pope donates $150,000 for Mexican earthquake relief

Calling, feasting, and scandal: the Pope’s homily for Feast of St. Matthew

Vatican tribunal holds 4th hearing in misappropriated-fund case

Click here for background on the case.

Countdown begins for Focolare’s GenFest in Manila

The Focolare movement was founded in 1943 by the Servant of God Chiara Lubich (1920-2008).

Hindu nationalists threaten small Catholic village in central India

Christ is not a mere guru or wise man, Vatican cardinal says in Nagasaki

Head of refounded John Paul II Institute outlines his vision

L’Osservatore Romano has published a front-page article by Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, the president of the newly refounded John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family...

Vatican newspaper pays tribute to Father Max Seckler

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, praised the work of Father Max Seckler on his 90th birthday. Seckler is professor emeritus of fundamental theology at University of Tübingen and thus a colleague of Father Ratzinger in 1960s. When Ratzinger was elected Pope in 2005, Seckler recalled with sadness the verbal abuse Father Ratzinger experienced from students.

Cardinal Marx laments rising anti-Semitism in Germany

Bahraini king positions as promoter of interfaith tolerance

Irish hotel cancels pro-life conference, citing intimidation

The Ashling Hotel in Dublin told Human Life International that it was concerned for the safety of participants and guests, after receiving threats from abortion supporters.

As Pope speaks on abuse, questions about official recalled from nunciature in Washington

After Pope Francis acknowledged that Church leaders were late to recognize the problem of clerical abuse, Francis Rocca of the Wall Street Journal observes that the Vatican recently recalled an official at the apostolic nunciature in Washington, DC, who was suspected of involvement in child pornography. Some American bishops would have preferred to have the priest face prosecution in the US.

Defendant in Vatican finance case says he was assured of Pope’s approval

Massimo Spina, who was the treasurer of the Bambino Gesu Hospital foundation, told a Vatican tribunal that he had been assured that the foundation was authorized to spend €400,000 on renovations of the apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Spina said that his immediate superior “told me there were no problems because Cardinal Bertone had clarified the situation with the Holy Father in person.”

Vatican ‘foreign minister’ seeks aid for countries hosting Syrian refugees

Speaking to a UN session on the conflict in in Syria, Archbishop Richard Gallagher emphasized the “tremendous suffering, affecting millions of innocent children and other civilians” in that country. He insisted that “humanitarian workers must have rapid, safe, and unhindered access wherever there are people in need.”

Archbishop Gallagher also called upon international leaders to increase support for the countries that have accepted hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria; he named Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt.

Vatican official warns: religious minorities become targets during wartime

Speaking at a UN session on the protection of religious minorities during armed conflict, Archbishop Richard Gallagher observed that “war and conflict often provide the backdrop for religious minorities to be targeted for persecution, sexual and all forms of physical violence, subjugation, false detention, expropriation of property, enslavement, forced exile, murder, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity.” The archbishop specifically cited as an example the “barbarities committed by ISIS.”

The Vatican’s top foreign-policy official asked world leader to take action, recognize equality before the law, foster education, and “block the flow of money and weapons destined to those intending to use them to target religious minorities.” He added that religious leaders have an obligation to promote dialogue and discourage extremism.

Preserving culture is not adequate reason for restricting immigration, Pope says

Speaking on September 22 to a conference of European Church officials focused on migration, Pope Francis said that the worldwide surge in migration offers the Church a “new missionary frontier.”

The Pope said that he is troubled by opposition among Catholics to the acceptance of refugees and migrants. He rejected an argument for restricting immigration “justified by an unspecified ‘moral duty’ to preserve the original cultural and religious identity.”

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