Stories for week of August 13, 2017

Released Monday, Aug. 14

Pope Francis: faith sustains our journey but does not exempt us from trials

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 14:22-33), in which Christ asks St. Peter to walk on water, Pope Francis said in his August 13 Sunday Angelus address (Italian text, video) that...

Central African Republic: leading imam backs bishop’s assessment of UN troops’ complicity in massacre

The leading Muslim cleric in the Central African Republic has lent credence to a bishop’s charge that UN peacekeeping troops turned a blind eye to the massacre of civilians by Islamist...

US bishops condemn ‘abhorrent acts of hatred’ in Charlottesville

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued two separate statements denouncing the violence surrounding the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this...

Eastern Catholic patriarchs urge international action on genocide of Christians in Middle East

Concluding a meeting in Dimane, Lebanon, the patriarchs of the Eastern churches in communion with Rome have issued a “prophetic appeal” warning agains a “plan of genocide”...

Guam’s Catholics pray for peace as North Korea threatens

On the overwhelmingly Catholic island of Guam, residents prayed for peace as they faced the threat of a missile attack by North Korea. North Korea has indicated that it plans to fire a missile...

FBI raids Catholic Worker house in Des Moines in search of pipeline sabotage evidence

About 30 agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided a Catholic Worker house in Des Moines, Iowa on August 11, in connection with an investigation into sabotage of an oil...

Korean bishops appeal for peace, counsel prudence

The Catholic bishops of Korea have made an appeal for peace, decrying “unreasonable provocations” by North Korea and urging prudence. The bishops argue that in the face of aggressive...

Australian commission recommends ending legal protection of confessional seal

A royal commission investigating child abuse in Australia is recommending that state laws be changed to require priests to report confessions of abuse. The recommendation from the Royal...

Two Chinese ‘underground’ bishops, veterans of prison camps, have died

Two elderly bishops of China’s “underground” Catholic Church—both of whom had served years in prison camps—died this past weekend. Bishop Sylvester Li Jiantang, the...

French archbishop admits ‘inadequate’ response to abuse complaints

Archbishop Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, has admitted to an “inadequate” response to reports of sexual abuse by a priest of his archdiocese. But the archbishop insists that he never...

Crux contributor, editor apologize for ‘convert neurosis’ remarks

Austen Ivereigh, a contributor to the Crux news site, has apologized for a column in which he suggested that some Catholics who entered the Church as adults suffer from a “convert...

Released Wednesday, Aug. 16

For assumption, Pope speaks on power of Mary’s humility

In his Angelus audience on August 15, the feast of the Assumption, Pope Francis spoke on the humility of the Virgin Mary, remarking that “humility is like an emptiness that leaves room for...

Papal prayers for mud-slide victims in Sierra Leone

Pope Francis has offered his prayerful sympathy to the victims of deadly mud slides in Sierra Leone. In a telegram to Archbishop Charles Edward Tamba of Freetown, signed by Cardinal Pietro...

Australian bishops: seal of Confession must be protected

The Australian Catholic bishops have indicated that they will not accept an infringement on the confessional seal. “It is a fundamental part of the freedom of religion, and it is recognized...

Father Sosa: Jesuits’ mission is fostering reconciliation with God, human beings, environment

The superior general of the Society of Jesus said that the Jesuits are called to work for reconciliation “on three levels: with God, with human beings, with the environment.” In an...

New Jersey: judge affirms right of Catholic school to refuse to re-enroll student

A New Jersey judge has affirmed the right of a Catholic school to deny admission to two girls whose parents had twice filed suit against the school’s administration. “The court does...

Bishops ‘very slow to change’ in confronting abuse, says lay leader of Catholic commission

The head of the Australian bishops’ commission on sexual abuse has said that she fears the Church has been only “partially cleansed and unreconstructed” despite months of intense...

Nigerian cardinal: Amoris Laetitia affirmed traditional Church teaching on receiving Holy Communion

A Nigerian cardinal has said that Amoris Laetitia upheld the Church’s traditional teaching that Catholics who are divorced and remarried cannot receive the Eucharist. Cardinal Jon Onaiyekan...

Prelate praises Uganda’s longtime ruler

A Catholic archbishop has praised Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni for preserving the fragile peace in the African country. At an August 15 Mass at the Queen of Peace shrine in Lweza,...

Jerusalem: Greek Orthodox patriarch decries court decision on sale of Church properties

Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem has condemned the decision of an Israeli court to uphold the sale of properties by his predecessor. Patriarch Irenaios was ousted in 2005 after he...

‘This is the land of Gandhi and Buddha’: India’s prime minister denounces religious violence

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for an end to religious violence in a speech marking the 70th anniversary of India’s independence. “Sometimes in the name of faith,...

Scotland: Church leaders urge action against anti-Catholic hate crimes

Catholic leaders in Scotland are urging government officials to recognize a rising tide of “hate crimes” that target Catholics. Although Catholics account for only about 17% of...

Kenyan bishops plead for peace, fear post-election violence

The Catholic bishops of Kenya have called for calm in the wake of disputed general elections. An independent electoral commission declared on August 11 that incumber President Uhuru Kenyatta had...

Released Thursday, Aug. 17

US State Dept. publishes International Religious Freedom Report; Tillerson highlights ISIS genocide

The US State Department cited the Islamic State as for genocide in its annual report on religious freedom around the world. The report offered critical comments on the practices of many...

Teacher in landmark Philadelphia abuse case released 10 years early

A former teacher at a Catholic school in Philadelphia has been released from prison after a court overturned his conviction on charges of molesting a student. Bernard Shero had been sentenced to...

Melbourne archbishop says he’s prepared to go to jail rather than divulge confessions 

Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, Australia said that he would go to jail rather than obey a law requiring him to divulge the contents of a sacramental confession. The archbishop was responding...

Syriac Catholic patriarch laments US invasion of Iraq, Western aid to ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels 

Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan of Antioch said that Western support for “moderate” Syrian rebel factions has caused the devastation of the country. “I can...

Indian state of Jharkand passes anti-conversion bill 

Jharkhand was become the 7th state in India to enact legislation to limit religious conversions, despite heavy opposition from religious-freedom advocates. The legislation—which provides...

Over 200 Christians detained in Eritrea since May 

The death of a Christian woman in a prison camp in Eritrea has called attention to the arrests of scores of Christians. More than 200 people have been detained in camps in recent...

Investigator in fetal-parts scandal wins legal battle against university employees 

The man responsible for a series of investigative reports on the involvement of Planned Parenthood with the sale of fetal body parts has won a court victory over researchers who had sought to...

India: Catholics rally against ‘one village, one denomination law’ 

Catholics in a small village in India’s state of Manipur have rallied to protest local officials’ decision that a Catholic who once lived in the village cannot be buried...

Vatican donates to shelters for immigrants on Texas border

The Vatican has donated $175,000 to two centers serving immigrants and refugees in the Rio Grande valley in Texas. Cardinal Blase Supich of Chicago visited Sacred Heart parish in McAllen, Texas...

Trump administration poised to end contraceptive mandate

The Trump administration will soon unveil new regulations that will exempt religious institutions from the “Obamacare” requirement that health-insurance programs must include...

Cardinal Sarah urges faithful to resist ‘revolutionaries’ who attack faith and family

At a memorial Mass honoring the martyrs of the Vendée region in France, Cardinal Robert Sarah challenged Catholics to oppose “the modern persecutors of the Church,” and warned...

Church must clarify papal teaching, Cardinal Burke says

Cardinal Raymond Burke insisted that a clarification of Church teaching on divorce, remarriage, and the Eucharist is “now necessary,” in an interview with the weekly The...

Church in El Salvador establishes Office of Lay Martyrs to honor civil-war victims

The Catholic Church in El Salvador has established an Office of Lay Martyrs, to honor those who were killed during the country’s civil war. “When someone sacrificed his life for...

In foreword for book by abuse victim, Pope Francis repeats pledge to take action

Pope Francis has written a foreword to a new book by a Swiss man who was a victim of clerical abuse. In his foreword for Father I Forgive You, by Daniel Pittet, the Pope refers to sexual abuse as...

Protests follow prison death of Pakistani Christian 

Christians in Pakistan have staged public demonstrations to demand an investigation into the death of a Christian man who died in police custody. Indaryas Ghulam died in prison in Lahore. The...

Catholic Church in Russia recalls victims of Communism 

The secretary-general of the Russian Catholic bishops’ conference has asked Christians in the West to help keep alive the memory of Russian Christians who died under Communist...

Released Friday, Aug. 18

Cardinal Urosa: Venezuelan bishops reject foreign military intervention, whether from US or Cuba 

The Catholic bishops of Venezuela “reject any foreign military interference” despite the country’s critical situation, said Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas. After...

Over 1 million people have fled South Sudan for Uganda 

More than 1 million refugees from South Sudan have flooded into Uganda, as the situation in the war-torn African country becomes intolerable. ”Families are escaping a living hell in South...

Pope ‘greatly disturbed’ by Barcelona attack, prays for victims 

Pope Francis has sent a statement of sympathy and a promise of prayers to the victims of terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, Spain. The Pope condemned “such an inhuman act,”...

Cardinal Parolin, Patriarch Kirill won’t discuss papal visit 

When he visits Moscow later this month, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, will not be making plans for a papal visit to Russia, according to a spokesman for the Russian...

Australian prelate urges faithful to vote against same-sex marriage 

An Australian archbishop has urged Catholics to register to vote, in advance of a unusual postal referendum on legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth, in a...

Prominent English theologian says canon law should allow for correction of Pontiff

A noted English theologian has proposed amending the Code of Canon Law to include “a procedure for calling to order a Pope who teaches error.” Father Aidan Nichols—a Dominican...

Chinese officials close down Buddhist monk’s crisis-pregnancy center

Chinese officials have closed down a home run by a Buddhist monk to provide for abandoned babies and women in crisis pregnancies. Master Daolu, a successful business executive who became a monk,...

Filipino bishop decries terrorists’ plan to use hostages as suicide bombers

A Catholic bishop in the Philippines has denounced the reported plan of an Islamic terrorist group to force hostages into the role of suicide bombers. Bishop Edwin de la Peña y Angot of...

Papal sympathy for victims of accident on Madeira

Pope Francis has sent a message of condolence to the victims of an accident on the Portuguese island of Madeira. At least 13 people died, and 50 were injured, when a tree fell on a group of...

To help flood victims, Caritas Vietnam avoids government involvement

Catholic relief workers in Vietnam are avoiding involvement with the government in order to deliver supplies to flood victims in the remote Yen Bai province. Bishop Joseph Nguyen Van Yen led a...

Canadian bishops: ‘We cannot accept the unethical way Canadian mining companies have been operating in Latin America ‘ 

The Catholic bishops of Canada have issued a letter condemning “the unethical way Canadian mining companies have been operating in Latin America or other regions of the world.” In a...

Cardinal Medina: no Communion, funeral for pro-abortion politicians without public repentance 

A Chilean cardinal has warned politicians that if they support the legalization of abortion, they must not receive the Eucharist until they make a public act of repentance. In a letter published...

Catholic marriages in Scotland plunge to 1941 level 

A prominent Scottish priest has called for “systematic and intensified preaching and catechesis on marriage,” noting that the number of Catholic marriages in Scotland has dropped to its...

Salesian missionary in Ethiopia has baptized over 7,500 

A Salesian missionary priest has baptized more than 7,500 people in the Ethiopian village where he works. Father Giorgio Pontiggia has been stationed for years in a village outside Gambella....

New Jersey mayor removes Guadalupe shrine from state-owned land 

Mayor Hector Lora of Passaic, New Jersey, has ordered the removal of a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe that was on public property. The shrine had been set up 14 years ago by a local group, which...

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