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Catholic World News

Stories for week of December 14, 2014

Released Monday, Dec. 15

Guadalupe apparition was like a ‘new visitation,’ says Pope CWN - December 15, 2014

On December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis celebrated a Spanish-language Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and compared the 16th-century Marian apparition to her visitation to St....

Papal preacher devotes 2nd Advent sermon to ‘peace as a duty’ CWN - December 15, 2014

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, reflected on “peace as a duty” in his December 12 Advent sermon to the Pope...

1st meeting between Pope, Salvation Army leader CWN - December 15, 2014

For the first time, a Pope has met with the leader of the Salvation Army, the Protestant group founded by William Booth in 1865. “Catholics and Salvationists, together with other Christians,...

Pope encourages works of mercy for the poor CWN - December 15, 2014

Pope Francis met with members of two French charitable organizations on December 13 and encouraged them in their work of assisting the homeless. “Your founder, Gabriel Rosset, had heard the cry...

Learn from the example of St. Lucy, Pope tells the visually impaired CWN - December 15, 2014

In a December 13 audience, Pope Francis called upon members of a non-denominational Italian blind persons’ association to learn from the example of St. Lucy, the patron saint of the visually...

Italian prime minister meets with Pope CWN - December 15, 2014

Pope Francis met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on December 13. The Pontiff and the 39-year-old leader, who has been in office since February, discussed “the current context of...

Pope preaches homily on joy, speaks about babies crying in church CWN - December 15, 2014

Pope Francis visited the suburban Roman parish of San Giuseppe all’Aurelio on December 14 and celebrated an evening Mass after meeting with parish groups. “The Church is with you, she welcomes...

Closeness to God brings joy, Pope says in Angelus address CWN - December 15, 2014

Pope Francis devoted his Gaudete Sunday Angelus address to the theme of joy. “The heart of man desires joy,” he said. “All of us aspire to joy. Every family, every people aspires to happiness....

US Sec, Kerry, Cardinal Parolin speak about Middle East, Guantanamo inmates CWN - December 15, 2014

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, met on December 15 with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, his Vatican counterpart, for a discussion that centered on the Middle East. During the conversation, the...

Vatican representative says she faced resistance in probe of US women's religious orders CWN - December 15, 2014

Mother Mary Clare Millea, who was appointed by the Vatican to conduct an apostolic visitation of women’s religious orders in the US, has acknowledged that she faced lively resistance to her...

Chaldean Patriarch asks pre-Christmas fast for Iraqi Christian refugees CWN - December 15, 2014

The Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church has asked his people to undertake a pre-Christmas fast for the needs of Christian refugees in Iraq. Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako suggested fasting...

Al Azhar rejects jihadist claim that other Muslims are 'infidels' CWN - December 15, 2014

Terrorists should be condemned, but not labelled as “infidels,” Egypt’s Al Azhar University has proclaimed. Al Azhar, the most influential institution in the world of Sunni Islam, hosted a...

Avoid 'sins of the media,' Pope urges Italian TV personnel CWN - December 15, 2014

Catholics in the media should have the “courage to speak directly, telling the turth and working to “preserve it from all that distors and twists it for other purposes.” That was the message of Pope...

British agency says Catholic school could foster extremism; Church official protest CWN - December 15, 2014

Church officials in Britain are protesting a decision by the government’s assessment agency to downgrade a Catholic school for failing to promote “British values.” Ofsted—the Office for Standards...

Inaccurate prenatal tests prompt more abortions, study shows CWN - December 15, 2014

Prenatal screening for fetal abnormalities is prompting many women to abortion their children, even though the test results are unreliable, the Boston Globe reports. The New England Center for...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 16

Pope laments rigidity, praises Pius XII for mitigating Eucharistic fast CWN - December 16, 2014

In his December 15 homily at Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis decried the rigidity and lack of principle of the chief priests in the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 21:23-27) and praised Venerable Pius...

Heightened security at Nigerian churches CWN - December 16, 2014

Churches in Nigeria have heightened their security in response to the continued terrorist activity of the Islamist militant organization Boko Haram. In Kano, a city of 2.1 million in northern...

Catholic group laments ‘weak’ results of Lima climate conference CWN - December 16, 2014

Stating that the world is now poised for “4-degree warming,” an alliance of 17 Catholic development agencies strongly criticized the “weak” results of a major climate conference in Lima. A...

Pope receives leader of Bosnia and Herzegovina CWN - December 16, 2014

Pope Francis received Dragan Covic, the Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the Apostolic Palace on December 15. Covic also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: the Pope is on Ukraine’s side CWN - December 16, 2014

At a recent prayer vigil, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), an Eastern-rite church in full communion with the Holy See, said that “the Pope is on the side of Ukraine and its...

Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16, 2014

Expressing “profound gratitude” for the “dedicated and selfless service of women religious,” the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life has issued its...

Indian archbishop worried by rumors about Christmas school days, mass conversions CWN - December 16, 2014

Archbishop Anil J. T. Couto of Delhi has voiced concern over reports that schools will be open on Christmas Day. The archbishop decried reports that Hindu militants plan a ceremony for the...

Critic protests renovations at Chartres cathedral CWN - December 16, 2014

Writing in the New York Review of Books, Martin Filler laments a renovation project already underway in the cathedral of Chartres, in which the interior walls are being painted in “bright whites and...

Would-be assassin wants to visit tomb of St. John Paul II CWN - December 16, 2014

Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who shot and wounded St. John Paul II in 1981, now says that he wants to visit the grave of the late Pontiff. Agca, who spent 19 years in Italian prisons...

Olympic competition on Vatican grounds? CWN - December 16, 2014

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins has suggested some Olympic events could be held at the Vatican if Rome wins a bid to host the Olympic Games in 2024. The Portuguese cardinal, who is now retired,...

Catholic relief agency in Jordan strains to help Iraqi Christian refugees CWN - December 16, 2014

The Catholic relief agency Caritas Jordan has warned that it will soon run out of supplies to serve 7,000 Christian refugees from Iraq, the Fides news agency reports. Wael Suleiman, the director...

German bishops ready to change policy, allow divorced/remarried and homosexual employees CWN - December 16, 2014

The Catholic bishops of Germany will soon approve a change in policy allowing people in irregular marital arrangements to work for Church agencies, reports Edward Pentin in the National Catholic...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 17

USCCB: bishop rues opening of immigrant detention center CWN - December 17, 2014

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration decried the opening of a family detention center-- the largest of its kind-- for those who have entered the...

Pakistan: 59 in custody for horrific murder of Christian couple CWN - December 17, 2014

Six weeks after a Pakistani Christian husband and wife were detained by a mob for two days, had their legs broken, and were burned to death in a brick kiln, 59 people are in custody and 79 are at...

‘Christmas in an Iraqi refugee camp’ CWN - December 17, 2014

The Daily Mail has published a photographic overview of life in an Iraqi refugee camp. The camp’s Christian inhabitants fled the advance of the Islamic State, and the overview includes several...

Cardinal Schönborn laments Russian aggression in Ukraine CWN - December 17, 2014

Returning from a visit to Ukraine, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna decried the Soviet-induced Ukrainian famine of the 1930s and lamented current Russian actions. “Stalin created this...

Russian patriarch: Islamic State ‘demonizes’ Islam CWN - December 17, 2014

During a recent meeting in Moscow with Turkey’s leading Muslim cleric, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church made comments about the Islamic State and the persecution of Christians. “I cannot...

Spanish diocese criticized for not publicizing cathedral’s Islamic past CWN - December 17, 2014

Stating that tourism is being harmed, the government of the southern Spanish region of Andalusia has criticized the Diocese of Córdoba for not doing more to highlight the Islamic past of its...

Pope Francis names members of Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors CWN - December 17, 2014

Nearly nine months after he instituted the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and named eight members, Pope Francis has named nine new members to the commission, thus completing its...

Pope speaks on family, prays for victims of terrorism CWN - December 17, 2014

Pope Francis devoted his December 17 general audience to the family. According to the Vatican Radio synopsis of the audience, the Pontiff called the family a “great gift of the Lord to the world,...

Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17, 2014

Pope Francis played a key role in mediating talks between the US and Cuba, resulting in an exchange of prisoners and opening the way for the first direct talks between the neighboring countries in...

Pope celebrates 78th birthday CWN - December 17, 2014

Pope Francis celebrated his 78th birthday on December 17 with a cake, a cup of the traditional Argentine maté tea, and impromptu tango dancing by couples in St. Peter’s Square. During his regular...

Church of England appoints first female bishop CWN - December 17, 2014

Rev. Libby Lane has been chosen to become the first female bishop of the Church of England. Rev. Lane, who is currently a vicar in the Chester diocese, will become the Bishop of Stockport. Her...

Top UK court denies 'conscience clause' protection to pro-life midwives CWN - December 17, 2014

The highest court in the United Kingdom has ruled against two midwives who refused to cooperate in abortions. Overruling the decision of an appeals court in Edinburgh, the Supreme Court ruled...

Released Thursday, Dec. 18

Diplomacy consists of ‘small steps,’ says Pope CWN - December 18, 2014

Pope Francis received 13 new ambassadors to the Holy See and said in brief remarks that diplomacy consists of “small steps” that “sow brotherhood among peoples.” Referring to developments in...

USCCB: prelate welcomes policy change toward Cuba CWN - December 18, 2014

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement welcoming the change in US policy toward Cuba as well as the release of an American imprisoned in Cuba for five years. “Our...

Italian bishops issue guidelines to prevent theft of religious art CWN - December 18, 2014

Following the nighttime theft of a Guercino painting from a church in Modena, the Italian bishops’ conference, joined by Italy’s culture ministry and national military police, has issued guidelines...

Do not give up on ecumenical dialogue, Pope tells German Lutherans CWN - December 18, 2014

Pope Francis received a delegation from the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany and the ecumenical commission of the nation’s Catholic episcopal conference on December 18 and called on...

Jerusalem patriarch issues Christmas message CWN - December 18, 2014

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem issued his annual Christmas message on December 18 and reflected on the ways in which 2014 was both “the best of times” and “the worst of times.” Among the...

Leading Pakistani bishop: the Taliban ‘will stop at nothing now’ CWN - December 18, 2014

The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan condemned the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar and said that the attack showed the Islamic fundamentalist movement “will stop at...

USCCB president meets with President Obama, VP Biden CWN - December 18, 2014

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on December...

Pope distributes sleeping bags to Rome's homeless CWN - December 18, 2014

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, supervised the distribution of hundreds of sleeping bags to the homeless of Rome, as a gift from Pope Francis, on December 18. Swiss Guards drove a...

Ancient Iraqi monastery now serving as ISIS prison CWN - December 18, 2014

The Islamic State has transformed the historic monastery of St. George into a prison, the Fides news service reports. About 150 prisoners of the Islamic State have been moved into the monastery....

Unfertilized ovum is not human embryo, European court rules in stem-cell case CWN - December 18, 2014

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that a corporation can patent human stem cells, provided that they are not derived from an embryo that can develop into a human being. The...

Released Friday, Dec. 19

Cuban, Miami prelates react to policy change toward Cuba CWN - 17 hours ago

The bishops of Cuba have issued a statement welcoming the announcement of the US policy change toward Cuba. “We thank the Lord, now on the eve of Christmas, that new horizons of hope are...

Chaldean patriarch urges pre-Christmas fast, subdued Christmas celebration CWN - 17 hours ago

Citing the “heavy cross” borne by Iraq’s Christian refugees, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has called upon his flock to fast from December 22 to 24, according to a report from the...

Jesus is your ‘best friend,’ Pope tells children CWN - 16 hours ago

Pope Francis met with a delegation of children from Italian Catholic Action on December 18 and told them that Jesus is their “best friend.” The Pontiff offered the young people five pieces of...

Malpractice suit brought by Spokane diocese against law firm will go to trial CWN - 14 hours ago

A federal bankruptcy judge has cleared for a trial in a legal-malpractice case brought by Diocese of Spokane against a law firm that handled diocesan bankruptcy proceedings. The diocese has...

Mideast Christians are genocide victims, says leading Russian Orthodox official CWN - 14 hours ago

A leading Russian Orthodox official told reporters that Christians in the Middle East are undergoing what is “effectively genocide” and that “only Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church are speaking...

Egypt: Islamic leader decries threats against Christians CWN - 14 hours ago

Egyptian Muslim leaders have reacted strongly against online threats to the Coptic Christian community as Christmas approached, the Fides news service reports. Islamic militants have posted...

‘Sports are at home in the Church,’ says Pope CWN - 14 hours ago

Pope Francis spoke to members of Italy’s National Olympic Committee on December 19 and said that sports “are at home in the Church.” “Sport has always favored a universalism characterized by...

Pope thanks Italian cities for Christmas tree, crèche CWN - 14 hours ago

Pope Francis received delegations from the Italian cities of Verona and Catanzaro in the Apostolic Palace on December 19 and thanked them for the gift of the Christmas tree and crèche in St. Peter’s...

Worldwide Franciscan order in 'grave' financial distress CWN - 14 hours ago

The worldwide leader of the Franciscans has revealed that the religious order is in “grave” financial difficulties, and that Italian civil officials have been asked to investigate irregularities in...

Syrian archbishop speaks of hope, joy amid suffering, in Christmas message CWN - 6 hours ago

Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, has issued a Christmas message encouraging his people to celebrate the feast joyfully despite their troubles. “The greatest tribulations, war...

Calligraphers protest Vatican decision to print all papal blessing in-house CWN - 6 hours ago

Calligraphers and shopkeepers catering to pilgrims and tourists in Rome are protesting the Vatican's announcement that beginning January 1, all papal blessings will be printed and distributed...

Vatican Christmas tree features new LED lights CWN - 6 hours ago

The Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square was illuminated on Friday, December 19, in a brief ceremony led by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the president of the Vatican city-state governorate. The...

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