Stories for week of July 16, 2017

Released Monday, Jul. 17

Pope Francis reflects on parable of the sower

Pope Francis reflected on the parable of the sower (Mt. 13:1-23), the day’s Gospel reading at Mass, during his July 16 Sunday Angelus address (Italian text, video). The Pope told pilgrims...

Reach out to lapsed Christians, Pope says in video

The La Machi Agency, in collaboration with the Vatican Television Center, has produced a video associated with the Pope’s July 2017 prayer intention for lapsed Christians. “Let us...

Pontiff greets Carmelites, prays for Venezuela

Following the recitation of the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square on July 16, Pope Francis offered greetings to Carmelites and prayers for Venezuela, whose bishops warned recently of increased...

Vatican cardinal laments international silence on Ukraine

At the invitation of Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches has visited the nation to show...

Vatican UN envoy: recognizing religion’s public dimension can combat extremism

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has released a 30-page “Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity...

Pontiff decries ecological indifference

In a Spanish-language message to an ecological conference that took place in Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis emphasized the right to clean drinking water and called upon governments to enact policies...

Cardinal Meisner had ‘profound faith and sincere love for the Church,’ Pope says in telegram

The Vatican newspaper has published Pope Francis’s telegram of condolence following the death of Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne, who passed away on July 5. Cardinal Meisner was one of...

Benedict XVI: deceased cardinal had faith in Church, even in time of crisis

In a tribute to the late Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI praised the German prelate for his “conviction that the Lord does not leave his Church, even if at times the ship...

Bishops of central Africa region plead for peace

Concluding a plenary meeting last week, the Catholic bishops of Central Africa issued an appeal for an end to the violence in their region. The bishops—from a region that includes Cameroon, the...

Same-sex marriage not a major concern for Church, says German Cardinal Marx

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich argues that Germany’s acceptance of same-sex marriage is not a defeat for Catholicism. The German cardinal said that the Church should be more concerned about...

Boko Haram destroys Nigerian mosque

A suicide bombing organized by Boko Haram killed at least 8 people in a mosque in Maiduguri, in northern Nigeria on July 17. A spokesman for the Maiduguri diocese remarked that the attack on a...

Oakland diocese sues cathedral builders, architects for design flaws

The Diocese of Oakland, California, has brought suit against architects and contractors involved in the building of the city’s new cathedral, pointing to “design and/or construction...

Released Tuesday, Jul. 18

New governor general named for Order of the Holy Sepulchre

Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, recently named Leonardo Visconti di Modrone as the Order’s governor...

Archbishop discusses how ‘offer of life’ came to be a recognized path to sainthood

The Secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has written an article tracing the background of the Pope’s recent apostolic letter recognizing the “offer of life” as an...

Ireland: national collection to address ‘greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II’

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has announced a special collection at all Masses on July 22 and 23 to address the hunger crisis that affects 25 million people in Kenya, South Sudan,...

Venezuela’s bishops back opposition plebiscite; shots fired on crowd outside church

Amid rising malnutrition and fears of a future Marxist dictatorship, over seven million Venezuelans took part in an unofficial plebiscite on July 16 on President Nicolas Maduro’s proposal to...

Prelate urges Trump administration to raise refugee cap

The chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Migration called upon the Trump administration to raise its cap on admission of refugees to the United States. A presidential executive order in...

Italian priest named no. 2 official at Vatican doctrinal congregation

Pope Francis named Msgr. Giacomo Morandi as the Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on July 18 and raised him to the dignity of archbishop. Msgr. Morandi, the...

Vatican tribunal rejects move to dismiss embezzlement charges against hospital executives

The trial of two former executives of a Vatican-owned hospital on embezzlement charges began today, with a Vatican tribunal rejecting a motion by the two defendants to dismiss the case. Giuseppe...

Australian archbishop unsurprised by decline in religious affiliation

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane has said that there is “nothing very surprising” about Australian census figures that show a sharp rise in the number of young people with no...

Widespread abuse charged in German choir school

More than 500 choir boys suffered abuse at the famous choir school associated with the Diocese of Regensberg, Germany, over a period of 45 years, according to an investigator’s report. The...

Two priests kidnapped in Democratic Republic of Congo

Two Catholic priests were kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo on July 17. A group of masked and armed men reportedly attacked the parish of Notre Dame in Bunyuka, in the northeast of...

Archbishop tells UN about religion’s role in economic development

In the quest to end poverty, religious leaders make their best contribution by raising awareness of the ethical principles that lie behind humanitarian efforts, the Vatican’s representative...

Lebanese Patriarch: refugees from Syria impose strain on country

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai has warned that the presence of 2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon is straining the fabric of that country. “Even with all our solidarity with the...

Released Wednesday, Jul. 19

New Philippine bishops’ president viewed as more open to dialogue with government

The Philippine bishops have elected Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao to a two-year term as president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. Archbishop Valles, who assumes the...

South African officials turning blind eye to human trafficking, bishops’ spokesman says

The priest who serves as the South African bishops’ liaison to parliament said that the nation’s culture of corruption allows human trafficking to go unpunished. Commenting on a US...

Immigration: USCCB renews support for DACA

The chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Migration called on the Trump administration not to end a 2012 program that grants work authorization and a reprieve from deportation to over...

Austria: majority of altar servers are girls

Nearly a quarter century after the practice of female altar servers became licit, 55% of Austria’s 45,000 altar servers are girls, according to statistics published by the Archdiocese of...

Maronites to commemorate Eastern martyrs

The Maronite Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, will commemorate a Day of the Martyrs of the Eastern Churches on July 31. The Encyclopedia of Martyrs...

Catholic layman arrested for Goa desecrations

A 54-year-old Catholic layman has been arrested for the desecration of a Catholic cemetery and the destruction of at least 11 crosses in the past month. Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão said...

Facebook blocked, then restored, many Catholic pages

Facebook blocked access to more than 20 Catholic pages on July 18, without any explanation. By July 19, the Catholic pages were all apparently restored, but Facebook had still not offered any...

Archbishop Gänswein: statement by Benedict XVI not aimed at Pope Francis

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the longtime personal secretary to Benedict XVI, denounced suggestions that the retired Pontiff had intended to criticize Pope Francis with a statement issued for the...

Archbishop Paglia explains new direction for Pontifical Academy for Life

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia explained the new strategic vision of the Pontifical Academy for Life in an interview with Austen Ivereigh for Crux. The Italian prelate brushed aside criticism that...

Released Thursday, Jul. 20

Pontifical abuse commission member praises Regensburg bishop for confronting abuse

The publication of a report on widespread abuse at the famous choir school associated with the Diocese of Regensberg, Germany, manifests a “courageous” attitude on the part of the local...

Russian high court affirms ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses

Russia’s Supreme Court has upheld an earlier court decision banning the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The court accepted the Putin administration’s argument that the group’s...

80th anniversary of French ecumenical initiative

The Vatican newspaper has published a front-page article recalling that July 2017 marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Dombes Group, an ecumenical initiative in Lyon, France. Father...

Caritas rues ‘lack of political will’ to address hunger, ecological problems

The Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies recently called upon participants in a UN meeting to make greater efforts to address hunger and ecological concerns. Citing two...

Vatican’s Secretary of State condemns attack on crowd outside Venezuelan church

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, condemned an attack by supporters of President Nicolas Maduro on a crowd outside a church near Caracas. After Cardinal Jorge Urosa...

Nigerian bishop: government corruption has aided Boko Haram

Speaking in Hungary, a Nigerian bishop said that government corruption has helped foster the Boko Haram jihadist insurgency. Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme ministers in Maiduguri, a center of Boko...

Jerusalem’s Christian leaders insist on free access to sacred sites for all

All of the major Christian leaders in Jerusalem have issued a joint statement of “serious concern” about the rise in tensions at the Temple Mount, where two police officers were killed...

Facebook restores Catholic pages, says blocking was accidental

Facebook has restored full access to more than 20 Catholic pages that had been blocked on July 18, saying that the blockage was due to an error. “This incident was triggered accidentally by...

Charlie Gard offered permanent-resident status in US

The US House of Representatives has approved a measure that would grant permanent-resident status to Charlie Gard, enabling the 11-month-old child to travel to an American hospital for medical...

Central African Republic: Muslims take refuge in Catholic cathedral

More than 2,000 Muslims have sought refuge in the Catholic cathedral in Bangassou, in the Central African Republic, to escape sectarian violence. The Muslim refugees have fled from attacks by the...

South African bishops oppose bid for registration of religious ministers

The Catholic bishops of South Africa have announced their opposition to a proposal for the registration of religious ministers with the government. Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, the...

Released Friday, Jul. 21

Day of prayer, fasting for Venezuela’s Catholics

Venezuela’s bishops have declared July 21 to be a day of prayer and fasting. The prelates called on the faithful to ask God to bless the efforts of the Venezuelan people for freedom,...

Pope is ‘the voice of suffering Ukraine,’ leading Eastern prelate says

In a recent homily at his cathedral in Kiev, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church paid tribute to Pope Francis for his concern for strife-torn Ukraine. “We feel that the Pope...

Russian Orthodox mission rededicated in Jerusalem

The St. Sergius Mission, a Russian Orthodox church complex in Jerusalem, was rededicated on July 18 in the presence of Russian and Israeli officials. The complex passed from Israeli to Russian...

Sharp decline in Bosnia’s Catholic population

The Catholic population of Bosnia and Herzegovina has fallen to 400,000—down from over 740,000 before the Bosnian War (1992-95). “This decline is mainly due to young people emigrating...

USCCB: bishop criticizes House Republicans’ budget proposal

The chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development criticized the House Republicans’ budget proposal, which was approved in a July 19 committee...

Vatican’s Secretary of State to meet with Putin

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in August. The visit to Russia will be the first by a Vatican Secretary...

Texas bishop issues pastoral letter on migration

Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso has issued a pastoral letter on migration. “Building walls, deploying a mass deportation force and militarizing our border are not long-term solutions to the...

Cameroon bishops demand further inquiry into bishop’s death

The Catholic bishops of Cameroon have filed a formal complaint of murder in the death of Bishop jean-Marie Benoit Bala, saying that they are unsatisfied with the government’s inquiry to...

Pope makes €25,000 contribution to fight famine in eastern Africa

Pope Francis has donated €25,000 to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to support efforts against famine in eastern Africa. The Pope’s contribution fulfills a...

Filipino bishop suggests new focus for war against drug trade

A Filipino bishop has encouraged President Rodrigo Duterte to “reconfigure” his was against drug trafficking, concentrating on eliminating the demand for illegal drugs rather than wiping...

New officials named to Roman Rota

Pope Francis has named two new officials for the Roman Rota. Father Pierangelo Pietracatella, a priest of the Toronta diocese in Italy, will be the chief of office for the Roman Rota; Father...

Mosul is ‘completely destroyed,’ prelate reports

“Today, Mosul is completely distroyed,” reports the city’s Syric-Catholic Bishop Petros Mouche. “Everything needs to be rebuilt.” Visiting the Iraqi city, which was...

Heavy fines for contempt in release of undercover Planned Parenthood videos

A California judge has ordered pro-life activists to pay over $135,000 in fines, citing them for contempt of court for releasing undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s involvement in...

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