Stories for week of August 26, 2012

Released Monday, Aug. 27

Scotland’s bishops issue pastoral message on marriage

The bishops of Scotland have issued a pastoral message on marriage that was read throughout Scottish parishes on August 26. “We write to you having already expressed our deep disappointment that...

Catholic Relief Services responds to report on employees’ ties to pro-abortion organizations

Catholic Relief Services has responded to a LifeSiteNews.com report charging that the relief agency has a “history of hiring employees with strong ties to pro-abortion and pro-contraception...

‘Survey of Religious Hostility in America’

The Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council have published a 135-page report documenting lawsuits and other acts that have exhibited hostility towards the free exercise of...

Cardinals pay tribute to Nellie Gray

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington attended the funeral Mass of Nellie Gray, the organizer of the March for Life and a convert to Catholicism. The Mass was...

University president on Catholic Democrats: ‘Where are the Caseys now?’

The HHS mandate, writes Ave Maria University president Jim Towey, “is disillusioning for us who felt it is possible to be a good Catholic and a good Democrat.” “I remained a Democrat the entire...

EEOC sues Burger King restaurant over treatment of Christian teen who sought to wear skirt

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit on behalf of Ashanti McShan, a Pentecostal teenage girl who was not permitted to begin work at a Burger King restaurant because she wished...

20 more suspects in Vatileaks case?

Vatican investigators could investigate 20 more people in the connection with the leaks of confidential papal documents, the Italian news service ANSA reports. Citing “well-placed Vatican...

Belief precedes, enables understanding of Christ's message, Pope tells audience

St. Peter and the other apostles understood the message of Jesus because they first believed in Him, Pope Benedict XVI told his Sunday Angelus audience on August 26. Continuing his reflections on...

Polish bishops plan major push for reconciliation with Russia

The Polish Catholic bishops have ordered that the full text of a joint Orthodox-Catholic statement on reconciliation between Poland and Russia should be read at Mass in all parishes. Meeting this...

Pakistani Christian children under attack; rape, murder, kidnapping are common

The Fides news service has called attention to “a long trail of Christian children killed for different reasons” in Pakistan, as well as many incidents of young Christians kidnapped, raped, and...

Recalling 'the smiling Pope,' John Paul I, on anniversary of his election

Marking the anniversary of the election of Pope John Paul I, who was chosen by the conclave on August 26, 1978, the Vatican newspaper offered a retrospective on the short reign of the “smiling...

Find new ways to reach 'religiously illiterate' generation: Vatican prefect

Christian evangelizers must find new ways to deliver the Gospel message to a “religiously illiterate” generation, the prefect of the Congregation for Religious told an audience in...

Irish primate promises vigorous fight against legalizing abortion

Any effort to legalize abortion in Ireland will be “vigorously and comprehensively opposed,” the Catholic Primate of All Ireland has promised. Speaking in Waterford, Cardinal Sean Brady said that...

Syrian archbishop takes refuge in Lebanon after offices sacked

Melkite Catholic Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, has sought refuge in Lebanon after his offies were ransacked by rebel troops. The offices of the Maronite Catholic archdiocese...

Debate on mandate is opportunity to teach about NFP, says Archbishop Cordileone

In a column for the Catholic Voice, the newspaper of the Oakland diocese, Archbishop-elect Salvatore Cordileone (who will soon be installed as head of the San Francisco archdiocese) argues that the...

Victoria, Australia: parochial-school teachers to join others on strike

Catholic-school teachers and administrators will join with other educators in Australia’s state of Victoria in a strike scheduled to begin on September 5. The teachers are asking for a 30%...

Pope faces diplomatic challenge on trip to Lebanon

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter explains why the September trip to Lebanon by Pope Benedict XVI will be a severe test of papal diplomacy. The Vatican has carefully avoided taking...

Fascinating facts from a Vatican yearbook

L’Espresso provides a fascinating glimpse at a publication that few Catholics will ever see: the hefty account of “activity of the Holy See”—which, although technically “unofficial,” is published...

Does insurance coverage increase abortion rate? The 'Romneycare' precedent

As American politicians debate whether the "Obamacare" health plan will increase the rate of abortion, analysts turn to the record in Massachusetts, where coverage of abortion (ironically introduced...

Archbishop Cordileone to face drunk-driving investigation

Police in California report that Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the newly appointed head of the San Francisco archdiocese, was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The archbishop...

Released Tuesday, Aug. 28

Archbishop Cordileone apologizes for DUI arrest

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who was appointed head of the San Francisco archdiocese on July 27 and is scheduled to be installed on October 4, has apologized for the "disgrace" caused by his...

Ancient catacomb discovered in Italy

Safety measures taken in the wake of the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake have led to the discovery of a fourth-century catacomb in the village of San Lorenzo di Beffi. The catacomb’s main tunnel is 100...

500 nuns belong to Chinese religious community

The Fides news agency is reporting that 500 women religious, 80% of whom are “very young,” now belong to the Franciscan Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a community devoted to education...

Venezuela’s bishops lament oil refinery explosion

The bishops of Venezuela have issued a statement following an oil refinery explosion in Amuay that has left 48 dead, injured more than 80, and damaged over 200 homes. As they prayed for the...

Appeal for trapped villagers in Syria

The international charity Aid to the Church in Need has issued an appeal to assist 12,000 Syrians trapped in a village near the Lebanese border. The Fides news agency has reported that the villagers...

Christian girl raped, murdered in Pakistan

Muqadas Kainat, a Christian girl who lived near Sahiwal in the eastern Pakistani province of Punjab, was raped by at least five men and brutally murdered on August 14. No arrests have been made in...

Cardinal Dolan will offer prayer at Democratic convention, too

New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan has accepted an invitation from Democratic officials to deliver the closing prayer at the Party's national convention in September. Cardinal Dolan had already...

Confusion after Vatican II matches pattern of Church history, cardinal notes

In an interview with Vatican Insider, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller says that Catholics should not be surprised by the continuing confusion over the teachings of Vatican II, even 50 years after the...

Irish Times editorial: Church should not take public stand on abortion

In an editorial decrying the statement by Cardinal Sean Brady that the Catholic Church would oppose legalization of abortion in Ireland, the Irish Times has expressed surprise and disappointment...

Panama plans to build world's tallest statue of Virgin Mary

Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelli has announced plans to build the world’s tallest statue of the Virgin Mary. The statue of Santa Maria la Antigua will rise over Panama City to a height of...

Pregnancy is less likely after rape, leading ob/gyn says

Dr. Thomas Hilgers, a Creighton University obstetrics professor and director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, has revealed that statistics show women are less...

Italian premier meets with Pope on Euro crisis

Pope Benedict XVI met on August 28 with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, for a discussion that focused on the challenges facing the European Union. The Pope’s meeting with Monti, held at the...

Denver declines honor for company that challenged Obama mandate

The Denver City Council has backed away from plans to present a “Good Citizenship Award” to a local company that has challenged the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate in court. Hercules...

Former Ratzinger students to discuss ecumenism at annual seminar this weekend

The annual meeting of the Ratzinger Schülerkreis--the seminar for former students of Pope Benedict XVI—will be devoted to ecumenism, with a particular focus on relations with Lutherans and...

Australian government declines Church bid for higher unemployment benefits

Australia’s federal government has rejected calls by Church leaders for an increase in welfare and unemployment benefits. Representatives of Catholic Social Services had argued that the...

HHS revises mandate rules again; religious-liberty concerns still not addressed

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a minor revision in the rules governing the implementation of the contraception mandate. But an attorney representing a Christian...

Registration opens for World Youth Day in Rio

Registration has opened for groups planning to attend the World Youth Day (WYD) celebrations in Rio de Janeiro in 2013. WYD organizers have announced that they are accepting registrations,...

Irish lawmakers want 'conscience vote' on abortion

Members of Ireland’s Fine Gael party are asking the government to ensure that lawmakers would have a “conscience vote” on any proposal to change the country’s law on abortion. Brian Hayes, a...

Court ruling promises gentler treatment for Pakistani girl charged with blasphemy

A Pakistani court has ruled that the case of a Down-syndrome girl who was arrested on blasphemy charges should be handled by a juvenile court. The decision, which allows for more lenient treatment,...

European court rules against Italian legal restriction on in vitro fertilization

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that an Italian law restricting artificial reproduction violates the laws of prospective parents by not allowing them to screen embryos for disease...

Released Wednesday, Aug. 29

Eastern Orthodox leader urges repentance for environmental damage, prayer for creation’s restoration

On the eve of a new Eastern Orthodox liturgical year, which begins September 1, the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople issued an encyclical calling for repentance for environmental...

State officials: diocese can’t collect funds for marriage initiative

Citing state finance laws, the State of Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission has ruled that parishes in the Diocese of Yakima cannot hold a special collection on behalf of Preserve Marriage...

Federal funds account for nearly 93% of USCCB’s migration/refugee budget

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services has published its 2011 annual report. According to the report, over 92.5% of Migration and Refugee Services’ $72.1...

Pakistan: 100 Christians flee homes, live in forest

Following the arrest of a Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges, 100 Christians from her Islamabad neighborhood have left their homes and begun to live in the forest. Some of the Christians...

Caritas appeal for Ethiopia

Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, has issued a $3.1-million appeal to assist persons affected by drought in Ethiopia, where nearly 3.8 million...

'Nuns on the Bus' organizer to address Democratic convention

Sister Simone Campbell--the head of the liberal Network lobby, and chief organizer of the "Nuns on the Bus" tour criticizing Republican budget plans--has been invited to speak at the Democratic...

Never compromise on the truth, Pope insists

“The truth is the truth and there is no compromise,” Pope Benedict XVI told his weekly public audience on August 29, the feast of the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist. St. John the Baptist died...

Islamic terror driving Christians out of Mali

The Vatican newspaper has called attention to the flight of Christians escaping Islamic persecution in Mali. As many as 200,000 Christians from Mali have found their way to refugee camps in...

Syrian Christians face mounting terrorist threat

A series of terrorist bombings outside Damascus have struck Christian targets, testifying to the rising danger of sectarian violence in a country where the Christian minority has previously felt...

Relic of Bl. John Paul II stolen, recovered in Italy

Italian police report that a relic of Blessed John Paul II was stolen on Tuesday, August 28, but recovered later in the day. A priest carrying a vial of blood from the late Pontiff, which was to...

3-partner 'civil union' recognized in Brazil

A Brazilian notary has recognized a civil union involving 3 persons: a man and two women. The three parties to the union, who have declined to be publicly identified, have been living together in...

Sales of fake 'designer' goods flourishes outside St. Peter's Square

Police in Rome have allowed dozens of unlicensed merchants to sell counterfeit goods on the streets outside St. Peter’s Square, the ANSA news service reports. Undeterred by occasional police...

Cardinal George to begin chemotherapy next week

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who revealed earlier this month that he has been diagnosed with cancer for the 2nd time, will begin chemotherapy next week. Cardinal George, who is 75, had...

Times columnist Douthat on American politics and religion

New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat, a practicing Catholic, offers his thoughts on American politics and religion in an interview with the National Catholic Register. Regarding the...

Released Thursday, Aug. 30

5 churches attacked in Kenya

Five Protestant churches in Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city, were attacked following the August 27 killing of a Muslim cleric, according to Sabahi, a web site sponsored by the Africa Command of...

In court filings, Catholic organizations lament harm caused by HHS mandate

In May, 43 Catholic dioceses and other organizations nationwide filed suit in various federal courts against the HHS mandate. On August 6, the Obama administration filed a brief urging the courts to...

Colombia’s bishops welcome talks between government, rebels

The Episcopal Conference of Colombia has welcomed President Juan Manuel Santos’s decision to engage in peace talks with rebel forces. The decades-old conflict between the government and rebel...

Chinese bishop urges Rosary, Catechism study during Year of Faith

A 90-year-old Chinese bishop has directed that each parish in his diocese offer a public daily Rosary and a program of study devoted to the Catechism of the Catholic Church during the upcoming Year...

Arab bishops decry violence in Syria

Decrying the conflict in Syria, the Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions is expressing its “closeness and solidarity” in a message to the apostolic vicar of Aleppo, Syria’s largest...

Prelate: bishops’ credibility on abuse is ‘shredded’

The August 30 issue of Origins includes “Help for Bishops in Rebuilding Trust,” a recent talk by Bishop Daniel Conlon of Joliet, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children...

LifeSite News continues to question CRS for hiring pro-abortion employees

The LifeSite News service has criticized Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for hiring employees who engage in pro-abortion activism. That criticism has drawn a disclaimer from CRS, which issued an...

Vatican drops lawsuit against German magazine

The Vatican has quiet dropped a lawsuit that had been filed against a German satirical magazine, Titanic, because of a retouched photo ridiculing Pope Benedict XVI. The July issue of Titanic...

Former US envoy to Vatican sees 2012 presidential race as critical

“The current administration will regularly subordinate rights relating to human life, rights relating to religious freedom, to their agenda items on the gay rights agenda and the abortion rights...

Cardinal Schönborn offers glimpse of seminar for former Ratzinger students

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, who will be among the participants in a weekend seminary along with other former theology students of Pope Benedict XVI, spoke with Vatican Radio about both...

Researcher who studied same-sex households is cleared of misconduct charge

The University of Texas has dismissed a scientific-misconduct charge that was brought against a researcher whose study showed that children raised by same-sex parents suffered negative...

Jerusalem Patriarch looks forward to Pope's reflections on Middle East

The September visit to Lebanon by Pope Benedict XVI is intended not only for that country but for the entire region of the Middle East, the Latin-rite Patriarch of Jerusalem remarked in a Vatican...

Nigerian church bans women’s traditional headwraps

A Catholic cathedral in Nigeria has announced that women will no longer be permitted to wear the traditional elaborate headwrap called the gele in the church. Father Uche Obodoechina said that...

Islamic lawyers press for blasphemy trial for handicapped Pakistani girl

Islamic leaders in Pakistan have objected to a medial commission’s report that a Christian girl should be tried in juvenile court on blasphemy charges. Disputing the medical commission’s report...

‘Vatileaks’ lawyer quits case

Carlo Fusco, the lawyer for “Vatileaks” suspect Paolo Gabriele, has dropped off the case, citing differences of opinion over the conduct of the legal defense. A second lawyer representing...

Released Friday, Aug. 31

Cardinal Dolan’s prayer at Republican National Convention: full text

Following presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s speech at the Republican National Convention, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,...

Cardinal Burke: anti-canonical priestly culture devastated Church after Vatican II

Lamenting a clerical culture dismissive of canon law in the decades following the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Raymond Burke addressed a Kenyan canon law convention on August 28 about “the...

Strong criticism of Father Groeschel following remarks on abuse

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Father Benedict Groeschel said that some victims of clerical sexual abuse seduced their attackers and that first-time offenders should not be...

Some Muslim leaders call for leniency for Christian girl accused of blasphemy

Several Muslim leaders in Pakistan are calling for leniency for Rimsha Masih, a medically handicapped Christian girl who has been imprisoned on blasphemy charges. “In order to prove the charges...

USCCB: advice for immigrants eligible for Obama administration’s deferred-action program

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs has published a document offering advice to immigrants eligible for the Obama administration’s...

Cardinal Martini, leading liberal papabile, dead at 85

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the retired Archbishop of Milan, died on August 31 of complications from Parkinson’s disease, at the age of 85. An acclaimed Scripture scholar and urbane Catholic...

Australian priest faces criminal charges for failing to act on abuse reports

An Australian priest faces criminal charges for failing to take action on sex-abuse reports while he was serving as principal of a Catholic school. Father Tom Brennan, a former vicar general of...

Israeli foreign ministry rejects complaint about new apostolic nuncio

The Israeli government has dismissed a journalist’s charge that the recent appointment of Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto as apostolic nuncio is a “slap in Israel’s face.” The Israeli foreign...

Pope's prayer intentions for September 2012

The Vatican has released the prayer intentions of Pope Benedict XVI for September 2012. The Pope’s general intention is: “That politicians may always act with honesty, integrity, and love for...

Vatican Radio recalls Pope's guidelines for political activism

In his prayer intentions for the month of September 2012, Pope Benedict XVI includes the petition that “politicians may always act with honesty, integrity, and love for the truth.” Vatican Radio...

New pontifical academy will promote use of Latin

Pope Benedict XVI will soon set up a new pontifical academy to promote the study of the Latin language, according to the leading Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa. The “Pontificia...

Conflicting testimony on Bishop Finn's reaction to images of children on priest's computer

A employee of the Diocese of Kansas City, Missouri, reportedly testified that Bishop Robert Finn said that “boys will be boys” when he was informed that a priest had been found with disturbing...

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