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Stories for week of March 31, 2013

Released Monday, Apr. 1

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem says Pope would be ‘most welcome’ as pilgrim

In his Easter Sunday homily at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem spoke of the importance of Christian unity, challenged local Catholics to evangelize, and said...

Pope Francis tells priests: keep churches open, hear confessions

Pope Francis joined a prominent Vatican official and seven priests for lunch on Holy Thursday and emphasized the importance of hearing confessions, according to a priest who was present at the...

Cardinal Dolan addresses same-sex marriage on Easter Sunday news shows

In two television interviews that were aired nationally on Easter Sunday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York addressed the issue of same-sex marriage. On ABC, he was asked, “What do you say to a...

Protests against German ban on Good Friday dances

Dancing remains forbidden on Good Friday throughout Germany, provoking scattered protests throughout the largely secularized nation. “There's a very strong community pressure that you're not able...

Prayer intentions of Pope Francis for April

The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for April 2013 The Pope’s general intention is: "That the public, prayerful celebration of faith may give life to the...

Pope prays for the world in Easter message

In his Urbi et Orbi message for Easter Sunday, March 31, Pope Francis extended his greetings to the world, offering the hope of Easter joy “especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals,...

Pope Francis to visit St. Peter's tomb

Pope Francis will visit the tomb of St. Peter, in the necropolis under the Vatican basilica, on Easter Monday afternoon. Accompanied by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the archpriest of St. Peter's...

'Restructure' Church to focus on Christ's message, suggests Dublin's archbishop

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Ireland said that the Church should be “restructured and destructured” in order to bear more effective witness to the Gospel. A revival of the faith “will not come...

Traditionalists taken aback by Pope's foot-washing ritual

Traditionalist Catholics were dismayed by the decision of Pope Francis to include young women in the traditional foot-washing ritual at the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. An AP story...

Released Tuesday, Apr. 2

Pope Francis: be transformed by the grace of the Easter sacraments

In his Easter Monday Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis urged pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square to let the grace of the Easter sacraments change their lives. “The Baptism that makes us children of...

USCCB campaign: thank Sen. Rubio for support for immigration reform

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants campaign is urging those on its e-mail list to “thank Senator Rubio for his work with the Gang of Eight.” “Anti-immigrant...

Russian Orthodox Church urges Anglicans not to support female bishops, same-sex marriage

Metropolitan Hilarion, the Russian Orthodox Church’s chief ecumenical officer, has urged the new Archbishop of Canterbury not to support female bishops or same-sex marriage. “We know that the...

Wire service retracts reports on Pope’s lung

The Associated Press has corrected its earlier reports on an operation involving one of Pope Francis’s lungs. “In some stories from 2005 and March 2013 about Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who became...

Oregon priest sentenced to 6 years for abuse committed in 2012

Father Angel Armando Perez, a priest of the Archdiocese of Portland, has received the mandatory minimum sentence of 75 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy...

Reuters speculates on reforms Pope Francis might undertake

A speculative story from the Reuters news service, suggesting that Pope Francis will undertake serious reforms in Vatican institutions and especially in the Vatican bank, has appeared in many...

India: seminary rector beaten to death

The rector of a Catholic seminary in India was murdered on Easter Monday by an unknown assailant. Father K. J. Thomas, rector of a seminary in Bangalore, was apparently killed around dawn. Police...

John Paul II was 'fearless,' Pope told anniversary celebration in Argentina

Eight years after the death of Blessed John Paul II, Vatican Radio recalled the words of then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, marking the same anniversary two years ago. Cardinal Bergoglio, the...

Released Wednesday, Apr. 3

Cardinal recounts details of Pope’s visit to St. Peter’s tomb

Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica since 2006, has discussed details of Pope Francis’s April 1 visit to St. Peter’s tomb, which is located in the necropolis under the...

Australia launches inquiry into child sexual abuse; 5,000 expected to testify

Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse held its first hearing on April 3. Although Prime Minister Julia Gillard formed the commission in the wake of...

Vatican message for autism awareness day

Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, the president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, has issued a message on the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day. “Faced...

USCCB: lobby senators on behalf of assault-weapon ban, universal background checks

The Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging Catholics to “contact your senators and urge them to support legislation that...

Profile of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre

Founded around 1099, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem now has 28,000 members and provides crucial support to the Church in the Holy Land, according to a Catholic World Report...

Pope prays at John Paul II’s tomb, calls John XXIII’s secretary

On the evening of April 2, after St. Peter’s Basilica was closed to visitors, Pope Francis prayed at the tomb of Blessed John Paul II, who reigned from 1978 to 2005, on the anniversary of his death....

Women, first witnesses to the Resurrection, show how to spread faith, Pope tells audience

In his weekly public audience on April 3, Pope Francis spoke about the role of women as witnesses of Christ’s Resurrection and, more generally, witnesses to the faith. The New Testament refers to...

Vatican announces Pope's schedule for April, May

The Vatican has released a schedule of liturgical events at which Pope Francis will preside in April and May. The Pope's schedule calls for regular Sunday Masses, primarily in St. Peter's Square or...

Pakistani Christian acquitted of blasphemy after 8 years in jail

A Pakistani Christian who has been imprisoned since 2005 on blasphemy charges has been acquitted of those charges by a court in Lahore. Younis Masih was acquitted after the appeals court reversed...

Released Thursday, Apr. 4

Vatican commission document on inspiration of Scripture nearing completion

A long-expected Vatican document on the inspiration and truth of Sacred Scripture is nearing completion. When the Pontifical Biblical Commission holds its annual five-day meeting at the Domus...

Bishop speaks of terror in Central African Republic

The Spanish missionary bishop of Bangassou, a city of 35,000 in the southern region of the Central African Republic, spoke with the Fides news agency about the disorder and terror in the nation,...

Uruguay’s senate votes in favor of same-sex marriage

Less than a year after Uruguay legalized abortion, the country is poised to become the second Latin American nation to legalize same-sex marriage. By a 23-8 vote, Uruguay’s senate has approved...

Head of Coptic Orthodox Church to visit Pope Francis

Pope Tawadros (Theodoros) II of Alexandria, who was elected head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in November, has announced that he will soon visit Pope Francis in Rome. The announcement followed an...

Nigerian prelate condemns attacks on Christian villages; thousands displaced

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, president of the Nigerian bishops’ conference, has condemned attacks on three central Nigerian villages by predominantly Muslim Fulani farmers. The attacks, which...

Survey shows Pope's popularity among Americans

Pope Francis enjoys broad popularity among American Catholics, a new Pew Research survey shows. A Pew telephone survey of 1,001 Americans found that 84% have a favorable opinion of the new...

Italy-Argentina soccer game suggested as tribute to Pope Francis

Cesare Prandelli, the coach of Italy’s national soccer team, has suggested a “friendly” match with Argentina in honor of Pope Francis. "If we could arrange it, it would be nice to have an...

Italian priest charged with defrauding hospital

An Italian priest has been arrested on fraud charges at a hospital where mounting deficits forced the Vatican to intervene. Police charge that Father Franco Decaminada took €4 million ($5.1...

Turkey's secularists worried by 'gigantic' new mosque

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing forward with plans to build a gigantic mosque, despite public criticism. The giant mosque with its six minarets, perched on a hill...

'Topless jihad' planned against Tunisian clerics

Femen, the Ukrainian feminist group, has announced a “topless jihad” in support of a Tunisian woman who has become the target of a fatwa after she posted a topless picture of herself on a Facebook...

Milwaukee archdiocese agrees to release sex-abuse documents

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has agreed to release thousands of documents detailing the response of Church leaders to sex-abuse complaints. The archdiocese, which is in bankruptcy proceedings,...

Released Friday, Apr. 5

Catholic school enrollment continues to fall in US

The number of students enrolled in Catholic primary and secondary schools in the United States has fallen by 1.5% in the past year to 2,001,740, according to data released by the National Catholic...

Pope Francis often heard confessions, will not ‘clericalize the laity,’ says priest

As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis emphasized a pastoral concern for the poor and the role of the laity, according to an Opus Dei priest in Buenos Aires who once directed Vatican...

Pakistan: mob burns shops, cars in Christian neighborhood

A Muslim mob burned shops and cars and threw stones at a church in a Christian neighborhood in Gujranwala, a city of 2.7 million in northeastern Pakistan that was the site of anti-Christian violence...

USCCB grants $3.1M to assist Church in Latin America

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America has granted over $3.1 million to 132 projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Three grants...

Archbishop, other Christian leaders to commemorate famed ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, the vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, will join other Christian leaders in Birmingham on April 14 and 15 to commemorate the...

Pope Francis confirms drive against sexual abuse

Pope Francis underlined the importance of a drive to eliminate sexual abuse during an April 5 audience with Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the...

Prestigious Jesuit journal shifting focus to promote commentary, online access

Civilta Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal that enjoys a special relationship with the Vatican, is undergoing its first-ever design change, shifting its emphasis to commentary rather than news...

Long Island parish removes lector after same-sex marriage

A Catholic parish on Long Island has removed a man from his roles as lector and religious-education instructor after the local diocese was informed that the man had joined his homosexual partner in...

Miami officials say Mother Teresa's nuns lack proper license to serve poor

The Missionaries of Charity have been cited by city officials in Miami for operating a soup kitchen without proper licenses. Mother Teresa’s nuns have not obtained the proper permits for their...

Jesuit school denies recognition to Knights of Columbus; gay students seek chaplain's removal

Gonzaga University, a Jesuit-run institution in Spokane, Washington, has announced that the Knights of Columbus cannot be recognized as a student organization because the group admits only...

Italian court says in vitro process should be available to same-sex couples

A panel of Italian judges has called for the country’s top court to rule on Italy’s law restricting artificial reproduction. The court in Milan argued that the 2003, which does not allow assisted...

Federal judge lifts all restrictions on 'morning-after' pill sales

A US federal court has ruled that the government must allow over-the-counter sales of the “morning-after pill” to women of all ages. Judge Edward Korman charged that the federal government was...

Archbishop Tutu honored with Templeton Prize

The retired Anglican Archbishop Demond Tutu of Cape Town, South Africa, has been awarded the Templeton Prize for “life-long work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness which...

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