Catholic Church News

Pope on ISIS killings: Blood of Ethiopian Christians 'cries out to be heard'

Pope on ISIS killings: Blood of Ethiopian Christians 'cries out to be heard'

April 20, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis voiced his distress at the news of a reported mass execution of Ethiopian Christians in Libya at the hands of ISIS, pleading that their deaths may not go ignored.

“The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard by everyone who can still distinguish between good and evil. All the more this cry must be heard by those who have the destiny of peoples in their hands.” Continue Reading Pope on ISIS Killing>

Pope Francis meets with International Catholic Society for Girls

Pope Francis meets with International Catholic Society for Girls

April 20, 2015 - (Vatican Radio) - Bishop Robert McElroy, the new head of the San Diego diocese, has criticized a proposal to remove the statue of pioneering California missionary and soon-to-be saint Father Junipero Serra from the U.S. Capitol.

Bishop McElroy told journalists on Wednesday that Fr. Serra is a “foundational figure” of California history. He noted that Fr. Serra is one of the few Hispanics honored in the U.S. Capitol and represents a state “rapidly becoming majority Hispanic,” the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Continue Reading International Catholic Society for Girls>

New San Diego bishop: Don't remove Junipero Serra from US Capitol

New San Diego bishop: Don't remove Junipero Serra from US Capitol

April 20, 2015 - (CNA) - Bishop Robert McElroy, the new head of the San Diego diocese, has criticized a proposal to remove the statue of pioneering California missionary and soon-to-be saint Father Junipero Serra from the U.S. Capitol.

Bishop McElroy told journalists on Wednesday that Fr. Serra is a “foundational figure” of California history. He noted that Fr. Serra is one of the few Hispanics honored in the U.S. Capitol and represents a state “rapidly becoming majority Hispanic,” the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Continue Reading Catholic Relief Services>

CRS deliberating over vice president in same-sex civil marriage

CRS deliberating over vice president in same-sex civil marriage

April 20, 2015 - (CNA) - A communications official with Catholic Relief Services said that the organization is aware that one of their vice presidential employees is in a same-sex civil marriage, and is in deliberations about it.

“Rick Estridge has served CRS for 16 years and currently holds the position as our vice president of overseas finance. Rick is in a same sex civil marriage,” said CRS senior manager for communications Tom Price. Continue Reading Catholic Relief Services>

Confirmed priest abuse allegations in single digits for 2014

April 21, 2015 - (CNA) - There are tens of thousands of Catholic clergy in the U.S. – but there were fewer than 10 substantiated allegations of clergy sex abuse committed in the 2013-2014 audit period, according to the U.S. bishops' latest report.

In addition, almost all clergy, laity and other workers and volunteers at Catholic institutions have undergone safe environment training. Continue Reading Priest abuse allegations>

 

Apostolic Blessing offered to those who mourn Cardinal George

Apostolic Blessing offered to those who mourn Cardinal George

April 18, 2015 - (CNA) - In a telegram to Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago, the Holy Father offered his blessing to all those who mourn Cardinal Francis E. George.

“To all who mourn the late Cardinal in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord,” Pope Francis said in the April 18 telegram, according to Vatican Radio. Continue Reading Apostolic Blessing>

HHS mandate loses again: Supreme Court order protects Pennsylvania Catholic groups

HHS mandate loses again: Supreme Court order protects Pennsylvania Catholic groups

April 18, 2015 - (CNA) - The U.S. Supreme Court has continued its trend of decisions stopping enforcement of a federal contraception mandate against religious employers with moral objections.

On April 15, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued an order barring the federal government from enforcing the mandate against Catholic Charities affiliates, Catholic schools and social service organizations in the dioceses of Erie and Pittsburgh. Continue Reading US Supreme Court>

Anti-Cordileone ad misrepresents Catholicism, archdiocese says

Anti-Cordileone ad misrepresents Catholicism, archdiocese says

April 17, 2015 - (CNA) - A group of Catholics promoting a full-page advertisement asking Pope Francis to remove Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone don’t represent San Francisco Catholics and misrepresent the facts, the archdiocese has said.

“The advertisement is a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching, a misrepresentation of the nature of the (archdiocese’s) teacher contract, and a misrepresentation of the spirit of the archbishop,” the San Francisco archdiocese said April 15. Continue Reading Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone>

Pope: Doomed migrants were looking for happiness

Pope: Doomed migrants were looking for happiness

April 17, 2015 - (CNA) - The Holy See Press Office confirmed today that Pope Francis is considering a possible stop in Cuba as part as his trip to United States, which is scheduled to take place in September.

“The Holy Father has taken into consideration the idea to stop in Cuba as part of his coming voyage to the United States,” an April 17 press release from the Vatican revealed. Continue Reading Pope Francis to Cuba>

Pope Francis to Cuba? It's not official, but possible, Vatican says

Pope Francis to Cuba? It's not official, but possible, Vatican says

April 17, 2015 - (CNA) - The Holy See Press Office confirmed today that Pope Francis is considering a possible stop in Cuba as part as his trip to United States, which is scheduled to take place in September.

“The Holy Father has taken into consideration the idea to stop in Cuba as part of his coming voyage to the United States,” an April 17 press release from the Vatican revealed. Continue Reading Pope Francis to Cuba>

Terminally Ill Seminarian Ordained; Gets Phone Call From Pope

Terminally Ill Seminarian Ordained; Gets Phone Call From Pope

April 17, 2015 - (Zenit) - His story has moved Italy. After having received a phone call of encouragement from Pope Francis, 38-year-old Salvatore Mellone, at the end of his life due to an incurable illness, received priestly ordination yesterday afternoon in his own room at Barletta.

Don Mellone’s name jumped to a place of honor two days ago in the newspapers, when the news was published of the Pope’s telephone call. Francis said to him: “The first blessing you give, you will impart to me.” The Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie and the Pontifical Seminary of Molfetta, where the new priest was formed, subsequently confirmed the conversation between the Pontiff and the sick seminarian. Continue Reading Terminally ill Semainarian>

Cardinals discuss Vatican media and bishops' accountability

Cardinals discuss Vatican media and bishops' accountability

April 15, 2015 - (Vatican Radio) - The Council of nine cardinals, comprising Pope Francis’ closest advisors, has been meeting in the Vatican again this week to discuss a range of issues regarding the reform of the Roman Curia. In particular the Church leaders have focused on a planned restructuring of the Vatican media and the difficult question of accountability for bishops who have not dealt responsibly with known cases of child sexual abuse.

The so-called C9 group has been meeting behind closed doors with Pope Francis from Monday morning through Wednesday afternoon, discussing ways of moving closer towards the drawing up of a new constitution for the Curia. While the head of the Holy See press office, Fr Federico Lombardi wasn’t setting any definite timeline, he did say the cardinals hope to be getting close to that goal by the end of 2016. Continue Reading Vatican Media>

Pope: "more weight and more authority must be given to women”

Pope: "more weight and more authority must be given to women”

April 15, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis says there is still much to be done in order to give due recognition to women, both in society and in the Church.

Speaking on Wednesday during the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope said that not only must the voice of women be listened to, but that it must also be given weight and authority. Continue Reading More weight and Authority>

Papal blessings for Asia Bibi’s family, as death sentence still looms

Papal blessings for Asia Bibi’s family, as death sentence still looms

April 15, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis has blessed the family of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, as they continue to work for her release.

Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, said “the Holy Father blessed and encouraged us.”

Masih and the couple’s youngest daughter, 14-year-old Isham, briefly met with Pope Francis after his Wednesday General Audience. Continue Reading Asia Bibi>

Letter Urging Support Of International Religious Freedom Act

USCCB

April 15, 2015 - (USCCB) - At Easter, Pope Francis acknowledged “the suffering of our many brothers and sisters who are perse-cuted for [Christ’s] name, and of all those who suffer injustice as a result of ongoing conflicts and violence.” The Holy Father went on to name violent conflicts in Syria, Iraq, the Holy Land, Libya, Nigeria, and most recently Kenya, many of which have a dimension of religious persecution or ethnic/sectarian tensions that have taken on religious overtones.

The increase in violence perpetrated against religious minorities has reached staggering proportions. For this reason, on behalf of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), I urge you to support and pass H.R. 1150, The Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2015. Continue Reading USCCB>

iPad donated by Pope Francis auctioned for $30,500

iPad donated by Pope Francis auctioned for $30,500

April 15, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - An iPad donated by Pope Francis has been sold at auction for $30,500, with the funds destined for a Catholic school in Uruguay.

The Pope gave the iPad to a priest in Uruguay, who in turn offered it to the school to be auctioned as a fundraiser. The Castells auction house, based in Montevideo, announced that the winning bid had been $30,500. The winner will receive the iPad and a certificate attesting to the fact that it was once owned by the Pontiff. Continue Reading Pope IPod>

Papal trip to South America set for July?

Papal trip to South America set for July?

April 14, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Pope Francis will travel to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay in July, the Associated Press has reported.

Citing Italian media reports, AP says that the Pontiff will spend two days in Ecuador, beginning July 6. He will then continue to Bolivia, and on to Paraguay, spending two days in each country.

The papal trip would include stops at the shrine of Our Lady of El Quinche in Ecuador, a Mass celebrated at an altitude of 13,000 feet in Bolivia, and a Mass in Paraguay for a congregation that could reach one million. Continue Reading Papal Trip>

Pope: Exodus at heart of 2015 World Day for Vocations

Pope: Exodus at heart of 2015 World Day for Vocations

April 14, 2015 - (News.va) - “’Exodus’ is at the heart of vocation…our response to the vocation God gives us:” that’s what Pope Francis says in his Message for this year’s  World Day of Prayer for Vocations celebrated Sunday 26 April.   Recalling the biblical exodus from slavery in Egypt and, “ the origins of the amazing love story between God and his people,” Pope Francis calls the faithful to “decisively” turn their lives to the Lord. In his message for this, the 52nd World Day for Vocations, the Pope urges us to “leave behind our comfort and the inflexibility of our ego in order to centre our life in Jesus Christ” and to embrace the Church’s evangelizing mission in everything we do and everywhere we go. Continue Reading Exodus at the Heart of WYD>

Pontifical Academies launch anti-trafficking website

Pontifical Academies launch anti-trafficking website

April 14, 2015 - (News.va) - The Pontifical Science Academies have launched a new website aimed at combatting the worldwide scourge of human trafficking. The website builds on the success achieved over the past year by the ecumenical Global Freedom Network, including a joint declaration against modern slavery signed by Pope Francis and leaders of different faith communities in countries around the world.

The new site, www.endslavery.va includes Catholic and Anglican resources, as well as links to international anti-trafficking legislation and details of upcoming events organised by the Pontifical Academies for Sciences and Social Sciences. Continue Reading Human Trafficking>

Don't thwart nuclear agreement with Iran, bishop warns Congress

Don't thwart nuclear agreement with Iran, bishop warns Congress

April 14, 2015 - (CNA) - The head of the U.S. Bishops' international peace committee supports the new framework for Iran's nuclear program and is asking the U.S. Congress not to “undermine” the deal.

“We welcome the most recent step the United States and its international partners have taken with Iran and encourage our nation to continue down this path,” said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces. N.M. Continue Reading Nuclear Agreement>

High-profile Rome exorcist: 'ISIS is Satan'

High-profile Rome exorcist: 'ISIS is Satan'

April 15, 2015 - (CNA) - In a recent Facebook post, well-known Roman exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth said the Islamic State (ISIS) “is Satan,” also questioning the lack of response from Western nations.

“ISIS is Satan. Things first happen in the spiritual realms, then they are made concrete on this earth,” he said in an April 8 post on the social media website. Continue Reading ISIS>

Dangerous conditions at St. Patrick's cathedral force repairs, Cardinal Dolan says

Dangerous conditions at St. Patrick's cathedral force repairs, Cardinal Dolan says

April 14, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan has revealed that St. Patrick’s cathedral was in dangerous condition before a recent restoration effort began.

“We’re talking about repair, because literally, the stones are falling and literally, our insurance people are saying, ‘If you don’t do some repair, we’re going to have to close it,’?” the cardinal told New York executives. Continue Reading St. Patrick Cathedral>

Pope Francis: Vocations are about quality, not quantity

Pope Francis: Vocations are about quality, not quantity

April 14, 2015 - (CNA) - Well-formed vocations are more important than numerous vocations Pope Francis said in address to religious formators on Saturday at the Vatican.

“There is not a vocations crisis where there are consecrated people able to transmit the beauty of consecration with their own witness,” the pontiff said, according to Vatican Radio's translation. Continue Reading Vacation Quality>

Congregation for Religious issues Message after Congress

Congregation for Religious issues Message after Congress

April 13, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic life issued a final communiqué on Monday morning, announcing the release of the Concluding Message following the five-day International Congress for Formators under the sponsorship of the Congregation that concluded on Saturday.

The focus of the Congress was on forming the people who, in turn, are – or will be – responsible for the formation of people in religious life – and the theme of the Concluding Message followed the structure of the Beatitudes as proclaimed by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount, and recounted in the Gospel according to St. Matthew (5:1-10). Continue Reading Congregation for Religious>

Turkey recalls ambassador to Holy See, protests Pope's statement on Armenian genocide

Turkey recalls ambassador to Holy See, protests Pope's statement on Armenian genocide

April 13, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The government of Turkey has recalled its ambassador to the Holy See, protesting a strong public statement by Pope Francis condemning the Armenian genocide.

The Pope said that the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Turkish regime in 1915 was “the first genocide of the 20th century.” Those words were identical to the formula used in a statement released jointly in 2001 by St. John Paul II and Catholicos Karekin II, the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Continue Reading Turkey ambasasador>

After controversy, NJ Catholic school reinstates teacher with plea for 'truth and charity'

After controversy, NJ Catholic school reinstates teacher with plea for 'truth and charity'

April 14, 2015 - (CNA) - A New Jersey Catholic school has reinstated a teacher who was the focus of media controversy over her social media posts critical of LGBT advocacy. The school stressed the need for a positive presentation of the Catholic faith while also lamenting “hurtful” media coverage about the teacher.

Immaculata High School in Somerville, N.J., said that all issues related to theology teacher Patricia Jannuzzi’s employment are “resolved.” Continue Reading Council of Cardinals>

Faithful Call for Titanic Priest to Be Canonized

Faithful Call for Titanic Priest to Be Canonized

April 13, 2015 - (Zenit) - Termed the 'Titanic priest,' Father Thomas Byles--who rather than save his life stayed on the sinking ship to pray with passengers--could be made saint.

According to survivors, the priest refused a lifeboat seat two times, and instead prayed with second and third-class passengers on the sinking ship, reported Metro.co.uk Sunday. Continue Reading Titanic Priest>

Ninth Meeting of Council of Cardinals Begins

Ninth Meeting of Council of Cardinals Begins

April 12, 2015 - (Zenit) - The ninth meeting of the Council of Cardinals desired by Pope Francis to assist him in the governance of the Universal Church to study the plans for reforming the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor Bonus” on the Roman Curia has begun today at the Pope's residence, Casa Santa Marta, in the Vatican.

The meeting will continue until Wednesday, April 15. As is customary, the Holy Father will be absent from the morning meetings on the final day as he will address the faithful during his weekly General Audience. Continue Reading Council of Cardinals>

Pope Francis: Julian Easter greetings at Regina coeli

Pope Francis: Julian Easter greetings at Regina coeli

April 12, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis offered Easter greetings to all Christians who follow the Julian calendar, and who are celebrating the great feast of the Resurrection this Sunday. "Christós anésti!" said Pope Francis, speaking to the faithful following the Regina coeli prayer - "The LORD is Risen!" The Holy Father went on to say, "Let us greet all our brethren of the East on this their Easter Sunday," inviting the gathered faithful to do so with a round of applause.

Ahead of the traditional Eastertide prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father focused on the Gospel reading of the day, which tells the story of Thomas the Apostle, who doubted the resurrection until he saw the Risen Lord and probed His wounds. "[Thomas] was able to touch the Paschal mystery that fully manifests the salvific love of God, rich in mercy," said Pope Francis. Continue Reading Pope Francis>

Mercy inseparable from life, mission of the Church, says Pope

Mercy inseparable from life, mission of the Church, says Pope

April 9, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis officially proclaimed the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy by reminding the faithful that mercy cannot be separated from the life and ministry of the Church.

“Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life,” Pope Francis wrote in the official declaration, released April 11. “All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.” Continue Reading Mercy inseperable from Life>

Practical help for the demon-possessed: Vatican rolls out new exorcism course

church

April 9, 2015 - (CNA) - This month the Vatican will gather a wide range experts in the field of exorcism with the aim of shedding light on demonic possession from both theological and scientific perspectives.

The annual course, “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation,” is designed for priests and lay persons interested in learning how to recognize a case of demonic possession when they see one – and what to do about it. Continue Reading Practical help>

Controversies at Catholic schools in Iowa, Nebraska over teachers and same-sex marriage

teachers

April 9, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - 150 students and alumni at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines, Iowa, took part in a protest against the Diocese of Des Moines’ decision not to offer a full-time teaching contract to a substitute teacher who announced his engagement to another man.

“Just because our school officials or diocesan leaders might have made this decision, it does not directly reflect what we believe as students,” a sophomore at the school said. Continue Reading Controversies at Catholic Schools>

March for Marriage: April 25, 2015

March for Marriage

April 9, 2015 - (News.va) - Bishop Malone and Archbishop Cordileone have once again invited and encouraged the Bishops and the faithful to take part in the March for Marriage on April 25, 2015, three days before the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the constitutionality of states’ preserving the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Writing to the U.S. bishops, these two Chairmen wrote, “The March will be an opportunity to stand for the good of marriage in our nation, to pray for our Supreme Court justices, and to demonstrate our commitment to the well-being of children. It complements well the bishops’ Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty (www.usccb.org/pray)Continue Reading about the March for Marriage>

The Holy Father addresses the Patriarchal Synod of the Armenian Catholic Church

Pope Francis

April 9, 2015 - (News.va) - This morning Pope Francis received in audience twenty bishops of the Synod of the Armenian Catholic Church, who will attend next Sunday's Holy Mass to be celebrated for faithful of Armenian rite in St. Peter's Basilica, during which St. Gregory of Narek will be proclaimed a Doctor of the Church.

In the discourse he addressed to the bishops, the Holy Father remarked that on Sunday they will “raise a prayer of Christian intercession for the sons and daughters of your beloved people, who were made victims a hundred years ago”, and invoked Divine Mercy “so that it might help all, in the love for truth and justice, to heal every wound and to expedite concrete gestures of reconciliation and peace between the nations that still have not managed to reach a reasonable consensus on the interpretation of these sad events”. Continue Reading The Holy Father>

An interview with Cardinal Fernando Filoni on returning from his mission to Iraq -The pebble and the 'colomba'

Cardinal Fernando Filoni

April 9, 2015 - (News.va) - “The Church that Francis wants is open and close to the suffering. This is why the Pope was very glad that we could be present among Iraqi refugees during Holy Week”. Upon returning from his mission to Iraq, Cardinal Fernando Filloni was received on Tuesday evening at the Casa Santa Marta by the Pontiff, with whom he shared his impressions of what he considers to have been above all a pilgrimage: each place he visited, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples explained, “was one of the Stations of the Cross, which these people are living every day”.

What were the key stops on the journey?

I spent Palm Sunday in Amman, Jordan; then I transferred to Baghdad, Iraq. But I spent most of my time in the north, in the areas of Iraqi Kurdistan, celebrating Easter rites and meeting with families – not only Christian – fleeing the violence of the so-called Islamic State, and [meeting with] the religious and institutional authorities involved in receiving them. Continue Reading Mission to Iraq>

Kasper is not the 'Pope's theologian,' says leading African cardinal

Pope Francis

April 9, 2015 - (CNA) - A top African cardinal says that German cardinal Walter Kasper – who's stirred controversy over his views promoting Communion for the divorced and remarried – does not necessarily represent Pope Francis' theological stance.

He also rejected efforts to claim the Pope for either side of the debate ahead of the upcoming synod on the family. Continue Reading Pope's Theologian>

Cleveland diocese sets morality standards for high-school teachers

Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio

April 9, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, has set new standards for teachers at parochial high schools, matching the standards already in place for elementary-school teachers.

The new rules stipulate that teachers in Catholic schools must not engage in public support for abortion, euthanasia, or same-sex marriage; must not participate in an abortion; must not have sexual relationships outside marriage, and must not use illegal drugs. The standards were accepted by teachers at the give diocesan high schools. Continue Reading Cleveland Diocese>

Young boy lives dream of 'being a priest' for a day

Brett Haubrich with Archbishop Carlson of St. Louis. Credit: Lisa Johnsto/St. Louis Review.

April 9, 2015 - (CNA) - Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and the Make-A-Wish Foundation helped one young boy to live his dream by experiencing, in part, what it’s like to be a priest for a day.

Eileen Haubrich said that her son, 11-year-old Brett, didn’t “want anything” like a trip to Disneyland or the chance to meet a celebrity when he was approached by Make-A-Wish Missouri. Continue Reading Young Boy lives Dream>

International Congress on Consecrated Life studies formation

International Congress on Consecrated Life studies formation

April 8, 2015 - (News.va) - An international Congress for instructors for Consecrated Life kicked off Wednesday in Rome following a prayer vigil Tuesday for the success of the initiative.  The April 7-11 Congress has as its theme “To live in Christ according to the Form of Life of the Gospel – Formed to consecrated life in the heart of the Church and of the world.”

In remarks at the opening of the Congress, the Prefect for the Congregation for Consecrated Life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz recalled that over the next few days, religious - including hermits, monks, brothers and sisters - of institutes of consecrated life would be reflecting on the basic identity of their calling in the Church and the world, and on formational needs to meet today’s challenges. Continue Reading International Congress>

Pope Francis at Audience: children are greatest blessings

Pope Francis at Audience: children are greatest blessings

April 8, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, during which he continued his catechetical series on the family, concluding his reflections on the role of children in family life. Below, please find the English summary of the Holy Father's prepared remarks.

Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today we continue our reflection on children, the greatest blessing which God has bestowed on man and woman. I wish to focus our attention on the suffering which many children are experiencing. From the first moments of their lives, some are rejected, abandoned, and robbed of their infancy and future. There are those who say it is a mistake to bring these children into the world, due to their fragility, and the hunger and poverty they suffer. But children are never a mistake, and their sufferings are only reasons for us to love them even more. Continue Reading Pope Francis at Audience>

English bishops release advice to voters on coming elections

English bishops release advice to voters on coming elections

April 7, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have issued guidelines for voters in the upcoming elections, saying that Catholics should be guided by a “desire to build a world in which respect, dignity, equality, justice, and peace are our primary concerns.”

“Voting in a general election should seldom, if ever, be based on a single issue,” the bishops say. They encourage voters to consider a wide range of issues, while noting that some issue—“particularly those concerned with the dignity and value of human life and human flourishing”—are more important than others. Continue Reading English Bishops Release>

Bishops appeal against death penalty in Boston bombing case

Boston Strong

April 8, 2015 - (CNA) - As accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stands trial, the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts are asking that he not receive the death penalty if he is convicted.

“The defendant in this case has been neutralized and will never again have the ability to cause harm,” the bishops stated. “Because of this, we, the Catholic Bishops of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, believe that society can do better than the death penalty.” Continue Reading Bishops appeal>

Kansas becomes first state to ban 'dismemberment abortion'

Ultrasound

April 8, 2015 - (CNA) - Kansas became on Tuesday the first state to ban abortions by a procedure known as “dilation and evacuation,” which is common during second-trimester abortions and is called “dismemberment abortion” in the law.

Local pro-life advocates say the legislation is an opportunity to save the unborn from a horrific procedure, while providing a model for other states. Continue Reading Kansas the first state>

Israeli supreme court sides with Catholic monastery, Palestinian homeowners over route of security wall

Israeli supreme court

April 7, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Catholic Church officials in Israel have won a key victory in the nation’s supreme court, which ruled against the construction of a security wall through land owned by a Salesian monastery.

The court ruled that the defense ministry must find another route for the security wall in the Cremisan valley. The court said that the wall can be constructed, but cannot split the monastery lands and separate Palestinian families from the vineyards they cultivate. Continue Reading Israeli Supreme Court>

Pope Francis sends rosaries, Easter cakes to Iraqi Christians

Pope Francis

April 7, 2015 - (CNA) - The Solemn Easter Vigil in Erbil, Iraq, concluded in a spirit of joyful celebration with the distribution of dove-shaped Easter cakes and rosaries sent by Pope Francis to thousands of Chaldean Christians displaced by ISIS.

More than 70,000 Christians fled to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, after their villages came under attack by the Islamic State (ISIS) last June. The militants have since established a caliphate and have persecuted non-Sunnis in its territory, which extends across swaths of Iraq and Syria. Continue Reading Pope Francis>

Britain stands with persecuted Christians, prime minister affirms

British prime minister David Cameron

April 8, 2015 - (CNA) - Easter is a perfect time to take note of all that Christianity has done for Great Britain and to support those persecuted for their faith, UK prime minister David Cameron said in his Easter message.

“The church is not just a collection of beautiful old buildings,” Cameron said in an April 4 video message posted on Youtube. Continue Reading Britain Stands>

President Obama raps 'less than loving' Christians

President Obama

April 7, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - President Barack Obama took aim at “less-than-loving expressions by Christians” during an April 7 address to an Easter prayer breakfast at the White House.

Departing from his prepared text, the President said that “I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less-than-loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned.” Continue Reading President Obama>

Ordination Class Of 2015 Shows Increase In Number Ordained, Reflects Positive Impact Of Support From Families, Catholic Schools, Parish Priests

Ordination

April 7, 2015 - (USCCB) - The 2015 class of men ordained to the priesthood report that they were, on average, about 17 when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood and encouraged to consider a vocation by an average of four people. Seven in 10 (71 percent) say they were encouraged by a parish priest, as well as friends (46 percent), parishioners (45 percent), and mothers (40 percent). On average, they lived in the diocese or eparchy for which they will be ordained for 15 years before entering seminary. Religious ordinands knew the members of their religious institute an average of six years before entering.

The total number of potential ordinands for the class of 2015, 595, is up from from 477 in 2014 and 497 in 2013. Continue Reading Ordination Class of 2015>

Pope Francis: Let our lives be conquered and transformed by the Resurrection

Pope Francis

April 6, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis recited the Regina Coeli on Easter Monday, leading the pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square in a rousing chant of “Christ is risen!”

“In Him, through our Baptism, we are risen, we have passed from death to life, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of love,” said the Pope Continue Reading Pope Francis>

Pope Francis: Do not be "silent"about persecuted Christians

Pope Francis

April 6, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis on Monday expressed his hope that the international community does not look on, “silent and inactive”, in the face of the "unacceptable crime" of the persecution of Christians around the world.

The Holy Father was speaking to the Shalom Community at the end of his Easter Monday Regina Coeli Address. The Community had sponsored a relay which ended in St. Peter’s Square to show solidarity with and raise awareness of persecuted Christians. Continue Reading Persecuted Christians>

Report: world’s Muslim population will nearly equal Christian population in 2050

April 7, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Pew Research Center has published a new report entitled “The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050.”

The report found that in 2050, if current trends continue, 31% of the world’s people will profess Christianity—a rate identical to that in 2010—while the world’s Muslim population will rise from 23% to 29%. Continue Reading Muslim Population>

Massachusetts bishops oppose death penalty for 'Marathon bomber'

Massachusetts bishops oppose death penalty for 'Marathon bomber'

April 6, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Catholic bishops of Massachusetts have issued a statement voicing their opposition to the use of the death penalty in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the “Marathon bomber.”

Tsarnaev is on trial for the April 2013 bombing that killed three people and injured more than 200 who were standing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. As the trial neared its conclusion—with a guilty verdict virtually certain—the Massachusetts Catholic Conference released a statement from the leaders of the four Catholic dioceses in Massachusetts, arguing against the death penalty. Continue Reading Massachusetts Bishops>

Troubled by Indiana reaction, Christian leaders stress gravity of religious liberty

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia

April 6, 2015 - (CNA) - Catholic and Southern Baptist leaders called Friday for a recommitment to religious freedom, lamenting the “acrimony and lies” surrounding efforts to protect religious freedom in Indiana and across the U.S.

“America was founded on the idea that religious liberty matters because religious belief matters in a uniquely life-giving and powerful way. We need to take that birthright seriously, or we become a people alien to our own founding principles,” they said in an April 3 statement. Continue Reading Religious Liberty>

Pope at Easter Vigil: Entering the Mystery

Pope at Easter Vigil: Entering the Mystery

April 5, 2015 - (News.va) - The Easter Vigil is a time for us “to enter into the Mystery which God has accomplished with His vigil of love.” That was the message of Pope Francis as he celebrated the Easter Vigil in Saint Peter’s Basilica on Saturday night.

Sean Patrick Lovett’s report:

Pope Francis focused his reflections on the women who, going out early Sunday morning to anoint the Body of the Lord, were the first to see the empty tomb. Continue Reading Pope at Easter Vigil>

Pope's Easter message: In this violent world, what we need is Christ's resurrection

Pope's Easter message: In this violent world, what we need is Christ's resurrection

April 5, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis reminded Christians this Easter of the strength which comes from Christ’s death and resurrection, calling them to be witnesses of peace and justice, especially for those suffering today in regions of extreme violence and persecution.

“From the risen Lord we ask the grace not to succumb to the pride which fuels violence and war, but to have the humble courage of pardon and peace,” the pontiff said to tens of thousands of cold, rain-soaked pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for Easter Sunday Mass. Continue Reading Pope's Easter Message>

Papal statement mourns killings at Kenyan university

Papal statement mourns killings at Kenyan university

April 3, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Pope Francis has issued a statement denouncing the terrorist attack that killed at least 148 people at Garissa University in Kenya.

Armed members of the Islamic group al Shabab assaulted the school. At first they killed students indiscriminately; then they separated Christian students for execution. Continue Reading Papal Statement>

NBC brings stories of the early Christian Church to network television

NBC brings stories of the early Christian Church to network television

April 4, 2015 - (CNA) - If history is any indication, millions of Americans will be tuning into the premiere of a new television series depicting the early Christian Church this Easter.

"A.D. The Bible Continues" is the latest project of the husband and wife team of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who succeeded in bringing the stories of the Gospels to cable television in their 2013 series "The Bible." Continue Reading A.D. the Bible Continues>

Canada Celebrates Civil Holiday Honoring John Paul II

Canada Celebrates Civil Holiday Honoring John Paul II

April 3, 2015 - (Zenit) - April 2, the day of the death of Saint John Paul II, is now civilly recognized in Canada as "Pope John Paul II Day." This year, the 10th anniversary of the saint's death, marked the first time for the celebration.

The Parliament of Canada last year passed Bill C-266 which received Royal Assent on December 16, 2014, recognizing Saint John Paul II as a champion of human dignity and freedom. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) joins all Canadians in honouring the memory of Pope John Paul II and celebrating this exceptional human being. Continue Reading Canada Celebrates>

Is this the next Sister Christina? Redemptorist priest is a hit on “The Voice”

the next Sister Christina? Redemptorist priest is a hit on “The Voice”  Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2015/04/is-this-the-next-sister-christina-redemptorist-priest-is-a-hit-on-the-voice/#ixzz3WWye1CnC

April 1, 2015 - (Patheos) - The 28-year-old Redemptorist priest Damian Maria Montes has surprised thousands of viewers of Spanish television when he passed the blind audition of La Voz (The Voice),  a reality talent show in Spain.

One of the important premises of the show is the quality of the singing talent. Four coaches, themselves popular performing artists, train the talents in their group and occasionally perform with them. Talents are selected in blind auditions, where the coaches cannot see, but only hear the audition. The jurors of the show were surprised to see that the singer was a priest. Continue Reading The Next Sister Christina>

Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of Mercy: 11 April in St. Peter's Basilica

Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of Mercy: 11 April in St. Peter's Basilica

March 31, 2015 - (News.va) - Following the first announcement of the next extraordinary Holy Year by Pope Francis on 13 March, the Holy Father will proceed with the official indiction of the Jubilee of Mercy with the publication of the Bull of Indiction on Saturday 11 April, at 5.30 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The rite of publication will involve the reading of various passages of the Bull before the Holy Door of the Vatican Basilica. Pope Francis will subsequently preside at the celebration of First Vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday, thus underlining in a particular way the fundamental theme of the extraordinary Holy Year: God’s Mercy. Continue Reading Bull of Indiction>

Pope makes Curial nominations for Education, APSA

Pope makes Curial nominations for Education, APSA

March 31, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis has named the former President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, the newPrefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

The Congregation for Catholic Education is responsible for houses of formation of religious and secular institutes; universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or civil dependent on ecclesial persons; and schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities.  Continue Reading Curial Nominations>

Nigerian Cardinal: priorities for nation’s new president

Nigerian Cardinal: priorities for nation’s new president

March 31, 2015 - (News.va) - The head of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, Cardinal John Onaiyekan Archbishop of Abuja, says this week’s presidential elections had a higher degree of transparency than the past but warns there’s always a risk of post-election violence. Cardinal Onaiyekan, who was speaking to Susy Hodges, said Nigeria’s new president faces three main priorities.

In his assessment of the electoral process, Cardinal Onaiyekan hailed the much higher “transparency” surrounding this poll, compared to past presidential elections in Nigeria with many of the results being “banded about” in the social media. At the same time, the Cardinal warned that there is “no perfect election” and there is always the risk of the result being rigged through the action of some corrupt election officials.  Continue Reading and Listen to Nigerian Cardinal>

Hundreds march against San Francisco archbishop’s policy on teachers

Hundreds march against San Francisco archbishop’s policy on teachers

March 31, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Hundreds of protestors, led by a teacher at the cathedral school, marched against Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s policy of requiring Catholic high school teachers not to publicly oppose Catholic teaching.

Father Donald Godfrey, SJ, associate director for faculty and staff spirituality at the University of San Francisco, joined the protestors and said, “In San Francisco, if you’re going to smell like sheep, you’re going to welcome and accept the LGBT community,” according to a local newspaper report. Continue Reading Hundreds March>

US Bill Proposal: Facilitate Immigration of Middle Eastern Persecuted Christians

US Bill Proposal: Facilitate Immigration of Middle Eastern Persecuted Christians

March 31, 2015 - (Zenit) - US Congressmen are calling for a bill intended to allow immigration of Middle Eastern persecuted Christians into the United States, reported Fides.

The bill is aimed at helping those Christian Syrians and Iraqis to the United States, specifically those who have fled their homes from ISIS terrorists, be able to immigrate and join the already large communities of the Chaldean, Syrian and Assyrian diaspora already present on US territory. Continue Reading US Bill Proposal>

Fortune Magazine Names Pope Francis 4th "Greatest World Leader"

Fortune Magazine Names Pope Francis 4th "Greatest World Leader"

March 31, 2015 - (Zenit) - Fortune magazine has named Pope Francis fourth greatest leader in the world.

Last year, in the first annual release of the global business magazine's rankings of the 50 World's Greatest Leaders, the Pope was given the number one spot. Continue Reading Fortune Magazine>

Nigerian presidential elections proceed despite Boko Haram attacks

Nigerian presidential elections proceed despite Boko Haram attacks

March 31, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Assaults by Boko Haram terrorists failed to stop voting in Nigeria’s March 28 presidential elections, the Fides news service reports.

At least three polling stations were attacked, and 14 voters killed, in remote towns. But millions of voters cast their ballots despite the threats. The government had set up extra polling places to accommodate the many thousands of people who have fled their homes to escape the terrorists. Continue Reading Nigerian Presidential elections>

Over 500,000 sign petition to free Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi

March 31, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - More than 500,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the release of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman who has been sentenced to death on a questionable blasphemy charge.

The petition, begun by a British university student and originally addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron, has drawn international support for the cause of the young Pakistani mother, whose controversial conviction was upheld last year by an appeals court. Continue Reading Free Asia Bibi>

More than 100,000 ask Mexican Supreme Court to affirm right to life

Zocalo de Mexico

March 31, 2015 - (CNA) - More than 120,000 people have signed a petition asking the Mexican Supreme Judicial Court of the Nation to reaffirm that “abortion is not a right.”

The petition campaign was sparked by a lawsuit over the constitutionality of the Mexican state of Tlaxcala’s abortion reform law which could open the door to abortion in the whole country. Continue Reading Affirm Right to Life>

Denver Prelate Laments That Woman Who Cut Baby From Womb Won't Be Charged With Murder

Pregnancy

March 30, 2015 - (Zenit) - The state of Colorado will not bring a murder charge against a woman accused of cutting a baby from her mother’s womb. In a statement, Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila urged people to press elected officials for a change to the state’s law, which does not recognize an unborn child as a person.

Dynel Lane is accused of attacking Michelle Wilkins when Wilkins came to Lane’s home March 18 in answer to an advertisement for baby clothes posted through the popular online site Craigslist. Lane allegedly stabbed Wilkins, who was seven months pregnant, cutting the baby from her womb. The child died. Wilkins managed to survive her injuries. Continue Reading Denver Prelate>

US bishops: Stop shameful detention of migrant families

migrant families

March 31, 2015 - (CNA) - Family detention centers across the U.S. are filling up with children and young mothers  who are seeking shelter from violence, abuse, and persecution in their Central American home countries - and U.S. bishops are not pleased with the policy.

The Church has stood against the policy of detention centers for women and children fleeing violence, saying that they are contrary to social teaching and the dignity of the human person. Continue Reading Migrant families>

Angelus: Pope prays for Germanwings crash victims

Angelus: Pope prays for Germanwings crash victims

March 29, 2015 - (News.va) - Following Mass for Palm Sunday in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis during the Angelus prayed for the victims of the Germanwings air crash on Tuesday which killed 150 people. The Holy Father entrusted them to Mary’s intercession including the group of German students who lost their lives.

The Pope also greeted the young people present for Diocesan World Youth Day urging them to continue on their path of pilgrimage which will, he said, eventually lead you to Krakow in 2016. Continue Reading Pope Francis Angelus>

Pope Francis: Palm Sunday homily

Pope Francis: Palm Sunday homily

March 29, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass in St. Peter's Square on Sunday - Palm Sunday - the beginning of Holy Week, 2015. Please find, below, the official English translation of the Holy Father's prepared remarks.

At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: “He humbled himself” (2:8). Jesus’ humiliation. Continue Reading Pope Francis Palm Sunday>

St Peter's Basilica to go dark for Earth Hour

St Peter's Basilica to go dark for Earth Hour

March 28, 2015 - (News.va) - St Peter’s Basilica will go dark for one hour Saturday evening, joining once again the international "Earth Hour" effort to raise awareness about climate change.

The annual initiative, which began in 2007, invites cities around the world to turn off the lights on their national monuments and public buildings, as well as in offices, shops and homes, to help raise awareness about the need to adopt more environmentally sound practices. Continue Reading Earth Hour>

A sweet sign of hope: Pope's envoy returns to Iraq with Easter cake

Colomba cake

March 29, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis' personal envoy to Iraq will return to the country during Holy Week, bringing with him the pontiff's love and solidarity along with a special gift from the diocese of Rome: cake.

“During Holy Week, which is now close, these families are sharing with Christ the unjust violence of which they are victims, and participating in the pain of the same Christ,” a March 27 statement from the Vatican read. Continue Reading A Sweet Sign of Hope>

Supreme Court rules in favor of pregnancy protection in the workplace

Supreme Court rules in favor of pregnancy protection in the workplace

March 28, 2015 - (CNA) - A recent ruling from the Supreme Court to clarify workplace protections for pregnant women will help remedy some of the pressure placed on working women to abort rather than continue pregnancies, pro-life legal experts say.

“We’re very pleased to see the outcome here,” Clarke Forsythe, chief counsel for Americans United For Life, told CNA. Continue Reading Pregnancy Protection>

Bullets or needles? Death penalty faces new scrutiny as states mull changes

Death Penalty

March 27, 2015 - (CNA) - Firing squads, gas chambers and the electric chair – these types of execution may seem like methods of the past, but some states in the U.S. are bringing them back, prompting a debate about the most humane form of the death penalty, or whether the very idea is a contradiction in terms.

“I think we’re at a critical point right now where the myth that lethal injection was swift, effective and painless has been destroyed,” said Robert Dunham, director of the Death Penalty Information Center. Continue Reading Bullets or needles>

Pope Francis to visit White House Sept. 23

President Barack Obama meets with Pope Francis

March 25, 2015 - (CNA) - U.S. officials have confirmed that Pope Francis will make a stop at the White House to meet with President Barack Obama on Sept. 23, during his trip to the United States for the World Meeting of Families.

“The President and the First Lady will welcome His Holiness Pope Francis to the White House on Wednesday, September 23,” said a March 26 statement from the White House press secretary. Continue Reading Pope Franics to visit White House>

Pope greets homeless in Sistine Chapel: this is your home

Sistine Chapel

March 27, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis made a surprise visit to greet 150 homeless people who were given a special tour of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums Thursday by the papal charitable office. It was a brief, affectionate and emotional encounter.

The Pope crossed the threshold of the Sistine Chapel to the disbelief of his guests, saying this visit and meeting are “a small caress - because this is the home of all; it is your home. The doors are always open for everyone." Continue Reading Sistine Chapel>

Debate among German cardinals heats up; Cardinal Müller raps statement by Cardinal Marx

Cardinal Gerhard Müller

March 26, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Taking aim at public statements by the president of the German bishops’ conference, Cardinal Gerhard Müller has said that it is an “anti-Catholic idea” to suggest that local bishops’ conferences should settle questions about the Church’s approach to Catholics who are divorced and remarried.

In an interview with the French journal Famille Chretienne, Cardinal Müller—who is the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—reacted strongly against a public remark by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who had said that the German bishops may not wait for the Synod of Bishops to resolve questions about allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist. Cardinal Marx had told reporters that the German bishops believe the Church’s discipline should change, and “We are not a branch office of Rome.” Continue Reading German Cardinals>

Peruvian march for life draws half a million

March for Life Peru

March 26, 2015 - (CNA) - Catholic Americans have became more likely to report a “strong” relationship with the faith, and less likely to report a “not very strong” tie, in the past few years, according to one survey.

Citing responses from the 2014 General Social Survey, a massive study that is conducted every two years, Mark Gray of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate told the Religion News Service that he saw a “significant bounce” in the strength of Catholic identity, perhaps illustrating the “Pope Francis effect.” Continue Reading Peruvian March>

Survey shows US Catholics feeling stronger ties to faith

Catholic Crowd

March 26, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Catholic Americans have became more likely to report a “strong” relationship with the faith, and less likely to report a “not very strong” tie, in the past few years, according to one survey.

Citing responses from the 2014 General Social Survey, a massive study that is conducted every two years, Mark Gray of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate told the Religion News Service that he saw a “significant bounce” in the strength of Catholic identity, perhaps illustrating the “Pope Francis effect.” Continue Reading Strong ties to faith>

Indiana governor signs religious-freedom legislation

Gov. Mike Pence

March 27, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Despite threats of loss of convention business, Gov. Mike Pence signed the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law.

“Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith,” he said. “The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.” Continue Reading Indiana Governor>

Pope Francis on the family synod: 'We need prayers, not gossip'

Pope Francis

March 25, 2015 - (CNA) - During his weekly general audience Pope Francis spoke about the gift and call of the Christian family, and urged attendees to pray for the intentions of the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family.

“The Church needs a prayer full of love for the family and for life,” the Pope told pilgrims gathered in a drizzly St. Peter's Square for his March 25 general audience. Continue Reading Family Synod>

Cardinal Nichols instructs priests to avoid public debate on Synod issues

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster

March 25, 2015 - (News.vs) - Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has advised English priests not to engage in a public debate on controversial issues that will be discussed at the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops.

Reacting to a public statement signed by 461 priests of England and Wales, calling for a clear statement of support for traditional Catholic teaching on marriage, the cardinal said that discussion of such issues “is not best conducted through the press.” “Every priest in England and Wales has been asked to reflect on the Synod discussion,” Cardinal Nichols said. However, he continued, “channels of communication have been established” to allow priests to convey their ideas to their bishops. Continue Reading Cardinal Nichols>

The exhibition of the Holy Shroud of Turin

Holy Shroud of Turin

March 26, 2015 - (News.vs) - A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office on Wednesday to present the upcoming exhibition of the Holy Shroud of Turin (Turin, 19 April – 24 June 2015), on the occasion of the second centenary of the birth of St. John Bosco, which will be specially dedicated to the young and to those who suffer. The Pope will also make a pilgrimage to Turin from 21 to 22 June.

The speakers at the conference were the Archbishop of Turin, Cesare Nosaglia, Papal guardian of the Shroud; Elide Tisi, mayor of the city; Roberto Gottardo, president of the diocesan commission for the Shroud; and Rev. Luca Ramello, director of youth pastoral ministry for the diocese. Continue Reading Holy Shroud of Turin>

Christian doctors file legal challenge to new Ontario policy requiring abortion referrals

The Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada

March 24, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada has filed a legal challenge against a new policy in Ontario that requires doctors to provide referrals for abortion, contraception, and euthanasia.

The new policy, announced earlier by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeon, allows no “conscience clause” protection for doctors who have moral objections to cooperation in abortion on other procedures. Continue Reading Christian Doctors>

Firebomb tossed at pro-lifers outside Texas abortion clinic: no injuries, no major-media coverage

40 Days for Life

March 25, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - A Texas woman faces felony charges after she toss a crude Molotov cocktail at a group of pro-life activists holding a prayer vigil outside an abortion clinic.

Melanie Maria Toney was arrested near the South Austin Planned Parenthood clinic on March 23, after she threw the homemade bomb at a group of people participating in a “40 Days for Life” prayer vigil. One of the pro-lifers was able to stamp out the fuse, disabling the bomb; no one was hurt. Continue Reading Firebomb tossed at Pro-lifers>

Benedict XVI no longer writing on theology, Archbishop Gänswein reports

Benedict XVI no longer writing on theology, Archbishop Gänswein reports

March 24, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI no longer has the physical strength to tackle new writing projects, his longtime personal secretary has disclosed.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein told the Italian magazine Oggi that with the publication of the 3-volume work Jesus of Nazareth, which he completed during his pontificate, Benedict has "concluded his theological work." Continue Reading Benedict XVI no longer writing>

Vatican plans 2nd raffle of gifts donated to Pontiff

the Vatican will raffle off items that were presented as gifts to Pope Francis

March 24, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - For the 2nd time this year, the Vatican will raffle off items that were presented as gifts to Pope Francis.

In January, a raffle of various items—ranging from wristwatches to a Fiat automobile—generated tens of thousands of dollars, which the Pope handed over to papal charities. The success of that raffle prompted interest in a new initiative. Continue Reading Vatical plans raffle>

Pope Francis sends condolences to families of plane crash victims

Pope Francis sends condolences to families of plane crash victims

March 25, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis has expressed his closeness to the families of the victims of a plane crash in the French Alps.

In a telegram released on Tuesday, the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin writes that the Holy Father “joins in the grief of the families” of the victims, which include many children.  Pope Francis is also praying for those who died “entrusting them to the mercy of God” and he has  expressed his sympathy for all those affected by the tragedy, including rescue workers who are carrying out their duties in difficult conditions. Continue Reading Pope Francis Sends Condolences>

Encyclical on environment nearly finished, Vatican spokesman reveals

Father Ciro Benedettini

March 25, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Pope Francis is expected to complete drafting an encyclical on the environment this week, the Vatican press office has said.

Father Ciro Benedettini, the deputy director of the press office, said that the encyclical is likely to be released during the summer. Pope Francis has said that he wants to allow time for discussion of the encyclical in advance of a UN meeting on climate change that will take place in December in Paris. Continue Reading Encyclical on environment>

German prelate breaks rank with Cardinal Marx, insists on fidelity to Rome

Cardinal

March 25, 2015 - (CNA) - A German cardinal has publicly opposed the words of two other German bishops who have suggested that the nation’s Church can form its own policies without direction from Rome.

Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes published a letter earlier this month objecting to the pronouncements of prominent leaders of the Church in Germany that the nation's bishops' conference will pursue its own program of pastoral care for marriages and family regardless of the outcome of October's Synod on the Family. Continue Reading German prelate breaks rank>

Partial legal victory for student rejected by college, in part because of comment on faith

Community College of Baltimore County

March 25, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - A federal district court has permitted a lawsuit against officials of the Community College of Baltimore County to proceed.

During an interview for entrance into a radiation therapy program, Brandon Jenkins was asked, “What is the most important thing to you?” He answered, “My God.” The interview then proceeded to other topics. Continue Reading Partil Legal Victory>

Doors open to the Vatican Museums for 150 homeless people

Vatican Museums

March 24, 2015 - (News.va) - A special visit to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel for some 150 homeless people has been organized by the Office of Papal Charities. Led by Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, on Thursday, 26 March, the poor, who usually see only the steps outside the colonnade of St Peter's Square, will also have a chance to enjoy the Vatican's artistic patrimony.

The visit is scheduled for the early afternoon: these guests will enter the Vatican through the Petriano entrance where they will be divided into three groups, each one will be entrusted to a guide. Before entering the Museums these groups will enjoy a privileged tour inside Vatican City State, passing the Domus Sanctae Marthae, behind St Peter's Basilica, through the piazzale della Zecca, the main path of the Gardens and the Cancello di Gregogio. Continue Reading Doors Open>

Rome's poor receive 1,000 pounds of food from Pope Francis

Rome's poor receive 1,000 pounds of food from Pope Francis

March 23, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis is sending half a ton of food to families suffering hardships in Rome’s Tor Bella Monaca neighborhood.

The food is being distributed through the Institute of Medicine Solidarity Onlus, which works to help the socially disadvantaged, reported AICA, a Catholic news publication in Argentina. Continue Reading Rome's Poor Receive 1,000 pounds of Food>

20 years of Evangelium Vitae: Vatican announces prayer vigil, rosary for life

Praying the Rosary

March 23, 2015 - (CNA) - An international prayer vigil prepared by the Vatican will recognize the 20th anniversary of Evangelium Vitae, the encyclical of Saint John Paul II dedicated to the value and inviolable nature of human life.

The vigil, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family, will be held in dioceses throughout the world on March 24 with the purpose of giving thanks to God for the fruits produced by the encyclical on life, making known to the world the benefits of prayer, and recalling that eternal life is the destiny of all the faithful. Continue Reading 20 years of Evangelium>

Want women's equality? Don't downplay 'feminine genius,' Holy See tells UN

Want women's equality? Don't downplay 'feminine genius,' Holy See tells UN

March 23, 2015 - (CNA) - The recognition of women’s special and integral role in human progress cannot overlook the dignity of women as wives, mothers and a voice for the vulnerable, a Vatican official told the United Nations this month.

“Women’s essential contributions to the development of society through their dedication to their family and to raising the next generation is inadequately acknowledged,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. “Sometimes their invisible and often heroic service is even disparaged as an antiquated and unwholesome model of feminine life.” Continue Reading Women's Equality>

Cardinal Nichols celebrates Requiem Mass for King Richard III

King Richard III

March 23, 2015 - (News.va) - Hundreds of people have been queuing up Monday to view the coffin of the last Plantagenet King of England, Richard III. The coffin is on public view in Leicester Cathedral until Thursday when it will be lowered into a tomb following a ceremony presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Richard was killed in battle against Henry Tudor in 1485. The University of Leicester confirmed in February 2013 that the skeleton found in an excavation under a car park in the city of Leicester, formerly the site of a Franciscan church, was that of the King. Continue Reading King Richard III>

Congress Urged To Act For Protection Of Religious Freedom And Conscience Rights In The District Of Columbia

Religious Liberty

March 21, 2015 - (USCCB) - By its recent approval of the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA), the Council of the District of Columbia ran afoul of federal law and constitutional principles, says a letter sent to Congress by six members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on March 20. The bishops are asking Congress to rescind these two pieces of legislation.

“At issue is whether faith-based organizations should be forced to support activity they deem morally objectionable, such as funding elective abortions through their employee health plans, and whether religiously affiliated schools should be forced to endorse behavior contrary to their faith and moral convictions,” said Hillary Byrnes, USCCB assistant general counsel. Continue Reading Congress Urged to Act for Protection>

Saint's relic with miraculous tendencies does it again for Pope Francis

Saint's relic with miraculous tendencies does it again for Pope Francis

March 21, 2015 - (CNA) - While Pope Francis was giving some advice to the religious, priests and seminarians of Naples on Saturday, a miracle occurred: a vial of dried blood from a fourth century saint liquefied.

This stunning but locally known and accepted phenomenon is said to happen three times a year: May 1, Sept. 19, which is the saint's feast day, and Dec. 16. Continue Reading Saint's Relic>

Pope invites Rome's homeless to distribute Gospels at Sunday angelus

Pope Calls on Rome's Homeless

March 22, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis on Sunday invited members of Rome's homeless community to join volunteers in handing out copies of the Gospel to pilgrims in Saint Peter's Square, a reminder of how God's Word is found among the poorest of society.

“Even in this we see a very beautiful gesture, which pleases Jesus,” the Pope said, moments after leading the crowds in the recitation of the Angelus on March 22: “those most in need are those who give us the word of God.” Continue Reading Pope Invites Rome's Homeless>

Pope calls on Christians to express their faith in action

Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

March 22, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis says the lives of Christians must be coherent and express faith in action.

Speaking to the crowds gathered in a rainy St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope invited all believers to always bear in mind the message of the Gospel, the image of the Crucified Lord, and the need to be witnesses of faith. Continue Reading Pope Calls on Christians>

Canada Supreme Court: Catholic schools have right to teach Church views

Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

March 20, 2015 - (CNA) - Canada’s Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that Catholic schools in Quebec must be allowed to teach from a Catholic viewpoint during a state-mandated religion and ethics class.

“To tell a Catholic school how to explain its faith undermines the liberty of the members of its community who have chosen to give effect to the collective dimension of their religious beliefs by participating in a denominational school,” the Canadian Supreme Court wrote in its 7-0 March 19 decision. Continue Reading Canada Supreme Court>

Canada Supreme Court: Catholic schools have right to teach Church views

Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

March 20, 2015 - (CNA) - Canada’s Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that Catholic schools in Quebec must be allowed to teach from a Catholic viewpoint during a state-mandated religion and ethics class.

“To tell a Catholic school how to explain its faith undermines the liberty of the members of its community who have chosen to give effect to the collective dimension of their religious beliefs by participating in a denominational school,” the Canadian Supreme Court wrote in its 7-0 March 19 decision. Continue Reading Nuns watching soap operas>

Senate Democrats block bill to aid victims of human trafficking, insist on abortion funding

March 21, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Democratic members of the US Senate have blocked passage of a bill to aid victims of human trafficking, because the bill does not provide funding for abortions.

The Democratic Party, determined to include abortion funding in the measure, has threatened to filibuster the Justice for Victims in Trafficking Act. Republicans, who control the majority in the Senate, have said that they will keep the provision barring against abortion: a provision that matches the intent of the Hyde Amendment, barring federal funds for abortion.

Nuns watching soap operas and the 'terrorism' of gossip: Pope Francis and Naples' religious

Pope Francis meets with religious

March 21, 2015 - (CNA) - In a wide-ranging, off-the-cuff speech to priests and religious in Naples, Pope Francis addressed various challenges of consecrated life, emphasizing above all the importance of poverty and resisting gossip.

“For me there is a sign that there is no fraternity in the presbyterate or in religious communities. The sign is gossip…the terrorism of gossip,” the Pope told priests, religious and seminarians of Naples during his March 21 daytrip. Continue Reading Nuns watching soap operas>

Pope grieves Pakistan bombings, says world hides Christian persecution

Pope Francis Delivers Angelus

March 15, 2015 - (CNA) - In his Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis lamented today’s terrorist attacks against two Christian churches – one of them Catholic – in Pakistan, and prayed that such violence will stop.

“With suffering, with much suffering, I have learned of today's terrorist attacks against two churches in the city of Lahore, Pakistan, which have caused numerous deaths and injuries,” the Pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square March 15. Continue Reading Pope Grieves>

Patrick: the saint who knew what it was like to be a slave

St. Patrick

March 17, 2015 - (CNA) - Many know that Saint Patrick, bishop and missionary to Ireland, was once a slave – but few know of his heartfelt plea on behalf of girls and boys abducted into slavery.

“The pathos of St. Patrick’s description of the fate of his victims is something I think we can identify with now,” said Jennifer Paxton, a history professor who teaches at Catholic University of America’s Irish Studies program. “The girls stolen by Boko Haram are very similar in their fates, I think, to captives of Coroticus.” Continue Reading Saint Patrick>

Pope Francis on his Pontificate to date

Pope Francis

March 13, 2015 - (News.va) - Migration and drug trafficking, the reform of the Curia, the challenges of the Synod for the Family and the need to make the Church a safe home for all children and vulnerable adults. In a wide-ranging interview with Valentina Alazraki, from the Mexican broadcaster Televisa, Pope Francis has marked the second year of his pontificate by addressing the hot topics that have dominated public discourse since his election to the papacy, revealing details of the Conclave that made him the 265th Successor of St. Peter.

It was the Holy Father’s choice that the interview with the Mexican broadcaster take place in Casa Santa Marta, in the room where the his Council of Nine cardinals hold their meetings and which is dominated by a large image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Continue Reading Pope Franics Pontificate>

Pope Francis effect in the US two years on

Pope Francis

March 12, 2015 - (News.va) - Friday 13th March marks two years since the election of Pope Francis to the See of Peter. To mark this occasion Veronica Scarisbrick finds out more about how the figure of Pope Francis is perceived  across the ocean in the United States. To do this she turns to David Gibson, a New York based award-winning journalist, author and filmmaker who’s also national reporter for ‘Religion News Service’ 

David Gibson says Pope Francis has captured the imagination of both Catholics and non- Catholics in the United States as well as media attention. People are drawn to him, he remarks, and he's been featured everywhere on every magazine cover. Continue Reading Pope Francis Two Years>

Abortion support blights European Parliament report, critics charge

The European Parliament building in Strasbourg, France

March 12, 2015 - (CNA) - The European Parliament has ignored the needs of children by adopting a human rights report that supports abortion access in the name of “human dignity” while encouraging efforts to redefine marriage, critics have said.

“Children are entitled to special care and assistance according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe affirmed March 12. Continue Reading European Parliament>

Catholics supporting Archbishop Cordileone on school identity feel silenced, pressured

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

March 12, 2015 - (CNA) - Amid a PR campaign and protests against Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s attempt to clarify Catholic teaching in the San Francisco schools, those who support the archbishop say their voices are not being heard.

“People are afraid to speak up because most of their colleagues oppose the additions to the handbook and because of just how disturbingly negative yet powerful the voices of opposition are,” a Catholic teacher who has worked at an archdiocesan high school for several years told CNA. “The media campaign against the archbishop has also caused fear among his supporters.” Continue Reading School Identity>

CNA exclusive poll: Americans agree – protect religious liberty

religious liberty

March 12, 2015 - (CNA) - Religious freedom battles continue to take place in courtrooms around the country, but in the court of public opinion, religious liberty wins easily.

Fifty-four percent of respondents to a new Marist Poll survey, sponsored by Catholic News Agency, support or strongly support First Amendment religious liberty protections or exemptions for faith-based organizations and individuals, “even when it conflicts with government law.” Continue Reading Protect Religious Liberty>

Pope To Preside Over Penitential Celebration on Friday

Pope To Preside Over Penitential Celebration on Friday

March 11, 2015 - (Zenit) - Pope Francis has insisted on various occasions during his pontificate on the importance of the Sacrament of Confession. This Friday, he is set to preside over a penitential celebration in St. Peter's Basilica.

Last year, the Pope presided over the celebration, leaving one of the most touching imagesof his papacy. Before making his way to the area where he would hear confessions, the Holy Father approached a confessional, kneeled and confessed. Continue Reading Pope Francis and Confession>

Pope Francis To Celebrate Holy Thursday in Roman Prison

Pope Francis To Celebrate Holy Thursday in Roman Prison

March 11, 2015 - (Zenit) - This Holy Thursday, Pope Francis will again wash the feet of inmates.

Today, the Vatican announced that Holy Thursday evening, April 2, the Holy Father will go to the Rebibbia prison in Rome to meet with inmates and wash their feet, as Jesus had done for His Apostles. Continue Reading Pope Francis Holy Thursday>

Date announced for Archbishop Romero’s beatification

Date announced for Archbishop Romero’s beatification

March 11, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Archbishop Oscar Romero will be beatified in San Salvador on May 23, according to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Archbishop Paglia, the postulator of Archbishop Romero’s cause, made his announcement while in El Salvador. Continue Reading Oscar Romero Beatification>

Don't kill the disabled – Maryland lawmakers warned against assisted suicide bill

Don't kill the disabled – Maryland lawmakers warned against assisted suicide bill

March 10, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis has urged the Church to challenge the current throwaway culture by fostering a joyful embrace and a fruitful dialogue between the young and the old.

Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience, the Pope continued in his catechesis on the family, focusing for the second week in a row, on grandparents. Continue Reading Don't kill the disabled>

Court backs SNAP, overturns Missouri law against disrupting church services

March 11, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Overturning a lower court decision and siding with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Missouri’s House of Worship Protection Act violates the constitutional right to free speech.

The 2012 law states that “a person commits the crime of disrupting a house of worship if such person intentionally and unreasonably disturbs, interrupts, or disquiets any house of worship by using profane discourse, rude or indecent behavior, or making noise either within the house of worship or so near it as to disturb the order and solemnity of the worship services.” Continue Reading Court backs SNAP>

Pope: the prayers of the elderly are a gift to the Church and to society

the prayers of the elderly are a gift to the Church and to society

March 10, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis has urged the Church to challenge the current throwaway culture by fostering a joyful embrace and a fruitful dialogue between the young and the old.

Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience, the Pope continued in his catechesis on the family, focusing for the second week in a row, on grandparents. Continue Reading Prayers for the Elderly>

Pope Francis talks ISIS, jokes about being a 'coward' when it comes to physical pain

Pope Francis

March 10, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis gave a recent interview with an Argentinian shanty town's community paper, where he touched on how he feels about ISIS threats and jested about his lack of tolerance for physical pain.

“Look, life is in God's hands. I told the Lord: 'you are taking care of me. But if your will is that I die or that they do something to me, I ask you only one favor: that it doesn't hurt. Because I'm a big coward when it comes to physical pain,'” the Pope told La Carcova News in an interview published in this month's edition of their paper. Continue Reading Pope Francis talks ISIS>

Italian bishop to offer Good Friday Way of the Cross meditations at Colosseum

Way of the Cross

March 11, 2015 - (CNA) - The bishop who preached the final Lenten spiritual exercises for St. John Paul II has been chosen to prepare meditations for the Way of the Cross to be celebrated on Good Friday at the Colosseum before Pope Francis.

Bishop Renato Corti, 79, is Bishop Emeritus of Novara; he told Vatican Radio March 7 the meditations he has prepared focus on the keyword 'protecting'. Continue Reading Good Friday Way of the Cross>

Irish bishops encourage faithful to 'reflect' on implications of vote for same-sex marriage

Irish bishops encourage faithful to 'reflect' on implications of vote for same-sex marriage

March 10, 2015 - (CNA) - The Catholic bishops of Ireland have encouraged the faithful to “consider very carefully the profound implications” of a coming referendum vote that would open the way for legal recognition of same-sex marriage.”

The bishops’ statement, released March 10, avoids a direct clash with supporters of same-sex marriage. The statement is entitled: “Marriage is important—Reflect before you change it.” At the outset, the bishops affirm: “We respect the views of people who think differently to us.” Continue Reading Irish Bishops>

A top-notch contender: Knights of Columbus among world's most ethical companies

A top-notch contender: Knights of Columbus among world's most ethical companies

March 10, 2015 - (CNA) - You have probably heard about their work with charitable organizations and the international councils that they've founded across the globe. You may have benefited from their life insurance program, or know someone who belongs to the fraternal organization. But this year, they have been recognized as one of the world's most ethical companies for the second consecutive year.

The Knights of Columbus have been honored by the Ethisphere Institute as a 2015 World's Most Ethical Company, acknowledged for their exceptional performance in business transparency, ethics, and sustainability. Continue Reading Top-notch contender>

Lawsuit against national pro-life group dies at the Sixth Circuit Court

Lawsuit against national pro-life group dies at the Sixth Circuit Court

March 10, 2015 - (CNA) - Ruling in favor of a national pro-life group, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a district court’s decision to toss out a defamation lawsuit brought by a former congressman.

“Last year the U.S. Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit affirmed our right to free speech and today the Sixth Circuit confirmed the substance of that speech,” stated Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. Continue Reading Lawsuit Dies>

Bishops Call For Prayer Amidst 'Stark Reality' Of Religious Persecution, Violence

Bishops Call for Prayer

March 10, 2015 - (USCCB) - People of all faiths are called to pray for victims of religious persecution and violence and work to protect the marginalized and persecuted around the world, according to a statement of the Administrative Committee of the U.S. bishops, approved March 10. The bishops said Lent is a time for prayerfully reflecting on suffering.

"Let us use this season to unite with our suffering brothers and sisters and pray for them and with them in a special way," they said. "With hope, let us pray for the day when we can all share in the joy and lasting peace of Christ's resurrection." Continue Reading Bishops call for Prayers>

A milkshake for the Pope: One sweet way to support Francis in Philly

Milkshake

March 11, 2015 - (CNA) - As the City of Brotherly Love prepares to host the next World Meeting of Families – and Pope Francis’ first papal visit to America – a restaurant has come up with a tasty fundraiser to benefit planning efforts.

Beginning in April, Potbelly Sandwich Shop’s Philadelphia locations will sell a custom shake dubbed the #PopeInPhilly – a shortbread cookie and vanilla ice-cream concoction – for $3.90, with 50 cents of each sale being donated to the World Meeting of Families preparations. Continue Reading A Milkshare for the Pope>

Touchdown! Notre Dame scores big on HHS mandate at Supreme Court

University of Notre Dame

March 9, 2015 - (CNA) - In a potentially groundbreaking decision, the Supreme Court nullified a federal court ruling against the University of Notre Dame on the HHS contraception mandate and sent it back for reconsideration by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The university is “gratified” by the decision, said vice president of public affairs and communications, Paul J. Browne. They had requested the case be remanded by the Court in light of the Hobby Lobby decision last June. Continue Reading Notre Dame Scores Big>

USCCB Officials Say Syrian Refugee Crisis At Tipping Point

Syrian Flag

March 6, 2015 - (USCCB) - The Syrian refugee crisis ¬–now totaling nearly 4 million refugees– has reached a “tipping point,” in which countries in the region are no longer able to handle the flow of refugees across their borders, warned U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) officials who recently traveled to the Middle East.

“Without more international support, we will find Syrians fleeing extremists being turned away and forced back to danger,” said Anastasia Brown, interim executive director for USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services (MRS). “The global community, led by Europe and the United States, needs to increase its support in order to prevent a humanitarian crisis.” Continue Reading Syrian Refugee>

French cardinal dismisses government's plan to counter Islamic radicals by teaching secularity

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois

March 9, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris has scoffed at a proposal by Prime Minister Manuel Valls to defeat Islamic fundamentalism by encouraging the study of secularity in the schools of France.

Valls has vowed to “mobilize society around secularity,” and has said that his government is already working to promote the study of the principles of secular society. But Cardinal Vingt-Trois counters: “You can’t have a religion manufactured by a bureaucracy.” Continue Reading French Cardinal>

Vatican cardinal argues against 'liturgical war' approach

Cardinal Robert Sarah

March 9, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Cardinal Robert Sarah argued strongly in favor of reverence in the liturgy, but also cautioned against an adversarial approach to “liturgical war,” in an exclusive interview with Aleteia.

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship said that Vatican II had never intended the abolition of the traditional Mass. At the same time, he said, the Church must pursue the liturgical renewal that the Council envisioned. He suggested that if the liturgy is celebrated with reverence, “an understanding will certainly be reached.” Continue Reading Vatican Cardinal>

Cardinal Tauran takes oath as Camerlengo

Cardinal Tauran

March 9, 2015 - (News.va) - On Monday morning, in the Urban VIII Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, took the oath as Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. He was appointed on 20th December 2014.

According to head of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, Pope Francis presided over the short liturgy planned for this occasion, reading the liturgical texts provided, without making any speech. Continue Reading Cardinal Tauran>

Theologians, too, should 'smell of the sheep,' Pope writes

Pope Francis

March 9, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Theologians, like bishops, should “smell of the people,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter to the Catholic University of Argentina, which is marking its 100th anniversary.

“Teaching and studying theology means living on a frontier, one in which the Gospel meets the needs of the people,” the Pope wrote. He cautioned against a purely academic approach to the study of theology—an approach that is “exhausted in academic dispute or watching humanity from a glass castle.” Continue Reading Smell of the Sheep>

Vatican declines ransom offer for stolen Michelangelo letters

Vatican's Sistine Chapel

March 9, 2015 - (CNA) - After receiving an offer from a former employee to regain missing letters signed by Michelangelo for a price, the Vatican has said that it is not biting the bait, but is cooperating with police.

“Years ago certain documents by Michelangelo (one written by him, another with his signature) were found to be missing from the Archives of the Fabbrica of St. Peter's,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said in a March 8 statement to journalists. Continue Reading Vatican Declines Ransom>

East and West Before the Mystery of the Trinity

Father Cantalamessa

March 6, 2015 - (Zenit) - We should have no obsessive insistence on our differences but rather bring together what we have in common and what unites us in one faith. This is the ecumenical theme that runs through this Friday’s Lenten meditations of Father Raniero Cantalamessa. The Preacher of the Papal Household said he was convinced he should make this choice following Pope Francis’ recent meeting in Turkey with the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, and especially the Pontiff’s exhortation “to share fully the common faith of the Christian East and the Latin West.”

A desire to share that is not “new,” says Father Cantalamessa. Glancing at the more or less recent past, he refers in particular to Vatican Council II’s Unitatis redintegratio, and to John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Orientale lumen of 1995. Continue Reading Father Cantalamessa's Lenten Reflection>

Pope Francis: Let us allow Jesus to cleanse our hearts

Pope Francis

March 8, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis on Sunday based his Angelus address on the Gospel account of Jesus cleansing the Temple. Jesus’ prophetic words and actions, the Pope said, which refer to His death and resurrection, “are fully understood in the light of His Pasch.” Jesus Christ Himself, in His Resurrection, becomes the meeting place between God and man.

During Lent, the Pope continued, we prepare for Easter, when we will renew our baptismal promises. The Holy Father called on each of us to follow Jesus, so that people might encounter God in us and in our witness. Continue Reading Pope Francis>

Marginalizing women leads to sterile society, says Pope

Marginalizing women leads to sterile society, says Pope

March 8, 2015 - (CNA) - Women across the globe received a special greeting on Sunday from Pope Francis, who stressed the importance of their unique perspectives on the world.

“A world where women are marginalized is a sterile world,” the Pope said during his address  to the crowds who had gathered in St. Peter's Square to take part in the recitation of the Angelus with the Pope. Continue Reading Marginalizing Women>

Euthanasia supporters in Chile accused of exploiting sick teen

Euthanasia

March 7, 2015 - (CNA) - Proponents of a euthanasia bill in Chile are exploiting a sick young girl for political purposes, the girl’s father has charged.

Fourteen-year-old Valentina Maureira suffers from cystic fibrosis – a degenerative and incurable illness. The teen garnered national attention when she taped a video asking to meet with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to ask her to authorize an injection that would allow her to “go to sleep forever.” Continue Reading Euthanasia supporters>

Archbishop criticizes Xavier’s selection of honorary degree recipients

Archbishop Gregory Aymond

March 8, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Archbishop Gregory Aymond has expressed disappointment at Xavier University of Louisiana’s selection of honorary degree recipients, among whom are outgoing US Attorney General Eric Holder and former Sen. Mary Landrieu.

“I am saddened to inform you that some of those to be honored do not represent the values and teachings of the Catholic Church,” he said in a letter. “I was not consulted on the proposed candidates and remain disappointed in this decision by the university administration.” Continue Reading Archbishop criticizes>

Big business overreach? Corporations push Supreme Court to legalize 'gay marriage'

Big Business

March 8, 2015 - (CNA) - With the Supreme Court set to rule on a potentially far-reaching marriage case this summer, several hundred corporations are pushing for the court to require “gay marriage” recognition nationwide.

Reuters reported last week that almost 400 businesses had filed a “friend of the court” brief favoring a redefinition of marriage in a set of cases before the Court that will decide whether states, under the Fourteenth Amendment, must grant same-sex “marriage” licenses and recognize “gay marriages” conducted in other states. Continue Reading Big Business Overreach>

'Capital punishment must end' – Catholic publications unite in rare joint statement

Capital Punishment

March 5, 2015 - (CNA) - Four U.S. Catholic publications with a broad range of audiences have come together in a joint editorial citing Church leaders in calling for an end to the death penalty in the United States.

“Capital punishment must end,” stated a March 5 editorial by America magazine, the National Catholic Register, the National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor. Continue Reading Capital punishment must end>

Holy See to UN: Countries should strive to end the death penalty

Death Penalty

March 5, 2015 - (News.va) - The Holy See on Wednesday declared “bloodless means” are capable of defending the common good and upholding justice, and called on States to abolish the death penalty.

Speaking to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, urged countries to use a “more humane” form of punishment. Continue Reading Strive to end the death penalty>

Pope Francis: We must not abandon the elderly

Elderly

March 5, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis on Thursday addressed members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who are meeting in Rome for their General Assembly

In his remarks, the Holy Father spoke about the theme of the Assembly: “Assisting the elderly and palliative care.” Palliative care, he said, “is an expression of the properly human attitude of taking care of one another, especially of those who suffer. It bears witness that the human person is always precious, even if marked by age and sickness.” Continue Reading We must not abandon the elderly>

Cardinal Egan commended to Christ's mercy

Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York

March 5, 2015 - (CNA) - Cardinal Edward Egan, a former Archbishop of New York who shepherded the city in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, died Thursday at the age of 82.

“Join me, please, in thanking God for his life, especially his generous and faithful priesthood,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said March 5. “Pray as well that the powerful mercy of Jesus, in which our cardinal had such trust, has ushered him into heaven.” Continue Reading Cardinal Egan>

Are kids just as well off with same-sex parents? Maybe not, studies say

Couple holding Hands

March 5, 2015 - (CNA) - The idea that children raised in same-sex households fare as well as children of married opposite-sex couples may not withstand scrutiny, according to a recent collection of studies.

Princeton University professor John B. Londregan said that the studies collected in a new book show “that the jury is still very much out on this question.” Continue Reading Are kids just as well>

San Francisco city officials, most Catholic-school teachers, challenge archbishop's policy

School teacher

March 5, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone faces mounting opposition to his plan to ensure that Catholic-school teachers uphold the principles of the faith. Four-fifths of the teachers in archdiocesan schools have signed a petition against the new rules, and the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco have unanimously approved a resolution opposing the archbishop’s policy.

In their petition, Catholic-teachers charge that the policy set forth in a new handbook, barring public support for policies that clash with Church teaching, are “harmful to our community and create an atmosphere of mistrust and fear.” Continue Reading San Francisco City Officials>

Pope: a society that discards the elderly carries within a deadly virus

Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis

March 4, 2015 - (News.va) - “Where the elderly are not honoured, there is no future for the young”. This was the powerful message delivered by Pope Francis during his catechesis on Wednesday, devoted to the elderly.

Speaking to the crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience the Pope continued in his series of teachings on the family, focusing this time on the role of grandparents. Continue Reading Discards the elderly>

Pope taps Cordileone’s auxiliary to head San Diego diocese

Bishop Robert W. McElroy

March 3, 2015 - (CNA) - The Vatican announced Tuesday that Pope Francis has appointed San Francisco’s native auxiliary bishop, Robert W. McElroy, as the new head of the diocese of San Diego.

McElroy will succeed Bishop Cirilo Flores, who passed away from cancer in September just one year after assuming the position. Continue Reading McElroy to Head San Diego Diocese>

Vatican security head: no immediate threat of attack by Islamic State

Swiss Guard

March 3, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Vatican’s top security officer has said that although the Islamic State has threatened to attack the Vatican, there are no reports of any planned attack.

“The threat exists,” said Domenico Giani, the chief of the Vatican’s internal police force. “But the existence of a threat is one thing and planning an attack is another. At this time, we have not been informed of any plans to attack the Vatican or the Holy Father.” Continue Reading Vatican Security>

AFRICA/EGYPT - Patriarch Tawadros meets the families of 21 martyrs; another Copt beheaded in Libya

Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II

March 3, 2015 - (News.va) - Cairo - Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II will meet today, Tuesday, March 3, the families of 21 Coptic Christians killed in Libya by terrorists linked to the Islamic State . This is what official sources of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate say, consulted by Fides.

The meeting will be held in the village of Samalot, 25 kilometers from Minya, in the province where most of the victims came from. During the meeting, the Primate of the Coptic Church will give death certificates to the families of the victims, certifying their savage execution.Yesterday, during a homily the Patriarch said that the martyrs of Libya "have enriched the Church with their blood", and with their martyrdom have confessed and testified faith in Christ before the world. Continue Reading Patriarch meets the families>

A global problem: Anti-Christian harassment around the world

March 3, 2015 - (CNA) - Christian groups lead the world in a sobering statistic: they suffer harassment in more countries than any other religious group.

“The world’s two largest religious groups, Christians and Muslims, continued to be harassed in the most countries, and there was a notable increase in the number of countries in which Jews and adherents of folk religions were harassed,” the Pew Research Center said in a Feb. 26 report on trends in religion-related restrictions and hostilities. Continue Reading A Global Problem>

 

Christians by number: What projections are saying about the future of religion

Catholic Mass

March 3, 2015 - (CNA) - Can numbers say something about the future of Christianity? George Weigel thinks so.

Weigel claims the past and present – together with a numeric projection about the future – can reveal something about what might happen to Christianity globally over the next 35 years. Continue Reading Christians by the number>

Canonization of St. Therese's Parents to Coincide with Synod on the Family

Louis and Zelie Martin

March 3, 2015 - (Zenit) - Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, informed recently that the parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux – Louis and Zelie Martin --, will be canonized this October, coinciding with the Synod on the Family, which will take place at that time in the Vatican.

“Thanks be to God in October two spouses, parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux, will be canonized,” said the Salesian Cardinal, at a recent meeting organized by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV) to discuss the topic “Of What Use Are Saints?” stressing the importance of sanctity in the family. Continue Reading Canonization of St. Therese's Parents>


Pope at Santa Marta: An invitation to do good

Pope at Santa Marta

March 2, 2015 - (Zenit) - God “generously forgives” those who “learn to do good”, but what he doesn’t forgive is “hypocrisy and fake saints”, said Pope Francis at Mass Tuesday morning in Casa Santa Marta chapel.

Pope Francis said that there has never been any doubts that God prefers “sanctified sinners” – people who, despite their past sins, learn how to do a greater good -- to “fake saints” – people who are more concerned with appearing saintly than doing good. Continue Reading Pope at Santa Marta>

The Joy of the Gospel Fills the Heart and Life

Father Cantalamessa

March 2, 2015 - (Zenit) - The theme of Father Raniero Cantalamessa’s first Lenten homily is Evangelii Gaudium, in which the Papal Household Preacher points out first of allthe thread that unites several post-Council Popes on the subject of evangelization.

In his Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis reminds that the starting point of any sort of evangelization is Baptism: an affirmation that is “not new” said Blessed Paul VI in Evangelii nuntiandi, and Saint John Paul II in Christifedels laici, while Benedict XVI emphasized the special role of the family in it. Continue Reading Joy of the Gospel>

Pope thanks Churches in North Africa for their courage

North Africa

March 2, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis has thanked the Church in Libya and the ecclesial communities in North Africa for their courage and for being a peaceful presence in an area where freedom of conscience is under threat.

The Pope was addressing members of the Episcopal Conference of North African Bishops, CERNA,   who are in the Vatican for their Ad Limina visit. Continue Reading Pope Thanks North Africa Churches>

Russian foreign minister condemns rising anti-Christianity in the West

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

March 3, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Speaking in Geneva, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lamented growing pressures on Christians in the West.

“I can't leave out problems which Christians have been experiencing in many counties, where it is deemed politically incorrect to speak about one's Christian identity and where Christian values, the nucleus of European civilization, are being shunned,” he said, according to the Interfax news agency. Continue Reading Russian Foreign>

Study finds maternal health statistics best where abortion is restricted

maternal health

March 2, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - A study in the British Medical Journal has found that maternal health statistics are best in jurisdictions with stricter laws regulating abortion.

Contradicting an argument that has been made popular by advocates of legal abortion, the 10-year study found that in 32 Mexican states, maternal deaths were 23% lower in the states with tougher restrictions on abortion. Continue Reading Maternal Health>


U.S. Catholic Bishops Urgently Call For Greater Protection Of Middle East Religious Minorities

February 24, 2015 - (Radio Vatican) - In the wake of the brutal murders of twenty one Coptic Christians at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Libya, increased support to protect religious minorities and civilians should be combined with adequate humanitarian assistance and other assets, said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace.

“Pope Francis and the Holy See have reiterated on a number of occasions that it is ‘licit’ to use force to stop these unjust aggressors and to protect religious minorities and civilians from these horrendous attacks,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, USCCB president, and Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, in a February 23 letter sent to President Obama and the U.S. House and Senate leadership. Continue Reading Protection of Middle East>

Mother of Journalist Killed by IS Militant Forgives Son’s Killer

Forgiveness

March 2, 2015 - (Radio Vatican) - The recent revelation of the identity of the Islamic terrorist known in the media as “Jihadi John” have increased calls that he be brought to justice for his involvement in the beheadings of Western hostages.

On Febraury 26th, the Washington Post identified the militant as Mohammed Emwazi, a 26 year old Kuwaiti native who moved with his family to the UK when he was 6 years old. The report states that prior to joining the so-called ‘Islamic State’, Emwazi graduated with a degree in computer programming from the University of Westminster. Continue Reading Forgive Son's Killer>

Pope at Santa Marta: Judge not

Pope Francis at Santa Marta

March 2, 2015 - (News.va) - It is easy to judge others, but we can only progress on our Christian journey in life if we are capable of judging ourselves first, said Pope Francis at Monday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta.

The readings of the day focused on the subject of mercy. The Pope, recalling that "we are all sinners" - not "in theory" but in reality – said that the ability to judge oneself is "a Christian virtue, indeed more than a virtue", it is the first step for those who want to be Christian: Continue Reading Pope Francis' homily>

Pope: Jesus reveals himself, as the perfect icon of the Father

Vatican

March 1, 2015 - (News.va) - Before the Angelus the Pope recalled Sunday’s Gospel on the Transfiguration in which Jesus "is at the peak of his public ministry. The Holy Father explained that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, where the prophecies of the 'Servant of God' will be fulfilled.

The crowds, he added, facing the prospect of a Messiah that does not fit their earthly expectations, abandoned him. They thought that the Messiah would be a liberator of his country from Roman rule. Continue Reading about Pope Francis' statement>

Pope Angelus: Prayers for Syria, Iraq and Venezuela

Pope Francis Angelus

March 1, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis following the recitation of the Marian Prayer on Sunday remembered the people of Syria and Iraq saying “Unfortunately, there is no cessation in the dramatic news about violence, kidnapping and harassment against Christians reaching us from Syria and Iraq.

The Pope went on to say that those facing these situations were not forgotten and prayed that the intolerable brutality of which they are victims would soon be at an end. Continue Reading about Pope's Angelus>

ASIA/SYRIA - Anguish for Christians held hostage by jihadists; Syrian Catholic Archbishop Hindo: avoid unnecessary alarm

Christians held hostage

March 2, 2015 - (News.va) - Hassaké - The number of Assyrian and Chaldean Christians of the villages on the river Khabur taken hostage and deported by the jihadists in their strongholds increases to more than three hundred. "If the first reports spoke of 90 seized - refers to Agenzia Fides Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo - "now we can say that the hostages in the hands of the jihadists are around 350".

According to what Samir Taji, a member of the Al-Nusra Front said to the Kurdish website ARA News, the militia of the Islamic State first held Assyrian prisoners - including women and children - in a detention center at Mount Abdulaziz, then dispersed them in areas and centers under their control, including their stronghold of Raqqa. Continue Reading about Christians held Hostage>

Oil company hit man has Archbishop Cordileone in his sights

Oil Refinery

February 27, 2015 - (CNA) - Sam Singer’s public relations firm spun a Chevron oil refinery disaster in California and fought back a legal ruling in Ecuador that could have awarded billions of dollars to indigenous people for the company’s alleged pollution damage to the Amazon.

Now he’s been hired to attack San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. He even wants Pope Francis to do his work. Continue Reading about oil company>

Is there a 'roadmap to happiness' in marriage? New video series says yes

Credit Jacobson Photography

March 1, 2015 - (CNA) - With the family in the spotlight ahead of the Church’s upcoming Synod in October, one video initiative is confronting today's marriage crisis head-on by teaching couples to discover its beauty.

“We wanted to develop a program that is going to meet (couples) where they are at, inspire them to God’s beautiful plan for love, for marriage, where we are called to find our happiness,” said Dr. Edward Sri, theology professor at the Augustine Institute, and the content director for “Beloved: Finding Happiness in Marriage.” Continue Reading about Roadmap to happiness in marriage>

Chart-topping Benedictine nuns to drop new album for Easter

Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles

February 28, 2015 - (CNA) - Together with the joys of the Resurrection and feasting, this Easter will have an added delight: listening to the new album by the hit-making, Missouri-based Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.

“Many people do not realize that the Easter season lasts well beyond Easter Sunday – for a full 50 days in fact! Hopefully our recording will help bring many to a fuller awareness of the the Easter season in its entirety,” Mother Cecilia, prioress of the community, told CNA. Continue Reading about Chart-topping Benedictine nuns>

Indians rise up to defend Mother Teresa's legacy after attack by Hindu leader

Mother Teresa

February 26, 2015 - (CNA) - Indians from all walks of life and religions have joined to condemn allegations made against Bl. Teresa of Calcutta by a fundamentalist Hindu leader charging that her sole objective in helping the poor was converting them to Christianity.

Mohan Bhagwat, head of the Hindu nationalist organization RSS, said Feb. 23 in India's Rajasthan state that “Mother Teresa's service would have been good. But it used to have one objective, to convert the person, who was being served, into a Christian.” Continue Reading Defend Mother Teresa's lagacy>

Islamic State begins killing hostages; 5,000 Christians flee in Syria

Christians flee in Syria

February 26, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Islamic State has begun killing some of the 150 or more Christians taken hostage after the capture of several villages in northeast Syria, Aid to the Church in Need reports.

Meanwhile an estimated 5,000 Christians in the region have fled their villages in the days following the Islamic State’s offensive, according to a report from Agence France-Presse. Most have fled to Al-Hasakah, the regional capital, or to Qamishli, a city of 180,000 on the Turkish border.  Continue Reading Christians flee>

Judge sides with Catholic agency, rules ‘polyamory’ is not a protected orientation

February 26, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Siding with a Catholic agency, an Australian judge has ruled that “polyamory,” or having multiple partners, is a behavior rather than a protected orientation under Australian anti-discrimination law.
Centacare Catholic Family and Community Services in Brisbane fired Susan Bunning, its clinical practice coordinator, after her support for an organization promoting polyamory became known. 
Continue Reading Judge sides with Catholic agency>

US bishops' spokesman welcomes FCC vote on 'internet neutrality'

Net Neutrality

February 26, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The chairman of the US bishops’ communications committee has welcome a highly controversial vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand the federal government’s control over the internet.

By a 3-2 vote, along party lines, the FCC adopted a policy of “net neutrality,” barring internet-service providers from setting different rates for access. The vote paves the way for federal regulation of the internet as a public utility. Continue Reading Net Nutrality>

Why a new State Department position could spell trouble for religious liberty

Religious Liberty

February 26, 2015 - (CNA) - The State Department’s new LGBT special envoy will promote human rights abroad but could also pose a serious threat to religious freedom, said several experts in the field.

“I believe this administration's long-term objective is more revolutionary,” said Dr. Tom Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Continue Reading Religious Liberty>

Preacher at Vatican Lenten Retreat: face the truths about ourselves

Pope Francis

February 25, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Reflecting on the example of the prophet Elijah, the preacher at the Vatican Lenten Retreat called upon Pope Francis and the leaders of the Roman Curia to let “the deepest truth about ourselves come out in the open.”

Father Bruno Secondin, the Carmelite priest who is leading the spiritual exercises, cautioned against a superficial approach to religious worship, or an approach guided by statistical analysis. Real worship is audacious, he said, reminding the congregation that Elijah was called out of “hiding” to serve God. Continue Reading Lenten Reteart>

Synod office reportedly blocked delivery of book challenging Kasper proposal

Synod of Bishops

February 25, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Vatican’s Office of the Synod intercepted mail to prevent delivery of a book to bishops participating in last October’s session of the Synod, journalist Edward Pentin reports.

Remaining in the Truth of Christ, a series of essays about Catholic teaching on marriage, was published just before the Synod meeting. The book, published simultaneously in several languages, was a response to the proposal by Cardinal Walter Kasper that Catholics who divorce and remarry might be allowed to receive Communion. Continue Reading Synod>

Courses to Start Soon at the Catholic University in Erbil

Kurdistan

February 25, 2015 - (Zenit) - The first courses of Catholic University in Erbil, the capital of Northern Kurdistan, will begin this year.

Recently, Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda, ordinary of the archdiocese of Erbil and a great supporter of the project, announced in a letter the imminent commencement of activity in four faculties, including a college for studies in business administration, reported Fides. Continue Reading Catholic University>

British Bishop reacts to 3 parent baby vote

Science

February 25, 2015 - (News.va) - In Britain, John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster says he’s “very disappointed” but “not that surprised” by the parliament vote to legalise the creation of human embyros using the DNA from three people. His comments followed Tuesday’s vote in the House of Lords which gives the go-ahead to licence the creation of so-called 3 parent IVF babies, making Britain the first country in the world to take this step.  The controversial procedure is aimed at preventing incurable diseases being passed from mother to child. Bishop Sherrington spoke to Susy Hodges about his reactions.

Asked for his reaction to the parliamentary vote, Bishop Sherrington said he was “very disappointed” but at the same time “not that surprised” because it follows a general trend of legalising human embryo experimentation that began in Britain many decades ago. He points out that no other country has allowed this 3 person baby procedure and many medical experts in other nations have serious reservations about it. “There are many international scientists who are very critical, both of this vote and of this procedure.” Continue Reading Bishop Reacts>

San Francisco archbishop not backing down on policies for Catholic-school teachers

teacher

February 25, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - After the San Francisco Chronicle issued a report claiming that Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone plans to rescind a plan to treat parochial-school teachers as “ministers,” the San Francisco archdiocese issued a quick rebuttal, saying that the archbishop had no plans to change his policy.

“The archbishop has not repealed anything,” explained Father John Piderit, the moderator of the curia. He said that in a meeting with the editorial board of the Chronicle the archbishop had done his best to explain and clarify his policy. “Nothing already planned to go in is being removed or retracted or withdrawn.” Continue Reading Catholic-schools teachers>

Willy, the homeless man buried in the heart of the Vatican

Vatican

February 26, 2015 - (News.va) - The Holy See press office has confirmed the news of the burial of a homeless man in the Teutonic College cemetery within Vatican City State. Willy was a homeless man of Flemish origin.  His exact age was unknown but he was believed to have been around 80 years of age. He died on  December 12 last year and was buried in the Teutonic Cemetery on January 9 this year.

Willy was a familiar face to many in the area of the Vatican. He attended daily Mass in  Sant’Anna parish in the Vatican and spent his days and nights on the streets around St. Peter's Square, Borgo Pio and Via di Porta Angelica. Continue Reading buried in the heart of the Vatican>

How threats to religious freedom could harm unaccompanied minors

Minors

February 24, 2015 - (CNA) - Catholic and Evangelical humanitarian agencies are among the U.S. groups responding to the massive influx of unaccompanied minors from Latin America, but a new federal rule could require them to refer the children for abortion or lose their grants.

A coalition of these faith-based agencies called on the federal government to amend the rule so that the government can meet obligations to care for these children while “respecting the religious and moral beliefs of faith-based organizations that, to date, have provided such critical care for this vulnerable population.” Continue Reading Religious Freedom>

A UK bishop's plea: speak up on marriage before it's too late

Marriage

February 25, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Inside a small English church dedicated to St. Columba, a congregation of Catholics gathered, sitting in the midst of 2,500 years of marriage.

As they celebrated marriage as a blessing to society, they also received a warning: speak up on behalf of marriage now, before doing so becomes taboo. Continue Reading on Marriage>

Vatican issues statement on Pope’s ‘Mexicanization’ comment

Pope Francis

February 25, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, has confirmed that Pope Francis used the phrase “to avoid Mexicanization” in a recent note.

La Alameda, an Argentine NGO opposed to drug trafficking, published a note attributed to Pope Francis. Dated February 21, the Pontiff reportedly wrote to a legislator, “Hopefully we are in time to avoid Mexicanization. I was talking to some Mexican bishops, and it is terrifying.” The Pope also requested prayers for his Lenten retreat. Continue Reading Vatican statement>

Coptic Church mobilizing to evacuate Egyptians from Libya

Libya and Egypt

February 24, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Coptic Orthodox Church has established a “crisis unit” to help evacuate all Egypts still living in Libya, the Fides news service reports.

The crisis unit, under the direction of the secretary of the Coptic Synod, is amassing information about any Copts who moved to Egypt to pursue work opportunities there. The unit will work with the Egyptian military to establish plans for bringing them back to Egypt. Continue Reading evacuate Egyptians>

Patriarch urges prayer after at least 90 Christians kidnapped in Syria

Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III

February 24, 2015 - (CNA) - With reports circulating saying that ISIS forces have kidnapped at least 90 Christians from villages in northeast Syria, Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan said prayer is the only possible response.

“Let’s pray for those innocent people,” Patriarch Younan told CNA over the phone from Beirut Feb. 24. Continue Reading Prayer after Kidnapping>

Amnesty Intl report blames global violence on state arms trade

Arms Trade

February 25, 2015 - (News.va) - Amnesty International released its annual report today, underlining the “horrific violence by states and armed groups” in 2014, as well as what they call the “global failure to protect civilians.” Listen and Read the interview>

Mystic, monk and poet – meet the newest Doctor of the Church

St Gregory of Narek. Credit: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons.

February 23, 2015 - (CNA) - St. Gregory of Narek – a tenth century priest, monk, mystic, and poet beloved among Armenian Christians – has become the first Armenian to be named a Doctor of the Church.

“It is a great honor for the Armenian Church to contribute to this very important rank of saints who have enriched the Catholic Church with their teachings,” Armenian Catholic priest Father Thomas Garabedian told CNA Feb. 23. Continue Reading Newest Doctor of the Church>

Ukrainian Archbishop calls on Christians to help end conflict

Ukraine Flag

February 23, 2015 - (News.va) - The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, held a press conference on Monday to share details of the ad liminavisits that all Ukrainian bishops have been making to the Vatican this past week.

As well as denouncing the occupation of his country by Russian forces, the Ukrainian leader appealed to all Christians to help with the worsening humanitarian crisis which has been provoked by the conflict, as Philippa Hitchen reportsContinue Reading Ukrainian Archbishop>

Relief and gratitude after release of priest abducted in Afghanistan

Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar, SJ. Photo courtesy of Jesuit Refugee Service.

February 23, 2015 - (CNA) - Friends and colleagues have pledged their support for a Jesuit priest released after eight months of captivity in Afghanistan, where he had been working to help refugees.

“You cannot imagine our relief that he is now home, safe and sound,” Father Peter Balleis, S.J., international director of the Rome-based Jesuit Refugee Services, said Feb. 22. Continue Reading Relief and Gratitude>

Coptic Catholics consecrate first church in Sinai, against backdrop of martyrdom

Sinai Peninsula

February 20, 2015 - (CNA) - “The Church in Egypt has been strengthened by the murder of our brothers in Libya.” Such was the reaction of Coptic Catholic Bishop Youssef Aboul-Kheir of Sohag to the beheading of 21 Orthodox Coptic men in Libya by Islamic State affiliates.

The guest workers in Libya "suffered a holy death with prayers on their lips. They went to their deaths just like the early Christians,” the bishop told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. Continue Reading First Church in Sinai>

New religious freedom official: the time for action is now

Religious Freedom

February 23, 2015 - (CNA) - The new U.S. religious freedom ambassador wasted no time emphasizing the urgency of his mission as he was sworn in on Feb. 20.

Noting that enemies of religious freedom “have grown alarmingly strong” worldwide, Ambassador David Saperstein quoted Dr. Martin Luther King that “we are confronted with the fierce urgency of now” and pledged to promote religious freedom around the globe. Continue Reading new religious freedom official>

St. Therese of Lisieux's 'difficult' sister is on the road to sainthood

St. Therese of Lisieux and her sister Leonia Guerin. Public Domain Photos.

February 21, 2015 - (CNA) - The “difficult” sister of St. Therese of Lisieux is on the road to sainthood, a reminder – according to her postulator – that holiness is a calling for all people.

Bishop Jean-Claude Boulanger of Bayeux-Lisieux in France recently announced his intention to open Leonia Martin’s cause of beatification and canonization. Continue Reading St. Therese 'dificult' sister>


Pope Francis: Ash Wednesday homily

Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday

February 18, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass in the Basilica of St. Sabina on the Aventine Hilll in Rome on Wednesday afternoon – Ash Wednesday – the beginning of the great penitential season of Lent. Below, please find Vatican Radio’s translation of the text the Holy Father prepared for the occasion.

As God's people today we begin the journey of Lent, a time in which we try to unite ourselves more closely to the Lord Jesus Christ, to share the mystery of His passion and resurrection. Continue Reading Pope's Ash Wednesday Homily>

Pope appeals for peace in Libya and Ukraine

Pope Francis

February 18, 2015 - (Vatican Radio) - Pope Francis has urged the international community to find peaceful solutions to the difficult situation in Libya and has prayed for peace in Ukraine.

Speaking after the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope asked for prayers for our “Egyptian brothers who were killed in Libya three days ago for the mere fact of being Christians”. Continue Reading Pope ppeals for peace>

Chaldean Patriarch Invites Muslims to Join Christians in Lenten Fast

February 19, 2015 - (Zenit) - With Ash Wednesday yesterday marking the start of Lent, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I has invited Muslims to join Christians in their Lenten fast, reported Fides.

In order to obtain “as soon as possible the gift of peace, stability and a dignified lifestyle for our country and for all the Middle East,” the patriarch wrote to his “Muslim brothers and sisters” urging them to join Christians in fasting for a few days during the Lenten season. Continue Reading Inviting muslims>

 

Amid string of break-ins, Bishop of Ars removes Blessed Sacrament from parishes

Eucharistic Adoration

February 18, 2015 - (CNA) - Bishop Pascal Roland of Belley-Ars in France has ordered that the Blessed Sacrament be removed from all chapels and churches in the diocese following a wave of sacrileges that have taken place in recent days.

After numerous tabernacles were profaned and consecrated hosts were stolen, Bishop Roland issued an ordinance instructing that “the Blessed Sacrament shall be removed from the tabernacles of all the churches and parish chapels and be reserved in a safe place.” Continue Reading Blessed Sacrament removed>

Near Bethlehem, Israeli barrier threatens Christians' future

Cross atop the seminary in Beit Jala, one of the Palestinina communities threatened by the Israeli security barrier.

February 18, 2015 - (CNA) - Palestinian Christians, a monastery, a convent and a Catholic school near Bethlehem are all at risk from the Israeli government’s planned security barrier in the West Bank’s Cremisan Valley, the U.S. bishops have told members of Congress.

“The proposed routes of the separation barrier would effectively confiscate the Palestinian agricultural and recreational lands of over 50 Christian families. This threatens the livelihoods of the remaining Christian community of Bethlehem, pressuring even more to leave the Holy Land,” Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces told leaders of Congress in a Feb. 11 letter on behalf of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. Continue Reading Christian Future>

Would you die for your ashes? Cardinal reflects on modern Christian martyrs

Ash Wednesday

February 18, 2015 - (CNA) - Catholics owe solidarity, prayer and a voice against injustice to their fellow Christians being martyred and persecuted around the world, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., stressed on Ash Wednesday.

“(W)e can go out those doors with ashes on our forehead” as a public display of faith, the cardinal said. However, “(t)here are parts of the world where that will just as well be a death certificate.” Continue Reading Die for your ashes>

Pope Francis' Message for World Youth Day: "Have the courage to be happy"

World Youth Day

February 17, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis has told young people to “have the courage to be happy” in his Message for the 30th World Youth Day, which will be celebrated in dioceses around the world on Palm Sunday.

It is the last diocesan World Youth Day before next year’s International World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, in July. Continue Reading World Youth Day>

International Women’s Day in the Vatican: Voices of Faith

International Women's Day

February 17, 2015 - (News.va) - To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, the second edition of the Voices of Faith storytelling event will once again be held in the Vatican, bringing together talented Catholic women of faith from around the globe to share their inspiring experiences in reaching out to the world’s poor and marginalised.  This extraordinary event will take place at the heart of the Vatican in the 16th century Casina Pio IV, home to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.  Voices of Faith’s first edition on 8 March 2014 was held in the Vatican’s Cinema-Film Library. Continue Reading International Women's Day>

Catholic aid group commits $2.8 million to help Christians in Syria

Syria

February 17, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has pledged $2.8 in emergency aid Christians in Syria.

In announcing the pledge, ACN noted that the embattled Christians in Syria have received only limited benefits from secular relief agencies. Christians are reluctant to register with these agencies, and thus formally identify themselves as Christians, because they fear becoming the targets of Muslim groups. The Islamic State has brutally executed Christians, while other Syrian rebel groups have charged that Christians support the ruling regime. Continue Reading Catholic Aid Group>

Chinese New Year bumps Ash Wednesday fasting for Asia's Catholics

China

February 17, 2015 - (CNA) - Since Ash Wednesday coincides this year with Chinese New Year – also known as Lunar New Year – many bishops in East Asia are granting dispensations from the fasting and abstinence normally required on the day which begins the season of Lent.

This year, Ash Wednesday falls on Feb. 18, which is the eve of the day which begins the Year of the Goat in the Chinese calendar. Continue Reading Chinese New Year>

Unexpected friendships bloom as Vatican rolls out haircuts for homeless

haircuts for homeless

February 17, 2015 - (CNA) - As homeless men and women line up under the massive arms of Saint Peter's colonnade waiting to take advantage of the Vatican's newly-christened showers and barbershop, volunteers who assist them say they are deeply moved by their encounter with a population often rejected by society.

“Initially when they offered me this (job) I thought I would find myself confronted with grouchy, perhaps mean people,” said volunteer barber Danielle Mancuso. Continue Reading haircuts for Homeless>

Pope at Santa Marta: Slain because they were Christian

Pope Francis

February 17, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis offered Mass Tuesday morning for the repose of the souls of the twenty-one Coptic Christians martyred for their faith in Christ. The Mass was attended by the Pope’s personal secretary, Abuna Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, who is Coptic Catholic.

As he prepared to begin Mass in the Santa Marta Chapel, the Pope invited the congregation to join him in prayer for ‘our brother Copts, whose throats were slit for the sole reason of being Christian, that the Lord welcome them as martyrs, for their families, for my brother Tawadros, who is suffering greatly’. Continue Reading and Listening to Pope Francis' Comments>

Muslims and Christians in Egypt condemn the killing of 21Coptic faithful in Libya- United against barbarity

February 16, 2015 - (Zenit) - The barbarity shocked not only the Egyptian Christian community, but the more numerous Muslim authorities have also harshly condemned the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian Egyptians who had had been held hostage for weeks by Libyan jihadists affiliated with the so-called Islamic State. Video of the execution was broadcast on the internet throughout the day on Sunday.

A reaction was immediately forthcoming from Al-Azhar University, the oldest Sunni Islamic learning centre, which called the executions “barbaric”. Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, Egypt's highest Islamic authority...  Continue Reading condemn killing>

 

Pontifical Gregorian University Inaugurates Centre for Child Protection

Child Protection

February 17, 2015 - (Zenit) - One week after the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors meeting in Rome, the Centre for Child Protection (CCP), located at the Pontifical Gregorian University, was inaugurated on Monday evening.

Prior to Centre's inauguration, a press conference was held on Monday evening that detailed their efforts in creating an international research and educational facility dedicated to the prevention of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults. Continue Reading Pontifical Gregorian University>

In sight of the nation's capitol, a massive Bible museum underway

Bible

February 16, 2015 - (CNA) - A vast Bible museum is currently under construction in Washington, D.C. and has had strong support since its beginning phases from the Vatican, officials for the project revealed last week.

“When we introduced the Museum of the Bible, the first place we introduced it was at the (Vatican) Embassy here in Washington, D.C., for a private gathering,” the president of the museum Cary Summers told reporters at the official beginning of construction on the museum on Feb. 12. Continue Reading Bible Museum>

Vatican economics secretariat discovers $1.5 billion in unreported assets

Vatican

February 16, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Cardinal George Pell reported the discovery of more than $1.5 billion in Vatican assets, in a report to the extraordinary consistory of cardinals on February 13.

The Australian cardinal, who now serves as the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, briefed the cardinals on the work of his new office. In the process of taking a full account of Vatican finances, he said, the Secretariat found the $1.5 billion in accounts which had not previously been included in overall financial reports. Continue Reading Vatican economics>

Federalism, same-sex marriage, and what a bishop has to say about it

Marriage

February 16, 2015 - (CNA) - The head of the U.S. bishops’ marriage committee is backing new legislation that thwarts the federal government from bypassing state marriage laws.

“Various agencies of the Executive Branch” are effectively, if not intentionally, trying “to circumvent state laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” wrote Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco in a letter to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Rep. Randy Weber (R-Tex.), sponsors of a new bill that would prevent such circumvention. Continue Reading Federalism and same sex marriage>

Marriage is what brings us together today, bishop says

Marriage

February 14, 2015 - (CNA) - Beyond boxed chocolates and Valentine cards, authentic married love is a gift and blessing that brings unity to society, and it deserves support and protection, said a New York bishop.

Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, who heads the U.S. bishops’ committee on marriage and family life, called on his fellow bishops “to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage and to affirm and support engaged and married couples.” Continue Reading Marriage is what brings us together today>

Archbishop Chaput applauds Penn. governor for halt to death penalty

Death Penalty

February 14, 2015 - (CNA) - Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has welcomed Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf's decision on Friday to effectively establish a moratorium on the death penalty in the state due to the flawed nature of the system.

The moratorium “will remain in effect until the governor has received and reviewed the forthcoming report of the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Commission on Capital Punishment,” Wolf's office announced Feb. 13. Continue Reading Halt to death penalty>

Cardinals continue discussion of Vatican reforms

Cardinals

February 13, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The College of Cardinals continued an in-depth discussion of Vatican reforms during the 2nd day of an extraordinary consistory on February 13.

Briefing reporters about the discussions, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said that the cardinals had explored how proposed reforms would contribute to the health of the local churches. Many cardinals spoke in favor of decentralizing authority, with some suggesting a more prominent role for episcopal conferences. However Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, observed that episcopal conferences do not have authority to settle doctrinal issues. Continue Reading Vatican Reforms>

Pope Francis at Angelus: spread goodness, compassion

Pope Francis

February 15, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis recited the Angelus on Sunday, with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square. In remarks ahead of the prayer, the Holy Father offered a reflection on the Gospel reading of the day, in which St. Mark the Evangelist speaks of Christ’s battle against all manner of evil, especially in favor of those who are suffering in body and spirit, specifically telling of the Lord’s miraculous healing of a leper.

“The mercy of God overcomes all barriers,” said Pope Francis. “The hand of Jesus touched the leper,” he continued, explaining that Christ does not act from a safe distance, nor does He act by proxy, but is exposed directly to the contagion of our evil. “So,” the Holy Father went on to say, “our own evil becomes the place of contact: He, Jesus, takes our sick humanity from us and we take from Him His healing – His healthy humanity. This happens every time we receive a sacrament with faith: the Lord Jesus ‘touches’ us and gives us His grace. In this case we think especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to heal us from the leprosy of sin.” Continue Reading Pope's Angelus>

Pope Francis: Cardinals are servants of the Church

Pope Francis

February 15, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis presided over Mass in St Peter's Basilica on Sunday, to offer thanks to God together with the College of Cardinals, one day after bestowing the Red Hat on twenty new prelates from around the world. Below, please find the official English translation of the Holy Father's homily.

“Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean”…  Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out his hand and touched him, and said: “I do choose.  Be made clean!” (Mk 1:40-41).  The compassion of Jesus!  That com-passion which made him draw near to every person in pain!  Jesus does not hold back; instead, he gets involved in people’s pain and their need…  for the simple reason that he knows and wants to show com-passion, because he has a heart unashamed to have “compassion”. Continue Reading Father's homily>

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