Catholic Church News

Damaging new video exposes Planned Parenthood trade in fetal organs; California court restricts further releases

Damaging new video exposes Planned Parenthood trade in fetal organs; California court restricts further releases

July 30, 2015 - (CNA) - Another damaging video exposing Planned Parenthood’s involved in the sale of fetal tissues was released on July 30, just hours after a judge in California issued a restraining order barring the release of some similar videos.

In the 4th in a series of undercover videos, a Planned Parenthood official in Colorado is caught discussing ways to avoid possible criminal liability for trading in fetal tissues. Continue Reading Planned Parenthood>

Cardinal O'Malley denounces Planned Parenthood for disrespecting human dignity

Cardinal O'Malley denounces Planned Parenthood for disrespecting human dignity

July 30, 2015 - (CNA) - The Archbishop of Boston on Wednesday lamented the harvesting of fetal organs, which is at the center of a series of videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the practice, as a failure to respect human dignity.

“The recent news stories concerning Planned Parenthood direct our attention to two larger issues involving many institutions in our society,” Cardinal Sean O'Malley said July 29. “The first is abortion itself: a direct attack on human life in its most vulnerable condition. The second is the now standard practice of obtaining fetal organs and tissues through abortion.” Continue Reading Human Dignity>

Religious sisters sue Colombian TV network for 'false' depiction of saint's life

Religious sisters sue Colombian TV network for 'false' depiction of saint's life

July 30, 2015 - (CNA) - An order of religious sisters in Colombia is suing a national television network for producing a series that it says twists the facts about the life of the order’s founder, the first Colombian saint.

Saint Laura Montoya Upegui is the subject of a new series on Caracol Television, entitled “Laura: an extraordinary life.” The first of 25 episodes was broadcast on July 29. Continue Reading False Depiction of Saint's Life>

Vatican bails on questionable anti-human trafficking initiative

Vatican bails on questionable anti-human trafficking initiative

July 30, 2015 - (CNA) - Faithful to its commitment against human trafficking, the Holy See has left the board of an initiative it helped to found, as questions have been raised around both its effectiveness and its chairman's possible use of the Pope to raise funds.

Together with Anglican and Muslim leaders, the Vatican launched the Global Freedom Network in March 2014, hoping to eradicate human trafficking by 2020. Continue Reading Anti Human Trafficking initative>

Court bars anti-abortion group from releasing new videos of Calif. company officials

Court bars anti-abortion group from releasing new videos of Calif. company officials

July 29, 2015 - (Fox News) - A temporary restraining order has been issued preventing an anti-abortion group from releasing any video of leaders of a California company that provides fetal tissue to researchers. The group is the same one that previously released three covertly shot videos of a Planned Parenthood leader discussing the sale of aborted fetuses for research.

The Los Angeles Superior Court order issued Tuesday prohibits the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any video of three high-ranking StemExpress officials taken at a restaurant in May. It appears to be the first legal action prohibiting the release of a video from the organization. Continue Reading Court Bars>

Cardinal Dolan slams Trump's 'virulent' immigration remarks

Cardinal Dolan slams Trump's 'virulent' immigration remarks

July 29, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - For Cardinal Dolan, the “virulent strain” of American nativism is not a thing of the past – it's alive, well and seeded in presidential candidate Donald Trump's recent remarks on the topic of immigration.

“Nativists believed the immigrant to be dangerous, and that America was better off without them,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said in a July 29 guest column for New York Daily News. Continue Reading Eliminate Religious Exemptions>

Major US foundations committing millions for campaign to eliminate religious exemptions

Major US foundations committing millions for campaign to eliminate religious exemptions

July 29, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Several major American grantmaking foundations have committed millions of dollars to a campaign to eliminate religious exemptions to gay-rights laws, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports.

CNA found that six large foundations have made grants of $4.8 million to target religious exemptions. Among them are the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the Gill Foundation, the Proteus Fund, the David Bohnett Foundation, the Arcus Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. Their grants have gone to support lobbying and litigation against religious exemptions. “We are at a crossroads where the choices we make will mean we will fight religious exemptions for two to three years or have a protracted twenty year struggle on our hands,” said Tim Sweeney, onetime program director of the Haas Fund, at a conference of homosexual advocates earlier this year. Continue Reading Eliminate Religious Exemptions>

Pope Francis to handpick new doctor ahead of Cuba, US trip

Pope Francis to handpick new doctor ahead of Cuba, US trip

July 29, 2015 - (CNA) - As the five-year term for Pope Francis' personal doctor comes to an end, the Pope is expected to choose a new one soon who will accompany him during his upcoming visit to Cuba and the United States.

Patrizio Polisca, doctor to Benedict XVI and president of the medical commission for the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, was until recently the Pope’s personal doctor and head of the Vatican City State's healthcare services. Continue Reading Pope Francis' new Doctor>

#WomenBetrayed Rallies Call for End to Planned Parenthood Funding

#WomenBetrayed Rallies Call for End to Planned Parenthood Funding

July 28, 2015 - (Zenit) - Pro-lifers across the United States rallied today to call for the end of taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, as the Center for Medical Progress released its third video from an investigation into the abortion provider’s use of fetal tissue.

Under the banner #WomenBetrayed, at least 50 cities hosted the rallies, which were sponsored by Students for Life. Continue Reading #WomenBetrayed>

US Bishops' Official Welcomes Ruling Ordering Government to Release Detained Families

US Bishops' Official Welcomes Ruling Ordering Government to Release Detained Families

July 28, 2015 - (Zenit) - The July 24 ruling by Judge Dolly Gee of the Federal District Court of California ordering the Obama administration to release from detention families fleeing violence in Central America was applauded today by Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration.

The administration has pursued a detention policy for these families –young mothers with children– as a means to deter other families from migrating to the United States. Continue Reading US Bishops>

African leaders counter Obama's 'ideological colonization' in Kenya

African leaders counter Obama's 'ideological colonization' in Kenya

July 28, 2015 - (CNA) - U.S. president Barack Obama has come under fire from African politicians and Church leaders after advocating for gay rights in Kenya this weekend – a practice Pope Francis has referred to as “ideological colonization.”

“Even if people don’t like us for it, our Church has always said homosexuality is unnatural and marriage is between a man and a woman,” Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja told the News Agency of Nigeria July 26. Continue Reading African Leaders>

'Shadow council' speaker pushes Church acceptance of contraception, gay sex

'Shadow council' speaker pushes Church acceptance of contraception, gay sex

July 27, 2015 - (CNA) - Yes to contraception, homosexual acts, and Communion for the divorced and remarried – all considering the circumstances. No to understanding any acts as intrinsically evil.

These are the positions advocated by speakers at the May 25 “shadow council” which gathered prelates and theologians, led by the German bishops, at a Jesuit university in Rome. Continue Reading Shadow Council>

How an anti-discrimination bill could end up discriminating

How an anti-discrimination bill could end up discriminating

July 27, 2015 - (CNA) - A bill in Congress that brands itself as fighting discrimination might end up doing the exact opposite, said legal experts last week.

“The whole thing is an overreach,” said Ryan Anderson, the William E. Simon senior research fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation. Continue Reading Anti-Discrimination>

Australian Labor Party moves to dismiss members who oppose same-sex marriage

Australian Labor Party moves to dismiss members who oppose same-sex marriage

July 27, 2015 - (CNA) - Australia’s Labor Party has pledged to support same-sex marriage, and to require all party members eventually to join in that effort .

After tense negotiations, a Labor Party meeting voted to amend a resolution that would have required party members to vote in favor of same-sex marriage immediately. In a compromise measure, the party agreed that legislators would be allowed to vote according to their consciences-- for now. By 2019, however, all party members will be required to embrace the cause. Continue Reading Australian Labor Party>

Knights of Columbus unveil new campaign to aid Middle East Christians

Knights of Columbus unveil new campaign to aid Middle East Christians

July 27, 2015 - (CNA) - As Christians continue to face unprecedented persecution – especially in the Middle East – the Knights of Columbus have announced a new campaign to send humanitarian aid and raise awareness about their plight.

“Pope Francis has urged the international community to take action to help Christians in the Middle East, and as an organization that has long supported victims of religious persecution, the Knights of Columbus is responding by asking our own members, and the public at large, to help us save the lives of people who are being persecuted simply because of their Christian faith,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in a July 24 press release. Continue Reading Middle East Christians>

Forty-five thousand sign up for WYD only a few hours after Pope Francis - Meeting on the field of mercy

Forty-five thousand sign up for WYD only a few hours after Pope Francis - Meeting on the field of mercy

July 27, 2015 - (News.va) - Less than 24 hours after registration opened for next year's World Youth Day (WYD), 45,000 people had already signed up. The first to register was Pope Francis himself who had previously announced that the theme of the meeting would revolve around mercy. According to the website's managers, thus far there are 250 “macrogroups” and 300 volunteers signed up. The countdown to the event is already surrounded by great enthusiasm. In exactly one year — from 26 to 31 July 2016 — young people will meet in Krakow for the 31st WYD.

Twenty five years after its start, WYD will return to Poland, the land of the Pontiff who created it. Even if Pope Wojtyła loved to say that “it was the young people themselves who invented WYD”. In 1991 in Częstochowa, a strong wind of faith was announced to the young people and from them the faith blew beyond the iron curtain. The young Christians of eastern and western Europe experienced the first large-scale encounter after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Pope Wojtyła returned to his homeland for WYD which saw the participation of more than one million people. Continue Reading World Youth Day>

Want to walk with Pope Francis? Then take this pledge

Want to walk with Pope Francis? Then take this pledge

July 24, 2015 - (CNA) - Catholics in Washington, D.C. are hoping a new charity pledge will go viral like last year’s “Ice Bucket Challenge,” but there’s a new twist – this pledge is for Pope Francis.

“The 'Walk with Francis' Pledge offers people the opportunity to demonstrate solidarity with the Holy Father and answer his call to bring Christ's love, mercy and hope to others, especially those on the margins of society,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. said on Wednesday. Continue Reading Walk with Francis>

Court: Family-run pharmacy must carry Plan B despite religious objections

Court: Family-run pharmacy must carry Plan B despite religious objections

July 24, 2015 - (CNA) - Owners of a pharmacy in Washington state must provide the morning-after contraceptive pill against their religious beliefs after a federal appeals court upheld a state mandate that they do so.

“Today’s decision is unfortunate,” stated Luke Goodrich, deputy general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, on Thursday. “The government has no business punishing citizens solely because of their religious beliefs.” Continue Reading Family-run pharmacy>

Nepal: draft of new constitution bans religious conversion

Nepal: draft of new constitution bans religious conversion

July 24, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The largely Hindu nation of Nepal has published a draft of a new constitution that would ban religious conversion.

According to the draft, "no one shall attempt to change or convert someone from one religion to another, or disturb/jeopardise the religion of others, and such acts/activities shall be punishable by law." Continue Reading Religious Conversion>

Catholic university to open in Iraq

Catholic university to open in Iraq

July 26, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Speaking in Australia, an Iraqi prelate discussed his plans to open a Catholic university in October.

The university will be located in Erbil, a city of 1.5 million that is capital of the autonomous region of Kurdistan, an Australian diocesan newspaper reported.

The founding of the university, said Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, is "a way of fighting back against Daesh [the Islamic State] and saying we [Christians] are not going to go away." Continue Reading Catholic University>

With a tap on an iPad, Pope Francis registers for World Youth Day 2016

With a tap on an iPad, Pope Francis registers for World Youth Day 2016

July 26, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis has invited the youth of the world on pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2016--and on Sunday he became the first pilgrim to register himself.

“Today we open registration for the thirty-first World Youth Day, to be held next year in Poland,” he said. “I invite the youth of the world to live this pilgrimage that will be going to Krakow.”

The youth will be “participating in this moment of grace for their communities,” he said.

The Pope spoke from the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square after praying the Angelus July 26. With a young man and a young woman at his side, he used an iPad to become the first registered pilgrim for the next World Youth Day. Continue Reading Pope Registers for WYD>

New Mobile App Released for World Meeting of Families

New Mobile App Released for World Meeting of Families

July 23, 2015 - (Zenit) - As final preparations are underway for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, a new mobile app has been launched to help pilgrims and residents navigate around the city.

The “Go Philadelphia!” mobile app, was developed by the organization of the World Meeting of Families and IBM. “The app will provide information about the region's cultural institutions and family-friendly events taking place between September 18-29 to accommodate visitors who will arrive early or stay after the Papal visit,” a communique from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia stated. Continue Reading World Meeting of Families>

Last hope: Little Sisters of the Poor appeal to Supreme Court

Last hope: Little Sisters of the Poor appeal to Supreme Court

July 23, 2015 - (CNA) - After a federal appeals court ruled that the Little Sisters of the Poor must obey the federal contraception mandate, the sisters have announced that they are appealing to the Supreme Court.

Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, mother provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor, emphasized that the religious women “dedicate our lives to serving the neediest in society, with love and dignity.” For 175 years, the order has cared for the elderly poor and dying throughout the world. Continue Reading Little Sisters of the Poor>

South Bend abortion clinic license not renewed

South Bend abortion clinic license not renewed

July 23, 2015 - (South Bend Tribune) - Women seeking an abortion in South Bend may soon need to travel to Michigan, Illinois or downstate, after the Indiana State Department of Health denied renewal of the Women's Pavilion clinic's license to operate in South Bend.

Abortion provider Dr. Ulrich "George" Klopfer and the clinic staff appealed the decision on June 29. The appeal will be heard before an administrative law judge in November, according to Ken Severson, spokesman for the ISDH. Severson said the clinic may legally operate until the November hearing. Continue Reading South Bend Abortion Clinic>

South Bend abortion clinic license not renewed

South Bend abortion clinic license not renewed

July 23, 2015 - (Life News) - Representatives from Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Co. and Xerox say they’ve asked Planned Parenthood to remove their names as corporate donors to the embattled organization.

The move follows a Daily Signal report revealing the names of 41 companies that Planned Parenthood listed as donors. That list, which was featured on Planned Parenthood’s website, has since been removed. Continue Reading Businesses not supporting Planned Parenthood>

Coca-Cola, Ford and Xerox: We No Longer Donate to Planned Parenthood Abortion Business

Coca-Cola, Ford and Xerox: We No Longer Donate to Planned Parenthood Abortion Business

July 23, 2015 - (Life News) - Representatives from Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Co. and Xerox say they’ve asked Planned Parenthood to remove their names as corporate donors to the embattled organization.

The move follows a Daily Signal report revealing the names of 41 companies that Planned Parenthood listed as donors. That list, which was featured on Planned Parenthood’s website, has since been removed. Continue Reading Businesses not supporting Planned Parenthood>

Gallup finds slump in US public approval of Pope Francis

Gallup finds slump in US public approval of Pope Francis

July 22, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Public approval ratings for Pope Francis have dipped in the US in the past year, according to new Gallup survey.

Gallup finds that 59% of Americans view the Pope favorably—down considerably from a 76% figure in 2014, but virtually the same as the 58% approval that he commanded shortly after his election to the papacy. Continue Reading Pope Francis>

Federal court: parents may file suit against HHS mandate

Federal court: parents may file suit against HHS mandate

July 22, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) -  Overturning a lower court decision, a federal appeals court has ruled that parents have legal standing to file suit against provisions of health care law that require them to purchase insurance for their teen and adult children that includes coverage for abortifacients, contraception, and sterilization.

Paul Wieland, a Missouri state lawmaker, and his wife, Teresa, are "committed to the health and wellbeing of their children and thus seek to ensure that their daughters have comprehensive healthcare coverage," the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit stated in its ruling. "As devout Roman Catholics, they believe that they cannot pay for or participate in a healthcare plan that includes coverage for contraceptives or provide such coverage to their daughters without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs." Continue Reading Federal Court>

Church of English ordains 1st diocesan woman bishop

Church of English ordains 1st diocesan woman bishop

July 22, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) -  Rachel Treweek has become the first female diocesan bishop in the Church of England's history.

Earlier in the year, Libby Lane became the first woman ordained as a suffragan bishop-- a position comparable to that of a Catholic auxiliary bishopContinue Reading Church of England>

Top Pakistani court stays execution of Asia Bibi, grants new hearing in blasphemy case

Top Pakistani court stays execution of Asia Bibi, grants new hearing in blasphemy case

July 22, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) -  Pakistan’s Supreme Court has stayed the execution of Asia Bibi, and ordered a new hearing on her case.

Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five children, has been imprisoned for six years—including nearly five on death row—after being convicted of insulting Islam. Her lawyers have consistently argued that there is no evidence to support the conviction. Islamic militants, on the other hand, have insisted on enforcement of the sentence against her, and threatened lynching if she is freed. Continue Reading Asia Bibi>

​Twenty two million follow @Pontifex

​Twenty two million follow @Pontifex

July 21, 2015 - (News.va) -  South America is making waves on the Popes's Twitter handle, @Pontifex. Just as Francis' apostolic visit in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay concluded, the Pope's followers in nine languages surpassed 22 million. This record comes just 41 days after that number had reached 21 million.

The Popes' visit to the three South American countries had an immense impact on social networks around the world. Comments, discussions and retweets surrounded the Pope's addresses and pictures were posted by various media outlets and by those participating in the events. Continue Reading @Pontifix>

Here's Pope Francis' schedule for the Jubilee of Mercy

Here's Pope Francis' schedule for the Jubilee of Mercy

July 21, 2015 - (CNA) -  Twelve prominent events, each with the participation of Pope Francis, have been scheduled in Rome for the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy, and CNA was able to glance at details of their programs.

The twelve big events of the Jubilee of Mercy will be: 24 hours for the Lord, a day-long period of Eucharistic adoration; To Dry the Tears, a prayer vigil; and jubilees centered on pilgrimage workers; the sick and disabled; catechists; deacons; teenagers; priests; volunteers of mercy; the Curia; Mary; and Divine Mercy spirituality. Continue Reading Jubilee of Mercy>

Pakistan's Supreme Court Schedules Appeal Hearing For Christian Mother Sentenced to Death

Pakistan's Supreme Court Schedules Appeal Hearing For Christian Mother Sentenced to Death

July 21, 2015 - (CNA) -  Pakistan's highest court is set to hear the appeal of Asia Bibi, who is facing a death sentence for blasphemy.

According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the appeal hearing is set to be heard on Wednesday, July 22nd.  Bibi's husband, Ashiq Masih, confirmed the date of the hearing to the Organization for Legal Aid, who will also be present in court. Continue Reading Pakistan's Supreme Court>

French bishops: Don't euthanize paralyzed man

French bishops: Don't euthanize paralyzed man

July 21, 2015 - (CNA) -  Bishop Thierry Scherrer of Laval, France, and the Bioethics Committee of his diocese are pleading with doctors at a hospital in Reims not to end the life of a young quadriplegic man.

“Human life is a gift from God, and doctors are at its service. The omnipotence that technology gives us has to respect this limit,” Bishop Scherrer and the Bioethics Committee affirmed in their July 16 statement. Continue Reading French Bishops>

European court says Italy must recognize same-sex unions

European court says Italy must recognize same-sex unions

July 21, 2015 - (CNA) -  The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Italy violates the fundamental rights of homosexuals by failing to provide legal recognition of same-sex unions.

“The Court considered that the legal protection currently available to same-sex couples in Italy – as was shown by the applicants’ situation – did not only fail to provide for the core needs relevant to a couple in a stable committed relationship, but it was also not sufficiently reliable,” a July 21 release from the court announced. Continue Reading European Court>

In new video, Planned Parenthood exec appears to joke about pricing baby parts

In new video, Planned Parenthood exec appears to joke about pricing baby parts

July 21, 2015 - (CNA) -  Another undercover video released today allegedly shows a senior official at Planned Parenthood flippantly discussing monetary compensation for aborted baby organs, and the alteration of abortion procedures to ensure that the organs are intact.

“It’s been years since I talked about compensation, so let me just figure out what others [Planned Parenthood affiliates] are getting. If this [price] is in the ballpark, it’s fine, if it’s still low then we can bump it up,” Dr. Mary Gatter appears to tell actors posing as representatives of a fetal tissue procurement company, before joking, “I want a Lamborghini.” Continue Reading Undercover Video>

The Vatican's helicopter: Transporting popes, saving kid's lives

The Vatican's helicopter: Transporting popes, saving kid's lives

July 20, 2015 - (CNA) - One of Europe's best pediatric hospitals, Bambino Gesu Children's Hospital in Rome, can now use the Vatican’s helicopter to transport patients, personnel and medical equipment in emergencies. 

The agreement was announced July 17th by the hospital and the Governatorate of the Vatican City State, and is part of a bigger initiative to use the helicopter within a regional network for emergency management. Continue Reading Vatican Helicopter>

AFRICA/LIBYA - Three African Christians kidnapped by jihadis in the south of Sirte; four Italians kidnapped in Mellitah

Three African Christians kidnapped by jihadis in the south of Sirte; four Italians kidnapped in Mellitah

July 20, 2015 - (Agenzia Fides) - Three Christians - a Ghanaian, a Nigerian and a Coptic Egyptian – have been kidnapped in Libya by a jihadist group linked to the Islamic State (Daesh). The kidnapping dates back to 11 July, but was confirmed yesterday, Sunday, July 19, by Mohammed Hijazi, military spokesman of the Libyan government currently in Tobruk and recognized by the international community.

The seizure took place in the area of Nufliyah, south of Sirte, in an area considered one of the strongholds of jihadist groups. The jihadist group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping on social media by posting photos of identity documents of the three kidnapped, without giving further details. Continue Reading Kidnapping in Libya>

Cardinal Pell airs concern about Pope's view on climate change

Cardinal Pell airs concern about Pope's view on climate change

July 20, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Cardinal George Pell has voiced reservations about Pope Francis’ views on climate change, as expressed in the encyclical Laudato Si’.

While praising the overall message of the encyclical, the Australian cardinal that the Church claims “no particular expertise in science.” He said that parts of the encyclical were "beautiful" and backed the Pope's call for respective treatment of the environment. But he distanced himself from the Pope's claim that evidence of man-made climate change is conclusive. Continue Reading Cardinal Pell>

California's Governor at Vatican to share insights on combatting climate change

California's Governor at Vatican to share insights on combatting climate change

July 20, 2015 - (News.va) - The issues of climate change and human trafficking are under the spotlight in the Vatican on Tuesday, during a workshop of mayors from around the world who’ve come to discuss their commitment to tackling these two closely related problems.

Pope Francis will meet with participants in the workshop entitled ‘Modern Slavery and Climate Change: the commitment of the cities’ which has been organised by the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. Continue Reading California's Governor at Vatican>

US and Cuba re-open embassies – Will lifting the embargo be next?

US and Cuba re-open embassies – Will lifting the embargo be next?

July 20, 2015 - (CNA) - The U.S. and Cuba formally re-established diplomatic ties for the first time since 1961 on Monday, a groundbreaking development advocated by Catholic bishops from both countries and set in motion by Pope Francis.

“It’s an historic day, a day for removing barriers,” Secretary of State John Kerry said at a joint press conference with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on the re-establishment of relations. Continue Reading US and Cuba Embassies>

Pope Francis: Christ sees, has compassion, and teaches

Pope Francis: Christ sees, has compassion, and teaches

July 19, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - In his July 19 Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading at Mass (Mk. 6:30-64) and devoted particular attention to three verbs in the reading: see, have compassion, and teach.

“The first and the second, to see and to have compassion, are always associated with Jesus' attitude: in fact his gaze is not the gaze of a sociologist or of a photojournalist, because he always sees with the ‘eyes of the heart,’” the Pope said. Continue Reading Pope Francis>

Mass exodus continues from German Catholic Church

Mass exodus continues from German Catholic Church

July 19, 2015 - (CNA) - More than 200,000 Germans formally left the Catholic Church in 2014, accelerating the downward trend in the Catholic proportion of the country’s population.

Germans who are officially enrolled in congregation are subject to a “church tax,” and so disaffected Catholics have an incentive to drop their registration, rather than simply stop attending Mass. The number of Catholics taking that step has increased sharply in recent years. Continue Reading German Exodus>

Motown Showdown: Catholics Rally Against Detroit’s Demonic Display

Motown Showdown: Catholics Rally Against Detroit’s Demonic Display

July 19, 2015 - (National Catholic Register) - On July 25, the Satanic Temple of Detroit plans to unveil a statue of a pagan idol at an undisclosed location within the city. In response, Detroit’s Mother of Divine Mercy Catholic parish will hold a Mass and Eucharistic Holy Hour on that same day in reparation and prayer for the city of Detroit.

Father Grzegorz Tokarski serves as pastor of Mother of Divine Mercy parish, which is a cluster of three historic churches near downtown Detroit: St. Joseph, St. Josaphat, and Sweetest Heart of Mary. Father Tokarski will celebrate the Mass of Reparation at 10am at St. Joseph Catholic Church, and Deacon Joe Lennon will lead the Eucharistic Holy Hour that follows while Father Tokarski hears confessions. Continue Reading Motown Showdown>

Bible publisher wins permanent victory over HHS mandate

Bible publisher wins permanent victory over HHS mandate

July 19, 2015 - (CNA) - A Bible publisher based in Illinois has won its lawsuit against the federal contraception mandate, with a final ruling delivered July 15 by a federal district court.

The ruling means that Tyndale House Publishers cannot be subject to the mandate, which was issued four years ago by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Continue Reading Bible Publisher>

#WomenBetrayed rallies across the country on July 28th

#WomenBetrayed rallies across the country on July 28th

July 16, 2015 - (Women Betrayed) - Prolife groups Students for Life of America, Prolife Future, Operation Rescue, and Women Speak for Themselves have teamed up to organize “#WomenBetrayed” rallies in cities all over the US, including Fort Wayne on July 28th to call attention to our nation’s largest abortion vendor, Planned Parenthood, and to ask that federal and state officials investigate and defund the billion dollar business.

On their website, the group points out that Planned Parenthood gets over $500 million a year in tax funding and makes more than $100 million in profits, mostly from their abortion quotas. Found out more about #WomenBetrayed>

Pence calls for Indiana Planned Parenthood investigation

Pence calls for Indiana Planned Parenthood investigation

July 16, 2015 - (Indy Star) - Republican Gov. Mike Pence ordered Thursday an investigation into Planned Parenthood in Indiana after an undercover video shot by anti-abortion activists sparked widespread outrage this week over the harvesting of organs from aborted fetuses.

Citing federal and state laws prohibiting tissue trafficking, Pence said he directed the Indiana State Department of Health and the Attorney General’s Office to look into whether local Planned Parenthood locations have illegally profited from fetal organ donations. Continue Reading Pence Calls for Investigation>

Christian college drops student health insurance, rather than comply with contraceptive mandate

Christian college drops student health insurance, rather than comply with contraceptive mandate

July 16, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - A small Christian college in Illinois has elected not to offer health insurance to students, in order to avoid complying with the federal contraceptive mandate.

Wheaton College has informed students that the school “has been forced to quickly make difficult choices” after losing a court challenge to the mandate. Wheaton is appealing that decision. Continue Reading Christian College>

USCCB renews call to end the death penalty

USCCB renews call to end the death penalty

July 16, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Two prelates who chair committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have issued a message calling for a renewed push to end the death penalty.

The message comes a decade after the bishops’ conference issued a statement on the death penalty.

“Since that time, significant gains have been made,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley and Archbishop Thomas Wenski. “Several states, including New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland and most recently Nebraska, have ended the use of the death penalty, and other states have enacted moratoria. Death sentences are at their lowest level since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.” Continue Reading USCCB and Death Penalty>

Greek archbishop raps government's handling of debt negotiations

Greek archbishop raps government's handling of debt negotiations

July 16, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The leading Catholic prelate in Greece has criticized the country’s handling of its debt crisis, saying that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras “won the election with promises he could not keep.”

Archbishop Frangiskos Papamanolis of Syros and Santorini said that that the government of Greece will now be hard pressed to restore public confidence, after barely averting an economic disaster when the European Union agreed to a temporary bailout plan. Referring to the tense negotiations that finally produced that agreement, the archbishop said that “the past six months have been a waste of time, since our government hasn’t understood the situation.” Continue Reading Greek Archbishop>

Pope Commemorates Bicentenary of St. John Bosco's Birth

Pope Commemorates Bicentenary of St. John Bosco's Birth

July 16, 2015 - (Zenit) - In a message on the Bicentenary of St. John Bosco's birth, Pope Francis praised the Salesian founder, saying that the heart of his vision was "love in action, reaching out to those in need."

According to Vatican Radio, the letter was signed on St. John Bosco's feast day, June 24th and sent to the head of the Salesian order, Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime.

"Don Bosco teaches us not to stand on the sidelines but rather to work on the frontlines in offering youth an experience of inclusive education that involves the whole human person," he wrote. Continue Reading John Bosco>

Congress Will Investigate Planned Parenthood for Selling Body Parts of Aborted Babies

Congress Will Investigate Planned Parenthood for Selling Body Parts of Aborted Babies

July 15, 2015 - (Life News) - Speaker John Boehner announced today that committees in the House of Representatives will take a look at the Planned Parenthood abortion business after a shocking new expose’ video that caught Planned Parenthood’s top doctor describing how the abortion business sells the body parts of aborted babies.

New undercover footage shows Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, describing how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted unborn children and admitting she uses partial-birth abortions to supply intact body parts. Continue Reading Congress to Investigate>

Mayors of major cities, California governor to attend Vatican conference on climate change

Mayors of major cities, California governor to attend Vatican conference on climate change

July 15, 2015 - (Cathlic Culture) - Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, took part in a July 15 press conference on an upcoming Vatican workshop on “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: the Commitment of the Cities” (July 21) and symposium on “Prosperity, People, and Planet: Achieving Sustainable Development in Our Cities.”

The prelate said that the idea of inviting mayors arose from a conversation with police chiefs on combating human trafficking. Continue Reading Climate Change>

Parishes must evangelize, says English cardinal

Parishes must evangelize, says English cardinal

July 15, 2015 - (News.va) - In an address at a national evangelization conference, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster challenged parishes to become evangelizing communities.

“Our mission always starts in our prayer, flows from prayer, from our daily openness to the great mystery of the life of God,” he said. “It cannot start anywhere else.” Continue Reading Evangelize>

Huge concern over Ebola resurgence in Liberia

Huge concern over Ebola resurgence in Liberia

July 15, 2015 - (News.va) - Sister Barbara Brillant is the head of the National Catholic Health Council  in Liberia and said people there have to recognize that they will never be able to totally eradicate Ebola and so need to learn to live with the fact that cases may still pop up from time to time.  An American missionary who has lived in Liberia for decades, Sister Brillant says people there are rightly extremely concerned about the resurgence of Ebola over the past weeks. She blames the resurfacing of the deadly disease on too much complacency after the nation was declared Ebola-free in early May. She spoke to Susy Hodges.

Liberians are rightly “extremely concerned” about the recent new Ebola cases in the West African Nation said Sister Brillant.  Despite this concern, she said the government was doing an “excellent job” and expressed “full confidence” in their ability to bring the Ebola situation under control. Continue Reading Ebola in Liberia>

After a two-week vacation, Benedict XVI heads back to Rome

After a two-week vacation, Benedict XVI heads back to Rome

July 14, 2015 - (CNA) - With two restful weeks outside of the Vatican behind him and two honorary doctorates in hand, Benedict XVI has again returned to Rome, where he has a rare public event set for the summer.

“Holiness, thank you very much for your unexpected and most welcome words, for the blessing that you have given to Castel Gandolfo and its inhabitants,” mayor Milvia Monachesi told the retired Pope as he left the city July 14. Continue Reading Benedict XVI>

UNESCO recognizes site of Jesus' Baptism, despite dispute over location

UNESCO recognizes site of Jesus' Baptism, despite dispute over location

July 14, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - UNESCO has declared a site in Jordan, believed to be the place where Jesus was baptized, as a World Heritage site. The decision will displease the many people who argue that Christ’s baptism occurred at a different location, in Palestinian territory under Israeli control.

UNESCO chose Al Maghtas, Jordan—also known as Bethany Beyond the Jordan—for the World Heritage designation. The site is on the eastern bank of the Jordan River. Continue Reading Site of Jesus' Baptism>

Vatican applauds Iran nuclear deal, calls for commitment to make it 'bear fruit'

Vatican applauds Iran nuclear deal, calls for commitment to make it 'bear fruit'

July 14, 2015 - (CNA) - After global powers reached an agreement with Iran Tuesday limiting the country’s nuclear activity, the Vatican said the deal was an important step and expressed their hope the fruits would spread to more than just the nuclear field.

“The agreement on the Iranian nuclear program is viewed in a positive light by the Holy See,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ said in a July 14 statement, shortly after the announcement of the deal. Continue Reading Iran Nuclear Deal>

Planned Parenthood under fire for alleged trafficking of baby organs

Planned Parenthood under fire for alleged trafficking of baby organs

July 14, 2015 - (CNA) - Abortion giant Planned Parenthood is facing harsh criticism after the release of footage allegedly showing its top doctor describing how the organization offers body parts from aborted babies for money.

“A lot of people want intact hearts these days, they’re looking for specific nodes,” Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s senior medical director, appears to say in a recently released undercover video. Continue Reading Planned Parenthood>

Disappointment follows ruling against Little Sisters in mandate case

Disappointment follows ruling against Little Sisters in mandate case

July 14, 2015 - (CNA) - The Little Sisters of the Poor have reiterated their commitment to following their conscience as they care for the poor and dying, following a federal appeals court ruling that they must obey the federal contraception mandate.

“As Little Sisters of the Poor, we simply cannot choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith,” said Mother Provincial Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire. Continue Reading Little Sisters of the Poor>

Full text of Pope Francis' in-flight interview from Paraguay to Rome

Full text of Pope Francis' in-flight interview from Paraguay to Rome

July 13, 2015 - (CNA) - In the course of his 64 minute in-flight press conference while en route to Rome, Pope Francis answered questions ranging from politics, his upcoming trip to the Unites States, and his feelings about taking selfies.

The Pope responded in Italian to 14 questions posed by journalists during his July 12 overnight flight from Asuncion to Rome. Continue Reading In-flight Interview>

Kidnappers release Syrian priest

Kidnappers release Syrian priest

July 13, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Franciscan priest who was abducted in Syria on July 4 has been released unharmed, the AsiaNews service reports.

Father Dhiya Azziz had been seized by armed men from an Islamic militant group— although not from the group originally suspected of the kidnapping. The Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land noted that “there are a plethora of groups that operate with varied interests.” Continue Reading Syrian Priest>

Why a doctor who treats Iraq War veterans is opposed to DC's assisted suicide bill

Why a doctor who treats Iraq War veterans is opposed to DC's assisted suicide bill

July 13, 2015 - (CNA) - Medical professionals, attorneys and disabilities rights advocates have united in opposition to a proposal that would legalize assisted suicide in Washington, D.C., warning that it preys on the most vulnerable.

“Allowing anyone, especially doctors to kill, or help kill a person is too dangerous to patients, doctors, the health care system, and society,” Dr. Karl Benzio of the Lighthouse Network said during a hearing on the proposed “Death with Dignity Act” of 2015. Continue Reading Assisted Suicide>

Archbishop Chaput backs Catholic school's dismissal of teacher involved in same-sex marriage

Archbishop Chaput backs Catholic school's dismissal of teacher involved in same-sex marriage

July 13, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has issued a statement of support for the decision of a private Catholic school to dismiss a teacher who is involved in a same-sex marriage.

Margie Winters was religious-education director at Waldron Mercy Academy; she has said that the school was aware of her union with another woman at the time she was hired. Her firing has provoked angry protests. Continue Reading Archbishop Chaput>

August Conference to Give Tips for Ministering to Those With Same-Sex Attraction

August Conference to Give Tips for Ministering to Those With Same-Sex Attraction

July 13, 2015 - (Zenit) - An upcoming conference aims to help Church leaders and anyone interested in evangelization minister to those with homosexual tendencies.

Janet Smith, who holds the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, is helping to organize the conference, “Welcoming and Accompanying Our Brothers and Sisters With Same-Sex Attraction.” It will take place August 10-12 in Plymouth, Michigan. Continue Reading August Conference>

Want to preach the Gospel effectively? Be welcoming, Pope says

Want to preach the Gospel effectively? Be welcoming, Pope says

July 10, 2015 - (CNA) - In the final homily of his trip to South America Pope Francis said that a key aspect of Christian spirituality and evangelization is to have a welcoming attitude toward others, especially those most in need.

“How many times do we see evangelization as involving any number of strategies, tactics, maneuvers, techniques, as if we could convert people on the basis of our own arguments?” the Pope asked at his July 12 Mass in Asuncion, Paraguay. Continue Reading Preaching the Gospel Effectively>

Pope Francis tells sick children of Paraguay they are close to Jesus

Pope Francis tells sick children of Paraguay they are close to Jesus

July 10, 2015 - (CNA) - There is one way to annoy Jesus, Pope Francis said on Saturday: Keep the children from coming to him.

The Roman Pontiff was speaking July 11 as part a question and answer session with a group of children receiving treatment at the “Niños de Acosta Ñu” pediatric hospital in Ascuncion, the Paraguayan capital. The visit was the first stop on his first full day in the South American nation. Continue Reading Pope Francis tells Children>

Chinese bishop installed-- 10 years after episcopal ordination-- as government finally gives approval

Chinese bishop installed-- 10 years after episcopal ordination-- as government finally gives approval

July 10, 2015 - (CNA) - A Chinese bishop was formally installed in his diocese on July 10, ten years after he was ordained with the approval of the Holy See, the AsiaNews service reports.

Bishop Joseph Martin Wu Qinjing, having finally been approved by the Chinese government and the government-backed Patriotic Association, was installed as Bishop of Zhouzhi, in Shaanxi province. Continue Reading Chinese Bishop>

Controversial HHS mandate accommodation now finalized

Controversial HHS mandate accommodation now finalized

July 10, 2015 - (CNA) - In its latest update to the federal contraception mandate, the Obama administration on Friday finalized a set of proposed rules which the U.S. bishops have previously said still violate religious freedom.

A statement released Friday by Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell said that the measures balance the government’s goal of providing free contraceptives to women with “respecting religious beliefs” of employers who object to them. Continue Reading HHS Mandate Accommodation>

Considering WYD 2016 in Poland? Here's what one bishop wants you to know

Considering WYD 2016 in Poland? Here's what one bishop wants you to know

July 9, 2015 - (CNA) - For those pilgrims thinking about participating in World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland, Bishop Frank Caggiano has a message: It will be worth the sacrifice.

The Bridgeport prelate, who is serving as World Youth Day Liason for the U.S. bishops, acknowledged that attending the global gathering in Poland next summer will have a cost – not only in money, but also in time and the hardships of traveling to a foreign country. Continue Reading 2016 WYD in Poland>

Eucharist strengthens the weak, Pope tells congregation in Bolivia

Eucharist strengthens the weak, Pope tells congregation in Bolivia

July 9, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Eucharist “draws us out of our individualism in order to live together as disciples,” Pope Francis said in his homily at a Mass celebrated in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, to open the country’s 5th Eucharistic Congress.

Reflecting on the Gospel reading for the votive Mass, which recounted the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the Pope emphasized that Jesus told his disciples not to turn anyone away. Instead Jesus said: “you yourselves, give them something to eat.” Continue Reading Eucharist strengthens>

Pope Francis goes to Washington (and will reach an even bigger crowd than planned)

Pope Francis goes to Washington (and will reach an even bigger crowd than planned)

July 9, 2015 - (CNA) - The setting for Pope Francis’ address to Congress in September just grew by giant proportions as the public will be able to watch the telecast from outside the U.S. Capitol building.

Pope Francis also wishes to make a “brief appearance” on the West Front of the Capitol building after he addresses a joint meeting of Congress on September 24, House Speaker John Boehner’s office announced Wednesday morning. Continue Reading Pope Franicis in DC>

'Remember your roots': Pope goes off-the-cuff to priests, religious

'Remember your roots': Pope goes off-the-cuff to priests, religious

July 8, 2015 - (CNA) - In his last encounter during his visit to Ecuador, Pope Francis on Wednesday warned priests and religious against career ambitions that lead to 'spiritual Alzheimer’s.'

“When a seminarian or priest thinks too much about his career, he starts to suffer from spiritual Alzheimer's and he loses his memory and forgets where he came from,” the Pope said. “Never forget where you came from; don’t forget your roots.” Continue Reading Remember Your Roots>

Spanish court recognizes pharmacists' conscience rights

Spanish court recognizes pharmacists' conscience rights

July 8, 2015 - (CNA) - Spain's Constitional Court has issued a ruling protecting the conscience rights of pharmacists who decline to sell the morning after pill on the basis of religious belief or other conscientious objection.

The court's finding was based on freedoms of religion and conscience found in article 16 of the Spanish constition.

The decision concerned the case of a pharmacist in Seville who was sanctioned with a 3,000 euro ($3,300) fine by the city council of Andalusia because he decided to not sell the potentially abortion-inducing morning after pill, though local laws obliged him to do so. Continue Reading Spanish Court>

Congress urged to protect tax exemptions of groups opposed to same-sex marriage

Congress urged to protect tax exemptions of groups opposed to same-sex marriage

July 7, 2015 - (CNA) - Attorneys general from 15 states urged Congress to protect the tax-exempt status of religious organizations opposed to same-sex marriage.

“As the chief legal officers of our States, we are concerned that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may deny tax-exempt status to religious organizations following the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Obergefell v. Hodges,” the 15 said in a July 2 letter to House and Senate leaders. Continue Reading Protect Tax Exemptions>

Australia's bishops reaffirm marriage – and get reported to government

Australia's bishops reaffirm marriage – and get reported to government

July 7, 2015 - (CNA) - In a recent pastoral letter on marriage, Australia’s Catholic bishops reaffirmed Catholic teaching. And one of the bishops has countered a leading same-sex marriage activist who said the pastoral letter should be reported to the Tasmanian government for illegal bias.

“The Catholic Church in Tasmania is exercising its right to freedom of opinion, just as opponents to the Church’s views on marriage are also exercising their rights,” Archbishop Julian Porteous of Hobart said, according to the Catholic Leader newspaper. Continue Reading Reaffirm Marriage>

Franciscans asks prayers for kidnapped priest in Syria

Franciscans asks prayers for kidnapped priest in Syria

July 7, 2015 - (CNA) - The organizations of Franciscan missionaries serving in the Holy Land have requested prayers for the safe return of Father Dhiya Aziz, who was abducted by militants in Syria on Saturday.

The Custody of the Holy Land have stated that they lost contact with Fr. Aziz on July 4. He is a Franciscan priest of the organization, and was parish priest at Yacubiyeh, a village in Syria's Idlib province, more than 56 miles northeast of Latakia. Continue Reading Kidnapped Priest>

God to Cain, Pope to educators: 'Where is your brother?'

God to Cain, Pope to educators: 'Where is your brother?'

July 7, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis on Tuesday challenged Ecuador’s educators to form their students to engage in modern-day issues with innovation and in solidarity with the poor.

“As a university, as educational institutions, as teachers and students, life itself challenges us to answer this question: What does this world need us for? Where is your brother?” Pope Francis said, in reference to the Genesis account of God asking Cain about his brother Abel. Continue Reading Where is your Brother>

Want to put the Pope's encyclical into practice? Protect religious freedom, archbishop says

Want to put the Pope's encyclical into practice? Protect religious freedom, archbishop says

July 6, 2015 - (CNA) - Religious freedom is absolutely necessary to implement the teachings of Pope Francis’ recent encyclical Laudato Si, said the U.S. bishops’ domestic justice spokesman on Independence Day.

The Pope’s recent encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, demands that Catholics “engage the world and witness to our teachings,” Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami said in a homily for the closing Mass of the Fortnight for Freedom on July 4. However, he added, this public action can only be accomplished with true religious freedom. Continue Reading Protect Religious Freedom>

Oregon official confirms: bakery owners must pay $135K over same-sex wedding cake

Oregon official confirms: bakery owners must pay $135K over same-sex wedding cake

July 6, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Upholding an earlier decision, Oregon’s state labor commissioner has ruled that the owners of an Oregon bakery violated a non-discrimination law when one of its owners declined to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. 

The official confirmed that the owners are personally liable for $135,000 in damages for mental and emotional suffering.

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” said State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian. “It is about a business's refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.” Continue Reading Oregon Bakery>

Court rules in favor of USCCB, against ACLU in medical case

Court rules in favor of USCCB, against ACLU in medical case

July 6, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - A federal district court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of Tamesha Means, a woman who miscarried her child after a Michigan Catholic hospital “did not tell Tamesha that terminating her pregnancy was an option and the safest course for her condition.” The ACLU alleged that the bishops’ health care directives “prohibited that hospital from complying with the applicable standard of care in this case.” Continue Reading Court rules in favor of USCCB>

Islamic militant group tells Christians: leave Jerusalem or risk death

Islamic militant group tells Christians: leave Jerusalem or risk death

July 6, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Islamic militants are distributing leaflets in Jerusalem, ordering Christians to leave the city or face death.

The leaflets say that any Christians who remain in Jerusalem at the end of Ramadan (July 18) will be subjected to death. A group calling itself the Islamic State in Palestine distributed the leaflets. Continue Reading Islamic Militant Group>

Pray that the family synod will deepen the Church's spiritual discernment, Pope asks

Pray that the family synod will deepen the Church's spiritual discernment, Pope asks

July 6, 2015 - (CNA) - During a Mass said on Monday, the first full day of his visit to Ecuador, Pope Francis called for prayers that the upcoming Synod on the Family might discern the needs of the family, an institution irreplaceable to society.

“The Church will celebrate the Ordinary Synod devoted to the family, deepen her spiritual discernment and consider concrete solutions to the many difficult and significant challenges facing families in our time,” the Pope said during his July 6 homily. Continue Reading Pray for the Synod>

What did he just say? Pope Francis off-the-cuff in Latin America

What did he just say? Pope Francis off-the-cuff in Latin America

July 3, 2015 - (CNA) - The world is about to see a new side to Pope Francis and, interestingly, it could be the most intimate look yet at who he really is. For the first time since he was elected as the Successor of Peter, he’s visiting his native Latin America and the difference will be on the tip of his tongue.

Already in his first speech at Quito’s Mariscal-Sucre airport for the welcoming ceremony, he was adding color to his speech. Powerful lines like saying that the most vulnerable minorities “are the debt that Latin America still has.” Continue Reading Pope Francis>

Archbishop of Canterbury expresses 'deep concern' over Episcopal approval for same-sex weddings

Archbishop of Canterbury expresses 'deep concern' over Episcopal approval for same-sex weddings

July 3, 2015 - (CNA) - The Archbishop of Canterbury has voiced his misgivings about the decision by the Episcopal Church in the US to solemnize same-sex marriages.

Dr. Justin Welby, the worldwide leader of the Anglican communion, said that the American decision “will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole, as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relations.” Continue Reading Archbishop of Canterbury>

Pontifical university plans to offer diploma in child protection by 2016

Pontifical university plans to offer diploma in child protection by 2016

July 3, 2015 - (CNA) - Beginning in the spring of 2016, Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University will begin offering an intensive one-semester diploma program on the safeguarding of minors and the prevention of sex abuse by clergy.

A new one semester diploma course in the protection of minors is being offered by the Center for Child Protection in Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, and is set to welcome its first round of applicants in February, 2016. Continue Reading Pontifical University>

Bl. Junipero statue in the Capitol is safe – for now

Bl. Junipero statue in the Capitol is safe – for now

July 3, 2015 - (CNA) - An effort to remove the statue of Bl. Junipero Serra from the U.S. Capitol has been set aside for the time being.

A statue of Franciscan missionary and saint-to-be Father Junipero Serra has stood in the U.S. Capitol since 1931. However, a proposal in the state legislature would have removed it and replaced it with a statue of astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel to space. Continue Reading Statue is safe>

CatholicVote says controversial video sparked outpouring of thanks

CatholicVote says controversial video sparked outpouring of thanks

July 2, 2015 - (CNA) - After last week's Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, one Catholic group released a short video on tolerance – a clip that's gotten both fierce criticism and profound thanks from viewers.

“The response to our video has been overwhelming. Literally tens of thousands of people are emailing saying: 'thank you for speaking up for me. I don't agree with the Supreme Court decision, but I don't hate anyone,'” said Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org. Continue Reading Catholic Vote Video>

Bishops expect Pope Francis' visit to have profound impact on US

Bishops expect Pope Francis' visit to have profound impact on US

June 30, 2015 - (CNA) - Looking forward to Pope Francis' September visit to the U.S., the nation's bishops were exuberant on Tuesday, as the itinerary for the apostolic voyage was released.

Fewer than three months before the scheduled visit, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. bishops conference, called it a “source of joy and gratitude for U.S. Catholics” in a June 30 statement. Continue Reading Pope Francis in the US>

Supreme Court protects Pennsylvania charities from HHS mandate

Supreme Court protects Pennsylvania charities from HHS mandate

June 30, 2015 - (CNA) - The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an order protecting a group of Pennsylvania religious institutions from being required by the federal contraception mandate to violate their faith.

“Doesn't our government have something better to do than fight charities serving the poor?” said Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in a statement after the July 29 court order. Continue Reading Supreme Court>

Francis wishes Benedict XVI a good summer in Castel Gandolfo

Francis wishes Benedict XVI a good summer in Castel Gandolfo

June 30, 2015 - (CNA) - Before heading out for his two-week stay at the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo this summer, retired pontiff Benedict XVI received a 30 minute visit from Pope Francis, who wished him a pleasant stay.

Francis popped by Benedict’s residence at the Mater Ecclesiae ex-convent around 10 a.m. this morning to greet the retired pope before he leaves today. The meeting lasted half an hour. Continue Reading Pope Emeritus Benedict in Castel Gandolfo>

Supreme Court upholds use of controversial lethal injection drug

Supreme Court upholds use of controversial lethal injection drug

June 29, 2015 - (CNA) - The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the continued use of a drug that has been accused of causing excruciating pain in several controversial state executions.

The 5-4 ruling in Glossip v. Gross was announced June 29. The majority opinion said that “because some risk of pain is inherent in any method of execution, we have held that the Constitution does not require the avoidance of all risk of pain.” Continue Reading Supreme Court>

Encyclical on environment ‘filled us with immense satisfaction,’ says Ecumenical Patriarch

Encyclical on environment ‘filled us with immense satisfaction,’ says Ecumenical Patriarch

June 29, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - In a message to Pope Francis issued in commemoration of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople welcomed Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment.

“The celebration of the thronal feast of our Churches is a reminder, Your Holiness, of the very significant fact that, despite the regrettable interruption of full communion among us, both of our churches remain united in honoring the memory of our common saints, who comprise the stable foundation on which we are called to build full union inasmuch as the Church of Christ is essentially a communion of Saints,” the Ecumenical Patriarch wrote in his June 19 message, which the Holy See Press Office released on June 27. Continue Reading Encyclical on Environmemt>

Practice what you preach, Pope encourages new archbishops

Practice what you preach, Pope encourages new archbishops

June 29, 2015 - (CNA) - During his Mass for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on Monday, Pope Francis called on the Church's new archbishops to be courageous witnesses who are not ashamed of Christ, and who are convinced by what they themselves teach.

“Kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service,” the Roman Pontiff said during the homily for his June 29 Mass, addressing the 46 new metropolitan archbishops installed over the past year. Continue Reading Pope to new Archbishops>

Vatican Commission Formally Recognizes Martyrdom of Oklahoma City Priest

Vatican Commission Formally Recognizes Martyrdom of Oklahoma City Priest

June 26, 2015 - (Zenit) - A Theological Commission of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints has recognized the martyrdom of Fr. Stanley Rother, a priest from Oklahoma.

According to the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the vote is a crucial step in advancing his cause of Beatification. If beatified, Fr. Stanley Rother would be the first Catholic martyr and priest from the United States to receive such recognition. Continue Reading Vatican Commission>

Pope Francis' answer to 'What is faith?'

Pope Francis' answer to 'What is faith?'

June 27, 2015 - (CNA) - The Pope focused on the virtue of faith during his Sunday Angelus address, saying the whole gospel is written in its light.

“Faith is this: to touch Jesus and to draw from him the grace which saves,” Pope Francis explained June 28 at St. Peter's Square, reflecting on the healing of a haemorrhaging woman in the day's Gospel reading. She believed that if she could but touch Christ's clothes, she would be healed. Continue Reading What is Faith>

Pope Francis creates new secretariat overseeing all Vatican communications

Pope Francis creates new secretariat overseeing all Vatican communications

June 27, 2015 - (CNA) -  The Vatican’s nine communications offices will soon be consolidated under the authority of the newly-established Secretariat for Communications, per a Saturday directive of Pope Francis.

The Roman Pontiff instituted the new secretariat with a motu proprio titled The current communication context, promulgated June 27.  The letter states that the new management body will take effect June 29. Continue Reading New Secretariat>

Pope officially paves the way for Saint Therese's parents to be canonized

Pope officially paves the way for Saint Therese's parents to be canonized

June 27, 2015 - (CNA) -  Pope Francis formally approved on Saturday the decrees necessary for Blesseds Louis and Zelie Martin – known for being the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux – to be declared saints later this year.

The two blesseds will be the first couple ever to be canonized at the same ceremony, which will be held Oct. 18 in the Vatican. The event will take place fewer than three weeks after the Oct. 1 feast of their daughter, and doctor of the Church, St. Therese of the Child Jesus. Continue Reading Saint Therese's Parents>

Registration for World Meeting of Families nears 12,000

Registration for World Meeting of Families nears 12,000

June 25, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) -  The number of paid registrants for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia was 11,821 as of June 15, according to a statement released at a Vatican press conference on June 25.

Besides the United States, the top nations for registrants for the gathering, which begins on September 22, are Canada, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, and Nigeria. Continue Reading World Meeting of Families>

California legislators renew push against Junipero Serra, saint and Hispanic 'founding father'

California legislators renew push against Junipero Serra, saint and Hispanic 'founding father'

June 25, 2015 - (CNA) -  A statue of Franciscan missionary and saint-to-be Father Junipero Serra has stood in the U.S. Capitol since 1931, but its future may depend on an upcoming hearing in the California legislature and the success of a “Let's Save Serra” campaign.

The legislature could vote to remove the priest’s statue and replace it with a statue of astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel to space. Continue Reading Junipero Serra>

UN committee demands Ireland allow referendum votes on legal abortion, women's position in home

UN committee demands Ireland allow referendum votes on legal abortion, women's position in home

June 25, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) -  Two referendums must be held to vindicate the economic, social and cultural rights of women in Ireland, according to the United Nations. A referendum on abortion and another on the position of women are necessary.

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has said that Ireland should hold nationwide referenda on legal abortion and on the status of women. Continue Reading UN Committee>

Chaldean Patriarch suggests single unified patriarchate for Iraqi Christians

Chaldean Patriarch suggests single unified patriarchate for Iraqi Christians

June 25, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) -  Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako has made a dramatic appeal for unity among the embattled Christians of Iraq, suggesting that three ancient churches should combine in a single patriarchate, in full communion with the Holy See.

The Patriarch suggested a merger of the Chaldean Catholic Church with the Assyrian Church of the East and the smaller Ancient Church of the East. These two Eastern churches are not currently in communion with Rome. But in 1994 Mar Dinkha IV, the leader of the Assyrian Church of the East, and St. John Paul II issued a joint statement affirming their common faith, apparently ending the Christological disputes that had caused their separation. Two years later the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic patriarchate formed a commission to explore the prospect for unification. Continue Reading Iraqi Christians>

CDF reportedly judges Medjugorje apparitions false, but permits pilgrimage

CDF reportedly judges Medjugorje apparitions false, but permits pilgrimage

June 23, 2015 - (CNA) -  If reports in Italian media outlets are to be believed, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met June 24 to discuss the alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, reaching the conclusion that they are inauthentic, but recognizing the site as a place of prayer.

On Thursday, the Vatican watcher Gianluca Barile wrote that “for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, in fact, the 'apparitions' do not have any supernatural character; therefore it is forbidden to the faithful to participate in the 'ecstasy' of the six 'seers', and the latter are prohibited from divulging the texts of the messages they supposedly receive from the Madonna.” Continue Reading Madjugorje>


Pope to families: If you hide your problems, they'll only get worse

Pope to families: If you hide your problems, they'll only get worse

June 23, 2015 - (CNA) - Family wounds that aren’t dealt with in a healthy and timely manner can have devastating effects on both spouses and children, Pope Francis has said, and encouraged wounded families to work toward healing without letting bitterness build up.

“We know well that every family on occasion suffers moments when one family member offends another,” the Pope told pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square for his June 24 general audience. Continue Reading Pope to Families>

Exhibition of Shroud concludes in Turin; 1.5 million pilgrims attended

Exhibition of Shroud concludes in Turin; 1.5 million pilgrims attended

June 23, 2015 - (CNA) - About 1.5 million people attended the public exhibition of the Shroud of Turin, which concluded today.

Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia said that this year’s exhibition, which began on April 19 and ended on June 24, had been an “overwhelming experience” for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. The highlight, he said, was the visit of Pope Francis, who prayed before the Shroud during his visit to Turin this past weekend.  Continue Reading Shroud of Turin>

Don't overturn social order, faith leaders urge Supreme Court before marriage case

Don't overturn social order, faith leaders urge Supreme Court before marriage case

June 23, 2015 - (CNA) - As the Supreme Court will rule on same-sex marriage before the month’s end, over 50,000 Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Jewish leaders have united to stand up for marriage as between one man and one woman.

“There are clear, distinctive doctrines and differences between us,” observed the pledge’s co-author, Deacon Keith Fournier of the Diocese of Richmond.  Continue Reading Supreme Court>

Court rules against Texas diocese in HHS mandate case

Court rules against Texas diocese in HHS mandate case

June 23, 2015 - (CNA) - The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that East Texas Baptist University, Westminster Theological Seminary, the Catholic Diocese of Beaumont, and Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas are not exempt from cooperation with the HHS mandate.

“We join our sister circuits in concluding that the plaintiffs have not shown a substantial burden on their religious exercise,” the court ruled.  Continue Reading Texas Court>

Coming to the World Meeting of Families: Andrea Bocelli

Coming to the World Meeting of Families: Andrea Bocelli

June 23, 2015 - (CNA) - Renowned classical tenor Andrea Bocelli is accustomed to performing sold-out concerts around the world. He is comfortable center stage at Carnegie Hall and has sold over eighty million records during his musical career.

But come September, Bocelli will change his pace and join another award-winning musician - Colombian superstar Juanes - to perform for Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.  Continue Reading World Meeting of Families>

Synod guiding document: families need the Church's message of mercy

Synod guiding document: families need the Church's message of mercy

June 23, 2015 - (CNA) - The document set to guide this year’s synod discussions on the family touches on hot-button issues such as homosexuality and divorced and remarried couples, stressing that mercy is something every family needs from the Church.

“For the Church it’s about starting from the concrete situations of families of today, all are in need of mercy, beginning with those who suffer most,” the document reads. Continue Reading Synod Guiding Document>

Church of the Multiplication Reopens in Tabgha

Church of the Multiplication Reopens in Tabgha

June 23, 2015 - (Zenit) - On Sunday, thousands of Christians joined in prayer at the Church of the Multiplication, located near the Sea of Galilee. The historic, site of Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the five thousand, was targeted last week in an arson attack by extremist Jewish settlers.

According to Fides news agency, hundreds of youth carried crosses and the yellow & white flags of the Vatican near the Church, as well as singing songs dedicated to Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The celebration of Mass was presided by His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem.  Continue Reading Church of the Multiplication>

Greenland approves same-sex marriage, adoption

Greenland approves same-sex marriage, adoption

June 23, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - In a 27-0 vote, Greenland’s parliament recently approved same-sex marriage and the adoption of children by homosexual couples, according to a report by the Library of Congress’s Global Legal Monitor.

Greenland is an autonomous region of Denmark, and Rufus Gifford, the US ambassador to Denmark, praised the vote as “fantastic.”  Continue Reading Greenland>

Father Flanagan founded Boys Town. Will he be recognized as a saint?

Father Flanagan founded Boys Town. Will he be recognized as a saint?

June 23, 2015 - (Patheos) - The case for the sainthood of Servant of God Edward Flanagan, the priest who founded Nebraska’s famous Boys Town community for orphans and other boys, is now headed to Rome.

“More than being just a humanitarian, he was a man driven by his love for Jesus Christ to care for children who were forgotten and abused,” said Omar Gutierrez of the Archdiocese of Omaha. “He is a great model for the priesthood and for what Catholic social teaching looks like in the real world.”  Continue Reading Father Flanagan>

A wish granted – Pope meets with young prisoners in Turin

A wish granted – Pope meets with young prisoners in Turin

June 22, 2015 - (CNA) - For Fr. Domenico Ricca, chaplain of the Ferrante Aporti juvenile prison in Turin, this weekend’s visit from Pope Francis was a dream come true.

“I met Pope Francis two years ago, and I immediately talked to him about visiting the ‘Ferrante Aporti’ and meeting with prisoners, as I saw he had celebrated the 2013 Holy Thursday Mass in the juvenile prison ‘Casal del Marmo’ in Rome,” Fr. Ricca told CNA.  Continue Reading A wish granted>

Pope Francis asks forgiveness of Christian group over historical persecution

Pope Francis asks forgiveness of Christian group over historical persecution

June 22, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis met on Monday with members of the Waldensian movement, an ecclesial community which suffered persecution from Catholic authorities from the 12th to 17th centuries. He apologized for the Church's “non-Christian attitudes and behavior” towards the Waldensians during that period.

“Reflecting on the history of our relations, we can only grieve in the face of strife and violence committed in the name of faith, and ask the Lord to give us us the grace to recognize we are all sinners, and to know how to forgive one another,” the Pope said June 22 at a Waldensian temple in Turin.  Continue Reading Pope Francis>

Mexico's top court rules for same-sex marriage

Mexico's top court rules for same-sex marriage

June 22, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that governments throughout the country should grant legal recognition to same-sex marriage.

The court’s June 19 decision was based on the finding that procreation is not an essential purpose of marriage. The court found, on that basis, that all state laws restricting marriage to male-female couples were unconstitutional.  Continue Reading Mexico's Top Court>

Modern martyrs should inspire US Christians, archbishop says

Modern martyrs should inspire US Christians, archbishop says

June 22, 2015 - (CNA) - The plight of persecuted religious believers overseas should inspire American Catholics and others to continue their defense of religious freedom at home, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore said.

“What solidarity we should have with these believers. We should be inspired by their courage and renewed in our resolve not to let religious freedom in our country be compromised by degrees until it all but disappears from our society,” the archbishop said.  Continue Reading Modern Martyrs>

Bishops back First Amendment Defense Act

Bishops back First Amendment Defense Act

June 23, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the chairman of the US bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, and Archbishop William Lori, chairman of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, have offered strong support for the First Amendment Defense Act.

Introduced in Congress by Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the legislation “would bar the federal government from discriminating against individuals and organizations based upon their religious beliefs or moral convictions that marriage is the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) explained.  Continue Reading First Amendment Defense Act>

Love life, have fun – a Pope Francis pep talk to Special Olympians

Love life, have fun – a Pope Francis pep talk to Special Olympians

June 19, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis met with Italy's top Special Olympics athletes on Friday, encouraging them and all athletes to make sports a place for loyalty, human dignity and joy.

“It is my hope that you all might live the upcoming games in a joyful, passionate, serene manner: have fun,” he said.  Continue Reading Pope Francis to Special Olympians>

Shroud of Turin reminds us of all human suffering, Pope Francis says

Shroud of Turin reminds us of all human suffering, Pope Francis says

June 21, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis prayed before the Shroud of Turin on Sunday and reflected on the role the reputed burial cloth of Jesus Christ can play in Christian spiritual life.

“The Shroud attracts (us) toward the martyred face and body of Jesus,” the Pope said June 21.

“At the same time, it pushes (us) toward the face of every suffering and unjustly persecuted person. It pushes us in the same direction as the gift of Jesus’ love,” the pontiff said during his noontime Angelus address at Turin’s Piazza Vittorio Veneto.  Continue Reading Shroud of Turin>

A Vatican two-wheeler: Teen mechanics restore motorbike for Pope Francis

A Vatican two-wheeler: Teen mechanics restore motorbike for Pope Francis

June 21, 2015 - (CNA) - A group of teenagers at a Salesian-run professional school in Italy have restored a motorbike as a gift for the Pope.

The motorbike, an Itom 50 model that dates back to the 1960s, was present in Turin during Pope Francis’ meeting with Salesians at the House of Valdocco, the motherhouse of the Salesian congregation.  Continue Reading Vatican Two-wheeler>

Cardinal criticizes presidential candidate’s remarks on encyclical

Cardinal criticizes presidential candidate’s remarks on encyclical

June 19, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Cardinal Peter Turkson, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, criticized comments made by presidential contender Jeb Bush as he discussed Pope Francis’s encyclicalLaudato Si’.

“I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals, or from my Pope,” said Bush, a Catholic. “I think religion ought to be about making us better as people, and less about things that end up getting into the political realm.”  Continue Reading Encyclical Remarks>

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