Catholic Church News

Catholic practice and Catholic faith: a survey looks at the US

Catholic practice and Catholic faith: a survey looks at the US

Aug 30, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - What do practicing Catholics believe?  A new US survey has answered this question by breaking down the similarities and differences these Catholics have with non-practicing Catholics and with Americans as a whole.

"It should come as no surprise that Catholics who regularly attend Mass support the Church's position in the greatest numbers," Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus said Aug. 26.  "But to measure accurately what Catholics really believe, this survey highlights the importance of looking at the level of Catholic practice in this country when discussing Catholics' opinions on issues." Continue Reading Practicing Catholic faith>

Lebanese Muslims issue declaration on religious freedom

Lebanese Muslims issue declaration on religious freedom

Aug 28, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - A Muslim organization associated with Lebanon's highest Sunni authority has issued the Beirut Declaration on Religious Freedom.

"To deny Christian communities the right to exercise their religious freedom and destroy their churches, monasteries, and educational and social institutions are contrary to Islam's teachigns, and are, since these abuses are made in its name, a blatant violation of it's principles," the Makassed Philanthropic Islamic Association of Beirut stated in its declaration.  Continue Reading Muslim Religious Freedom>

Former nuncio Wesolowski, facing sex abuse trial, dies

Former nuncio Wesolowski, facing sex abuse trial, dies

Aug 28, 2015 - (CNA) - Josef Wesolowski, the laicized, former apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic who faced criminal charges in Vatican City of possession of child pornography and pedophilic acts, has died at teh age of 67.

The Holy See press office announced Aug. 28 that Wesolowski was found dead in his rom at the Vatican's Collegio dei Pentienzieri in front of a TV, which was turned on, at about 5 am by a Franciscan religious.  Continue Reading Wesolowski>

Vatican: Pope did not endorse "gay penguin" book

Vatican: Pope did not endorse 'gay penguin' book

Aug 28, 2015 - (CNA) - The Vatican has rejected claims in the media that Pope Francis is supporting a book on gay adoption, saying a letter responding to the author should not be interpreted as an endorsement.

In responding to the author's letter, the Vatican Secretariat of State did not intend in any way to support "behavior and teachings which are not in accordance with the Gospel," and uising the Vatican response to imply otherwise "is completely out of place," said Fr. Ciro Benedettini, deputy director of the Holy See Press Offiice, Aug. 28. Continue Reading Penguin Book>

Pope Francis: conversion isn't just an appearance - it's a matter of the heart

Pope Francis: conversion isn't just an appearance – it's a matter of the heart

Aug 30, 2015 - (CNA) - In his Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis said that merely obeying the rules isn't enough to make us holy, but that if we truly want to serve God our conversion has to be deeper, changing the heart.

It's not exterior things which make us holy or not holy, but it's the heart that expresses our intentions, our choices and the desire to do everything out of love for God," the Pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square Aug. 30. Continue Reading Sunday Angelus>

3.1 million have attended Pope's general audiences

3.1 million have attended Pope’s general audiences

Aug 27, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - An estimated 3.1 million persons have attended Pope Francis' Wednesday general audiences, according to statistics released by the Prefecture of the Papal Household following the Pontiff's 100th general audience on August 26.

1,548,500 attended the Pope's 30 general audiences in 2013, and over 1.1 million attended 43 audiences in 2014.  This year, over 400,000 have attended 27 general audiences. Continue Reading General Audience Attendance>

Denver airport puts Chick-fil-A on hold over CEO's marriage stance

Denver Airport Puts Chick-fil-A on Hold Over CEO’s Marriage Stance

Aug 27, 2015 - (NC Register) - The First Amendment to the US Constitution says government may not abridge free speech or interfere with the free exercise of religion.  The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) that government may not "advance nor inhibit religious practice."

In other words, government officials should not try to ban a business from the Denver International Airport on a basis of the CEO's religious beliefs. Continue Reading Chick-fil-A>

Illinois diocese to ask Catholic-school parents to make commitment to support Church, follow moral teachings

Illinois diocese to ask Catholic-school parents to make commitment to support Church, follow moral teachings

Aug 27, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Diocese of Springfiled, Illinois, is weighing a policy that would require parents of parochial-school students to agree that they will attend Mass every Sunday and contriute to the support of the Church.  The proposal is raising hackles among some non-Catholic parents of children in diocesan schools.

The proposed "Family School Agreement," which has ben circulated in draft form to pastors and school principals, calls for parents to attend Mass regularly and to work "toward the goal of giving at least 8% of their income to the parish." Continue Reading Family School Agreement>

Planned Parenthood video wars: abortion empire strikes back

Planned Parenthood Video Wars: Abortion Empire Strikes Back  Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/planned-parenthood-video-wars-abortion-empire-strikes-back/#ixzz3k6Z4CFSD

Aug 27, 2015 - (NC Register) - Planned Parenthood is launching a counterattack to defend itself in the wake of increased pressure on its public image and government funding sources due to a series of undercover videos exposing its abortion business.

Since July 14, the Center for Medical Progress has released eight videos - edited versions accompanied by full footage and transcripts - centered on Planned Parenthood's role in procuring fetal tissue and body parts from aborted children to companies that process them for scientific researchers. Continue Reading Planned Parenthood>

Sydney Archbishop to Pregnant Moms: You Show the Pursuit of Self Is Not All There Is to Life

Sydney Archbishop to Pregnant Moms: You Show the Pursuit of Self Is Not All There Is to Life

Aug 26, 2015 - (Zenit) - The Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia, held its annual Mass for Pregnant Mothers last Sunday. Archbishop Anthony Fisher told the moms and their families that since children are the future of the Church and society, we must have parents who are virtuous, who can raise them to be saints and citizens.

"Children are a gift! Not just because are they cute, not just for the joy they can bring, but precisely because they are so demanding: they demand our love and care." Continue Reading Mass for Expectant Mothers>

"Teach your children how to pray!" Pope tells parents

'Teach your children how to pray!' Pope tells parents

Aug 26, 2015 - (CNA) - On Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his weekly catechesis on the family, saying that parents have the responsibility to teach their children to pray.

Delivering his address to pilgrims and visitors, gathered under the hot sun for the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, the pontiff stressed the importance of teaching children how to show love for God through prayer.

“It is beautiful when mothers teach their little children to blow a kiss to Jesus or to Our Lady. What tenderness there is in this!” he said. Continue Reading General Audience>

Iraqi government addresses plight of Baghdad's Christians

Iraqi government addresses plight of Baghdad’s Christians

Aug 27, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has established a security committee to address rising violence, including abductions and the expropriation of proprty, against Christians in Baghdad and other government-controlled areas, the Fides news agency reported.

The prime minister's action follows a plea from Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako asking the government to protect the nation's Christians. Continue Reading Iraqi Government Protection>

Iowa bishop bans Mass at chapel where female "priest" led services

Iowa bishop bans Mass at chapel where female 'priest' led services

Aug 26, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, has revoked permission for the celebration of Mass at a Catholic worker house, after a woman claiming to be a Catholic priest led services there.

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a representative of Roman Catholic WomanPriests, presided at a ceremony in the Catholic Worker house last December.  Bishop Pates took disciplinary action against the group after consulting the presbyteral council of his diocese, which gave his move unanimous approval. Continue Reading Womanpriests Ban>

New video reveals "a lot" of intact  baby cadavers supplied by Planned Parenthood

New video reveals 'a lot' of intact baby cadavers supplied by Planned Parenthood

Aug 25, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - In a devastating new undercover video, released today by the Center for Medical Progress, the chief executive of an tissue-procurement company reports that Planned Parenthood supplies "a lot" of intact cadavers of aborted babies, and laughs at the shocked reactions of technicians who see the bodies. Continue Reading Planned Parenthood>

Catholic Medical Association says "Defund Planned Parenthood and stop fetal organ trafficking"

Defund Planned Parenthood and Stop Fetal Organ Trafficking

Aug 25, 2015 - (CMA) - The Board of Directors of the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), the largest association of Catholic physicians and healthcare professionals in the United States, calls upon the American Medical Association and all other medical organizations to condemn fetal organ trafficking. The Catholic Medical Association is deeply disturbed by revelations that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates are harvesting human tissue and organs during abortions of nearly-born yet alive babies and babies whose viability is terminated in a specific manner solely to maximize tissue marketability. Continue Reading Catholic Medical Association>

US: Prisoners in Philly make Pope a chair for visit to Correctional Facility

US: Prisoners in Philly Make Pope a Chair for Visit to Correctional Facility

Aug 25, 2015 - (Zenit) -Ahead of Pope Francis' visit to the United States next month, prisoners in Philadelphia are working on making sure the Pontiff has a nice place to sit when he meets with them, reported Associated Press.

In the city's Industrial Correctional Center over the past couple of weeks, inmates have been working on creating a nearly six-foot tall chair they hand-carved out of walnut.  Prisoners contributing were chosen based on work ethic, skill and reliability. Continue Reading Pope's Chair>

Popemobile shipped to US ahead of papal visit

Popemobile shipped to US ahead of papal visit

Aug 24, 2015 - (Catholic Herald) - More than a month before Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in the United States, his popemobile has landed on US shores.

"A Jeep Wrangler will be used as the popemobile in the US (like the one used in Ecuador in July 2015)," the Vatican press office said in a statement on August 20.

A Vatican official added that there will be more than one vehicle on hand for Pope Francis, who will need a popemobile in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia.  "There is always a reserve" in case of malfuntion, the official said. Continue Reading US Popemobile>

Leader of Irish Bishops calls for a Hail Mary a day to pray for Synod

Leader of Irish Bishops Calls for a Hail Mary a Day to Pray for Synod

Aug 24, 2015 - (Zenit) - The national novena to Our Lady of Knock ended Saturday.

Among the invitations issued by the various prelates who preached during the novena was a call to participate in a 50-day Hail Mary campaign for the upcoming Synod on the Family.

This initiative was launched by Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland and Presidnet of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference, speaking Aug. 15 before the Rosary procession at the Knock Novena. Continue Reading Hail Marys for Synod>

Creating decent work is "Catholic way," says US bishop

Creating Decent Work Is 'Catholic Way,' Say US Bishops

Aug 24, 2015 - (Zenit) - Creating sufficient, decent work that honors the dignity of families is a necessary component of the challenge facing all Catholics, and it is the Catholic way, said the chairman of the US bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami cited the importance of work in supporting families in the 2015 Labor Day statement, which drew on Pope Francis' June encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si.  Continue Reading Labor Day Statement>

Statue of Our Lady of Fatima to be brought to Syria

Statue of Our Lady of Fatima to be brought to Syria

Aug 24, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - To manifest his support for the Middle East's persecuted Christians, the bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Portugal has announced that the statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be making a pilgrimage to Damascus on September 7.

Urging the UN and the EU not to abandon the "victims of intolerance and fundamentalism," Bishop Antonio Augusto dos Santos Marto said that he wished "to respond to the appeal of the bishops of the Middle East, witnesses of the extermination of the Christians in the face of the indifference of the international community." Continue Reading Fatima Statue>

Plaza in central Rome to be named in honor of Martin Luther

Statue of Our Lady of Fatima to be brought to Syria

Aug 24, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - City officials in Rome have approved plans to name a square for Martin Luther.

On September 16, the city will formally name a square on the Viale Fortunato Mizzi, a few blocks from the Colisum, as the Piazza Martin Lutero.

The homage to Luther, coming on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, was an initiative begun by the Seventh Day Adventist Council in Rome.  The Vatican did not oppose the project. Continue Reading Luther Square>

Tens of thousands proest at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country

Tens of thousands protest at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country

Aug 23, 2015 - (CNA) - Hundreds of demonstrations were held outside of Planned Parenthood clinics across the U.S. this weekend with protesters calling on the federal government to stop funding the abortion giant.

After videos released last month showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing their fetal tissue donation program in graphic detail, the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League called on a national day of protest. Continue Reading Planned Parenthood Protests>

Little Sisters get temporary relief while Supreme Court mulls taking case

Little Sisters get temporary relief while Supreme Court mulls taking case

Aug 21, 2015 - (CNA) - The Little Sisters of the Poor have received temporary protection from the federal contraception mandate until the Supreme Court decides whether or not it will hear their case.

On Aug. 21, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Little Sisters will not be subject the mandate’s requirements or the fines associated with resisting it. The court order lasts until the Supreme Court announces whether it will take up the sisters’ appeal. If the Court agrees to hear the case, the protection from the mandate will last until it issues a final rulingContinue Reading HHS Mandate>

Islamic State destroys ancient Catholic monastery in Syria

Islamic State destroys ancient Catholic monastery in Syria

Aug 21, 2015 - (CNA) - Reports surfaced on Thursday that Islamic State militants have bulldozed Mar Elian Monastery, an ancient structure located just outside a Syrian town captured by the group earlier this month.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group, on Aug. 20 said that the Islamic State had destroyed the monastery using bulldozers. Photos of the destruction were soon released online by the militant Sunni Islamist group.

The destruction was confirmed to the AP by a priest in Damascus. Continue Reading ISIS Destruction>

Pope: When Jesus' words are hard to hear, you need faith to stay

Pope: When Jesus' words are hard to hear, you need faith to stay

Aug 23, 2015 - (CNA) - Those who turn away from the "uncomforatable" teaching on Jesus being the Bread of Life, Pope Francis said during his weekly Sunday Angelus address, do so not because of a lack of understanding, but a lack of faith.

"The true cause of misunderstanding (Jesus') words is a lack of faith," the pontiff stressed, speaking ahead of the Angelus from the papal palaace to the crowds in St. Peter's Square. Continue Reading Sunday Angelus>

Eleven cardinals join forces to tackle marriage prep, family issues in pre-synod book

Eleven cardinals join forces to tackle marriage prep, family issues in pre-synod book

Aug 20, 2015 - (CNA) - With the Synod of Bishops rapidly approaching, 11 cardinals have contributed to a small but important book offering a pastoral perspective of the issues at stake, while reaffirming the truth of the Gospel on family and marriage issues.

The book is titled “Eleven cardinals speak on marriage and family,” and will be published in English by Ignatius Press. An Italian edition will also be published.. Continue Reading LGBT Lobby>

CNA Exclusive: Swiss Catholic money targets African bishops ahead of Synod

CNA Exclusive: Swiss Catholic money targets African bishops ahead of Synod

Aug 20, 2015 - (CNA) - The Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund and a major U.S. foundation have helped fund an LGBT activist project intended to counter West African bishops at the Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family.

The Netherlands-based European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups originally planned to make a documentary film of self-identified LGBT Catholics in Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon. Continue Reading LGBT Lobby>

San Francisco High-School Teachers Approve Contract, Amid Ongoing Tensions

San Francisco High-School Teachers Approve Contract, Amid Ongoing Tensions

Aug 20, 2015 - (NC Register) - After months of tense, high-profile negotiations - centering on resistance to an archdiocesan effort to reinforce Catholc identity - teachers at four Catholic high schools approved the collective-bargaining agreement Church officials negotiate with the teachers' union.

On Aug. 19, union leaders announced that members had ratified the contract.  It incorporates concessions won from Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco during months of talks that drew national headlines, as well as a preamble that reflects his focus on the schools' religious mission.  Continue Reading San Francisco>

Pope: Jesus Is Determined to Fill Our 'Restless Hearts'

Pope: Jesus Is Determined to Fill Our 'Restless Hearts'

Aug 20, 2015 - (Zenit) - Jesus is determined to fill our restless hearts and we are called to welcome this. Pope Francis made this point in the message he sent to Bishop Francesco Lambiasi of Rimini on the occasion of the 36th International Meeting of Friendship Among Peoples. The message was sent yesterday through Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State.

Sponsored by Communion and Liberation, the annual week-long meeting in the Italian city of Rimini, Aug. 20-26, begins today with the theme: “What is this lack a lack of, oh heart, of which all of a sudden you are full?” Continue Reading Pope Francis>

Is Planned Parenthood "aborting" babies after birth?

Is Planned Parenthood "aborting" babies after birth?

Aug 19, 2015 - (CNA) - A new video in an investigative series on Planned Parenthood shows a former technician saying that she had once been traumatized by the experience of gathering tissue from an aborted baby whose heart was still beating.

Holly O’Donnell, former technician for the biotech company StemExpress, LLC, said that after the intact delivery of “the most gestated fetus and closest thing to a baby that I’ve seen,” a clinic worker called for her to come over and see something “kind of cool.”Continue Reading Planned Parenthood>

Elderly woman brutally attacked in Church respons with forgiveness

Elderly woman brutally attacked in Church respons with forgiveness

Aug 19, 2015 - (CNA) - Police have arrested one suspect in the assault and robbery of a 76-year-old woman at Omaha's Catholic cathedral – and the woman is asking prayers for her attackers.

“She is doing well and recovering at a friend's house,” Father James Netusil, an associate pastor at St. Cecilia's Cathedral, said on the cathedral's Facebook page Aug. 18.

“She is grateful for all of your prayers, and her hope is that you will pray for her attackers. What a witness to Christian forgiveness. God bless her!”Continue Reading Church attack>

Fortifications of Philistine city unearthed

Fortifications of Philistine city unearthed

Aug 19, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Israeli archaeologists have unearthed what they believe to be the entrance gate of Gath, the Philistine city associated with Goliath in the Old Testamnent.

"We knew that Philistine Gath in the tenth to ninth century [B.C.] was a large city ,perhaps the largest in the land at the time," lead archaeologist Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University told LiveScience.com Continue Reading Goliath Gate>

Study links religion, "sustained happiness"

Study links religion, "sustained happiness"

Aug 19, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - A study of 9,000 Europeans over 50 has found a link between religious participation and "sustained happiness."

Researchers at the London School of Economics and Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands found no similar link between "sustained happiness" and volunteerism, enrollment in educational courses, or involvement in community or political groups, The Washington Post reported. Continue Reading Happiness Study>

When it comes to work, don't feed off the backs of others, Pope says

When it comes to work, don't feed off the backs of others, Pope says

Aug 19, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis said Wednesday that work is something sacred, and called out those who abuse it by either contributing to the unemployment crisis, or refusing to work in order to feed off the system.

“Work is precisely from the human being. It expresses his dignity of being created in the image of God. Therefore it is said that work is sacred,” the Pope said Aug. 19.

Because of this, he added, managing employment “is a great human and social responsibility which can't be left in the hands of the few, or discharged to a divinized market.” Continue Reading Pope Francis>

University of Massachusetts caught buying fetal parts to create humanized mice

University of Massachusetts caught buying fetal parts to create humanized mice

Aug 18, 2015 - (Life Site) - A loss in court and increased public outrage over fetal parts trafficking has prompted StemExpress, to sever its ties with Planned Parenthood and recalibrate its public profile to one that is “predominately” focused — at least outwardly — on adult blood and tissue procurement.

This news came in the same week that Operation Rescue obtained purchase orders that show the University of Massachusetts Medical School paid StemExpress a total of $29,000 for human fetal cadaverous tissue, (presumably harvested from Planned Parenthood abortions), for the purpose of creating “humanized” mice. Continue Reading UMass>

Colombian Guerrilla Group Requests Audience With Pope Francis

Colombian Guerrilla Group Requests Audience With Pope Francis

Aug 18, 2015 - (Zenit) - Representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have requested to meet with Pope Francis during his visit to Cuba in September.

Peace talks between FARC and the Colombian government have been taking place in Havana, Cuba, since 2012. The request for a meeting with the Holy Father was made to the Episcopal Conference of Colombia by Antonio Lozada, one of the negotiators representing the guerrilla group. Continue Reading Colombian Guerrilla Group>

Incest, suicide, and murder: What we can expect from Tolkien’s dark new story

Incest, suicide, and murder: What we can expect from Tolkien’s dark new story

Aug 18, 2015 - (Zenit) - A previously unpublished short story by J.R.R. Tolkien will release in the U.K. next week, and it promises to give a fascinating look into one of the literary giant’s first experimentations with fantasy writing.

“The Story of Kullervo” is Tolkien’s retelling of “The Kalevala,” the dark 19th-century Finnish epic about an orphan who avenges the massacre of his family and accidentally seduces his own sister before taking his own life. Continue Reading JRR Tolkien's new story>

Syria: Kidnapped Melkite Priest Freed

Syria: Kidnapped Melkite Priest Freed

Aug 18, 2015 - (Zenit) - Sources in Syria have reported the release of Father Tony Boutros, a Melkite-Catholic priest who was kidnapped by unknown assailants.

On July 12, Fr. Boutros and his driver were reported missing after they were last seen driving to a local church for Mass. The Melkite-Catholic priest served as pastor of the Church of St. Philip the Apostle in Shahba. Continue Reading Syria>

Vatican now recruiting priests to be Missionaries of Mercy, commissioned for Jubilee work

Vatican now recruiting priests to be Missionaries of Mercy, commissioned for Jubilee work

Aug 18, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Vatican has begun accepting applications from priests who wish to join the corps of “Missionaries of Mercy” that Pope Francis will create for the Jubilee Year.

In April, when he unveiled his plans for the Year of Mercy in the bull Misericordiae Vultus, the Pope said that the missionaries of mercy would be granted “the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See.” Those reserved sins include desecration of the Eucharist and direct abortion. Continue Reading Missionaries of Mercy>

Congress Investigates Obama Admin’s Connection to Planned Parenthood Selling Aborted Babies

Congress Investigates Obama Admin’s Connection to Planned Parenthood Selling Aborted Babies

Aug 17, 2015 - (Life News) - One of the House committees looking into the scandal of Planned Parenthood selling aborted babies and their body parts is now looking into the Obama administration and whether there is any connection between it and the abortion giant.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was to know if the Obama administration, via the Department of Health and Human Services, provided any federal grants to Planned Parenthood that ultimately went to pay for the sales of aborted baby body parts and if they were used by Planned Parenthood to “support transactions involving fetal tissue.” Continue Reading Planned Parenthood>

Vatican Museums Launches Fundraising, 'Art Lovers Platform,' App

Vatican Museums Launches Fundraising, 'Art Lovers Platform,' App

Aug 17, 2015 - (Zenit) - The Vatican Museums has launched a fundraising app--said to be an "exciting platform for art lovers"--which can be downloaded for free from the App Store.

In a press release, the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums announced ‘Patrum,’ targeted at patrons and donors and intended to raise needed funds for several major restoration projects. There is a requested minimum donation of $10. Continue Reading Art Lovers Platform App>

Online Registration Begins for Jubilee Year of Mercy

Online Registration Begins for Jubilee Year of Mercy

Aug 17, 2015 - (Zenit) - Registration online will be necessary to cross the threshold of the Holy Door during the Jubilee of Mercy that has been proclaimed by Pope Francis to begin December 8, and conclude November 20, 2016.

After specifying the day and time in the appropriate section of the website of the Jubilee of Mercy -- www.im.va -- users will be able to receive free ticketing. Continue Reading Online Registration>

Pope calls Argentine radio station

Pope calls Argentine radio station

Aug 15, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Pope Francis has called a solar-powered parish radio station in rural northern Argentina—a station located in a town so remote that it lacks electricity and running water, according to Vatican Radio.

During his scheduled call to the radio station, which according to the Vatican newspaper took place on August 9, the Pontiff spoke with two priests and said he desired greatly to beatify an Argentine religious, Venerable María Antonia de Paz y Figueroa (1730-99), also known as “Mama Antula.” He asked the listeners to pray for her beatification. Continue Reading Pope calls Radio Station>

Knights celebrate life of founder 125 years after his death

Knights celebrate life of founder 125 years after his death

Aug 15, 2015 - (CNA) - On Friday, hundreds of faithful gathered in New Haven, Conn. to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the death of Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus. 

Although he lived just 38 years, Fr. McGivney left a remarkable legacy– the order he founded has become the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Just last year, the Knights raised more than $173.5 million for charity and performed more than 71.5 million hours of volunteer work. Continue Reading Knights Celebrating Founder>

Pope Francis: let yourself be transformed by the Eucharist

Pope Francis: let yourself be transformed by the Eucharist

Aug 16, 2015 - (CNA) - On Sunday Pope Francis said that the Eucharist is no mere symbol, but is in fact the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, which has the ability to transform our hearts and minds to be more like him.

“The Eucharist is Jesus who gives himself entirely to us. To nourish ourselves with him and abide in him through Holy Communion, if we do it with faith, transforms our life into a gift to God and to our brothers,” the Pope said Aug. 16. Continue Reading Transformed by the Eucharist>

Shortages in Venezuela mean priests are running out of Hosts

Shortages in Venezuela mean priests are running out of Hosts

Aug 15, 2015 - (CNA) - Venezuela's ongoing economic crisis has hit the Church in a unique way: the production of Hosts fell 60 percent during the past month, affecting three states in the South American country.

Giovanni Luisio Mass, prior of the Order of Poor Knights of Christ of the Temple of Jerusalem, explained to local media that the shortage of unleavened wheat flour needed to make Hosts has been acute for a month now. Continue Reading Venszuela Shortages>

In UK, assisted suicide vote looms as a key moment for disabled

In UK, assisted suicide vote looms as a key moment for disabled

Aug 14, 2015 - (CNA) - Amid strong Christian opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide in the U.K., former Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey has broken away. He took part in a video for a group backing assisted suicide and claims that it is “profoundly Christian” to help people end their lives.

“There’s nothing noble about excruciating pain and I think we need as a nation to give people the right to decide their own fate,” the former head clergyman of the Church of England said in a video for the pro-assisted suicide campaign group Dignity in Dying. Continue Reading Assisted Suicide>

Italian archdiocese agrees to house refugees at seminary

Aug 14, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Acceding to a request from local civil authorities, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco has agreed to house 50 refugees at Genoa’s archdiocesan seminary.

The decision was made “in the spirit of the Gospel, in communion with the appeals of Pope Francis, and in continuity with the spirit of solidarity that has historically characterized” the Church in Genoa, according to an archdiocesan statement. Continue Reading Itilian Archdiocese>

Pope Francis baptizes children of an old friend at the Vatican

Pope Francis baptizes children of an old friend at the Vatican

Aug 13, 2015 - (CNA) - In a whirlwind trip, Lucas Schaerer and his family – friends of Pope Francis from his time in Buenos Aires – traveled to the Vatican, where the Pope baptized their daughters, Simona and Charo.

“The ceremony was beautiful and simple…Francis celebrated Mass and then we went to a sitting room, where we spoke for a long time,” Argentinian journalist Mercedes Ninci, a close friend of the couple, recalled in comments posted to the Vatican blog Il Sismografo Aug. 12. Continue Reading Pope Francis Baptizing>

Court Rules Against StemExpress On Undercover Planned Parenthood Videos

Court Rules Against StemExpress On Undercover Planned Parenthood Videos

Aug 13, 2015 - (Truth Revolt) - On Thursday afternoon, Alliance Defending Freedom issued a press release stating that a Superior Court of the State of California has rule in StemExpress v. The Center for Medical Progress, deciding the group has no rights to the materials produced by an undercover investigative journalist.

“People who don’t have anything to hide don’t go to court to stop journalists from reporting the truth," said Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund President Chuck LiMandri. "The court was right to deny StemExpress’ request to gain access to damaging material against them obtained through solid investigative journalism." Continue Reading Court Rules>

Colorado court gives no relief to baker who declined to serve gay wedding

Colorado court gives no relief to baker who declined to serve gay wedding

Aug 13, 2015 - (CNA) - A Colorado baker has lamented the Colorado Court of Appeals’ ruling handed down Thursday that he illegally discriminated when he declined to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop said that in his view the ruling means that the court created an exception to the First Amendment that wrongly affects his family-run bakery. Continue Reading Colorado Baker>

Do not be ‘slaves to work,’ Pope advises families

Do not be ‘slaves to work,’ Pope advises families

Aug 12, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Continuing his Wednesday reflections on the family, Pope Francis began a series of audiences on August 12 devoted to “three facets of family life: celebration, work, and prayer.”

“Let us turn first to celebrations which, as we see from the story of creation, are the invention of God, who on the seventh day rested from his work,” he said to those gathered in the Paul VI Audience Hall, in the words of the official English-language synthesis of his remarks. “It is God himself who teaches us the importance of dedicating time to contemplating and enjoying the fruits of our labors, not only in our employment or profession, but through every action by which we as men and women cooperate in God’s creative work, even in times of difficulty.” Continue Reading Slaves to work>

US envoy claims 'very warm' relations between Pope and President Obama

US envoy claims 'very warm' relations between Pope and President Obama

Aug 12, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The US ambassador to the Holy See said that Pope Francis has “a very positive view of President Obama,” and voiced his doubts that the Pontiff would speak with the American leader about topics such as abortion and same-sex marriage during his September visit to the US, in a lengthy interview with Vatican Insider.

Kenneth Hackett said that President Obama and the Pontiff “hit it off on a number of issues,” listing immigration, poverty, welfare, and the environment. He claimed that they also were in accord on religious freedom and the plight of persecuted Christians. Continue Reading Pope and President>

Sophia Joins EWTN for New Publishing House

Sophia Joins EWTN for New Publishing House

Aug 12, 2015 - (CNA) - Sophia Institute Press has joined EWTN Global Catholic Network in forming a new book publishing group, EWTN Publishing Inc. Through this new venture, EWTN and Sophia Institute Press will work collaboratively in publishing books in both print and electronic form and to make them available to a worldwide audience.

“There is still a very strong demand for books related to topics of faith and religion, and while EWTN has done limited self-published titles for some time, this new publishing house will allow us to be more deliberate and focused in our efforts,” said EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Warsaw. “By partnering with Sophia Institute Press, the Network does not need to build an entire publications and marketing team from scratch; but rather, we can rely on the technical expertise of a proven publisher who knows what it takes to edit, print and promote books for the Catholic marketplace.” Continue Reading Sophia Institude Press>

Former technician: Planned Parenthood took baby organs without consent

Former technician: Planned Parenthood took baby organs without consent

Aug 12, 2015 - (CNA) - The latest in a series of videos on Planned Parenthood features testimony from a former technician who says she worked with the clinics to procure tissue from aborted babies without the mother’s consent.

“Basically you just went in there and took her blood, and now you’re going to take her fetus without her knowing,” Holly O’Donnell, a former “blood and tissue procurement technician” for the California-based biotech company StemExpress, which partnered with California Planned Parenthood clinics to obtain fetal tissue specimens. Continue Reading Planned Parenthood>

For Pope Francis, achieving peace means overcoming indifference

For Pope Francis, achieving peace means overcoming indifference

Aug 11, 2015 - (CNA) - The Vatican announced Tuesday that the theme for 2016’s World Day of Peace will focus on a topic Pope Francis has spoken out against relentlessly since the beginning of his pontificate: indifference.

“Indifference in regard to the scourges of our time is one of the fundamental causes of the lack of peace,” an Aug. 11 statement from the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace read. Continue Reading Pope Francis>

This Syriac bishop will be beatified on the 100th anniversary of his martyrdom

This Syriac bishop will be beatified on the 100th anniversary of his martyrdom

Aug 11, 2015 - (CNA) - On Saturday Pope Francis approved a decree recognizing the martyrdom of Flavien-Michel Malké, a Syriac Catholic bishop who was killed in 1915 amid the Ottoman Empire's genocide against its Christian minorities.

The decision was made during an Aug. 8 meeting between Pope Francis and Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Bishop Malké will be beatified Aug. 29 – the 100th anniversary of his martyrdom – during a liturgy celebrated by Ignatius Youssef III Younan, the Syriac Patriarch of Antioch, at the convent of Our Lady of Deliverance in Lebanon. It is expected that thousands of Syrians and Iraqis displaced by the Islamic State will attend the beatification. Continue Reading Syriac Bishop>

Another Chinese bishop to be ordained with approval from both Rome and Beijing?

Another Chinese bishop to be ordained with approval from both Rome and Beijing?

Aug 11, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - For the 2nd time this month, a Chinese Catholic bishop will be ordained with the approval of both the government and the Holy See, according to a Reuters news report.

Reuters reports that Father Cosmos Ji Chengyi will soon be ordained as Bishop of Zhumadian, in the Henan province. Earlier this month Bishop Joseph Zhan Yinlin was ordained as an auxiliary for the Anyan province, also in Henan. Continue Reading Chinese Bishop>

Bishop ‘deeply concerned’ as Calais crisis deepens

Bishop ‘deeply concerned’ as Calais crisis deepens

Aug 11, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees lamented the worsening conditions in migrant camps in and around Calais, France, where an estimated 3,000 African and Asian refugees have gathered in the hope of entering the tunnel to Great Britain.

The English bishop responsible for migrants said he was “deeply concerned over the deepening humanitarian crisis involving thousands of migrants unfolding in Calais.” Continue Reading Calais Crisis>

US embassy to the Holy See begins move to new location

US embassy to the Holy See begins move to new location

Aug 11, 2015 - (CNA) - This week the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See has begun its move to a new building – which shares the same campus as both the U.S. Embassy to Italy and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

“We are looking forward to a larger, more modern facility that can provide a more functional space for our staff,” U.S. ambassador Ken Hackett said in an Aug. 11 statement announcing the move. Continue Reading US embassy>

Archbishop Chaput: Other moral issues not equivalent to abortion

Archbishop Chaput: Other moral issues not equivalent to abortion

Aug 10, 2015 - (CNA) - Of the many struggles plaguing modern society, none can be equated with the blatant taking of innocent human lives, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said regarding the latest investigative videos of Planned Parenthood.

“Here’s a simple exercise in basic reasoning. On a spectrum of bad things to do, theft is bad, assault is worse and murder is worst. There’s a similar texture of ill will connecting all three crimes, but only a very confused conscience would equate thieving and homicide,” he said in his August 10 column for Catholic Philly. Continue Reading Archbishop Chaput>

Appeals court rules against New York Catholic groups in challenge to contraceptive mandate

Appeals court rules against New York Catholic groups in challenge to contraceptive mandate

Aug 10, 2015 - (CNA) - Another federal appeals court—this time in New York—has rejected an appeal from Catholic non-profit groups for exemption from the contraceptive mandate in the “Obamacare” health-care law.

Reversing a lower court’s decision in favor of the Church organizations, the Second Circuit Court denied that it is a “substantial burden” to require religious organizations to file a form stating their decision not to include contraceptive coverage in employees’ health-care programs. The plaintiffs—including Catholic schools and hospital systems in New York—had argued that by filing the required form they would trigger the coverage that they found morally objectionable. Continue Reading Appeals Court>

Melkite patriarch criticizes Western policies, vows to remain in Syria

Melkite patriarch criticizes Western policies, vows to remain in Syria

Aug 10, 2015 - (CNA) - In recent interviews with Aid to the Church in Need, the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church criticized Western policies toward Syria and vowed to remain with his flock in the war-torn nation.

“If [the West] helps moderates in Syria in a direct way, [it is] helping ISIS in an indirect way,” said Patriarch Gregory III Laham, 81. “If you give money to the weak, moderate groups one day, it will get into the hands of the powerful, militant groups the next. We see this happening every day.” Continue Reading Melkite Patrarch>

In ecumenical move, Pope Francis establishes World Day of Prayer for Creation

In ecumenical move, Pope Francis establishes World Day of Prayer for Creation

Aug 9, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis has instituted a new day of prayer and celebration for the Church entitled the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation,” to be celebrated on September 1 each year.

The day of prayer is in keeping with the theme of the Holy Father’s newest environmental encyclical “Laudato Si.” It is also seen as a sign of unity with the Orthodox Church, which established September 1 as a day to celebrate creation in 1989. Continue Reading World Day of Prayer>

'No to war!' – Pope pushes for nuclear disarmament on atomic bomb anniversary

'No to war!' – Pope pushes for nuclear disarmament on atomic bomb anniversary

Aug 9, 2015 - (CNA) - On Sunday Pope Francis said the “horrific” atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the icon of man’s destructive misuse of scientific progress, and called for an end to all nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction.

The “tremendous” atomic bombing of the two Japanese cities, which took place Aug. 6 and Aug. 9, 1945, “still arouses horror and repulsion,” the Pope said in his Aug. 9 Sunday Angelus address. Continue Reading No to War>

Rabbis raise funds to restore church attacked by extremists

Rabbis raise funds to restore church attacked by extremists

Aug 7, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - An Israeli interfaith institute has raised funds to restore the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish following an arson attack by Jewish extremists.

“Condemnation is not enough; after a while it loses its credibility,” said Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute. “When Jews reach into their pockets to support a cause, one knows they are serious.” Continue Reading Church of the Multiplication>

Archbishop Cupich will attend synod, Vatican source says

Archbishop Cupich will attend synod, Vatican source says

Aug 7, 2015 - (CNA) - Originally selected as an alternate synod delegate, Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago will in fact be an attendee at the Vatican gathering on the family this fall, a Vatican source told CNA.

The source also said that another American bishop will likely be chosen to attend as well, bringing the total U.S. delegation of bishops up to six.

The Synod on the Family, which will be held at the Vatican in October, will bring together bishops from around the world to discuss a wide variety of matters related to marriage and family across the globe. Continue Reading Synod on the Family>

Knights launch new TV campaign about persecuted Christians

Knights launch new TV campaign about persecuted Christians

Aug 7, 2015 - (Catholic Herald) - The Knights of Columbus announced on Tuesday that it would launch a new phase in its efforts on behalf of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

To date, the fraternal organisation has donated more than $3 million in humanitarian aid to assist them and will launch a national television ad campaign to draw more attention to their plight. Continue Reading Knights Launch TV Campaign>

Alabama Becomes 3rd State to De-Fund Planned Parenthood After It Sells Aborted Babies

Alabama Becomes 3rd State to De-Fund Planned Parenthood After It Sells Aborted Babies

Aug 6, 2015 - (LifeNews) - Alabama has become the third state to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business in the wake of five videos exposing how the abortion giant sells the body parts of aborted babies for research. The state follows Louisiana, which is revoking a contract with Planned Parenthood using state Medicaid dollars, and New Hampshire, which zapped $650,000 in state taxpayer funding.

Governor Robert Bentley announced on Twitter today that Alabama would also be cutting all state taxpayer funding to the abortion company. Continue Reading De-Fund Planned Parenthood>

How to respond to Planned Parenthood? Prayer and fasting, say Colo. bishops

How to respond to Planned Parenthood? Prayer and fasting, say Colo. bishops

Aug 6, 2015 - (Zenit) - Following the release of investigative videos showing Planned Parenthood offering aborted baby organs for money, the Catholic bishops of Colorado have designated August 28 as a day of penance and prayer.

“We call on all people of good will in Colorado and beyond to pray that those involved in research and medicine will fix their sights on recognizing the sacredness of life and refrain from putting human life at the service of science,” said the Colorado Catholic Conference in a July 31 statement. Continue Reading Prayer and Fasting>

Within 5 Years, Kenya Will Have 20 Catholic Radio Channels

Within 5 Years, Kenya Will Have 20 Catholic Radio Channels

Aug 6, 2015 - (Zenit) - According to Fides, this news was affirmed in the 2016-2020 plan approved by the Commission for Social Communications/Waumini Communications of the Episcopal Conference of Kenya.

The strategic plan, a statement sent to the agency asserted, includes the development of a "strong media community in the field of information technology and communications across the whole country."

By increasing the outreach of Kenya's faithful, the Catholic stations are hoped to increase evangelical efforts. Continue Reading Catholic Radio>

To welcome refugees is a witness of the resurrection, Pope says

To welcome refugees is a witness of the resurrection, Pope says

Aug 6, 2015 - (CNA) - On the first anniversary of the arrival of Iraqi refugees in Jordan, Pope Francis sent a letter thanking the country for welcoming thousands forced to flee their homes, and urged the international community not to remain indifferent.

“Many times I have wanted to give voice to the atrocious, inhumane and inexplicable persecution of those who in many parts of the world – and especially among Christians – are victims of fanaticism and intolerance, often under the eyes and silence of all,” the Pope said in his Aug. 6 letter. Continue Reading Refugees are a witness>

Pope: Divorce and remarriage contradicts the sacrament, but Church always reaches out

Pope: Divorce and remarriage contradicts the sacrament, but Church always reaches out

Aug 5, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Echoing his predecessors on the need to care for divorced and remarried persons, Pope Francis said Christians should help these persons integrate into the community rather than treating them as though they are excommunicated.

“The Church well knows that such a situation contradicts the Christian Sacrament,” the Pope said in his Aug. 5 General Audience at St. Peter's Square. Nonetheless, he added, the Church should always approach such situations with a “mother's heart; a heart which, animated by the Holy Spirit, seeks always the good and the salvation of the person.” Continue Reading Church always reaches out>

If you won't help our people stay, help them leave - Catholic bishops from the Middle East

If you won't help our people stay, help them leave - Catholic bishops from the Middle East

Aug 5, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Catholic archbishops from Iraq and Syria said Tuesday that while they hope to help their people stay in the Middle East, they also believe those trying to leave are being unjustly discriminated against when applying for United States visas.

According to federal data, since October 2014, 906 Muslim refugees from Syria were granted U.S. visas, while only 28 of Syria’s estimated 700,000 displaced Christians were given the same. Even when accounting for population percentages (Christians account for 10 percent of the religious makeup of Syria), the numbers of visas granted seems widely disproportional. Continue Reading Catholic Bishops from the Middle East>

Bishop in North Dakota breaks off Church ties with Boy Scouts over new gay policy

Bishop in North Dakota breaks off Church ties with Boy Scouts over new gay policy

Aug 4, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck, North Dakota has ordered all parishes and schools in the diocese to end their ties with the Boys Scouts of America, after the Boy Scouts changed their longstanding policy to allow openly homosexual adult leaders.

"I regret my decision but, in conscience as the chief shepherd of the Diocese of Bismarck, I cannot permit our Catholic institutions to accept and participate directly or indirectly in any organization, which has policies and methods, which contradict the authoritative moral teachings of the Catholic Church," the bishop said. Continue Reading Boy Scouts>

New Chinese bishop ordained with Vatican approval-- 1st in 3 years

New Chinese bishop ordained with Vatican approval-- 1st in 3 years

Aug 4, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - For the first time in three years, a Catholic bishop has been ordained in China with the approval of both the Holy See and the Beijing government.

Bishop Joseph Zhang Yinlin was ordained as an auxiliary bishop of Anyan, in the Henan province, on August 4. He was ordained by the 90-year-old leader of the diocese, Bishop Thomas Zhang Huaixin. Two other bishops—both recognized by the Holy See—acted as co-consecrators. Continue Reading Chinese Bishop>

Is Planned Parenthood altering abortion procedures to obtain intact body parts?

Is Planned Parenthood altering abortion procedures to obtain intact body parts?

Aug 4, 2015 - (CNA) - The latest in a series of undercover videos on Planned Parenthood shows an official from the organization saying that abortion procedures can be altered to obtain more “intact” fetal organs.

The director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melissa Farrell, promised actors posing as tissue harvesters that abortion doctors in Planned Parenthood clinics can perform abortions “in a way that they get the best specimens.” Continue Reading Planned Parenthood>

IRS head weighs in on same-sex marriage, nonprofit status of religious colleges

IRS head weighs in on same-sex marriage, nonprofit status of religious colleges

Aug 4, 2015 - (CNA) - John Koskinen, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, told a Senate committee that he would not take the initiative to revoke the nonprofit status of religious colleges that oppose same-sex marriage, but left the door open for such revocations in the future.

"We see no basis for changing our examination criteria as a result of this Supreme Court case," he said, referring to the June 26 decision that struck down all state laws that recognized marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Continue Reading IRS Weighing In>

Krakow archdiocese making arrangements for poor to attend World Youth Day

Krakow archdiocese making arrangements for poor to attend World Youth Day

Aug 4, 2015 - (CNA) - The Knights of Columbus kicked off their 133rd annual supreme convention with the usual state-themed flair on Monday in Philadelphia.

For years now, the Knights have spent the better part of the first day of their annual convention meandering among various state-themed parties hosted in hotel rooms. Each state hosts a party that serves as a meet-and-greet with other Knights, complete with signature food, drinks and décor from their home. Continue Reading Knights of Columbus>

State pride, Knights of Columbus style

State pride, Knights of Columbus style

Aug 4, 2015 - (CNA) - The Knights of Columbus kicked off their 133rd annual supreme convention with the usual state-themed flair on Monday in Philadelphia.

For years now, the Knights have spent the better part of the first day of their annual convention meandering among various state-themed parties hosted in hotel rooms. Each state hosts a party that serves as a meet-and-greet with other Knights, complete with signature food, drinks and décor from their home. Continue Reading Knights of Columbus>

Effort to defund Planned Parenthood falls short of Senate vote

Effort to defund Planned Parenthood falls short of Senate vote

Aug 3, 2015 - (CNA) - The Senate failed to bring a bill to block federal funding of Planned Parenthood to the floor on Monday evening, in a much-anticipated vote.

The Center for Medical Progress said that it follows “all applicable laws” and that it will fight “any attempts to suppress our First Amendment rights to free speech or silence the freedom of the citizen press.” Continue Reading Senate Votes>

Undercover reports on fetal body parts trade face legal hurdles

Undercover reports on fetal body parts trade face legal hurdles

Aug 3, 2015 - (CNA) - A citizen journalism group investigating abortion clinics’ procurement of organs and tissue from unborn babies has pledged to contest a court order barring the release of recordings made of an abortionists’ conference.

The Center for Medical Progress said that it follows “all applicable laws” and that it will fight “any attempts to suppress our First Amendment rights to free speech or silence the freedom of the citizen press.” Continue Reading Undercover Reports>

Judge rules LA convent sale invalid

Judge rules LA convent sale invalid

July 31, 2015 - (CNA) - Los Angeles County Superior Court James Chalfant ruled July 30 that the contested sale of the former convent of the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters to restaurateur and urban developer Dana Hollister is invalid.

The judge also confirmed that the eight-acre, villa-style hilltop property located in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles is Church property under the oversight Archbishop José H. Gomez. Continue Reading LA Convent Sale>

Pope's charity gathers pace in hot summer months

Pope's charity gathers pace in hot summer months

July 31, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis’ helping hands reach out to the poor throughout the year – especially in summer time when many volunteers may be away on holiday.

Pope Francis’ love for the poor sees no lull in the hot summer months, in fact – says Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the Pope’s Almoner – it actually gathers pace as more and more homeless people find themselves in need of cool showers, haircuts and a healthy meal. Continue Reading Pope's Charity>

Pope: In Confession we encounter God's immense mercy

Pope: In Confession we encounter God's immense mercy

July 31, 2015 - (CNA) - Delivering his weekly Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Pope Francis said that while everyone feels shame before going to Confession, this grace helps us to be open to God’s forgiveness.

“There are people who are afraid of approaching Confession, forgetting that there, we do not encounter severe judgement, but the immensely merciful Father,” the Roman Pontiff said Aug. 2, speaking to the crowds who had braved the hot Roman sun. Continue Reading God's Immense Mercy>

Help from above: Priest in a helicopter exorcises Italian town

Help from above: Priest in a helicopter exorcises Italian town

July 31, 2015 - (CNA) - A priest has performed an aerial exorcism of the Italian seaside town of Castellammare di Stabia in response to a spree of church-targeted thefts and vandalism in the area.

At the urging of a local prayer group, a priest took to a helicopter to perform a minor exorcism over the entire town, according Italian papers.

“If Satan exists, he has taken control of Castellammare di Stabia,” the group said in a statement. “There was nothing left but to try the exorcist.” Continue Reading Helicopter ecorcism>

Caritas: 100 million Christians face discrimination, persecution

Caritas: 100 million Christians face discrimination, persecution

July 31, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Caritas Italiana, the Italian bishops' relief and development agency, has published a report on the persecution of Christians.

The report, released July 30, estimates that there are "100 million Christian victims of discrimination, persecution and violence enacted by totalitarian regimes or followers of other religions." Continue Reading Persecution>

Planned Parenthood videotapes may show evidence of tissue-harvesting from babies born alive

Planned Parenthood videotapes may show evidence of tissue-harvesting from babies born alive

July 31, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The head of the investigative team whose videotapes have exposed the sale of fetal tissues now says that Planned Parenthood may have been involved in harvesting organs from babies who were born alive.

David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress told a CNN interviewer that his group had videotaped a conversation with the top executive of Stem Express, a company that supplies medical tissues for research, and “they admitted that they sometimes sometimes get fully intact fetuses shipped to their laboratory from the abortion clinics they work with, and that could be prima facie evidence of born alive infants.” Continue Reading Planned Parenthood>

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>

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