Catholic Church News

Angelus: Pope prays for Germanwings crash victims

Angelus: Pope prays for Germanwings crash victims

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

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

Pope Francis: Palm Sunday homily

Pope Francis: Palm Sunday homily

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

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

St Peter's Basilica to go dark for Earth Hour

St Peter's Basilica to go dark for Earth Hour

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

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

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

Colomba cake

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

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

Supreme Court rules in favor of pregnancy protection in the workplace

Supreme Court rules in favor of pregnancy protection in the workplace

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

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

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

Death Penalty

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

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

Pope Francis to visit White House Sept. 23

President Barack Obama meets with Pope Francis

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

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

Pope greets homeless in Sistine Chapel: this is your home

Sistine Chapel

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

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

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

Cardinal Gerhard Müller

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

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

Peruvian march for life draws half a million

March for Life Peru

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

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

Survey shows US Catholics feeling stronger ties to faith

Catholic Crowd

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

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

Indiana governor signs religious-freedom legislation

Gov. Mike Pence

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

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

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

Pope Francis

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

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

Cardinal Nichols instructs priests to avoid public debate on Synod issues

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster

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

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

The exhibition of the Holy Shroud of Turin

Holy Shroud of Turin

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

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

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

The Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada

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

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

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

40 Days for Life

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

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

Benedict XVI no longer writing on theology, Archbishop Gänswein reports

Benedict XVI no longer writing on theology, Archbishop Gänswein reports

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

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

Vatican plans 2nd raffle of gifts donated to Pontiff

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

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

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

Pope Francis sends condolences to families of plane crash victims

Pope Francis sends condolences to families of plane crash victims

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

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

Encyclical on environment nearly finished, Vatican spokesman reveals

Father Ciro Benedettini

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

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

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


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

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

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

Community College of Baltimore County

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

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

Doors open to the Vatican Museums for 150 homeless people

Vatican Museums

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praying the Rosary

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cardinal Nichols celebrates Requiem Mass for King Richard III

King Richard III

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

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

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

Religious Liberty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope Calls on Rome's Homeless

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

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

Pope calls on Christians to express their faith in action

Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

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

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

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

Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

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

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

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

Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope Francis meets with religious

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

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

Pope grieves Pakistan bombings, says world hides Christian persecution

Pope Francis Delivers Angelus

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

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

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

St. Patrick

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

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

Pope Francis on his Pontificate to date

Pope Francis

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

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

Pope Francis effect in the US two years on

Pope Francis

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

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

Abortion support blights European Parliament report, critics charge

The European Parliament building in Strasbourg, France

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

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

Catholics supporting Archbishop Cordileone on school identity feel silenced, pressured

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

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

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

CNA exclusive poll: Americans agree – protect religious liberty

religious liberty

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

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

Pope To Preside Over Penitential Celebration on Friday

Pope To Preside Over Penitential Celebration on Friday

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

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

Pope Francis To Celebrate Holy Thursday in Roman Prison

Pope Francis To Celebrate Holy Thursday in Roman Prison

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

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

Date announced for Archbishop Romero’s beatification

Date announced for Archbishop Romero’s beatification

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

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

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

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

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

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

Court backs SNAP, overturns Missouri law against disrupting church services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope Francis

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

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

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

Way of the Cross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bishops Call for Prayer

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

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

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


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

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

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

University of Notre Dame

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

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

USCCB Officials Say Syrian Refugee Crisis At Tipping Point

Syrian Flag

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

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

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

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois

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

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

Vatican cardinal argues against 'liturgical war' approach

Cardinal Robert Sarah

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

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

Cardinal Tauran takes oath as Camerlengo

Cardinal Tauran

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

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

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

Pope Francis

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

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

Vatican declines ransom offer for stolen Michelangelo letters

Vatican's Sistine Chapel

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

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

East and West Before the Mystery of the Trinity

Father Cantalamessa

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

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

Pope Francis: Let us allow Jesus to cleanse our hearts

Pope Francis

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

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

Marginalizing women leads to sterile society, says Pope

Marginalizing women leads to sterile society, says Pope

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

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

Euthanasia supporters in Chile accused of exploiting sick teen


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

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

Archbishop criticizes Xavier’s selection of honorary degree recipients

Archbishop Gregory Aymond

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

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

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

Big Business

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

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

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

Capital Punishment

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

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

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

Death Penalty

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

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

Pope Francis: We must not abandon the elderly


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

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

Cardinal Egan commended to Christ's mercy

Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York

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

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

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

Couple holding Hands

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

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

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

School teacher

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

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

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

Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis

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

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

Pope taps Cordileone’s auxiliary to head San Diego diocese

Bishop Robert W. McElroy

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

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

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

Swiss Guard

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

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

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

Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II

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

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

A global problem: Anti-Christian harassment around the world

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

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


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

Catholic Mass

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

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

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

Louis and Zelie Martin

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

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

Pope at Santa Marta: An invitation to do good

Pope at Santa Marta

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

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

The Joy of the Gospel Fills the Heart and Life

Father Cantalamessa

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

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

Pope thanks Churches in North Africa for their courage

North Africa

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

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

Russian foreign minister condemns rising anti-Christianity in the West

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

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

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

Study finds maternal health statistics best where abortion is restricted

maternal health

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Pope at Santa Marta: Judge not

Pope Francis at Santa Marta

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

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

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


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

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

Pope Angelus: Prayers for Syria, Iraq and Venezuela

Pope Francis Angelus

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

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

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

Christians held hostage

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

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

Oil company hit man has Archbishop Cordileone in his sights

Oil Refinery

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

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

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

Credit Jacobson Photography

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

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

Chart-topping Benedictine nuns to drop new album for Easter

Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles

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

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

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

Mother Teresa

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

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

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

Christians flee in Syria

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

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

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

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

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

Net Neutrality

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

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

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

Religious Liberty

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

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

Preacher at Vatican Lenten Retreat: face the truths about ourselves

Pope Francis

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

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

Synod office reportedly blocked delivery of book challenging Kasper proposal

Synod of Bishops

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

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

Courses to Start Soon at the Catholic University in Erbil


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

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

British Bishop reacts to 3 parent baby vote


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

How threats to religious freedom could harm unaccompanied minors


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

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

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


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

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

Vatican issues statement on Pope’s ‘Mexicanization’ comment

Pope Francis

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

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

Coptic Church mobilizing to evacuate Egyptians from Libya

Libya and Egypt

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

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

Patriarch urges prayer after at least 90 Christians kidnapped in Syria

Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III

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

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

Amnesty Intl report blames global violence on state arms trade

Arms Trade

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

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

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

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

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

Ukrainian Archbishop calls on Christians to help end conflict

Ukraine Flag

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

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

Relief and gratitude after release of priest abducted in Afghanistan

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

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

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

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

Sinai Peninsula

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

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

New religious freedom official: the time for action is now

Religious Freedom

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope Francis: Ash Wednesday homily

Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday

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

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

Pope appeals for peace in Libya and Ukraine

Pope Francis

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

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

Chaldean Patriarch Invites Muslims to Join Christians in Lenten Fast

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

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


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

Eucharistic Adoration

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

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

Near Bethlehem, Israeli barrier threatens Christians' future

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

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

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

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

Ash Wednesday

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

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

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

World Youth Day

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

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

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

International Women's Day

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Unexpected friendships bloom as Vatican rolls out haircuts for homeless

haircuts for homeless

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

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

Pope at Santa Marta: Slain because they were Christian

Pope Francis

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

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

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

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

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


Pontifical Gregorian University Inaugurates Centre for Child Protection

Child Protection

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

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

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


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

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

Vatican economics secretariat discovers $1.5 billion in unreported assets


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

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

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


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

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

Marriage is what brings us together today, bishop says


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

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

Archbishop Chaput applauds Penn. governor for halt to death penalty

Death Penalty

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

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

Cardinals continue discussion of Vatican reforms


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

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

Pope Francis at Angelus: spread goodness, compassion

Pope Francis

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

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

Pope Francis: Cardinals are servants of the Church

Pope Francis

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

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

Pope Francis: The blood of murdered Copts a "witness that cries out"

Pope Francis

February 16, 2015 - ( - Pope Francis on Monday denounced the murder of 21 Coptic Christians by ISIL militants in Libya. The Islamist terrorist organization released a video of the killings on Sunday.

Speaking in Spanish to an ecumenical delegation from the Church of Scotland, the Holy Father noted those killed only said “Jesus help me.” Continue Reading Witness that cries out>

Obama asks US Congress to authorize fight against IS

President Obama

February 12, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - President Barack Obama asked Congress on Wednesday for formal authorization of military force against Islamic State militants. Obama said a large deployment of U.S. troops won't be necessary to fight the Islamic State, and he argued that the three-page proposal he sent to lawmakers would give him and his successor the needed flexibility to wage a battle likely to take “some time.” Continue Reading and Listen to Authorize fight>

Jail, not death: appropriate punishment according to Australia's bishops


February 12, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - With two of their nationals on Indonesia's death row over drug trafficking offenses, the Australian bishops are appealing to the government to stay their executions by firing squad, believed to be imminent.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were in a group of nine Australians arrested in Bali in 2005 with more than 18 lb of heroin. Their fellow drug traffickers were sentenced to life in prison, but in 2006 they were given the death penalty. Continue Reading Jail not Death>

Holy See diplomat: the person should be at the center of UN development plans

Holy See

February 12, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - As the United Nations discusses post-2015 plans for international development, the Holy See’s permanent observer said that the person, not economic growth or the market, should be at the center of the discussion.

“To be sustainable and beneficial for all, social development must be ethical, moral and person-centered,” Archbishop Bernardito Auza said on February 10. “Economic growth is not a sufficient indicator of social development.” Continue Reading Holy See>

'C9' prepares to brief College of Cardinals on Curial reform


February 11, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Council of Cardinals (C9) has concluded its meetings this week, preparing to report to the entire College of Cardinals on its work on plans for reform in the Roman Curia.

The College of Cardinals will meet in Rome on February 12 and 13, in preparation for the consistory that opens on Saturday, February 15. Pope Francis will open the meeting on Thursday with introductory remarks. He will be followed by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals. Then Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, who chairs the C9, will address that meeting, as will the group’s secretary, Bishop Marcello Semeraro. Continue Reading College of Cardinals>

Vatican: rumor of assassination attempt on Pope Francis 'unreliable'

Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J.

February 11, 2015 - (CNA) - Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi told journalists Tuesday that rumors circulating about a possible assassination attempt on Pope Francis during his visit to the Philippines are unfounded.

“In the last few days there's been talk of this hypothesis of an assassination attempt during the trip to the Philippines. Cardinal (Luis Antonio) Tagle, who has his good sources, said the information is unreliable,” the spokesman said Feb. 11. Continue Reading Rumor of assassination>

Pope Francis: Make time to care for the sick

Pope Francis and a child

February 12, 2015 - ( - Pope Francis is asking people to take time out of their frenzied lives to visit the sick, spend time with them and learn from their suffering.

Marking the World Day of the Sick this Wednesday, communities, parishes, dioceses and bishops' conferences around the world will gather in prayer with Pope Francis for the suffering and their careers. Continue Reading Making time to care for the sick>

Audience: Children, a gift for the family, the Church and society

Pope Francis and a child

February 11, 2015 - (CNA) - Continuing his catechesis on the family this Wednesday Pope Francis spoke about the joy of children in family life and how the choice to have children is not irresponsible but vital for a healthy, happy society.

Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s Catechesis Continue Reading Children a gift for the family>

In Ukraine, Pope Francis backs effort for peace – not any particular party

Olive Branch

February 10, 2015 - (CNA) - Following mixed interpretations of Pope Francis’ words on the crisis in Ukraine, the director of the Holy See press office said on Tuesday that the Holy See's overarching interest is in peace and negotiation.

Pope Francis “has always wished to address all the interested parties, trusting in the sincere efforts of each one to implement agreements reached by common consent and invoking the principle of international law, to which the Holy See has referred several times since the beginning of the crisis,” Fr. Federico Lombardi said Feb. 10. Continue Reading Effort for Peace>

Homiletic Directory: The art of preaching

Pope Francis

February 11, 2015 - (News.VA) - What does it take to give a good homily? According to a new book entitled “Homiletic Directory”, the ingredients include, being well prepared, no improvisation, a helping of reflection and a text that isn’t boring.

The instruction guide for priests, deacons and bishops, contained in one volume, was presented at the Vatican Press Office on Tuesday morning  by the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Continue Reading about the art of preaching>

Council of 9 cardinals continues work on Curial reform

Council of Cardinals

February 11, 2015 - (News.VA) - Discussions about the future of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Vatican media have been at the top of the agenda during a meeting of the group of nine cardinals that Pope Francis appointed as his top advisors. The Pope is taking part in the three day meeting, which began on Monday, at the Casa Santa Marta.

Fr Federico Lombardi, head of the Vatican press office, briefed journalists on Tuesday noting that the first morning meeting was dedicated to the preparation of a presentation on the Curial reforms for a meeting of the full college of cardinals which will take place on Thursday and Friday this week. That closed door encounter will be followed by a consistory for the creation of 20 new cardinals on Saturday and Sunday. Continue Reading and listen to about Curial reform>

Top Italian court finds no constitutional right to same-sex marriage

Italian court finds no constitutional right to same-sex marriage

February 10, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Italy’s top appeals court has rejected a plea for legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

The Court of Cassation ruled that nothing in Italy’s constitution requires government recognition of same-sex marriage. The court said, however, that same-sex couples have a right to the same protection of law as other unmarried couples. Continue Reading Same-Sex marriage>

Go forth! Ministry leaders instructed to encounter God in the poor

Encountering God in the Poor

February 11, 2015 - (CNA) - The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference exhorted a group of Catholic leaders to go forth in ministry to serve at the peripheries of society, where they will encounter God in the poor.

“Here is today’s paradox: Go to the edge, and you reach the heart!” Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville told those gathered at the concluding Mass of the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 10. Continue Reading encountering God in the Poor>

Statue of Pope Francis' new saint could be kicked out of US capitol

Father Junipero Serra

February 10, 2015 - (CNA) - Just weeks after Pope Francis announced his intention to canonize missionary Father Junipero Serra during his upcoming visit to the states, a California legislator has proposed replacing the soon-to-be-saint's statue in the U.S. Capitol – but critics of the move are beginning to speak out.

“I certainly wouldn't endorse it,” Monsignor Francis J. Weber, an author and historian of the18th century missionary, told CNA Feb. 6. Continue Reading about Father Serra>

Pope Mass: Protecting Creation a Christian responsibility


February 5, 2015 - ( - Christians are called to care for God's creation. That was the Pope’s message at Mass this Monday morning at the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father also spoke about the "second creation", the one performed by Jesus that he "re-created" from what had been ruined by sin.

God creates the universe but creation does not end, "he continues to sustain what he has created." That was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily as he dwelt on a passage from Genesis, in the first reading, which recounts the creation of the universe. “In today's Gospel”, the Pope commented, we see "the other creation of God", "that of Jesus, who came to re-create what had been ruined by sin." Continue Reading and Listening Pope Mass>

Pope gives 300 umbrellas to Rome's homeless amid downpour


February 5, 2015 - (CNA) - After several days of rain and dreary weather that has not yet cleared, the Vatican’s papal almoner has distributed 300 umbrellas to homeless persons around Rome on behalf of Pope Francis.

Italian news agency ANSA reports that the almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, handed out the umbrellas to homeless persons who gravitate toward the Vatican, as well as various other areas around Rome. Continue Reading Umbrellas to the Homeless>

Pope Francis: Bring the light of the Word of God to the sick

Pope Francis

February 8, 2015 - ( - During his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about Jesus’ ministry of preaching and healing.

In the day’s Gospel, Jesus heals many sick people who are brought to Him. This leads the Pope to a reflection on the meaning of illness, and a consideration of the World Day of the Sick, which takes place on Wednesday, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. In off-the-cuff remarks, the Holy Father asked for prayers for Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski who is seriously ill in Poland; Archbishop Zymowsk is the president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers, which organises many of the events surrounding World Day of the Sick. Continue Reading Light of the world to the sick>

Pope Francis' tough words against horrors of human trafficking


February 8, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis marked the Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking by calling on governments to remove this “shameful wound” which has no place in “civil society.”

“Each one of us feels committed to being the voice of these, our brothers and sisters, humiliated in their dignity,” the Holy Father said to the crowds gathered in Saint Peter's Square, moments after the recitation of the Angelus. Continue Reading Human trafficking>

Pope Stresses Importance of Widespread Presence of Women in the Church


February 9, 2015 - (ZENIT) - Pope Francis called for a "more widespread and incisive female presence" in the Church. The Holy Father made his comments during an audience with participants of the Pontifical Council for Culture's Plenary Assembly.

The assembly reflected on the theme: "Women's Cultures: Equality and Difference"; a topic, the Holy Father said, that "is very close to my heart." Continue Reading Presence of Women in the Church>

Pope Francis makes a surprise visit to shantytown on outskirts of Rome

Pope Francis

February 9, 2015 - ( - Pope Francis on Sunday evening made a surprise visit to a shantytown, a few minutes before he celebrated Mass at the parish of San Michele Arcangelo in the eastern Roman district of Pietralata.

The settlement– called  “Campo Arcobaleno”[ Camp Rainbow] – is 300 metres from the parish church. Continue Reading and listen about the surprise visit>

Canada's top court overturns ban on assisted suicide

Assisted Suicide

February 6, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Canada's highest court has struck down the nation's law against physician-assisted suicide.

In a unanimous ruling released on February 6, the Supreme Court said that the option for terminally ill patients to end his own lives is "critical to their dignity and autonomy." Continue Reading Canada and Assisted suicide>

Could two new laws suffocate the Catholic Church in DC?

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

February 7, 2015 - (CNA) - The U.S. bishops and several other Catholic and pro-life groups are asking Congress to nullify two new Washington, D.C. laws that they say could choke their ability to operate according to their religious beliefs.

The legislation amounts to “unprecedented assaults upon our organizations,” the coalition of groups stated in a letter to all members of Congress. “Both laws violate the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of association protected by the First Amendment and other federal law.” Continue Reading DC Laws>

Pope at Santa Marta: Martyrdom is not a thing of the past

Pope Francis

February 5, 2015 - ( - At Mass on Friday Pope Francis called for people to remember the Martyrs of 2015, the men, women and children who are being massacred right now in hatred of the faith. The martyrdom of Christians is not a thing of the past, today too there are many victims of "people who hate Jesus Christ", said Pope Francis.

The Pope was reflecting on the life and death of John the Baptist, inspired by the Gospel of St. Mark. Referring to him as “John the Great”, the Pope said his life is a parable for the many, many Christians whose blood is spilled today because they proclaim a God whom many people hate. Continue Readings 'Present Martyrdom'>

Pope to Church leaders: 'scourge' of minor sex abuse must stop

Pope Francis

February 5, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis has sent a letter to religious superiors and presidents of episcopal conferences, asking for their full cooperation in ending the sexual abuse of minors, and making the Church a safe haven.

“Everything possible must be done to rid the Church of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors and to open pathways of reconciliation and healing for those who were abused,” the Pope said in his Feb. 2 letter. Continue Readings 'Abuse must stop'>

Pope Francis goes to Washington: will Congress listen?

US Capitol Building

February 5, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis’ address to a joint session of Congress during his U.S. visit in September will be a “wonderful opportunity,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has said.

“It’s an opportunity for him to call our Congressmen to work for the common good and to work for the support of the dignity of every individual,” Archbishop Chaput told CNA in Rome Feb. 5. Continue Readings 'Pope in Washington'>

The irony in anti-discrimination - why Catholic bishops won't back ENDA

US Capitol Building

February 4, 2015 - (USCCB) - Even with religious freedom provisions added, LGBT discrimination laws are unlikely to draw support from Catholic bishops because they could in fact lead to discrimination against religious groups, analysts explained.  

The idea of adding religious freedom protections to such laws “might seem to work in principle” but “would be extremely difficult, I think, to make work in practice,” said Matthew Franck of the Witherspoon Institute, a research center in Princeton, New Jersey. Continue Readings 'Anti-discrimination'>

Bishop Says National Marriage Week USA, World Marriage Day, Provide Opportunities to Celebrate Marriage and Support Married Couples


February 4, 2015 - (USCCB) - In a letter sent to all U.S. bishops on January 16, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), hailed National Marriage Week USA (February 7-14) and World Marriage Day (Sunday, February 8) as opportunities “to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage and to affirm and support engaged and married couples.”  

In his letter, Bishop Malone identified numerous resources that can be of assistance to bishops, priests and lay leaders in promoting, strengthening and defending the gift of marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman, including the websites For Your MarriagePor Tu Matrimonio, and Marriage: Unique for a Reason. He also encouraged participation in the Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty, and shared a preaching resource for World Marriage Day. Continue Readings 'support married couples'>

NASCAR, Obama, religious freedom: This year's DC prayer breakfast


February 5, 2015 - (CNA) - Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast brought together representatives of varied faith backgrounds in the nation’s capital to pray and hear testimonies on the importance of faith. 

The event included a NASCAR driver’s harrowing story of conversion after a near-death experience, as well as remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama on ISIS and religious freedom, and a greeting sent from the Pope. Continue Readings 'DC Prayer Breakfast'>

Pope at Santa Marta: Servants of the Kingdom

Pope Francis

February 5, 2015 - ( - The Church must proclaim the Gospel "in poverty" and the people proclaiming it must have the sole aim of alleviating the miseries of the poor, never forgetting that this service is the work of the Holy Spirit and not of human hands. 

At Mass on Thursday morning in Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis returned to one of his favorite images for the Church – that of a field hospital- inspired by the Gospel of the day, in which Jesus sends his disciples out, two by two, to the villages to preach, heal the sick and drive out "unclean spirits". Continue Readings 'Servants of the Kingdom'>

Pope Decries 'fratricide' conflict in Ukraine and appeals for dialogue

Pope Francis

February 4, 2015 - ( - Pope Francis has decried the 'fratricide' conflict in Ukraine and  issued an urgent appeal for dialogue, “the only possible path to peace”. 

Speaking at the end of the weekly General Audience, the Pope said his thoughts go to the beloved Ukrainian people. Continue Readings 'dialogue in Ukraine'>

After pilot's heinous execution, Jordan's Christian pray for religious harmony

Prayer for Peace

February 4, 2015 - (CNA) - Christians in Jordan have responded to the Islamic State's gruesome execution of a captured Jordanian pilot with sorrow, calling for prayer and religious and national unity.

Father Rifat Bader, general director of the Jordan-based Catholic Center for Studies and Media, said the Christian churches of Jordan conveyed their “deep sorrow and sadness” over Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh’s execution, which Fr. Bader characterized as a “martyrdom” and a “heinous crime against humanity.” Continue Readings 'Religious Harmony'>

Religious instruction abolished in Luxembourg schools

February 4, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Catholic religious instruction in state-run schools has been abolished in the historically Catholic nation of Luxembourg and will be replaced by instruction in ethics, according to Law & Religion UK.

In addition, the state will no longer pay the salaries of Catholic priests who are ordained in the future, though current priests will continue to be paid. Continue Readings 'Religious Instruction'>

Embryos with three parents? The risks are yet to come, critics warn


February 4, 2015 - (CNA) - Despite warnings from religious leaders and scientists, British lawmakers have voted to allow a version of in-vitro fertilization that uses the DNA of three different people to conceive a baby.

“Since this is uncharted territory and the children born from this technology would have heritable genetic changes, there are also significant unknown risks to future generations,” Dr. Paul Knoepfler, an associate professor at the University of California-Davis, told the British newspaper The Telegraph. Continue Readings 'Embryos with three parents'>

Controversial or consistent? San Fran archdiocese weighs in on teacher rules

teacher rules

February 4, 2015 - (CNA) - The Archdiocese of San Francisco says that far from being condemnatory, the morality clauses in its new teacher handbook are meant to help Catholic educators understand the richness and coherence of Church teaching – and follow it.

“Because we live in a very secular society, the truth as revealed by God gets overshadowed by popular ideology,” Maureen Huntington, superintendent of the archdiocese's Catholic schools, said Feb. 3. Read more Controversial or consistent>

Oscar Romero to be beatified: Pope Francis recognizes martyrdom

Oscar Romero

February 3, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis on Tuesday authorized the promulgation of decrees recognizing the martyrdom of Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero, paving the way for his beatification, as well as the martyrdom of three priests in Peru.

The decision was the fruit of a Feb. 3 audience between the Pope and Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Read more on Oscar Romero beatification>

Pope Francis: cultivate and preserve Mother Earth

Pope Francis

February 2, 2015 - ( - Pope Francis on Saturday received members of  Italy’s National Federation of Farmers, who are this year celebrating the 70th anniversary of their foundation.

Pope Francis told the farmers present in the Clementine Hall  that there is no humanity without the cultivation of the earth, as there is also no life without good food that is produced for men and women of every continent. Continue reading and listen to the report>

Holy See to UN: stop ignoring attacks on Christian women, girls

United Nations

February 3, 2015 - (CNA) - The Holy See’s delegation to the United Nations has warned that Christians face “extinction” in some regions of armed conflict, with Christian women and girls particularly vulnerable.

Monsignor Janusz Urbanczyk, the Chargé d'Affaires of the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations, voiced concern about the “continued lack of attention” given to protecting women and girls who are “targeted and attacked purely because of the faith they profess.” Continue reading Holy See to UN>

British House of Commons approves '3-parent' in-vitro fertilization procedure

British House of Commons

February 3, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The British House of Commons has voted to authorize a technique of in vitro fertilization that allows for the production of human embryos with three genetic parents.

By a vote of 382- 128, the lawmakers allowed for the use of a process in which mitochondria are taken from a donor’s egg, and used to replace unhealthy mitochondria in an egg furnished by the woman who will be the mother of the child. The egg is then fertilized and implanted in the mother’s womb. Continue reading about the House of Commons >

Appeals court to hear EWTN contraception mandate case Feb. 4


February 3, 2015 - (CNA) - On Wednesday, Feb. 4, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta will hear oral arguments in a case brought by EWTN Global Catholic Network against the federal contraception mandate.

“EWTN looks forward to being able to make our case against the government’s contraceptive services mandate,” said EWTN Chairman and CEO Michael Warsaw. Read more on Appeals Court>

General Audience: On the Positive Role of Fathers

Vatican City - October 17, 2014: Pope Francis meets with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea at the Vatican on Oct. 17, 2014.

February 4, 2015 - (ZENIT) - Here is the translation of the Holy Father's address during his weekly General Audience at the Paul VI Audience Hall.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today I would like to develop the second part of the reflection on the figure of the father in the family. Last time I spoke of the danger of “absent” fathers. Today, instead, I want to look at the positive aspect. Saint Joseph was also tempted to leave Mary, when he discovered that she was pregnant, but the Angel of the Lord intervened and revealed God’s plan and his mission of foster father. And Joseph, a just man, “took his wife” (Mt. 1:24) and became the father of the Family of Nazareth. Continue readings Pope's General Audience>

Pope: the Gospel doesn't oppress, but frees those enslaved to evil

Vatican City - October 17, 2014: Pope Francis meets with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea at the Vatican on Oct. 17, 2014.

February 1, 2015 - (CNA) - In his Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis pointed to the authority with which Jesus preached, saying that his words in the Gospel aren’t aimed to limit, but rather liberate us from evil and worldly spirits.

“The Gospel is the word of life: it does not oppress people, (but) on the contrary it frees those who are enslaved by so many evil spirits in this world: vanity, the attachment to money, pride, sensuality,” the Pope told pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square Feb. 1. Read more on the Gospel Doesn't oppress, but frees>

Pope Francis opens Year for Consecrated Life: homily

Consecrated Life

February 3, 2015 - ( - Pope Francis delivered the homily on Monday afternoon at Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, being celebrated to mark the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day for Consecrated Life, in the context of the Year dedicated to the same. Below, please find Vatican Radio's English translation of the Holy Father's prepared remarks. Read Pope's entire homily>

Vatican launches #LifeofWomen conference

Vatican City - September 26, 2014: St. Peter's Basilica at night, Sept. 26, 2014.

February 2, 2015 - ( - Presenting the Vatican Council for Culture Plenary Assembly to press Monday, the President Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi spoke of the need to avoid rhetoric and clichés when exploring the theme of women, in society and the Church.

The Plenary will run from February 4-7 and explore the topic Women's cultures: equality and difference. Read more on #LifeofWomen>

Archbishops Chaput, Gomez confirmed participants in Synod on the Family

rchbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia (File Photo/CNA).

January 31, 2015 - (CNA) - The Vatican has confirmed the participation of 48 delegates chosen by bishops' conferences to take part in this year's Synod on the Family.

Included on the list are all those elected by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the US' largest archdiocese, and Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, where the upcoming World Meeting of Families will be held, will be among those taking part in October's gathering, according to the Vatican document. Read more on the Synod on the Family>

Colorado's 'death with dignity' bill is a lie, Bishop warns


February 2, 2015 - (CNA) - While the notion of 'death with dignity' may seem appealing on the surface, the push to legalize assisted suicide in Colorado is based on a lie that yields devastating consequences, said Bishop James Conley.

“(I)t is a battle where life hangs in the very balance. The culture of death is the work of dark demonic forces that whisper in people’s ears, 'life has no meaning, no value, no dignity',” he said. Find more about Colorado's 'Death with Dignity' and the Church's posistion>

Pope at Santa Marta: A lesson in contemplative prayer

Vatican City - May 12, 2014: Pope Francis meets with seminarians from the Pontifical Roman universities in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on May 12, 2014.

February 3, 2015 - ( - Daily contemplation of the Gospel helps us to have true hope, said Pope Francis Tuesday morning during Mass celebrated in the Casa Santa Marta chapel. In his homily, the Pope again urged people to take 10 minutes out of their day to pick up the Gospel and talk to the Lord, rather than waste it on TV soap operas or listening to other peoples’ gossip.

Focusing on the passage from the Letter to the Hebrews on hope, Pope Francis said that “keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus” is the core of hope.  He stressed that if we do not listen to the Lord, we may be “optimistic or positive” people but without the hope that we learn “from contemplating Christ”. Read more on a Lesson in Contemplative Prayer>

Measles are making a comeback, so what does the Church teach about vaccines?


January 29, 2015 - (CNA) - Disneyland is supposed to be the Happiest Place on Earth, not the place where you contract a highly contagious, once-eradicated disease.

Unfortunately, that is what happened at Disneyland in California, starting back in December. The measles virus, likely carried by a tourist from a foreign country, started a chain of infections that has now reached at least 87 people in seven states and Mexico. The outbreak has also resurfaced arguments surrounding the vaccination of children. Read more on what the Church teaches about vaccines>

Assisted Living centers defeat HHS mandate in court

Department of Health and Human Services

January 29, 2015 - (CNA) - A federal court has permanently barred the Obama administration from enforcing the federal contraception mandate against the group of Evangelical-owned senior citizen and assisted living centers.

“All Americans should oppose unjust laws that allow the government to force people to surrender their constitutionally protected freedom to live and work according to their deepest beliefs,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Michael J. Norton said Jan. 27. Continue reading on this defeat against HHS mandate>

Egypt's new government allows Christians to build new churches, ending years of opposition

Assiut, Egypt - August 2013: Saint Teresa Church in Assiut, Egypt was recently attacked and damaged during the violence. Credit: Aid to the Church in Need

January 29, 2015 - ( - Egyptian Christians have seen notable gains under the government of President Abd al-Sisi, the spokesman for the country’s bishops tells the AsiaNews service.

Father Rafic Greiche pointed to three new building permits for Catholic churches. He reported that permits for Christian churches were never granted during the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak, nor under the government that followed him, which was dominated by Islamic fundamentalists. Find out more on this end of opposition>

Vatican meeting on new ways to evangalize

Digital communication

January 30, 2015 - ( - The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation has hosted a 3-day meeting with delegates from across Europe to identify new and effective ways of passing on the faith.  Find the Press Release>

Pope says palliums will be given to new archbishops at home - not Rome

Vatican City - February 18, 2012: Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York is greeted by his brother cardinals on Feb. 18, 2012, after being elevated to the College of Cardinals inside St. Peter's Basilica.

January 30, 2015 - (CNA) - As a sign of “synodality” with local Churches, Pope Francis has decided that new metropolitan archbishops will officially be imposed with the pallium in their home diocese, rather than the Vatican.

“The meaning of this change is to put more emphasis on the relationship of the metropolitan archbishops – the newly nominated – with their local Church,” Mons. Guido Marini, Papal Master of Ceremonies, told Vatican Radio Jan. 29. Find out more on the palliums>

Coming soon to the Vatican: haircuts for Rome's homeless

“Our primary concern is to give people their dignity,” Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, head of the Office of Papal Charities, told the Italian news agency ANSA. Continue reading about haircuts for the homeless in Rome>January 30, 2015 - (CNA) - The Vatican’s continued efforts to help the homeless of Rome have expanded beyond showers and bathrooms at St. Peter’s Square, with a barber shop set to open soon.

Bishops use Supreme Court case to call for death penalty abolition

Washington D.C. - June 28, 2012: Health care law protesters, supporters gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2012.

January 28, 2015 - (CNA) - Several bishops in the U.S. have welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to re-examine death penalty protocols, and have called for the abolition of the death penalty.

“We pray that the court’s review of these protocols will lead to the recognition that institutionalized practices of violence against any person erode reverence for the sanctity of every human life. Capital punishment must end,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ pro-life activities committee, said Jan. 27. Read more on the Supreme Court and the Death Penalty>

Who's entering religious life these days

Manila, Philippines - January 17, 2015: Religious Sisters await Pope Francis' arrival at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Manila on Jan. 16, 2015.

January 28, 2015 - (CNA) - U.S. Catholics are being encouraged to get to know local religious communities, as a new study offers insight into the potential impact of vocational programs, Catholic schools, and encouragement in discerning.

“I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to visit local religious communities in their own area during the Day of Religious Open Houses, Sunday, February 8,” Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, N.C. said Jan. 26. Continue Reading on who is entering the religious life>

The Dark side of the Super Bowl and how Congress aims to fight it

January 28, 2015 - (CNA) - Just days before Super Bowl XLIX, the U.S. House of Representatives is pushing for a bipartisan crack-down on the hidden menace of sex trafficking, which some human rights advocates refer to as “modern-day slavery.”

“Everyone needs to be put on notice: if you buy or sell an individual like a commodity, the law is coming after you, and you can get up to life imprisonment, according to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act,” announced Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) on Tuesday at the bipartisan End Human Trafficking Press Conference on Capitol Hill. Read more on the Dark side of the Super Bowl>


SF Archbishop on Pelosi: No Catholic can dissent from Church Teaching on Abortion

Washington D.C. - January 22, 2014: The 2014 March for Life in Washington DC on Jan. 22, 2014 marks the 41st anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade Decision that legalized abortion. Ten's of thousands of people who support the Pro Life movement gather each year to make the voices of the 56 million aborted children heard.

January 28, 2015 - ( - Responding to statements made by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi--who would not say at her press briefing last week if a 20-week-old unborn child is a "human being"--Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said that it is a “scientific fact that human life begins at conception” and that “no Catholic can dissent in good conscience” from Church teaching on the sanctity of life.

At her Jan. 22 briefing Pelosi said she had "great standing" to speak on the issue of abortion, noting that she was a "Catholic and a mom of five" and asserting that it was "true" she knew "more about having babies than the pope." Continue reading on about Church teaching and abortion>

Pope: No to ecclesial elites who privatize the faith

Rome, Italy - November 18, 2014: Pope Francis at the Vatican on Nov. 18, 2014.

January 29, 2015 - ( - Pope Francis says ecclesial elites who form cliques and scorn others are privatizing the faith and not following the way of Jesus.  His words came during his homily at morning Mass on Thursday (29th January) celebrated in the Santa Marta residence. 

The Pope’s homily was a reflection on the need for Christians to follow Jesus in the way that He wants and not to follow incorrect models such as privatizing our faith.  Read more>

Pope warns of globalization of indifference in Lenten message

Pope Francis

January 28, 2015 - ( - Pope Francis is inviting all believers to open their hearts to God and to overcome a “globalization of indifference” that is threatening to spread a feeling of distress and powerlessness and causing individuals and communities to withdraw into themselves, closing “the door through which God comes into the world and the world comes to him”.

Speaking on Wednesday during the weekly General Audience, the Pope continued in his catechesis on the family, choosing to focus on the dignity and role of fathers. Listen to the the report and find more>

West Coast Walk for Life broke more than one record this year

March for Life

January 27, 2015 - (CNA) - The eleventh annual Walk for Life West Coast broke its own records this year, drawing the largest crowd it has ever seen, as well as more press coverage than in previous years.

“We had by far the largest crowd we have ever had. The plaza was packed – it looked like a football stadium sized crowd,” Eva Muntean, Walk for Life co-founder and organizer, told CNA. Read more about the Record Breaker>

A visit to Naples, Pompeii on Pope Francis' slate for March

Pope Francis

January 27, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis' liturgical schedule from now until Easter has been released – and it includes the creation of new cardinals and a daylong pastoral visit to Italian cities of Naples and Pompeii.

In February, Pope Francis will kick-off the month by celebrating a special Mass on the second commemorating the feast of the Presentation of the Lord as well as the 19th World Day of Consecrated Life. Where is Pope Planning on going in March>

'No Compromise' - Catholics, evangelicals unite on marriage

March for Life

January 27, 2015 - (CNA) - A coalition of Catholic and Protestant leaders has united to call all Christians to an unwavering defense of the truth of marriage, rooted in nature as well as faith.

“(W)e affirm strongly and without qualification, following the clear testimony of Holy Scripture, that marriage is a unique and privileged sign of the union of Christ with his people and of God with his Creation – and it can only serve as that sign when a man and a woman are solemnly joined together in a permanent union,” reads a joint statement between Catholic and Protestant leaders. Continue Reading>

Catholic archbishop responds to first women bishop in Church of England

March for Life

January 27, 2015 - ( - The Catholic archbishop of Birmingham says he wishes the Church of England’s first female bishop well in her ministry and will be remembering her in his prayers. Archbishop Bernard Longley is the Catholic co-chair of ARCIC, the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. He told Vatican Radio that the consecration of Bishop Libby Lane on Monday was a “historic moment in the life of the Church of England” but noted that there has long been “the presence, the witness and the work of women” as bishops within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Reverend Libby Lane was ordained in York Minister as the new Bishop of Stockport, after the Church of England voted to adopt legislation last November to allow women bishops. Archbishop Longley said that while the ordination of women presents challenges to the Anglican-Catholic dialogue, this latest development “shouldn’t affect the way in which the dialogue is continued”.  Read more of the response>

Increased religious repression reported in Cuba

March for Life

January 27, 2015 - (Catholic World News) - Violations of religious freedom in Cuba increased in 2014, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a UK-based organization that advocates on behalf of persecuted Christians.

“Week after week, scores of women affiliated with the Ladies in White dissident group, most of whom are Roman Catholic, were violently dragged away by state security agents to stop them from attending Sunday morning Mass,” the organization reported. “Many were beaten in the process and most were arbitrarily detained until after the conclusion of religious services.” Read more on the relisious repression>

General Audience: Pope focuses on role of father in family life

Pope Francis

January 28, 2015 - ( - Pope Francis called on fathers to be present in the lives of their children pointing out that the absence of a ‘father figure’ can have grave consequences.

Speaking on Wednesday during the weekly General Audience, the Pope continued in his catechesis on the family, choosing to focus on the dignity and role of fathers. Find more of Pope's General Audience remarks>

Russian Patriarch calls for abortion ban in first-ever address to Duma

The Patriarch’s speech was the first ever delivered to the Duma by a leader of the Orthodox Church. Continue Reading more>January 26, 2015 - (Catholic World News) - Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill suggested a nationwide campaign against legal abortion, as he addressed Russia’s legislative body, the Duma.

Vatican trdition ended: balloons released in place of doves

Doves being attached January of 2014

January 26, 2015 - (Catholic World News) - The Vatican has altered a traditional gesture the release of doves in St. Peter’s Square after complaints from animal-rights groups.

For years, on the last Sunday of January, the Pope has been joined by two young members of Italian Catholic Action in releasing a pair of white doves during his regular Angelus audience. But last year the gesture of peace provoked a violent response: the doves were attacked by two larger birds, prompting gasps from the crowd in St. Peter’s Square. Read more on this tradition change>

Catholic Martyrs of the Holocaust

St Maximillian Kolbe

January 26, 2015 - (Catholic Answers) - Catholics are constantly confronted with the claims that Pope Pius XII was complicit in the Holocaust, that vast numbers of Catholics collaborated with Hitler’s diabolical regime, and that Catholic priests, nuns, and bishops were ardent members of the Nazi Party and supporters of its policies. It is true that many Catholics turned a blind eye to the Holocaust, and others remained silent out of fear for their lives and the safety of their families. There were certainly many ex-Catholic members of the ruling Nazi circles, just as there were Catholics in some numbers who supported the Nazis out of a twisted sense of nationalism, anti-Semitic beliefs, or for pure personal advancement in a corrupt and evil state.  Read more on the Catholic martyrs in the Holocaust>

Bishops welcome passage of bill preventing taxes funding abortions

March for Life

January 26, 2015 - (Catholic World News) - Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and chairman of the US bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, welcomed passage of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015” (H.R. 7) by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“By passing this legislation, the House has taken a decisive step toward respect for unborn human life, reflecting the will of the American people,” he said. Read more on this monumental Bill>

Death-penalth opponents excluded from jury in "Marathon bombing" Trial

Boston Marathon Bombing

January 26, 2015 - (Catholic World News) - Jury selection for the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect in the “Marathon Bombings” that shook Boston in 2013, has prompted a controversy over the exclusion of those who object to the death penalty.

Potential jurors who state that they have moral objections to the use of the death penalty are being excused from the trial. Since the Catechism says that circumstances justifying capital punishment are “very rare, if not practically non-existent,” the court’s policy in this case would seem to exclude Catholics. However, polls show that a substantial majority of Catholics favor the death penalty at least in some circumstances. Read more on the jury selection>

China Planning illicit ordination of more bishops for 'official' Church

Map of China

January 26, 2015 - (Catholic World News) - The Chinese government’s bureau of religious affairs plans to organize the ordination of more Catholic bishops without Vatican approval in 2015, the AsiaNews service reports.

The move would deepen the conflict between Beijing and Rome, and set back prospects for unity in the Chinese Church, which is torn between the 'official' Church recognized by the government and the 'underground' Church loyal to the Holy See. The ordination of a bishop without approval from the Holy See is illicit and brings the penalty of excommunicationFind more on China's illicit ordinations>

Pope to canon lawyers: Annulment process must be secure, prompt

Pope Francis

January 26, 2015 - (CNA) - In a speech delivered on Saturday to participants in a conference on how to handle causes of nullity, Pope Francis encouraged a marriage process that is both sure of its judgements and prompt.

The three-day conference is sponsored by the Pontifical Gregorian University, and marks the 10th anniversary of Dignitas connubii, an instruction of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts to tribunals on handling causes of the nullity of marriageRead more on the Pope's Comments to the Canon Lawyers>

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