Catholic Church News

China’s president: religions must be free from foreign influence

China’s president: religions must be free from foreign influence

May 21, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Xi Jinping--the head of China’s Communist Party since 2012, and China’s president since 2013-- said on May 20 that religions in China must be independent of foreign influence.

“We must manage religious affairs in accordance with the law and adhere to the principle of independence to run religious groups on our own accord,” he said. “Active efforts should be made to incorporate religions into socialist society.” Continue Reading China's President>

Paris' stunning Sainte-Chapelle gets a makeover – with lasers

Paris' stunning Sainte-Chapelle gets a makeover – with lasers

May 21, 2015 - (CNA) - Known for its ornate rose window and towering stained glass glory, the thirteenth century Sainte-Chapelle in Paris has finally been pieced back together after a seven year laser-cleaning project.

Seven hundred and fifty years of weather effects, candle smoke, and grime had become layered and built up in Sainte-Chapelle's famous stained glass windows, causing the luminous panels to lose some of their luster. Continue Reading Sainte-Chapelle Makeover>

Irish Bishops Proclaim Church's Teaching on Marriage in Lead-up to Friday Referendum

Irish Bishops Proclaim Church's Teaching on Marriage in Lead-up to Friday Referendum

May 21, 2015 - (Zenit) - Voters in Ireland will decide Friday whether to change the Constitution to declare that legal marriage in the nation can be contracted between persons of the same sex.

In the lead-up to the vote, bishops have been explaining the Church's teaching on marriage through pastoral letters and statements read at Masses. The bishops' conference has released two major pastoral messages, as well as trying to reiterate the Church's teaching through social media. Continue Reading Irish Bishops>

San Francisco archdiocese, teachers' union working to settle dispute on personnel policy

San Francisco archdiocese, teachers' union working to settle dispute on personnel policy

May 21, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The San Francisco archdiocese is working with teachers to revise a handbook that would set standards for faculty members in Catholic schools.

A revised handbook, which had required teachers not to engage in activities that would directly contradict Church teaching, had prompted angry protests. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone had indicated that he would revise the proposed standards, without abandoning his campaign to ensure that parochial schools have a distinctively Catholic identity. Continue Reading San Francisco Archsiocese teachers' union>

Nebraska bishops praise move to repeal death penalty

Nebraska bishops praise move to repeal death penalty

May 21, 2015 - (CNA) - Nebraska’s Catholic bishops on Wednesday praised the Nebraska legislature’s veto-proof vote to end the death penalty, saying  capital punishment “cannot be justified” in the state at present.

The bishops said their support for the bill was based on Catholic teaching and their prudential judgement that the death penalty is now unjustifiable. Their support “also flows from our prayerful reflection on the words of Jesus Christ himself: ‘love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father’,” they said. Continue Reading Nabraska Bishops>

Pope Francis to parents: Come out of 'exile' and educate your children

Pope: end "unacceptable crime" of persecution of Christians

May 20, 2015 - (CNA) - In his general audience Pope Francis spoke of the essential role parents play in educating their children – a role he said has been usurped by so-called experts who have taken the place of parents and rendered them fearful of making any correction.

“If family education regains its prominence, many things will change for the better. It's time for fathers and mothers to return from their exile – they have exiled themselves from educating their children – and slowly reassume their educative role,” the Pope said May 20. Continue Reading Educate your Children>

Pope: end "unacceptable crime" of persecution of Christians

Pope: end "unacceptable crime" of persecution of Christians

May 19, 2015 - (News.va) - The many Christians who are being persecuted in our times "are martyrs" Pope Francis said on Wednesday, at the end of his General Audience.

The Holy Father praised an initiative of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) to make a special remembrance, on the Vigil of Pentecost, of the many “brothers and sisters” who have been exiled or killed for no other reason than being Christian. He expressed his hope that the moment of prayer for the new Christian martyrs would increase the recognition that “religious liberty is an inalienable human right.” Continue Reading Persecution of Christians>

Climate change threatens every society: Cardinal Parolin

Climate change threatens every society: Cardinal Parolin

May 19, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - No one is immune from the implications of climate change, the Vatican's Secretary of State has warned.

“When the future of the planet is at stake, there are no political frontiers, barriers or walls behind which we can hide to protect ourselves from the effects of environmental and social degradation," wrote Cardinal Pietro Parolin in a message to participants in a conference on climate change and economics, held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. Continue Reading Cardinal Perolin>

Preparations Underway for Archbishop Romero's Upcoming Beatification

Preparations Underway for Archbishop Romero's Upcoming Beatification

May 19, 2015 - (Zenit) - The Church and government in El Salvador are preparing together for the beatification ceremony of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador taking place this Saturday, reported Fides.

Local sources say some 250,000 people, more than 12 heads of state and a security system, never been seen before in the nation's capital of San Salvador. The beatification will be held at the Plaza Las Americas, with the statue of the capital's patron saint, El Salvador del Mundo, present. Continue Reading Archbishop Romero>

Court won't exempt Notre Dame from Obamacare birth control provision

Court won't exempt Notre Dame from Obamacare birth control provision

May 19, 2015 - (Chicago Tribune) - A federal appeals court has rejected the University of Notre Dame's request to temporarily be exempt from a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires the Catholic school's insurance providers to cover the costs of contraceptives for students and staff.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Tuesday that an exemption provided by President Barack Obama's administration allows Notre Dame to avoid directly paying for contraceptives, and therefore doesn't force the school to violate its religious beliefs. Notre Dame contends that the law forces it to violate Catholic doctrine, which bars most forms of birth control, by becoming conduits to purchasing contraceptives. Continue Reading Notre Dame not Exempt>

Mother Teresa to be canonized in September 2016?

Mother Teresa to be canonized in September 2016?

May 19, 2015 - (CNA) - Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be canonized in September 2016, according to multiple news reports.

The Vatican has not confirmed plans for the canonization. But the respected Vatican news agency I Media reported that Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, had conferred with Italian government officials about tentative plans for a ceremony on September 4, 2016. Continue Reading Blessed Mother Teresa>

Pope Francis: Are you ready for your final goodbye?

Pope Francis: Are you ready for your final goodbye?

May 19, 2015 - (CNA) - In his homily Tuesday Pope Francis focused on many different “goodbyes” that happen during life, and asked whether attendees were ready for the final, most important farewell before going to the Father.

“Am I prepared to entrust to God all that I have? To entrust myself to God? To say that word which is the word of the son entrusting himself to his Father?” the Pope asked May 19. Continue Reading Final Goodbye>

Coptic Catholic Church opposes death penalty for Morsi

Coptic Catholic Church opposes death penalty for Morsi

May 19, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - An Egyptian court has sentenced Mohamed Morsi, who served as the nation’s president from 2012 to 2013, to death.

The sentence will be confirmed or commuted on June 2, according to the Fides news agency.

Violence against Christians increased during the rule of Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was elected to office following the Arab Spring protests that toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Continue Reading Coptic Catholic Church>

Vanier receives Templeton Prize

Vanier receives Templeton Prize

May 19, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Jean Vanier, the Canadian Catholic layman who founded the L’Arche network of communities for the mentally disabled, received the Templeton Prize in London on May 18.

The award, which honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to spirituality, carries a $1.7-million stipend. Continue Reading Templeton Prize>

These twin friars are taking it to the streets - and your TV - to save souls

These twin friars are taking it to the streets - and your TV - to save souls

May 19, 2015 - (CNA) - It’s a good thing Brother Angelus wears glasses, otherwise it would be really hard to tell him apart from Brother Innocent.

It’s tricky enough as it is, given that they’re brother-Brothers: siblings and consecrated Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (or CFRs). They’re also twins – or rather, two-thirds of a triplet. Their triplet sister Katie is (no, not a nun) back home in Nebraska with her husband and family. Continue Reading Twin friers>

For Pope Francis, the laity must be formed for their mission in the world

For Pope Francis, the laity must be formed for their mission in the world

May 18, 2015 - (CNA) - Speaking to the Italian bishops' general assembly on Monday, Pope Francis urged them to support the laity through Christian formation, so that they can assume their proper responsibilities in the public square.

An “ecclesial and pastoral sensibility” is “reflected in reinforcing the indispensible role of the laity, who are disposed to take on their responsibilities,” the Pope said May 18 in the Vatican's Synod Hall. Continue Reading Laity must be formed>

Beware of 'white-gloved' terrorism, Pope tells Middle East nuns

Beware of 'white-gloved' terrorism, Pope tells Middle East nuns

May 18, 2015 - (CNA) - One day after canonizing the first two Palestinian saints since the early days of Christianity, Pope Francis met with a group of sisters from the Holy Land – urging them to pray for peace against “white-gloved terrorism” and persecution.

Speaking of the newly canonized women, Saints Mariam Baouardy and Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas, the pontiff said: “I give you a mission: pray to the two new saints for peace in your land, in order that this never ending war may end, and that there may be peace among your people.” Continue Reading White-Gloved Terrorism>

Andrea Bocelli Speaks on Importance of Family at Vatican

Andrea Bocelli Speaks on Importance of Family at Vatican

May 18, 2015 - (Zenit) - Widely considered one of the greatest singing talents in the world today, Andrea Bocelli will bring attention to the beauty of the family in a Vatican-launched initiative.

Having sold more than 70 million records worldwide, the multiple award winning and world recognized Italian tenor has not had an easy life. Born in 1958, Bocelli was afflicted with congenital glaucoma. After suffering a brain hemorrhage following a soccer accident, he permanently lost his sight. After practicing law, he pursued his musical career, with which he has taken the world by storm. The 56-year-old singer is married with three children. In addition, he has a charitable foundation, has met the current and past two Popes, and never forgets what matters most. Continue Reading Andrea Bocelli>

Irish bishops issue multiple statements on same-sex marriage referendum

Irish bishops issue multiple statements on same-sex marriage referendum

May 18, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - For the second consecutive week, many Irish Catholic bishops issued pastoral statements about the nationwide referendum on same-sex marriage that will take place this week.

In their individual statements, the bishops reinforced the fundamental message of the joint statement they had issued in March: that voters should think carefully before approving a referendum that would re-define marriage. The bishops did not specifically call for votes against the referendum—which has been commanding majority support in opinion polls—but raised a number of arguments against it. Continue Reading Irish Bishops>

San Francisco: loyal Catholics rally behind Archbishop Cordileone

San Francisco: loyal Catholics rally behind Archbishop Cordileone

May 18, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Hundreds of Catholics of the San Francisco archdiocese joined in a family picnic organized as a show of support for Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

The informal event was designed to counteract the organized public criticism of the archbishop by influential residents of the San Francisco area who have opposed his campaign to ensure a distinctive Catholic identity in parochial schools. Continue Reading San Francisco>

Pope Francis shares the secret of the saints: life in Christ's love

Pope Francis shares the secret of the saints: life in Christ's love

May 17, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis canonized the Church’s four newest saints on Sunday, praising their loving witness to Jesus Christ’s Resurrection.

He said “this is the secret of the saints: abiding in Christ, joined to him like branches to the vine, in order to bear much fruit.”

The four newest saints showed how “to abide in God and in his love, and thus to proclaim by our words and our lives the Resurrection of Jesus, to live in unity with one another and with charity towards all,” the pontiff said in his May 17 homily Continue Reading Secret of the Saints>

Pope to President Mahmoud Abbas: 'May You Be an Angel of Peace'

Pope to President Mahmoud Abbas: 'May You Be an Angel of Peace'

May 17, 2015 - (Zenit) - Pope Francis received the President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican on Saturday. President Abbas was in Rome for today's canonization of two saints from Palestine: Sister Mariam Baouardy and Sister Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas.

Upon being welcomed by the Holy Father, Abbas said: "You look much younger…" The two held a private conversation for 20 minutes with the help of an interpreter. Continue Reading Angel of Peace>

Population control won't solve climate change, Caritas official says

Population control won't solve climate change, Caritas official says

May 14, 2015 - (CNA) - Controlling populations is not the answer in fighting poverty and protecting the environment, says a leading official for the Catholic aid federation, Caritas Internationalis.

“We do not see that population control, the way it is being thought by many, is the right way to go forward,” Caritas secretary general Michel Roy said in an interview with CNA. Continue Reading Climate Change>

Citing US bishops’ report, Times calls for end of immigrant-detention system

Citing US bishops’ report, Times calls for end of immigrant-detention system

May 14, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Lamenting the “inhumanity and wasted expense of imprisoning people who could be working and providing for their families,” the editorial board of The New York Times called the United States’ immigrant-detention system “indefensible.”

“A powerful case for ending immigration detention, along with an array of alternatives, is made in a new report from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Center for Migration Studies,” the Times stated. “It traces how the system has grown immense, from housing 85,000 detainees in 1995 to more than 440,000 in 2013.” Continue Reading Immigrant Detention System>

At Lourdes shrine, 'wounded warriors' can pray for peace and healing

At Lourdes shrine, 'wounded warriors' can pray for peace and healing

May 14, 2015 - (CNA) - Military service members’ annual pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Lourdes can be a time of healing and peace, especially during the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the head of the U.S. Archdiocese for Military Services has said.

“Lourdes is a place where healing occurs. It might not be the dramatic throwing away of crutches, or breaking a cane, but there is always that interior peace when we put ourselves in our mother's hands,” Archbishop Timothy Broglio told CNA May 14. Continue Reading Lourdes Shrine>

Pope says sports coaches must be models of integrity for young people

Pope says sports coaches must be models of integrity for young people

May 14, 2015 - (CNA) - In a message to participants at an international seminar on the role of sports coaches, Pope Francis spoke of the crucial role that trainers play, especially in the lives of young people. The two day seminar has been organised by the Sports department of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and is focusing on the professional, personal and spiritual formation of sports coaches as role models for the next generation.

In the message to seminar participants, Pope Francis said we all need wise, mature and well-balanced people in our lives to help us grow in faith, in family relationships and in our working lives. A true educator, he continued, is a person who encourages us to take on a new activity without fear, helps to have confidence in ourselves and our companions and supports us in times of difficulty as well as at moments of joy and success. Continue Reading Models of Integrity>

Canonizations will boost morale of Palestinian Christians, bishop says

Canonizations will boost morale of Palestinian Christians, bishop says

May 14, 2015 - (CNA) - The May 17 canonization of two Palestinian women “gives hope to Christians in the Holy Land,” Bishop William Shomali told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Blessed Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and Blessed Mariam Baouardi will be canonized by Pope Francis on Saturday, with more than 2,000 pilgrims from the Holy Land expected to attend the ceremony.

The canonization will bring Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Rome, and many pilgrims will no doubt flourish the Palestinian flag, Bishop Shomali said. “But we cannot reduce the event to its political significance. It is first and foremost a spiritual happening." Continue Reading Palestinian Christians>

Cardinal Tagle, the first Caritas Internationalis president from Asia

Cardinal Tagle, the first Caritas Internationalis president from Asia

May 14, 2015 - (CNA) - Cardinal Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, is the new president of Caritas Internationalis. The general assembly of the umbrella organization of Catholic charities elected the Filipino cardinal with 91 votes out of 133.

“Thank you for your trust. I am limited in my capacities, but with all of you, with the love that Jesus has poured into our hearts and in the name of all the poor people in the world, I accept this election,” said Cardinal Tagle, speaking May 14 on the phone to delegates from over 130 member organizations of Caritas Internationalis. Continue Reading Cardinal Tagle>

Is the pill shrinking parts of women's brains? New report suggests yes

Is the pill shrinking parts of women's brains? New report suggests yes

May 14, 2015 - (CNA) - Adding torecent controversies surrounding various forms of birth control, a new study out of UCLA suggests that the birth control pill may thin areas in a woman's brain and affect their function.

Published in April in the journal “Human Brain Mapping,” the study measured cortical thickness in the brains of 90 women – 44 of whom were using oral contraceptives, and 46 of whom were naturally cycling. Continue Reading Birth Control>

Philadelphia archbishop voices 'deep sadness', prays for train derailment victims

Philadelphia archbishop voices 'deep sadness', prays for train derailment victims

May 14, 2015 - (CNA) - Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia reacted Wednesday to the deadly train derailment in his city with sadness and prayers.

“In the wake of this disaster, I urge all people of good will to join me in extending prayerful condolences to those mourning the sudden loss of a loved one and in asking the Lord to bring healing to all those suffering physical and emotional anguish in the wake of this incident,” Archbishop Chaput said May 13. Continue Reading Philadelphia archbishop>

When was the last time you said 'thank you' and 'I'm sorry?' Pope asks

When was the last time you said 'thank you' and 'I'm sorry?' Pope asks

May 13, 2015 - (CNA) - In his general audience Pope Francis focused on the concrete challenges families face in daily life, and said that simply remembering to be grateful and to apologize can go a long way in avoiding conflict.

“Dear brothers and sisters, today's catechesis is the opening of the door to a series of reflections on family life, real life, daily life,” the Pope told pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square May 13. Continue Reading Say thank you and I'm Sorry>

Vatican and 'State of Palestine' agree to treaty safeguarding religious liberty

Vatican and 'State of Palestine' agree to treaty safeguarding religious liberty

May 13, 2015 - (CNA) - The Holy See and the State of Palestine have agreed on the text of a treaty regarding the life and activity of the Church in Palestine, which is expected to be signed soon by both parties.

Much attention has been given to the fact that in its May 13 announcement, the Holy See referred to its agreement with “the State of Palestine” rather than the Palestinian Liberation Authority, or some other title. Continue Reading Treaty Safeguarding Religious Liberty>

Iraqi Christians have lost everything – except their faith, nun tells Congress

Iraqi Christians have lost everything – except their faith, nun tells Congress

May 13, 2015 - (CNA) - Having lost their homes, their heritage and their sense of dignity, Iraqi Christians victimized by the Islamic State feel abandoned by earthly powers, but their faith in God has only grown, an Iraqi nun told members of Congress May 13.

The faith of homeless Iraqi Christians is “increasing more and more,” Sister Diana Momeka, O.P., told the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. Continue Reading Iraqi Christians>

Bishops’ International Justice And Peace Committee Offers Policy Framework For Targeted Killing By Drones

Bishops’ International Justice And Peace Committee Offers Policy Framework For Targeted Killing By Drones

May 13, 2015 - (CNA) - The practice of targeted killings by unmanned drones should be limited by international standards, be transparent and guided by an awareness of how the practice affects conflict around the world, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter to National Security Advisor Susan Rice. The May 11 letter from Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, noted the ongoing concerns of bishops around the “serious moral questions” raised by drone strikes, and shared a policy framework that had been adopted by the bishops’ committee.

Bishop Cantú wrote, “Since the United States has led in the use of armed drones, it should take the lead in advancing international policies, standards and restrictions on the production, use and proliferation of drones in general, and of armed drones in targeted killings in particular. As weapons technology becomes more sophisticated, the need for an internationally recognized ethical and moral framework governing their use becomes more urgent.” Continue Reading Policy Framework>

US House overcomes initial setback to pass 20-week abortion ban

US House overcomes initial setback to pass 20-week abortion ban

May 13, 2015 - (CNA) - Two years after abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted of committing three first-degree murders at his abortion clinic, the House passed a bill Wednesday that effectively bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“This bill is about protecting pain-capable babies and their mothers from the tragedy … of late-term abortion-on-demand," Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), the bill's sponsor, stated May 13 to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol building. Continue Reading House Passes 20-week abortion ban>

In rare new letter, Benedict XVI seeks shepherds for the whole world

In rare new letter, Benedict XVI seeks shepherds for the whole world

May 12, 2015 - (CNA) - Speaking from retirement, Benedict XVI has underscored the need for the Church to extend its pastoral care to non-believers and to share “the questions of the times” in its continuing efforts to announce the gospel to the world.

Benedict XVI’s new reflections came in an April 21 letter to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who served as his Secretary of State from 2006 to 2013. A summary of the letter was published in the May 10 edition of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Continue Reading Benedict XVI>

You are not just aid workers – you are witnesses to Christ, Pope tells Caritas

You are not just aid workers – you are witnesses to Christ, Pope tells Caritas

May 12, 2015 - (CNA) - On Tuesday Pope Francis told global representatives of Caritas International that true service is about welcoming God and others, and called them to continue their mission by going out to the peripheries.

“The Gospel, proclaimed and believed, urges us to wash the feet and the wounds of the suffering and to prepare the table for them,” the Pope said May 12. Continue Reading You are not just aid workers>

Major new survey finds decline in US Catholic population, as adults leave Church

Major new survey finds decline in US Catholic population, as adults leave Church

May 12, 2015 - (CNA) - The number of Americans who are not affiliated with any religious group has jumped in recent years, while the number of Christians has declined, a major new survey shows.

In a massive survey of 35,000 Americans, the Pew Research Center found that 71% identified themselves as Christians. That number was dramatically down 2007, when a similar poll found 78% were Christians. Continue Reading decline in US Catholic population>

EWTN named religious television station of the year

EWTN named religious television station of the year

May 12, 2015 - (CNA) - Large numbers of the faithful are donating gold and silver belongings to forge a new monstrance after a theft in Tucuman, Argentina.

Located in northwest Argentina, Tucuman is Argentina’s smallest province, but second only to Buenos Aires in population density.

In 2011, two costly monstrances were stolen from the Museum of Sacred Art. To replace them, a new monstrance will be made. It will be used at the 2016 National Eucharistic Congress. Continue Reading monstrance>

After theft, Argentines donate prized possessions, wedding rings for new monstrance

After theft, Argentines donate prized possessions, wedding rings for new monstrance

May 12, 2015 - (CNA) - Large numbers of the faithful are donating gold and silver belongings to forge a new monstrance after a theft in Tucuman, Argentina.

Located in northwest Argentina, Tucuman is Argentina’s smallest province, but second only to Buenos Aires in population density.

In 2011, two costly monstrances were stolen from the Museum of Sacred Art. To replace them, a new monstrance will be made. It will be used at the 2016 National Eucharistic Congress. Continue Reading monstrance>

On Monday, a little boy asked Pope Francis: 'What is peace?'

On Monday, a little boy asked Pope Francis: 'What is peace?'

May 12, 2015 - (CNA) - This question was part of a special question and answer session with the Bishop of Rome touching on a wide range of themes – from the link between greed and war, to arguments with siblings, and the role of religion in promoting peace in the world.

“Religion helps us because it makes us walk in God's presence,” the Pope said: “it helps us because it gives us the Commandments, the Beatitudes.” Continue Reading What is Peace>

Pope Francis: Get ready to be martyrs – even in the little things

Pope Francis: Get ready to be martyrs – even in the little things

May 12, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis centered his homily for Monday's daily Mass on the “scandal of the cross,” saying Christians should turn to the Holy Spirit in preparing for martyrdom – great or small.

“A Christian who does not take the dimension of martyrdom seriously in life does not understand the road that Jesus has indicated,” the Pope said May 11, according to Vatican Radio's translation. Continue Reading Get Ready to be Martyrs>

USCCB: reform ‘inhumane’ immigrant-detention system

USCCB: reform ‘inhumane’ immigrant-detention system

May 12, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The United States Conference of Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services and the Center for Migration Studies have published a 44-page plan to reform the nation’s immigrant-detention system, which they described as “inhumane.”

The plan concludes with nine recommendations.

“We have repeatedly spoken of the Gospel imperative to protect the rights of refugees, to promote the reunification of families, and to honor the dignity of all persons, whatever their status,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, the chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration, and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the chairman of the Center for Migration Studies. Continue Reading USCCB>

Nun asks jury for mercy, to spare Boston bomber's life

Nun asks jury for mercy, to spare Boston bomber's life

May 10, 2015 - (CNA) - In the defense’s final move to save the life of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Sister Helen Prejean asked the jury not to execute the young man.

The man responsible for the Boston bombings is "genuinely sorry for what he did," testified Sr. Prejean on May 11 before a federal jury. “He said it emphatically. He said no one deserves to suffer like they did,” she recounted of Tsarnaev. Continue Reading Asking Jury for Mercy>

Jesuit college students protest commencement address by Cardinal Dolan

Jesuit college students protest commencement address by Cardinal Dolan

May 10, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - More than 600 students at Le Moyne College, a Jesuit institution in upstate New York, have signed a statement protesting the appearance of Cardinal Timothy Dolan as commencement speaker.

The online statement urged college officials to rescind their invitation to Cardinal Dolan, accusing him of “homophobic” statements. The 600 signatures represented a substantial portion of Le Moyne College’s 2,800 undergraduate students. Continue Reading Protesting Cardinal Dolan>

Raul Castro to Pope: Thanks to you, I may come back to the Church

Raul Castro to Pope: Thanks to you, I may come back to the Church

May 10, 2015 - (CNA) - Following a private meeting at the Vatican with Pope Francis, who has helped to broker improved relations between Cuba and the United States, the president of the Caribbean nation suggested he could return to the Church in the future.

“I will start praying again and return to the Church” if the Pope continues what he has been doing, Raul Castro said on Sunday. Continue Reading Raul Castro to Pope>

Pope Francis sends a hug to moms worldwide for Mother's Day

Pope Francis sends a hug to moms worldwide for Mother's Day

May 10, 2015 - (CNA) - On Sunday, Pope Francis extended a special greeting to all those around the world who are celebrating Mother's Day, after offering advice on loving to the point of laying down one's life.

“We remember all mothers with gratitude and affection,” the Pope said to the crowds gathered in Saint Peter's Square under the hot sun for the recitation of the Regina Caeli prayer May 10. Continue Reading Pope Francis sends a hug to all mom's>

March for Life in Rome draws 40,000 participants

March for Life in Rome draws 40,000 participants

May 9, 2015 - (CNA) - One of tens of thousands of people to take to the streets of Rome for this year's March for Life, Mary Rathke is living proof that those conceived in rape deserve life, and not abortion.

“Many people use the reason for rape to accept abortions,” said the Michigan native in a May 10 interview with CNA. Continue Reading Rome's March for LIfe>

Virginia bishops on the death penalty: We're having the wrong debate

Virginia bishops on the death penalty: We're having the wrong debate

May 9, 2015 - (CNA) - As discussions surrounding a “more humane” death penalty in the United States continue, the two Catholic bishops of Virginia have released a statement asking the faithful to take a stance against the use of capital punishment in today’s society.

“By ending the use of the death penalty we would take one important step – among significant others we must take – to abandon the culture of death and embrace the culture of life,” Bishops Paul S. Loverde of Arlington and Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond said in a May 6 statement released by the Virginia Catholic Conference. Continue Reading Virginia Bishops on Death Penalty>

Catholic Charities ready to help tornado, flood victims in Midwest

Catholic Charities ready to help tornado, flood victims in Midwest

May 8, 2015 - (CNA) - After a series of damaging tornadoes and flooding in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, a Catholic Charities affiliate said it is ready to provide long-term help.

“People today are showing back up at their homes and finding out that there’s no roof, or that there’s just a foundation,” Sonny Wilkinson, senior director of mission advancement for Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City, told CNA May 7. Continue Reading Catholic Charities helps midwest>

Divided Christians should turn to Scripture, tradition, says Pope

Divided Christians should turn to Scripture, tradition, says Pope

May 7, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Pope Francis received European bishops and non-Catholic Christian leaders in audience on May 7 and gave thanks for the ecumenical progress of recent decades.

Acknowledging “diverse views on important anthropological and ethical questions,” the Pope called upon members of the joint committee of the Council of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe and the Conference of European Churches to turn to Christ and to engage in “common reflection in the light of Sacred Scripture and the shared tradition.” Continue Reading Divided Christians>

Sports competition is healthy, when kept in perspective, Pope says

Sports competition is healthy, when kept in perspective, Pope says

May 7, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - In a May 7 meeting with members of an Italian sports association, Pope Francis said that athletic competition is healthy as long as it is kept in a balanced perspective.

The Pope welcomed representatives of the Lazio Sporting Association, which sponsors one of Italy’s leading soccer teams. He recalled that the group was founded at a time when only wealthy athletes had access to the top levels of competition, and the association was designed to give others a chance to compete. The Pope applauded the group for welcoming members for different backgrounds, observing that sports provide equal opportunities for all involved. Continue Reading Sports Competition>

Swiss Catholics call for same-sex partnerships, change in teaching on Communion

Swiss Catholics call for same-sex partnerships, change in teaching on Communion

May 7, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Five months before the upcoming Synod of Bishops, the Swiss Bishops’ Conference has published a report summarizing the results of recent discussions by Swiss Catholics on marriage and family life.

Six thousand persons, the majority of them clergy, catechists, and active parishioners, took part in the discussions, which were held between January and March. Continue Reading Swiss Catholics>

Archbishop Gomez: Junípero Serra's Canonization Is Message for Immigrants

Archbishop Gomez: Junípero Serra's Canonization Is Message for Immigrants

May 7, 2015 - (Zenit) - When Pope Francis canonizes Junípero Serra during his trip to the US this September, he will be sending an important message to immigrants, says Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles.

The prelate said this when he spoke with ZENIT on Saturday from Rome's Pontifical North American College, where a day of reflection was held on the life of the missionary known as the Apostle of California. Continue Reading Archbishop Gomez>

Prayer breakfast speakers urge supplication for religious liberty, family

Prayer breakfast speakers urge supplication for religious liberty, family

May 7, 2015 - (CNA) - Prayer is sorely needed as existential threats face faith, the family, and religious liberty in the U.S., Catholic leaders insisted at a prayer breakfast held in the nation's capital on Thursday.

“The crisis of marriage and family today cannot be separated from a crisis of faith and a crisis of meaning. And so we must pray for our nation and for our families,” said Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. on May 7. Continue Reading Prayer Breakfast Speaker>

Rome prepares for Holy Year of Mercy – with ice cream

Rome prepares for Holy Year of Mercy – with ice cream

May 7, 2015 - (CNA) - Pilgrims and tourists strolling down the streets of Rome in the coming months may come across an unexpected treat – a special “Jubilee of Mercy Ice Cream,” created in honor of the upcoming Holy Year.

Pope Francis has proclaimed the special Holy Year of Mercy, which is to last from Dec. 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, to Nov. 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King. Continue Reading Year of Mercy Ice Cream>

Pope Francis meets the Harlem Globetrotters

Pope Francis meets the Harlem Globetrotters

May 6, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis met on Wednesday with members of the Harlem Globetrotters, the famous basketball team from the United States.

During the encounter, they gave the Holy Father a jersey with the name “Pope Francis” and the number 90.

The Harlem Globetrotters are an exhibition basketball team founded in the 1920’s, featuring African-American players at a time when most sports were segregated.  In later years, they were known for adding comedy and stunts to their routines. They are currently in Italy as part of their 2015 international tour. Continue Reading Harlem Clobetrotters>

13 sainthood causes advance

Pope Francis: marriage inscribed in creation

May 6, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, during which he continued his catechetical reflections on the nature and purpose of marriage in the order of creation and in the Divine plan of salvation. This week, the Holy Father focused specifically on Christian marriage as a Sacrament: an efficacious sign of God’s love for each and every person, for all humanity and for the whole world, a means of grace, and a genuine way of living our common baptismal call to holiness.

“Christian marriage is that sacrament which builds up the community of the Church and of society,”  explained Pope Francis through an interpreter in the English-language synopsis of the main catechesis, which he delivered in Italian. “Marriage has been inscribed in creation’s design by God, and, by his grace, countless Christian men and women have lived married life fully,” he continued. Continue Reading Pope Francis>

13 sainthood causes advance

Pope Francis: marriage inscribed in creation

May 6, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, during which he continued his catechetical reflections on the nature and purpose of marriage in the order of creation and in the Divine plan of salvation. This week, the Holy Father focused specifically on Christian marriage as a Sacrament: an efficacious sign of God’s love for each and every person, for all humanity and for the whole world, a means of grace, and a genuine way of living our common baptismal call to holiness.

“Christian marriage is that sacrament which builds up the community of the Church and of society,”  explained Pope Francis through an interpreter in the English-language synopsis of the main catechesis, which he delivered in Italian. “Marriage has been inscribed in creation’s design by God, and, by his grace, countless Christian men and women have lived married life fully,” he continued. Continue Reading Pope Francis>

13 sainthood causes advance

13 sainthood causes advance

May 6, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - In an audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on May 5, Pope Francis cleared the way for the canonization of three blesseds.

The Pope officially approved the canonization of Blessed Junípero Serra (1713-84) and approved decrees on miracles attributed to the intercession of Blessed Vincenzo Grossi (1845-1917), an Italian priest, and Blessed María de la Purísima (1926-98), the Spanish superior general of the Sisters of the Cross. Continue Reading Causes of sainthood>

German bishops change personnel policy, will allow for gay and divorced/remarried employees

German bishops change personnel policy, will allow for gay and divorced/remarried employees

May 6, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Catholic bishops of Germany have changed their personnel policies, to allow Church employees to keep their jobs even if they are divorced and remarried, or engaged in homosexual partnerships.

The bishops had discussed a change in their personnel rules last November, but chose to delay a vote on the matter until their April meeting. The bishops’ conference said that the change would adapt the Church to “the the multiple changes in legal practice, legislation and society.” Continue Reading German Bishops>

Freed Boko Haram kidnapping victims are undernourished and in shock, says prelate

Freed Boko Haram kidnapping victims are undernourished and in shock, says prelate

May 6, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - More than 300 persons, kidnapped by Boko Haram and freed by the Nigerian army, traveled to camps in Yola.

The city’s bishop told the MISNA news agency that the victims are malnourished and in shock.

“The women and children are undernourished, exhausted and tried with sufferance: they will need to be fed and treated, physically even before physiologically,” said Bishop Stephen Mamza. Continue Reading freed Boko Haram victims>

Boston archdiocese asks court to end vigil at closed parish church

Boston archdiocese asks court to end vigil at closed parish church

May 6, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Archdiocese of Boston has brought trespassing charges against members of a group that has kept vigil in a closed parish church building for more than 10 years.

The “Friends of St. Frances Cabrini” protested the decision to close their parish in the town of Scituate. But the group’s canonical petitions have been rejected by the Vatican. A Norfolk County court is now hearing arguments on whether the group’s continued occupation of the church constitutes trespassing. Continue Reading Boston archdiocese>

What to Expect During Extraordinary Jubilee Year

What to Expect During Extraordinary Jubilee Year

May 5, 2015 - (Zenit) - Prisoners may celebrate their Holy Year with the Pope in St. Peter's Basilica, says the Vatican official collaborating with the Pope for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

At a press conference held this morning at the Holy See Press Office on the Holy Year of Mercy, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, shared new developments with the press on what to expect. Continue Reading Extraordinary Jubilee Year>

Pope Francis supports peace education in schools

Pope Francis supports peace education in schools

May 5, 2015 - (News.va) - The Director of the Vatican Press Office Father Federico Lombardi said Pope Francis is an enthusiastic supporter of peace education in schools.  Father Lombardi was speaking at a press conference in the Vatican on Tuesday held to speak about the “Factory of Peace” project that has been launched by leading educational, political and church figures to help schoolchildren realise the importance of peace and dialogue with others.  The press conference comes just days before a scheduled meeting between Pope Francis and seven thousand children  in the Vatican (on May 11th) to talk about the themes of peace, love, welcome and integration.

Father Lombardi quoted Pope Francis’ words: “We will not change the world unless we change education” and said the Holy Father has reiterated the need to foster a “culture of encounter” which can then build a harmonious and peaceful world. Such an encounter is not “vague and abstract, but an invitation to genuinely meet real people in order to initiate a thorough exchange and therefore a common path to a better society.” Father Lombardi went on to stress that this message of encounter must be repeated over and over again, in order to address world problems such as conflict, hardship, exclusion and the plight of migrants and refugees. He said the Pope is convinced that many of these problems can be traced back to a culture of waste, which itself stems from a selfish attitude. Continue Reading Peace Education in Schools>

Pope Francis to welcome Raul Castro in Vatican

Pope Francis to welcome Raul Castro in Vatican

May 5, 2015 - (News.va) - Pope Francis is to receive the President of Cuba, Raul Castro, this coming Sunday, May 10th, in private audience. The Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, confirmed the audience on Tuesday, in response to questions from journalists.

Few details are known about the audience itself: it will be “strictly private,” according to Fr. Lombardi, SJ, and will take place in the Holy Father’s study inside the Paul VI Hall. Continue Reading Raul Castro>

Wisconsin city bans discrimination against atheists

Wisconsin city bans discrimination against atheists

May 5, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Twenty parishes held Eucharistic adoration and other special prayers for peace in the days following the Baltimore riots, according to the archdiocese.

“People are coming to our parishes looking for such things as food, diapers, clothing, and even cash for basic necessities,” the archdiocese noted. Continue Reading Peace in Baltimore>

Prayers for peace at Baltimore parishes

Prayers for peace at Baltimore parishes

May 5, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Twenty parishes held Eucharistic adoration and other special prayers for peace in the days following the Baltimore riots, according to the archdiocese.

“People are coming to our parishes looking for such things as food, diapers, clothing, and even cash for basic necessities,” the archdiocese noted. Continue Reading Peace in Baltimore>

Pope Francis celebrates Junipero Serra – a 'founding father' of the US

Pope Francis celebrates Junipero Serra – a 'founding father' of the US

May 4, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis marked a “day of reflection” for the soon-to-be canonized Junípero Serra by celebrating Mass at the Pontifical North American College, lauding the 18th century missionary who worked to defend the native people against the abuses of colonialism.

“He was one of the founding fathers of the United States, a saintly example of the Church’s universality and special patron of the Hispanic people of the country,” the Pope said in his May 2 homily. Continue Reading Pontifical North American College>

Unity with Christ will transform your life, Pope says

Unity with Christ will transform your life, Pope says

May 4, 2015 - (CNA) - In his Sunday Regina Coeli address Pope Francis focused on the parable of the vine and the branches, saying that it reveals the importance of uniting oneself to Jesus, who changes how we live.

“Jesus is the life, and through him – like sap in a tree – the love of the same God, of the Holy Spirit, passes to the branches,” the Pope told attendees of his May 3 Regina Coeli address. Continue Reading Unity with Christ>

International Criminal Court should step up against ISIS, report advises

International Criminal Court should step up against ISIS, report advises

May 4, 2015 - (CNA) - The atrocities committed by the Islamic State require a strong global response, including action by the International Criminal Court, said a prominent religious freedom report April 30.

“All nations should care about abuses beyond their borders not only for humanitarian reasons but because what goes on in other nations rarely remains there,” stated the 2015 report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Continue Reading International Criminal Court>

Irish archbishop warns: approval of same-sex marriage will bring intolerance of Christians

Irish archbishop warns: approval of same-sex marriage will bring intolerance of Christians

May 4, 2015 - (CNA) - Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh has warned that religious freedom will be in danger in Ireland if a referendum approving same-sex marriage succeeds. “If society adopts and imposes a new orthodoxy of ‘gender-neutral’ marriage, being defined simply as a union between any two persons-– including a man and a man, or a woman and woman-– then it will become increasingly difficult to speak or teach in public about marriage as being between a man and a woman,” the archbishop said, in a statement released through the Irish bishops’ conference.

Archbishop Martin observed that opponents of the referendum have already been subjected to intolerant criticism, with activists denouncing them as bigots. Continue Reading Irish Archbishop>

Shooting over Muhammad cartoon event draws prayers from Dallas bishop

Shooting over Muhammad cartoon event draws prayers from Dallas bishop

May 4, 2015 - (CNA) - The attempted attack of two gunmen on a Texas venue hosting an event about cartoons depicting Islam’s prophet Muhammad has drawn a prayerful response from Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas.

“I am saddened by what occurred Sunday evening in Garland,” Bishop Farrell said May 4. “I pray for all those involved and offer a special prayer of thanksgiving for our law enforcement officers who put themselves in harm’s way every day to keep the public safe. Certainly, they saved many lives from being taken in this incident.” Continue Reading Shooting in Dallas>

 

Caritas Working to Aid Survivors in Nepal

Caritas Working to Aid Survivors in Nepal

April 27, 2015 - (Zenit) - Catholic charity organization, Caritas Nepal, continues to work round the clock in the wake of Saturday's devastating earthquake.

A 7.9 magnitude earthquake rocked the Asian country. The current death toll is at 3,617 and more than 6,500 wounded.

In an interview with Fides, Fr. Pius Perumana, director of Caritas Nepal, said that the number of dead will continue to rise steadily in the aftermath of the tragic disaster. Continue Reading Survivors in Nepal>

US priests urge Synod to issue clear affirmation of Church teaching on marriage

Scholars: No legal right to 'gay marriage' in Constitution

April 27, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - A growing number of Catholic priests in the US have signed a statement urging the Synod of Bishops to “make a clear and firm proclamation of the Church’s unchanging moral teaching” on marriage.

Following the example set by priests in England and Wales, a small group of priests has organized a campaign to urge a clear re-statement of Church teaching, “so that confusion may be removed.” In a brief, four-paragraph statement, they pledge their own “unwavering fidelity” to the Church’s teaching. Continue Reading Church teaching on marriage>

Scholars: No legal right to 'gay marriage' in Constitution

Scholars: No legal right to 'gay marriage' in Constitution

April 27, 2015 - (CNA) - There is no legal right to “gay marriage” in the Constitution, legal experts asserted, and the Supreme Court should not bypass the democratic process and redefine marriage for all 50 states.

“There’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution that requires all 50 states to redefine marriage,” said Ryan Anderson, Ph.D., the William E. Simon senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Continue Reading No legal right>

Pope Recalls One-Year Anniversary of St. John Paul II's Canonization During Regina Coeli Address

Pope Recalls One-Year Anniversary of St. John Paul II's Canonization During Regina Coeli Address

April 26, 2015 - (Zenit) - Speaking to the faithful today before and after the recitation of the Regina Coeli, the Pope reminded those gathered that this fourth Sunday of Easter is called "Good Shepherd Sunday," which annually invites us to reflect on this role of Jesus, who 'laid down His life for His flock.'

Today also marks the 52nd World Day of Prayer for the Vocations, for which the Holy Father, during Mass this morning in St. Peter's Basilica, ordained new priests for the Diocese of Rome. Continue Reading St. John Paul II>

Pope to new priests: Don’t be a peacock

Pope to new priests: Don’t be a peacock

April 26, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis presided over the ordination of nearly twenty men to the priesthood on Sunday, where he warned them against being vain priests who live first for their own pleasure rather than for God’s.

“A priest is ugly who lives for his own pleasure,” Pope Francis said, adding that such a priest “acts like a peacock.” Continue Reading New Priests>

Pope Francis assures Nepal earthquake survivors of his closeness and prayers

Pope Francis assures Nepal earthquake survivors of his closeness and prayers

April 26, 2015 - (CNA) - Pope Francis led the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the weekly Regina Caeli address in praying for the victims of Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal which has claimed thousands of lives.

“I wish to express my closeness to the populations struck by a powerful earthquake in Nepal and in neighboring countries,” he said, moments after reciting the Marian prayer. “I pray for the victims, for the wounded, and for all those who suffer because of this calamity. May they be sustained by fraternal solidarity.” Continue Reading Prayers for Nepal>

Archbishop Kurtz on March for Marriage: Sacrament is much more than "adult friendship"

Archbishop Kurtz on March for Marriage: Sacrament is much more than "adult friendship"

April 25, 2015 - (CNA) - A diverse crowd of thousands of people from across the U.S. gathered in front of the US Capitol to speak and stand in defense of marriage on Saturday.

“We have too long taken for granted the gift of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky. and President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops told CNA. Continue Reading March for Marriage>

Pope's visit causes twist in pro football schedule

Pope's visit causes twist in pro football schedule

April 23, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The National Football League (NFL) revised its schedule for the 2015 season to accommodate a visit by Pope Francis to Philadelphia.

Philadelphia's Archbishop Charles Chaput wrote to NFL officials, asking them to avoid scheduling a game in Philadelphia during the Pope's visit to the city in September, which will coincide with the 3rd week of the pro-football season. NFL games are ordinarily played on Sundays, and a papal Mass, expected to draw as many as 2 million people, is planned for that day. Continue Reading Pro Football Schedule>

Cardinal George praised at funeral for faith, conviction, courage in suffering

Cardinal George praised at funeral for faith, conviction, courage in suffering

April 23, 2015 - (CNA) - Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George received everything good from God and these gifts must now be passed on by those who mourn him, said the homilist at his funeral on Thursday.

“The cardinal’s faith was simple, direct, without pretense or embarrassment. Spontaneous, bold, profound and even childlike,” Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle said in his homily at the cardinal’s Funeral Mass. Continue Reading Cardinal George Funeral>

Senate reaches compromise on abortion funding in trafficking bill

Senate reaches compromise on abortion funding in trafficking bill

April 23, 2015 - (CNA) - After six weeks of gridlock, members of both parties in the Senate bridged a disagreement over abortion funding in a new human trafficking bill by dividing up funding streams for the new project.

“The fund really is supposed to be about shelters and housing and victims' services and also, of course, law enforcement,” said Amy Klobuchar (D- Minn.), to NPR. Klobuchar has, along with party leaders, contributed to the legislative solution after facing pressure for not bringing the funding controversy to light earlier. Continue Reading Senate Reaches Compromise>

Nuns walk out of San Francisco Catholic high school to protest pro-homosexual program

Nuns walk out of San Francisco Catholic high school to protest pro-homosexual program

April 23, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Five women religious teaching at a Catholic high school outside San Francisco boycotted their own classes last week to protest a program that they regarded as sympathetic toward a gay-rights agenda.

The five nuns, members of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist order, explained in a statement to students that they would not be at school during a “Day of Silence,” which was sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. Continue Reading Nuns Walk Out>

Religious leaders issue open letter on marriage and religious liberty

Religious leaders issue open letter on marriage and religious liberty

April 24, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Over 30 Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and other religious leaders have issued a joint open letter affirming their “commitment to promote and defend marriage—the union of one man and one woman.”

“The state has a compelling interest in maintaining marriage as it has been understood across faiths and cultures for millennia because it has a compelling interest in the well-being of children,” the signatories stated. “Every child has a mother and a father, and every child deserves the opportunity, whenever possible, to be raised by his or her own married mother and father in a stable, loving home.” Continue Reading Open Letter>

Marriage march in DC expects diverse, wide-ranging support

Marriage march in DC expects diverse, wide-ranging support

April 22, 2015 - (CNA) - People from a variety of faiths and backgrounds will unite in Washington, D.C., April 25 to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the third annual March for Marriage.

“It’s going to be a diverse group, and it’s going to highlight how people of different faiths and backgrounds all come together to support the truth, and marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, told CNA. Continue Reading Marriage March>

Pope Francis to Cuba: it’s official!

Pope Francis to Cuba: it’s official!

April 22, 2015 - (CNA) - Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. confirmed to journalists today that Pope Francis will make a pastoral stop in Cuba ahead of his September apostolic voyage to the United States.

The Vatican spokesman made the announcement to journalists April 22 around 2:15p.m. in the Holy See press office. Continue Reading Pope Francis to Cuba>

Pope: our vocation is to care for the covenant of marriage

Pope: our vocation is to care for the covenant of marriage

April 22, 2015 - (News.va) - At his general audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the family, focussing again on the complementarity of men and women.

Pope Francis commented on the second account of the creation of man in Genesis (following his commentary at the previous audience on the first account of man’s creation. The first man, Adam, is created “alone” – and God determines to make for him “a helper suited to him.” When the first woman is presented to the man, he recognizes in her “bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.” Finally there is a mirroring, a reciprocity,” the Pope said. “The woman is not a ‘replica’ of the man; she comes directly from the creative act of God. The image of the ‘rib’ does not in any way express inferiority or subordination, but on the contrary, that man and woman are of the same substance and are complementary.” Continue Reading Covenant of Marriage>

Vatican and UNICEF to work together for disadvantaged youth

Vatican and UNICEF to work together for disadvantaged youth

April 22, 2015 - (News.va) - The Vatican and the United Nations Children’s Fund on Tuesday signed an agreement aimed at working more closely together to reach out to some of the most disadvantaged young people in the world. 

The executive director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, met with Pope Francis at the Casa Santa Marta to sign the agreement of cooperation with Scholas Occurrentes, an organization launched by the Pope during his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires. The initiative uses sports, technology and art to promote social integration and a culture of encounter amongst disadvantaged young people. Continue Reading Vatican and UNICEF>

Spanish film brings story of 'Three Rebel Monks' to life

Spanish film brings story of 'Three Rebel Monks' to life

April 22, 2015 - (CNA) - A group of young adults in Spain are bringing to the big screen a novel about the renewal of the Cistercian Order by three saints who strove to recover the poverty, simplicity and austerity of the early monastic era.

“Three Rebel Monks” tells the story of Saint Robert of Molesmes, Saint Albéric, and Saint Stephen Harding, who overcame the challenges of monasteries that resisted their efforts. Continue Reading Three Rebel Monks>

Eight US Catholic colleges plan commencement honors for anti-Catholic figures

Eight US Catholic colleges plan commencement honors for anti-Catholic figures

April 22, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) has found eight cases in which American Catholic colleges and universities plan commencement honors for public speakers who have taken clear public stands against Church teaching on key moral issues.

Last year CNS—a Virginia-based organization dedicated to protecting Catholic identity in higher education—reported that at least 20 Catholic institutions honored individuals who were at odds with Church teaching. A preliminary list of this year’s offenders includes: Elms College in Massachusetts, Hilbert College in New York, Loyola University in New Orleans, St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, St. Mary’s College in California, St. Peter’s College in New Jersey, and Xavier University in Louisiana. Continue Reading Catholic Colleges>

Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Library To Be Opened in Rome

Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Library To Be Opened in Rome

April 21, 2015 - (Zenit) - The Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Roman Library, dedicated entirely to the life and thought of Ratzinger as scholar and Pope, was officially announced. The study center is located within the Library of the Teutonic College and of the Roman Institute of the Gorres Society.

The announcement was made yesterday by Monsignor Stefan Heid, Director of the Roman Institute, during the presentation of the volume Benedict XVI, Servant of God and of Men, published in Italian by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana and in German by Schnell & Steiner Publishers, for the 10th anniversary of Joseph Ratzinger’s election as Pontiff on April 19, 2005. Continue Reading Benedict XVI Library>

Vatican calls for world anti-trafficking agency

Vatican calls for world anti-trafficking agency

April 21, 2015 - (News.va) - The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS) says it’s outrageous that there is no shared EU responsibility for the refugees trying to reach Italy. The Academy also said there is an urgent need to set up a world anti-trafficking agency. The comments came at a press conference held in the Vatican by leading members of PASS at the end of their 5-day plenary meeting whose theme was “Human Trafficking: Issues Beyond Criminalization. 

Human trafficking is a huge global phenomenon that is worth a staggering 150 billion dollars and experts say the age of the trafficked victims is getting younger and younger. The President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences is Margaret Archer who told journalists that the PASS members discussed how to prevent the crime of human trafficking, by tackling the twin issues of supply and demand for sex workers and forced labour.  She spoke to Susy Hodges. Continue Reading Anti-Trafficking>

After vision of Christ, Nigerian bishop says rosary will bring down Boko Haram

After vision of Christ, Nigerian bishop says rosary will bring down Boko Haram

April 21, 2015 - (CNA) - A Nigerian bishop says that he has seen Christ in a vision and now knows that the rosary is the key to ridding the country of the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram.

Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme says he is being driven by a God-given mandate to lead others in praying the rosary until the extremist group disappears. Continue Reading Power of the Rosary>

Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn

Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn

April 21, 2015 - (Catholic Culture) - Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Missouri, nearly three years after the bishop was found guilty on criminal charges for failing to report sexual abuse.

Bishop Finn was the first American prelate ever convicted on criminal charges in connection with the sex-abuse scandal. His resignation could mark a turning point in the Vatican’s handling of cases in which bishops fail to discipline abusive priests. Continue Reading Bishop Finn>

Archbishop Kurtz Pays Tribute To Former USCCB President Cardinal George

Archbishop Kurtz Pays Tribute To Former USCCB President Cardinal George

April 17, 2015 - (USCCB) - Cardinal Francis E. George, OMI, retired archbishop of Chicago and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) from 2007-2010, was an exemplary servant of the Church, distinguished by his kindness and intellect, said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of USCCB.

Cardinal George, who retired in 2014, died April 17, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 78. Continue Reading Archbishop's Statement>

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

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

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

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

Pope Francis meets with International Catholic Society for Girls

Pope Francis meets with International Catholic Society for Girls

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

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

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

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

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

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

CRS deliberating over vice president in same-sex civil marriage

CRS deliberating over vice president in same-sex civil marriage

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

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

Confirmed priest abuse allegations in single digits for 2014

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

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

 

Apostolic Blessing offered to those who mourn Cardinal George

Apostolic Blessing offered to those who mourn Cardinal George

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anti-Cordileone ad misrepresents Catholicism, archdiocese says

Anti-Cordileone ad misrepresents Catholicism, archdiocese says

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

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

Pope: Doomed migrants were looking for happiness

Pope: Doomed migrants were looking for happiness

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terminally Ill Seminarian Ordained; Gets Phone Call From Pope

Terminally Ill Seminarian Ordained; Gets Phone Call From Pope

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

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

Cardinals discuss Vatican media and bishops' accountability

Cardinals discuss Vatican media and bishops' accountability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Letter Urging Support Of International Religious Freedom Act

USCCB

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

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

iPad donated by Pope Francis auctioned for $30,500

iPad donated by Pope Francis auctioned for $30,500

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

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

Papal trip to South America set for July?

Papal trip to South America set for July?

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

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

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

Pope: Exodus at heart of 2015 World Day for Vocations

Pope: Exodus at heart of 2015 World Day for Vocations

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

Pontifical Academies launch anti-trafficking website

Pontifical Academies launch anti-trafficking website

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

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

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

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

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

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

High-profile Rome exorcist: 'ISIS is Satan'

High-profile Rome exorcist: 'ISIS is Satan'

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope Francis: Vocations are about quality, not quantity

Pope Francis: Vocations are about quality, not quantity

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

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

Congregation for Religious issues Message after Congress

Congregation for Religious issues Message after Congress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faithful Call for Titanic Priest to Be Canonized

Faithful Call for Titanic Priest to Be Canonized

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

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

Ninth Meeting of Council of Cardinals Begins

Ninth Meeting of Council of Cardinals Begins

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

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

Pope Francis: Julian Easter greetings at Regina coeli

Pope Francis: Julian Easter greetings at Regina coeli

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

church

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

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

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

teachers

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

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

March for Marriage: April 25, 2015

March for Marriage

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

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

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

Pope Francis

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

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

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

Cardinal Fernando Filoni

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

What were the key stops on the journey?

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

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

Pope Francis

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

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

Cleveland diocese sets morality standards for high-school teachers

Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio

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

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

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

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

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

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

International Congress on Consecrated Life studies formation

International Congress on Consecrated Life studies formation

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

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

Pope Francis at Audience: children are greatest blessings

Pope Francis at Audience: children are greatest blessings

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

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

English bishops release advice to voters on coming elections

English bishops release advice to voters on coming elections

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

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

Bishops appeal against death penalty in Boston bombing case

Boston Strong

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

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

Kansas becomes first state to ban 'dismemberment abortion'

Ultrasound

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

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

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

Israeli supreme court

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

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

Pope Francis sends rosaries, Easter cakes to Iraqi Christians

Pope Francis

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

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

Britain stands with persecuted Christians, prime minister affirms

British prime minister David Cameron

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

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

President Obama raps 'less than loving' Christians

President Obama

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

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

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

Ordination

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

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

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

Pope Francis

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

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

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

Pope Francis

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

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

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

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

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

Massachusetts bishops oppose death penalty for 'Marathon bomber'

Massachusetts bishops oppose death penalty for 'Marathon bomber'

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

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

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

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia

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

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

Pope at Easter Vigil: Entering the Mystery

Pope at Easter Vigil: Entering the Mystery

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

Sean Patrick Lovett’s report:

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

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

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

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

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

Papal statement mourns killings at Kenyan university

Papal statement mourns killings at Kenyan university

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

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

NBC brings stories of the early Christian Church to network television

NBC brings stories of the early Christian Church to network television

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

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

Canada Celebrates Civil Holiday Honoring John Paul II

Canada Celebrates Civil Holiday Honoring John Paul II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope makes Curial nominations for Education, APSA

Pope makes Curial nominations for Education, APSA

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

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

Nigerian Cardinal: priorities for nation’s new president

Nigerian Cardinal: priorities for nation’s new president

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

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

Hundreds march against San Francisco archbishop’s policy on teachers

Hundreds march against San Francisco archbishop’s policy on teachers

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

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

US Bill Proposal: Facilitate Immigration of Middle Eastern Persecuted Christians

US Bill Proposal: Facilitate Immigration of Middle Eastern Persecuted Christians

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nigerian presidential elections proceed despite Boko Haram attacks

Nigerian presidential elections proceed despite Boko Haram attacks

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

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

Over 500,000 sign petition to free Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi

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

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

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

Zocalo de Mexico

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

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

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

Pregnancy

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

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

US bishops: Stop shameful detention of migrant families

migrant families

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

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

Angelus: Pope prays for Germanwings crash victims

Angelus: Pope prays for Germanwings crash victims

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

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

Pope Francis: Palm Sunday homily

Pope Francis: Palm Sunday homily

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

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

St Peter's Basilica to go dark for Earth Hour

St Peter's Basilica to go dark for Earth Hour

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

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

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

Colomba cake

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

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

Supreme Court rules in favor of pregnancy protection in the workplace

Supreme Court rules in favor of pregnancy protection in the workplace

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

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

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

Death Penalty

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

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

Pope Francis to visit White House Sept. 23

President Barack Obama meets with Pope Francis

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

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

Pope greets homeless in Sistine Chapel: this is your home

Sistine Chapel

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

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

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

Cardinal Gerhard Müller

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

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

Peruvian march for life draws half a million

March for Life Peru

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

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

Survey shows US Catholics feeling stronger ties to faith

Catholic Crowd

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

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

Indiana governor signs religious-freedom legislation

Gov. Mike Pence

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

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

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

Pope Francis

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

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

Cardinal Nichols instructs priests to avoid public debate on Synod issues

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster

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

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

The exhibition of the Holy Shroud of Turin

Holy Shroud of Turin

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

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

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

The Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada

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

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

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

40 Days for Life

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

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

Benedict XVI no longer writing on theology, Archbishop Gänswein reports

Benedict XVI no longer writing on theology, Archbishop Gänswein reports

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

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

Vatican plans 2nd raffle of gifts donated to Pontiff

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

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

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

Pope Francis sends condolences to families of plane crash victims

Pope Francis sends condolences to families of plane crash victims

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

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

Encyclical on environment nearly finished, Vatican spokesman reveals

Father Ciro Benedettini

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

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

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

Cardinal

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

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

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

Community College of Baltimore County

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

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

Doors open to the Vatican Museums for 150 homeless people

Vatican Museums

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praying the Rosary

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cardinal Nichols celebrates Requiem Mass for King Richard III

King Richard III

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

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

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

Religious Liberty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope Calls on Rome's Homeless

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

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

Pope calls on Christians to express their faith in action

Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

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

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

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

Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

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

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

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

Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope Francis meets with religious

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

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

Pope grieves Pakistan bombings, says world hides Christian persecution

Pope Francis Delivers Angelus

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

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

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

St. Patrick

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

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

Pope Francis on his Pontificate to date

Pope Francis

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

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

Pope Francis effect in the US two years on

Pope Francis

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

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

Abortion support blights European Parliament report, critics charge

The European Parliament building in Strasbourg, France

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

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

Catholics supporting Archbishop Cordileone on school identity feel silenced, pressured

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

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

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

CNA exclusive poll: Americans agree – protect religious liberty

religious liberty

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

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

Pope To Preside Over Penitential Celebration on Friday

Pope To Preside Over Penitential Celebration on Friday

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

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

Pope Francis To Celebrate Holy Thursday in Roman Prison

Pope Francis To Celebrate Holy Thursday in Roman Prison

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

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

Date announced for Archbishop Romero’s beatification

Date announced for Archbishop Romero’s beatification

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

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

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

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

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

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

Court backs SNAP, overturns Missouri law against disrupting church services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope Francis

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

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

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

Way of the Cross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bishops Call for Prayer

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

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

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

Milkshake

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

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

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

University of Notre Dame

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

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

USCCB Officials Say Syrian Refugee Crisis At Tipping Point

Syrian Flag

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

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

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

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois

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

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

Vatican cardinal argues against 'liturgical war' approach

Cardinal Robert Sarah

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

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

Cardinal Tauran takes oath as Camerlengo

Cardinal Tauran

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

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

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

Pope Francis

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

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

Vatican declines ransom offer for stolen Michelangelo letters

Vatican's Sistine Chapel

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

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

East and West Before the Mystery of the Trinity

Father Cantalamessa

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

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

Pope Francis: Let us allow Jesus to cleanse our hearts

Pope Francis

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

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

Marginalizing women leads to sterile society, says Pope

Marginalizing women leads to sterile society, says Pope

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

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

Euthanasia supporters in Chile accused of exploiting sick teen

Euthanasia

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

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

Archbishop criticizes Xavier’s selection of honorary degree recipients

Archbishop Gregory Aymond

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

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

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

Big Business

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

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

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

Capital Punishment

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

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

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

Death Penalty

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

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

Pope Francis: We must not abandon the elderly

Elderly

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

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

Cardinal Egan commended to Christ's mercy

Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York

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

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

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

Couple holding Hands

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

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

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

School teacher

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

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

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

Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis

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

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

Pope taps Cordileone’s auxiliary to head San Diego diocese

Bishop Robert W. McElroy

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

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

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

Swiss Guard

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

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

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

Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II

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

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

A global problem: Anti-Christian harassment around the world

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

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

 

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

Catholic Mass

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

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

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

Louis and Zelie Martin

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

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


Pope at Santa Marta: An invitation to do good

Pope at Santa Marta

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

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

The Joy of the Gospel Fills the Heart and Life

Father Cantalamessa

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

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

Pope thanks Churches in North Africa for their courage

North Africa

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

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

Russian foreign minister condemns rising anti-Christianity in the West

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

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

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

Study finds maternal health statistics best where abortion is restricted

maternal health

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

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


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

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

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

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

Forgiveness

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

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

Pope at Santa Marta: Judge not

Pope Francis at Santa Marta

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

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

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

Vatican

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

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

Pope Angelus: Prayers for Syria, Iraq and Venezuela

Pope Francis Angelus

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

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

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

Christians held hostage

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

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

Oil company hit man has Archbishop Cordileone in his sights

Oil Refinery

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

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

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

Credit Jacobson Photography

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

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

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