23 January 2014 | by Frederick Nzwili

New president gives hope to war-torn country

Amidst continuing violence in the Central African Republic, a Catholic woman was on 20 January elected the interim president of the country, writes Fredrick Nzwili.

Exactly 55 years after Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council and committed the Catholic Church irrevocably to the ecumenical movement, Pope Francis has pointed to secularism as playing a determinant role in the current phase of the push towards Christian unity.

President François Hollande, who was to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican yesterday, said in advance he wanted to talk with the Pope about the war in Syria, peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the plight of Christians in the Middle East

On a visit to Germany, the leading member of the Council of Cardinals (C8) that advises the Pope has sharply criticised the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Cardinal-designate Gerhard Müller.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, chairman of the US Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, delivered a provocative sermon at the Vigil Mass before Wednesday’s annual March for Life, writes Michael Sean Winters.

Private notes and diaries belonging to Pope John Paul II are to be published in Poland, despite a specification in his final will that they should be burned by his former secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.

Senior diplomatic and church figures have cited the effect of Pope Francis on the Irish Government’s decision this week to re-open its Vatican embassy just over two years after ministers decided to close it down.

A leading Catholic poverty charity this week named for the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award has reported a marked increase in demand for its services, writes Christopher Lamb.

The number of diocesan priests in England and Wales fell by more than 15 per cent from 2010 to 2012, according to the latest figures compiled by the Catholic Directory, writes James Macintyre.

Ian Paisley told Tony Blair he was “a fool” when the former Prime Minister informed the Protestant politician that he was going to be received into the Church.

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