- Now the talking really begins
Pope Francis wanted frankness and openness and that is what he got. But there is also the sense that the real debate in the Church about marriage and families is only just starting
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The Church in the World
The hopes of Pope Francis for wide-ranging and open discussions of family situations at the Synod that ended last Sunday have been fulfilled, according to senior cardinals speaking this week.
Speaking at the beatification of Pope Paul VI on Sunday, Pope Francis quoted his predecessor as saying the Church must find ways of responding to the needs of today, writes Hannah Roberts.
On Monday Pope Francis expanded the agenda of a consistory on the causes of saints – including that of Goa native and evangeliser of Sri Lanka, Blessed Joseph Vaz – to include discussion of the ongoing Middle East crisis.
Albania’s Catholic Church has condemned rioting at last week’s European Championship qualifying football match between Albania and Serbia in Belgrade, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
German church leaders have criticised a cross-party bill to allow assisted suicide, which is currently unregulated in the country.
The Italian bishops have condemned the civil registration of gay marriages in Italy as “illegitimate”, writes Hannah Roberts.
The rector-archpriest of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has denounced the idea of charging admission fees for tourists at France’s most famous churches, saying such a fee would make free access for believers all but impossible to ensure, writes Tom Heneghan.
The Catholic Church is educating Myanmar citizens about their democratic rights to ensure that next year’s general election – the second in more than 50 years – is not “worthless”, writes Abigail Frymann Rouch.
Monasteries and convents in Mexico are being crippled by land taxes, according to Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
A document released by the Synod on the Family proposing a dramatic shift in the Church’s pastoral care for relationships outside of marriage has sparked fierce opposition.
One-third of divorced and remarried Catholics who have not had their first marriage annulled receive Communion, even if they have not sought the permission of their priest, a global survey conducted by The Tablet has found, writes Abigail Frymann Rouch.
The award of the Nobel Peace Prize 2014 to Malala Yousafzai “is good news for all of Pakistan and puts the issue of women’s rights and the right to education at the centre of public debate”, the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace said in response to the announcement of the award.
The president of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference has told citizens they have a “moral duty” to remain active in the electoral process, despite the frustration caused by “false promises, corruption and stagnation”, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
Almost 200 church communities have disappeared in Maiduguri Diocese in north-eastern Nigeria since August, with church buildings destroyed by Boko Haram Islamic terrorists, a diocesan official reported, writes Ellen Teague.
A Franciscan priest abducted by Islamist terrorists in Syria on 5 October has been released to house arrest at his convent in the north-eastern village of Knayeh, writes Ellen Teague.
A public hearing has been told that police in New South Wales and church officials may have colluded to prevent the prosecution of individuals who abused children.
The Archbishop of Acapulco has demanded that the authorities take responsibility for uncovering how dozens of students in the town of Iguala disappeared on the way to a protest, saying the case “reaches into the political sphere”.
Kenyan Catholic bishops have strongly opposed a national tetanus vaccination campaign, which the Government launched on 13 October targeting 2.4 million women of child-bearing age, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
Human-rights campaigners have warned that Christians still face “serious discrimination” in Turkey, despite recent government gestures in the run-up to a late-November visit by the Pope, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
Militant Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka are demanding Buddhism become the state religion, ahead of the visit to the country by Pope Francis on 13-14 January next year, writes Hannah Roberts.
The Prime Minister of Vietnam will meet Pope Francis today in an apparent sign of thawing Vatican relations with the Communist world, writes Hannah Roberts.
Pope Francis opened the Synod on the Family this week by urging cardinals and bishops boldly to speak their mind without fear or favour. This led to hopes that the gathering will generate the kind of decision-making that was envisaged by the Second Vatican Council.
THE CHRISTIAN world looks to Rome to stem the tide of Islamic militancy, the Anglican former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, said, writes Liz Dodd.
A Franciscan priest and up to 20 parishioners have been seized by terrorists linked to the Islamist al-Nusra Front at a village in north-western Syria, writes Ellen Teague.
A Catholic priest has identified the location of tons of toxic waste buried by the Mafia after persuading informants to confide in him. In the 1980s and 1990s companies owned by the Neapolitan Camorra mob were paid by big business, mostly in northern Italy, to dispose of the industrial and toxic waste legally.
More than 75,000 people demonstrated in Paris and Bordeaux last Sunday against the “deconstruction of the family”, reviving the protest movement that began last year in opposition to gay marriage, writes Tom Heneghan.
A new civil code hastily approved by the chamber of deputies in Argentina is not supported by the Church, according to a lawyer working on behalf of the bishops, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
Some 80 volunteers blanketed a 400-metre stretch of Parliament Hill, Ottawa, last week, with 100,000 tiny flags, half of them blue, half pink.
Christians driven from their homes by terrorists from the Islamic State (IS) must be given the right to return to their homes and the freedom to practise their religion, the Vatican’s Middle East experts have declared, write Hannah Roberts and Ellen Teague.
The Government has asked the Guatemalan Church to mediate in negotiations between indigenous groups and the mining industry, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
The left-leaning Luxembourg Government is considering ending state subsidies for Churches and religious education in state schools, writes Tom Heneghan.
As tens of thousands of protesters brought Hong Kong business districts to a halt this week, Christian voices were prominent among those demanding democracy in the territory.
Ahead of the Synod on the Family that starts tomorrow, disagreements over the proposals of Cardinal Walter Kasper regarding remarried divorcees and their receiving of Communion have sharpened dramatically, write Christa Pongratz-Lippitt and James Roberts.
Mgr Robert J. Vitillo, delegate to the United Nations in Geneva for Caritas Internationalis, has said that the ebola crisis in Liberia remains extremely grave and continues to disrupt everyday life for most of the population.
A senior Vatican official has warned that Ukraine will need “far-reaching reform” regardless of the “Russian aggression” it faces, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
A Paraguayan bishop removed from his post by the Vatican has given a robust defence of himself, saying Pope Francis “will have to answer to God” for his removal, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
Pope Francis has condemned the way the elderly are often abandoned – especially in richer societies – as a form of “hidden euthanasia”.
Mariam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who escaped a death sentence imposed for refusing to renounce her Christian faith, has announced that she wants to campaign on the issue of religious freedom, writes Ellen Teague.
The Vatican Secretary of State has accused the United Nations of systematically failing to deal with the profound crises the world faces today, writes James Roberts.
During a packed one-day visit to Albania last Sunday, Pope Francis affirmed the achievements of the formerly Communist country, while at the same time using the visit to illustrate how the Gospel should be lived today, and how the world’s worst conflicts need to be addressed.
Pope Francis has reportedly invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to his home in Rome, in a move that could thaw relations between Beijing and the Vatican, writes Hannah Roberts.
A close Muslim friend of Pope Francis has urged the West not to play into the hands of Islamic State militants by believing that their acts of terror are part of a religious war, writes Hannah Roberts.
Two major episcopal appointments are being seen as indicators of the direction of the Catholic Church under Pope Francis and, at the same time, as attempts to win back those alienated from the Church.
A Russian Orthodox leader has bitterly attacked Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church, as a Catholic bishop warned of growing pressure against clergy and laity in the country’s Russian-occupied Crimea region, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
A Belgian serving a life sentence for murder and rape has won the right to an assisted suicide under the country’s euthanasia law, thus widening the scope of the law’s application and setting a precedent that has prompted about 15 more convicts to request the same option.
Christians were prominent in last Sunday’s climate marches around the world, lobbying this week’s meeting of world leaders at a UN climate summit on 23 September in New York.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has called on Lutherans to recognise the failures of the Reformation, as well as the failures of the Catholic Church at the time, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Pope Francis has appointed a commission to study a reform of the process of marriage annulment, writes Hannah Roberts.
The Vatican has placed the laicised papal ambassador Jozef Wesolowski under house arrest as he awaits a criminal trial for sexually abusing young boys, Catholic News Service reports.