- United against Moscow
Support shown by Russia’s Orthodox Church for President Putin’s annexation of Crimea has seriously damaged its relationship with other Churches in Ukraine. Historical enmities have been revived as the region’s Christians fear a new era of persecution may be about to unfold
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- Vatican and bishops' conferences urged to consider married priests following signal from Pope Francis
- Pope Francis washes feet of women and non-Catholics at centre for elderly and disabled
- Family life survey findings must be kept under wraps, Vatican cardinal told England and Wales bishops
- Long-standing music director axed as £1m debt forces cutbacks at Hallam Cathedral
- Living in religious community you see the devil at work0 Dame Catherine Wybourne OSB
- Archbishop Welby, is a healthy church always a growing one?1 Christopher Lamb
- A married priesthood would right many wrongs7 Alex Walker
The Church in the World
Pope Francis has made the most dramatic apology for clerical sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church that he has to date.
Marseille Archbishop Georges Pontier, president of the French bishops’ conference, urged fellow bishops to avoid being “manipulated by social movements” when he opened their spring plenary meeting last week.
THE 100,000 faithful at the Palm Sunday Mass in St Peter’s Square last Sunday were challenged by Pope Francis to reflect on the narrative of Christ’s Passion and death, and to ask “Who am I?”, writes Abigail Frymann
The first Catholic priest since the Reformation has been ordained at the Protestant Church of Norway’s Nidaros Cathedral, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
A two-term course for the heads of Christian schools, the first of its kind in the world, has opened at the Church Pedagogical Academy in Vienna (KPH Vienna/Krems), writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Christians in South India have been urged to boycott the Hindu nationalist party, the BJP, in the country’s parliamentary elections, in an unprecedented letter from church leaders including the Archbishop of Hyderabad.
A Catholic leader in Central African Republic (CAR) says the decision to establish a robust UN peacekeeping operation is a “welcome step” towards peace in the country, but that the world needs to act immediately, writes Ellen Teague.
OPPOSING SIDES in the Venezuelan conflict have been urged by Pope Francis to have courage and be open to one another, as they begin peace talks.
LAWYERS representing a man accused of blasphemy in Pakistan’s Punjab province have been subject to death threats inside the courtroom at Multan Central Prison, writes Ellen Teague.
Former Florida governor and potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush has voiced compassion for immigrants who come to America without proper legal authorisation, writes Michael Sean Winters.
A bishop who met with Pope Francis in a rare private audience on 4 April has said in an interview that the two men discussed the issue of the ordination of “proven” married men – viri probati – in a serious and positive way.
A group of French Catholics including a bishop has visited Moscow to discuss the defence of the traditional family with Russian Orthodox Church leaders, drawing criticism in France because of the Ukraine crisis and the nature of Church-State relations in Russia, writes Tom Heneghan.
Pope Francis has invited Erwin Kräutler, Bishop of Xingu in the Brazilian rainforest, to assist him with his next encyclical on the environment, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
THE Catholic bishops of the Holy Land have said that repeated warnings in Western countries about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East “play into the hands of extremists at home and abroad whose aim is to sow prejudice and hatred, setting peoples and religions against one another”.
A Jesuit priest in Syria’s Old City of Homs, who drew international attention to the plight of civilians trapped there, was murdered on Monday, writes Ellen Teague.
Christians and human-rights groups in Pakistan have been stunned by a second blasphemy death sentence for Christians within a week, writes Anto Akkara.
In his homily last Friday at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis warned the faithful to expect persecution for following Christ, writes James Roberts. “All the people whom the Holy Spirit chooses to tell the truth to the People of God suffer persecution,” said Pope Francis
Los Angeles Archbishop José Gómez presided at an interfaith prayer service in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to pray for the passage of immigration reform.
The defeat of the Parti Quebecois (PQ) in Monday’s election is being seen by most observers as partly a rejection of ambitions to lead Quebec to separation through a referendum, writes Peter Kavanagh.
Five young Belgians landed a rare 45-minute television interview with Pope Francis last week as part of a communications project that grew out of their participation in last year’s World Youth Day in Brazil.
Pope Francis will wash the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people when he celebrates Mass on Maundy Thursday evening, the Vatican announced this week, writes Abigail Frymann.
THE MIGRATION Committee of the US bishops’ conference, along with the Pro-Life Committee chairman Cardinal Sean O’Malley, held a Mass at the US-Mexico border on Tuesday to commemorate the hundreds of people each year who perish trying to cross the border. Hundreds of would-be migrants die in the Arizona desert of dehydration or hypothermia or in shootings.
THE ARGENTINIAN media is attributing to the “Francis effect” the decision by the archbishop of the country’s second city to allow the daughter of a lesbian couple to be baptised in his cathedral.
Pope Francis surprised congregants at a penitential service at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Friday last week by going to confession in public.
The head of the Italian bishops’ conference has defended the exemption of bishops from having to report suspected child sex abuse to the police. “The Vatican requires national laws to be respected, and we know that there is no such duty [to report abuse] under Italian law,” Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco said at a meeting in Genoa last Saturday.
The resignation of the Bishop of Limburg following the release of a report on financial mismanagement and impropriety in his diocese has highlighted the need for transparency in all the dioceses, according to the head of the German bishops’ conference, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
The OFFICIAL programme of the pilgrimage of Pope Francis to the Holy Land was released last Thursday. He will visit Jordan, Palestine and Israel, celebrating Mass in all three countries. The visit runs from 24 to 26 May, and commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA held his first meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican last week at which, according to the Vatican statement issued after the meeting, the two discussed “the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection”, writes Michael Sean Winters.
LAST WEEK, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases related to the controversial contraception mandate that has caused bitterness and lawsuits between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration, writes Michael Sean Winters.
POPE FRANCIS emphasised the evangelical gifts of the disabled when he met thousands of members of Catholic organisations for the blind and the deaf last weekend. The Apostolic Movement for the Blind and the Little Mission for the Deaf were meeting together in Rome to reflect on the culture of encounter in the Gospel.
THE TRIAL court of Lahore in Pakistan on 27 March sentenced Sawan Masih, a Catholic, to death for blasphemy.
Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, Archbishop of Santiago, has said that Chile is facing a major challenge as the new Government attempts to implement education reforms.
An offer from the Vatican to send an envoy to act as mediator in the continuing political crisis in Venezuela has been welcomed by both President Nicolás Maduro and the main opposition parties, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal to allow Communion for remarried divorcees was given a negative reception from some of his most powerful confrères at last month’s consistory, according to an Italian journalist.
Cardinal Kurt Koch has welcomed the “new perspectives” Pope Francis has opened for ecumenism, especially the new priority the Pope has given to the dialogue with the Pentecostal Churches, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
The POPE has permanently removed a German bishop following an investigation by the German bishops.
FIVE LAYPEOPLE, four of them women, have been named by Pope Francis to the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
President Barack Obama was set to meet Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican, writes Michael Sean Winters.
Convert or go to hell, Pope Francis has warned members of Italy’s Mafia in an emotional address to victims of gang violence, writes Liz Dodd. Speaking at a prayer vigil at the Church of San Gregorio VII in Rome last week Francis said that gangsters’ “blood-stained money, blood-stained power” would not give them happiness.
A chorus of international protest has forced the Sri Lankan Government to release two Catholic human-rights activists two days after their arbitrary arrest.
Several Catholic priests fled the country’s Black Sea region of Crimea after receiving threatening phone calls and messages from local pro-Russian armed militia and in some cases being abducted for several days, writes Josef Pazderka.
A Catholic charity has given an “exceptional” £400,000 towards the construction of Bahrain’s first Catholic cathedral, which will also serve Catholics in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, where church-building is outlawed.
The relic, pictured right, said to be the Crown of Thorns that was placed on Jesus’ head before the Crucifixion, was brought in procession on 21 March from Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral to the nearby Sainte Chapelle, which was built to house it in 1248, writes Tom Heneghan.
Pope Francis has committed the Vatican to be a founding member of a new and unprecedented interfaith initiative aimed at eradicating human trafficking and the illegal sales of human organs within the next five years.
On being elected the new president of the German bishops’ conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich made his strongest statement to date on the need to allow remarried divorcees to receive Communion.
A seminar sponsored by the French bishops’ conference withdrew its invitation to a feminist philosopher after about 1,100 traditionalist Catholics signed a petition
Pope Francis has given a huge spiritual boost to some 1,600 anti-Mafia
A prominent bishop in Belize has issued a directive to Catholic schools to ban groups that oppose the Church’s pro-life message, writes Jon Stibbs.
Pope Francis has been accused of failing to take appropriate action in a number of cases of clerical child abuse that came to light while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.