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The television version of Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall is the latest account to challenge St Thomas More’s reputation as a courageous defender of the rights of conscience. Was he, in truth, a liberal icon, a religious fanatic or something in between?
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- Vatican downplays warning of Islamic State attack as Pope warns of "shadows and dangers" over mankind
- Papal ambassador sends out critical tweets accusing Pope Francis of being "wrong"
- Francis: archbishops to receive pallium in their dioceses to boost role of local Church
- Church buildings visited by almost half of the public
- Did we have to lower our flags for the Saudi king? Alistair Macdonald-Radcliff
- Churches should be safe places for those with mental health issues Katharine Welby-Roberts
- Greek election mess bears out Pope’s EU prophecy Ben Ryan
The Church in the World
The Pope has warned there are “shadows and dangers” hovering over mankind, as the Vatican faces new threats from Islamic State (IS) militants.
The Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs has published a damning report on the King Abdullah Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna (KAICIID) which has come under fire for refusing to comment on Saudi Arabia’s sentence of 1,000 lashes for Raif Badawi for insulting Islam, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Reeling under the continuing clamour from ruling Hindu nationalists for India to be turned into a “Hindu nation”, Christians gave a cautious welcome to President Pranab Mukherjee’s Republic Day message that insisted: “Religion is a force for unity; we cannot make it a cause of conflict,” writes Anto Akkara.
In a phrase long associated with the civil-rights movement, Cardinal Sean O’Malley told the Pro-Life Vigil Mass in Washington DC that “we shall overcome” in the fight against abortion.
German church leaders and politicians are divided on whether or not to dialogue with the grass- roots Pegida movement whose Monday marches in Dresden attract thousands. Polls have shown that while Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Christian West) followers include xenophobes,
The 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation in 2017 must not be a “self-adulatory Protestant celebration”, the new chairman of German Protestant Churches, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, told the Cologne Archdiocese website, domradio.de, this week, write Christa Pongratz-Lippitt and Hannah Roberts.
The top Vatican official for the synod on the family has tried to seize the ground for the reformers in the run-up to the October Ordinary Synod.
The Argentine bishops have said they are shocked by the death of the lawyer investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural centre in Buenos Aires in which 87 people were killed and 300 injured.
Ukraine’s Catholic bishops have bitterly condemned a new separatist offensive against the eastern city of Mariupol, after weekend rocket attacks left at least 30 civilians dead and many more injured, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
The Catholic Church in Luxembourg has signed an historic agreement with the Grand Duchy’s centre-left Government, phasing in full Church-State separation over the next two decades, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
In a press conference aboard the papal plane on Monday, Pope Francis affirmed publicly that Catholics may have a responsibility to limit the size of their families.
THE Pope used his visit to Sri Lanka’s best-known Marian shrine last week to preach a powerful message of reconcili-ation to a country still recovering from a 25-year civil war, writes Anto Akkara in Madhu.
Hate preacher Anjem Choudary has used the Pope’s words to try to justify killing, writes Hannah Roberts.
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has called on Islam’s spiritual leaders to explain whether or not the use of violence was ever justified in Islam.
Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, has joined in France’s debate about Muslim integration following the Charlie Hebdo attack by saying that politicians’ calls for more secularism missed the point as faith had a place in the public sphere, writes Tom Heneghan.
Orthodox Churches around Europe have vigorously condemned the republication of cartoons depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad by France’s satirical Charlie Hebdo weekly, after eight members of its staff were massacred by militant Islamists, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
Poland’s CHURCH has urged its priests and parishes to do more to maintain their country’s estimated 1,000 Jewish synagogues and cemeteries, still surviving 70 years after the Holocaust.
Pope Francis has dispatched a coadjutor to help an Italian bishop bring order to what has been described as “the most gossiped-about diocese in Italy”.
Churches in Armenia are this year marking the centenary of the 1915 genocide, in which one and a half million Christian Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks.
Republicans in both the House and Senate plan to vote on a measure that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” was set to be passed by the House last Thursday, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalised most abortions nationwide.
ANTWERP BISHOP Johan Bonny has turned down a prize awarded by a Belgian gay group for his saying that the Catholic Church should be more welcoming to homosexuals, cohabitating couples and those who resort to in-vitro fertilisation (See The Tablet, 13 September 2014).
The Venezuelan bishops have rounded on the Government of President Nicolas Maduro, blaming it for the serious economic and social crisis in the country, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
POPE?Francis called for the “pursuit of truth” to heal the divisions behind conflicts as he began the first visit to Sri Lanka by a pope since the end of a decades-long civil war.
In his annual message to the diplomatic corps at the Vatican on Monday, Pope Francis said that, just as the Christmas stories show the “hardened heart of humanity”, so do contemporary events across the globe, writes James Roberts.
Speaking in Rome ahead of Pope Francis’ current visit to the Philippines, which started on Thursday, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila said he hoped the visit would strengthen Filipinos in their missionary calling.
An archbishop who is to receive his red hat next month has called for the laity to be consulted on the appointment of bishops, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
A controversial Saudi-financed centre for interfaith dialogue is being threatened with closure because of Saudi Arabia’s dismal human-rights record, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Pope Francis has appointed Fr Fernand Cheri OFM as an auxiliary in New Orleans. The 62-year-old friar, a native of New Orleans, is the first African American bishop appointed in the United States since 2006.
A Catholic archbishop in Northern Nigeria has accused the West of ignoring the threat and continuing atrocities of the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, writes Ellen Teague.
Russia’s Orthodox Church has unveiled a new “Orthodox financial system” to counteract Western sanctions, as Patriarch Kirill appealed to citizens not to “dramatise” the current decline of the rouble, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
Pope Francis has ripped up the rulebook for the appointment of cardinals, naming 15 new electors and five retired cardinals with scant regard for long-established Vatican conventions.
In the week that Pope Francis emphasised the universality of the Church by naming cardinals from the far-flung corners of the earth, Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Tuesday emphasised that the Holy See’s diplomacy will be stepped up to address the world’s many conflicts, writes James Roberts.
Wednesday’s terrorist attack at the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has been condemned by the Vatican. It described the shootings, which killed 12 and injured seven, as “abominable because it is both an attack against people as well as against freedom of the press”.
At the United Nations, the Vatican’s permanent observer has criticised the current lack of political will to resolve conflicts in the Middle East, and accused the US and Russia of showing little real concern about the growing persecution of Christians.
The Catholic bishop in Russian-occupied Crimea has welcomed the local government’s extension of a deadline for re-registering Catholic communities there, but warned they are still unlikely to meet the conditions required under Russian law, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
Antwerp Bishop Johan Bonny, widely tipped in Belgium as the next Archbishop of Brussels and thus the country’s Primate, has whipped up a storm by calling for church recognition of same-sex relationships, writes Tom Heneghan.
Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Illinois, one of the few African American bishops in the United States, issued a 19-page pastoral letter, “The Racial Divide in the United States: a Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015”, on New Year’s Day.
In a week when the Pope announced a new cardinal in Mexico, where the Church struggles with drug trafficking, people trafficking and dire poverty, statements from church leaders drew attention to the seriousness of these problems, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
Brisbane’s Archbishop Mark Coleridge has called on this year’s Synod on the Family to find new, relevant ways of speaking about the family, writes Mark Brolly.
A Catholic priest in Libya has highlighted the threat posed by armed gangs in the country, a day after the release of 13 Egyptian Coptic Christians seized by gunmen in the northern city of Sirte on 3 January.
Turkey’s Head of Government has promised to ensure full equal rights for non-Muslim religious minorities, but warned that “Islamophobia” in Western Europe could impede concessions, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
In deeply contrasting messages and homilies over the Christmas period, Pope Francis has given a powerful indication of what his primary concerns will be in 2015.
ONE OF the largest Franciscan orders is on the brink of bankruptcy, after tens of millions of dollars disappeared in a massive investment fraud.
AUSTRALIAN BISHOPS who visited refugees from the conflict in Iraq and Syria say those forced from their homes feel abandoned by Western countries, and particularly by Churches in the West.
ThE HOLY SEE and China have taken a significant step towards reconciliation, after the communist state offered to host an exhibition of ancient Chinese Vatican manuscripts originating from the last dynasty (1644-1912).
Catholic Church leaders in the United States enthusiastically greeted President Barack Obama’s decision to push for a normalisation of diplomatic relations with Cuba, after they were severed exactly 54 years ago, on 3 January 1961.
The great majority of German bishops would like to see remarried divorcees being allowed to receive the Sacraments under certain specified circumstances.
The german president of the Commission of European Union bishops’ conferences (Comece) has bitterly criticised current EU policy on refugees and migrants, and urged the Church to mark the Christmas season by demanding greater fairness, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
A Dutch junior minister has failed in his bid to convince a court that a Catholic bishop was not qualified to certify that a convert from Islam was now a believing Christian.
A Mexican priest has been murdered in the state of Guerrero, three months after the disappearance of 43 students in the same area. Fr Gregorio Lopez was kidnapped last week and later found in a shallow grave with a bullet wound to his head.
The BISHOPS’ Conference of England and Wales has accused the publisher HarperCollins of harming peace efforts in the Middle East through its production of atlases that omit Israel from their maps.
Except for Christmas Day Masses, Christians in Sierra Leone observed a quiet Christmas in their homes, after the Government banned all public festivities over concerns they would escalate the ebola epidemic.
Catholic Copts in Egypt celebrated Christmas despite tight security after threatening messages from Islamist extremist groups. Egyptian security forces foiled at least one plot in Minya to attack Coptic Christmas celebrations.
Catholic bishops from across the world have come together to call for an end to fossil fuel use, and increased efforts to secure a global climate treaty. The statement issued from the 20th UN Climate Change Conference (COP20) in Lima, Peru, on 10 December was the first time that bishops from every continent shared their thoughts on climate change in one document.
A controversial visitation into every community of Catholic nuns in the United States has ended with a reconciliatory 5,000-word report, writes Hannah Roberts.
THE HEAD of Lithuania’s Catholic Church has warned that Russia may be preparing to attack his country, using “new forms of warfare”, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
The regular Monday evening marches through Dresden organised by the “Association of Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of Western Christianity”, or Pegida, reached a new peak of 15,000 demonstrators on 15 December.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has said his Church wants closer dialogue with the Catholic Church to help the Vatican speak out against widespread secularisation in western countries, write Tom Heneghan and Jonathan Luxmoore.
Hell had touched Sydney with the 16-hour siege in a city cafe this week, Archbishop Anthony Fisher said at a Mass only hours after the crisis ended with the deaths of two hostages and the gunman.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was unable to hold back her tears as she received the final report of the National Truth Commission on 10 December 2014, writes Francis McDonagh.
Bishop Joseph Tyson used the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe to preach a fiery sermon on the plight of immigrants, writes Michael Sean Winters.
President François Hollande has ruled out allowing euthanasia in France by accepting a report by MPs proposing only small changes to current legislation, writes Tom Heneghan. But church experts said the proposals come quite close to doctor-assisted suicide.
Brussels Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, head of the country’s bishops’ conference, set off speculation about his successor by telling an interviewer he wanted to step down when he turns 75 next May, writes Tom Heneghan.
The Vatican has instructed all bishops’ conferences to initiate wide-ranging consultations and discussions on matters arising from October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family, in preparation for the Ordinary Synod that will take place in October 2015.
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has said that some participants’ responses at October’s Extraordi-nary Synod on the Family were characterised by fear, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
A French court has stirred up a hornet’s nest by ordering a regional government office to take down the Christmas crib it set up in its lobby as usual this Advent.
Cardinal PHILIPPE Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyons, has led a second Catholic delegation to Irbil in Iraqi Kurdistan to visit Christians who took refuge there from Islamic State (IS) militants who seized their cities of Mosul and Qaraqosh last summer, writes Tom Heneghan.
FAITH LEADERS have pledged to make joint visits to regions experiencing violent conflicts and the refugee camps that they precipitate, writes Hannah Roberts.
Pope Francis has praised the role of women in theology, saying that women have a “feminine genius” that helps them discern “unexplored aspects of the unfathomable mystery of Christ”.
Nine out of 10 Italian doctors are refusing to carry out abortions, pro-abortion campaigners say, writes Hannah Roberts.
A row has erupted between the Diocese of Córdoba and local government officials over whether the city’s famous cathedral should retain a reference to its Islamic past.
The Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi has denied that there was any collaboration among cardinals in the run-up to the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio at the papal conclave last year, writes James Roberts.
A future meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill has not been ruled out by Russia’s Orthodox Church, which will first insist on steps to tackle inter-church tensions, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
Pope Emeritus Benedict has denied that he sought to influence the Synod on the Family by excising a passage about Communion for remarried Catholics in a new volume of his collected works, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Poland’s Catholic Church has attacked state broadcasting directors for allowing TV channels to run a brief programme defending the rights of homosexuals, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
POPE FRANCIS called with renewed urgency for full unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches last weekend during a visit to Turkey that set ecumenism firmly within the context of Christianity in the Middle East.
In a wide-ranging interview with Israel’s ynetnews.com last weekend, his first with Israeli media, Pope Francis spoke of his distress over the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and his hatred of anti-Semitism, writes James Roberts.
The cardinal responsible for overseeing Pope Francis’ reform of the Roman Curia has confirmed that two new congregations will be set up and suggested that lay people could be appointed to lead some of Rome’s dicasteries.
Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and leaders from other major religions have pledged to use their faiths to eradicate modern slavery by 2020.
MONKS AND?NUNS have been ordered by Pope Francis to throw open empty monasteries and convents to migrants and the poor.
Western Governments are partly to blame for the horrors being carried out by Islamic State (IS) terrorists, a Syrian priest based in London has claimed.
In Kenya and Nigeria, Islamist killings have risen in the last few days, with Somalia’s al-Shabaab and Boko Haram respectively carrying out deadly massacres in the two countries, writes Fredrick Nzwili. Church leaders fear Christmas celebrations in Muslim-majority regions will be vulnerable to attack.
A revision of an essay in the fourth volume of the Collected Works of Pope Emeritus Benedict, recently released in German, has ignited a controversy over the removal of a passage about Communion for remarried divorcees, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah has been appointed head of the Vatican congregation that determines liturgical practices in the Church.
THE POPE has set out his vision for a revitalised Europe in which he emphasises the dignity of human life, of work, of migrants and the importance of protecting the environment, writes Abigail Frymann Rouch.
The huge Christmas tree outside Notre Dame cathedral in Paris this year has been given by Russia, highlighting the role of religious contacts in its diplomacy.
President Barack Obama has signed an executive order that will permit as many as 5 million undocumented migrants to “come out of the shadows” and avoid the prospect of deportation should they be apprehended by police, writes Michael Sean Winters.
Pope Francis has said that the Church must be “a mother for migrants”, writes Hannah Roberts.
Three priests and a teacher have been arrested in connection with a sex-abuse scandal in Granada.
Churches in north-eastern Kenya have been put under tight security, and Christians are fleeing the region after the killing of 28 Christians by Somalia’s Islamist al-Shabaab terrorists last Saturday.
In Northern Nigeria, civilians are taking up arms to fight the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, in the face of the army’s inability to protect local populations, according to Fr John Bakeni, secretary of Maiduguri diocese, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara from southern Kerala state, popular for his spiritual leadership and initiatives for social reforms, has drawn glowing tributes even from Hindu leaders on his canonisation on 23 November at the Vatican, writes Anto Akkara.
The breakdown of marriage and family has led to an “ecological” human crisis that is harming the poor above all, Pope Francis warned on Monday. In a brief address opening a Vatican-hosted interreligious colloquium in support of the concept of male-female complementarity,
Pope Francis has given the green light for showers for homeless people to be installed under the colonnades of St Peter’s Square, writes Hannah Roberts.
Pope Francis has approved lifting the ban on the ordination of married men to the priesthood in Eastern Catholic Churches outside their traditional territories, including in the United States, Canada and Australia.
Pope Francis has described last week’s violent attacks on refugees in Italy as a “social emergency”.
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy has caused an uproar in his conservative UMP party by saying he would repeal France’s same-sex marriage law if elected again in 2017, writes Tom Heneghan.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), writing after last month’s Synod on the Family, has stated that church laws on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics remain in force, writes Tom Heneghan.
A survey published last week by the Washington DC-based Pew Research Center provides new evidence of the decline of Roman Catholicism in Latin America.
The Catholic Church in India has joined the chorus of condemnation over shocking deaths from botched sterilisation surgeries at a health camp organised by the health department of Chhattisgarh state in central India, writes Anto Akkara.
Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral was packed to capacity on consecutive days to welcome Archbishop Blase Cupich as the city’s ninth archbishop.
Boston’s Cardinal Seán O’Malley told the CBS news programme 60 Minutes that the Vatican must “urgently address” the case of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St Joseph, the only US bishop convicted of failing to report clergy sex abuse to the authorities.
Pope Francis wrote to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott before last weekend’s G20 summit in Brisbane that world leaders must not forget that many lives were at stake behind their discussions, writes Mark Brolly.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher has apologised for sexual abuse and the failure of some church leaders to respond to it while expressing hopes for a humbler, more compassionate and rejuvenated Catholicism at his installation as ninth Archbishop of Sydney.
Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Paul Gallagher as the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, a post equivalent to that of foreign minister. He will be the first native English speaker to hold the position.
Catholic Bishops in Kenya have reiterated their opposition to a controversial tetanus vaccine campaign, claiming their independent tests have proved the doses contain a hormone “that causes infertility and multiple miscarriages”, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
Pope Francis has drawn up plans to make the appeals process for paedophile priests more efficient, writes Hannah Roberts.
In commemorations marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Cardinal Reinhard Marx recalled the importance of Pope St John Paul II’s groundbreaking fight for freedom in Poland.
Prompted by the highly publicised assisted suicide of an American woman on 1 November, Germany’s bishops have reiterated their call on the German Government to forbid assisted suicide by law, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
In Vienna for the fiftieth anniversary of the Pro Oriente Foundation, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I; the Coptic Pope-Patriarch, Tawadros II; and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, chairman of the Pro-Oriente curatorium, called on all Christian Churches to raise their voices for the persecuted Christians in the Middle East, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
The President of the European Parliament has welcomed the Pope’s planned visit on 25 November, which will be the first by a pontiff since John Paul II addressed MEPs in 1988, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
France’s bishops ended their autumn plenary session in Lourdes on 9 November without laying out guidance for their dioceses on how to drive the discussion on family issues launched at last month’s Synod of Bishops, writes Tom Heneghan.
Tented Iraqi refugee camps have been damaged by torrential wind and rain. Many of the 10,000 Christian families who fled Mosul and the Nineveh Plain before the barbaric offensive of jihadist militants, and found refuge in Kurdistan, face a freezing winter in tents.
Cardinal Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, has called for the international community to pressurise the Government of Pakistan to review its blasphemy law after a young Christian couple were burned alive by a mob in Punjab Province on 4 November, writes Ellen Teague.
Kenneth Gavin, director of communications at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, has issued a statement clarifying remarks made by Archbishop Charles Chaput in the context of the Synod on the Family, in which he said “confusion is of the Devil”, writes James Roberts.
Just one month after the closing of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, Pope Francis is to open a major inter-religious conference in Rome dedicated to traditional marriage.
Republicans took control of the US Senate following the mid-term elections on Tuesday, picking up seats in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia, writes Michael Sean Winters.
Caritas Internationalis led a meeting in Rome on Tuesday to discuss how best to coordinate the response from across the world to the ebola crisis in West Africa, that has claimed 5,000 lives with 13,000 people infected.
Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the traditionalist Society of St Pius X (SSPX), has said nothing good could come of the Synod on the Family, whose first session ended on 19 October, writes Tom Heneghan.
Austria’s church-owned Kathpress news agency has questioned Vatican data in the run-up to the Pope’s late November visit to Turkey, and said the country could be home to many more Catholics than official figures suggest, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said she views her Christian faith as “fundamentally important” in a range of policy areas, adding that it also led her to oppose practices such as embryo research and euthanasia, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
More and more churches and synagogues are being used for non-religious purposes or even being pulled down, according to a group dedicated to conserving them, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Nobel prizewinner Desmond Tutu, the emeritus Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, has said the world must stop burning fossil fuels “as a matter of urgency”, writes Ellen Teague.
A parish priest in Switzerland has blessed a lesbian couple in his parish church in a service closely resembling a marriage ceremony, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
A young Christian couple, parents of three children, were beaten up and burned alive at a brick kiln in the Punjab province on the morning of 4 November for allegedly burning pages of the Qur’an. The mother was pregnant with her fourth child.
A Catholic priest in northern Nigeria has questioned the determination of the country’s Government to fight the Islamist group Boko Haram, after militants carried out fresh abductions in the troubled region.
TWO AMERICAN bishops have criticised last month’s Synod on the Family for sending out mixed messages, while European bishops looked forward to involving laity in the discussions begun there, write Michael Sean Winters and Christa Pongraz-Lippitt.
The president of the Canadian bishops’ conference has said the Church will continue its dialogue with Muslim communities in the wake of two attacks by suspected Islamist terrorists last week in which two Canadian soldiers died.
DESPITE THE earlier elimination of the presidential candidate Marina Silva, a Pentecostal, the so-called “Protestant bloc” increased its representation to 72 out of a total of 513 deputies in the second round of Brazil’s presidential elections last Sunday.
Dialogue between different religions in the interests of peace may put true faith at risk, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI warned this week in a rare public message.
Offers by corporate giants Apple and Facebook to pay for female employees to have their eggs frozen so that they focus on their careers have been criticised by the German Church.
POPE FRANCIS has called for abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, which he called a “hidden” death sentence, writes Hannah Roberts. And he denounced what he called a “penal populism” that metes out retribution for victims instead of pursuing true justice.
CHURCHES ACROSS West Africa have introduced special measures to help prevent Catholics contracting ebola at Mass. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are worst affected by the epidemic, which has claimed almost 5,000 lives.
Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, secretary of Pope Francis’ advisory council of cardinals, has told priests in his diocese that Catholics attending Masses by the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) or receiving sacraments from its priests would be automatically excommunicated because the society has no canonical status, writes Tom Heneghan.
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.
In a rare celebration of marriages by a pope, Francis presided over the vows of 20 couples from the Rome Diocese, at St Peter’s last Sunday.
Hopes that the forthcoming Synod on the Family will make radical changes to doctrine may be premature, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth warned this week, writes Joanna Moorhead.
Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) has issued a plea to voters in the state election in November to lobby candidates about families that are struggling to make ends meet, and those on the margins of society, writes Mark Brolly.
During a visit to First World War graves last weekend, Pope Francis said the eight million lives lost in the conflict showed that “war is folly”. “War ruins everything, even bonds between brothers.
Some 10,000 Iraqi Christians have applied for visas at the French Consulate in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan region where they have taken refuge from Islamic State militants who drove them from their homes, according to the France-based Association for Support of Minorities of the East (AEMO).
Conflict in Iraq, Syria and Gaza has led to the greatest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, the head of the Catholic Church’s relief and development agencies said, writes Abigail Frymann.
A Catholic priest serving in one of the parishes in the Crimean peninsula, occupied by Russian forces, will have to leave his post in October because the authorities will not renew his residence permit, writes Josef Pazderka.
The diocese of Buffalo, New York, became the latest to implement a “Catholics Come Home” programme designed to bring lapsed Catholics back to the practice of the faith.
Police in Burundi say they are holding the killer of three nuns who were murdered in their convent near the capital, Bujumbura, but nuns and others are questioning the police version of events, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
“The number of Catholics in some of our dioceses has tripled or even quadrupled”, the secretary of the Nordic bishops’ conference, Sr Anna Mirijam Kaschner CPS, told journalists at the Hamburg Diocese’s annual meeting on 10 September, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Catholics “must not be afraid of change in the Church”, Francis has warned, as speculation mounts on the question of reforms in the lead-up to next month’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family.
Pope Francis may visit Turkey on 29-30 November with the aims of strengthening links with the Orthodox Church’s Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, and of supporting the cause of peace in the region, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
Six Christian patriarchs from the Middle East joined scholars, politicians and activists this week at the In Defense of Christians (IDC) Inaugural Summit in Washington DC.
The Bishops’ conference of Switzerland insists that all Muslim organisations in the country publicly condemn the persecution of Christians and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
ope Francis has shown apparent support for a proposal by former Israeli President Shimon Peres for a United Religions organisation who said it is “high time religious leaders cooperate to resolve conflicts.”
Three elderly Catholic nuns have been savagely murdered in their convent in Burundi for motives that have not yet been explained.
ON TUESDAY, the Vatican announced 26 papally appointed voting members of the 5-19 October Synod of Bishops on the Family, writes James Roberts.
Leaders of the Catholic Church in north-eastern Nigeria fear the Government is losing its grip on the region where the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram has declared an “Islamic caliphate”, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
Just one month before the start of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, the Vatican Secretary of State has indicated that the main focus of the synod may not be the reforms that some in the Church hope for, but the legal and cultural threats to the family itself.
The Pope’s most senior adviser on refugees has compared attacks on Christians in Iraq to the Holocaust, write Hannah Roberts and Jonathan Luxmoore.
On his first official visit abroad since he was elected president of the German bishops’ conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx and a delegation from the German Church spent three days in Poland commemorating with Polish bishops a number of key moments of the Second World War.
The official publication of the Archdiocese of Sydney, The Catholic Weekly, has refused to publish advertisements for an address by former Irish President Mary McAleese.
Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, pictured right, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW), is to leave the Roman Curia and return to his native Diocese of Valencia as archbishop, writes James Roberts.
Deaths by euthanasia rose by 55 per cent in Belgium in 2012-13 compared to the previous two-year reporting period, the federal commission monitoring compliance with the law said, writes Tom Heneghan.
Dutch seminary rectors have been discussing the consolidation of the country’s six seminaries into one or two after a newspaper reported there were only 76 seminarians, two-thirds coming from abroad, writes Tom Heneghan.
Poland’s Catholic bishops have warned their country faces a threat from events in neighbouring Ukraine, as church representatives in the war-torn region highlighted the plight of local Catholics.
Russian officials have approved plans for a major “Basilica of new martyrs and confessors” on the site of Moscow’s notorious Lubyanka prison, which was used by the Soviet Union’s NKVD and KGB secret police, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
The group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS) has carried out ethnic cleansing on a vast scale in northern Iraq, Amnesty International found in a report released this week entitled “The Islamic State’s Systematic Targeting of Minorities”, writes James Roberts.
The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, says that the Church is being persecuted in two eastern Ukrainian cities in which pro-Russian separatists have been very active, writes Ellen Teague.
Pope Francis has chosen the theme of slavery for the 2015 World Day of Peace, writes Hannah Roberts.
Following the rape of a 12-year-old Christian girl in Lahore, a lawyer supporting her family has pointed out that in Pakistan “rape is used as an instrument of arbitrary power over Christian girls from poor backgrounds”.
Pope Francis is more of a prophet than a revolutionary who will introduce reforms but these may not be reforms Western society would like to see, according to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
On his return journey from his visit to Korea this week, Pope Francis lamented the growing number of conflicts across the globe, saying that we “are now in World War III”. He told journalists on board the papal plane: “Today we are in a world at war everywhere.
The president of the German bishops’ conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has appealed to Muslim leaders publicly to condemn Islamic terror in Iraq and to declare that violence in the name of God is never justified, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
On his five-day visit to Korea, Pope Francis “preached” on the country’s habits of conspicuous consumption and acquisitiveness through his self-effacing demeanour and the humble style of his travel arrangements.
The father of one of the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster was baptised by Pope Francis during the Pope’s five-day visit to Korea, writes Hannah Roberts.
A Josephite sister was arrested at one of several sit-ins by Christians and members of other faiths at MPs’ offices. The protesters demanded changes to Australia’s asylum-seeker detention policies, writes Mark Brolly.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) wrapped up its annual meeting in Nashville, affirming its commitment to continued dialogue with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and Archbishop Peter Sartain, the Vatican-appointed overseer of the organisation.
The first half of 2014 saw a further upsurge of people leaving both the Catholic and Protestant Churches in Germany, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
A Sacred Heart priest is under investigation after allegedly placing babies for illegal adoption in the 1970s and 1980s, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
In a demonstration affirming their determination to live side by side, Jordanian Muslims and Christians walked hand in hand in a march last Saturday, to denounce the violence in Gaza, Iraq and the entire region.
One of the Vatican’s foremost Middle East experts has been sent to Iraq to help thousands of Christians driven from their homes by terrorists of the newly established Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis).
The Vatican’s nuncio to Ukraine has warned that the Catholic presence in the country could be sharply reduced in the face of Russian “persecution”, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
Cardinal John Onaiyekan has recommended receiving Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue, as a precaution against the ebola virus that has spread to Nigeria, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
Bereaved relatives of the victims of this year’s Seoul ferry tragedy have occupied a square in the Korean capital where Pope Francis is scheduled to celebrate Mass this weekend.
The Catholic Church in Western Australia has joined an ecumenical and community approach to the Australian Government to move asylum-seeker families from controversial offshore detention centres to the Australian mainland.
On the eve of his departure for Bogotá to address the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (Wacom), Cardinal Christoph Schönborn called for compassion in the face of family conflicts, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is holding its annual meeting this week in Nashville, its first such gathering since a meeting with Vatican officials in April at which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith insisted the group pre-clear its speakers’ lists, writes Michael Sean Winters.
The situation of Coptic Christians in Egypt has improved since the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A leader of the Pentecostal Churches in Germany has played down the significance of the recent apology made by Pope Francis to Pentecostals, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Russia’s Orthodox Church has welcomed President Vladimir Putin’s ban on Western food imports as a chance to spurn “Western consumer standards”, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
MORE RESTRAINT is being urged by the Vatican on the faithful when offering the sign of peace during Mass.
The Vatican has written to all the embassies accredited to the Holy See to urge the governments they represent to strive harder to resolve the crisis of conflict in the Middle East, write Hannah Roberts and Tom Heneghan.
GERMAN BISHOPS have marked the centenary of the start of the First World War by calling for a ban on arms exports from their country for use in conflict.
A SOUTH AMERICAN diocese at the centre of an investigation by the Vatican has strongly defended its bishop over his handling of abuse allegations concerning his new vicar general, write Jon Stibbs and Isabel de Bertodano.
POPE FRANCIS has lifted the suspension of a Nicaraguan priest imposed in the 1980s after he refused to give up his position in the country’s leftist revolutionary Government.
A couple inspired by Pope Francis are to launch their own search-and-rescue operation for migrants at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean.
POPE FRANCIS’ visit to South Korea “will help to launch a new reconciliation” between the two Koreas, said the president of the country’s bishops’ conference.
THE HEAD of Albania’s Catholic Church says he hopes that Pope Francis’ one-day visit on 21 September will bring a “new freshness” to Christian life in the Balkan country, where all religious activity was once outlawed under Communist rule, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
SWISS BISHOPS have urged Catholics to resist xenophobia, saying that foreign bankers posed more of a threat than low-paid migrant workers, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Lyons’ Cardinal Philippe Barbarin led a French church delegation to Kurdistan this week to “express their solidarity in flesh and blood” with Iraqi Christians expelled from Mosul by the Islamic State radicals.
Christians have become the most persecuted group of people in the world, according to a major study of 14 years of reports, writes Abigail Frymann Rouch.
The Pope’s 14-18 August visit to South Korea has attracted controversy, after plans were revealed for Francis to visit the country’s biggest care home, write Hannah Roberts and Ellen Teague.
Pope Francis wants to reform the papacy to allow greater unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, a newly appointed senior adviser has claimed.
ON MONDAY, Francis became the first Pope to visit a Pentecostal church, and apologised for fascist-era denunciations of Pentecostals by Catholics, writes Abigail Frymann Rouch.
The chairman of the German Protestant Church (EKD), Dr Nikolaus Schneider, whose wife Anne has cancer, has publicly stated that if she decides in favour of assisted suicide, he will accompany her to Switzerland to help her end her life.
DURING?HIS weekly Vatican address last Sunday, Pope Francis ?made an unscripted and urgent plea for peace, referring particularly to the conflicts in Gaza, Iraq and Ukraine.
Congressman Paul Ryan, who ran unsuccessfully for vice president in 2012, unveiled a new anti-poverty agenda in a speech in Washington DC last week, writes Michael Sean Winters.
The Christian mother who was put on death row in Sudan for refusing to renounce her faith said that she “knew God would not abandon her” when she arrived in Rome last week, writes Hannah Roberts.
The last Christians in Mosul, Iraq’s second city, fled last weekend with little more than the clothes they were wearing, driven out by Islamist terrorists. Mosul is one of the most ancient centres of Christian civilisation.
Survivors of sexual abuse have called for the resignation of the Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, after a new book revealed details of his role in the cover-up concerning a priest who abused an altar server, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
The nine bishops of the greater Paris region condemned anti-Semitic violence that occurred during pro-Palestinian protests last weekend against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
Pope Francis has called for the perpetrators of a bomb attack on a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires to be brought to justice.
The Russian Orthodox Church has said it was “alarmed and disappointed” by the Church of England’s decision to allow women to be ordained bishops, writes Tom Heneghan.
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ruled that a state’s refusal to legalise same-sex marriage does not violate Europe’s rights convention, writes Tom Heneghan.
Australian Catholics have mourned their own losses and the deaths of other passengers on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, that was brought down over Ukraine last week, killing all 298 people on board.
President Barack Obama has issued a new rule forbidding agencies that contract with the federal Government from discriminating against gays and lesbians in their hiring practices, writes Michael Sean Winters.
The breakaway Anglican bishop who forged a close friendship with Pope Francis and was due to join the Pope at a meeting in Italy on Monday has died in hospital after his motorcycle was in collision with a car near his home in south-west England, writes Ruth Gledhill.
The Church of England’s decision to ordain women bishops has put a new burden on ecumenical relations, leading figures have said.
Pope Francis has reportedly claimed that about one in every 50 Catholic priests is a paedophile, writes Hannah Roberts.
A Somali Muslim restaurant in Nairobi is seeking 88 million shillings (£630,000) in compensation from the Kenyan Catholic Church, for its alleged eviction from a church building in the capital, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
Pope Francis has described the plight of child migrants travelling to the United States as a humanitarian emergency and called for urgent measures to help them.
The Catholic University of La Plata has said it wholeheartedly supports Archbishop Héctor Aguer who condemned as “abominable” the filming of a gay video in the city’s cathedral, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
The Venezuelan bishops have rejected accusations that they are acting politically in demanding the release of dozens of students and activists who are in jail, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
THE GOVERNOR of the Bank of England and Pope Francis both stressed this week that the human person must be at the centre of the global economy.
The Diocese of Baton Rouge has accused Louisiana’s Supreme Court of “an attack on the seal of confession”. The court reinstated a lower court order, compelling a priest to testify about what a child told him in the confessional, writes Michael Sean Winters.
A bitter clash between the Catholic Church and the Lutherans in Germany is threatening the planned joint celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
The news that Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, currently Archbishop of Berlin, to take over the Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany’s largest and wealthiest diocese, has been warmly welcomed, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
The Sudanese Government says it will not allow construction of new churches in the country, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
In the latest of Pope Francis’ sweeping reforms to Vatican finances, he has appointed a new board to the scandal-plagued Vatican bank (IOR) with French financier Jean-Baptiste de Franssu as president.
LORD (CHRIS) PATTEN of Barnes has been appointed president of a new committee that will propose reforms to Vatican media outlets.
An Argentinian court has found two former members of the 1976-83 military junta, Luciano Benjamín Menéndez and Luis Fernando Estrella, guilty of the murder of Bishop Enrique Angelelli of La Rioja on 4 August 1976.
A diocese in Paraguay is to receive an apostolic visitation as part of an investigation into the activities of a priest accused of sex abuse, writes Isabel de Bertodano
A leading American bishop has warned the Obama Administration it should not try to define who the beneficiaries of the Bill of Rights are.
The Obama Administration’s plan to ban corporations that contract with the federal Government from discriminating against gays and lesbians is meeting religious resistance.
The Archdiocese of St Paul, Minnesota, announced that it has hired a prominent law firm to conduct an independent investigation into charges that Archbishop John Nienstedt engaged in inappropriate sexual activity, writes Michael Sean Winters.
A religious procession performed a “salute” to a Mafia godfather in southern Italy despite Pope Francis’ condemnation of the Mob.
Three Eastern Catholic patriarchs and two Orthodox patriarchs issued a statement on 1 July urging “the world to prevent Iraq’s disintegration and save its people from the scourge of a devastating war”.
Archbishop Georges Pontier, president of the French Bishops’ Conference, has urged French Catholics to support persecuted Christians in the Middle East, by both sending contributions for their communities there and offering support for Christian refugees who arrive in France.
THE MAIN AIM of Pope Francis’ pontificate is to draw the world’s attention to the poor and to change the global structures that lead to poverty, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said in a long interview last week.
POPE FRANCIS has attributed the declining birthrate in Europe to the economic crisis as much as to the “culture of hedonism and selfishness”.
THE FUTURE leader of the Church in Ireland has said he does not believe change in the Church’s fundamental teachings on marriage and human sexuality are likely to follow the extraordinary synod on the family in October.
THE GOVERNMENT of the Dominican Republic has welcomed the news that a former Vatican nuncio accused of child abuse is to be laicised, adding that it will not seek his extradition.
THE GERMAN Church should learn from the global perspective of the synod document on the family, the president of the German bishops’ conference claimed this week, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
DURING A conference in Sarajevo discussing interreligious violence, Cardinal Vinko Puljic stated that Catholics face great persecution in Bosnia-Herzogovina because of a severe lack of “ethnic equality”, writes James Roberts.
ONE OF THE leaders of the Communion and Liberation movement has been banished to a life of penitence and prayer after being found guilty under canon law of child abuse.
A SPECIAL pontifical supervisory “assistant” to the Legionaries of Christ was expected to be announced on Thursday.
CATHOLIC CHURCH officials in northern Nigeria’s Diocese of Maiduguri are warning of “genocide” against the Christian minority in the region, where daily attacks, killings and abductions by Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram are continuing unabated.
AS THE jihadist terrorist group Isis claimed last Monday that it is establishing a caliphate or Islamic state on the territories it controls in Iraq and Syria, the Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul appealed to international politicians and organisations to “save us!”
THE US SUPREME Court on Tuesday ruled 5-4 that companies with religious convictions can be exempt from the requirement that employers provide insurance coverage for contraception.
The newly installed Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich, met with President Barack Obama last week when the president visited the city for an immigration rally. The brief meeting occurred before the rally, writes Michael Sean Winters.
The reality of the lives of Catholics across the world is revealed this week in the working document for the forthcoming Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and the Family.
The General Synod of the Church of England is expected to give the go-ahead for women bishops next month in a decision described by William Fittall, the secretary general, as “the most important for the past 20 years”, writes Ruth Gledhill.
Pope Francis last week launched an attack on the Italian Mafia, saying that mobsters adore evil and are excommunicated.
Pope Francis last week launched an attack on the Italian Mafia, saying that mobsters adore evil and are excommunicated.
At the march for Marriage rally in Washington DC last Thursday, the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, delivered a pro-marriage speech defying calls for him to not participate from the Catholic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and pro-gay groups.
Toronto Archbishop Cardinal Thomas Collins has expressed outrage over a decision by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) to take part in the World Pride Parade hosted this year in Toronto, writes Peter Kavanagh.
The Mexican parliament has amended the law that bans preaching about politics and pressurising the faithful on how to vote. On 19 June, both the Senate and lower house allowed priests to “orient” their parishioners on how they should cast their ballot.
The Archbishop of Bahía Blanca in Argentina has been charged with protecting an armed forces chaplain accused of crimes against humanity during the last military dictatorship, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
Following the meeting at the Vatican between Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the two have vowed to unite in combating human trafficking. “As disciples sent to heal a wounded world, we stand together, with perseverance and determination, against this grave evil,” the Pope said to the archbishop on Monday.
Pope Francis has revealed that he plans to follow in the footsteps of Pope Benedict and retire when he is “no longer able to go on”, writes Hannah Roberts.
The international community should stay out of efforts to halt the insurgency by militia who have seized control of a number of Iraq’s northern cities, Baghdad’s Latin-rite archbishop has said.
Dozens of homeless migrants have occupied a church linked to Pope Francis, demanding political asylum from the Vatican. Around 120 people, including 15 children, have taken shelter in Santa Maria Maggiore, the Marian basilica where Francis prays before major endeavours, such as his trip to the Holy Land on 24 May.
Pope Francis’ love of football is famous and it can be assumed that he is supporting Argentina during the World Cup. But Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was worried how this might work out.
The Vatican has cut back Pope Francis’ heavy workload for the summer months, but is making no mention of a holiday for him, after 16 months of solid work, writes Hannah Roberts.
The “Pope’s hospital” faces accusations that it is carrying out euthanasia on very sick patients ahead of a planned visit by Francis next Friday (27 June), writes Hannah Roberts.
Divisions are emerging in public among the American bishops over how to interpret Pope Francis – a split which is likely to be apparent as the US bishops gather in New Orleans this week for their annual spring meeting.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is to step up his joint effort with the Catholic Church to combat human trafficking when he meets Pope Francis on Monday, writes Christopher Lamb.
The Catholic Church in Kenya is embroiled in a bitter row with owners of a city restaurant linked to Somali Muslims over its tenancy at a church building that hosts the Catholic bishops’ conference, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
Pope Francis called on Israel and Palestine to “break the spiral of hatred and violence”, during an unprecedented prayer meeting at the Vatican.
the entire board of the Vatican’s financial watchdog has been sacked by Pope Francis in his latest attempt to clean up the Holy See’s scandal-ridden banking system, writes Hannah Roberts.
Speaking at an international meeting of bishops and national directors for the pastoral care of Gypsies on 5 June, Pope Francis condemned the “hostility and suspicion” with which Roma are routinely regarded, writes Hannah Roberts.
The French Catholic Church has joined local Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist religious leaders in supporting the “Fast for the Climate” campaign, writes Tom Heneghan.
Concern that elements of the Nigerian army support Boko Haram terrorists has been voiced by Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja.
In a dangerous move in one of the most authoritarian states, four Eritrean bishops have published a letter describing their country as “desolate”, because so many people have fled or are in prison or the army, writes Ellen Teague.
Catholic and Orthodox leaders have agreed to further meetings to build on progress achieved at the encounter in Jerusalem last month between Pope Francis and the ecumenical patriarch, including major joint celebrations in a decade’s time of the Nicene Creed.
Striking miners in South Africa are stealing food from Aids orphans and have killed dozens of people in the longest-running dispute in the country’s history, writes Elena Curti.
A leading cardinal has sought to dampen expectations among those hoping for a shift in church teaching on remarried divorcees.
Eighteen people were killed when Islamists stormed a Catholic church in the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui.
The “scourge” of human trafficking could be eased or even beaten if economic migration was made easier, Pope Francis has said.
Some of the parties that won majorities in Britain, France and Denmark in last month’s European Parliament elections were “not only populist but nationalistic and xenophobic”, according to the president of the commission of EU bishops’ conferences, Comece.
A state inquiry into child sexual abuse has found that there is sufficient evidence to warrant the prosecution of an unnamed senior church official for protecting a paedophile priest.
The Pope has admitted that he wasn’t always keen on Catholic charismatics but said that he had learned to love them when he addressed a major gathering in Rome last Sunday.
Government agents in the Democratic Republic of Congo rape and sexually abuse women in religious organisations to punish them for being politically active, the charity Freedom from Torture has revealed.
Pope Francis will host a meeting between the Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican next month, after making the unexpected invitation during his three-day pilgrimage to the Middle East.
AN HISTORIC meeting between Pope Francis and victims of clerical abuse, including some from the UK, is to be held in the coming months. Francis this week made his strongest statement yet on sexual abuse, saying the Church must have “zero tolerance”.
DURING HIS visit to Bethlehem and Jordan last weekend, Pope Francis expressed solidarity with Palestinian and Arab refugees, meeting with families who were dispossessed following the establishment of Israel in 1948, writes James Macintyre.
Western and Eastern Christianity came together in a unique show of unity on Sunday as Pope Francis prayed with the Orthodox Church’s “first among equals” in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
On Sunday, Pope Francis made an emotional visit to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, meeting survivors of what he called a “boundless tragedy” as he sought further to repair relations between the Church and the Jewish community, writes James Macintyre.
Pope Francis has strongly condemned the shootings at a Jewish Museum in Brussels on Saturday, in which an Israeli couple from Tel Aviv and a French woman were killed, and a Belgian national working at the museum was critically injured.
Martha Heizer, the head of the Austrian branch of the We Are Church reform movement, and her husband, Gerd, have been excommunicated for celebrating the Eucharist in their home without a priest.
The Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has attended the patriotic Te Deum service at the cathedral in Buenos Aires for the first time in eight years.
As Pope Francis prepared to leave Rome for a historic three-day visit to the Holy Land, Orthodox and Catholic church voices tried to cool expectations regarding his meeting tomorrow with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.
The Vatican has reportedly launched a financial investigation into former Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone. The German tabloid Bild said this week that Cardinal Bertone is suspected of irregularities regarding €15 million (£12.1m) in Vatican accounts. Quoting unofficial Vatican sources, ...
Appealing for an end to infighting and bickering in the divided Italian Church, Pope Francis has urged for unity.
A delegation of Argentinian bishops has visited President Cristina Fernández in an effort to soothe tensions following the release of their controversial statement on violence in the country.
President Barack Obama’s former director of faith outreach has said that he “strongly disagreed” with the Administration’s 2012 plan to introduce a health-care mandate requiring all employers to provide birth control coverage including contraception and the “morning-after pill”.
A group of Italian women who are in love with Catholic priests have appealed to Pope Francis to re-examine the rules on priestly celibacy. The 26 women, who signed only with their Christian names, wrote to the Pope saying it was hypocritical for priests to live a “secret life”.
Brazilian bishops will propose that married men be allowed to celebrate the Eucharist, Bishop Erwin Kräutler of Xingu in Brazil told the Austrian daily Die Presse on a visit to his native Austria, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
The Islamist terrorist organisation Boko Haram is accused of killing 135 people in two days of bloody attacks. On Tuesday, 118 people died in a double bomb attack in the central city of Jos.
Fears about security are rising in Israel amid concerns that Pope Francis’ pilgrimage could be disrupted by extremists. Following a series of threats to Christians, and the desecration of several holy sites, Israel’s most senior Catholic cleric has warned of a “wave of extremist terror” in the Jewish state.
POPE Francis has made powerful enemies throughout the Curia and the universal Church, according to a new book, entitled Francis Among the Wolves, writes Hannah Roberts.
No one should be barred from the sacraments, Pope Francis insisted this week, and to emphasise his point he said that even an extraterrestrial requesting baptism should be welcomed, writes Elena Curti.
As Nigerian Churches continued to pray for the release of the more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in mid-April, the Islamists’ group leader released a new video in which he offered to release the girls in exchange for the prisoners captured by the country’s security agencies.
Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, has said that the upcoming synod on the family should update church teaching on sexual morality and marriage, which has not been the subject of a major church document since Pope John Paul II’s 1981 apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, writes Tom Heneghan.
The Orthodox Church in Russia has protested to Kiev after one of its top leaders was denied entry to eastern Ukraine amid tension over last Sunday’s pro-Russian referendum ballots, write Jonathan Luxmoore and Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
The Catholic Church should listen to all the arguments in favour of gay relationships, Communion for remarried divorcees, and ending mandatory celibacy for priests, one of Italy’s most senior bishops insisted, writes Hannah Roberts.
The Argentinian bishops have said that the country is suffering from the “cancer” of corruption and is “sick with violence”.
Officials of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the United States have responded to a rebuke from Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), by saying that trust and communication have broken down between them and the Vatican, writes Michael Sean Winters.
A TOP VATICAN official has released statistics for detailing how it has disciplined priests who have abused children.
IRAQ’s most senior priest has described as “frightening” the exodus of Christians from the country in the 11 years since the American-led invasion of the predominantly Muslim land, writes Ellen Teague.
THE VATICAN has recognised a miracle as being attributed to Paul VI’s intercession and will beatify the late Italian Pope in October, a Vatican source said on Tuesday, writes Liz Dodd.
THE PREFECT of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has rebuked the organisation that represents most American nuns for honouring a sister whose work it deems “seriously inadequate” and for promoting ideas “opposed to Christian revelation”.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS in Nigeria are holding a holy hour of eucharistic adoration in cathedrals tomorrow and Masses are being said around the country for the release of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram Islamists, write Fredrick Nzwili and Ellen Teague.
THE POPE has told his new economic oversight council that it must be “courageous and determined” in helping the Church not to waver from bringing the Gospel to the world and helping those in need, writes Carol Glatz, CNS.
COPTIC POPE TAWADROS II has said he will not take sides in the upcoming Egyptian presidential election in which analysts predict that ex-military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will win in a landslide victory, writes Liz Dodd.
A FORMER United States ambassador to the Holy See reportedly made unwanted sexual advances to a married couple while teaching theology at the University of Dayton, according to a letter from the university’s provost, Joseph Saliba, obtained by the news website Inside Higher Ed.
AUSTRALIAN men have difficulty identifying with the weakness of the crucified Jesus so the Church must help them, Archbishop Christopher Prowse of Canberra and Goulburn told a men’s gathering in the national capital, writes Mark Brolly.
Pope Francis’ hand-picked group of eight cardinals pressed on with its sweeping programme of Vatican reforms this week as he praised John XXIII, who convened the Second Vatican Council, as “the Pope of openness to the Spirit”.
Church leaders have issued an urgent call for a new political agreement to guarantee equal rights for all Bosnia’s ethnic groups, warning that the country is still politically fragmented and Catholics are being squeezed out, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
France’s new socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls has called for “a more open and calm dialogue” with Catholics after being booed twice by French pilgrims in Rome while attending the canonisations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, writes Tom Heneghan.
During a private meeting with the country’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk last Saturday, Pope Francis promised he would “do everything possible” to establish peace in Ukraine.
The Vatican has stressed that private telephone conversations with the Pope do not alter church teaching after a phone call Francis made to a woman married to a divorcee, in which he reportedly told her that she could receive Communion, made international headlines, writes James Macintyre.
POLITICIANS’ INTEREST in left-leaning Catholics and evangelicals “has waxed and waned” under the presidency of Barack Obama but they could make their voice heard again if they focus their efforts on fighting for economic justice, a new report has found, writes Michael Sean Winters.
THE?PREFECT of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which once condemned liberation theology, has said Pope Francis has close ties with the movement.
South Sudan is already in a civil war, an expert on the country’s conflict has warned, writes Liz Dodd.
The new Archbishop of Salzburg, Franz Lackner, told the Austrian daily Salzburger Nachrichten on Maundy Thursday that he “totally agreed” with Cardinal Walter Kasper that a way must be found for remarried divorcees to make a new start in the Church, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Five million pilgrims are expected in Rome tomorrow for the canonisation of two popes, John XXIII and John Paul II.
French Catholics should remain open to dialogue and political engagement in a society that is no longer based on Christian values, rather than retreat into narrowly focused factions, Archbishop Georges Pontier, president of the bishops’ conference, has said, writes Tom Heneghan.
In his Urbi and Orbi message, to Rome and the world, on Easter Sunday, Pope Francis linked the agonies experienced in the most conflict-ridden areas of the world with the Resurrection of Christ.
A former Justice of the High Court of Australia, Dyson Heydon QC, has declared anti-Catholicism “the racism of the intellectuals” and compared modern attacks on the Catholic faith to the anti-clerical Kulturkampf waged by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, writes Mark Brolly.
The country “is in a state of great sorrow and anxiety,” the president of South Korea’s bishops’ conference said following the capsizing of the Sewol ferry off the south-east coast of the country on 16 April, writes Abigail Frymann.
Catholic Church leaders in Nigeria are urging the release of 190 schoolgirls who are still missing, after last week’s mass abductions of 234 by suspected Boko Haram terrorists.
In a speech on 8 April in St Petersburg, Florida, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga warned that curial opposition to Pope Francis’ efforts to create a “new way of being church” is mounting, writes Michael Sean Winters.
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.
Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne has established the Personal Parish of Blessed John Henry Newman for Catholics wishing to avail themselves of the Tridentine Rite Mass in Latin, writes Mark Brolly.
Patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches have agreed to hold an ecumenical council in 2016, a major event that could bring the 14 autonomous Orthodox Churches closer to each other and allow them to consider closer ties to the Roman Catholic Church.
Eight cardinals and seven laymen have been named by Pope Francis as members of the newly created Council for the Economy, a body that will have authority to set policy for the financial and management structures of Vatican City and the Holy See, writes Robert Mickens.
Developing the role of women, reforming the Vatican bureaucracy and improving the Church’s record on abuse are the three areas Pope Francis must most urgently address, according to a Tablet survey, writes Abigail Frymann.
Belgium’s Catholic University of Leuven (KUL), which came under Vatican scrutiny for its stem cell research in 2007 and considered dropping “Catholic” from its name, has mended fences in Rome with a visit by its new chancello ...
Pope Francis has called on the Church’s religious orders to exercise greater transparency in their administration of finances, reminding them that they are called to be prophetic witnesses of a Christian poverty and ...
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has said ordinariates for former Anglicans must integrate into the Catholic community while preserving their distinctive identity, writes Abigail Frymann.
Cardinal George Pell has told Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that the Church should be open to litigation over abuse, challenging the so-called “Ellis Defence”
The rector of the Catholic University of Lima (PUCP), which in 2012 was forbidden by the Vatican and Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima from using the title “pontifical”, says that relations between his university and the Vatican ...
CARDINAL Jorge Urosa has deplored a call from the Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, for his civilian militia supporters to confront protesters who have erected blockades on roads around Caracas, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
Cardinal Walter Kasper has called for a deeper reflection on a practice he thinks might allow some divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.
Pope Francis has urged members of the Congregation for Bishops to do a better job in finding new candidates to head dioceses around the world, saying the Church needs “authentic pastors” that serve and intercede for their people, writes Robert Mickens.
Almost nine out of 10 practising Catholics consider Francis a more effective Pope than his predecessor, Benedict XVI, according to a global survey conducted by The Tablet, writes Abigail Frymann.
The C8 coordinator Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga said in an interview with the German Catholic News Agency KNA on the occasion of the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ election that the Pope was breaking away from “moralism”.
Two Catholic bishops have written about the results of surveys they conducted in response to the Vatican’s questionnaire for the upcoming Synod on the Family, writes Michael Sean Winters.
CARDINAL Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said this week that “homosexuals are not criminals” and should not face life in prison. He was attending a human-rights conference in Bratislava, when he was asked about a new law in Uganda
Pope Francis has chosen a no-nonsense Anglo-Saxon to head the new Secretariat for the Economy (SfE) but he will nevertheless face stiff resistance to reform, according to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
The Catholic Church’s handling of clergy sex abuse of minors has been publicly defended by Pope Francis, who lamented that the Church has been unfairly “attacked” over the way it has dealt with the troubling issue, writes Robert Mickens.
The bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in the embattled Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea called on all believers and non-believers “to refrain from extremism, and in these difficult times not to allow the fraternal bond between people living in the Crimea to break”, writes Josef Pazderka.
Pope Francis has assured Catholic laypeople that the Synod of Bishops will take their views seriously in October when it holds the first of two gatherings aimed at forging a fresh pastoral response to the rapidly changing state of the family and married life.
The Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who has been living quietly out of the public eye since resigning the papacy a year ago, made a surprise appearance in a crowded St Peter’s Basilica last Saturday to attend Pope Francis’ first consistory...
By setting up a new office with wide-sweeping authority over all the financial and administrative activities of the Holy See and Vatican City, Pope Francis has made the most radical structural change to the Roman Curia in nearly 50 years.
In a seven-minute, home-made video, Pope Francis has asked a “prosperity gospel” televangelist for his blessing. It was broadcast in January at a convention for evangelical Charismatic ministers in Texas, writes Robert Mickens.
The Venezuelan Government must deal with the deadly paramilitary groups interfering with peaceful demonstrations in the country, Cardinal Jorge Urosa has demanded.
The new Vatican commission on the protection of minors would, among other things, be developing models of pastoral assistance for abuse victims, the head of the International Centre for Child Protection at the Gregorian University...
Ugandan Catholic church leaders are backing the anti-homosexuality legislation that President Yoweri Museveni signed into law on Monday, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna has sharply criticised the new Belgian euthanasia law that allows minors to seek physician-assisted suicide, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Pope Francis is to create his first group of cardinals this morning at a tradition-laden ceremony that comes in the midst of 10 days of intense consultations on reforming Vatican finances, the Roman Curia and the Church’s approach to marriage and the family.
The Vatican’s daily newspaper has strongly criticised Belgium’s new law extending euthanasia to terminally ill children of all ages as “the most serious misstep committed on a slope that is becoming increasingly steep and slippery”, writes Robert Mickens.
The Venezuelan bishops have demanded that the Government publish a list of all the people detained during anti-government protests last week.
A Polish priest was detained near Krakow in connection with the high-profile case of alleged child abuse in the Dominican Republic that involved Polish Archbishop Józef Wesolowski, former papal nuncio in the country, writes Josef Pazderka.
Chanting “Allah is great”, suspected Islamic militants gunned down dozens of villagers and slit the throats of others in the latest attack in a north-east Nigerian area where the military has been bombing extremists in forest hideouts, survivors told Associated Press (AP).
Lawyers for the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis moved to squash a subpoena requesting Archbishop John Nienstedt to be deposed in a case involving a priest of his diocese accused of more than 12 instances of child sex abuse.
Italian groups supporting victims of clergy sex abuse have called for the resignation of Bishop Diego Coletti of the northern Diocese of Como after it was discovered that he tried to keep quiet Pope Francis’ laicisation of an abusive priest, writes Robert Mickens.
Pope Francis has urged Catholic universities and secondary schools not to “isolate themselves from the world, but to enter with courage into the areopagus of today’s cultures”, writes Robert Mickens.
European Catholics in huge numbers appear to have made plain their desire for sweeping reforms in the Church’s teaching on the family.
The Legionaries of Christ, currently meeting to complete a new constitution to redefine the charism of their scandal-stained order, have “firmly condemned” and distanced themselves
Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, the Vatican’s chief spokesman, has accused the United Nations’ committee on children’s rights of “ideological bias” because of its refusal to recognise all that the Holy See and the Church
A spokesman for the Polish bishops’ conference criticised last week’s UN report about child abuse in the Catholic Church and claimed that it had ignored efforts by the Vatican to tackle the problem, writes Josef Pazderka.
A teacher at a Catholic middle school in Butte, Montana was fired after she became pregnant out of wedlock, writes Michael Sean Winters.
Pope Francis is reportedly preparing to convene crisis talks between representatives of the Argentine president, union bosses and business leaders, as the country slides into financial turmoil.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual head of the Orthodox Churches, has said he wants his Jerusalem meeting with Pope Francis in May to produce “a visible sign that ecumenism is not running out of breath”, writes Tom Heneghan.
The Catholic mayor of Cardinal George Pell’s birthplace, the Victorian Goldfields city of Ballarat, has defended Muslims’ rights to build the city’s first mosque despite objections by a group hostile to Islam, writes Mark Brolly.
A United Nations committee has severely criticised the Holy See for playing down and concealing from civil authorities the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children around the world by Catholic priests.
Pope Francis has praised the joyful zeal of the Neocatechumenal Way, but has told the movement it should not impose its distinctively Spanish-Italian model of Church on other cultures
The German faithful are demanding a radically new approach from the Church on family issues and sexual morality. Last year the Vatican asked all bishops’ conferences to carry out a survey of Catholic attitudes, through a questionnaire that it circulated to all of them.
France’s Socialist Government has put off plans to reform family laws this year after well over 100,000 people protested against extending assisted procreation to lesbians and allowing surrogate motherhood to gay men who want children, writes Tom Heneghan.
Some Catholic Church leaders in Kenya’s Mombasa region fear revenge attacks by Islamists, after police on Sunday stormed a mosque associated with Somalia’s al-Shabaab terrorists, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
There was grief across the Brazilian Catholic Church last week when it was announced that the Jesuit theologian João Batista Libanio had died suddenly on 30 January at the age of 81 following a heart attack, writes Francis McDonagh.
Vatican officials have confirmed that Pope Francis plans officially to launch a Year for Consecrated Life next autumn, saying its main purpose is to celebrate the renewal that the Second Vatican Council sparked in religious orders.
Pope Francis has urged Catholics to offer charity this Lent to the materially, morally and spiritually destitute, but warns that they must give “until it hurts” if they really want to be like Christ, writes Robert Mickens.
Pope Francis has begun working on a new document that will address a broad range of issues related to the “care of Creation”, including protection of the environment and defence of the nature and dignity of the human person.
In interviews on the eve of his departure for the Austrian bishops’ ad limina visit in Rome, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn said he was certain that under Pope Francis the Church would find new ways of incorporating remarried divorcees...
Supporters of Belgian victims of clerical sexual abuse have protested after it emerged that the Vatican had laicised only eight offending priests in recent years, writes Tom Heneghan.
On Sunday Pope Francis called for an end to violence in Ukraine, where at least three people have been killed in clashes that have erupted from two months of anti-government protests.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls has said France must combat both Catholic and Muslim fundamentalists equally because they presented a clear danger to the secular system, writes Tom Heneghan.
An archbishop and a leading imam from Central African Republic (CAR) this week urged politicians in Europe to press for several thousand UN peacekeepers to be dispatched urgently to the country, to contain the continuing high levels of violence.
Archpishop Orani Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro, named as a cardinal by Pope Francis on 12 January, has called for an understanding of the latest protest phenomenon in Brazil
Suspected IslamiST extremists used explosives and heavy guns to attack a village and a Catholic church in Nigeria’s north-east, killing at least 97 people and razing hundreds of homes, AP reports.
The Church has urged the Government in Caracas to act to prevent newspapers from closure. Shortages of imported paper mean dailies, such as El Nacional
Pope Francis has called the sexual abuse of minors the “shame of the Church”, making his strongest comments to date on the issue just hours before two Vatican officials told a UN committee in Geneva that the Holy See could not be held liable for the actions of abusive priests.
US President Barack Obama will become the fifth head of a G8 nation to meet Pope Francis when he pays a visit to the Vatican in about eight weeks’ time, writes Robert Mickens.
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.
Pope Francis has unveiled the names of 19 men he plans to create cardinals next month at his first consistory. And, in an unprecedented personal letter, he told them simplicity and humility should mark the way they accept and celebrate the appointment.
After a massive decline in sales, a church-owned publishing group with 6,800 employees has filed for bankruptcy.
The French Government’s slow reaction to provocations against Catholics has prompted complaints that politicians pay attention to the Muslim and Jewish minorities but neglect the Christian majority, writes Tom Heneghan.
Pope Francis has established an eparchy (diocese) for Australia’s Syro-Malabar Catholic community, to accommodate the big increase in Indian migration to Australia in recent years, writes Mark Brolly.
The Bishop of Bossangoa in the Central African Republic (CAR) has expressed the hope that the resignation last week of the interim president and the Prime Minister will ease the tensions in the troubled country.
The Sri Lanka military last week strongly rejected allegations made by two Catholic bishops in the north of the island that the military used cluster munitions during the final stages of the May 2009 assault that ended the terrorist insurgency
In Seattle, Catholic high- school students have been leading protests, including a sit-in at their school, to protest over the removal of vice principal Mark Zmuda because he married his same-sex partner in a civil ceremony, writes Michael Sean Winters.
In his first New Year’s address to foreign ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, Pope Francis has denounced a long list of “threats to peace”,
Four Cardinals, including former Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone SDB, have been sacked by Pope Francis from a five-member commission that oversees the activities of the Vatican Bank.
Pope Francis has told members of religious orders they need to be prophets who can “wake up the world”, saying a younger generation that is living in what he referred to as “complex situations” especially needs them as its teachers.
Pope Francis has put an end to weeks of speculation and confirmed that his trip to the Holy Land will take place from 24-26 May, writes Robert Mickens.
Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, has supported the tough line the French Government announced against Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, a comedian repeatedly convicted on hate speech charges for anti-Semitic sketches that have become increasingly popular on social media.
The head of Russia’s Catholic Church has said the Pope must first hold direct talks with Orthodox Patriarch Kirill before he makes any visit to the country, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
The Church has been forced to defend its role in the ending of a police strike over pay last month, after the governor of one of the provinces worst affected by the associated looting has refused to honour a deal the Church helped to broker.
A truly Catholic approach to truth should combine the wisdom of faith and science, an Australian bishop said at the Epiphany Mass, writes Mark Brolly.
Senior Catholic and Muslim clerics of the Central African Republic (CAR) have asked the UN to deploy more peacekeepers immediately to halt a spiral of violence that has pitted Muslims against Christians, writes Ellen Teague.
South Sudanese bishops are calling for urgent international intervention to end the new fighting in their country, which has killed at least 1,000 and displaced nearly 200,000 people, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
A prominent Vatican think tank has blamed the United States for turning Syria’s civil war into a multi-national conflict, and an ongoing bloodbath, that Pope Francis and his aides are trying to help the international community to resolve in the New Year.
Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne has insisted that the Pope is firmly against allowing Communion for remarried divorcees is, despite the fact that German-speaking bishops are at odds on the question ...
Russia’s Orthodox patriarch has condemned suicide bomb outrages in Volgograd, blaming them on people “captive to dark forces”.
Poland’s Bishops’ Conference has caused controversy by denouncing the “ideology of gender” and appealing to all Catholics to defend the country against it, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
The bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam has set off speculation about a possible papal trip to the Netherlands by saying Pope Francis seemed very interested in a visit when the Dutch bishops met him last month, writes Tom Heneghan.
Kenneth Langone, founder of the Home Depot megastore company, who is worth an estimated US$2.1 billion, has told Cardinal Timothy Dolan,
The federal environment ministry has suspended the implementation of a plan that would have led to the eviction of thousands of families following protests led by the powerful Church in southern Kerala state, writes Anto Akkara.
One of Argentina’s most senior politicians has called for an investigation into business practice after a bishop denounced the spiralling levels of corruption, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
Pope Francis has removed several controversial and conservative members of the powerful body that advises him on selecting bishops for most of the world’s non-missionary dioceses (mostly in Europe and the Americas).
US conservative groups’ accusations that Pope Francis is a Marxist, following his recent apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, have been shrugged off by the Pope,
With much of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon covered in snow this week, Caritas Jordan is concerned that conditions for more than one million Syrian refugees on Jordanian territory are becoming unbearable.
Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has denied trying to block debate on the integration of remarried divorcees in the Church, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has denied trying to block debate on the integration of remarried divorcees in the Church, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
The Indian Prime Minister apologised on 12 December to church leaders for the beating up by police of protesters including priests and nuns on a march to parliament in the capital Delhi, writes Anto Akkara.
The Ukrainian Catholic bishops have strongly condemned the use of force against opposition demonstrations in Kiev, while the students and teachers of the Ukrainian Catholic University in the country’s capital called for civil disobedience against the Ukrainian authorities, writes Josef Pazderka.
The Catholic Church in the Central African Republic is calling for an immediate ceasefire between armed groups which have brought lawlessness to the country since March
Argentina’s bishops have denounced widespread looting that erupted last week during police strikes in provinces across the country.
Pope Francis has called the trafficking of human beings and their body parts a “crime against humanity” and has called for better laws and international coordination to put an end to the scandalous practice, writes Robert Mickens.
Pope Francis has agreed to a proposal from his eight-member Council of Cardinals (C8) and will establish a Vatican commission focusing on the protection of minors and pastoral care for those sexually abused by church personnel.
Survivors of sexual abuse and their supporters protested and some walked out of the first day of public hearings into the Catholic Church’s Towards Healing protocol
Catholic leaders have warned Croatia’s centre-left Government to “respect the nation’s will” after it vowed to grant marriage-style rights to same-sex couples, despite the move’s rejection in a referendum.
Pope Francis has given a huge boost to Caritas Internationalis (CI) by personally endorsing its worldwide campaign to end the “global scandal” of hunger by the year 2025, writes Robert Mickens.
Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has made an unequivocal defence of the Novus Ordo of the Mass, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Pope Francis sent Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to be his personal representative at Tuesday’s memorial service for South Africa’s first democratically elected leader.
Pope Francis has renewed his appeal for an end to division and hatred in the Middle East, urging the Christian community to forge creative ways to build peace, writes Robert Mickens.
Archbishop Gerald Lacroix walked through the first Holy Door outside Europe on 8 December, to inaugurate the Jubilee year marking the 350th anniversary of the oldest Catholic diocese in North America.
A group of Central American women set out to march from Guatemala through Mexico on 2 December to raise the profile of their missing relations, writes Jon Stibbs.
The two parties in Germany’s new Coalition Government have emphasised the country’s Christian heritage and the importance of the Churches’ role in society, in the accord cementing their new partnership.
The Polish Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches have issued an unprecedented joint plea to European Christians to defend their values, writes Josef Pazderka.
Pope Francis and his Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, have held talks in Rome with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, furthering plans for a papal visit to the Holy Land next spring and discussing peaceful coexistence in the region, writes Robert Mickens.
Conservative commentators in the United States have sharply criticised Pope Francis’ trenchant critique of “trickle-down economics”, made in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, published by the Vatican last week.
According to L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis has called on the Church to “ask forgiveness and look with much shame” over the way it often failed properly to inculturate the Catholic faith in non-European lands such as China, writes Robert Mickens.
Islamist rebels have abducted 12 nuns from a convent in the historic Christian town of Maaloula, 50 miles north of Damascus, writes Ellen Teague.
About 1,000 Dutch Catholic churches – around two-thirds of the total in the country – will be shut by 2025, Cardinal Willem Eijk warned Pope Francis at an ad limina visit on Monday.
A new German translation of the Ordinary of the Mass has been published in the new German hymn book, which was presented on the First Sunday of Advent – even though priests are not allowed to use the text, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Pope Francis has announced plans to carry out a “sound decentralisation” of governance in the Catholic Church, saying he wants to promote a revised understanding of papal primacy and increased doctrinal authority for national episcopal conferences.
Pope Francis has announced plans to carry out a “sound decentralisation” of governance in the Catholic Church, saying he wants to promote a revised understanding of papal primacy and increased doctrinal authority for national episcopal conferences.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis have held their first talks at the Vatican, agreeing on the “urgency” to end the war in Syria, writes Robert Mickens.
A new Bible translation for liturgical use has been well received in France, indicating that the francophone world should be spared the disputes seen when new Mass texts were introduced in English-speaking countries.
Plans to change the constitution of Nicaragua to allow President Daniel Ortega, 68, to win unlimited terms in power have been denounced as a major step towards totalitarian government by the country’s bishops.
Restricting the practice of religion to one official faith should be forbidden in all of Nigeria’s states, Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, has said, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
The Catholic dioceses of Pittsburgh and Erie, Pennsylvania, have secured a preliminary injunction against the controversial contraception mandate, part of President Obama’s health-care overhaul, that is set to take effect on 1 January.
More German bishops have insisted that the debate on how to allow remarried divorcees to receive the sacraments must continue, despite contrary instructions from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
The Archdiocese of Sydney has welcomed the passage through the Lower House of the New South Wales Parliament of the first law in Australia to give legal rights to a foetus, writes Mark Brolly.
The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will issue his long-awaited apostolic exhortation on evangelisation next week under the title, Evangelii Gaudium or “The Joy of the Gospel”, writes Robert Mickens.
Saudi Arabia has been heavily criticised for its persecution of Christians, at a major Saudi-organised interfaith meeting in Vienna, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
As the international relief effort struggles to come to terms with the devastation wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan on the Philippines on 8 November, the Church in the majority-Catholic country, and its Caritas aid arm, is playing a central part.
The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has defended Cardinal George Pell as “a fine human being and a great churchman” after the Archbishop of Sydney was criticised in “Betrayal of Trust”, a Victorian parliamentary report into child abuse, writes Mark Brolly.
At the close of their annual plenary meeting, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement reiterating their opposition to the controversial contraception mandate that is part of the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul.
Two high-level meetings of Catholic and Orthodox representatives mark an intensification of mutual contacts, the Vatican and Moscow have stated, writes Josef Pazderka.
Pope Francis has reformed the Vatican’s financial regulatory body that his predecessor set up in 2010 by specifically requiring that its officers be “free from any conflict of interest” and that they have “recognised professional competence in the legal, economic and financial fields”.
The two main candidates in the Paris mayoral election next March have pledged to step up repair work on the capital’s historic churches after architectural associations sounded the alarm at the state of disrepair of some well-known houses of prayer, writes Tom Heneghan.
As church and non-governmental agencies scrambled to bring relief to the Philippines following one of the worst disasters ever to strike the region, Pope Francis led worshippers in St Peter's Square last Sunday in silent prayer for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
The superior general of the Camillians (the Order of the Ministers of the Sick) has been arrested for his alleged part in the wrongful detention of two confrères whose vote might have prevented his re-election, Robert Mickens writes.
Maria Voce, president of the worldwide Focolare Movement, has suggested the establishment of a mixed commission of men and women to help advise the Pope, similar to his C8 Council of Cardinals, Robert Mickens writes.
Quebec’s governing Parti Québécois has tabled legislation defining the place of faith in society, writes Peter Kavanagh.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, was elected the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on Tuesday.
Argentina’s bishops have emphatically criticised the Government of Cristina Kirchner for its failure to prevent powerful drug gangs infiltrating the country, suggesting political corruption is to blame, Isabel de Bertodano writes from Buenos Aires.
Seemingly contradictory statements from Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, who represents Europe on the Council of Cardinals (C8), and the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Archbishop Gerhard Müller, are exposing seemingly deep fissures in the Church
The Archbishop of Marseilles, Georges Pontier, the new president of the bishops’ conference, has denounced the French Government’s policy towards new arrivals from Bulgaria and Romania, writes Tom Heneghan.
The Vatican has urged Catholic bishops around the world to “take the pulse” of their people on even the thorniest issues concerning marriage and family life, saying it is essential for planning next year’s extraordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Pastoral Challenges of the Family.
A Vatican-sponsored workshop on modern-day slavery has compiled 50 proposals for combating human trafficking, including that it be declared a crime against humanity that is punishable by international courts, writes Robert Mickens.
The “most serious and biggest massacre of Christians in Syria” in which 45 people were killed and 1,500 families held hostage has been reported by the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama.
The Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has criticised the country’s authorities for ignoring the problems of the Russian people and for an apparent unwillingness to seek solutions to problems arising from excessive migration, writes Josef Pazderka.
The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will create his first group of cardinals at a consistory on 22 February, the Feast of the Chair of St Peter, writes Robert Mickens.
Pro-life campaigners have forced the European Union to reconsider its position on embryo research after collecting more than 1.5 million signatures across the Continent for a church-backed petition, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
The Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who has been advised by the Pope to take time out from his diocese while a special commission audits his expenses (see The Tablet, 19 and 26 October), has let it be known that he hopes to return to Limburg.
France’s Catholic Funeral Service, which offers religious mortuary services in a country where undertaking was long a public monopoly, doubled in size for All Saints’ Day with new branches in three dioceses, writes Tom Heneghan.
Pope Francis has called heads of the Oriental Catholic Churches in the Middle East to join him for a summit in Rome next month to discuss the “real possibilities for peace” in Syria, Iraq and the Holy Land.
The deaths of more than 350 African migrants off the Italian island of Lampedusa last month has provoked “a wake-up call for Africa”, say African Catholic bishops, writes Ellen Teague.
Catholics in Kenya are expressing shock after some evangelical pastors in the coastal region said they wanted AK-47 rifles to protect themselves and their congregations from attacks by suspected Islamists, writes Fredrick Nzwili in Nairobi.
The auditing commission appointed by the president of the German bishops’ conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, to clarify the decisions and processes behind the renovation of the bishop’s palace complex at Limburg, has begun work.
Polish Church leaders have praised the work of Eastern Europe’s first post-Communist Catholic head of government, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, who died on Monday in Warsaw aged 86, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
Lay ministers are increasingly leading funeral services in France as the growing shortage of priests has left fewer available to preside, writes Tom Heneghan.
The Christian Churches in Ukraine strongly urged the politicians to support the country’s association agreement with the European Union, writes Josef Pazderka.
A bishop has called for mining to be halted in the impoverished Central American state of Guatemala, writes Jon Stibbs.
In a powerful address at the University of Dallas on Friday last week, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, appointed by Pope Francis to coordinate the Council of Cardinals, prescribed a bold vision of church reform.
The Church hierarchy in Mexico has supported a bishop’s condemnation of the lawlessness in Michoacán state and elsewhere in the country, writes Jon Stibbs.
Pope Francis has challenged Catholic families to pray together with “simplicity” and to be patient with one another, telling them they will have “joyful” homes only if they cultivate the “welcoming, merciful, and respectful” love of God, writes Robert Mickens.
An historic book currently at the heart of a battle to prevent its sale to a foreign buyer includes a document in which two bishops argue about married priests, writes Paul Wilkinson.
HEAD OF the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, has warned that the Church cannot accept proposals “argued in terms of mercy” to readmit divorced and remarried Catholics to the sacraments.
THE BISHOP at the centre of a spiralling scandal in Germany about his lavish lifestyle has been told by the Vatican it is impossible for him to return to his diocese in the present climate, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
EGYPT’S NEW constitution will accommodate non-Muslims and the next government is unlikely to be Islamist, the Anglican Bishop of Egypt has said.
A senior Russian Orthodox church official has welcomed requests for Russian citizenship by thousands of Syrian Christians as a sign of his country’s moral standing in the region, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
The Israeli Government has tried to deflect embarrassment after the Vatican rejected its last-minute request for what would have been the first meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Pope Francis, writes Robert Mickens.
Breaking a custom of nearly 100 years, Pope Francis has moved his annual Lenten spiritual exercises with officials of the Roman Curia out of the Vatican to a retreat centre in the Alban Hills south of Rome, writes Robert Mickens.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops released the nominees for its top offices this week, writes Michael Sean Winters.
The Catholic Church in Communist Cuba is offering a choice of educational programmes for budding entrepreneurs or cooperatives on the island. Under the courses, prospective small business owners learn how to establish and run their own companies.
A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT resolution calling for abortion to be recognised as a “fundamental right” in all European Union member states has been condemned by Catholic church leaders, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
A Bishop’s sexual orientation counselling policy for publicly funded Catholic schools in Whitehorse, Yukon, is dividing parents, writes Peter Kavanagh.
GROWING NUMBERS of Catholics are leaving the Church in Germany in protest at the behaviour of the Bishop of Limburg who has spent an estimated €31 million (£26m) on renovations to his palace. The thousands who have left both locally and nationally have alarmed the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
THE CHIEF representative for Europe on the the Pope’s advisory Council of Cardinals (C8) has revealed that structuring collegiality according to Vatican II teaching was the most important subject discussed at the inaugural C8 meeting, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
The Vatican’s new Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, has been delayed from taking up his duties because of an “urgent but not serious” operation he was forced to undergo this week while visiting family in northern Italy.
The role of women should not be reduced to “servitude”, either in the Church or in society, Pope Francis has told a Vatican-sponsored seminar, writes Robert Mickens.
The Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) has posted a report on its website from an ad hoc committee that cites a lack of respect on the part of the CTSA for more conservative theologians, writes Michael Sean Winters.
The coordinator of Pope Francis’ eight-member Council of Cardinals has confirmed that the Pope is seeking to decentralise decision-making authority in the Church, but has at the same time assured sceptics that such a move would not weaken papal primacy.
Pope Francis has called an “extraordinary” session of the Synod of Bishops for 5-19 October 2014 to discuss issues surrounding the family, which Vatican officials believe is threatened by secularist trends, including divorce, contraception and the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
All members of the Church have been asked by Pope Francis to strip themselves of the “cancer” of “worldliness” on a moving visit to Assisi which seemed to crystallise the pastoral aims and style he has sought to inculcate in the first seven months of his pontificate.
Paris Cardinal André Vingt-Trois has accused Education Minister Vincent Peillon of making “a sort of secular religion” out of France’s official Church-State division (laïcité), writes Tom Henghan.
Former Melbourne priest Greg Reynolds believes a widely publicised incident last year in which part of a Communion host was given to a dog by its owner during Mass at a breakaway church may have been a decisive factor in the priest’s expulsion from the Church, writes Mark Brolly.
Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the personal secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, says he tried to persuade Benedict to stay on and continue his work as Pope.
Catholic and Orthodox church leaders have urged Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich to meet conditions for a planned November association agreement with the EU by releasing jailed former premier, Yulia Tymoshenko, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
Croatia’s Catholic Church has marked the fiftieth year of its weekly, Glas Koncila, which was allowed by the former Communist regime to publicise the Second Vatican Council, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.
Pope Francis has strongly criticised clericalism, Vatican “courtiers” and the institutional Church’s historical entanglement with worldliness in a new and lengthy interview with the left-leaning Italian paper, La Repubblica.
Pope Francis has held an inaugural series of meetings with his Council of Cardinals, the group of eight men from around the world he chose last April to help advise him on governing the universal Church and reforming the Roman Curia, writes Robert Mickens.
The Swiss theologian Fr Hans Küng, 85, has said he may seek help to take his own life as he becomes increasingly debilitated by a degenerative illness, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
A priest who was defended by Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio has begun a 15-year prison sentence for the sexual abuse of an adolescent boy in the 1990s. Fr Julio Cesar Grassi, 57, was the leader of Buenos Aires’ Happy Children Foundation, a centre for troubled boys, at the time the crime took place.
Representatives of the Polish Catholic Church have apologised for the alleged child sex abuse by Archbishop Józef Wesolowski, a 65-year-old Pole who served as papal envoy in the Dominican Republic, and his 38-year-old Polish colleague Fr Wojciech Gil, writes Josef Pazderka.
Women’s ordination would split the Church, Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz has warned, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.
Slow progress in Christian-Muslim dialogue has led to a growing scepticism about its usefulness and even to hostility among young religious leaders, according to Catholic and Islamic officials at a conference on interfaith relations in Paris, writes Tom Heneghan.
Kenyan religious leaders have led the nation in national prayers for strength and hope days after Islamist terrorists killed 61 and injured more than 200 at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, writes Fredrick Nzwili.