The Church in the World

Couples in the Archdiocese of São Paulo have been told by their cardinal that it is their “personal choice” to determine whether to use contraception during the current outbreak of the Zika virus.

Pope Francis’ group of cardinal advisers (C9) have moved a step closer towards decentralising the Curia and creating a brace of new Vatican departments, writes Christopher Lamb.

Only a political solution can bring peace to Syria, Pope Francis told the crowds gathered for last Sunday’s Angelus during an impassioned appeal to the international community to work for a negotiated settlement.

Berlin must impose limits on the number of refugees allowed to settle in Germany, according to the country’s most senior Catholic leader.

A request for Pope Francis to meet the family and friends of 43 students who went missing in 2014 has been rejected by the Archdiocese of Mexico City.

The introduction of regulations restricting the number of foreign aid workers is threatening the vital work of charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Africa’s newest nation.

Former Vietnamese refugee Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM says he is concerned for the health and safety of a group of asylum seekers after Australia’s High Court cleared the way for the Government to return them to a migrant detention camp on the Pacific island nation of Nauru, writes Mark Brolly.

A coalition of groups representing Christian doctors, nurses, pharmacists and ethicists are campaigning for a conscience clause to protect them from involvement in helping patients to die, writes Peter Kavanagh.

A coalition of left-wing French intellectuals and politicians has denounced surrogate motherhood and called for a global ban on the practice.

QUESTIONING failing structures and policies in the Church does not amount to disloyalty, but may well be “the most promising form of loyalty”, according to the master of St Benet’s Hall, writes Sarah Mac Donald.

Dioceses in England and Wales are preparing for the introduction of new guidelines on marriage preparation, which are due to be published by the Bishops’ Conference after the final report by the Synod on the Family.

The Church’s instinct to deal with sex abuse cases internally has been its most dangerous and common response to the crisis, according to Fr Hans Zollner SJ, president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Gregorian University in Rome

Pope Francis has given his first interview on China praising it as a great country and a civilisation that the Church should respect.

Catholic laity in Italy took to the streets of Rome in their hundreds of thousands last Saturday to protest against proposed legislation to allow legal rights for gay couples and limited same-sex adoption, writes Christopher Lamb.

Bishops say Pope Francis must be told the truth about the “unprecedented” violence and misery in Mexico during his five-day visit that begins next Friday.

French authorities have destroyed a church and mosque in the migrants’ camp in Calais known as the “Jungle”, which is home to nearly 6,000 people, writes Megan Cornwell.

The Bishop of Maiduguri Diocese, Oliver Doeme, has vowed to remain with his people in the face of the murder of at least 85 men and women by Islamist militants near Maiduguri City, in Borno State.

The scourge of poverty was an abiding theme at the 51st Eucharistic Congress, at Cebu in the Philippines, with the Pope’s envoy calling for “a third world war against the cruelty of dogs getting fed with sumptuous, organic food, while poor children scramble for scraps from the table”.

French church bioethicists have praised a new law on end-of-life care because it stresses the development of palliative treatment for the dying, writes Tom Heneghan.

Two bishops have encouraged Catholics to see the film Spotlight about the journalistic investigation that uncovered the clerical sex abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston, writes Mark Brolly.

The Cologne cardinal who was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “Open Door” immigration policy has written an open letter fiercely condemning the large-scale sexual violence at the station

Prime Minister Manuel Valls has sparked off a bitter row about France’s official secularism that has contrasted his strict application of laïcité with the more flexible approach of a senior official appointed by President François Hollande, writes Tom Heneghan.

The former Bishop of Regensburg and present Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, has been accused of systematically hushing up clerical sexual abuse while he was Bishop of Regensburg (2002-2012).

Pope Francis met the Iranian President at the Vatican this week and urged Tehran to find peaceful solutions for the Middle East and fight terrorism and arms trafficking.

Pope Francis has reiterated the Church’s teaching on marriage as Italy debates a same-sex union proposal and anticipation builds around his official response to last October’s Synod on the Family, writes Christopher Lamb.

The president of Poland’s Bishops’ Conference has warned against the rise of a “sick nationalism” in his country, and urged a more tolerant attitude to refugees and migrants, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.

Eastern Orthodox patriarchs preparing their Churches’ first major council in 1,200 years have switched its venue from Istanbul to Crete following objections by the large Russian Orthodox Church after Turkey shot down a Russian air force jet Ankara said entered its airspace from Syria.

A Russian Orthodox leader has said it would be “too soon” for the Pope to meet Patriarch Kirill, despite recent “considerable improvements” in Catholic-Orthodox relations, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.

The most senior Catholic in Somalia has cautioned the international community against complacency over the resurgence of Al-Shabaab after the country was struck by two terror attacks in a week by the Islamists, writes Fredrick Nzwili.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chairman of the pro-life committee of the US Bishops’ Conference, used his homily for the pro-life Vigil Mass on the eve of the annual March for Life in Washington D.C.

Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne has urged Catholic schools to be sensitive and respectful to students who wish to bring a same-sex date to formal school events, writes Mark Brolly.

The Swiss-based Council representing Europe’s Catholic bishops has urged the different countries of Europe to find their own individual solutions to the migrant crisis, prompting the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn, to say that “the Iron Curtain is back”.

After an extensive local investigation, the Archdiocese of Chicago has forwarded to the Vatican a possible miracle attributed to the intercession of Cardinal John Henry Newman, writes Kenneth L. Woodward.

In his first year as chairman of the bishops’ conference Pro-Life Committee, Cardinal Timothy Dolan called on the pro-life movement to “examine how we present our pro-life vision to others”.

Pope Francis has visited Rome’s Great Synagogue, stressing that the Church recognises God’s “irrevocable” covenant with Israel along with the unique relationship between Christians and Jews.

A recent attack in Marseilles on a Jewish teacher wearing a kippa has rekindled France’s long-standing debate about wearing religious clothing in public, writes Tom Heneghan.

After visiting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender refugees at a specially designated centre in Berlin, Archbishop Heiner Koch said it was vital to sensitise the Church to the problems they face, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.

The Vatican will commit to ensuring its supply chains are “slavery-proof” following the announcement that the world’s biggest consumer goods firms and supermarket chains have decided to do the same to eliminate forced labour from their business partners, writes Mark Brolly.

Although religious freedom had not yet been achieved in Vietnam, the Churches’ freedom of movement had steadily improved in recent years, Cardinal Reinhard Marx told during a nine-day visit to Vietnam.

Catholic campaigners have welcomed the failure of a pro-euthanasia declaration in the European Parliament, after it gained support from only 95 of the 751 MEPs, write Jonathan Luxmoore and Peter Kavanagh.

The present wave of migration into Europe seems to be “undermining the foundations of that ‘humanistic spirit’ which Europe has always loved and defended”, Pope Francis said on Monday.

A Polish bishop has taken the president of the European Parliament to task for suggesting Poland’s newly elected right-wing government seized power in a coup, writes Josef Pazderka.

Washington’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl in an interview with the archdiocesan bi-weekly, the Catholic Standard, called for the ongoing atrocities against Christians in Iraq and Syria to be categorised

The Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch has called on theologians to back plans for a Pan-Orthodox Council in June, and insisted it should take place in Istanbul rather than an alternative venue, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.

Poland’s Catholic Primate has said his Church has ended dialogue with Russian Orthodox leaders because of their backing of President Vladimir Putin’s policies toward Ukraine, writes Jonathan Luxmoore.

On the first anniversary of last January’s Islamist attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher supermarket in Paris that killed 17 people, the Bishops’ Conference asked whether France had learned from the tragedy, writes Tom Heneghan.

A Catholic nursing home in Belgium may become a test case for a further extension of the country’s liberal euthanasia law in a lawsuit due to be decided in April.

The priest in the town where the Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán was captured last weekend, has claimed Guzmán enjoyed the support and protection of politicians.

A lawyer has alleged that far more choirboys were abused in the Regensburg Diocese than stated in last year’s official figures, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.

The frontrunner in Portugal’s presidential campaign said during a televised debate that he would not veto laws that legalise gay adoption and make abortion more readily available, if he is elected on 24 January, writes Filipe Avillez.

The head of the Syriac Catholic Church has asked Pope Francis to call a world summit at the Vatican to address the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

There has been a large fall in the number of people attending papal events in Rome, according to figures released by the papal household, writes Christopher Lamb.

The Archbishop of Berlin, Heiner Koch, will visit a centre for gay and transsexual migrants in Berlin next Thursday, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.

Catholic hospitals have the right to refuse to perform abortions or euthanasia, says the new primate of Belgium, Archbishop Jozef De Kesel (pictured right).

Islamic scholars and politicians must make clear that violence is against the will of Allah, CDF Prefect Cardinal Gerhard Müller told the German weekly Die Zeit, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.

In his New Year’s Day sermon at St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn called on Muslim countries to respect the basic value of religious freedom.

Protesters attacked a mosque on Christmas Day, claiming they were defending this Mediterranean island’s “Christian identity”, writes Tom Heneghan.

The Mexican Government is being accused of failing to control the criminal activity of drugs cartels, writes Isabel de Bertodano...

The Catholic Church in Uganda has been accused of profiting from child labour, writes Rose Gamble.

It is feared at least 80 people were killed when Boko Haram extremists struck the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri and the town of Madagali on 27 December with grenades and suicide bombers.

The biggest statue of Jesus in Africa stands at the village of Abajah in Imo State, southeastern Nigeria, writes Ellen Teague.

Christmas this year was marked by some remarkable gestures of reconciliation or solidarity in countries afflicted by bitter tensions.

A German cardinal who is an avid football supporter has called for the 2022 World Cup to be withdrawn from Qatar over its treatment of migrant workers, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.

The leader of the Czech Catholic Church has rejected widespread criticism of the refugee policy of east European EU members, and explained why these countries prefer to take Christian refugees.

The plight of refugees and immigrants was highlighted by many US bishops at Christmas, while President Barack Obama drew attention to the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians, writes Michael Sean Winters.

Archbishop Georges Pontier, head of the Bishops’ Conference in France, has criticised a government plan to withdraw French citizenship from active jihadists who have another nationality, writes Tom Heneghan.

A controversial Russian Orthodox cleric who was dismissed from his post has attacked Russia’s “immoral elites” and predicted a national catastrophe if the country fails to allow free public discussion, writes Josef Pazderka.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will try to persuade Pope Francis to apologise for the part played by the Church in the abuse of aboriginal children at residential schools.

Every case heard by Australia’s Royal Commission into child sexual abuse is uncovering ineptitude, maladministration, cover-ups and corrupt practices, according to the Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council head.

The Venezuelan bishops have implored the government and the army to accept the defeat of the ruling party in mid-term parliamentary elections last month, writes Isabel de Bertodano.

The Argentinian bishops have met President Mauricio Macri, and spelled out their priorities to the government, writes Isabel de Bertodano.

United Nations secretary ­general Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged the contribution of faiths to last weekend’s accord between 195 countries to stem carbon emissions and set the world on a more sustainable ­environmental path.

DOORS OF Mercy have been opened around China. In the Diocese of Beijing, the Holy Door was opened on 12 December at the Cathedral

Cardinal ashamed of Eastern Europe Free

17 December 2015
Cardinal Christopher Schön­born of Vienna has said he is “deeply ashamed” of the stance towards refugees of most Eastern European countries in the European Union.

Germany is trying to make up for the crimes it committed in two world wars by opening its doors to all refugees from conflict areas, but it has failed to see the dangers of such a policy, Lord (George) Weidenfeld told the national Sunday Welt am Sonntag in a long interview on 13 December, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.

In a heated debate triggered by a study which showed that a number of Muslim nursery schools in Vienna were radicalising children, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has spoken out strongly in favour of regulatory measures for religious education in kindergartens, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.

National Front blocked Free

17 December 2015
Strong voter mobilisation and politcal manoeuvring among mainstream parties blocked the anti-immigrant National Front in the second round of France’s regional elections last weekend, despite more support for the Front from formerly hostile Catholics, writes Tom Heneghan.

A large group of activists has been arrested in Havana during a peaceful protest marking International Human-Rights Day, writes Isabel de Bertodano. The leader of the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White), Berta Soler, was among up to 200 people detained by the Cuban police on 10 December during a march in support of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Violence grips Bujumbura Free

17 December 2015
As the death of dozens of people in Burundi on Friday last week underlined the growing turmoil in the country, a regional Catholic church leader said the international silence on the violence there was “frightening”.

A priest of the Archdiocese of New York is accused of stealing as much as US$1 million (£666,000) from his parish to pay for sex with a male prostitute, writes Michael Sean Winters. Parishioners at St Frances de Chantal parish filed a lawsuit against Fr Peter Miqueli, accusing him of embezzlement and detailing his alleged sordid sexual conduct.

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