Home » World
  • 'Indissoluble Marriage Is Not A Threat to Human Freedom'

    Rome (ZENIT) -- “Fidelity” and “indissolubility” remain indispensable conditions of Christian marriage, confirmed Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, during a conference on the contents of the forthcoming Synod, held a few days ago at Battaglia, of which ample excerpts were reported in today’s edition of L’Osservatore Romano.

    Read more
  • Cardinal urges Nigerian candidates to avoid hate speech during campaign

    ABUJA, Nigeria (CNS) -- Politicians should desist from hate speech and inciting Nigerians against each other during the campaign for general elections. "The hot competition between political parties should not make them forget the common objective of justice, peace, prosperity, harmony, good governance and building a nation that we can all be proud of," said Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja.

    Read more
  • English, Welsh bishops make defense of life top election priority

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have made the defense of human life their top priority in guidance to Catholic voters ahead of the general election. A four-page letter to voters, which will be distributed throughout churches, lists "important issues" the bishops invite Catholics to raise with candidates in the election for the House of Commons May 7.

    Read more
  • 'God has saved me,' says Indian Jesuit after release from Afghanistan

    NEW DELHI (CNS) -- A Jesuit priest kidnapped in Afghanistan and held for eight months told reporters "God has saved me," but he said he did not want to discuss details of his captivity. Jesuit Father Alexis Prem Kumar, 47, kidnapped June 2 in Afghanistan's Herat province, was flown to New Delhi from Kabul Feb. 22 with the intervention of the Indian government.

    Read more
  • Pope opens cardinals' discussion of Curia reform; new offices explained

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinals meeting at the Vatican discussed better ways to balance the responsibilities of local bishops and of the Roman Curia, said the Vatican spokesman. A recurring theme in the cardinals' Feb. 12-13 meeting was "what is it that is done best where," Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told journalists Feb. 13 during a pause in College of Cardinals' discussions.

    Read more
  • Pope seeks prayers for Egyptians beheaded by Islamic State

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis called for prayers for the Egyptian Christians beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya and asked that God recognize these men killed for their faith. He offered morning Mass Feb. 17 in the chapel of his residence for the slain Christians he termed "our 21 brother Copts" whose throats had been slit "for the sole reason of being Christians," and he requested people pray for the victims so "that the Lord welcome them as martyrs."

    Read more
  • Martyrs in Libya 'whispered' name of Jesus before death, bishop says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded by Islamic State militants died as martyrs, invoking the name of Jesus, said an Egyptian Catholic bishop. In line with Pope Francis' assertion at morning Mass Feb. 17, Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina of Giza told the Fides news agency that the "diabolical" video of the Christians' massacre, intended to "spread terror," was a testament to their martyrdom in the faith.

    Read more
  • Don't be a successful failure: Choose life over false gods, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Don't use peer pressure, greed or laziness as an excuse to chase after false gods and become a wildly successful failure, Pope Francis said. Slow down, reflect and choose the path that takes you closer to God and your loved ones, he said Feb. 19 during his morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.

    Read more
  • Liturgies need to help people experience awe, mystery of God, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The liturgy should help the faithful enter into God's mystery and to experience the wonder of encountering Christ, Pope Francis told priests of the Diocese of Rome. People should feel the wonder and allure "that the apostles felt when they were called, invited. It attracts -- wonder attracts -- and it lets you reflect," the pope said during an annual Lenten meeting with Rome pastors in the Paul VI audience hall.

    Read more
  • 'Pope Francis' Preference for the Poor is Not Left-Wing'

    Madrid (ZENIT) -- Father Juan Carlos Scannone, SJ, is in Madrid today, invited by two institutions of the Society of Jesus – the initiative In Parenthesis and the Review Razon y Fe [Reason and Faith]. This Argentine Jesuit was a Professor of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, today Pope Francis, who was later to be his Provincial and companion in the Community for several years.

    Read more
  • Neither Dignity Nor Justice

    Rome (ZENIT) -- On February 6 the nine judges of the Canadian Supreme Court legalized euthanasia in a unanimous decision, reversing a previous 1994 ruling. The move continued a tendency towards judicial activism that started with the striking down of about laws, then the introduction of same-sex marriage, and the striking down of laws on prostitution.

    Read more
  • Benedict XVI Will Be Present at Tomorrow's Consistory

    Rome (ZENIT) -- Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has accepted Pope Francis' invitation to attend tomorrow's Ordinary Public Consistory in St. Peter's Basilica. Although Holy See spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, did not confirm the Pontiff Emeritus' presence at the consistory during today's briefing, Vatican Radio confirmed shortly after that Benedict XVI will attend the celebration that will created 20 new cardinals for the Roman Catholic Church.

    Read more
  • In May, pope asked Mexican cardinal-designate to wait to retire

    MORELIA, Mexico (CNS) -- Cardinal-designate Alberto Suarez Inda of Morelia planned to retire as leader of an archdiocese hit hard by organized crime violence. Pope Francis had other ideas. "When we were in Rome in May, we greeted the pope and he told me: 'I know that you want to resign, but I'm asking you to wait, to endure, to resist,'" he recalled in an interview with Catholic News Service. "I never imagined this surprise would come later."

    Read more
  • Oldest cardinal-to-be known as 'never afraid to tell the truth'

    MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal-designate Jose de Jesus Pimiento Rodriguez, retired archbishop of Manizales, Colombia, will be the oldest of 20 men elevated to cardinal Feb. 14. The cardinal-designate, who will turn 96 Feb. 18, was ordained a priest Dec. 14, 1941 -- three days before Pope Francis turned 5 years old.

    Read more
  • Despite limits on liberty, Vietnam's new cardinal-designate sees hope

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Vietnam's cardinal-designate sees hope and continuing challenges ahead for the church in a nation that still has to fully embrace religious freedom. Cardinal-designate Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Hanoi, 76, said he saw Pope Francis' decision to induct him into the College of Cardinals as a reflection of the warming relations between the Vatican and the communist state of Vietnam.

    Read more
  • Portugal's new cardinal known as humble, strong communicator

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Portugal's newest cardinal-designate is known as a humble man of faith and culture who is also a strong communicator working hard to reach out to the excluded. Portuguese Patriarch Manuel Macario do Nascimento Clemente of Lisbon has been characterized as a "good shepherd," who is in touch with his flock and is aware and sensitive to their needs.

    Read more
  • Youngest cardinal-designate comes from family of catechists

    AUCKLAND, New Zealand (CNS) -- The youngest cardinal-designate named by Pope Francis is the son and grandson of catechists -- and will be Tonga's first cardinal. Cardinal-designate Soane Mafi, 53, was among 20 men Pope Francis announced would be made cardinals at a consistory in Rome Feb. 14.

    Read more
  • Cardinal-designate stayed in Ethiopia, hopes others will do same

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- Ethiopia's cardinal-designate hopes his story of serving the people in one of Africa's poorest countries will inspire young people to do the same. While Ethiopians are "easily tempted to leave" to live and work in developed countries, "the need for educated people here is great," Cardinal-designate Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of Addis Ababa said in a Jan. 5 telephone interview from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

    Read more
  • Ancona archbishop expected to retire; instead pope named him a cardinal

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Instead of accepting the letter of resignation that the archbishop of Ancona-Osimo, Italy, submitted in October, Pope Francis named him a cardinal. Cardinal-designate Edoardo Menichelli is 75 -- the age church law requires bishops to submit their resignations -- but he still kicks a soccer ball around with other priests and seminarians.

    Read more
  • New Zealand cardinal-designate asked for pastoral approach on Eucharist

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (CNS) -- Cardinal-designate John Dew of Wellington has appealed for a more pastoral approach for some of the family issues facing New Zealand Catholics. At the 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, he called on church leaders to discuss a "pastoral approach" to ending "the scandal of hunger for eucharistic food."

    Read more
  • College of Cardinals to be briefed on progress of Curia Reform

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- High-level discussions continue on how exactly to reform the Roman Curia, but the idea of consolidating several offices into two large groups -- one with family, laity and life, and the other with justice and peace, migrants and charity -- seems to be taking form, the Vatican spokesman said.

    Read more
  • Life is enriched with the birth of children, pope says at audience

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Children are a blessing, not a burden, and are a sign of the confident hope of a couple and of society, Pope Francis said. "If a family that has been generous in having children is looked upon as a burden, something's wrong," he said Feb. 11 at his weekly general audience.

    Read more
  • Pope Francis: "Reform is Not an End in Itself"

    Vatican City (ZENIT) -- "How beautiful and how sweet when brothers live together." Pope Francis cited this Psalm in his address on the Consistory of the College of Cardinals' first day. Following prayers and an address by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, the Holy Father began by thanking those present for their work in organizing the consistory, as well as welcoming the 20 new cardinals who will be given the red biretta this weekend.

    Read more
  • CRS says accusations against sex ed publication it uses are unfounded

    BALTIMORE (CNS) -- Allegations that Catholic Relief Services used sex education materials in Rwanda that violated church teaching on human sexuality are unfounded, the agency said. CRS, the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and develop agency, conducted an internal investigation concerning allegations raised by Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute charging that CRS used the publication, "My Changing Body: Puberty and Fertility Awareness for Young People," which he said promotes abortifacient contraception, masturbation and condom use.

    Read more
  • Christian ID: You have to leave comforts of home to find it, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- People will not find the face of God by relaxing at home on the couch, surfing online or reading encyclopedias, Pope Francis said. Only people with a restless heart that thirsts for God will find him as they strike out on the road, taking risks and overcoming fatigue, danger and doubt, he said Feb. 10 during the morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.

    Read more
  • Church leaders dismayed with Canadian court ruling on assisted suicide

    OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) -- Canadian church leaders and advocates for the disabled reacted with dismay when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down laws against physician-assisted suicide. In a unanimous decision Feb. 6, the court ruled that doctors may help adults with severe and incurable conditions to die, overturning a 1993 ban against assisted suicide.

    Read more
  • Salvation in the city: Be neighborhood apostles, pope urges laity

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cities can be chaotic and cold, but people need God in a metropolis as much as they need him anywhere, Pope Francis said. Lay Catholics especially are called "to go out without fear," offering a human touch and God's love to people they work with or live near, the pope said Feb. 7 during a meeting with members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

    Read more
  • Fighting Slavery

    Rome (ZENIT) -- This Sunday was the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against human trafficking. In the Vatican press conference held last Tuesday it was explained that the day coincided with the Feast day of freed Sudanese slave Saint Josephine Bakhita.

    Read more
  • The Romero case: Changing times bring changing definition of 'martyr'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The classic Christian martyr accepted death when presented with the option "convert or die." When the pagan emperors of Rome carried out bloody campaigns against Christians during the first three centuries of the church's history, the Christian community had no difficulty in recognizing they were killed "out of hatred for the faith."

    Read more
  • Martyrdom is not a thing of the past, pope says at Mass

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Reading the Gospel account of St. John the Baptist's death on the feast of St. Paul Miki and other Japanese martyrs, Pope Francis said his thoughts naturally turn to those Christians being persecuted and killed today because of their faith.

    Read more
  • Vatican makeover: New restrooms offer showers, barbershop for homeless

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Hot showers, a soapy shave and spiffy haircuts are available for free for those whom the Vatican calls "our homeless pilgrims." Thanks to charitable contributions from Pope Francis and private donors, the Vatican has finished remodeling and expanding a public bathroom a few steps from Bernini's Colonnade, surrounding St. Peter's Square.

    Read more
  • Obedience to God's will brings wisdom, joy, hope, pope tells religious

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Total obedience to God's will brings wisdom, joy and hope, Pope Francis told religious men and women. "Yes, the happiness of a religious is a consequence of this path of lowering oneself with Jesus and, when we are sad, when we complain, it will do us well to ask ourselves how we are living this dimension of 'kenosis'" or self-emptying, he said.

    Read more
  • To bring Him to His people

    The following is an excerpt from Pope Francis' homily at the Mass for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the XIX World Day of Consecrated Life, Feb. 2, 2015. ...Jesus walked the same path as we do, and shows us the new way, the "new and living way" which is he himself. For us, consecrated men and women, this is the one way which, concretely and without alternatives, we must continue to tread with joy and perseverance.

    Read more
  • Who are the two Polish priests martyred in Peru?

    Lima, Peru, Feb 5, 2015 CNA/EWTN News.- Two Polish priest killed by a Communist group in Peru were among those recognized as martyrs by Pope Francis on Feb. 3. Father Michele Tomaszek and Father Zbigneo Strzalkowski of the Conventual Friars Minor, were killed Aug. 9, 1991, by the “Shining Path” terrorist group in Peru. At the time of their death, they were 31 and 33 years old, respectively.

    Read more
  • Pope Francis: We Must Rid Church of the Scourge of Child Abuse

    Vatican City (ZENIT) -- In a letter addressed to Episcopal Conferences, Religious Superiors and Societies of Apostolic Life around the world, Pope Francis said that Bishops and Major Superiors have a responsibility to assure the safety of minors in parishes and Church institutions.

    Read more
  • House of Commons OKs genetic manipulation to fight certain diseases

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- The British House of Commons voted to legalize a genetic process to fight the transmission of mitochondrial diseases, such as muscular dystrophy. If the legislation is approved in the House of Lords, Britain would become the first country to allow scientists to alter the human germ line in trying to defeat incurable diseases.

    Read more
  • Pontifical council to consider challenges women face in society, church

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Violence against women, cultural pressures regarding women's physical appearance, attitudes that subjugate women or that ignore male-female differences and the growing alienation of women from the church in some parts of the world are themes the Pontifical Council for Culture is set to explore.

    Read more
  • Being Good Without God

    Rome (ZENIT) -- In an essay published last December Peter Hitchens, brother of the late Christopher Hitchens, a renowned atheist, reflected on the importance of religion. In his essay, published December 3 on the Website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Hitchens acknowledged that atheists can arrive at some moral principles, such as the Golden Rule, or doing to others what you would like done to you, but he also maintained that Christianity goes a lot further.

    Read more
  • Living memories: On DVD, council fathers share impact of Vatican II

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A pivotal moment in the modern history of the Catholic Church came to life on screen with a new documentary about the Second Vatican Council. With archival footage and exclusive interviews with prelates who attended the council sessions between its opening in 1962 and closing in 1965, the film pieces together firsthand accounts of that historic era and its impact on the church today.

    Read more
  • Vatican to Offer Haircuts for Homeless

    Vatican City (ZENIT) -- Last November, the Holy See announced that they would be opening three showers under the colonnades of St. Peter's Basilica for the homeless. Now they will also open a barber shop and offer haircuts and shaves free of charge for homeless people.

    Read more
  • CRS examines sex ed publication alleged to violate church teaching

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic Relief Services is investigating an allegation that a publication it used in connection with a program in Rwanda violates church teaching on human sexuality. A statement from the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and develop agency said that former and current staff are being questioned about the publication to determine how or if it was used in the small African nation in 2009 and 2010.

    Read more
  • Pope to dads: Play with your kids, be strong, loving, moral role models

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When their lives are all work and no play, men turn their children into "orphans" who lack a father to guide them, show them love and teach them values, Pope Francis said. "They are orphans in a family because their fathers are often absent, also physically, from home, but above all because when they are home they don't act like fathers, they don't dialogue with their children, they don't fulfill their role as educators, they don't give their children, by way of their example and their words, those principles, values and rules of life that they need like bread," he said.

    Read more
  • Persecuted for faith, Christians are united in bloodshed, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians are united in bloodshed as they suffer from violence and persecution in various parts of the world, Pope Francis told Christian leaders. Today's martyrs are men and women, who through their witness to Jesus, are "persecuted and killed because they are Christian," the pope said Jan. 25 during an ecumenical prayer service marking the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

    Read more
  • Sainthood cause for Focolare founder formally begins

    FRASCATI, Italy (CNS) -- Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, "lit a new light in the church's journey toward unity," Pope Francis said. In a message to hundreds of people gathered in the cathedral of Frascati Jan. 27 for the formal opening of Lubich's sainthood cause, Pope Francis expressed his hope that "the shining example" of her life and activity would strengthen Focolare members' faith and commitment to building up the unity of the church and friendly relations with members of other religions.

    Read more