World News

Chinese diocese won’t bury bishop until government returns cemetery

TANGSHAN, China (CNS) -- The Tangshan Diocese announced it would not bury deceased Bishop Paul Liu Jinghe until the government returns a former church cemetery, so government officials took clergy away for questioning Dec. 18.

Vatican hires firms to streamline communications, improve bookkeeping

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In an effort to streamline and modernize its communications structures and bring its accounting practices in line with international standards, the Vatican hired two international consulting agencies.

Man seriously injured after setting self on fire in St. Peter’s Square

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A 51-year-old man was severely injured after he set himself on fire in St. Peter's Square. The unidentified man doused himself with gasoline he had carried in a bottle and then lit himself aflame at the end of the colonnade near Piazza Pio XII at 8:30 in the morning Dec. 19.

Prince Charles ‘deeply troubled’ by plight of Christians in Middle East

In a Dec. 17 address at London's Clarence House, the Prince of Wales said the Mideast's Christians were being persecuted by "Islamist fundamentalist militants," and he called upon the followers of Christianity, Judaism and Islam to unite to end the suffering.

Christmas offers lesson in humility, Pope Francis says

God "descends to earth as someone small and poor," the pope said Dec. 18 in Rome, "which means that to be like him we should not put ourselves above others, but on the contrary ... give ourselves in service, make ourselves small with the small and poor with the poor."

Pope proclaims sainthood of Jesuit companion of St. Ignatius

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis issued a decree declaring one of his favorite Jesuits, Blessed Peter Faber, a saint. The "equivalent canonization" means the pope inserts the name of the new saint in the calendar of saints without verifying a miracle performed through his intercession and without formal ceremony.

Pope celebrates birthday by having breakfast with homeless men

Updated - VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As part of a low-key celebration of his 77th birthday, Pope Francis had breakfast with three people who live on the streets near the Vatican. A small dog, belonging to one of the homeless men, was also on the guest list.

Belgian bishops deplore vote to allow children to choose euthanasia

OXFORD, England (CNS) -- Belgium's Catholic bishops have deplored a parliamentary vote paving the way for sick children and dementia patients to choose euthanasia. "The voices of religious leaders have plainly not been listened to," said Jesuit Father Tommy Scholtes, bishops' conference spokesman.

Pope Francis: I’m no Marxist, but no offense taken

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In another wide-ranging interview with an Italian journalist, Pope Francis denied he was a Marxist, dismissed the notion of women cardinals and reflected on Christmas as an occasion of joy, tenderness and hope.

Ordaining 31 Legionaries, cardinal says they are part of order’s reform

ROME (CNS) -- Ordaining 31 new priests for the Legionaries of Christ, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis told them they were not responsible for the scandals that threatened to destroy their order, but they have been part of the effort to renew and reform the order.