World News

Pope visits butler in jail, personally delivers pardon

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — During a 15-minute meeting in the Vatican police barracks, Pope Benedict XVI visited with his former butler, Paolo Gabriele, and told him he was forgiven and was being pardoned. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the pope had wanted “to confirm his forgiveness and to inform him personally of his […]

Pope says false ideas of human nature threaten basis of the family

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI said the family in Western society is undergoing a "crisis that threatens it to its foundations," owing to false ideas of human nature that equate freedom with selfishness and present God-given sexual identities as a matter of individual choice to the profound detriment of humanity dignity.

Pope Paul VI among 850 whose causes for sainthood advance

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI advanced the sainthood cause of Pope Paul VI by recognizing the Italian pope as having lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way. He also recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of an Italian martyr who, with an estimated 800 other people, died at the hands of […]

Elite Vatican squad scales high spots to keep basilica spic and span

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The sounds of a woman chanting in a side chapel blended with the less traditional hum of a hydraulic lift one recent morning in St. Peter’s Basilica. Pilgrims were pressed against a barricade pointing cameras at workmen strapped in climbing harnesses, teetering atop the baldacchino, the massive bronze canopy over the […]

Pope writes on Christmas for major financial newspaper

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In the Vatican's latest move to expand its use of media, an article on the meaning of Christmas by Pope Benedict XVI appeared Dec. 20 in Britain's Financial Times newspaper. "While Christmas is undoubtedly a time of great joy, it is also an occasion for deep reflection, even an examination of conscience," the pope wrote. "At the end of a year that has meant economic hardship for many, what can we learn from the humility, the poverty, the simplicity of the crib scene?"

Strength of faith comes from trusting God, pope says at audience

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Mary's role in the birth and life of Jesus shows all Christians that the strength of faith lies in trusting God, even when his will is mysterious and life seems dark, Pope Benedict XVI said. "The power of God, in our lives as well, works with the often silent power of truth and love," the pope said Dec. 19. Preparing for Christmas and continuing his Year of Faith series of audience talks, the pope focused on what Christians can learn about faith from Mary.

European youths to usher in New Year with Taize songs, silence in Rome

ROME (CNS) — The simple songs using phrases from the Psalms repeated over and over form a frame around the 10 full minutes of absolute silence that lies at the heart of the Taize ecumenical community’s prayer. As monks from the community, based in France, and volunteers prepared to welcome more than 30,000 European young […]

In Holy Land, Christmas traditions include family, parades and Mass

JERUSALEM (CNS) — The simmering smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in Catholic parishes across the West Bank and Israel heralds the start of the Christmas season in early December as families prepare burbara, the special wheat pudding eaten to mark the feast day of St. Barbara, known as Eid El-Burbara in Arabic. According to […]

Kerala bishops sack youth commission priest charged with trafficking

COCHIN, India (CNS) — The Catholic Bishops’ Council of Kerala dismissed the secretary of its youth commission, who has been charged as part of a human trafficking ring. Father Stephen Alathara, spokesman for the council, also said Nov. 17 it would conduct an investigation into the priest’s activities, reported the Press Trust of India. In […]

Irish government announces plans to legalize abortion, with limits

DUBLIN (CNS) — The Irish government has announced plans to legalize abortion in limited circumstances, but Minister for Health James Reilly insisted his plans will take “full account of the equal right to life of the unborn child.” The announcement contradicts a 2011 campaign promise by Prime Minister Enda Kenny that his government would not […]