World News

Marian devotion unifies hundreds at Asia-Pacific Islanders pilgrimage

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As three choirs sang a modern-day arrangement of the “Memorare” together May 11, a Vietnamese father, mother and daughter in traditional “ao dai” attire walked reverently to the front of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington and placed an ornate crown on the statue of Mary […]

Church silent after ex-Guatemalan dictator found guilty of genocide

GUATEMALA CITY (CNS) -- Church officials in Guatemala did not comment in the days after a former dictator, Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. A judge sentenced Rios Montt, 86, to 80 years in prison for crimes carried out in 1982, when he allegedly initiated a policy of extermination of Mayans for their ties to Marxist guerrillas. The ruling was seen as historic in a country known for its impunity.

Church is growing worldwide, especially in Asia, Africa, Vatican says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The number of Catholics in the world and the number of bishops, priests, religious men and seminarians all increased in 2011, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, according to Vatican statistics. The number of permanent deacons is showing “strong expansion” globally, but especially in Europe and […]

Portuguese cardinal entrusts Pope Francis to Our Lady of Fatima

FATIMA, Portugal (CNS) — Entrusting Pope Francis’ pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima, Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo of Lisbon, Portugal, asked Mary to give the pope courage and strength, particularly as he moves to renew and reform the Catholic Church. “Give him the gift of discernment to know how to identify the ways of […]

Patroness, inspiration, intercessor: Mary is beloved in Latin America

MEXICO CITY (CNS) — May is the month of Mary, who is celebrated the length of Latin America as someone more than the mother of God — or even a religious figure. Mary is associated with everything from national identity in Mexico to the mother earth in Chile to the national patroness of many of […]

Sainthood cause of 16th-century Jesuit moves to Vatican

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Although it has taken more than 400 years, the sainthood cause of Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci, the 16th-century missionary to China, appears to be back on track. Bishop Claudio Giuliodori, apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Macerata, Italy, where Father Ricci was born in 1552, formally closed the diocesan phase of […]

Tens of thousands march for life in Rome

UPDATED -- VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke and U.S. pro-life leaders joined tens of thousands of demonstrators in Italy's third annual March for Life May 12, which ended with a personal greeting from Pope Francis. According to organizers, some 30,000 marched along the route from the Colosseum to Castel Sant'Angelo, a distance of nearly two miles.

Syrian crisis part of Western geopolitical strategy, says patriarch

BEIRUT (CNS) -- The Syriac Catholic patriarch said events in Syria were the result of Western nations carrying out a geopolitical strategy "to split Syria and other countries" in the Middle East. "It's not a question of promoting democracy or pluralism as the West wants us to understand of its policies. This is a lie, this is hypocrisy," Syriac Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan told Catholic News Service.

Pope warns comfortable living ‘paralyzes us’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis warned against "gentrification of the heart" as a consequence of comfortable living, and called on the faithful to "touch the flesh of Christ" by caring for the needy. The pope's words came in a homily during Mass in St. Peter's Square May 12, when he canonized the first Colombian saint, as well as a Mexican nun and some 800 Italians martyred by Ottoman Turks in the 15th century.

Pope says Catholics, Coptic Orthodox united by ‘ecumenism of suffering’

"Just as the blood of the martyrs was a seed of strength and fertility for the church, so too the sharing of daily sufferings can become an effective instrument of unity," Pope Francis told Pope Tawadros II, leader of 10 million Coptic Orthodox May 10. The remark appeared to refer to increased violence over recent decades against Coptic Christians in Egypt, including a car bomb that exploded outside a church in Alexandria on New Year's Eve 2011, killing at least 21 people.