World News

Everyone can pray, have relationship with God, pope says at audience

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) — Everyone is given the grace to pray, which is the only way to have a life-giving relationship with God, Pope Benedict XVI said. Resuming his weekly general audiences after a month-long break, Pope Benedict continued his series of talks on prayer Aug. 1. (Watch a video of the audience.) The […]

Syrian refugees face ‘terrible’ situation, Catholic aid workers say

BEIRUT (CNS) — Refugees from Syria are in “complete darkness” about their future, said an official with Caritas Lebanon. Father Simon Faddoul, president of Caritas Lebanon, which has been working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon for 14 months, said there was a large influx of people during the last week of July as more than […]

Syrian opposition groups appeal for cease-fire

ROME (CNS) — Representatives of a dozen Syrian opposition groups called for a cease-fire in their homeland and the beginning of an internationally mediated dialogue to bring democracy to the country. Meeting in Rome July 25-26, the groups, which included some inspired by Islam, said they are “firmly opposed to any discrimination based on religious […]

Seven Chinese priests forced from parishes following illicit ordination

HARBIN, China (CNS) — Chinese government officials have forced seven priests in Heilongjiang province who resisted the illicit episcopal ordination of Father Joseph Yue Fusheng of Harbin to leave their parishes, local Catholic Church sources said. The action was taken, the sources said, to force the priests to “repent for their wrongdoing,” reported the Asian […]

Pope hosts top-level meeting on leaks in Vatican

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Although technically on vacation, Pope Benedict XVI hosted a top-level meeting of Vatican officials involved in investigating and responding to the leak of Vatican documents. The meeting July 26 included the commission of cardinals appointed to conduct an administrative review of Vatican offices and procedures, as well as the judges involved […]

Catholics, Protestants oppose Cameron’s call for same-sex marriage in UK

MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — In spite of widespread opposition from the Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations, the general public and his own party, British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to legalize same-sex marriage in England and Wales. Cameron’s declaration came July 24 during a meeting with gay, lesbian and transsexual communities at his Downing […]

Vatican withdraws recognition of Peru university as ‘Catholic’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican has withdrawn the titles “Catholic” and “Pontifical” from a university in Peru after decades of discussions over the school’s Catholic identity and after tensions between university officials and the local cardinal over control of the school’s assets. In a communique published July 21, the Vatican said Lima’s Pontifical Catholic […]

Syrian Catholic leaders call for united efforts by world community

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As violence continued to shake Syria, the Vatican nuncio in Damascus called on the international community to unite in efforts to restore peace. "In Damascus, the last three days have been very difficult" as the fighting moved to the city, Archbishop Mario Zenari, the nuncio, told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview from the capital July 17. "The situation compared to a month ago clearly is more tense," he said.

Prayers for rain, or no more of it: U.S. grapples with drought while Ireland, India suffer from flooding

In the Midwest United States, high temperatures and the worst drought in decades are stunting crops and moving Catholics to pray for rain. But Catholic communities in Ireland and India are praying for just the opposite. In those countries heavy rains are flooding farm fields and homes. The desperation of drought-stricken farmers in the Midwest […]

Trouble for Church in China: One Chinese bishop ordained without Pope’s approval is excommunicated, while a validly ordained bishop faces government restrictions

The ordination in China of a bishop without papal mandate follows that of a bishop ordained with Vatican approval who rejected the Chinese government-sanctioned Catholic association. That bishop is facing Chinese restrictions on his ministry and is on retreat due to “exhaustion” after his ordination. “His witness is an encouragement for our Catholics, so we can only pray for him," a priest in Shanghai said. Catholics called for prayers and fasting for the bishop on July 9, feast of the Chinese Martyrs.