World News

Syrian priest killed during rebel attack on Franciscan convent

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A 49-year-old Syrian priest and hermit was killed June 23, apparently when a group of rebels attacked the Franciscan Convent of St. Anthony in Ghassanieh, a village in the north near the Turkish border.

Syrian refugees need stronger international support, CRS chairman says

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Syrian refugees fleeing their homeland’s civil war deserve support from the international community in the form of food, water, shelter and education, said Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, of Tucson, Ariz., chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services. In a nationwide webcast June 20, World Refugee Day, Bishop Kicanas also called upon […]

UK archbishop calls for wider recognition of fathers in family life

MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — The love a husband demonstrates for his wife serves as an example of respect to the couple’s children, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales said. “Committed, faithful fathers are good for their children, for their educational achievement, psychological well-being and their social behavior,” said Archbishop Vincent Nichols […]

Calling Syria conflict ‘great tribulation,’ pope asks for prayers, aid

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Calling the Syrian conflict “a great tribulation,” Pope Francis said tensions throughout the Middle East must give way to dialogue and reconciliation. “Once again, from the depths of my heart, I appeal to leaders of nations and international organizations, to believers of every religion and to all men and women of […]

Pope calls hunger, malnutrition ‘truly scandalous’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — It is “truly scandalous” that the global level of food production is enough to feed the planet’s people, yet millions of people are malnourished and millions more “must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table,” Pope Francis said. Addressing the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization conference June 20, […]

Vatican calls for copyright changes to give better access to the blind

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While church leaders repeatedly call for global aid for the poor and hungry, a Vatican official urged efforts to end another sort of hunger: the so-called “book famine.” “Only 1 percent of the books in developing and least developed countries … are available in formats accessible to blind people,” said Archbishop […]

Bishops seek negotiated cease-fire in Syria; shun arming of combatants

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Two bishops have called for the United States to seek a negotiated cease-fire in Syria's civil war rather than arming combatants. "Instead of arming both sides, the international community should be emphasizing the need for a negotiated solution to the conflict," wrote Bishops Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, and Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Niger archbishop says Christians living in fear after Islamist attacks

OXFORD, England (CNS) -- The head of the Catholic Church in Niger warned that much of Africa's Sahel region is facing a "coordinated Islamist campaign" that is leaving Christian communities "living in anxiety and fear." Archbishop Michel Cartateguy of Niamey said attacks by Islamist rebels have been limited to non-religious targets, but that the well-coordinated actions are sending clear messages to non-Muslims.

Italian media report miracle putting Blessed John Paul close to sainthood

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Although the process is not complete and is supposed to be secret at this point, Italian media are reporting that the canonization of Blessed John Paul II is another step closer. The Italian news agency ANSA and many Italian papers say Vatican sources confirmed June 18 that the theological consultants to the Congregation for Saints' Causes affirmed that the description of prayers and events surrounding an alleged miracle provide evidence that the healing was accomplished through the intercession of the late pope.

Flash flood due to snow, heavy rain, closes Lourdes shrine again

TOULOUSE, France (CNS) -- Flash flooding created by heavy rains forced officials to close the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes June 18. The Lourdes grotto, where Mary is reported to have appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858, was under as much as 5 feet of water.