World News

China groups revoke bishop’s appointment; archbishop calls for worldwide prayers

SHANGHAI (CNS) — The government-sanctioned Catholic bishops’ conference has revoked Shanghai Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin’s appointment, saying he violated their rules for episcopal ordinations, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News. Joseph Liu Yuanlong, a vice chair of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, confirmed Dec. 12 that the association and the Bishops’ Conference […]

Pope asks Catholics to read Bible, recall history of God’s saving love

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Urging Catholics to “pick up the Bible” and read it during the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI said the Scriptures recount the story of God’s love for humanity and the steps he took throughout history to save all men and women. “That which enlightens and gives full meaning to the […]

Pope launches Twitter account, tweets to more than 1 million followers

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI launched his very own Twitter account, sending a short inaugural message to his more than 1 million followers. "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart," it said. His tweet -- 139 characters -- went viral as the number of followers of @Pontifex and its seven other extensions grew by more than 5,000 new people an hour, a Vatican official said.

Berlin Archdiocese to restructure for administrative, spiritual reasons

OXFORD, England (CNS) -- Germany's Berlin Archdiocese has announced plans to merge its parishes into larger "pastoral areas" and pool its institutional resources in the face of falling church membership. The reorganization is the latest of several by German dioceses and follows plans by the Vienna Archdiocese in neighboring Austria to cut its parishes from 660 to 150 in the face of dwindling clergy and laity.

French bishops say vote to allow embryo research ‘shocking’

PARIS (CNS) — The French bishops described as “shocking” the French Senate’s approval of a law permitting the use of human embryos for stem-cell research. “The human embryo has the right to be protected,” and current French law urges “respect for the human person ‘from the beginning of its life,'” said Archbishop Pierre D’Ornellas of […]

Catholic beliefs are not open to popular vote, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When the Catholic Church affirms the importance of how all the faithful understand matters of faith and morals, it is not saying Catholic beliefs are open to a popular vote, Pope Benedict XVI said. An authentic “sensus fidei,” which literally means “sense of faith,” can come only when Catholics actively participate […]

Salvation must be proclaimed, faith explained, papal preacher says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church has great resources and experience in helping the baptized learn about and live their faith, but it also can learn something from other Christians about the initial step of bringing people to faith in Jesus, said the preacher of the papal household. “Our situation is becoming more and […]

New charity rules don’t forbid state funding, Vatican official says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — New rules issued by Pope Benedict XVI for the governance of Catholic charities will not prevent such charities from accepting government funding, so long as the funding does not entail conditions that conflict with church teaching, said the second-highest official of the Vatican office in charge of applying the new legislation. […]

Our Lady of Guadalupe’s devotion extends beyond the Americas

MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- Ana Rita Valero received an unlikely request in 2008. Valero, an anthropologist and president of the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of Guadalupe, was asked by an official with the Mexican consulate in Shanghai to send two large images of Our Lady of Guadalupe. "It was the least likely place we could have sent images," Valero said, recalling the cool commercial relations between Mexico and China at the time. "The Chinese population liked them and began going (to Beijing and Shanghai) to pray."

Palestinian question key to Mideast peace, say Catholic leaders

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — At the end of a three-day meeting in Lebanon, the Catholic patriarchs and bishops of the Middle East said peace in the region will be impossible without a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The 77 Catholic leaders said the greatest contribution to peace in the region would be to finally find […]