World News

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.

Adding St. Joseph’s name to Mass texts, popes share their devotion

UPDATED -- VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis and retired Pope Benedict XVI have a special devotion to St. Joseph and have assured that devotion regularly will be shared at Mass by Catholics around the world. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments said Pope Francis confirmed a decision originally made by Pope Benedict to include St. Joseph permanently in the eucharistic prayers used at most Masses in the Latin rite. (See the text of the prayers for the Mass in English.)

Quebec at a crossroads with euthanasia bill, province’s bishops say

OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) -- As the Quebec government considers an end-of-life bill that would allow euthanasia, Quebec's Catholic bishops warn that society faces a crucial choice. "We are at a crossroads with this choice," said Archbishop Pierre-Andre Fournier of Rimouski, president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec. "This is a very important moment for the future of our country, of our society."

Irish Bishop chides Obama for echoing ‘Protestant/Catholic caricature’

DUBLIN (CNS) -- A bishop in Northern Ireland accused President Barack Obama of a "hackneyed" analysis of the political situation in the region.

International Criminal Court declines to probe Vatican over sex abuse

NEW YORK (CNS) — The International Criminal Court declined a request from victims of clergy sexual abuse to investigate Vatican officials and their responsibility for the abuse of children by Catholic priests around the world. In a two-page letter May 31, the court told the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which represented the victims, […]

Harley Davidson riders rumble into the Vatican

Some 35,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles arrived in Rome last week to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the American motorcycle maker's founding. There was room for faith among the rumbling engines, leather jackets and elaborate tattoos. Events began early in the morning of June 14 with Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, saying Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for 2,000 of the participants.

Catholics, Lutherans look to commemoration of Reformation anniversary

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Joint Catholic-Lutheran commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation must recognize the harm caused by the split in Western Christianity, the polemics that exacerbated differences and the progress made through 50 years of ecumenical dialogue, a new document said. “From Conflict to Communion,” a document released June […]