World News

Vatican financial investigator says laws, roles will be strengthened

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The director of the Vatican’s Financial Intelligence Authority said the Vatican will further amend its finance-related laws in the coming months, increase screening of account holders at the Vatican bank and continue assessing the potential risk that accounts could be used for money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Rene Brulhart, […]

Religious freedom reports see little improvement in troubling countries

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report released May 20 and a counterpart report by an independent commission issued a few weeks earlier see many of the same trouble spots around the world: North Korea, China, Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria and Vietnam, among others. Neither of the reports found much improvement in the […]

Courageously evangelizing with help of Holy Spirit leads to joy, Pope Francis says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Selfishness only brings sadness and bitterness, while stepping outside of oneself to evangelize is the ultimate "pick me up" and source of joy, Pope Francis said. "Let's live the Gospel with humility and courage. Give witness to the newness, hope and joy that the Lord brings to your life," the pope said May 22 at his weekly general audience.

Guatemalan court annuls conviction of former dictator

GUATEMALA CITY (CNS) -- Guatemala's highest court annulled the conviction of a former dictator found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. The constitutional court threw out the May 10 ruling against Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, 86, who had been sentenced 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.

At Pentecost vigil, pope shares personal stories of his faith

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — With humor and passion, Pope Francis shared highlights of his personal faith journey and explained some key points of his teaching to an enthusiastic crowd of representatives from Catholic lay movements. Celebrating a vigil on the eve of Pentecost with an estimated 200,000 people singing, chanting and waving their groups’ banners, […]

Vatican denies pope performed public exorcism

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When Pope Francis solemnly laid both hands on the head of a young man in a wheelchair and prayed intently over him for several minutes, he was not performing an exorcism, said the Vatican spokesman. The young man, who was among dozens of people in wheelchairs greeted by the pope at […]

Struggle for power in church is sin, pope says at Mass

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Careerism and a drive to seek power in the church are sins as old as the church itself, Pope Francis told a group of employees from Vatican Radio and from the Vatican’s office for pilgrims and tourists. Commenting on the day’s Gospel passage — Mark 9:30-37 — the pope said that […]

Chaldean patriarch warns surge in Iraqi violence will divide country

BEIRUT (CNS) — The patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Baghdad denounced a recent series of car bombings and shootings in Iraqi cities that left at least 54 people dead and dozens more injured. Patriarch Louis Sako, told Catholic News Service in an email May 20 that the current violence is between minority Sunni […]

Police evacuate Notre Dame Cathedral after man commits suicide

PARIS (CNS) — Visitors were evacuated from Notre Dame Cathedral after a man committed suicide in the 850-year-old church, police said. News agencies reported that the man in his 70s walked up to the main altar and shot himself the afternoon of May 21 as tourists and worshippers were in the church. Cathedral officials issued […]

Syriac bishop: Extremism jeopardizes Syrian Christians’ safety

The church leaders took part in the special Syriac blessing of the water ceremony recited over small bottles of water, later distributed to the worshippers. In his homily, Bishop Melki said the church in Syria "continues to be a victim of the total chaos and war." "We pray fervently day and night for (Christian) unity and peace, especially in Syria, and for the two bishops who have been kidnapped and their release and for others kidnapped elsewhere in the Middle East."