The National Catholic Review

News

May 2016

  • May 24 2016 - 5:19pm

    In a May 23 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court said Georgia prosecutors violated the Constitution in a death penalty case nearly two decades ago by excluding prospective black jurors from the trial.

    The 7-1 decision sent the case of Timothy Foster, an African-American facing the death penalty for killing an elderly white woman in 1986 when he was 18, back to Georgia for a new trial.

    "Justice was upheld in this case, but the ruling does not fix the law to end juror exclusion on...

  • May 24 2016 - 2:40pm

    Catholic and other humanitarian leaders said it was time to overhaul the global humanitarian system because the current aid structure is failing to reach those most in need.

    "Our collective unwillingness to prevent or prepare adequately for disasters is a systemic moral failure," Sean Callahan, Catholic Relief Services' chief operating officer, told the World Humanitarian Summit May 24.

    "Too many innocent people suffer from the consequences of disasters caused by or...

  • May 24 2016 - 10:42am

    After five years of tension and top-level silence, Pope Francis and the grand imam of one of the most important Sunni Muslim universities in the world embraced at the Vatican May 23.

    "The meeting is the message," the pope told Ahmad el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar University, as the religious scholar approached him just inside the door of the papal library.

    El-Tayeb's spring visit was the first meeting between a pontiff and a grand imam since the Muslim university in...

  • May 23 2016 - 3:06pm

    As President Obama prepares for his Group of Seven meeting in Japan and a visit to Hiroshima later this week, religious leaders and anti-nuclear activists have been urging him to seize the historic moment in a city once devastated by a U.S. atomic attack. They argue he should use the visit to press for the long-stalled nuclear disarmament agenda he outlined in a speech in Prague in 2009...

  • May 23 2016 - 12:33pm

    After 11 years of defiantly occupying a parish building that the Archdiocese of Boston ordered closed in 2004, the people of St. Frances X. Cabrini Church in Scituate, Mass., are finally handing over the keys.

    The tenacious protesters, angry their parish would be closed in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, lost their final Hail Mary bid to reopen the church on May 16 when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their case.

    Having pursued all viable options,...

  • May 23 2016 - 11:55am

    Vietnam granted early release from prison to a Catholic priest who is one of its most prominent dissidents, a move widely seen as a goodwill gesture before President Barack Obama official visit began on May 22.

    The Catholic Archdiocese of the central city of Hue reported on its webpage that it welcomed the returnon May 20 of the Rev. Nguyen Van Ly from prison. Photos on its website showed a frail Ly, 70, being helped off a minibus, kneeling to pay his respects to his senior...

  • May 23 2016 - 11:50am

    The presumptive Philippine president-elect has blasted the country's dominant Roman Catholic church as "the most hypocritical institution" and accused some of its bishops of corruption for allegedly asking favors from politicians, including him.

    In a late-night news conference that dragged on to the early hours of Sunday in southern Davao city, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte questioned the relevance of Catholic bishops, citing his overwhelming victory in the May 9 presidential election based...

  • May 23 2016 - 11:25am

    Missionaries and other Catholics gathered in Nairobi May 23 for a requiem Mass for a Slovak nun killed in Yei, South Sudan.

    Holy Spirit Missionary Sister Veronika Theresia Rackova, 58, director of St. Bakhita Medical Center in Yei, was shot the night of May 16 while driving an ambulance after taking an expectant mother to the hospital. When the ambulance was attacked by soldiers, Sister Rackova was wounded in the hip and abdomen.

    After two surgeries in Yei, she was evacuated...

  • May 23 2016 - 10:06am

    The annual report on the implementation of the U.S. bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" warns against complacency in dioceses, and the firm contracted to conduct audits of dioceses and parishes said there was "plenty of room for improvement" in implementing two of the charter's articles.

    In remarks prefacing the report , Francesco C. Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, the all-lay group that tracks...

  • May 20 2016 - 3:27pm

    Egyptian authorities arrested on May 19 a well-known advocate for the rights of Egypt's Coptic Christians from his home in Cairo, his lawyer said, the latest in the government's crackdown on rights activists and dissidents. Mina Thabet was assaulted by police and taken in for interrogation by national security before he was slapped with a four-day detention order, his attorney, Doaa Mostafa, said. Thabet faces a long list of accusations, including inciting terrorist activities online and of...

  • May 20 2016 - 9:50am

    Israel's defense minister announced his resignation on May 20, saying the governing party had been taken over by "extremist and dangerous elements" and that he no longer trusted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following reports that he was to be replaced.

    Moshe Yaalon's departure removes a strong voice of moderation in the Cabinet and deepens the rift between the security establishment and the hardline politicians.

    Yaalon told reporters that "Israel is a healthy society"...

  • May 19 2016 - 2:16pm

    The ecumenical commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017 can be a time to celebrate the fact that Christians are no longer "on the path of separation, but that of unity," said Cardinal Walter Kasper, former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

    Catholics and Lutherans are finding common ground in what Cardinal Kasper described as "the original, fundamental" emphasis of Martin Luther, "which is the Gospel of grace and...

  • May 19 2016 - 2:04pm

    Under other circumstances, Jonny Lopez might have been happy that he was losing weight.

    "I've been running around the city so much, looking for food, that I've lost 20 pounds," said the father of two.

    Standing in line has become a routine as he tries to buy food for his family and to supply a fast-food stand that he runs on a street corner in their neighborhood.

    "The longest line was 11 hours once, to buy a package of corn meal, a little milk, rice and meat," he said...

  • May 19 2016 - 1:57pm

    Any doctor who performs an abortion in Oklahoma could be charged with a felony and punished with up to three years in prison under a bill that the Legislature passed Thursday.

    The measure is the first of its kind in the nation, according to abortion rights group Center for Reproductive Rights. The bill also would restrict any physician who performs an abortion from obtaining or renewing a license to practice medicine in Oklahoma.

    With no discussion or debate, the Senate voted...

  • May 19 2016 - 10:41am

    Pope Francis has blasted employers who do not provide healthcare as bloodsucking leeches and he also took aim at the popular "theology of prosperity" in a pointed sermon on the dangers of wealth on May 19.

    Referring to businesses that hire employees on part-time contracts so they don't have to provide health and pension benefits, Francis said that was akin to sucking the blood from their workers' veins, leaving them "to eat air."

    “Those who do that are true leeches, and they...

  • May 19 2016 - 10:29am

    The Archdiocese of Chicago has announced that it will begin offering 12 weeks of paid parental leave to its employees, a policy that is almost unheard of in Catholic dioceses and one that reflects an effort to put the church’s money where its mission is.

    Betsy Bohlen, chief operating officer for the archdiocese, said Archbishop Blase Cupich pushed for the innovative policy soon after he took over the nation’s third-largest diocese in late 2014 in order to ensure that personnel...

  • May 18 2016 - 11:35am

    The Archdiocese of Chicago will begin offering 12 weeks of paid parental leave to its staff beginning on July 1.

    The new policy is open to fathers and mothers who just had children or adopted children. Staff who are eligible for benefits—those who work at least 26 hours a week—and who have worked at the archdiocese at least one month qualify for parental leave. Archdiocesan employees who have worked less than one year will receive one week of paid parental leave for every month they...

  • May 17 2016 - 6:59pm

    People of faith have the responsibility to "advocate for their faith," not only through good works, but on spiritual realms—one being through prayer, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said on May 17.

    He made the comments at the 12th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, which drew a record high of about 1,300 attendees to a downtown Washington hotel.

    Ryan and Sister Constance Veit, communications director for her religious congregation, the Little Sisters of the...

  • May 17 2016 - 6:53pm

    Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany likes to term the future of the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville a "concelebration."

    As when priests celebrate a Mass together and each recites one portion of the prayers, he explained, various entities will be collaborating to ensure the shrine's future.

    However, the bishop cautioned that some of the information circulating in the secular media about plans for the shrine is premature: The planning process is still...

  • May 17 2016 - 2:27pm

    Six decades after the Supreme Court outlawed separating students by race, stubborn disparities persist in how the country educates its poor and minority children.

    A report on May 17 by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found deepening segregation of black and Hispanic students nationwide, with a large increase among K-12 public schools. And these schools offered fewer math, science and college prep classes, while having higher rates of students who are held back in...

  • May 17 2016 - 9:07am

    The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, in a position statement issued earlier this spring, said some of its drugs are not meant to be used for executions and that it would restrict those drugs' availability to government agencies that might use them to make compounds for lethal injections.

    The action was hailed by Karen Clifton, executive director of the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty.

    "The medical community's mission is to save lives; Pfizer's...

  • May 17 2016 - 8:45am

    Pope Francis has rebranded the Catholic Church and the papacy, and the media have taken notice.

    That was the message delivered by Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, who delivered the keynote address May 11 at the Brooklyn Diocese's observance of World Communications Day.

    Sponsored by the DeSales Media Group, the event in downtown Brooklyn drew about 250 people.

    Father Rosica, CEO of Canada's Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and the English-language attache to the...

  • May 16 2016 - 1:18pm

    Vice President Joseph Biden stood at the University of Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony on May 15 with a medal signifying American Catholicism’s highest honor slung on a blue velvet rope around his neck.

    The longtime Democrat turned and looked to former Speaker of the House John Boehner, a stalwart Republican who also wore the Laetare Medal that had just been awarded to them both for their efforts to work for the common good in a time of deep partisan rancor.

    That rancor...

  • May 16 2016 - 1:07pm

    Many Armenians say Pope Francis will be widely welcomed when he visits the country in June, thanks in part to a remark he made about genocide more than a year ago.

    In separate interviews, people of the landlocked, mountainous country in Eurasia said many Armenians view the pontiff favorably as well for his moral stance on pressing world issues and for his elevation of an Armenian monk to the rank of doctor of the church.

    "It is an invitation from everybody," said Mekhitarist...

  • May 16 2016 - 12:48pm

    The U.S. Supreme Court on May 16 sent the Zubick v. Burwell case, which challenges the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive requirement for employers, back to the lower courts.

    The justices' unanimous decision, explained in a nine-page order, was based on the information that both sides submitted a week after oral arguments were heard in the case about how and if contraceptive insurance coverage could be obtained by employees through their insurance companies without directly...

  • May 16 2016 - 12:31pm

    President Nicolas Maduro threatened Saturday to take over idle factories and jail their owners following a decree granting him expanded powers to act in the face of a deep economic crisis.

    Maduro's remarks came as Venezuela's opposition warned the embattled leader that if he tries to block an attempt to hold a recall referendum, society could "explode."

    Speaking to supporters in the capital, Caracas, the president ordered "all actions to recover the production apparatus,...

  • May 16 2016 - 12:23pm

    A teacher who came out as a transgender man at a Catholic high school in San Francisco has been allowed to keep his job by the order of the nuns that runs the school.

    An order of the Sisters of Mercy announced its support for Gabriel Bodenheimer, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

    "This is significant for us; we did not take this lightly," said Sister Laura Reicks, president of the 16-state region of the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community. "We feel because of our...

  • May 16 2016 - 10:56am

    The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from parishioners who are occupying a church that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston closed more than a decade ago.

    The court declined to hear a case involving the St. Frances X. Cabrini church in Scituate, Mass.

    The parishioners have said they would leave within 14 days of a high court order.

    A spokesperson for the Friends of St. Frances X. Cabrini, said the group plans to consult with its attorney, but acknowledged...

  • May 13 2016 - 2:50pm

    Watching hungry schoolchildren in Ethiopia carefully put away one of the two biscuits they received at a food program, Msgr. John Kozar, president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, found the act touching.

    He realized they were taking the second biscuit home to share with younger siblings or their mothers.

    Alarming levels of hunger, caused by the worst drought in about half a century, has left about 10 percent of all Ethiopians—some 10 million in all—in need of food...

  • May 13 2016 - 1:50pm

    A Catholic bishop from the Congo expressed fear that the country's upcoming general elections will be marred by violence unless the government of President Joseph Kabila and opposition parties work to reconcile their differences.

    Bishop Placide Lubamba Ndjibu of Kasongo told Catholic News Service early in May during a visit to Nairobi that sharp political differences remain between Kabila and his opponents.

    Kabila is facing term limits and is resisting international pressure...

  • May 13 2016 - 1:00pm

    The Albany and Ogdensburg dioceses, Catholic Charities agencies and other groups have filed a lawsuit against a branch of the New York state government and several health insurance companies challenging the constitutionality of making religious and other employers cover abortions for their workers.

    Two mandates from the New York State Department of Financial Services have been placed on insurers—without any legislative or regulatory enactment—that have the effect of forcing religious...

  • May 13 2016 - 12:09pm

    Pope Francis "did not say he intends to introduce a diaconal ordination for women," and he certainly did not speak about the ordination of women priests, the Vatican spokesman said.

    Pope Francis met members of the International Union of Superiors General, the leadership group for superiors of women's orders, on May 12 and accepted a proposal that he establish a commission to study the...

  • May 12 2016 - 3:06pm

    On a tidy residential street of the Christian Quarter of the Old City, boys still play with marbles along the cobblestones, and neighbors call out to one another from balconies abloom with red carnations.

    Mounir Nasrawi, affectionately known by the traditional nickname Abu George, can pick up a few tomatoes for lunch from the street vendor on his way home from his grocery shop and, if he forgets his wallet, the vendor accepts a promise to pay.

    But the neighborly relations end...

  • May 12 2016 - 10:07am

    Almost all inhabitants of large cities in low- and middle-income countries face excessively high air pollution, a growing problem that is "wreaking havoc on human health" and causes more than 3 million premature deaths each year, the World Health Organization said on May 12.

    The agency, hoping to raise awareness and highlight national efforts, said its database now shows more than four in five urban dwellers worldwide live in cities that don't meet WHO air quality guidelines — 98...

  • May 12 2016 - 9:39am

    Brazil's Senate voted Thursday to impeach President Dilma Rousseff after a months-long fight that laid bare the country's fury over corruption and economic decay, hurling Latin America's largest country into political turmoil just months before it hosts the Summer Olympics.

    Rousseff's enraged backers called the move a coup d'etat and threatened wide-scale protests and strikes. Her foes, meanwhile, insisted that she had broken the law, and that the country's deep political, social and...

  • May 12 2016 - 9:15am

    In an opening with historic import, Pope Francis has said he wants to study the possibility of ordaining women as deacons, a step that could for the first time open the ranks of the Catholic Church's all-male clergy to women.

    The order of deacons was reinsitituted in the Catholic Church following the reforms of the 1960s, and while deacons cannot celebrate the Eucharist like a priest, a deacon can preach at Mass, preside at weddings and funerals, and perform baptisms.

    But in...

  • May 11 2016 - 4:21pm

    A major aid agency reported on May 11 that 27.8 million people around the world were internally displaced by conflicts and natural disasters last year, calling it a global crisis.

    That's as many as the combined populations of New York City, London, Paris and Cairo—or an average of 66,000 people displaced every day in 2015.

    A report by the Norwegian Refugee Council said that 8.6 million of last year's internally displaced were...

  • May 11 2016 - 3:32pm

    Over the last year, Yemen’s brutal war has led to the killing of over 3,000 civilians and meant the destruction of considerable civilian property. Various armed groups, most notably the Houthis and other Islamist forces, have taken over cities and towns in this overwhelmingly Muslim country of 26 million. In much of the country, lawlessness reigns.

    One community, Yemen’s...

  • May 11 2016 - 2:36pm

    Jesuit Refugee Service has urged Kenya to reconsider its plans to close camps that host hundreds of thousands of Somali and South Sudanese refugees.

    "The directive to close the camps violates the general principle of voluntary repatriation of refugees living in Kenya," JRS and 10 other humanitarian organizations said in a May 10 statement. They noted the refugees needed to be returned to their countries of origin "in a safe and dignified manner."

    Kenya's government said on...

  • May 11 2016 - 11:30am

    The leaders of the world's communities of Catholic women religious were warned against accepting an "entitlement creep" that numbs them from confronting poverty and environmental destruction.

    At the opening session of a triennial assembly of the International Union of Superiors General in Rome, U.S. Sister Carol Zinn, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, told about 900 women religious representing nearly 500,000 sisters globally that religious life has widely been a "first-world...

  • May 11 2016 - 11:23am

    Rhode Island's Roman Catholic bishop said he wants to smell holy incense, not cannabis, in Providence's cathedral and warned state lawmakers against transporting young people to "the land of oblivion" by legalizing marijuana.

    Bishop Thomas Tobin shared his opinions in an essay titled "Nope to Dope." The essay was published on a diocesan website Tuesday, just hours before a hearing on a bill...

  • May 11 2016 - 11:07am

    Israel's decision to honor a controversial Greek Orthodox priest at its official Independence Day ceremony is driving a wedge in the country's tiny Christian Arab community as the government recognizes him for his efforts to encourage Christians to enlist in the Israeli military.

    Father Gabriel Naddaf's recruitment drive has deeply divided Israel's Christian Arabs, who make up just 2 percent of Israel's population. His inclusion in a ceremony tinged with sadness for many of the...

  • May 11 2016 - 9:26am

    A car bomb ripped through a commercial area in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 63 people and wounding dozens in an attack that was swiftly claimed by the extremist Islamic State group.

    The bomb struck a crowded outdoor market in Baghdad's eastern district of Sadr City, and left up to 85 people wounded, several seriously, prompting fears the death toll could rise further, officials said.

    It was the latest deadly attack to hit the...

  • May 11 2016 - 9:22am

    The head of the Philippine bishops' conference said it was time to "get up" and be faithful to God, as millions of Filipinos elected Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte president.

    In a pastoral letter released on May 9, issued as votes were being counted, Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, bishops' conference president, said the church would not back off from "reminding (Christ's) disciples of what fidelity to him—in all things, including political life—demands."

    ...

  • May 11 2016 - 9:12am

    It's been nearly three years since Minnesota opened a path for lawsuits by victims of long-ago childhood sexual abuse.

    In that time, more than 800 people have brought abuse claims against churches, the Boy Scouts, schools and a children's theater company. Previously unknown offenders have been exposed. Two Roman Catholic dioceses have filed bankruptcy. Lists of credibly accused priests and thousands of documents have been released. And the heightened scrutiny played a part in the...

  • May 11 2016 - 9:04am

    While video and photos of the raging inferno that destroyed much of Fort McMurray were being flashed around the world, Jason and Katharine Campbell and their two sons were expressing gratitude for all that they still have.

    "We've been focusing on gratitude because it's easy to relive the horror stories and relive the disappointment and the fear," Katharine Campbell said following a Mass on May 8 for evacuees at Edmonton's Resurrection Church.

    "Every night before bed we've...

  • May 9 2016 - 1:01pm

    Pope Francis has added his name to the list of people offering prayers for Canadians affected by the massive wildfires that have led to the evacuation of Fort McMurray.

    In a May 6 letter to Bishop Paul Terrio of St. Paul, the pope said he "was saddened to learn of the destruction and distress caused by the extensive fires around Fort McMurray."

    The pope said he was praying "for all the displaced, especially the children, who have lost their homes and livelihoods" and asked...

  • May 9 2016 - 12:34pm

    A brash mayor known for sex jokes and a pledge to end crime within six months—by killing suspected criminals if necessary—strongly led an unofficial vote count in Monday's Philippine presidential election, while the son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos led in the vice presidential race.

    Mayor Rodrigo Duterte reached out to his opponents following a bruising three-month campaign in which President Benigno Aquino III led efforts to discourage Filipinos from voting for him due to fears...

  • May 6 2016 - 4:22pm

    Authorities arrested four men in the murder of Honduran environmental activist Berta Caceres Flores. Yet, family members and Catholic organizations continue to call the international community to carry out its own investigation in one of the world's most murderous countries.

    In early morning raids on May 2, police captured the men, two of whom were linked to Desarrollos Energetico S.A., or DESA, a company with international funding proposing to build a dam on the Gualcarque River in...

  • May 6 2016 - 4:09pm

    Supreme Court cases, with their multiple friend-of-the-court briefs, leave extensive paper trails behind them and although these briefs might get lost in the shuffle, occasionally some stand out.

    In Zubik v. Burwell, the challenge to the Affordable Care Act's contraception requirement, more than 30 briefs were filed by religious, political and health groups weighing in both for and against the mandate that most religious and other employers must cover contraceptives, sterilization...

  • May 6 2016 - 4:02pm

    Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan, whose protests against government policies earned him multiple jail and prison sentences, was remembered as a “fierce, mischievous visionary,” a “Beatnik Jesuit friend,” a priest who “taught the sacrament of resistance,” and a loving uncle ruled by faith, not fear during his funeral Mass.

    More than 800 people packed the Church of St. Francis Xavier to overflowing to cheer the life of the Jesuit at a festive service May 6.

    Father Berrigan, a poet...

  • May 6 2016 - 10:14am

    Pope Francis, accepting a prize for promoting European unity, on Friday bemoaned that the continent's people "are tempted to yield to our own selfish interests and to consider putting up fences."

    "I dream of a Europe where being a migrant is not a crime, but a summons to a greater commitment on behalf of the dignity of every human being," he told an audience including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Premier Matteo Renzi and Spain's King Felipe VI.

    "I dream of a...

  • May 5 2016 - 11:32am

    Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has welcomed a U-turn by the British government over the resettlement of child refugees.

    He said he was "very happy" with a May 4 announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron that the U.K. will accept an unspecified number of unaccompanied children who arrived in the European Union from Syria.

    Under pressure from Parliament, Cameron said the U.K. would not only take in 3,000 children from refugee camps in the Middle East, but that...

  • May 4 2016 - 2:25pm

    The lives of clergy are known to be difficult, but in Nigeria they are often dangerous, too.

    Last week, gunmen shot at a car carrying Roman Catholic Cardinal John Onaiyekan in the country’s southern Edo state. The cardinal was returning home after attending the 10th anniversary celebrations for the Uromi Diocese. He was unharmed.

    “The government needs to do more to make our public roads safe,” Onaiyekan wrote in an email on May 3.

    The attack on the cardinal comes amid...

  • May 3 2016 - 5:15pm

    Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad urged Iraq's leaders to put an end to the "institutional, economic and security deterioration" in the country.

    "We call upon you, with a saddened heart and sorrow because of what is happening in Iraq and because the people are suffering from violence, poverty and misery," Patriarch Sako said in a statement.

    His appeal followed a mass protest for political reform on April 30. Thousands of demonstrators, mostly supporters of the...

  • May 3 2016 - 5:01pm

    Members of several Catholic groups joined representatives of more than 30 organizations for a march to "raise awareness and call to immediate action" to prepare for climate changes "that have started already" in this Caribbean island.

    Despite light rain and a severe weather forecast, thousands of marchers gathered April 30 at Cosme Beitia Coliseum for prayer led by the Rev. Heriberto Rodriguez of the Puerto Rico Ecumenical and Interfaith Coalition before a 45-minute walk on a seaside...

  • May 3 2016 - 4:24pm

    The state of religious freedom worldwide saw more decline than improvement in the last year, said Robert George, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

    "Regrettably, things have not improved, and in some places, things have gotten worse," said George, a Princeton University law professor and director of the university's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, during a May 2 telephone news conference coinciding with the release of the...

  • May 3 2016 - 3:34pm

    Catholics should protest against immigration policies that could put the lives of children at risk, said Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster.

    He said European policies toward migrants were being shaped by "caution and fear," resulting in suffering among refugees trying to enter safe countries of the European Union.

    In his homily at an annual diocesan Mass for migrants in Westminster Cathedral, London, he said "a voice of protest is needed," especially when the lives of...

  • May 3 2016 - 2:18pm

    An Archdiocese of Mexico City editorial called on the Mexican government to finally determine the fates of 43 missing students and said the often-questioned official investigation was unconvincing, demonstrated the worst shortcomings of the country's judicial institutions and deepened social discontent in the country.

    "The Ayotzinapa case"—named for the students' school in Guerrero state—"has entered a new phase. It would suit the (president's) administration to take a dramatic turn...

  • May 2 2016 - 5:16pm

    Former Attorney General Eric Holder added his voice to the call for slavery reparations during a program at Jesuit-run Georgetown University.

    Such reparations can take a variety of forms and may not necessarily mean cash payments to descendants of slaves, Holder said in a response to a question from a student during an April 29 program on race and justice.

    Reparations, he said, "can mean a whole bunch of different things. You can come up with policies that take into account...

  • May 2 2016 - 4:55pm

    Intensify dialogue, not violence, in order to push for peace in Syria, Pope Francis said.

    "I urge all parties involved in the conflict to respect the cease-fire and strengthen talks underway—the only path that leads to peace," he said after reciting the "Regina Coeli" prayer with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square on May 1.

    The pope's appeal came in the wake of a surge in violence in Syria. Government-led air raids reportedly bombed hospitals and other medical centers,...

  • May 2 2016 - 4:50pm

    The Trevi Fountain, a Rome landmark, was lit up in red April 29 in a graphic commemoration of the thousands of modern Christians martyred for their faith.

    The event was sponsored by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, which wanted to "draw attention to the dramatic issue of anti-Christian persecution."

    The evening event also featured four guest speakers who shared the personal stories of Christians killed for their faith. After the speeches, the fountain was lit...

  • May 2 2016 - 4:23pm

    Syria's military extended its own, unilateral cease-fire around Damascus for another 48 hours on Monday amid an intense diplomatic push by the United States and Russia to restore a partial truce for the entire country—one that would include war-battered Aleppo, Syria's largest city.

    American officials say one idea being considered by the U.S. side is a detailed map that would be drawn up with the Russians laying out "safe zones" where civilians and members of moderate opposition...

  • May 2 2016 - 12:13pm

    With "Holy Fire," fireworks and solemn Masses, Orthodox Christians around the world celebrated Easter on Sunday, commemorating the day followers believe that Jesus was resurrected more than 2,000 years ago.

    Roman Catholics and Protestants marked Easter in March, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. Eastern Orthodox churches celebrated Easter this week, using the older Julian calendar.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended an Easter...