Home » World
  • Letters left at John Paul's tomb show pilgrims see him as friend

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Every day, countless visitors to the tomb of Blessed John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica leave letters and notes addressed to him. "Some were obviously prepared with care the evening before and written on formal stationery with an old-fashioned fountain pen," said Elisabetta Lo Iacono at a news conference April 22 at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. Other letters, she said, are improvised, scratched even with an eyebrow pencil on scraps of paper such as a coffee bar receipt.

    Read more
  • The risen Jesus, not money or power, is the source of life, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Too often people are fixated on material things, money, power or status -- none of which can give life and joy, Pope Francis said. Christians need to examine their lives with the question the angel asked the women who went to the tomb to anoint the body of the buried Jesus: "Why do you seek the living among the dead?" the pope said.

    Read more
  • Bishop: South Sudan has become 'the place where God weeps'

    SEATTLE (CNS) -- South Sudan's civil war has taken a brutal turn, despite appeals from the country's church leaders to stop the violence. In the oil hub of Bentiu, rebels loyal to ousted Vice President Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer, killed more than 200 civilians and wounded more than 400 in mid-April, the United Nations reported April 21. People were slaughtered inside a mosque, a hospital, and the city's Catholic church. The U.N. said hate speech was broadcast on local radio stations, urging certain groups to leave the city and encouraging men to rape women.

    Read more
  • Holy Fathers: Is being pope a shortcut to sainthood?

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- "They call me Holy Father and that is what I must be," the future St. John XXIII wrote in his diary. A nun who worked in the papal apartments with the future St. John Paul II saw him tired one day and said, "I'm worried about Your Holiness." And he responded, "I, too, am worried about my holiness."

    Read more
  • In Holy Land, it's 'I am Christian'; denominations aren't so important

    JIFNA, West Bank (CNS) -- Suheir Saliba was running late as she prepared to go to the Easter Divine Liturgy with her husband, Aimad Kamal, and his family. Saliba, a Catholic, had a late night. She, along with other Catholic and Greek Orthodox residents of the village, had attended the ceremony welcoming the holy fire at St. George Greek Orthodox Church.

    Read more
  • Easter proclaims that love gives life, pope says; share it with others

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis urged Christians to remember how they first encountered Christ and to share his love and mercy with others, especially through acts of caring and sharing. Proclaiming the good news of Jesus' resurrection means giving concrete witness "to unconditional and faithful love," he said April 20 before solemnly giving his blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world).

    Read more
  • In Rome's Colosseum, pope, thousands reflect on world's injustices

    ROME (CNS) -- Seated atop a hillside overlooking Rome's Colosseum, Pope Francis presided over the nighttime Way of the Cross, joining thousands of people gathered in prayer. The solemn torch-lit service April 18 gave powerful voice to the many social and spiritual problems facing the world and to the redeeming power of Christ's sacrifice for humanity.

    Read more
  • Papal preacher: Betraying Jesus is bad, doubting his mercy is worse

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Everyone is capable of betraying Jesus as Judas did, but no one should make the mistake of doubting God's mercy and willingness to forgive, the papal preacher said. Though Jesus knows well what is "unfolding in his disciple's heart, he doesn't expose it, he wants to give him the possibility, until the very end, of backing out" and repenting, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa said during the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion.

    Read more
  • Jesus wants everyone to serve others with love, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In the humble act of washing his disciples' feet, Jesus is showing all Christians how he wants them to serve others with love, Pope Francis said. "This is the legacy that Jesus leaves us," and he wants it to be passed down through people's loving service to others, he said.

    Read more
  • Priests on front line in Italy's battle against Mafias

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis' dramatic appearance at a March prayer vigil with the families of Mafia victims, where he said he would plead on bended knee with Mafia bosses to "stop doing evil," has highlighted the Catholic Church's role in combatting Italian organized crime.

    Read more
  • Pope names woman president to papal academy, confirms papal liturgist

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis named British sociologist and professor, Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. She is the second female president of the papal academy and succeeds U.S. law professor and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, Mary Ann Glendon, who served two five-year terms as head of the academy from 2004 to 2014.

    Read more
  • From Buenos Aires to world stage: Pope shines spotlight on trafficking

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, the future pope dragged the hidden problem of human slavery into broad daylight. He held annual open-air Masses in the city's Constitution Square for and with victims of human trafficking -- many of them children accompanied by their enormous burlap sacks stuffed with recyclable cardboard.

    Read more
  • Pope declares by decree three new saints for the Americas

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Without a canonization ceremony, Pope Francis declared three new saints for the Americas, pioneers of the Catholic Church in Brazil and in Canada. Pope Francis signed decrees April 3 recognizing: St. Jose de Anchieta, a Spanish-born Jesuit who traveled to Brazil in 1553 and became known as the Apostle of Brazil; St. Marie de l'Incarnation, a French Ursuline who traveled to Quebec in 1639 and is known as the Mother of the Canadian Church; and St. Francois de Laval, who arrived in Quebec 20 years after St. Marie de l'Incarnation and became the first bishop of Quebec.

    Read more
  • Pope: Cross isn't an ornament, Christianity isn't a do-gooder's guide

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christianity isn't a philosophy or guide to survival, good behavior and peace, it's a relationship with a real person who died on the cross for our sins, Pope Francis said. "Christianity can't be understood without understanding this deep humiliation of the son of God, who abased himself, becoming a servant to the point of his death and death on the cross" in order to serve humanity, the pope said.

    Read more
  • Memories of genocide drive Rwandans in rebuilding their nation

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Every time Nathalie Piraino returns home to Rwanda, she sees a country advancing economically and politically and where the development of people, especially women, is foremost. She also has found that memories from her homeland's genocide 20 years ago remain vivid, not forgotten.

    Read more
  • Pope to celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at center for elderly, disabled

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper at a Rome rehabilitation facility for the elderly and people with disabilities. He will preside over the Holy Thursday evening Mass and foot-washing ritual at the Father Carlo Gnocchi Foundation's Our Lady of Providence Center on the outskirts of Rome, the Vatican announced April 8.

    Read more
  • Vatican accepts resignation of Germany's 'Bishop Bling'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican has accepted the resignation of a German bishop who was at the center of controversy over expenditures for his residence and a diocesan center. Following a diocesan investigation, the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops studied the audit's findings and accepted the resignation of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg. Auxiliary Bishop Manfred Grothe of Paderborn was appointed to serve as apostolic administrator of Limburg in the meantime, the Vatican announced March 26.

    Read more
  • Pope says married couples called to be icons of God's love

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Through the sacrament of matrimony, married couples are called to be living icons of God's love in the world, Pope Francis said; and when they fight -- and all couples do -- they don't have "to call the United Nations," but find simple words and gestures to say they are sorry.

    Read more
  • Pope confirms heads of Vatican curial agencies

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis confirmed the head of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and named among its new members Australian Cardinal George Pell, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis.

    Read more
  • Bless me, Father: Pope leads by example, goes to confession

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Leading a penitential liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis surprised his liturgical adviser by going to confession during the service. After an examination of conscience March 28, the pope and 61 priests moved into confessionals or to chairs set up against the walls to offer the sacrament to individual penitents.

    Read more
  • Stairway to heaven: Vatican backs effort to restore Holy Stairs shrine

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Just like someone gently unwrapping a present, a restorer carefully peeled back a thin wet veil of paper from a black sooty wall to see what was hidden underneath. From behind the layers of grime and dirt emerged the frescoed images of a fallen Roman column, a flock of fluffy sheep and a pink sunset sky over a forgotten ancient city.

    Read more
  • Pope to Mafiosi: Turn away now from the road to hell

    ROME (CNS) -- Surrounded by survivors of innocent people killed by the Mafia, Pope Francis made an emotional appeal to Italian gangsters to give up their lives of crime and avoid eternal damnation. "Men and women of the Mafia, please change your lives, convert, stop doing evil," the pope said at a prayer vigil March 21. "I ask on my knees and for your own good.

    Read more