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New San Diego bishop: Don’t remove Junipero Serra from US Capitol

A statue of Blessed Junipero Serra is seen in 2012 outside Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Pope Francis has announced that the friar will be canonized this year. (CNS photo/Bob Mullen)


Bishop Robert McElroy, the new head of the San Diego diocese, has criticized a proposal to remove the statue of pioneering California missionary and soon-to-be saint Father Junipero Serra from the U.S. Capitol. Continue reading

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago dies at 78

Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago died Friday, April 17. The cardinal visited the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in April of 2013, when he delivered the Gardner Lecture on Moral Theology at the Athenaeum of Ohio. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)


Cardinal Francis George, the Emeritus Archbishop of Chicago, passed away Friday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The 78-year-old cardinal was first diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006 and underwent a five-hour surgery to remove his bladder and other parts of his body affected by cancer. In 2012, his doctors discovered that the cancer had returned, this time to his kidney and liver. Continue reading

Vatican, LCWR announce successful conclusion of process to reform group

Pope Francis meets with representatives of the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious in his library in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican April 16. The same day the Vatican announced the conclusion of a seven-year process of investigation and dialogue with the group to ensure fidelity to church teachings. The outcome resulted in revised statues approved by the Vatican. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican approved new statutes and bylaws for the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious, ending a seven-year process of investigating the group and engaging in dialogue with its officers to ensure greater harmony with church teaching. Continue reading

Don’t thwart nuclear agreement with Iran, bishop warns Congress

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., gives the homily at a Feb. 9 Mass he celebrated in Washington during the the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering. Bishop Cantu is chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Matt Hadro

The head of the U.S. Bishops‘ international peace committee supports the new framework for Iran’s nuclear program and is asking the U.S. Congress not to “undermine” the deal.

“We welcome the most recent step the United States and its international partners have taken with Iran and encourage our nation to continue down this path,” said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces. N.M. Continue reading

US sees increase in priestly ordination numbers this year

Men being ordained priests lie prostrate during their ordination Mass at St. Dominic's Church in Washington May 23, 2014. New statistics show more men being ordained priests this year. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)


The numbers are in: almost 600 Catholic men will be ordained priests for the U.S. in 2015, an increase of more than 100 from last year.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, N.C. said April 7 that the increase in ordination numbers is “encouraging.” The bishop, who heads the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, noted that those to be ordained cited positive influences like “very high” support from their family, parish priests and Catholic schools. Continue reading

Bishops object to death penalty as punishment in Boston bomber case

A courtroom sketch shows accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during closing arguments April 6 in his trial at the federal courthouse in Boston. The bishops of Massachusetts urged against a death sentence for the bombing defendant, reiterating Catholic teaching that says cases where capital punishment is acceptable are practically nonexistent. (CNS illustration/Jane Flavell Collins via Reuters)

By Christopher S. Pineo
& Gregory L. Tracy
Catholic News Service

BOSTON — As the trial of Boston Marathon bombing defendant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went to the jury April 6, the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts released a statement reiterating the church’s teaching on the death penalty.

The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty except “if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor,” but such cases “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”

In Tsarnaev’s case, the Massachusetts bishops said, the defendant “has been neutralized and will never again have the ability to cause harm. Because of this, we … believe that society can do better than the death penalty.” Continue reading

Share Easter joy, defend persecuted Christians, pope says

Pope Francis reaches to greet a child after celebrating Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service 

VATICAN CITY — Christians live the joy of the Resurrection when they share a smile with someone, weep with those who mourn and defend the rights of those persecuted for their faith, Pope Francis said.

Reciting the “Regina Coeli” prayer with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square April 6, the pope demanded defense and protection for “our brothers and sisters persecuted, exiled, killed and decapitated just because they are Christians.” Continue reading

Is Indiana that controversial? Poll finds Americans support religious freedom laws

Demonstrators rally at Monument Circle in Indianapolis March 28 to protest a religious freedom bill signed in to law by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. (CNS photo/Nate Chute, Reuters)


Indiana’s passage of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week has created havoc and been met with loud opposition from gay rights activists. But a poll this month found that most Americans agree with such religious freedom laws. Continue reading

New survey shows millennials’ attitudes about contraception, abortion

Young people attend a youth rally and Mass at Our Lady of the Snows Parish in Chicago in early March 2011. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

By Carol Zimmermann
Catholic News Service 

WASHINGTON — U.S. millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, don’t want to be pigeonholed into categories.

They are predominantly religiously unaffiliated and not identified by any political party. They are more ethnically and racially diverse than the general population.

This group of 18- to 35-year-olds doesn’t like to be labeled as “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” They mostly approve of the use of contraception and they support policies to make contraception more widely available and affordable. They also have a predominantly positive view of marriage, not viewing it as old-fashioned or out of date. Continue reading

Pope Francis to visit White House Sept. 23

U.S. President Barack Obama walks with Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican March 27. (CNS photo/Stefano Spaziani, pool) (March 27, 2014)


U.S. officials has confirmed that Pope Francis will make a stop at the White House to meet with President Barack Obama on Sept. 23, during his trip to the United States for the World Meeting of Families.

“The President and the First Lady will welcome His Holiness Pope Francis to the White House on Wednesday, September 23,” said a March 26 statement from the White House press secretary.

“During the visit, the President and the Pope will continue the dialogue, which they began during the President’s visit to the Vatican in March 2014, on their shared values and commitments on a wide range of issues, including caring for the marginalized and the poor; advancing economic opportunity for all; serving as good stewards of the environment; protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom around the world; and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities.” Continue reading