Pakistan urged to end blasphemy law abuses

Washington D.C., Sep 21, 2012 / 05:15 pm (CNA).- An international hearing sponsored by the World Council of Churches called on Pakistan to end abuse of the nation's blasphemy law, which leads to major human rights violations for religious minorities. A communiqué issued by the group on Sept. 19 called on the Pakistani government to “constitute a competent Inquiry Commission immediately to look into the tragic consequences of the blasphemy law and suggest a way out of this … [Read more...]

Pope tells French bishops defense of marriage is prophetic

Vatican City, Sep 21, 2012 / 04:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Against the backdrop of an effort to recognize “gay marriage” in France, Pope Benedict XVI told a group of French bishops that the truth about marriage and the family is vital to society and must be promoted in bold and creative ways. He said marriage and the family “must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is in fact injurious to human … [Read more...]

Charity reports increase in poverty, inequality in Spain

Madrid, Spain, Sep 21, 2012 / 04:09 pm (CNA).- Catholic charity Caritas' chapter in Spain has issued a new report showing that poverty, inequality and social injustice are on the rise in the European country. The findings were presented on Sept. 20 in Madrid by the secretary general of Caritas, Sebastian Mora, and the coordinator of the study team, Francisco Lorenzo. Caritas says that since the economic crisis began in Spain, the number of people who have received assistance from the … [Read more...]

Third installment of ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ due out in Italy at Christmas

Vatican City, Sep 21, 2012 / 02:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican Publishing House has signed an agreement allowing the publication of Pope Benedict's latest book on Jesus, which focuses on the the infancy of Christ. Italian publisher Rizzoli signed an agreement Sept. 21 with the Vatican Publishing House and was given the mandate to sell the rights to publish the Pope's writings around the globe. In Italy, the book focusing on the childhood of Christ is expected to be released at … [Read more...]

Bishop Vann to head fastest growing US diocese

Washington D.C., Sep 21, 2012 / 09:46 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Fort Worth, Texas has been named the fourth bishop of Orange, Calif. by Pope Benedict XVI. Bishop Vann will succeed Bishop Tod D. Brown, who offered his resignation to Pope Benedict earlier this year upon reaching the age limit of 75. “I am truly blessed to be here with all of you now as the fourth bishop of the diocese,” Bishop Vann said at a Sept. 21 press conference in Orange, Calif. He … [Read more...]

New study finds rise in religious restrictions worldwide

Washington D.C., Sep 21, 2012 / 04:06 am (CNA).- Hostility towards religion has risen globally, both in the form of government restrictions and social attitudes, determined a new study by the Pew Research Center. Released Sept. 20, a report from the center's Forum on Religion & Public Life warned that a “rising tide of restrictions on religion spread across the world between mid-2009 and mid-2010.” The study found that 75 percent of the global population was living in a … [Read more...]

LA priest suspended for advocating ‘gay marriage’

Los Angeles, Calif., Sep 21, 2012 / 03:04 am (CNA).- Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles has suspended local priest Father Joseph Palacios from ministry over his promotion of same-sex “marriage.” Tod Tamberg, director of media relations for the Los Angeles archdiocese, confirmed to CNA Sept. 20 that Fr. Palacios was put on inactive leave in June. Because he has had his faculties removed, he is unable to say Mass or distribute the sacraments, may not wear a Roman collar, and … [Read more...]

Elderly woman who ruined fresco seeks church’s tourist proceeds

Zaragoza, Spain, Sep 21, 2012 / 12:14 am (CNA).- An 81-year-old woman whose failed restoration of a Spanish Catholic church’s 19th-century fresco became the laughingstock of the world now wants the church to pay her a portion of the funds it is collecting from tourists who want to see the ruined work of art. Cecilia Gimenez attempted to restore Elijah Garcia Martinez’s peeling “Ecce Homo” fresco of Jesus Christ at Sanctuary of Mercy Church in Zaragoza, Spain. The result … [Read more...]

Cardinal Arinze says evangelization needs acts of charity

Denver, Colo., Sep 20, 2012 / 07:21 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Francis Arinze said Sept. 18 that evangelization is at the center of the Church’s mission and that acts of charity are an indispensable part of this effort. “If the Church did not evangelize, it would end up in the Vatican Museum,” he told the audience. The cardinal delivered his remarks to a standing room-only crowd at Bonfils Hall on the grounds of the John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization in … [Read more...]