Remember suffering Syrians, CRS leader implores

Rome, Italy, Jun 1, 2014 / 04:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As agencies meet at the Vatican to discuss the Syria crisis, the head of Catholic Relief Services said that the Church cannot forget those who suffer and must advocate for peace as well as provide aid. “The situation around Syria has not gotten better. There is no end in sight at this point,” Carolyn Woo, CEO and president of the U.S.-based Catholic Relief Services, told CNA in Rome May 30. She said the conflict has affected … [Read more...]

Freiburg archdiocese given new bishop, from among its priests

Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, May 31, 2014 / 08:17 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Father Stephan Burger, a priest of the Archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau, was appointed archbishop of the same local Church, vacant since September, by Pope Francis on Friday. “We are grateful to Pope Francis and are all glad that the time of waiting for a new archbishop is finally over,” Bishop Bernd Uhl, an auxiliary of Freiburg, said May 30. “We are able to choose Stephan Burger as a competent … [Read more...]

Abducted Catholic priest released in Ukraine amid unrest

Kyiv, Ukraine, May 30, 2014 / 12:32 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In the midst of ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine, a Roman Catholic priest from Poland who was kidnapped May 27 by separatists in the city of Donetsk has been released. Father Pawel Vitka says he was accused of being a spy by separatists affiliated with the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. Fr. Vitka, who works in Kazakhstan but was visiting a fellow priest in Ukraine at the time, was freed after 24 hours in … [Read more...]

European Commission rejects pro-life citizens’ initiative

Brussels, Belgium, May 28, 2014 / 05:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The European Commission has rejected the pro-life citizens’ initiative “One of Us,” which sought to ban E.U. funding for research and other activities that destroy human embryos. The leadership committee of One of Us expressed “deep disappointment” in the decision, which it characterized as a “veto” that is “contrary to ethical and democratic requirements.” “Such veto … [Read more...]

Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 28, 2014 / 12:38 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid the “inconceivable amount of devastation” caused by floods in Bosnia-Herzegovina, people are crossing ethnic and religious lines to help those affected. “Adversity brings people together,” Father Simo Marsic, rector of the St. John Paul II Youth Pastoral Center in Sarajevo, told the Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need. “(I)t was impressive to see the extent to … [Read more...]

Austrian couple excommunicated for simulating Mass

Vienna, Austria, May 23, 2014 / 04:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- An Austrian bishop has announced that a married couple, including a leader with a dissenting Catholic organization, have excommunicated themselves for simulating a celebration of a Mass. Bishop Manfred Scheuer of Innsbruck has announced the “self-excommunication” of Martha and Gert Heizer. He cited their announcement of holding “private celebrations of the Eucharist without a priest.” “I believe that … [Read more...]

Holy See did not violate torture convention, UN committee says

Geneva, Switzerland, May 23, 2014 / 01:47 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A U.N. anti-torture committee report has said that the Holy See did not violate the international Convention Against Torture. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the apostolic nuncio leading the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio the committee’s observations are “an acknowledgement of the good faith efforts of the Holy See to comply (with) always and to advance the … [Read more...]