Second Fortnight for Freedom set for June 21-July 4

WASHINGTON—The second annual Fortnight for Freedom will take place from June 21 to July 4, and will consist of national and local efforts to educate Americans on challenges to religious liberty both at home and abroad. As with last year’s Fortnight, the event will begin and end with a special …

Archbishop Kurtz among U.S. religious leaders signing MLK jail letter response

WASHINGTON—Fifty years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. took a group of white Alabama clergymen to task for suggesting he find ways, other than demonstrations and protests, to seek racial equality. The civil rights leader did not mince words telling the group that included Protestant pastors, a rabbi and …

Pope Francis forgoes papal apartment in favor of smaller guesthouse room

By Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis has decided not to move into the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace, but to live in a suite in the Vatican guesthouse where he has been since the beginning of the conclave that elected him, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman. …

Pontificate of Pope Francis officially inaugurated with Mass

VATICAN CITY — Although attempts were made to simplify the ceremony, Pope Francis officially inaugurated his ministry as pope and bishop of Rome in a liturgy filled with biblical symbolism and signs of the universality of his mission. But before the solemn rites began March 19, Pope Francis — known …

Habemus Papam! And he is from Argentina

VATICAN CITY — Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76 was elected the 266th pope and took the name Francis. The election March 13 came on the first full day of the conclave on the conclave’s fifth ballot. It was a surprisingly quick conclusion to a conclave that began with many …

In digital age, Vatican sticks with smoke, bells to announce results

VATICAN CITY — Though the Vatican has become increasingly savvy with more modern forms of communication, it’s still sticking with more primitive methods — swirling smoke and tolling bells — to announce whether a new pope has been elected. In a similar vein, the Vatican press hall will not immediately …

Papal conclave to begin March 12

VATICAN CITY — The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the papal conclave will begin on Tuesday, March, according to a press statement issued Friday from the Holy See press office. A “pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica Tuesday …

A closer look at the 2013 conclave’s papal electors

VATICAN CITY — The group of cardinals preparing to enter a conclave to elect a new pope is slightly older — by four months — than the group that elected 78-year-old Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2005. Pope Benedict XVI, now 85, said his age and diminishing energy prompted him to …

In farewell to cardinals, Pope Benedict pledges obedience to next pope

  VATICAN CITY — The Clementine Hall is traditionally the place where cardinals bid farewell to popes at the end of a pontificate, but usually when the pope in question is lying in state before his funeral. But on Feb. 28, hours before resigning from the papacy, Pope Benedict XVI …

Pope announces resignation, citing health reasons

VATICAN CITY —Saying he no longer has the strength to exercise ministry over the universal church, Pope Benedict XVI announced Feb. 11 that he would be resigning at the end of the month after an eight-year pontificate. “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the …

Cardinal says 40 years of legalized abortion has demoralized U.S. society

VATICAN CITY (CNS)—Forty years of legalized abortion have profoundly demoralized American society, not only weakening respect for human life but undermining marriage, parenthood and individuals’ sense of duty to others, said U.S. Cardinal J. Francis Stafford. The cardinal, a former archbishop of Denver and former head of two Vatican offices, …

Catholic leaders call for reduction in gun violence

WASHINGTON (CNS)—Two former U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican and two retired officials of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops were among more than 60 Catholic leaders urging members of Congress who consider themselves pro-life to “show greater moral leadership and political courage” in acting to cut U.S. gun violence. “We …