VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis said Thursday (October 23) that keeping inmates isolated in maximum security prisons is “a form of torture,” and called life sentences “a hidden death penalty” that should be abolished along with capital punishment.
(RNS) As he wraps up a Vatican meeting marked by sharp debates over sex and morality, Pope Francis on Sunday (October 19) will honor one of his most controversial predecessors by beatifying Pope Paul VI, who is most famous for reaffirming the Catholic Church’s ban on artificial contraception.
(RNS) Leading up to a Vatican summit on family life that Pope Francis opens on Sunday (October 5), high-ranking churchmen have fiercely debated church teaching—and criticized each other—in sharp exchanges that offer a ringside seat to the kind of battles that Rome used to keep under wraps.
(RNS) When Spokane Bishop Blase Cupich got a call 10 days ago with the news that Pope Francis had chosen him to be the next archbishop of Chicago—the pontiff’s most important U.S. appointment to date—he was so taken aback that he couldn’t speak for a few moments.
(RNS) The Vatican’s guardian of orthodoxy and the force behind Rome’s investigation of American nuns has renewed his criticism of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, downplaying the group’s size and importance and arguing that the Vatican is trying to help them recover their religious identity so they don’t die out.
While some prominent Christians have called on the United States to take more forceful military action against Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria, more than 50 leaders of Catholic, Protestant, and other Christian groups wrote an open letter to President Obama asking him to halt U.S. air strikes and pursue solely peaceful means to resolve the conflict.
(RNS) From the moment news broke that U.S. journalist James Foley had been killed by Islamic State extremists in the Middle East, many Christians, especially Foley’s fellow Catholics, began calling him a martyr, with some even saying he should be considered a saint.
(RNS) A coalition of more than 50 religious leaders, led by mostly conservative Catholic, evangelical, and Jewish activists, is calling on President Obama to sharply escalate military action against Islamic extremists in Iraq.
(RNS) When victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests first organized into a small band of volunteer activists in the late 1980s, reports of clergy molesting children were still new and relatively few. Most were minimized as anomalies or dismissed altogether—much the way the victims were.
(RNS) A Roman Catholic archbishop in Minnesota who had been one of the hierarchy’s most vocal opponents of gay rights is the target of an investigation into allegations that he had a series of sexual relationships with priests, seminarians, and other men.
(RNS) When the Supreme Court on Monday (June 30) issued a split decision narrowly backing the right of for-profit corporations to deny contraception coverage to their employees for religious reasons, many assumed that faith-based nonprofits would have it easy when their own cases eventually reach the high court.
(RNS) Despite numerous controversies over dismissing gay Catholics from church posts and the U.S. hierarchy’s campaign against same-sex marriage, Catholic leaders have carefully, if quietly, avoided doing anything to block gay couples from having their children baptized.
NEW YORK (RNS) Top Catholic and Orthodox church officials in North America are calling on the Vatican to let married men become priests in Eastern rite Catholic churches, another sign that optional celibacy could become a front-burner issue under Pope Francis.
Social media can bring out the worst in people, and even Pope Francis’s enormously popular Twitter feed is peppered with nasty comments. But the Vatican’s chief media strategist says the Catholic Church cannot ignore the opportunities for evangelization that the Internet offers.
Pope Francis’s recent announcement that he would meet with victims of sexual abuse by priests is dividing victim advocates, with some dismissing the move as “meaningless” and others endorsing it as a positive step, albeit taken belatedly and under pressure.
NEW YORK (RNS) The German cardinal who has been called the “pope’s theologian” said fresh Vatican criticism of American nuns was typical of the “narrower” view that officials of the Roman Curia tend to take, and he said U.S. Catholics shouldn’t be overly concerned.