Pope Francis announced on Friday the Roman Catholic Church will mark an extraordinary Holy Year, one of its most important events, in which faithful make pilgrimages to Rome and other religious sites around the world. Making the surprise announcement in St. Peter's Basilica on the second anniversary of his election, Francis said the Holy Year will focus on the topic of mercy, one of the most important themes of his papacy.
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Pope Francis called for respect of "religious freedom as a fundamental right" in Sri Lanka as he declared missionary priest Joseph Vaz the country's first saint. Speaking slowly in English, the pope said each individual "must be free, alone or in association with others, to seek the truth, and to openly express his or her religious convictions, free from intimidation and external compulsion".
Pope Francis embarks on one of the most delicate missions of his 18-month-old papacy on Friday, when he is expected to wrestle with the problems of Christian persecution in the Muslim world and tackle relations with Islam in a time of spreading jihadism during his visit to Turkey.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols said this week that he believes Pope Francis appreciates the experience of the English Catholic Church in learning to exist in a culture that does not always agree with it.
Blase Cupich is poised to become the archbishop of Chicago on Tuesday when his predecessor hands him a bishop's staff and relinquishes the chair that symbolizes the leadership of the nation's third-largest diocese.
Local officials in Laos arrested seven Christians for meeting for worship on Sunday, according to a rights group. Security officials and police arrested the Christians as they ate lunch after meeting for worship in the home of pastor Sompong Supatto, according to Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).
Pope Francis has appointed Mgr Marcus Stock Bishop-elect of Leeds diocese. Mgr Marcus is a proven administrator having been General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (November 2009 to date) and Acting Director of the Catholic Education Service
St Patrick’s Seminary in Maynooth is welcoming 14 new seminarians this year. Thirteen men hoping to join the diocesan priesthood and one missionary priest have begun their studies for priestly formation at Ireland’s national seminary in County Kildare.
Chris Patten, former chairman of the BBC Trust and former chancellor of the University of Oxford, will serve as president of the commission. The 70-year-old British public servant is a Catholic and was co-ordinator of Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the United Kingdom in 2010.
"The first work of the bishop is prayer. His first enthusiasm is for prayer. He is to pray boldly, arguing with God for the sake of his people. Then, secondly, he is to stay close to the people, in his heart and in how he spends his days. In a bishop, said Pope Francis, there can be 'no psychology of princes'. He is always to be a servant.
Pope Francis has appointed Lady Margaret Scotford Archer as president of a group of scholars dedicated to studying issues in the social sciences in order to offer reflection and advice to the leadership of the Church.
Pope Francis has appointed Father Alan Williams SM, currently the Director of the National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, as the seventh Bishop of Brentwood. His episcopal ordination will take place at Brentwood Cathedral on 1st July 2014 at 12 noon. The bishop-elect was born in Oldham, Lancashire in 1951. He took final vows in the Society of Mary [Marist Fathers] in 1981 and was ordained priest in St Anne’s Whitechapel in 1983.
In an episode that underlines the fierce and long-standing friction between China's officially atheist Communist Party and its rapidly growing Christian congregation, Bible-carrying believers this week flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou hoping to protect it from the bulldozers.
The eight inaugural members include Marie Collins, who was assaulted as a 13-year-old by a hospital chaplain in her native Ireland and has gone on to become a prominent campaigner for accountability in the church.
(Vatican Radio) In a serious escalation of tension in Crimea, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest was kidnapped on Saturday. Sources in Ukraine say Father Mykola Kvych, a pastor and a Ukrainian military chaplain, was abducted by pro-Russian forces after celebrating the liturgy.
The first major change made by Pope Francis in the permanent structure of the Roman Curia is the establishment of a Segreteria per l'Economia (Secretariat for the Economy) to oversee and assemble all financial and economic operations of all administrative affairs of the Holy See - details to be known shortly in a motu proprio published this afternoon in the Tuesday edition ofL'Osservatore Romano.
Archbishop of Westminster, leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales and critic of the government's austerity cuts. Archbishop Vincent Nichols speaks to reporters in the week before his is to be made a cardinal by Pope Francis.
Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Vincent Nichols to the Congregation for Bishops. Archbishop Vincent said: “It is a privilege to assist in the important task of appointing Bishops and I am honoured to have been asked to undertake this role by Pope Francis. I look forward to making whatever contribution I can to the work of the Apostolic See.”
Archbishop of Westminster urges people to think of Christians who suffer for their faith in Christmas Midnight Mass
Vincent Nichols warned of dangerous clashes in Egypt, Iraq and Syria The lead Catholic in England and Wales spoke at Westminster Cathedral He said: 'Christians are the most widely persecuted... group in the world'
Tracing evangelization a tough task in China; one man's work offers rare insight into Catholic numbers
Liu Yunxiao may have visited more Chinese churches than anyone, and there’s little doubt no one has seen more of them in his home province of Shaanxi. A stocky man with silvery hair, 65-year-old Liu has spent the past 30 years documenting Catholicism in this central province, often in mind-numbing detail.