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Author Francis X. Rocca

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI on Monday (Jan. 10) decried violence against Christians in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as well as more subtle “threats to the full exercise of religious freedom” in the secular West. The pope made his remarks in his annual address to foreign ambassadors to the Vatican. Returning to […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI denounced the “vile and murderous” New Year’s Day killing of 21 Egyptian Christians, and was rebuked by Egypt’s top Muslim cleric for an “unacceptable interference in Egypt’s affairs.” Benedict made his remarks on Sunday (Jan. 2) to crowds in St. Peter’s Square, following his weekly public recital of the […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI’s recent comments about condoms do not mark a change in “Catholic moral teaching” or “pastoral practice” on AIDS prevention or contraception, the Vatican said Tuesday (Dec. 21). The statement by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Catholic Church’s highest doctrinal body, represents a rare official clarification of […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI deplored the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests and linked it to other vices, including child pornography, sexual tourism and drug abuse, which he said were all promoted by an ideology of social moral relativism. The pope made his remarks on Monday (Dec. 20), in his annual Christmas […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI, while still a cardinal, sought in vain to expedite the process for defrocking priests guilty of grave crimes, according to a 1988 letter published in the official Vatican newspaper.  The letter, which appears in the Thursday (Dec. 2) edition of L’Osservatore Romano, could have important implications for the pope’s […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A Holocaust-denying bishop whose readmission to the Roman Catholic Church provoked an international outcry last year now faces expulsion from his ultra-traditionalist group for hiring a lawyer with neo-Nazi ties. Bishop Richard Williamson was one of four bishops in the Society of Saint Pius X whose 1988 excommunications were lifted by Pope […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican announced on Friday (Nov. 19) that it is preparing international guidelines to prevent the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergy, a long-awaited response to a scandal that has seeped into countless corners of the church. Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, announced the plan to […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A week and a half after losing five Anglican bishops to the Catholic Church, the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion reaffirmed his dedication to ecumenical relations between the two churches—and his belief that female Anglican priests should not be an impediment to union. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams spoke Wednesday (Nov. […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI on Monday (Nov. 15) warned against doping in athletic competition, a practice he called incompatible with “human and Christian values.” The pope made his remarks at a meeting with Italian ski instructors at the Vatican. “A balance between the physical and the spiritual dimensions ensures we do not idolize […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Catholic archbishops of New York and Boston will meet personally with victims of abusive priests as part of a Vatican investigation of the Catholic Church in Ireland, the Vatican announced on Friday (Nov. 12). Pope Benedict XVI called for the investigation, called an Apostolic Visitation, last March in an open letter […] Read More