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Francis X. Rocca

VATICAN CITY (RNS) No major Western European leader in recent years has been a more stalwart ally of the Roman Catholic Church than Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi’s stands against euthanasia, living wills, in-vitro fertilization and domestic partnerships have put his country in line with Catholic teaching, and out of sync with all other […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Just in case Catholics are wondering if a new iPhone app might be able to forgive their sins, the Vatican has issued a clarification: No. “One may not speak in any sense of confessing via iPhone,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, said in a statement on […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Controversies over bioethical standards at U.S. Catholic hospitals show the need for greater Catholic education for health care workers, Vatican officials said Thursday (Feb. 3). Church leaders said a new set of biomedical guidelines will be published later this year, as well as a separate document on AIDS prevention after last year’s […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI was once a card-carrying organ donor, but the offer expired when he assumed the papal throne, according to the Vatican. A donor card acquired by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the 1970s “became ipso facto obsolete” with his election as pope, according to Monsignor Georg Ganswein, Benedict’s private secretary, as […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican announced a new initiative aimed at promoting dialogue between theists and atheists to be launched with a two-day event this March in Paris. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture will sponsor a series of seminars on the theme of “Religion, Light and Common Reason,” at various locations in the city, […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The most prestigious religious university in the Sunni Muslim world has suspended dialogue with the Vatican to protest statements by Pope Benedict XVI denouncing violence against Christians in Egypt. The move, on Thursday (Jan. 20), came only nine days after Egypt recalled its ambassador to the Vatican for the same reason. Sheikh […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican on Wednesday (Jan. 19) tried to tamp down allegations a controversial 1997 letter to Irish bishops was meant to discourage prelates from reporting sexual abuse cases to police or prosecutors. The Vatican’s top spokesman said the letter from the Vatican’s ambassador to Ireland was meant to ensure the application of […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI has recognized a miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II, bringing the late pontiff one step from sainthood a mere six years after his death, the Vatican announced on Friday (Jan. 14). By signing a decree accepting the miracle, Benedict completed one of most rapid beatifications in the modern […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI marked the first anniversary of the Haiti earthquake on Wednesday (Jan. 12) by naming a new archbishop for the country’s capital city. Archbishop-elect Guire Poulard will lead the Catholic Church in Port-au-Prince, succeeding Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, who was killed in last year’s quake. Recalling the disaster, which killed […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The government of Egypt recalled its ambassador to the Vatican on Tuesday (Jan. 11) to protest a demand by Pope Benedict XVI that it better protect the country’s embattled Christian minority. The Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement that its ambassador, Lamia Aly Hamada Mekhemar, had been recalled because the pope’s […] Read More