Warsaw cardinal laments ‘desecration’ of Christ statue with rainbow flag

The statue of Christ, “Sursum corda,” in Warsaw, Poland. Credit: Lee Kindness (CC BY 2.5). A Polish cardinal has urged protesters to respect religious sensibilities after they attached a rainbow flag to a historic statue of Christ in the capital, Warsaw.In a statement published on the Polish bishops’ conference website July 29, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz deplored the protesters’ decision to target the statue outside Holy Cross Church on Krakowskie Przedmieście, one of the city’s best-known streets.The statue, which depicts Christ carrying the cross and pointing to the sky, sits on a plinth inscribed with the words “Sursum corda” (Lift up…

Pope Francis tells youth at Medjugorje: be inspired by the Virgin Mary

The Church of St. James in Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Credit: Miropink/Shutterstock. Pope Francis has urged young people gathered in Medjugorje to imitate the Virgin Mary by abandoning themselves to God.He issued the appeal in a message to an annual youth meeting in Medjugorje, read out Aug. 1 by Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, Apostolic Nuncio in Bosnia and Herzegovina.“The great example of the Church that is young in the heart, ready to follow Christ with new freshness and fidelity, always remains the Virgin Mary,” the pope said in the message, sent in Croatian and released by the Holy See press office Aug. 2.“The…

Pope Francis urges Catholics to follow ‘God’s logic’

Pope Francis waves from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square during an Angelus address. Credit: Vatican Media. Pope Francis urged Catholics Sunday to follow “God’s logic” by taking responsibility for the welfare of others.In his Angelus address Aug. 2, he reflected on Sunday’s Gospel, the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21).He noted that at sundown the “practical” disciples had urged Jesus to send away the hungry crowd to find food. But Jesus replied: “You give them something to eat.” “Jesus wants to use this situation to educate His friends, both then and now, about God’s logic,” the pope said,…

Pope Francis deplores firebomb attack on Catholic cathedral in Nicaragua

Pope Francis is pictured during an Angelus address. Credit: Vatican Media. Pope Francis deplored a firebomb attack on a cathedral in Nicaragua.Speaking after his Angelus address this morning, he condemned the incident in which an unidentified man threw a firebomb into a chapel of Managua’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, severely damaging the chapel and a devotional image of Christ more than three centuries old.The attack took place July 31 amid rising tensions between the Church and the Nicaraguan government. Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes of Managua described the attack as “a terrorist act.”Speaking from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, the…

Pope Francis appoints new personal secretary

Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square on Oct. 9, 2019. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA. Pope Francis appointed an official from the Vatican Secretariat of State as his new personal secretary Saturday.The Holy See press office said that the 41-year-old Fr. Fabio Salerno would succeed Msgr. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, who had served in the role since April 2014. Salerno currently works in the Secretariat of State’s Section for Relations with States, also known as the Second Section. In the new role he will become one of the pope’s closest collaborators. Gaid, a Coptic Catholic priest born in the Egyptian capital Cairo, was the first Eastern Catholic…

Scottish government may face legal challenge over redefinition of ‘woman’

Via Shutterstock. A feminist group said yesterday that it may launch a legal challenge over new rules to increase female representation on public boards in Scotland, arguing that they redefine the term “woman” to include men. In a press statement July 31, the group For Women Scotland said it had sent a legal letter to ministers accusing the Scottish government of exceeding its authority by changing the definition of “woman.”The complaint focuses on the Gender Representation on Public Boards Act 2018, which sets a “gender representation objective” for the boards of listed Scottish public authorities, which must ensure that 50% of…

English Bishops clarify the Catholic position on vaccination

The Catholic Bishops responsible for Healthcare and Life issues have released a paper providing clarity and assurances on the moral issues surrounding vaccination and to encourage Catholics to commit to protecting the most vulnerable in society.Bishop Paul Mason, Lead Bishop for Healthcare, and Bishop John Sherrington, Lead Bishop for Life Issues, stress the Catholic Church’s support for vaccination to protect the most vulnerable of our society – especially those affected by immunodeficiency, pregnant women and their unborn children.As research and trials continue in the global search for an effective vaccination to prevent COVID-19, the paper also addresses the development of…

San Francisco to name street after first Black firefighter, a Catholic convert

Earl Gage Jr. in an undated photo from the San Francisco Independent newspaper. Photo courtesy of Blondell Chism via Catholic San Francisco. San Francisco’s first Black firefighter, a Catholic convert whose faith helped him endure years of racial abuse within the department, will have a city street named after him.The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously June 14 to name a portion of Willow Street between Buchanan and Laguna after Earl Gage Jr.  The street runs through the Western Addition neighbourhood of the city where the Gage family — longtime St. Emydius parishioners — lived.“He was a man who kept his…

Congressional hearing highlights case of missing Chinese Catholic bishop

Bishop James Su Zhimin. Image from Congressional - Executive Commission On China Political Prisoner Database. The fate of a long-imprisoned Catholic bishop in China was the focus of a congressional hearing on Thursday, amid growing concern he may have died in the custody of the Communist government.“President Xi Jinping: Where is Bishop Su, and what have you done to him?” Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chair of the commission, asked in his opening remarks of a July 30 hearing of the bipartisan Congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.“What have you done in secret to this extraordinary man of God? And why…

Exorcism is a ministry of joy, light, and peace, new guide says

Credit: Estitxu Carton via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0). Exorcism is not an obscure practice shrouded in darkness, but a ministry filled with light, peace, and joy, according to a new guide for Catholic exorcists.“When implemented in situations of real diabolical possession and according to the norms established by the Church -- inspired by genuine faith and necessary prudence -- [exorcism] manifests its salvific, positive character, characterised by a living experience of purity, light and peace,” Fr. Francesco Bamonte wrote in the book’s introduction.“The ‘dominant note,’ we could say, is made up of joy, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, promised…

China accused of hacking Vatican ahead of negotiations

China computer hacking. Image credit: Aleksandar Malivuk/Shutterstock State-sponsored hackers have reportedly targeted Vatican computer networks in an attempt to give China an advantage in negotiations to renew a provisional deal with the Holy See.  A report, released July 28, said that hackers may have used a counterfeit condolence message from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, to gain access to Vatican communications. The report was compiled by the Insikt Group, the research arm of the U.S.-based cybersecurity company Recorded Future. Researchers said they had uncovered “a cyberespionage campaign attributed to a suspected Chinese state-sponsored threat activity group,” which they referred…

Catholic bishops fear Scotland’s hate crime law could criminalise Bible and Catechism

Catholic bishops have said that proposed hate crime legislation in Scotland could criminalise the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In a statement issued today, the bishops argued that the Scottish Government’s new Hate Crime and Public Order Bill could lead to censorship of Catholic teaching. “We are also concerned that section 5 of the Bill creates an offence of possessing inflammatory material which, if taken with the low threshold contained therein, could render material such as the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other texts such as Bishops’ Conference of Scotland submissions to government consultations, as being…

Benedict XVI praises “glorious music” of Bach in festival message

Pope Benedict XVI on Aug. 28, 2010. Credit: L'Osservatore Romano. Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has praised the “glorious music” of Johann Sebastian Bach in a message to a festival in Germany.In a statement released yesterday by the organizers of the 2021 Bach Festival in Leipzig, Benedict XVI noted that the festival would include a cycle called “Bach’s Messiah,” chronicling the life of Jesus through the composer’s music. “The particularity of this festival is that it has merged the works of Bach relating to the life and work of Jesus Christ of Nazareth into a whole, thus giving us a kind of…

How the Catholic Church is helping London’s new homeless

Credit: Shutterstock. People made homeless as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will “need a lot of help” to get their lives back on track, a Catholic priest in London has said.Fr. Dominic Robinson, pastor of Farm Street Church in Mayfair, told CNA the newly homeless would require government support in order to survive the crisis.“It’s going to be a long haul. I think that they’re going to need a lot of help. They are going to need charitable help from faith groups, including the Church. They’re also going to need local authorities and national government to be on their…

Cardinal Zen: In Vatican II, Catholics hear ‘real voice of the Holy Spirit’

Cardinal Joseph Zen, the emeritus Bishop of Hong Kong, has made an impassioned defence of the Second Vatican Council, criticizing both “extreme conservatives” and “extreme progressives” for rejecting the authority and authenticity of the conciliar documents.In both an interview with CNA and an essay published on his own website, Cardinal Zen said that, for decades, Vatican Council II had been misused to advance “subjective” and “narrow” agendas within the Church.The cardinal called for a new appreciation of the council documents themselves, and a renewed understanding of what the Church teaches an ecumenical council to be.“Vatican II happened 50 years ago,…

Vatican dicastery launches ‘send a hug’ campaign for elderly isolated by pandemic

A detail from a graphic promoting the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life campaign. Credit: Vatican Media. The Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life launched a new campaign Monday urging young people to “send a hug” to elderly people isolated by the coronavirus pandemic.In a press statement, the dicastery said it was inspired to launch the campaign, called “The elderly are your grandparents,” by Pope Francis’ comments after Sunday’s Angelus.“In the memory of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus, I would like to invite young people to make a gesture of tenderness towards the elderly, especially the…

Catholics mark centenary of Poland’s consecration to the Sacred Heart

A statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Grodzisk Wielkopolski, Poland. Credit: Bialo-zielony/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0). Catholics marked the 100th anniversary today of the consecration of Poland to the Sacred Heart.The act took place on July 27, 1920, and was followed three weeks later by a resounding Polish victory over the Red Army known as the “Miracle on the Vistula.”In the summer of 1920, Soviet forces attempted to cross Poland in order to carry out Vladimir Lenin’s plan to provoke communist revolution in Western Europe. Lenin believed that if the Red Army seized Poland then the Soviets could…

Historic manuscripts get a modern treatment with new Vatican library website

The Sistine Hall of the Vatican Library. Credit: Michal Osmenda (CC BY-SA 2.0). A revamped website for the Vatican Apostolic Library brings modern technology to the study of historic manuscripts.The new website, with improved search functions and easier access to digital reproductions of documents, went live in mid-July.“We are the pope’s librarians because the library is his and has been open by his desire for many centuries,” Msgr. Cesare Pasini, library prefect, told Vatican News. “So we want to be truly at the service of our visitors with a modern and current tool that immediately provides what one is looking…

Pope Francis asks young people to ‘send a hug’ to the elderly

Pope Francis greets pilgrims at his Angelus address June 7, 2020. Credit: Vatican Media/CNA. Pope Francis asked young people Sunday to reach out to the elderly, especially those in nursing homes, to send a message of encouragement amid the loneliness of the coronavirus pandemic.“In the memory of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus, I would like to invite young people to make a gesture of tenderness towards the elderly, especially the most lonely ones in homes and residences, those who have not seen their loved ones for many months,” Pope Francis said after the Angelus prayer this morning.“Dear…