Gesture of affection signals yet another bond between laity and pontiff. The idea if a layperson embracing a pope would have been unheard of in earlier pontificates.
Faith & Parish
The number of Catholics in the world and the number of priests, permanent deacons and religious men all increased in 2012, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, according to Vatican statistics.
The number of candidates for the priesthood also showed its first global downturn in recent years.
The statistics come from a recently published Statistical Yearbook of the Church, which reported worldwide church figures as of Dec. 31, 2012.
There are still major hurdles before the Milwaukee archdiocese's bankruptcy plan is presented for a vote by claimants, of whom 575 are survivors of sexual abuse.
Believers don't buy the Big Bang, God-less evolution or a human responsibility for global warming. Actually, neither do many Americans.
But a new survey by The Associated Press found that religious identity -- particularly evangelical Protestant -- was one of the sharpest indicators of skepticism toward key issues in science.
Fr. Edward Belczak was indicted on mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy charges. At issue is nearly $700,000 donated between 2004 and 2012 that have not been accounted for.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta pledged to restrict the presence of guns in Catholic institutions in response to a new Georgia law that would allow licensed gun owners to carry arms into schools, churches and other locales.
Set to take effect July 1, the law was opposed by the Georgia Catholic Conference.
Writing in his column in the May 1 issue of the Georgia Bulletin, newspaper of the Atlanta archdiocese, the archbishop said he regrets the enactment of the new law "more than I can possibly express."
The Archdiocese of New York is moving to large-scale parish closings, according to a story in Capital.
The Portland archdiocese's new auxiliary bishop, the first in 36 years, credited the people of the diocese for building his faith and inspiring his work during his episcopal ordination.
"I didn't get here on my own," Bishop Peter Smith told the congregation, which filled St. Mary's Cathedral in Portland to overflowing for a Mass that lasted two and a half hours Tuesday. "I got here because of all of you and many more besides."
SEX + FAITH: TALKING WITH YOUR CHILD FROM BIRTH TO ADOLESCENCE
By Kate Ott
Published by Westminster John Knox Press, $17
Almost everything I know about parenting I learned from my sister. She and her husband are not the perfect parents (who is?), but their three happy, healthy teen and young adult children are living evidence of their parenting success.
"I have written Father Radloff to encourage him to reconsider his decision in light of the detrimental effects it will have on him personally."