The arrests Sunday of human rights defenders Oblate Fr. Praveen Mahesan and Ruki Fernando in Sri Lanka was called "arbitrary" by Amnesty International and other groups.
Several Australian bishops said they would support re-establishment of year-round Friday abstinence in Australia, following the lead of England and Wales.
As Syria's civil war hurtles into its fourth year, hopes of returning home soon seem far off for the 2.5 million refugees sheltering in neighboring countries, like Jordan. Syrians are soon expected to overtake Afghans as the largest refugee population in the world, according to the United Nations.
Top U.N. officials warn that the grinding conflict will leave a generation of 5.5 million children -- in and outside Syria -- physically and emotionally scarred. But American street artist Samantha Robison is working hard to change that.
Religion is less a code of doctrines and teachings than a sensitivity to the "dimensions of transcendence" that underlie the human experience, the head of the Jesuit order said.
Bishop Joseph Fan Zhongliang of Shanghai, a prominent leader of China's underground Catholic Community, died after a brief illness Sunday at his home. He was 96.
Fan, like many other Catholic leaders, served in prison after he and other priests were arrested in 1955 during a government crackdown. From 1958 to 1978, Fan was imprisoned in Qinghai province, where his job was to carry corpses in a cemetery, reported the Asian church news portal ucanews.com.
Recently inducted to the College of Cardinals, Orlando Quevedo is likened to Pope Francis in the way he leads by example and keeps close to the people. He also has a long history of fighting oppression and abuses during periods of conflict in the Philippines.
Catholics in the United States and Australia have ringing similarities, the most evident being that their churches are undergoing a major transition.
Argentines have embraced the election of Pope Francis in a country where the economy is teetering and politics are polarized.
Catholic bishops of Syria called for a cease-fire in Syria and for the pursuit of the Geneva peace talks to end the crisis in the war-torn country.
The bishops encouraged the faithful during Lent to "fast and show solidarity, charity and collaboration in alleviating the sufferings of internally and externally displaced persons."
A Ukrainian Catholic priest in Crimea said church members are alarmed and frightened by the Russian military occupation and fear their communities might be outlawed again if Russian rule becomes permanent.
Fr. Mykhailo Milchakovskyi, a pastor in Kerch, Ukraine, described the atmosphere as tense because many residents of the town located in the eastern part of Crimea were unsure of their future.
"No one knows what will happen. Many people are trying to sell their homes and move to other parts of Ukraine," Milchakovskyi told Catholic News Service on Wednesday.