VATICAN CITY -- With the recent death of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, Catholics who call for church reform on issues such as homosexuality and priestly celibacy have lost one of their last leading lights in the top echelons of the church's hierarchy.
VATICAN CITY -- Carlo Fusco, the lawyer for the papal assistant charged with stealing Vatican documents, has left his client's defense team, citing a difference over defense strategies.
Fusco told news agencies Thursday that he and Paolo Gabriele, who was arrested in May and formally charged with aggravated theft Aug. 13, spoke at length Aug. 23 and, in the end, "Paolo and I continued to have differences over the strategy to use."
"Whoever succeeds me will do what he thinks is best, obviously," Fusco said. "I'm sorry to leave, but I could not continue. There were just too many differences," he told the Italian agency AdnKronos.
Fusco and Gabriele have been friends since childhood and the lawyer began representing him almost immediately after Gabriele's arrest. A Vatican court said police found letters, documents and objects taken from Pope Benedict XVI's office in Gabriele's Vatican apartment.
Wearing new clerical suits, the 62 new students at the Pontifical North American College received a personal greeting from Pope Benedict XVI, to which they responded in song.
"Dear seminarians, use your time in Rome to conform yourselves more completely to Christ," the pope told the young men Aug. 26 after reciting the Angelus with them and hundreds of other visitors in the courtyard of the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo.
VATICAN CITY -- The percentage of Catholics practicing their faith is declining almost everywhere around the globe. Almost all bishops report it, but it's difficult to prove statistically.
Each year, the Vatican's own statisticians compile mountains of data about the number of Catholics, baptisms, priests and religious, weddings and annulments in each diocese and country.
VATICAN CITY -- Vatican magistrates have formally indicted Pope Benedict XVI's personal assistant, Paolo Gabriele, on charges of aggravated theft and have indicted a computer technician from the Vatican Secretariat of State on minor charges of aiding Gabriele after he stole Vatican correspondence.
Marine Capt. Lloyd W. Williams famously demurred when advised to pull back during a skirmish with numerically superior German forces in June 1918, at the peak of the First World War. His immortal reply, which became the motto of the Marines' Second Battalion, was: "Retreat? Hell, we just got here!"
If he were around today, the feisty Williams might well appreciate the way the Catholic church seems to be picking its bishops.
In the teeth of a perceived war on religion in America, the church is sending clear signals that it has no intention of backing down. Over the last six months, three of the country's most important dioceses have been entrusted to prelates known for aggressively defending church positions on hot-button issues such as gay marriage and abortion, with the July 27 nomination of Salvatore Cordileone as the new archbishop of San Francisco as the latest example.
ST. LOUIS -- The much-anticipated gathering of 900 U.S. Catholic sisters who make up the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) opened here Tuesday night with song, prayer, and references big, small, and in-between to the Vatican’s attempted take-over of the group.
ST. LOUIS -- As representatives of Catholic sisters from across the country gathered here Tuesday for a meeting expected to formulate a formal response to harsh critique from the Vatican, current and past presidents of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious met in closed session to share experiences and lay a foundation for that response.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has finished the third volume of his opus, "Jesus of Nazareth," and perhaps also will publish an encyclical letter during the upcoming Year of Faith, said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state.
The cardinal, Pope Benedict's top collaborator, told reporters Aug. 1 that the pope had finished his manuscript on Jesus' infancy and childhood.
VATICAN CITY -- The Knights of Columbus "have worked tirelessly" to help U.S. Catholics recognize and oppose efforts to "redefine and restrict the exercise of the right to religious freedom," said a message signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state.
The theme chosen for the Knights' Aug. 7-9 convention in Anaheim, Calif., "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land," is a reminder not only of "the great biblical ideals of freedom and justice which shaped the founding of the United States of America, but also the responsibility of each new generation to preserve, defend and advance those great ideals in its own day," the cardinal wrote.
The message, conveying Pope Benedict XVI's prayers for the Knights' annual gathering and his thanks to the fraternal organization, was published at the Vatican Aug. 2.
Writing on behalf of the pope, Cardinal Bertone thanked the Knights for helping Catholics "recognize and respond to the unprecedented gravity of these new threats to the church's liberty and public moral witness."