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Pope Francis Extols 'Middle Class of Holiness'

Francis likes the idea of 'saints next door' over dogmatists

(Newser) - Pope Francis is calling for ordinary Catholics to live holy lives in whatever they do, stressing that the "saints next door" are more pleasing to God than religious elites who insist on perfect adherence to rules and doctrine. In a new document released Monday, Francis said defending the poor... More »

Pope Francis Rips 'Very Ugly Thing' He Sees at Mass

Specifically, worshippers with their cellphones

(Newser) - When the priest says "lift up your hearts" during Mass, you'd better put your cellphone down while you do it. That was Pope Francis' message Wednesday during his weekly address in St. Peter's Square, calling it a "very ugly thing" to see worshippers—even other men... More »

Pope's New Doc on Family, Marriage: Don't Throw 'Stones'

Pontiff's 'Joy of Love' calls for embrace of the divorced, single parents—but not gay marriage

(Newser) - There's been plenty of talk of "revolution" on the campaign trail this year, and now Pope Francis wants to start his own regarding marriage, divorce, sex, and family life, issuing a major document Friday that addresses these issues while calling for one's conscience, rather than hard-and-fast rules,... More »

US Catholics Clash With Vatican Over These 5 'Sins'

Divorce, non-traditional families among them

(Newser) - American Catholics may be fans of Pope Francis—but not necessarily the ideas he represents as head of the Catholic Church. A new Pew Research Center poll of 5,122 adults shows Americans who identify as Catholic are much more accepting and have a very different view on what constitutes... More »

Pope Francis: Hey, Ease Up on Remarried Catholics

They should be welcomed by the Catholic Church, he says

(Newser) - A Catholic's second marriage after divorce isn't exactly celebrated by the Vatican. But hey, the Catholic Church isn't going to excommunicate you should you choose to tie the knot a second time. That's the word from Pope Francis himself, who spoke about family values during a... More »

Christian ISIS Captive Dies a Muslim— Now What?

Photojournalist James Foley apparently converted during captivity

(Newser) - Many Roman Catholics saw journalist James Foley—who was kidnapped, tortured, and beheaded by ISIS —as a symbol of enduring faith under horrible circumstances. Then it came out that he had converted to Islam in captivity. Now what? "The answer is we can’t assess it," says... More »

China Creating New 'Theology' for Christians

One that will 'better integrate with Chinese culture,' says an official

(Newser) - The number of Christians in China is on the rise, a fact that's making the country's control-freak atheistic government quite nervous and causing tensions between police and worshipers. To address this issue, state media reports that China is creating its own Christian-based theology that will conform more closely... More »

Church-Goers May Have Been Exposed to Hepatitis A

Bishop returned from Europe with the ailment, say health officials

(Newser) - Hundreds of North Dakota Catholics might have been exposed to hepatitis A—by a bishop. The Department of Health is warning people at five North Dakota Catholic churches they might have been exposed to the virus during communion over the last few weeks. Officials have determined Bishop John Folda returned... More »

56 Cops Hurt in Belfast Riot

Protestants, Catholics stage rival marches

(Newser) - It was like a rerun of the bad old days in Northern Ireland: Protestant militants attacked and wounded 56 police officers protecting a parade by Irish Republican Army supporters in Belfast last night. The outbreak of violence could be the first in a tense weekend involving parades by both the... More »

Ohio State Prez Steps Down Over Catholic Cracks

Gordon Gee: 'no regrets about having a sense of humor'

(Newser) - Ohio State President Gordon Gee has decided to call time on his gaffe-ridden career after the release of a tape in which he pokes fun at the Catholic leaders of Notre Dame . Gee, a Mormon, says he is stepping down July 1 and the controversy was only part of his... More »

Ohio State Chief: 'Can't Trust Those Damn Catholics'

Gordon Gee is on the apology circuit after his jokes about Notre Dame

(Newser) - Ohio State President Gordon Gee is on the apology trail—familiar turf for him—after the AP got hold of audio in which he makes some unfortunate jokes about the Catholic leaders of Notre Dame. (It's not helping his cause that Gee is Mormon.) He doesn't sound... More »

1,000 Priests: Gay Marriage Means Catholic 'Persecution'

British Catholics fear a return to days of Henry VIII

(Newser) - More than 1,000 Catholic priests have written a frantic letter arguing that same-sex marriage laws in Britain would "severely" limit their freedom to promote and practice their faith, the Daily Telegraph reports. "After centuries of persecution, Catholics have, in recent times, been able to be members of... More »

Anti-War Protesters Collared at Obama HQ

Catholic Worker movement organizes first rally before NATO summit

(Newser) - Eight anti-war protesters were arrested outside President Obama's campaign headquarters in Chicago today after dozens of them burst in to kick off a "Week Without Capitalism," the Chicago Tribune reports. Assembled by the Catholic Worker movement, they listened to a protester read a statement in the lobby... More »

Obama Tricked the Right Over Contraception

Andrew Sullivan: Catholic health care compromise 'a trap'

(Newser) - Lefties and righties alike ripped President Obama for allowing his new health care rule to affect Catholic organizations. But his compromise is drawing ardent conservatives into a culture war they're bound to lose, argues Andrew Sullivan in The Daily Beast : "If this was a trap, the religious... More »

Fallout Ripples From Obama's Birth Control Call

It's more than just Catholic church leaders who are irked

(Newser) - President Obama's decision to require Catholic hospitals and universities to include birth control in employee health plans was bound to anger the church . But the backlash has gone beyond church leaders, Politico notes—even Washington Post columnist EJ Dionne, a liberal Catholic who typically backs Obama, accused the president... More »

Catholic Leaders Rip Obama on Contraception Coverage

Catholic organization health plans will have to pay

(Newser) - Catholic leaders are blasting the Obama administration's new decision to require religious organization's health plans to cover workers' contraceptives. Several priests railed against the move from the pulpit at Sunday Mass. "Moral" exemptions for contraceptive coverage in health plans exist for churches and other houses of worship,... More »

Catholic Paper Yanks Column Blaming Gay Attraction on Devil

US Conference of Catholic Bishops staffer sorry for 'hurt and confusion'

(Newser) - The country's oldest Roman Catholic newspaper has pulled a column suggesting that the devil may be behind gay sexual attraction. "Some Fundamental Questions on Same-Sex Attraction," written by Daniel Avila, an associate director for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated that "the scientific evidence of... More »

800-Year-Old Relic Stolen From California Church

Relic of St. Anthony, patron saint of missing objects, is missing

(Newser) - Calling Saint Anthony of Padua: A relic of the patron saint of missing objects and lost causes has gone missing from a Catholic church in California. The relic was stolen from a cabinet in the church in Long Beach, where it had been on display to mark the 780th anniversary... More »

Surfing Madonna Makes Waves in California

Is it inspirational or sacrilegious?

(Newser) - A mystery mosaic of a surfing Madonna is roiling the waters in suburban San Diego. Most love the sporty beach gal while city officials worry about those who find the vivid "vandalism" offensive. The 10-foot-square stained-glass mosaic with the message "Save the Ocean" appeared overnight on a wall... More »

Better Plan Ahead if You Want Last Rites

Shortage of Catholic priests makes last-minute requests tough

(Newser) - There's a shortage of Catholic priests these days, and that means that dying Catholics need to plan ahead if they want to get last rites. "Try to anticipate. Look at your last days instead of your last hour," one hospice minister tells USA Today , adding that sometimes it... More »

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