Catholic Church

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Pope Names Women to Posts Only Men Had Held

French nun will be the first woman to vote in the Synod of Bishops

(Newser) - Pope Francis has taken two steps to empower women in the Catholic Church's hierarchy, answering calls for change from laypeople, some bishops, and the pope himself. In both cases, women have been appointed to positions that until now have been held only by men, NBC reports. Nathalie Becquart, a...

Pope: Women Still Can't Be Priests, but They Can Read at Church

Francis changes law to allow women to take on more responsibilities during Mass

(Newser) - Pope Francis has changed church law to explicitly allow women to do more things during Mass, while reaffirming they can't be priests. Francis amended the law to formalize what's common practice in many parts of the world: that women can read the Gospel and serve on the altar...

Pope Doesn't Appear to Be a Fan of This Nativity Scene

Vatican's choice for St. Peter's Square has a sci-fi theme

(Newser) - Without directly adding his own art criticism of the Nativity scene chosen by the Vatican this year for St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis has made his preference clear. Twice when speaking the faithful in the square on Sunday, the pope suggested they instead visit the 100 small, more traditional...

Protesters Demand Masses Resume
'We Want Mass'

Protesters: 'We Want Mass'

France allows church visits but no services during partial lockdown

(Newser) - With banners reading "Let us Pray" and "We Want Mass," Catholic protesters held scattered demonstrations around France on Sunday to demand that authorities relax virus lockdown measures to allow religious services. In the western city of Nantes, hundreds gathered in front of a statue of the Virgin...

Abortion Ruling Protests Disrupt Mass in Poland

Court's decision prohibits abortion in the case of congenital defects

(Newser) - Women's rights activists in Poland staged protests during Sunday church services in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation against further restrictions in the nation's abortion law. In the fourth straight day of protests, activists held up banners during Mass in some churches, according to Polish media and social media...

New Twist in Story of Pope's Remarks on Same-Sex Unions

Vatican removed quote from 2019 interview footage, sources say

(Newser) - Somebody at the Vatican apparently didn't want the world to hear Pope Francis' thoughts on same-sex civil unions . It emerged Thursday that the pontiff's statement of support for civil unions, which kicked off a major controversy when new documentary Francesco premiered Wednesday, was made during a 2019 interview...

Exorcism Performed Where Statue Came Down in California

The archbishop of San Francisco said prayers in Latin

(Newser) - The archbishop of San Francisco performed a short exorcism ceremony Saturday outside a Catholic church where protesters had earlier toppled a statue of Father Junipero Serra, saying the ceremony was intended to drive out evil and defend the image of Serra. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone performed the ritual before some 150...

Priest Fired, Altar Burned Over Scene Witnessed by Passerby

Travis Clark, 37, allegedly filmed himself having sex on the altar

(Newser) - Peer inside a church window lately? Bet you didn't see the pastor having sex with two women on a church altar with stage lighting, cameras, and sex toys. But a passerby apparently saw just that inside a Catholic church in Louisiana on Sept. 30, the Times-Picayune reports. Court documents...

Amy Barrett's in a 'Charismatic' Catholic Group —But Is It a Cult?
Amy Barrett
Is in a Group
That 'Speaks
in Tongues'
the rundown

Amy Barrett Is in a Group That 'Speaks in Tongues'

The media spotlight falls on a 'charismatic community' called People of Praise

(Newser) - President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court belongs to a tightly knit Catholic group called People of Praise—but what exactly is it? The media spotlight is falling on Amy Coney Barrett's "charismatic community" and reviving questions about its spiritual advisers, communal living spaces, and alleged connection...

He Wrote Famous Hymns, Is Accused of Sex Misconduct

Claims against David Haas, 63, date back 4 decades

(Newser) - "There’s practically not a hymnal in existence that doesn’t include Haas songs," a Catholic theologian says of songs by composer David Haas. But the New York Times reports 10 of the 32 Roman Catholic archdioceses in the US have instructed their churches to no longer play...

Vatican Changes Policy on Wedding Rites

Lay catholics will be allowed to perform them, but they'll need special permission

(Newser) - The Vatican said on Monday that in exceptional circumstances, lay Catholics can be allowed to perform marriage rites, per the AP . In a document issued by the Holy See office for clergy, the Vatican said that could only happen if there are no priests or deacons available, the nation’s...

US Catholic Church Gets 'Unprecedented' Exemption for Virus Aid

Normally not eligible for taxpayer-backed SBA funds, churches reap billions of dollars from PPP

(Newser) - The US Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups. The church's haul...

Teen Likely to Be First Millennial Saint

Italian teen is one step closer to sainthood

(Newser) - The Catholic Church is one step closer to having its first millennial saint, NBC News reports. A miracle has now been attributed to Carlo Acutis, a London-born Italian teen who died in 2006 at age 15 from leukemia. Carlo taught himself how to program on his family's old computer,...

Mel Gibson's Father Set Up His Own Church
Mel Gibson's Dad Denied
'Most' of the Holocaust

Mel Gibson's Dad Denied 'Most' of the Holocaust

Hutton Gibson has died at 101

(Newser) - Mel Gibson's father—once known for his anti-Semitism and rather eccentric Catholic views—died May 11 in Thousand Oaks, Calif., the New York Times reports. His death went unreported at the time, even by family; only California records revealed his passing. But Hutton Gibson, who lived to 101, did...

Pope Assembles Experts to Weigh Idea of Women Deacons

A 2016 commission couldn't come to a consensus

(Newser) - The Vatican said Wednesday that Pope Francis has created a new commission of experts to examine whether women can be deacons, an ordained role in the Catholic Church currently reserved for men. The 10-member commission, the second of Francis' pontificate to study the fraught issue, includes equal numbers of men...

Bishops Just Gave Catholics a Big Lenten Dispensation

Some dioceses are letting followers eat meat on Fridays (but not Good Friday) due to coronavirus

(Newser) - Catholics who don't eat meat on Fridays during Lent, as well as give up other things during the 40 or so days of the religious observance before Easter, probably didn't anticipate this year also sacrificing hanging out with friends, heading out to restaurants and bars, and attending most...

France's Worst Case of Clergy Abuse Is Over

Ex-priest who abused at least 75 boys is sentenced to 5 years

(Newser) - A French ex-priest who acknowledged sexually abusing at least 75 boys over decades was sentenced Monday to five years in prison, in France’s worst case of clergy abuse to reach trial. The court in Lyon issued the verdict against 74-year-old Bernard Preynat behind closed doors because the coronavirus outbreak...

Parents: Our Autistic Son 'Is Being Shunned' by Church

NJ couple says 8-year-old was turned down for first Holy Communion because he's nonverbal

(Newser) - A New Jersey couple is railing against their church for a "disgraceful and disheartening" act against their 8-year-old son, which they say is due to his disability. Per NBC News , Anthony LaCugna is autistic and nonverbal, and because of that, his parents say, Saint Aloysius Church in Jackson refused...

'Living Saint' Is Accused of Sexually Abusing 6 Women

Jean Vanier died last year at age 90

(Newser) - A respected Catholic figure who worked to improve conditions for the developmentally disabled for more than half a century sexually abused at least six women during most of that period, according to a report released Saturday by the France-based charity he founded. The report produced for L'Arche International said...

Pope Turns Palace Into Homeless Shelter

Vatican-owned building is now a 'palace for the poor'

(Newser) - Pope Francis is practicing what he preaches in Rome, where a 19th-century palace owned by the Vatican has been turned into a homeless shelter. The pontiff rejected plans to convert the Palazza Migliori, which is just off St. Peter's Square, into a luxury hotel for Vatican visitors, reports the...

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