Browsing News Entries

England and Wales: no longer a Christian majority (CNA)

Christians no longer constitute a majority of the residents of England and Wales, the latest census data show.

Just 46.2% of the population, or 27.5 million people, identified themselves as Christians in the 2021 census. That figure has dropped dramatically, from 59.3% in 2011, and 71.7% in 2001.

The country’s Muslim (6.5%) and Hindu (1.7%) populations have grown, but the largest increase has been in the number of people who report that they have no religion: 37.2% of the population.

Pope Francis praises Benedict's 'hermeneutic of reform' (Vatican News)

Pope Francis praised his predecessor Benedict XVI for his theological contributions, as he met with the winners of the 2022 Ratzinger Prize for excellence in theology.

Pope Francis said that Benedict, along with Pope John Paul II, helped to realize the vision of Vatican II. In particular, he said, the German Pontiff “helped us to read the conciliar documents in-depth, proposing a “hermeneutic of reform and continuity.”

This year’s Ratzinger Prize winners are Father Michel Fédou, a Jesuit expert on the Church Fathers; and Joseph Halevi Horowitz Weiler, the first Jewish recipient of the international award.

Former Anglican cleric withdraws request for Catholic ordination, to continue speaking out (Christian Today)

Dr. Gavin Ashenden, the former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II who was received into the Catholic Church in 2017, has explained that he withdrew his request for ordination as a Catholic priest “when I was told that to move forward… would require being silenced.”

The former Anglican cleric said that he felt an obligation to continue speaking out:

The Church in our day was surrounded by a deep, corrosive and dangerous intellectual and moral heresy, which I thought I understood and knew needed public repudiation. And the public platforms that were being given to me day after day allowed me to do just that.
He also observed that since he left the Church of England, “One of the surprising developments recently has been the number of Catholic priests who have been cancelled by their bishops.”

Vatican 'foreign minister' urges greater European cooperation (CWN)

In a December 2 address to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, said that “we all have to admit that our infidelity to Helsinki began long before last February.”

Former Colombian guerrilla leader convicted in archbishop's assassination (CNA)

Luciano Marin Arango--- also known as Ivan Marquez—a former leader of FARC rebel forces, was sentenced to a 25-year prison term after being found guilty of ordering the murder of Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino of Cali in 2002.

The archbishop was gunned down as he left a parish church after a wedding ceremony. Investigators eventually learned that his assassins were paid by the FARC leadership.

Marquez was sentenced in abstentia. After accepting a peace accord with the government in 2016, he announced in 2019 that he was resuming armed resistance, and is now at large, believed to be working in alliance with drug traffickers.

German Synodal Path founder says goal is 'pressure' on Church to change teachings (CNA)

One of the primary instigators of the German Synodal Path has revealed that the effort was designed to put “pressure” on the Catholic Church, to bring about changes in moral teaching, and it has advanced “much more successfully than I thought.”

Thomas Sternberg, the former president of the Central Committee of German Catholics—who worked alongside Cardinal Reinhard Marx to launch the Synodal Path—said that the initiative was intended to produce change in Church teachings on marriage, homosexuality, and the ordination of women. The organizers planned to steer just barely clear of statements or actions that would prompt Vatican disciplinary action, he said.

Pope to visit war-torn African countries soon (Vatican News)

Pope Francis will travel to Africa in January, spending a week in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in South Sudan—making a trip that he had been forced to postpone in July because of his health problems.

The Pope will leave Rome on January 31, flying to Kinshasa, and remain there for three days before continuing on to Juba in South Sudan. There he will join the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland in an ecumenical pilgrimage for peace.

Ukrainian Catholic leader pleads for release of captured priests (CNA)

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Catholic Church has issued an appeal to international leaders to seek the release of two priests who are being held by Russian troops.

The archbishop said that reports indicated the priests, Father Ivan Levytskyi and Father Bohdan Heleta, have been “tortured without mercy.” He rejected reports that the priests had been hiding weapons in their church, and said: “According to classic Stalinist methods of repression, confessions to crimes they did not commit are being extracted from them.”

Ukraine imposing restriction on Moscow-allied Orthodox churches (Pillar)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced restrictions on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC-MP) that remains allied—although tenuously—with the Patriarchate of Moscow.

The Ukrainian leader said that the policy was justified by a series of raids on Orthodox parishes and diocesan headquarters, which he said had turned up Russian propaganda.

Retired priest, pastoral assistant slain in Louisiana (Crux)

Police in Covington, Louisiana, have confirmed the identities of two murder victims whose burned bodies were discovered last week: Father Otis Young, a retired pastor, and Ruth Prats, a parish associate.

A man who had recently been released from prison was arrested, driving Prats’ car, and charged with the crimes. Police say that his choice of victims “appears random.”

Father Young had been forced to curtail his activities after suffering a stroke. Prats had been driving him to and from engagements.