- Vatican cardinal: 'It is not mercy to lie about sin' (CWN)
Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary since 2013, delivered an 11-page lecture to participants in the Penitentiary’s 33rd annual course on the internal forum.
- Pope Francis: a different vision of Church role in European project [News Analysis] (CWN)
At a March 23 audience with delegate for the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), Pope Francis welcomed a new president of the group, paid tribute to the outgoing president, and urged COMECE to serve the cause of unity and peace in Europe.
- Greek Orthodox Church calls for 'international protection of holy sites' after Jerusalem attack (Our Sunday Visitor)
Two Israeli settlers assaulted clerics and worshippers at the Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary in East Jerusalem.
- By the numbers: How the Catholic Church has changed during Pope Francis' pontificate (CNA)
“Statistically speaking, the Church has grown, keeping pace with and even exceeding overall world population growth,” according to the report. However, “the Church performed 2 million fewer baptisms in 2020 [marked by Covid lockdowns] than in 2013. The number of marriages declined by 702,246, or nearly a third. Confirmations and first Communions also dropped by 12% and 13%, respectively, despite relatively stable levels of Mass attendance in the world’s 13 most Catholic countries.”
- Over 70 Christians killed in DR Congo in 2 weeks (International Christian Concern)
In the war-torn eastern section of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (map), Islamist rebels killed 72 Christians in a two-week period, according to the report. Pope Francis made an apostolic journey to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan earlier this year, but stayed in the nation’s capital, where he met with the war’s victims.
- Renew consecration to the Immaculate Heart, Pope recommends (Vatican Press Office)
Pope Francis has encouraged a renewal of the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, every year. At his Wednesday audience on March 22, the Pope recalled the feast day last year, “when in union with all the bishops of the world, the Church and humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine, were consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” He suggested an annual renewal of the consecration by “every believer and community, especially prayer groups.”
- Munich prosecutors drop case of alleged 'cover up' against Benedict XVI (CNA)
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as Archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982, had been under investigation for “aiding and abetting” clerical sexual abuse. Prosecutors also decided not to proceed with their case against his successor, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter.
- House committee raps 'weaponization' of Justice Department (House Judiciary Committee)
The Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives has issued a report criticizing the Biden administration for its aggressive campaign against parents who protested school-board decisions. A committee report found that “the Biden Administration misused federal law-enforcement and counterterrorism resources for political purposes,” that “there was no compelling nationwide law-enforcement justification” for a Justice Department directive that ordered the FBI to investigate protests against school-board decisions. In a related development, the Heritage Foundation has joined other pro-life groups in a lawsuit charging that the Justice Department has failed to comply with legal requests for documents related to a series of violent attacks on pregnancy-help centers.
- US House committee hears testimony on Nicaragua regime's war against the Church (House Foreign Affairs Committee)
On March 22, two subcommittees of the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a joint hearing on “The Ortega-Murillo Regime’s War Against the Catholic Church and Civil Society in Nicaragua: Bishop Alvarez, Political Prisoners, and Prisoners of Conscience.”
- Six candidates move closer to beatification (Vatican Press Office)
In a series of decrees issued on March 23, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Causes of Saints confirmed the “heroic virtue” of the following, who will now be eligible for beatification if a miracle is attributed to their intercession: Carlo Crespi Croci (1891-1982), an Italian Salesian priest who died in Ecuador; Maria Caterina Flanagan (1892-1942), an English Bridgettine; Leonilde di San Giovanni Battista (1890-1945), an Italian Missionary Sister of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary; María do Monte Pereira (1897-1963), a Portuguese sister of the Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; Teresa Enríquez de Alvarado (1456—1529), a Spanish lay woman; and Maria Domenica Lazzeri (1815—1848), an Italian lay woman.
- Holy See: Racism still plagues our societies (Vatican News)
Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, apostolic nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, delivered an address to the UN General Assembly on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
- Catholic priests missing in Russian-occupied Ukraine (Forum 18)
Two priests of the Ukrainian Catholic Church have been missing since November 2022, when they were taken into custody by Russian troops who occupied the Zaporizhzhia region where they were serving. Russian officials have declined to answer questions about the current whereabouts of Fathers Ivan Levytsky and Bohdan Heleta; their diocesan superiors are not certain whether or not they are still alive. Similarly, Russian officials have refused to provide information about Father Platon Danyshchuk, a priest of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, who was taken into custody in the occupied Kherson region in late January.
- Mozambique's bishops appeal for solidarity with victims of Cyclone Freddy (Vatican News)
Following his March 15 general audience, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of Cyclone Freddy. He also called for prayers in a tweet.
- Professor's suit charges wrongful dismissal for upholding Catholic teaching (MLive)
A former faculty member at Western Michigan University has brought suit against the school, saying that he was “maligned and punished solely for holding to and expressing orthodox Catholic teaching elsewhere.” Daniel Mattson had been an adjunct professor in the School of Music, but was dismissed after the publication of his book, Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay: How I Reclaimed My Sexual Reality and Found Peace. In the suit, Mattson says that he did not express his religious views on the campus, although he became a prominent defender of Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
- Seychelles president, nuncio discuss sea level rise, drug addiction (CWN)
Archbishop Tomasz Grysa, the new apostolic nuncio to the Seychelles, presented his credentials recently to President Wavel Ramkalawan, who assumed office in 2020.
- Ukrainians on the front line turn to faith (One (CNEWA))
“For more than 70 years, most Ukrainians ... received an education that praised the ideals of the Soviet state and advocated the development of a new form of man, one who repudiated religious belief as backward and unpatriotic,” according to the report. “Even after more than 30 years of Ukraine’s independence, the Zaporizhzhia Oblast (map) remains among the more secular regions of Ukraine ... Most people declare themselves atheists; some are baptized Orthodox, but do not practice their faith ... However, during this past year of war, numerous people have turned to [Ukrainian Catholic] sisters, asking for help and confiding in them their burdens: the destruction of their homes, the deaths of their friends, the departure of their children.”
- Archbishop admits spying on other Vatican officials [News analysis] (CWN)
Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, the sostituto or deputy secretary of state, has admitted that he authorized electronic surveillance of the director of the Vatican bank, without legal authorization.
- US bishops' doctrine committee: Catholic health care services must not perform transgender procedures (CWN)
The US bishops’ Committee on Doctrine has issued a 14-page Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body.
- USCCB president criticizes Germany's Synodal Way (Our Sunday Visitor)
The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for Military Services, criticized the German Synodal Way in a March 13 homily at the National St. John Paul II Shrine in Washington. Without naming Cardinal Robert McElroy, Archbishop Broglio also implicitly criticized the San Diego bishop’s call for “radical inclusion” and disapproval of Catholic teaching on human sexuality. Referring to “the confusion sown in Germany by their gathering, called Der Synodale Weg,” Archbishop Broglio said “that if truly enacted, there will be a new division in the Body of Christ, and we must pray that there will be reconsideration.” “There are also attempts to muddy the clear moral teaching of the Church in matters of the dignity of the human person, human sexuality and the sanctity of holy matrimony,” he continued. “Sometimes we hear a suggestion of a difference between teaching or doctrine and pastoral care. However, we know that nothing truly pastoral fails to begin with the truth. The object of our mission is the salvation of souls.”