Catholic Church

Cardinal George Pell, an advisor to Pope Francis, has returned to his home country of Australia to face allegations of sex abuse in years past.

Australia announced the charges against Pell late last month. Pell says he is innocent and promises to fight the charges. He has taken a leave of absence for the trial, but says he plans on returning to his powerful post in the Vatican.

Police in the Australian state of Victoria have announced charges of sexual abuse against one of the Vatican's most powerful cardinals.

"Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges in respect of historic sexual offences and there are multiple complainants relating to those charges," Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton told reporters on Thursday.

Mothers should feel comfortable breast-feeding infants in public, Pope Francis said on Sunday, even if they are in one of the most sacred spaces in Catholicism.

Speaking at an annual ceremony to commemorate the baptism of Jesus, the pope addressed the families of 28 infants who were to be baptized in the Sistine Chapel. Some of the babies began to wail as the ceremony wore on, according to Vatican Radio:

Pope Francis gave the traditional Christmas Day blessing on Sunday, calling for peace in Syria and other countries "scarred by war."

An estimated 40,000 tourists and Romans gathered in St. Peter's Square to hear the message, which was delivered from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, "Urbi et Orbi": to the city and the world.

The pope offered his message of peace to the "war-torn land of Syria, where far too much blood has been spilled." He said it is time that weapons "be still forever," so that "civil coexistence" might be restored to the country.

Lisann Ramos

Cuban exiles are celebrating loudly all over South Florida after hearing of Fidel Castro’s death. But the joy is more subdued at Ermita de la Caridad in Coconut Grove.  

For decades, the church has been a gathering place for Cuban exiles in Miami.

Today some churchgoers are here to ask for forgiveness, for rejoicing the death of the dictator.

The church’s rector Father Fernando Heria is prepared to offer it.

Pope Francis has declared that abortion, which remains a "grave sin" in the eyes of the Catholic Church, can be absolved by ordinary priests for the foreseeable future — instead of requiring the intervention of a bishop.

The change was implemented on a temporary basis, for one year only, as part of the Catholic Church's "Year of Mercy," which began last December and ended on Sunday.

In a letter released on Monday, the pope announced that the change was being extended indefinitely.

Pope Francis arrived in Sweden on Monday for services marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation that split Lutherans and Catholics.

One of the greatest rifts in Christianity — between Catholics and Lutherans — isn't what it used to be. As a sign of those much improved relations, Pope Francis is traveling Monday to Sweden, an overwhelmingly Lutheran country, to kick off a year-long commemoration of the Protestant Reformation that split the churches 500 years ago.

The Vatican has issued new guidelines recommending that the cremated remains of Catholics be buried in cemeteries, rather than scattered or kept at home.

"Following the most ancient Christian tradition, the Church insistently recommends that the bodies of the deceased be buried in cemeteries or other sacred places," state the guidelines released Tuesday by the Vatican.

Pope Francis officially declared Mother Teresa a saint before a crowded St. Peter's Square Sunday morning, 19 years after her death.

Applause broke out from the tens of thousands in attendance even before Pope Francis finished the canonization at the start of Mass.

Gautam Lewis has had the sort of life that could spring from the pages of a fairy tale.

Afflicted with polio at 18 months, he was taken in by Mother Teresa when he was 3. He doesn't know all the details of how he came to live at her Home for Children in Kolkata, but he does speak of the courage his family must have had to give him up.

Hundreds of Catholics have been declared saints in recent decades, but few with the acclaim accorded Mother Teresa, set to be canonized by Pope Francis on Sunday, largely in recognition of her service to the poor in India.

"When I was coming of age, she was the living saint," says the Most Rev. Robert Barron, the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. "If you were saying, 'Who is someone today that would really embody the Christian life?' you would turn to Mother Teresa of Calcutta."

Pope Francis has created a commission to study whether women could serve as deacons within the Roman Catholic Church.

News.va, the official news network for the Vatican, announced the commission of seven men and six women on its website:

Aboard a flight home from Armenia, Pope Francis fielded a pointed question from reporters: Did he agree with German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who, in the wake of the Orlando shooting, said gays deserve an apology from the Church?

His answer was frank.

Pedro Portal / El Nuevo Herald

Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba this weekend showcases the island’s Roman Catholic recovery after half a century of communism.

But that narrative is misleading. In reality, Catholicism wasn’t all that vibrant in Cuba before communism.

Pages