Increasing numbers of Catholics in Latin America are abandoning the church in favor of evangelical congregations or nonreligious life, according to a new survey, making Pope Francis’ calls for renewed evangelization efforts in the region ever more urgent.
For three and a half years, members of several U.S. bishops’ committees have been trying to pinpoint what Catholics in the pew are thinking and why they accept or reject church teachings.
The remains of a missionary priest missing for months were recovered from a mass grave in the southern state of Guerrero, adding to the horror of the crimes and killings in a region now notorious for the disappearance and possible deaths of 43 teacher trainees.
Billowing clouds of incense at Mass and the inability to receive Communion can force some Catholics to cover their face or get out of the pew because of allergies and a sensitivity to wheat.
Pope Francis said he would attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September, making it the first confirmed stop on what is expected to be a more extensive papal visit to North America.
The archbishop who distributes charity on behalf of Pope Francis has announced that the public restrooms in St. Peter’s Square will include showers where the homeless can wash.
The secrecy of a confession is maintained so seriously and completely by the Catholic Church that a priest would be excommunicated for revealing the contents of a confession when ordered to testify by a court or even after the penitent dies, Vatican officials said.
“With great trepidation, I am following the dramatic incidents of Christians in several parts of the world being persecuted and killed because of their religious beliefs,” the pope said. “I must express my deep spiritual closeness to the Christian communities so harshly struck by an absurd violence that does not show signs of stopping.”
With little discussion except over a handful of minor amendments, the U.S. bishops accepted four liturgical items Nov. 11 during their annual fall general assembly in Baltimore.
Though there were no actions on the U.S. bishops’ agenda in Baltimore dealing with immigration, poverty and other public policy issues, the president of their conference said Nov. 11 that he hopes to meet with President Barack Obama and House and Senate leaders soon on several topics.
Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, told the bishops the committee — extended for another three years — planned to focus more on teaching and expanding networks with Catholic lay groups and interfaith and ecumenical partners.