Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

SYDNEY - The Vatican's Prefect for the Secretariat of the Economy, Cardinal George Pell, told a special hearing of Australia's Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that he was not trying "to defend the indefensible."

TAMPA, Fla. - Fourteen bishops from Canada, the United States and Latin America explored ways to invite the faithful into what Pope Francis has called "an encounter with Jesus Christ" during three days of prayer and discussion.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Expressing shock and sadness, Bishop Paul J. Bradley of Kalamazoo offered prayers for the six people who were killed and two others who were injured by a gunman in the western Michigan city.

BEIJING - A top Politburo official told faith leaders that religious groups must promote Chinese culture and become more compatible with socialism.

TAINAN, Taiwan - Pope Francis sent condolences to Taiwan following an earthquake that left at least 37 people dead as the island prepared to celebrate Chinese New Year, reported ucanews.com.

VATICAN CITY - Russian Orthodox officials said the planned meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is not a signal that decades of tension have been resolved, but emphasizes the need to work together on behalf of persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

BERLIN - Catholic bishops in Germany and Austria have urged their countries to continue accepting refugees, despite demands for new restrictions after New Year's Eve violence in Cologne and other cities.

MARRAKESH, Morocco - Muslim leaders from around the world adopted a declaration defending the rights of religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries.

EL PASO, Texas - The Diocese of El Paso has scrapped plans for a border Mass that would have taken place at the same time as the closing Mass of Pope Francis' visit to Mexico in February.

VATICAN CITY - A historic agreement signed between the Holy See and Palestine that supports a two-state solution in the Holy Land has gone into effect, the Vatican announced.