News/International

ROME -- At least 39 people at a Rome pontifical university tested positive for the coronavirus, the rector said.

Italian bishops demand plan for resuming public Masses

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ROME -- The Italian bishops' conference accused the government of adopting plans to ease the country's COVID-19 lockdown rules in a way that "arbitrarily excludes the possibility of celebrating Mass with the people."

Fears mount for threats to religious freedom in northeast Syria

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AMMAN, Jordan -- Religious freedom advocates and medical practitioners have expressed concerns about the COVID-19 response in northeast Syria.

Polish church warns of water shortages during pandemic

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WARSAW, Poland -- Poland's Catholic bishops have urged nationwide prayers for rain, amid warnings huge areas of farmland could be ruined by drought during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pope Francis donates respirators, medical equipment to hospitals

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VATICAN CITY -- To mark his name day, the feast of St. George, Pope Francis gave the gift of medical supplies to several countries reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

East Jerusalem Catholic hospital gets coronavirus unit for Palestinians

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JERUSALEM -- When the Israeli Ministry of Health asked St. Joseph's Hospital to set up a coronavirus unit, the hospital had it completed within a week.

Franciscan University Steubenville to pay tuition costs for new students in fall

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STEUBENVILLE, Ohio -- In response to the unprecedented economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, Franciscan University of Steubenville announced it will cover the remainder of tuition costs, after scholarships and grants have been applied, for the fall 2020 semester for all incoming full-time undergraduate students enrolled in its on-campus programs.

Fears grow for health of refugees at a Rome settlement

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ROME -- Dozens of refugees sheltering in an abandoned office building have tested positive for the coronavirus, triggering concerns for the welfare of the hundreds more still living there in crowded and unsanitary conditions.

Italian bishops in talks with government on post-lockdown liturgies

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ROME -- As the Italian government makes plans for a gradual return to normality after the COVID-19 pandemic, representatives of the country's bishops' conference are meeting with the Ministry of Internal Affairs to discuss a resumption of public Masses and, especially, of funerals.

German bishops criticize decision to maintain church service ban

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BONN, Germany -- Catholic and Protestant churches in Germany have responded differently to the federal government's decision not to lift the ban on public church services.

Macron renews pledge to rebuild Notre Dame

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PARIS -- Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris welcomed a renewed pledge by French President Emmanuel Macron to rebuild Notre Dame cathedral.