CANTERBURY, England - Tens of thousands of people in Leicester — England’s most religiously diverse city — are getting ready to honour the memory of a long-despised English king with a ceremony that testifies to the already warm relationship between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.

Published in International
March 19, 2015

Francis’ blessing

Two years ago the demands of office caused a tired Pope Benedict XVI to resign the papacy. He was 85. Now we have Pope Francis, 78, musing about a short pontificate as he begins his third year on the job.

Published in Editorial

VATICAN CITY - Even as their theological dialogues continue in the search for full agreement on doctrinal issues, divided Christians are called to work together for justice and peace, especially in the Middle East, Pope Francis said.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Christians are united in bloodshed as they suffer from violence and persecution in various parts of the world, Pope Francis told Christian leaders.

Published in International

TORONTO - Dave Williams happened into the closing liturgy for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity entirely by chance. He wandered into Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, saw what was happening and immediately called his wife, Beverly John.

By the end of the service, Williams and John were convinced they had stumbled into something important.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

The opportunity annually extended to Christians worldwide to be unified in prayer comes this year from Brazil, and it is being embraced in Canada from coast to coast.

Published in Canada

You have heard it said that a stitch in time saves nine. I know how to thread a needle and have done so many times. I have even sewn a button on my shirt and on occasion sat at a sewing machine, but a tailor I am not.

Published in Faith

TORONTO - One of Canada’s greatest theologians is still publishing more than two years after she died.

Published in Canada

A few weeks ago, I attended a special prayer service. Led by two bishops (one anglophone, one francophone), it gathered Church dignitaries to celebrate an anniversary. The service was surprisingly moving: a remarkable result at the commemoration of a Church document not so many of us, even within the Church, have ever heard of. The two bishops, and three other Church leaders, reflected on passages from Ephesians and John.

Published in Mary Marrocco

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis deplored the "abuses and inhuman acts" of Islamic State militants, and called on all religious leaders to condemn them "unanimously and unambiguously." He also said he hoped to travel to the Middle East to comfort persecuted Christians there.

Published in Vatican

TORONTO - When Saskatoon’s Bishop Don Bolen worked for Cardinal Walter Kasper in the Vatican, the boss would tell him that all those documents produced at the Second Vatican Council weren’t supposed to sit on shelves gathering dust. 

Published in Canada

TORONTO - Convinced that Church unity can only be the result of devout prayer and serious thinking, Anglicans and Catholics are getting together to do both at St. James Anglican Cathedral in Toronto Nov. 9. 

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Canada's Catholic bishops examine the church's connection with other Christian churches in a document marking the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's decree on ecumenism.

Published in Canada
September 13, 2013

Revisit Taizé prayer

One evening this past summer, I walked down a set of dark stairs into a candlelit basement. I was with a group of 20 young adults. Eastern icons of Jesus on the cross were placed around the room, representing for me the sacred history of God’s interactions with His people.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

Things changed with the Second Vatican Council. No one disputes that the Catholic faith remained what it has always been. The Church still teaches what the Church always taught. But the Council did not assemble 2,860 bishops to recite the catechism. The fact that the bishops commissioned the first authoritative catechism in 350 years was just one of many changes initiated at the Council.

Among the most important changes:

- Liturgy: Vernacular languages were encouraged, especially for Scripture readings at Mass, which became far more extensive with added Old Testament readings and a cycle of three years which focusses on each of the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Luke and Mark). By 1969 the Novus Ordo Mass allowed priests for pastoral reasons to face the assembly, gave the celebrant a variety of eucharistic prayers, restored the sign of peace to the entire congregation, allowed for distribution of both the body and blood of Christ under the forms of bread and wine and moved tabernacles off the altars to a noble and prominent location elsewhere in the church or a separate chapel. By 1973 the International Commission for English in the Liturgy produced the first official translation of the New Mass, though various provisional translations had been circulating since the end of the Council.

- Ecumenism: Unitatis Redintegratio declared the ecumenical movement a good thing, encouraged Catholics to be part of it and referred to Eastern, Oriental and Protestant Christians as "separated brethren." In 1928 Pope Pius XI had condemned the ecumenical movement. From the Council of Trent until the Second Vatican Council Protestants were officially referred to as heretics.

- Democracy and religious liberty: In Dignitatis Humanae the Church for the first time recognized the conscience rights of all people to freedom of religion, and declared it was the responsibility of states to protect religious freedom with stable laws. The idea that the state should be neutral in religion, or that liberal democratic states could be entrusted to protect human dignity or even that there was any such thing as a right to religious freedom, had been condemned by Pope Pius IX.

- Relations with Jews: "The Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God," said Nostra Aetate. The charge of deicide was unfounded. The New Covenant is not possible without Abraham's stock.

- Relations with other religions: "The Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions," said Nostra Aetate.

- Religious Life: Sisters, brothers and religious order priests were to do two things — rediscover the original purpose of their religious order and adapt it to the modern world, said Perfectae Caritatis.

- Canon Law: The Council fathers ordered a revised and written code of canon law that was finally delivered under Pope John Paul II in 1983.
Published in Vatican II
Page 3 of 4

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Charles Lewis: The papal office deserves a defence 

"I believed that criticism of the papacy was a sport for non-Catholics or perhaps disgruntled Catholics who were always at odds with Church teachings. Then a few things happened," Charles Lewis writes.

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Read the latest homily given by Pope Francis.

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