Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

ROME -- As the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Europe continued to grow, the French Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes announced that pilgrims were still welcome, but the pools the sick bathe in hoping for healing would be closed temporarily.

VATICAN CITY -- With the biggest two days of celebration and costume parades left, the famous pre-Lenten "Carnevale" of Venice was canceled as were Ash Wednesday services and even funeral Masses throughout the diocese.

VATICAN CITY -- The decade-long process of updating the laws of Vatican City State is part of the Vatican's support for international commitments to protect people and safeguard vulnerable groups, who are "frequently the victims of new, odious forms of illegality," Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis released his document on the Amazon region on the 15th anniversary of the assassination in Brazil of U.S. Notre Dame Sister Dorothy Stang, a missionary who defended the poor and the environment.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis said he dreams of an Amazon region where the rights of the poor and indigenous are respected, local cultures are preserved, nature is protected, and the Catholic Church is present and active with "Amazonian features."

VATICAN CITY -- When one is totally in love with the Lord, then poverty, chastity and obedience are not sacrifices, but vehicles of freedom, Pope Francis told consecrated men and women.

VATICAN CITY -- Sexual abuse and the abuse of authority have occurred and are occurring within religious orders of women and must be addressed with transparency and boldness, said Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

VATICAN CITY -- Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas, said he asked Pope Francis about the Vatican investigation into Theodore E. McCarrick and the release of a promised report on how the former cardinal managed to rise through the church ranks.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis opened 2020 with a strong call to acknowledge the dignity of women, end violence against them and stop the exploitation of women’s bodies.

VATICAN CITY -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI wants his name removed as co-author of a book defending priestly celibacy but the publisher insists Benedict wrote the book with Cardinal Robert Sarah.