VATICAN – Setting the stage for a monthlong gathering of bishops, Pope Francis urged synod fathers not to be crushed by "prophets of doom," but to be the signs of hope and joy for which today's young people yearn.
Published in International
WASHINGTON – Debate continues about whether the Vatican's provisional agreement with China will improve relations between the Chinese state and members of religious groups, which have had a long history of conflict.
Published in International
VATICAN – The recent Vatican-China agreement on the nomination of bishops seeks the true good of the church, the promotion of preaching the Gospel in China and the re-establishment of the church's full and visible unity, Pope Francis said in a message to Catholics in China and worldwide.
Published in International
AGLONA, Latvia – What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian shrine.
Published in International
VILNIUS, Lithuania – For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the Pope, the Vatican announced.
Published in International
VILNIUS, Lithuania – Outside the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victims of communist, Nazi totalitarianism and of warning Lithuanians to be attentive to any signs of anti-Semitism or hatred.
Published in International
HONG KONG – The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media outlets.
Published in International

BATTAMBANG, Cambodia – Within weeks of the collapse of the final remnants of the Khmer Rouge in late 1998, Jesuit Father Enrique Figaredo visited some of the movement's last-standing cadres after hearing they needed assistance.

Published in International
BEIJING, China – Continuing a controversial plan, Chinese bishops allied with the government have told dioceses to prepare local versions of a “Sinicization” program to bring the Catholic Church more in-line with the government’s understanding of Chinese culture, society and politics.
Published in International
VATICAN – For more than 50 years, the writings of retired Pope Benedict XVI on the relationship between faith and politics have insisted that the measure of human freedom is the extent to which each person acknowledges being dependent on the love of God, Pope Francis wrote.
Published in International
HA TINH, Vietnam – A court in central Vietnam has jailed a Catholic activist after convicting her of subverting the communist state, ucanews.com reported.
Published in International
I was shocked when I learned of the death of Vietnamese Archbishop Paul Đọc Văn Bùi of Ho Chi Minh City. 
Published in YSN: Speaking Out

BEIJING – In a rare move, a top Chinese official answered journalists' questions about a new white paper on religious freedom and the ongoing talks between his government and the Vatican.

Published in International

HONG KONG – China's ruling Communist Party has further stepped up control over all religions, dissolving its long-standing State Administration for Religious Affairs bureau and handing its functions to the party's United Front Work Department.

Published in International
Wine from Raisins, A Life Transformed through Communist Gulag to Canadian Arctic by Josef Svoboda (Novalis, softcover, 240 pages, $27.95)
Published in Arts News