Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

HAVANA - With Havana Harbor's bright blue waters and a trio of vintage U.S. cars parked along the Malecon framing the scene, Secretary of State John Kerry officially reopened the U.S. Embassy in Cuba Aug. 14, marking the end of more than 54 years of fractured diplomatic relations.

HONG KONG - Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong has issued an "urgent appeal" to Communist Party chiefs in Beijing, calling on them to order a halt to an ongoing cross-removal campaign from Christian churches in Zhejiang province.

VATICAN CITY - Requests for copies of Pope Francis' environmental encyclical and the demand for tickets to see him at the United Nations indicate enthusiasm and expectations for Pope Francis' visit are running high, said the Vatican representative.

PARIS - Catholic churches in France have been placed under police protection and urged to take extra security measures against possible Islamist attacks before the Aug. 15 feast of the Assumption.

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis has established an apostolic exarchate, the precursor to a diocese, for Syro-Malabar Catholics in Canada and has named their current Toronto-based chaplain, Fr. Jose Kalluvelil, a bishop and head of the exarchate.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces has asked pastors, deacons and parish leaders in the diocese "to exercise increased vigilance in our parish surroundings and activities."

HONG KONG - When Fr. Joseph Zhang Yinlin was ordained coadjutor bishop of Anyang Diocese, he became the first publicly ordained Chinese bishop in three years and the first since the Vatican and China restarted its dialogue in June 2014.

VATICAN CITY - The U.S. ambassador to the Holy See believes Pope Francis is not traveling to the United States in September to scold anyone, but to challenge the country's people to live up to their ideals.

WASHINGTON - The head of the U.S. bishops' pro-life committee Aug. 3 urged U.S. senators to take the federal money that goes to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and instead fund women's health care providers that do not promote abortion.

WASHINGTON - Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley said that Planned Parenthood officials' videotaped descriptions of how fetal tissue and organs are procured for researchers during abortions illustrates what Pope Francis calls today's "throwaway culture."