Special Report: Crisis in Syria

On March 15, 2011, the so-called Arab Spring arrived in the Middle Eastern nation of Syria, taking the form of demonstrations calling for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. The growth of the demonstrations soon provoked Assad, whose family has been in power since 1971, into deploying the army against…

Pope’s peace appeal urgent for Mideast Catholics

JERUSALEMBy Judith Sudilovsky Pope Francis' appeal to pray for peace in Syria has a particular urgency for Catholics in the region, who say their countries are most likely to suffer the brunt of any attacks on Damascus.

Nuns undeterred by Egypt violence

CAIROBy James Martone It was lunchtime at Cairo's Italian Hospital, and some of the nuns who reside there were watching state television's latest announcements on Egypt's "war on terror," the expression used by the country's military and its supporters to describe the nationwide crackdown on Islamists.

Benedictine beer as catalyst for evangelization

VATICAN CITYBy Cindy Wooden Even before retired Pope Benedict XVI set up a pontifical council for new evangelization and convoked a world Synod of Bishops on the theme, a new group of Benedictine monks was using Latin and liturgy to reach out to those whose faith was weak or nonexistent.

Two popes: Swim against the tide

VATICAN CITYBy Francis X. Rocca At a weekly public audience earlier this year, the pope underscored one of his characteristic themes: the countercultural implications of membership in the church.

Pope answers questions about Curia reforms, gay lobby

By Cindy Wooden Pope Francis said he was responding to the clear wishes of the College of Cardinals when he set up commissions to study the Vatican bank, Vatican financial and administrative procedures and the reform of the Roman Curia.

Pope's simple, artless actions resonate in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO By Francis X. Rocca If Blessed John Paul II had an actor's mastery of the dramatic gesture and Pope Benedict XVI engaged the faithful most effectively through his learned and lucid writing, Pope Francis showed the world on his first international trip that his forte as a…

Crowds in Rio swarm pope

RIO DE JANEIROBy Francis X. Rocca Hundreds of thousands of cheering people welcomed Pope Francis to Brazil July 22 as he made the first international trip of his pontificate to his native region of Latin America.

Birth of royal prince

MANCHESTER, EnglandBy Simon Caldwell The birth of the royal prince is a "source of joy" for people around the world, said the president of the English and Welsh bishops' conference.