The National Catholic Review


  • A prominent Syrian Christian political leader has called for U.S.-led coalition forces to use airstrikes to aid fellow Christian and Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State militants following reports of flagrant abductions and church burnings in northwest Syria.

    "There is a need for immediate action similar to what took place in Kobani," Bassam Ishak, president of the Syriac National Council of Syria, told Catholic News Service, referring to a key Kurdish city in Syria.

  • Catholic officials in Latvia are trying to stay out of the region's ideological war with neighboring Russia.

    "Latvia is home to a large Russian population and there are Russian-speakers in the Catholic Church. We're sensitive to historical animosities here, which could be reignited and used politically," said Msgr. Paul Klavins, spokesman for the bishops.

    "It would be easy and dangerous for us to become involved in this ideological warfare -- so our bishops have tried to stay...

  • Two Syrian-born patriarchs separately urged the international community to work together to address the crisis in Syria and the region.

    Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham, speaking to Catholic News Service on Feb. 26 from the patriarchate in Damascus, Syria, said "it is shocking that the whole world" has not responded in a proper way to the crisis in Syria. He called for unity in reference to the Islamic State onslaught against Assyrian Christian villages in the Khabur...

  • The University of Notre Dame website went dark on Feb. 26; it’s usually lively front page replaced by an image of Father Theodore Hesburgh and a quote from the same: “I never wanted to be anything but a priest, which is in itself a great and unearned grace. I hope to live and die a priest, nothing more, but nothing less either.”

  • San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone is forming a committee of theology teachers from the archdiocesan high schools to expand and adjust the language of proposed statements on Catholic teaching on sexual morality and religious practice to be included in the faculty and staff handbooks of the four archdiocesan high schools.

  • After almost nine months in captivity in Afghanistan, Jesuit Father Alexis Prem Kumar has been released and is back home with his family in India.

  • An archbishop in Central African Republic compared citizens of his country to the people of Israel wandering in the desert and urged them to use the pope's planned autumn visit to escape from their "prolonged crisis."

    "God wanted his people to pass through that dreadful terrain so he could bring them to the land of milk and honey—the harsh ordeal was necessary for Israel to gain the firmness of a people," said Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga, president of the bishops' conference, in...

  • A homeless man who faithfully attended Mass at a church inside Vatican City for decades was buried in a Vatican cemetery after it was discovered he had died and was left unidentified in a hospital morgue.

    Willy Herteleer was well-known by the Swiss Guards keeping watch at St. Anne's Gate, by local business owners and a number of clergy who brought him food, took him to lunch or treated him to his morning cappuccino, according to news reports.

  • Catholic organizations welcomed President Barack Obama's Feb. 24 veto of a bill approving an oil pipeline through the country's midsection, saying that it allows more opportunity to consider moral questions about the environment and climate change.

    Representatives of the groups told Catholic News Service they are hopeful that the Keystone XL project would not be approved by the White House after the Department of State concludes its years-long evaluation of the project that would...

  • Many Lebanese have spent as much time as possible indoors this winter, protecting themselves from this year's unusually brutal cold season.

    But for the approximately half a million Syrian refugees in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, their makeshift housing—often flimsy tents or abandoned unfinished buildings—has hardly given them sufficient shelter from the continuous storms that have been pounding the mountains since last fall.