US church membership down sharply in past 2 decades (Gallup) In a new survey, 50% of Americans say they belong to a church, synagogue, or mosque (down from 70% in 1999), and 77% say they are affiliated with a particular religion (down from 90%). “Twenty years ago, 76% of Catholics belonged to a church; now, 63% do.”
'No one should be permitted to finance' terrorism, leading Vatican diplomat emphasizes (Holy See Mission) Addressing the UN Security Council at a recent meeting, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, apostolic nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said that “it is indispensable that effective measures be adopted to prevent terrorism in all its forms, including by draining and cutting off its financing resources.” He cautioned that counter-terrorism measures should not “inhibit the capacity of non-governmental and charitable organizations to provide humanitarian aid to vulnerable groups or persons.”
Outspoken bishop leaves Nicaragua (Crux) Bishop Silvio Baez, a Managua auxiliary, has left Nicaragua, having been summoned to Rome by Pope Francis. Bishop Baez, an outspoken critic of the Ortega government, who has received multiple death threats, said that he is leaving the country reluctantly. It is not clear how long he will be expected to stay in Rome, not what duties, if any, he will be given there.
Federal court: Catholic charity must place foster children with same-sex couples (CNA) A federal appeals court has ruled that Catholic Social Services of Philadelphia must agree to place foster children with same-sex couples. City funding for the Catholic agency was cut in accordance with a new non-discrimination rule in Philadelphia. The ruling endangers the future of the agency, at a time when hundreds of foster children are waiting for placement.
Pope Francis: Easter Vigil Mass homily (full text) (Vatican News) “The women bring spices to the tomb, but they fear that their journey is in vain, since a large stone bars the entrance to the sepulcher,” Pope Francis preached at the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica (video, booklet). “The journey of those women is also our own journey; it resembles the journey of salvation that we have made this evening...”