Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is the oldest institution in the western world, and with more than one billion members worldwide, it is the largest Christian church. Its history spans almost 2,000 years and is rooted in the Church's Canon of Scripture and Tradition. At the head of the church is the Pope, who Catholics believe is the successor to Saint Peter whom Christ appointed as the first head of His church. The Pope, according to the religion's doctrine, can speak infallibly on matters of faith and morals. The Catholic Church practises closed communion and only baptised members of the church are permitted to receive the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. 

The Catholic Church and science find common ground in climate change

Pope Francis will soon issue an authoritative church document laying out the moral justification for fighting global warming. Photo: AP

The Catholic Church and scientists are joining hands to justify the fight against global warming.

Sunday, 31 May, 2015, 6:55am 2 comments

Silent Vatican in standoff with France over nomination of gay ambassador

Laurent Stefanini has yet to receive approval from Rome. Photo: AFP

Three months after appointing an openly gay diplomat as France's ambassador to the Vatican, Paris is still waiting for approval from Rome.

12 Apr 2015 - 8:09am

Pope says slain archbishop Romero is martyr

Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero. Photo: AP

Pope Francis decreed that slain Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed in 1980 out of hatred for his Catholic faith, approving a martyrdom declaration that sets the stage for his beatification.

4 Feb 2015 - 7:09am

The dangers of certitude

The church has brought many benefits to the world but tolerance does not rate high on the list. Photo: EPA

The arrogance of the leaders - and followers - of some religions continues to astonish. In addition to his little homilies about poverty, Pope Francis saw fit to criticise those who do not show sufficient respect for religion.

25 Jan 2015 - 6:16am 9 comments

Pope says meeting with Dalai Lama in the pipeline as he sends telegram to Xi Jinping

Pope Francis (right) has left the door open to a meeting with the Dalai Lama, typically a sensitive move for countries. Photos: AP, EPA

Pope Francis has left the door open to a meeting with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, following his day Asia tour.

21 Jan 2015 - 6:19pm 8 comments

Philippine girl asks Pope Francis how could God allow child prostitutes

Pope Francis hugs a weeping Glyzelle Palomar. Photo: Reuters

A weeping 12-year-old Philippine girl, asking how God could allow children to become prostitutes, moved Pope Francis to hug her and appeal for everyone to show more compassion.

19 Jan 2015 - 5:12am 1 comment

World-record 6 million turn out for pope’s final day in Manila

Pope Francis waves during the "Meeting with Families" at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines on Sunday. Photo: AP

Pope Francis ended his Asian pilgrimage. with an appeal for the future of the Catholic Church, urging an estimated six million rain-soaked Filipinos to protect their young from sin and vice.

19 Jan 2015 - 2:48am 2 comments

Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle's star rises higher with Pope's visit

Illustration: Craig Stephens

Pope Francis was welcomed with open arms by millions into the Catholic heartland of the Philippines last week, but his visit also served to cement the popularity of a rising star in the church.

18 Jan 2015 - 8:19am

Security main concern for Pope Francis' visits to the Philippines and Sri Lanka

A cut-out picture of Pope Francis is surrounded by Filipinos as part of preparations for his visit. Photo: AP

Pope Francis is this week returning to Asia for the second time in less than six months, travelling to Sri Lanka and the Philippines in coming days to underscore his concern for inter-religious dialogue, poverty and the environment.

12 Jan 2015 - 8:18pm

Pope Francis hits out at Vatican's 'spiritual Alzheimer's' in controversial speech

Pope Francis' speech yesterday was stonily received. Photo: EPA

Pope Francis lambasted the Vatican's bureaucracy, saying some within the Church lusted for power and suffered from "spiritual Alzheimer's" in comments likely to outrage his adversaries.

23 Dec 2014 - 3:00pm 1 comment

Catholic church urges end to 'day of the dead' graveside picnics in Philippines

Children play near human bones in a Manila cemetery. Photo: EPA

Millions of people across the Philippines packed into cemeteries to pay respects to their dead, in an annual tradition that combines Catholic religious rites with the country's penchant for festivity.

3 Nov 2014 - 8:03pm 1 comment

Church's gay debate can help bring about change in attitudes

Although Pope Francis appears to be in favour of a less critical stance on homosexuality, resistance at the Holy See remains strong. Photo: AP

Prejudice and misguided beliefs mean that even in these more enlightened times, gays and lesbians are still not treated equally in society. Although awareness and tolerance have been growing, discrimination remains common.

26 Oct 2014 - 5:19am 1 comment

Vatican text on gays and divorce revised after conservative complaints is approved

Pope Francis opens the morning session of a two-week synod on family issues at the Vatican on Saturday.

Catholic bishops last night approved a revised document laying out the church's position on gays, sex, marriage and divorce, saying the report was a "balanced" reflection of church teaching and pastoral needs.

19 Oct 2014 - 6:39am

Vatican puts ex-envoy under house arrest in sex abuse case

Jozef Wesolowski is being held under house arrest. Photo: AP

A former Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been placed under house arrest in the first case of criminal proceedings by the Holy See over the sexual abuse of children.

25 Sep 2014 - 4:01am

800,000 turn out for Pope Francis' open-air mass in Seoul

The Pope's white car arrives for the mass. Photo: AP

Pope Francis beatified 124 Korean martyrs, telling hundreds of thousands of people who turned out for his open-air mass that their ancestors' willingness to die rather than renounce their faith two centuries ago was a model for Asian missionaries today.

17 Aug 2014 - 10:44am