Joe Carroll It is 40 years since Ireland joined the European Economic Community (EEC) so virtually two generations have little knowledge of the prolonged campaign from 1961 to 1973 to achieve membership. When asked to vote on the various referenda on widening and deepening the now European Union, very few realise what a struggle it was…

Peter Hegarty With the election triumph of Angela Merkel it is clear that German attitudes to the economic collapse and its aftermath will remain dominant. In his new book Faisal Islam explores the causes and effects of the Great Recession with the clarity and common sense we have come to expect from the highly-rated economics…

Britain – An English archbishop has praised the British government for seeking clarification of a decision not to prosecute two doctors who agreed to abortions on the grounds of gender. Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark issued a statement after Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, questioned the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS),…

Australia – Bishop Christopher Prowse has been named Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Australia. The Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese has been without a bishop since Archbishop Mark Coleridge was moved to Brisbane in April of 2012. The Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese has a population of some 620,000, with a Catholic population of 176,500. They are served by around 120…

Hong Kong – Pope Francis’ response to a request for a symbolic ‘mooncake’ donation to prisoners in Hong Kong has generated excitement and a flood of cash donations since it was published in early September. The Asian Church news portal ucanews.com reported that Cardinal Joseph Zen, retired Archbishop of Hong Kong, issued the request to…

France – A spokesman for France’s bishops urged the government to ensure a new ‘charter of secularism’ does not impede religious freedom. Msgr Bernard Podvin, spokesman for the French bishops’ conference, told the French Catholic daily La Croix that although Church officials understood why the government sent the document to schools last week, “secularism must…

Catholic colleges and universities are ranked among some of the best in the country, US News & World Report’s annual rankings has shown. The University of Notre Dame in Indiana, is the top-ranked national university on the list, placing 18th in the magazine’s annual survey. Georgetown University in Washington was close behind in a three-way…

An Italian priest has given Pope Francis a 20-year-old white Renault 4 to drive himself around the Vatican.  The car – which has 300,000 km on the clock – was presented to the Pope by Fr Renzo Zocca.  Known for his humble lifestyle, Francis said he used to drive the same car in his native…

Pope Francis has responded to the questions of a non-believer journalist, in a letter published on the front page of Rome-based daily La Repubblica. The Pope, who has won praise for spontaneous and unusual moves during his six month papacy, was responding to editorials written by the daily’s founder and long-time editor Eugenio Scalfari, who…

The Vatican’s new secretary of state plans to use the Church’s vast global diplomatic network to build peace. Archbishop Pietro Parolin (pictured) said Pope Francis has already injected a new impetus into the Vaticanís Secretariat of State structure and given a new push for Church-led diplomacy. The archbishop, who is currently the papal nuncio to…