The Japanese bishops asked that even if Francis did not outright condemn nuclear power, he say it has "very serious problems that threaten life."
The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has advised bishops' conferences not to take "doctrinal and disciplinary decisions" on issues that rightly fall under the magisterium of the church.
Cardinal Gerhard Muller said while bishops' conferences have authority on some matters, "they don't constitute a magisterium within the magisterium, independently of the pope and out of communion with other bishops."
The Church of England's commitment to advance the cause of women took another step forward Thursday with the appointment of Rachel Treweek, 52, as the next bishop of Gloucester in the southwest region of England.
That makes three women bishops in the space of three months since the church overcame its long-standing opposition to women bishops late last year. On Wednesday, the church appointed its second woman bishop, Alison White, 58, as suffragan bishop of Hull.
The Polish bishops' conference defended its handling of sexual abuse by clergy after a former priest was jailed in connection with the case of Jozef Wesolowski, the laicized former nuncio to the Dominican Republic.
"The Catholic Church is the only entity in Poland to have adopted guidelines on pedophilia," Fr. Jozef Kloch, conference spokesman, told Catholic News Service.
Two members of the new Vatican commission advising Pope Francis on clergy sexual abuse have said they are both concerned and surprised at the pontiff's decision to appoint a bishop in Chile who is accused of covering up abuse, and even witnessing it, while he was a priest.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster urged priests to end debating the upcoming synod on the family in the press after more than 450 priests published a letter calling on the Catholic church to retain the prohibition on divorced and remarried Catholics receiving holy Communion.
Lawmakers said a proposed law to legalize divorce in the Philippines would face stiff opposition in Congress despite growing public support for the measure.
"The proposal to legalize divorce will not pass under my watch," said House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., reported the Asian Catholic news portal ucanews.com.
Marriage "should be saved and should guarantee the proper guidance of children," he said.
Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao, deputy speaker, said there was little support for the measure among legislators.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on policemen guarding a Catholic church, police officials said.
Asif Khan, a local township police officer, confirmed the March 24 attack outside of St. Peter Church in the southern Pakistani city, reported the Asian Catholic news portal ucanews.com.
"Two masked men riding a motorbike fired on policemen who were deployed outside the church," Khan said. "Police retaliated, after which the assailants sped away."
A Jesuit-run high school in Montreal won an eight-year legal battle against the Quebec government when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that it should be allowed to teach a mandatory ethics and religious culture course from a Catholic faith perspective.
In a 7-0 decision, the court ruled March 19 that Loyola High School can favor Catholicism in teaching the course, which is required by the Quebec Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports.
Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican's U.N. nuncio, said he was glad world leaders talk about human dignity in dialogues today about human rights, but he said they must recognize that such dignity begins at conception.
In a March 19 presentation at the United Nations, he said humans cannot be reduced to "the sum of their body parts, vital signs, or physical or intellectual attributes" and that human dignity is "not a scientific category but an ethical one."