30 Oct 2015 Articles News Vatican Comments (7)

The Miracle that resulted from praying to Mother Teresa

Father Elmiran Ferreira Santos is the parish priest of Our Lady of Aparecida Parish in Brazil. He testifed the miraclous work prayers to Mother Teresa of Calcut…

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30 Apr 2016 Articles Comments (2)

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03 Oct 2015 Articles Comments (4)

The night I outran my demons

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24 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

Care for environment is a moral duty, not a political football, bishop tells Americans

After Pope Francis insisted at the White House that the present moment is “critical" for addressing the threat of climate change, one bishop implored Americans …

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27 Jan 2015 Articles Comments (1)

Did Tertullian and St. Augustine Deny the Real Presence?

Many Protestant apologists claim we Catholics present a partial picture of the early Fathers with regard to the Eucharist. Both Tertullian and St. Augusti…

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14 Mar 2016 Europe News No comments

Pope's schedule for the 31st World Youth Day in Auschwitz, Poland

According to the draft itinerary released by the Vatican Radio on Saturday, the Pontiff is set to make a five-day trip to Poland in July for the 31st World Yout…

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19 Sep 2015 Middle East - Africa News No comments

Africa will save marriage, family, Cardinal Sarah vows

“It will be Africa, and therefore the Church, who will save the family," Cardinal Robert Sarah said in an interview with the National Catholic Register. Card…

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23 Jun 2016 Americas Australia Europe News USA Vatican No comments

California churches forced to cover abortion in healthcare plans

A federal agency has determined that California can continue to demand that all health plans under the jurisdiction of the state’s Department of Managed Health …

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31 Mar 2015 Q&A Comments (32)

Is the idea that Muslims worship the one true God just the pope's opinion?

Full Question When I told my Catholic friend that the Church teaches that Muslims worship the one true God, he said it was strictly a private opinion of po…

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Christian bodies criticise ‘legal highs Bill’ that could lead to banning of incense

The Bill will make it a criminal offence to sell ‘any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect’

Church incense could become illegal as an “unintended consequence" of the new Psychoactive Substances Bill, which aims to outlaw all forms of “legal highs".

The Bill, which will make it a criminal offence to sell “any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect", has attracted considerable criticism. One problem, according to Professor Les Iversen, chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, is the inability to prove psychoactivity in a court of law, “which is pretty fundamental to a Bill that seeks to ban psychoactive substances".

Two ecclesiastical bodies have expressed concern “that use of incense in worship would be an unwitting casualty of the new legislation". The Association of English Cathedrals said last week “that the term ‘psychoactive substances’ in the Psychoactive Substances Bill can be interpreted so broadly that it risks criminalising the use of incense in cathedrals, churches and other places of worship as, we assume, an unintended consequence of the Bill’s drafting".

The Churches’ Legislation Advisory Service, whose members include the Catholic Church, the Church of England and other Churches, said: “We cannot for one moment believe that [it] is the intention of the Government to make the use of incense in religious worship illegal. We would urge that, for the avoidance of doubt, a specific exemption for the use of incense in places of worship be inserted into… the Bill."

Former Government “drugs tsar" Prof David Nutt said the Bill is “so poorly thought through ‎that it is embarrassing to think educated politicians would support it".

“By targeting people’s mental and moral wellbeing this Bill is the worst since the act of supremacy in 1559 banned the practice of the Catholic faith," he added.

The Association of English Cathedrals said: “Cathedrals regularly make use of incense during worship services, especially celebrations of the Eucharist. Incense has been used for worship purposes for millennia, and by the Christian church since its foundation. Incense has an important symbolic role; the smoke represents the presence of God, prayers rising to God, and the offering of gifts and lives as a sacrifice to God. Its use provides a sense of purification and aids preparation for worship. Incense is a vital part of multi-sensory worship, Christians are encouraged to worship with their whole bodies: colour and lights in services have visual impact, music uses our sense of hearing, and incense uses our sense of smell.

“Incense is used to enhance the worship experience, and no longer being able to use it would have an adverse impact on the conduct of worship."

by David V Barrett


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