Browsing News Entries

The ancient origins of Catholic anti-Semitism—and what we owe our Jewish siblings today

Christians may not be fully aware of the bloody history of anti-Semitism that was fueled in part by Christian anti-Judaism going back to the origins of Christianity.

Tearing down idols: William Cavanaugh’s theology is a must-read for the modern West

In 'The Uses of Idolatry,' William Cavanaugh begins to write us a new story through which we might better understand ourselves and our times.

Quebec’s Cardinal Lacroix resumes duties after being cleared by Vatican abuse investigation

Following a Vatican-mandated investigation that found no evidence of sexual misconduct, Cardinal Gérald C. Lacroix is returning to his position as Quebec's archbishop and primate of Canada.

Michelangelo's Pieta' getting new high-security barrier before Jubilee Year

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican is installing a new set of nine bullet-proof and shatter-proof glass panels in front of one of its most famous works of art, Michelangelo's marble "Pietà" sculpture in St. Peter's Basilica.

The new glass panes were crafted for improved security and "maximum transparency" to improve visibility for the thousands of visitors who stream through Christianity's largest church each day, according to the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the office responsible for the upkeep of the basilica.

"Specially designed by a team of experts, it will be equipped with an innovative high-tech anchoring system, carefully studied in every component for the best protection and enjoyment of the venerated and admired sculpture," the office said on its website July 22.

In the runup to the Holy Year 2025, restoration work on the side Chapel of the Pietà, housing the sculpture, and the glass barrier in front of it began in May. Work is expected to finish in September, the website said.

Because the sculpture will not be visible to the public during that time, the basilica was showcasing its "official" copy, a plaster replica created by Francesco Mercatali in 1943. It moved the replica in mid-July from the basilica's museum in the Vatican sacristy to the front of the chapel that is blocked off to visitors for the restoration. 

Michelangelo's Pietà is seen in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican May 30, 2023. (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)

The enormous sculpture, carved from a single block of Carrara marble, has been protected by a transparent barrier ever since a 33-year-old, Hungarian-born Australian geologist, Laszlo Toth, attacked it with a hammer in 1972. It was restored after his blows shattered the left arm of the Virgin Mary and also chipped her nose, left eye and the veil covering her hair.

The sculpture depicts a disproportionately large Mary holding the limp body of her dead son, Jesus, in her lap after his crucifixion.

Michelangelo was just 23 years old when he sculpted the piece in just nine months between 1498 and 1499, according to the Fabbrica website. It is the only sculpture the artist signed when he inscribed his name on a ribbon falling from Mary's shoulder.

5 things to know about St. Bridget of Sweden, mystic and mother

St. Bridget of Sweden. / Credit: Carlston Marcks, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

CNA Staff, Jul 23, 2024 / 04:00 am (CNA).

On July 23, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of St. Bridget of Sweden, a mystic of the Middle Ages who was a wife and mother of eight.

New Hampshire Becomes Latest State to Restrict Sex-Change Surgeries for Minors


St. Mary Magdalene and the Lavishness of God’s Mercy