Catholicism

As a 12-year-old Catholic boy growing up in England, Michael Fitzgerald decided he wanted to be a missionary in Africa. Eight years later, he was studying theology and learning Arabic in Tunisia.

He went on to devote his priestly ministry to the promotion of interfaith understanding between Muslims and Christians, and became one of the top Roman Catholic experts on Islam. He has served as the archbishop of Tunisia, the papal nuncio — effectively a Vatican ambassador — in Cairo, and the Vatican's delegate to the Arab League.

FORT WORTH — A man is seeking over $1 million in damages in a lawsuit against the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese, alleging he was sexually assaulted by a now deceased priest in the 1990s.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the man, who now lives near Spokane, Washington, said priest John Sutton was his seventh-grade history teacher at Notre Dame Middle-High School in Wichita Falls.

The Vatican was a sea of red vestments Saturday, as Pope Francis formally elevated 20 new cardinals. In a solemn ceremony known as a consistory, the second in Francis' two-year-old papacy, he presided over nearly the entire College of Cardinals at St. Peter's Basilica.

On his return trip from Asia, Pope Francis made strong statements supporting the church's ban on artificial means of birth control. He also said Catholics should practice "responsible parenthood" and don't have to breed "like rabbits."

Speaking with reporters on a flight Monday from the Philippines to Rome, Francis encouraged the use of church-approved contraception.

Pope Francis gave majority Buddhist Sri Lanka its first Catholic saint today during a seaside ceremony before thousands of people who packed the oceanfront of the capital, Colombo.

Francis is in Asia on a six-day tour intended to build the Roman Catholic Church's following on a continent that holds 60 percent of the world's population but only 12 percent of Catholics.

As church bells rang, the pope canonized Joseph Vaz, a priest who worked against the persecution of Catholics by the island's 17th-century Protestant Dutch rulers.

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