UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Date may be feast of Josephine Bakhita, Sudanese slave turned saint
He greets newlyweds with a comical red nose
Pope Francis spends several minutes with man who suffers neurofibromatosis
Will they persist with campaigns that may be out of step with the papacy?
Pope Francis admits that even he has trials and doubts as he talks of All Saints Day
Video captures an encounter he won't forget
Forbes ranks him just after US, Russia and China presidents
Pope Francis now ranked 'most influential world leader on Twitter'
Jim Yong Kim says their views are "exactly the same"
Vatican spokesman describes "great feeling of harmony and accord"
Archbishop Georg GĂ€nswein gives wide ranging interview
Both leaders agree on God's presence even at times of genocide
Holy See tight lipped on details of encounter
Speculation continues at a feverish rate
Pontiff's video message to Philippine evangelization conference
Pope Francis to auction motorbike to aid homeless charity
Money was stolen as woman was going to hospital
Quotes a prayer that says Satan aims to establish his seat in Rome
Calls to strengthen ties between Catholics and Jews
Another spontaneous, surprising gesture from the pope
Consultant describes his strategy as "masterly"
Church law needs review, Pope Francis said
La Repubblica editor did not use a recorder or take notes
Majority say Church is too focused on same sex marriage, abortion, contraception
Francis warns against "the smile of a flight attendant"
This week he showed that people matter more than itineraries
Changes to go far beyond "cosmetic retouches"
Praise for the pope's humility and "incredible sense of empathy"
Discussions and decisions are not for public review, says spokesman
The widespread assumption may be a misconception, says commentator
Pope Francis and his hand-picked team in three days of meetings
He underlines his determination to change the Vatican: full text included
Four suggestions for the pope's 'to-do' list
New book's gripping story from the dark days of dictatorship
New Vatican appointees include several skilled diplomats
Maker describes 'Francis' scent as "gentle,simple,warm"
Being unsettled may not be so terrible, admits one commentator
"Careerism is a cancer," he tells them
Open letter sent ahead of pope's meeting with cardinals
Read this extraordinary, frank and far reaching interview in full here
Ban overrules permission granted by previous pope
Pope's habit of calling 'out of the blue' prompts light hearted advice
âWe all have to give something,â he says in homily
Not yet known how long moratorium is to last
He prayed to it on his election and made it centerpiece of last week's vigil
Pope plans to use donated car to drive round Vatican City
Pope says he may visit Thailand next year
Four page letter to prominent Italian atheist
Proposal made while visiting shelter in Rome
Woman stunned by another of the pope's impromptu phone calls
Open agenda may indicate pope's desire for collegiality
"Cry out forcefully: violence and war are never the way to peace"
Even for someone with his charisma, it is a sizeable challenge
Catholicos Paulose II meets Pope Francis in Rome
Pope Francis writes 'heartfelt' letter to Putin and world leaders
âMay the cry for peace rise loudly throughout the earthâ
Actor who played Che Guevara will take lead role
Pope attaching great importance to day of prayer for Syria
Six-hour task performed with no grid or pre-planning
Rise attributed to the 'Pope Francis effect'
Anguished appeal for peace in Syria and the world
Pope sends best wishes to Seoul archdiocese
"Dialogue is the only solution," they agree
Woman says she was 'petrified' when voice on the phone said "it's the pope"
Statue to be present as Pope Francis entrusts the world to Mary
Invitation was accepted in a phone call from the pope
Argentine priest says the pope's approach has not altered
Pope Francis talks about need for dialogue
Major changes predicted: Bertone tipped to be replaced as second in command
"I will celebrate Mass with them," he tells her
An unnoticed comment on the plane from Rio may be significant
Pope Francis swerves the question as he greets the two teams
Pope's words on gay and women priests widely misinterpreted
Plan revealed in conversation with journalists
"As of today, your vocation is set," Pope Francis tells him
Asks "who am I to judge" homosexuals, discusses Vatican bank and women in the Church
Broadside fired at "the phenomenon of clericalism"
"The Church needs you,'' he tells three million faithful
See the joyous celebration now on video
Watch this deeply moving event in full on video
âI still canât believe what happened,â says one of them
Pope pleads for social justice while touring Rio shanty town
Watch his arrival at the event in full length on video
Appointment follows scandal over Cardinal O'Brien
Pope Francis visibly moved by Marian shrine
Outspoken archbishop speaks out on Pope Francis and Brazil trip
Police and World Youth Day organizers fret over security
Bold step taken before Pope Francis left for Brazil
More care must be taken over young and old people, he says
Small home-made device quickly deactivated
Joyous chaos as Pope Francis arrives in Rio
Watch the welcome now in full length on video
Pope responded positively to lone cyclist's request
Full briefing shared on World Youth Day
Social and religious upheaval prevails
Cardinal Kasper says Francis cannot be pigeonholed
"This pope is what we all needed," says top Italian designer
People who follow event on TV or online can receive them
World Youth Day registrations fall far short of target
Early starts and afternoon siestas are permanent features
Pope tells old friend that all his changes cost him great effort
New order prohibits tampering with bank documents
Death penalty abolished, abuse punishments stiffened
"A miracle of humility in an era of vanity" says Elton John
Likeness was erected in Buenos Aires cathedral
Clear signal sent that some Church structures need changing
"The culture of well-being makes us insensitive to the cries of others"
Pope Francis to convene a consistory to set the date
Archbishop hails Pope Francis' use of expressions and imagery
Read it here
His brief on selecting candidates is highly specific
Seasoned Vatican observer spots some trends and looks ahead
More trouble for embattled IOR and Vatican Bank
Work was begun by Pope Emeritus Benedict
Mary's Meals founder applauds pope's stance on poverty
Setting up a commission was at his personal behest, say local sources
Follow the example of John the Baptist, pope advises
Scrutinizing every word and action can lead to false conclusions
Pope briefs nuncios on selecting episcopal candidates
UN delegates told that starvation statistics are 'truly scandalous'
People love him, but Vatican insiders may be growing uneasy
St Joseph is now to be included in prayers
No need to worry, says Catholic commentator
Pope Francis' arrival may herald a new openness to dialogue
Biker culture roars into Vatican City
Six of the pope's most memorable quotes so far
What the Italian media is saying about the pope's 'gay lobby in the Curia' comment
The pope confirms he will complete Benedict XVI's unfinished encyclical
A review of the pope's first 100 days
Angry reaction to the meeting scheduled for Friday
A 'pick and mix' attitude does not work in matters of faith
Pope throws away the script in laughter filled Q&A session
Once again, Pope Francis breaks with centuries-old tradition
"Throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the poor"
Full text of Pope Francis' address in which he pulls no punches
Longest time spent so far with a head of state, with whom he has much in common
Be a worshipper of the Lord, not yourself, he urges
Press office says his morning homilies will not be transcribed
On a Trinity Sunday visit to a small parish in a Rome suburb, the pope again showed his ability to surprise
Vatican issues clarification; commentators offer mixed reactions
Blogger and commentator Father Tim Finigan adds his thoughts to the debate
Doing good is cited as the principle that unites humanity
Request made for change of 2016 congress date
Pope Emeritus Benedict named the date World Day of Prayer for the Church in China
Pontiff warns against them but admits they have existed since Church began
The movement is less controversial than it may at first appear
Pope's caring touch on a disabled boy after Sunday's Mass seen as extra significant
A crowd of 200,000 is delighted by Pope's wide ranging talk
"Not to share one's goods with the poor is to rob them"
Cardinal SchĂ¶nborn says voting was driven by the Holy Spirit
Pope praises new saints who forsook comfort to serve others
Puerto Rican archbishop refuses to quit
"You're mothers, not spinsters," he says in warm and cordial meeting
Catholic archbishop and head of state Angela Merkel address German Protestant gathering
World Youth Day tour schedule announced
This radical proposal has been mooted by Cardinal Dolan among others
âMy thoughts turn to all who are unemployed, often as a result of a self-centred mindset bent on profit at any costâ
Pope Francis was on hand to offer a warm greeting to Pope Emeritus Benedict on his return
In one writer's view, liberal expectations of the pope are bound to be disappointed
Employers lambasted over 'unjust' low wages
Pope expresses surprise at being misquoted and misrepresented in reports
Congregation encouraged to "never masquerade before God"
Fr James Martin reflects on a subject that troubles many priests
Scathing criticisms in a 1931 document could still hold true today
Prayers and condolences offered at Sunday Mass
Oscar Romero's left-wing political leanings had impeded his canonization
Preaching the gospel requires humility, service, charity and brotherly love
The pope had a direct message for employees of the Vatican's Institute for Religious Works
Earlier reports that the bishops have been released have proved unfounded
Clelia Luro married a man who had been a Catholic bishop
Members of new papal advisory team make recommendations on key posts
Extra payment withdrawn from cardinals who oversee Vatican bank
Could this be the start of a Vatican shake-up?
Long running speculation over Pius XII and the Nazis may be put to an end
Let's not jump to conclusions, says Father James Martin
How Pope Francis may tackle the core issues for the Church
Inconsistency between what pastors say and what they do "is undermining the Church's credibility"
The return of this emotive issue could provide the pope's first controversy
Pope Francis picks eight-man advisory board, only one of them an existing Vatican official
Cardinal Tauran, who announced Pope Francis to the world, talks about that night and his work for interreligious dialogue
At his early morning Mass, Pope Francis extolled the virtues of meekness
The new pope has definitely brought with him a feelgood factor.
In 2011, the Vatican asked all bishops' conferences to submit guidelines on tackling sex abuse; a quarter have yet to respond.
A long, fascinating, sometimes funny and sometimes moving interview with a very interesting woman.
Earlier interviews from Argentina tell us about the pope's likes and interests.
"This is very encouraging," says leading female theologian.
A wonderful moment in St Peter's Square on Easter Sunday
The Easter weekend showing was requested by Pope Emeritus Benedict and preceded by a few words from Pope Francis.
First "Urbi et Orbi" address touches on political conflicts
A very happy Easter to one and all from everyone at ucanews.com
First Holy Thursday ceremony of its kind performed by a pope in prison
From the National Catholic Register, March 28
From LA Times, March 28
As his publisher, Claretian Father Gustavo Larrazabal got to know then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio well.
It's widely expected that the pope will bring in some sweeping reforms. But where will he begin and how much will he be able to do?
From the Washington Post, March 27
From patheos.com, March 26
The pope has said he is quite comfortable in the shared Catholic guesthouse he has used since arriving for the Conclave.
Reform is likely to start with the Curia
A focus on humanity's weakness and God's boundless love
From NBC World News, March 22
From the National Catholic Reporter, March 22
From NBC World News, March 23
Pope Francis has made yet another break with tradition.
Servants of the poor in front row at pope's installation
From the National Catholic Reporter, March 21
From the National Catholic Reporter, March 21
The pope also held out a hand of friendship to people who follow no religion.
Feet washing is a powerful symbol of gender equality
At least 150,000 throng St Peter's Square for pope's installation
Brazilian cardinal was personally assured by the pope himself.
The pope showed how we and the Church can live and serve the same way
South Asian provincial hails 'non-Eurocentric' choice
St. Francis seems to truly guide the new pontiff
From the Huffington Post, March 19
From Religion News Service, March 19
From the National Catholic Register, March 19
Several have sprung to the pope's defense while others attempt to discredit him for his actions during Argentina's days of repression.
"I ask all of you to pray for me! Amen."
From the National Catholic Register, March 18
From the National Catholic Reporter, March 18
From National Catholic Register, March 18
Once again, the pope has indicated that his tenure is likely to be markedly different to his predecessors'.
That depends on how he decides to live as the pope
Cardinals say he has urged them to 'come out of ourselves' and focus on 'material and spiritual poverty'
From The Telegraph, March 15
From The Telegraph, March 15
From CNN Belief Blog, March 15th
An extraordinary football-related coincidence.
Vatican watchers say the erroneous message sent to Cardinal Scola is indicative of a sorry state of affairs among the Italian 'grandees.'
The first few hours of the papacy began in a remarkably down-to-earth way.
From the National Catholic Register, March 14
From the Christian Science Monitor, March 14
From The Telegraph, March 14
Can the Vatican become more democratic under Pope Francis?
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis
A profile and appraisal of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, by Fr Mick Kelly
Vatican issues a clarification
Newly appointed Pope Francis I speaks to the crowds in St Peter's Square
Jesuit Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina becomes first non-European pontiff in a millennium
From the Christian Science Monitor, March 13
From National Catholic Reporter, March 13
Four prominent Catholics answered this tantalizing question. Here we present the response from Father James Martin, SJ.
The papacy should be de-mystified, not re-mystified
Cardinal Tagle shows his very human side
Cardinals to reconvene for two rounds of voting on Wednesday afternoon
Three front runners may be emerging
Some analysts predict 'white smoke' before the end of the week
From Religion News Service, March 12
From the New York Times, March 12
A long serving, free thinking, controversial theologian talks about the need for a 'Vatican Spring.' With link to the radio interview.
Wanted: A man of unfailing fidelity
From Huffington Post Religion, March 11
From AP/Huffington Post Religion, March 11
At least five of the cardinals who will vote in the conclave have a record of handling abuse cases that is less than exemplary.
Electronic jamming devices will be employed to curb information leaks and outside contact
From USA Today, March 8
From the Washington Post, March 8
From National Catholic Reporter, March 8
From Catholic Culture, March 8
From ABC News, March 7
From the SNAP website, March 7
From The Catholic Thing blog, March 7
From La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, March 7
From Vatican Insider/La Stampa, March 7
From The Guardian, March 7
"They got slapped down," says one observer. "They were a convenient scapegoat."
From NBC World News, March 6
From Religion News Service, March 6
From AP, March 6
Jean-Baptiste Pham of Vietnam and John Tong Hon of Hong Kong are among five voting cardinals who have not yet reached Rome.
With the conclave ahead, excitement is building - as is the number of eccentrics around St Peter's Square.
A pope from the global south makes perfect sense
Expectations, challenges and hard work await
From AFP, March 5
From Reuters FaithWorld, March 1
Retired Cardinal Mahony, stripped of his duties for his part in a large scale abuse cover-up, has expressed amazement at suggestions that he should not attend the papal election.
Pope Benedict had intended for the dossier to seen only by his successor, but there are suggestions that the cardinals want sight of it.
This article is combined with a video from Rome Reports
The Vatican looks to heal and move on
Findings from UCAN survey released
The odds on the next pope choosing the name Benedict are 5,000/1, with Leo favorite at 4/1. The atheist Richard Dawkins is given a 666/1 chance of being elected.
On the day the pope officially ended his tenure, revelations emerged of wire tapping in the Vatican.
Praise for efforts to reconcile with Beijing
Archbishop O' Malley lives a truly simple, monastic life and has proved himself to be a supremely effective and fearless pastor and administrator.
The Pope's closing speech alluded to the Gospel story of Jesus and the apostles encountering stormy waters in the Sea of Galilee. There is also a link to a report on the event at the foot of this article.
Praise and thanks from around the nation
Pope emphasizes reasons for resigning in farewell speech
The pope, who is now preparing to move temporarily to the Castel Gondolfo residence, will be known as pontiff emeritus.
The Vatican's secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts has carefully explained the papal voting procedure to reporters. At the foot of this article there is also a link to an excellent visual guide to how the conclave works.
The history and evolution of papal beards explored and discussed.
Father Martin has come up with 12 reasons why he should be the one elected.
Pope's successor is likely to continue Vatican's China policy
Failing eyesight prevents attendance
Bringing forward the papal election date would require a change in canon law which the pope may effect.
Catholicism, first and foremost, is a faith. But looking at it as a business that needs some changes offers an interesting perspective.
Manila prelate tipped as possible for papacy
Now it's time to see if the Vatican is willing to reciprocate
The divide between conservatives and liberals will reignite with the next pontiff
China Catholics see a 'storm brewing' in the Church
Victim's advocates call for exclusion of electors linked to cases of sexual abuse
"I'm an old man and I've lost my strength," the pope told his biographer last summer.
The nuns, who had widely reported problems with Pope Benedict's administration, hope for more input and regular meetings with senior Church leaders.
His resignation may set a papal precedent
Since resigning, Pope Benedict has lambasted the media and made remarks that seem aimed squarely at the machinations in the Vatican that came to light via "Vatileaks."
With a firm date yet to be announced, there seems to be a growing inclination to open the conclave sooner rather than later.
Catholicism's center of gravity is shifting south and in Africa it is vibrant and booming. Should this be reflected in the choice of next pope?
The conclave offers an opportunity that must be seized
A packed crowd cheered wildly as the pope thanked them and asked for their continued prayers.
The writer says that "the Popeâs gesture was almost an act of surrender before the world which is changing at a rhythm which a man born in 1927 could never have imagined," and asks if it always has to be this way.
Cardinal Turkson may have damaged any ambitions he harbored about the papacy.
Father Lombardi talked about the pope's medical condition and his plans for the immediate and longer term future.
Announcement 'left me stunned' says Savio Hon Tai Fai
Here is a digest of comment, analysis, opinions - both positive and negative - and facts about the Pope's resignation.
The pope will be faced with a question that no pope has had to answer for the last 600 years.
Will the papacy remain within Europe or will it go to an American, African or even Asian candidate?
Many of his aims remain unfulfilled
What influence will Asians have on the upcoming papal vote?
Mixed feelings on Benedict's tenure
Latest from our Vatican correspondent
Posted on the Vatican Radio website
Pontiff says he 'no longer has the strength' to carry out his duties
- Introducing the Pope Name Predictor
- We don't know who the new pope will be but we can guess at his new name
- Live pictures from St Peter's Square
- See the camera trained permanently on the Sistine Chapel chimney
- Get your own Habemus Papam alarm
- An email or text message to tell you the moment the pope is elected
- When to watch for the white smoke
- Your detailed guide so you don't miss it
- Download a free app with all the latest conclave news
- With links for downloading to iPhone/iPad/iPod and Android devices
- What the bookmakers say
- The latest betting odds and changes, updated daily Monday-Friday.
- Things you didn't know you didn't know
- Some fascinating facts about the history of the conclave
- Thank You Pope Benedict XVI: 26 Quotes from World Leaders
- A collection of tributes from political and religious leaders worldwide
- Who will be the next pope?
- Close-up on four of the leading contenders