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A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion

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By Serene Ecclesial Lady, Dna. Maria St. Catherine De Grace Sharpe, Ambassadeur du Christ (Oxon), t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Ecclesiastical Diplomatic Scholar, Specializing in Roman Catholic/Vatican/Holy See Pontifical Ecclesiastical Law, Diplomacy & Int'l Human Rights and Monegasque International, Diplomatic & Human Rights Affairs & The John Paul II Vatican Diplomatic Affairs World Scholar

In an unprecedented act of moral defiance of its official Catholic state religion, on April 3, 2009, Monaco's 26-member Parliament, known as the National Council of the Principality of Monaco voted unanimously, 26-0, to liberalize, and thus revise, its heretofore strict abortion law which fully and comprehensively banned all forms of abortion. With respect to abortion, Article 248 of the Monegasque Penal (Criminal) Code, dated 28 September 1967, in its original form stated:

Whoever, by any means whatsoever, shall have acquired or attempted to procure the miscarriage of a pregnant woman that she had consented or not, shall be punished by imprisonment of one to five years and a fine under figure 3 of Article 26. The term shall be five to ten years and fine that under item 4 of Article 26 if it is determined that the culprit was usually delivered to the acts referred to in the preceding paragraph. Shall be punished by imprisonment of six months in trios years and the fine provided for in paragraph 3 of Article 26 the pregnant woman who will be procured abortion itself or attempts to procure or has consented to use the resources provided or administered for that purpose. Physicians, surgeons, midwives, the pharmacists and any person exercising regularly or not, a work of public health concern, which would have indicated, promoted or practiced how to obtain an abortion shall be punished by imprisonment five to ten years and the fine provided for in paragraph 4 of Article 26, a suspension for five years or less completely unable to exercise their profession may, where appropriate, be pronounced against the guilty. Whoever violates the prohibition to practice his profession, imposed under the preceding paragraph shall be punished by imprisonment of six months in trios years and the fine provided for in paragraph 3 of Article 26.

The National Council of the officially Catholic Principality of Monaco has now passed a law revising Monaco's heretofore strict abortion law to now permit abortions in "hard cases", i.e., the three instances of rape, fetal deformity, fetal illness or when the mother's life is in danger. This new law contravenes the ecclesiastical human rights rules of law of the Roman Catholic Church banning all forms of abortion, including abortion in the "hard case" instances of rape, fetal deformity and fetal illness or when the mother's life is in danger. This is the first instance where a country possessing the Roman Catholic religion as its official state religion has moved, in contravention to official Roman Catholic laws, to liberalize its strict abortion laws. The new law, law No. 1.359 revising Article 248 of the Monegasque Penal Code and Article 323 of the Monegasque Civil Code, has been promulgated in the official legislative Journal of Monaco, ( the official bulletin of Monaco), No. 7.909 dated 24/04/2009 and may be reviewed by visiting the Journal de Monaco dated 24/04/2009 found at:!OpenDocument. Additional details about the new law's process of promulgation may be found at: the official website of the National Council of the Principality of Monaco.

This vote of the National Council modifying Monaco's strict law on abortion incidentally preceded, almost exactly one month to the day, the UN Human Rights Council's 4 May 2009, Periodic Review of the fulfillment of human rights obligations of the Principality of Monaco. The results of the UN Human Rights Councils Periodic Review of Monaco were highly critical of the Principality for not yet having established "a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles" among other findings. The report's recommendations may be found on the web at: While the UN's human rights recommendations with respect to Monaco have not yet been added to the website of the Principality's Permanent Mission to the United Nations they are addressed on the Government of Monaco's website listing Press Releases under "Archives Humanitarian and Caritative" see the entry for 12/5/2009 titled,

"Monaco Before the Human Rights Council" ($/1DB9906C9CBB8779C12575B3005BF7D9GB?OpenDocument&1GB).

This negligence of the Principality in failing to establish a national human rights institution and human rights rule of law protection mechanism is morally inconsistent with the Principality's membership in the United Nations (which it has held since 1993), an international human rights organization and its centuries-old status as an official Roman Catholic sovereign state since the sine qua none and sui generis diplomatic role of the Roman Catholic Church is the promotion of a human rights diplomacy of conscience. The Principality of Monaco, as an official Roman Catholic sovereign state, that is also an official member of the United Nations, maintains a dual fiduciary obligation of regulatory and transparent compliance with both the international human rights rule of law as promulgated by the United Nations, and simultaneously with the ecclesiastical human rights rule of law and doctrine as promulgated by the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. According to its own Mission to the United Nations website's webpage on "Participation," "Monaco's international priorities are articulated around two principal themes: the defense and promotion of human rights (and more specifically the rights of the child) and sustainable development." The Catholic Monegasque Parliament's unanimous vote to liberalize abortion egregiously violates Monaco's moral, legal and diplomatic fiduciary obligation to effect social justice with respect to both of these --its own determined-- sustaining social developmental issues. This is especially disturbing since Monaco is a member of both the UN's Committee for Sustaining Development and its Committee for Social Development.

This egregious state of ecclesiastical human rights legal affairs in Monaco is of critical legal, moral, religious and diplomatic significance because the Constitution of the Principality of Monaco, promulgated on December 17, 1962 and revised in 2002, states in Article 9 that, "La religion catholique, apostolique et romaine est religion d'Etat." Translated, this reads that, "the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman religion is the religion of the state." The inclusion of Article 9 in the Constitution of the Principality of Monaco allows the precepts and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church to exert a powerful command authority over the culture, life and laws of the sovereign state of Monaco, thus officially subjugating the law of the state of the Principality to the law of the ecclesial nation-state of the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore all the laws of the Principality of Monaco, including the articles of its penal and civil codes, must be in conformity with Monaco's constitution, and thus, also in conformity with the ecclesiastical laws and moral doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. This rule of Monegasque jurisprudence foremost includes the ecclesiastical human rights rules of law of the Universal Church of Rome, as well, which bans all forms of abortion. Thus, Monaco's new law liberalizing abortion in what are traditionally known as "hard cases" is a de facto and de jure unconstitutional law, and a law derogating from the most fundamental Catholic legal principle on the sanctity of human life. Considering that the Catholic Church's ecclesiastical moral and legal doctrine on the sanctity of human life is a peremptory norm of fundamental Catholic ecclesiastical human rights rule of law known as ecclesiastical jus cogens (i.e. a compelling ecclesiastical law) of the Universal Church of Rome from which no Catholic in any circumstance may derogate, on its face, this law, thus, automatically resulted in the formal excommunication "latae sententiae" [automatically incurred at the moment of the act], by the Holy See of every member of the Monegasque National Council who is a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Teachings of the Catholic Church on abortion are made explicit in The Catholic Catechism of the Catholic Church , Articles 2270-2273. Article 2271 definitively states,
Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75

God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76

In addition, with respect to an abortion for the cause of protecting the health of the mother, the March 25, 1995, encyclical of Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae in Articles 58 specifically states,

"It is true that the decision to have an abortion is often tragic and painful for the mother, insofar as the decision to rid herself of the fruit of conception is not made for purely selfish reasons or out of convenience, but out of a desire to protect certain important values such as her own health or a decent standard of living for the other members of the family. Sometimes it is feared that the child to be born would live in such conditions that it would be better if the birth did not take place. Nevertheless, these reasons and others like them, however serious and tragic, can never justify the deliberate killing of an innocent human being."

The Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church also holds morally and legally responsible states, state legislatures, state legal, political and social institutions, and other persons, political bodies and civil social organizations that neglect their fiduciary moral, legal and social obligations to vote against abortion laws, and who by supporting pro-abortion laws allow for the development of a society that propagates a "culture of death. Articles 2271 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states,

Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"77 "by the very commission of the offense,"78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

Article 2273 of the Catechism condemns civil legislatures that promulgate pro-abortion laws, and states,

The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."80

"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."81

Consistently affirming the teaching of the Catholic Catechism, Article 60 of Evangelium Vitae also hold legislators and health care centres responsible for the social sin of abortion and states, "...responsibility likewise falls on the legislators who have promoted and approved abortion laws, and, to the extent that they have a say in the matter, on the administrators of the health-care centres where abortions are performed."

What is also so profoundly tragically disturbing about this case of the Monegasque derogation of Catholic ecclesiastical human rights jus cogens--since the Principality is by law a Roman Catholic state and has been for over seven centuries--are the facts that, 1) there was not even one member of the National Council's twenty-six members who voted for preserving the sanctity of life even in these most hardened cases--it is a political, social and cultural travesty (and a living testament to the true dying soul and spirit of Catholic Monaco, though, difficult to believe)-- that there was not one devout believing, practicing Catholic on this National Council with the moral courage to stand for God, his Church and His sacred laws; 2) That the voice of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Monaco, H.E. Msgr. Bernard Barsi, as evidenced by the internet postings of his official statements, was the lone Catholic episcopal voice condemning and advocating against the vote to liberalize abortion in Monaco; and 3) I could find no archived internet evidence of any public outcry against this abortion vote by Monaco's first ever apostolic nuncio, H.E. Archbishop Andre Dupuy, who was appointed on 11 July 2006, and accredited to the Principality to represent the Holy See in Monaco. I searched for statements in French by Archbishop Andre Dupuy on the internet, and could not find any French, Monegasque, Vatican or other newspaper or internet site reporting any statements made by His Excellency, Archbishop Dupuy with respect to the Monegasque National Council's April vote to liberalize abortion and could find none. This search is made even more difficult since the Holy See's Apostolic Nunciature to Monaco, nor the Embassy of the Principality of Monaco to the Holy See appear to have established websites. It would be have certainly been particularly interesting to see how the Embassy of the Principality of Monaco to the Holy See would have nuanced for public release this liberalization of Monaco's heretofore strict law on abortion which now violates Catholic ecclesiastical human rights rules of law and social doctrine. We must however, establish a reserve for hope, for there is, of course, the possibility that a private communiqué was sent by the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Andre Dupuy to Monaco's National Council advising them against proceeding with their vote to liberalize Monaco's laws on abortion which would contravene Catholic ecclesiastical human rights rules of law and social doctrine. It has been nearly four months since the Monegasque National Council's legislative travesty of a vote liberalizing abortion in, as of 2007, one of the last two Roman Catholic states maintaining strict anti-abortion laws, with the other official Catholic state being Malta.

Since in accordance with official Catholic social, legal, diplomatic and moral human rights doctrine, abortion is a grave crime against the sanctify of human life, and a matter of derogating from the peremptory norm of ecclesiastical law of ecclesiastical human rights jus cogens in the Roman Catholic Church, it is unthinkable that an apostolic nuncio -whose mission it is to--in a matter of speaking-- uphold " the Holy See's human rights diplomacy of conscience" in the country to whom he is sent" would wait nearly four months, or more, to release a press statement condemning this horrific vote by the Catholic Monegasque National Council liberalizing abortion. This is especially true since the Principality is an official Catholic sovereign state. In this case of an egregious illegal and unconstitutional moral, diplomatic, and human rights legislative state of affairs promulgating a pro-abortion law in an official Catholic country, it would certainly be expected that a statement by the Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to Monaco, the President of the Roman Curia's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (the Roman Curia's ecclesiastical human rights oversight and enforcement dicastery], and the Pontifical Academy for Life would have already, by now, i.e., August of 2009, been a matter of archived, publicly accessible, press reports.

According to the Vatican's website on the Pontifical Academy of Life, with his Motu Proprio "Vitae Mysterium" of February 11, 1994, John Paul II instituted the Pontifical Academy for Life. Its objectives are the study, information and formation on the principal problems of biomedicine and of law, relative to the promotion and defense of life, above all in the direct relation that they have with Christian morality and the directives of the Church's Magisterium." In effect, neither the Roman Curia's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Pontifical Academy for Life, nor the apostolic nuncio to Monaco have released official public statements, that were identified and accessible via the internet, condemning the Monegasque National Council's unconstitutional and illegal vote liberalizing abortion in Catholic Monaco.

This is an especially tragic state of ecclesiastical human rights rule of law enforcement and diplomacy especially since, in accordance with Catholic doctrine and ecclesiastical rule of law, the members of the Monegasque National Council incurred an automatic censor of latae sententiae excommunication when they executed their unanimous vote. The Church's canonical law on abortion and excommunication is explicit in Canons 751 and 1398, which state, respectively,

Canon 1398: "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication."

Canon 751: "Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."

Canon 1364 §1: "an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication."

The phrase "latae sententiae" means a judgment or sentence which has already been brought, in other words, a sentence or judgment which does not need a future additional judgment from someone in authority; it refers to a type of excommunication which is automatic. Such a sentence of excommunication is incurred "by the very commission of the offense," (CCC 2272) and does not require the future particular judgment of a case by competent authority.

Apostasy, heresy, and schism are all offences which incur a sentence of excommunication automatically. Heresy is the obstinate denial of any truth of the Catholic faith, on a matter of faith or morals, which has been definitively taught by the Magisterium. The Magisterium has repeatedly and definitively taught that abortion is always gravely immoral. (CCC 2270 to 2275)

While no public statement has been found as forthcoming from the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Life with respect to Monaco's liberalization of its abortion law, Catholic's loyal to the Magisterium abhorring the revision of Monegasque penal and civil codes to now allow abortions in certain hard case instances, may take some refuge in the address made by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, on May 4, 2009 to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. The Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences was established by Pope John Paul II fifteen years ago, in 1994, for the explicit aim (according to its webpage: "...of promoting the study and progress of the social, economic, political and juridical sciences, and of thus offering the Church the elements which she can use in the study and development of her social doctrine" (art. 1)." Law is one of the domains of the Academy's research with respect to Catholic Social Doctrine, it also, according to its Vatican website, "reflects on the application of that doctrine in contemporary society." While Pope Benedict XVI does not specifically address the April 2009 vote by the National Council of Monaco to liberalize abortion in the Principality, he does take this timely opportunity-- incidentally, making the speech the same day the UN's Human Rights Council was conducting its May 4, 2009 Universal Periodic Review of Monaco-- to reaffirm the Church's commitment to international and ecclesiastical human rights rules of law. The full text of the address may be found at:, In this address, Pope Benedict XVI affirms the "enduring pertinence of Catholic social teaching in a rapidly changing world." He states,

Human rights became the reference point of a shared universal ethos - at least at the level of aspiration - for most of humankind. These rights have been ratified by almost every State in the world. The Second Vatican Council, in the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae, as well as my predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II, forcefully referred to the right to life and the right to freedom of conscience and religion as being at the centre of those rights that spring from human nature itself.

Thus, in light of the Catholic Church's ecclesiastical human rights rule of law on abortion, the obligation of Catholic state legislatures to promote "a culture of life" by voting against any measure related to abortion, the incurring of the latae sententiae excommunication by persons or legislators subsequent to having, or executing votes for abortion, the silent voices of the Holy See's apostolic nuncios, including those accredited to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, in this grave and egregious matter of Monaco's Parliamentary vote to liberalize abortion, solemnly betrays all global Catholic public diplomatic rhetoric by papal diplomatic representatives who hold the rank of apostolic nuncio, on pontifical ecclesiastical diplomacy as a beacon and champion of human rights diplomacy of conscience. Papal diplomatic representatives have the highest moral, legal and diplomatic fiduciary obligation to speak out when states, most especially official Catholic states, move to promulgate laws on abortion since these laws contravene Catholic ecclesiastical human rights rules of law, and thereby divine law. The absence of public papal diplomatic statements protesting the move of Monaco to liberalize its strict laws on abortion sabotages the Holy See's efforts to promote a global human rights diplomacy of conscience.

One certainly must ask, where, in this state of official Catholic immoral political and legal affairs, is the Holy See's official diplomatic voice of moral human rights ethics and social justice as a champion of pontifical ecclesiastical human rights diplomacy of conscience with respect to the centuries-old official Catholic Principality of Monaco? On the occasion of such an egregious civil legislative derogation from centuries old Catholic ecclesiastical human rights rules of law and moral doctrine affirming the sanctity of human life, the official diplomatic voice of the Holy See should not be found wanting--yet and has been found in a state of gross dereliction of pontifical ecclesiastical diplomatic duty. One of the first primordial moral laws of each and every Roman Catholic, ecclesiastic or lay, is the preservation and protection of the dignity of the human person--including that of the enfant still resident in the womb-- even in the three referenced hard case scenarios. This immoral, unconstitutional and illegal state of official Roman Catholic Monegasque legislative and Vatican pontifical ecclesiastical diplomatic human rights affairs remains a travesty of Roman Catholic ecclesiastical human rights diplomacy of conscience of historic ecclesiastical, legal, diplomatic and political proportion, but Monaco is only following the overtures of the Council of Europe of which it has been a member since 2004, calling for the decriminalization of abortion throughout Europe. In April of 2008, the Council of Europe's Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men released a report titled, "Access to Safe and Legal Abortion in Europe," located at: strongly advocating for Council of Europe member states to: -decriminalise abortion, if they have not already done so; - guarantee women's effective exercise of their right to abortion and lift restrictions which hinder, de jure or de facto, access to safe abortion; - adopt appropriate sexual and reproductive health strategies, including access of women and men to contraception at a reasonable cost and of a suitable nature for them as well as compulsory relationships and sex education for young people.

Notwithstanding the above, this highly controversial ecclesio-political moral state of affairs of liberalized abortion in Catholic Monaco, the Council of Europe's 46th member state, yet one of the oldest original Catholic states to have a diplomatic legation accredited to the Holy See, appears to be a done deal without any hope of being overturned by the Catholic Prince of Monaco, since legislative powers in Monaco are shared by the Prince and the National Council, with the laws being initiated by the Prince himself. According to Article 66 of the Constitution of the Principality of Monaco, "The law requires the consent of the will of the Prince and the National Council. The legislative initiative belongs to the Prince. The deliberation and voting laws belong to the National Council. Enforcement of laws belongs to the Prince, who gives them strength by promulgation." It would follow therefore, that if a law has been passed in Monaco, i.e., been approved by an official vote of the National Council, and published in the official bulletin of the state, it had to have been initiated and approved apriori by the Prince, and is then beyond any subsequent veto by the head of state, the Prince after official promulgation. Thus, the Principality of Monaco's government-sanctioned moral turpitude continues to politically preempt the promotion of a Catholic faith-based human rights diplomacy of conscience in Monaco demanded in principle by its official Catholic state religion and its official status as a voting member of the United Nations. The Principality's membership in the United Nations demands that it establish a national human rights institution and/or institutional human rights protection regime to enforce human rights rules of law within the Principality of Monaco in conformity with its Catholic ecclesiastical and moral laws, which are upheld foremost in Article 9 of the Constitution of the Principality of Monaco.


The Monaco Institute MA, US
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T. - diplomatic scholar, 202 679-1438



catholic monaco, abortion, catholic state religion

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