Morning Catholic must-reads: 03/02/11

The Pope leads Vespers in St Peter's Basilica yesterday evening (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

The Pope urged consecrated men and women to be “assiduous listeners of the Word” during Vespers in St Peter’s Basilica on the World Day of Consecrated Life yesterday (full text).

Benedict XVI began a new cycle of catechesis on the Doctors of the Church at his general audience yesterday (full text).

The commission of the bishops’ conferences of the European community (COMECE) has said it “very much regrets” that the EU’s 27 foreign ministers failed to agree on a declaration condemning religious persecution.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has urged Catholics in England and Wales to increase their efforts to serve the neediest (link to full text).

MPs have asked Ministers to explain why £1.85m ($3m, €2.2m) of money allocated for overseas aid was spent on the Pope’s visit to Britain in September.

The Catholic University of Leuven has awarded the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, an honorary degree.

Islamists in Lahore have burned effigies of the Pope during a demonstration against proposals to reform Pakistan’s blasphemy law.

Vatican Archbishop João Bráz de Aviz has said that he almost left the Church because of Liberation Theology.

Some 55 per cent of American women religious who professed perpetual vows in 2010 were a “middle” child.

And Archbishop Charles Chaput explains how those in the West can help Christians in Iraq.