Morning Catholic must-reads: 22/02/11

The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Christchurch, New Zealand

The earthquake that struck Christchurch, New Zealand, killing more than 65 people, has severely damaged the city’s historic Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, reports suggest.

Benedict XVI has approved the canonisation of three new saints on October 23: Guido Maria Conforti, Don Luigi Guanella and Bonifacia Rodríguez de Castro (video).

Bernard Nathanson, an obstetrician who oversaw some 75,000 abortions before becoming a leading pro-life advocate, has died aged 84.

The Irish bishops have urged all political parties to defend human dignity ahead of the country’s general election (PDF of statement).

Benedict XVI has named Slovenian Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič as the new Apostolic Nuncio to Russia, replacing Archbishop Antonio Mennini.

Martin Sheen has said that he is praying for his son, Charlie Sheen, who is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.

Fr John Murray of Caritas Thailand rallies to the defence of Lesley-Anne Knight, the secretary general of Caritas International forbidden from seeking re-election by the Vatican.

Jeff Ziegler profiles Archbishop John Nienstedt of St Paul and Minneapolis.

Sherry Weddell reflects on the news that the global Catholic population grew by 15 million in 2009.

And Professor Leonardo Lugaresi asks what the Fathers of the Church would have made of the internet.