Morning Catholic must-reads: 30/07/12

Pope Benedict XVI at yesterday's Angelus (AP)

Benedict XVI called “for an end to all violence and bloodshed” in Syria in his Angelus address at Castel Gandolfo yesterday (video).

Members of the American Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) will meet this week to decide whether to cooperate with reforms demanded by the Vatican.

A company run by Catholics has challenged the Obama administration’s contraception mandate successfully in a federal court in Colorado.

Egyptian Christians and Muslims have clashed violently in a village south of Cairo.

Catholics devoted to the Extraordinary Form have created a petition urging Pope Benedict to celebrate a public Mass with the 1962 Missal (petition text).

Sandro Magister predicts the winners of this year’s “Nobel in theology”.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles, criticises the mayors of three American cities who threatened to block the expansion of a restaurant chain because its owner opposes same-sex marriage.

Ross Douthat urges opponents of Christianity to drop their pretence of respecting religious freedom.

Fr Federico Lombardi suggests that the Paralympics are no less important than the Olympics.

George Weigel rolls his eyes at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

Rome Reports explains how to avoid a fashion gaffe when meeting the Pope (video).

Leah Libresco tells Eve Tushnet what Catholics need to know about atheists.

And Nigel Baker, the British ambassador to the Holy See, reveals that his great uncle once raced against Eric Liddell, the Olympian who inspired Chariots of Fire.

For updates throughout the day follow me on Twitter @lukecoppen