KIEV, Ukraine - Although they disagree about how unstoppable the process is and they have a varying degree of fear about what Russia might do, religious and political leaders in Ukraine say their society underwent a fundamental shift in February, making Ukrainians realize they have both dignity and responsibilities for their country's future.

Published in International

They say all politics is local and that municipal politics is closer to our everyday lives than any level of government. It’s about water, sewage and garbage pickup. It’s about street-light repairs, safe pedestrian crosswalks and parks where our children can play. 

Published in Robert Brehl

TORONTO - There’s no democracy like local democracy, and no reason for your parish to ignore it. As Toronto and the rest of Ontario gears up for local elections Oct. 27, Cardinal Thomas Collins has reminded Greater Toronto Area parishes they have a role to play.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

OTTAWA - When the Conservative government approved the Northern Gateway pipeline June 17, it launched a debate likely to figure prominently in the 2015 election. 

Published in Canada

TORONTO - Before marking an X on a ballot Catholic voters should pencil in a grade on a report card for candidates in the Ontario provincial election.

Published in Canada

LVIV, Ukraine - Ukrainian Catholic bishops said their country's May 25 presidential election must proceed, despite any efforts to derail it.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI congratulated U.S. President Barack Obama on his re-election, saying that he prayed the ideals of freedom and justice that guided America's founders might continue to flourish.

The Vatican did not make public the full text of the pope's telegram to Obama, which was sent via Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Nov. 7.

"In the message, the Holy Father sent his best wishes to the president for his new term and assured him of his prayers that God might assist him in his very great responsibility before the country and the international community," the Vatican said in a statement.

The pope also told Obama he was praying that "the ideals of liberty and justice that guided the founders of the United States of America might continue to shine" as the nation goes forward, the statement said.

In remarks to reporters, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, voiced hopes that Obama would also promote "a culture of life and religious freedom."

It is the hope of everyone that President Obama "respond to the expectations" of the American people and "serve law and justice for the well-being and growth of every person, by respecting essential human and spiritual values and by promoting the culture of life and religious freedom, which have always been so precious in the tradition of the American people and their culture," the priest said.

U.S. Catholic bishops have been at odds with Obama over his support for legalized abortion and his administration's plan to require that the private health insurance plans of most Catholic institutions cover surgical sterilization procedures and artificial birth control, which are forbidden by the church's moral teaching.

The role of president of the United States is "an immense responsibility not just for the great nation, but for the whole world, given the United States' role on the world stage," Father Lombardi said, expressing hopes that the president would be able to "find the best ways to promote the material and spiritual well-being of all and effectively promote integral human development, justice and peace in the world."

Published in International
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