{mosimage}TORONTO - Despite another horrendous humanitarian crisis in Congo — 250,000 made homeless by renewed fighting in a war that has killed at least six million since 1996 — the Congolese don't want or need more aid money from Canadians, said a Congolese-Canadian who has for years lobbied Canadian governments to intervene on behalf of peace and demanded that Canadian mining companies cease operation in zones of conflict.

"They don't need material things. They need you to be there for them," said Erik Mukandila, a doctoral student studying immigration at the University of Toronto.

Pope condemns Mumbai terrorist attacks

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI condemned the wave of terrorist attacks in India as acts of "cruel and senseless violence," and led prayers for the nearly 200 people who died and the hundreds injured in the bloodshed.

A Vatican spokesman, meanwhile, warned that if extremists continue to exploit the ethnic and religious tensions of southern Asia the results could be even more tragic.

Vatican calls for greater vigilance over financial operations

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The Vatican said the current market crisis calls for a new international agreement to effectively monitor global financial operations and give poorer countries a greater voice in economic policies.

In particular, steps are needed to curb the abuses of offshore financial institutions, which many see as one of the causes of the financial meltdown, said a statement drafted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Congo bishops denounce UN 'inaction'

{mosimage}KINSHASA, Congo - A group of Congolese bishops has denounced the international community’s tolerance of increasing hostilities in eastern Congo, which they called a “silent genocide” against the civilian population there.

“We are calling on the international community to work sincerely to ensure respect for international law,” said the Congolese bishops’ committee in a statement Nov. 13 on the war in the east and northeast of Congo.

Politicians must make Holy Land peace reality

{mosimage}JERUSALEM - As Christmas approaches and the world again turns its hopes and prayers toward Bethlehem, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem is asking politicians to make peace a reality in the Holy Land.

Patriarch Fouad Twal told Canadian Catholic journalists visiting Jerusalem that a Saudi Arabian peace proposal would make a good basis for future peace in the region.

Pastor rebuked for chastising parishioners who supported Obama

{mosimage}WASHINGTON - The administrator of the diocese of Charleston, S.C., said a pastor who told his parishioners they should refrain from receiving holy Communion if they voted for U.S. President-elect Barack Obama did not "adequately reflect the Catholic Church's teaching" on abortion and conscience.

"Any statements or comments to the contrary are repudiated," Msgr. Martin T. Laughlin said in a Nov. 14 statement.

Pius XII exhibit opens at Vatican

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The Vatican opened a major exhibit on the life and pontificate of Pope Pius XII, highlighting the late pope’s actions on behalf of Jews and others who suffered during the Second World War.

The retrospective show — featuring photos, articles of clothing and documents — opened Nov. 4 in an exhibition hall adjacent to St. Peter’s Square.

Call goes out for peacekeepers for Congo

{mosimage}OTTAWA - A number of Catholic and Christian organizations have asked Canada to intervene in the crisis that has gripped the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The whole civilian population is being held hostage,” said Development and Peace advocacy officer Mary Durran.

Catholic-Muslim forum calls for religious freedom

VATICAN CITY - Christians and Muslims must work together to protect religious freedom, they must learn more about each other and they must witness to the world the reality of God, said members of the Catholic-Muslim Forum.

The forum participants, 28 Muslim and 28 Catholic representatives, met at the Vatican Nov. 4-6 to discuss their faiths' understanding of the obligation to love God and to love one's neighbour. The final statement said both Christians and Muslims recognize the dignity and sacredness of human life because each person is "created by a loving God."

Toronto's Indians appalled by attacks

{mosimage}TORONTO - The picture of a dead child’s charred remains was just one of many photos that shocked Indian-born priest Fr. Jose Thaipparampil about the explosion of violence which has been called the worst anti-Christian attacks in the 61 years since India’s independence.

Indian Catholics in Toronto are increasingly concerned about the persecution of Christians, says the pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Mission parish. So much so that they are turning prayer into action. Thaipparampil’s parish raised $1,500 for the diocese of Orissa to help the victims. At the parish’s Nov. 2 Mass, they also remembered Fr. Bernard Digal, one of the first Christians to be attacked by a Hindu extremist mob in August who died from his injuries at the end of October.

U.S. church view on same-sex marriage wins in California


{mosimage}WASHINGTON — In voting on 2008 ballot questions across the country, the Catholic Church view against same-sex marriage appeared headed for victory, but Catholic efforts to influence voting related to abortion, assisted suicide, embryonic stem-cell research and gambling failed.