News/International

{mosimage}Pakistan’s blasphemy law should be re-examined and the government of Pakistan should be held responsible for protecting its Christian minority, the president of the Canadian Islamic Congress told The Catholic Register.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are at issue in a mob attack on Christians in the Punjabi village of Gojra July 30 to Aug. 1. Stirred up by local Muslim legal experts, or ulema, about 1,500 Muslims burned six Christians alive and shot another, killing seven in total, according to a report by the National Commission for Justice and Peace of Pakistan’s conference of Catholic bishops.

Papal encyclical tells us to 'Think!' and 'Love!'

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{mosimage}NAIROBI, Kenya - Pope Benedict XVI opened his new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, with these words: “To all people of good will, on integral human development in charity and truth ...” So what might Caritas in Veritate do for a poor African woman infected with HIV? And can she help a reader of The Catholic Register grasp what the Holy Father is saying?

I thought of Rosanna, an abandoned mother in her 20s, HIV-positive, struggling to get by in a Nairobi slum. “Six years down the line,” she says, “my family has not accepted me, not my mother or sisters or husband. I’ve lost jobs because I’m positive.”

Cory Aquino remembered for her strong faith

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Corazon “Cory” Aquino’s courage in standing up to a feared dictator, says Toronto-based journalist Hermie Garcia, is what many Filipino Canadians admired about the late Philippines president. Mrs. Aquino, 76, died Aug. 1 after a year-long battle with colon cancer.

Garcia, the founding editor of Toronto’s The Philippine Reporter , said Mrs. Aquino’s death saddens many Filipinos in Toronto.

Pope deplores latest killings of Christians in Pakistan 

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI deplored the killing of eight Christians in Pakistan by a Muslim mob and urged the minority Christian community not to be deterred by the attack.

The Christians, including four women and a child, were either shot or burned alive Aug. 1 when a crowd attacked the eastern Pakistani town of Gojra, setting fire to dozens of Christian homes. Authorities said tensions were running high in the area, fueled by a false rumour that a Quran, the sacred book of Islam, had been desecrated.

Catholic priest, nuns minister in Afghanistan 

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{mosimage}KABUL, Afghanistan - In the midst of the escalating war in Afghanistan, there is a place of peace for Kabul's tiny Catholic population.

Inside the Italian Embassy compound visitors will find a small white building marked simply with a cross. Its guardian is the shepherd of Kabul, Barnabite Father Giuseppe Moretti.

A warm 70-year-old Italian with graying hair and a sharp sense of humour, Moretti is the only full-time priest in Afghanistan.

CCN correspondent meets Pope

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - A long-awaited papal encyclical, a G8 summit and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first audience with a Pope converged on the decision to send me to Rome July 7-11, aboard the prime minister’s Airbus.

Once I arrived, I discovered the Holy Father would greet each one of the media individually after Harper’s audience. What a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! To meet not only Christ’s vicar here on Earth but my favourite theologian. But what would I wear? Someone told me I should wear a head covering and closed-toed shoes. Do not have them.

G8 promises must be kept

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{mosimage}G8 summits may fade from the headlines faster than invisible ink, but the July 8-10 meeting in Italy is still on the minds of development agencies.

The G8 leaders pledged $19.4 billion over three years to boost agriculture and increase food aid.

Canada Foodgrains Bank executive director Jim Cornelius gives the commitment a thumbs up.

Pro-lifers fear U.S. health care reform

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{mosimage}WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama’s push for health care reform could be the worst thing for the pro-life cause since Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide, said individuals and groups that oppose abortion.

The three health care reform bills currently in Congress do not specifically mention abortion. But legal precedent proves abortions could be covered by federal tax money unless excluded in legislation, pro-life members of Congress said. Legislation also could mandate abortion coverage for most insurance plans.

Vacationing pope undergoes procedure to set wrist fractured in fall

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI, who is vacationing in the northern Italian Alps, underwent a procedure under local anesthesia to repair his right wrist, which he had fractured during the night of July 16-17, his personal physician said.

"The Holy Father, accidentally falling in his residence, suffered a dislocated fracture of his right wrist," Dr. Patrizio Polisca, the Pope's doctor, said in a statement released July 17 by the Vatican press office.

Cardinal Newman to be beatified next May, report says

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{mosimage}TORONTO - For University of Toronto theology student Peter Baltutis, Cardinal John Henry Newman is a role model for young Catholics.

Newman's message resonates with students who are searching and discerning their future because the influential 19th-century theologian taught that coming to a secular university doesn't mean you have to abandon your Catholicism, Baltutis said.

U.S. Episcopal Church leaders vote to lift ban on ordaining gay bishops

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{mosimage}ANAHEIM, Calif. - Episcopal bishops, priests and lay delegates at their church's triennial convention in Anaheim voted July 14 to lift a moratorium on the ordination of gay and lesbian bishops that had been in place for three years.

As reported by Ecumenical News International/Religion News Service , more than 70 per cent of lay and clergy delegates in the church's House of Deputies approved the action. A day earlier the House of Bishops passed the statement by a 2-to-1 margin.