News/International

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace believes Canadians may be eating the planet to death, so they’re going to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to nudge the world into a whole new food system.

Next June the United Nations Development Program will host Rio+20, a conference aimed at evaluating progress since the landmark Rio Earth Summit of 1992. Development and Peace is one of several Catholic organizations planning on attending.

“For us, responsible care of the planet is part of our campaign. It’s part of our five-year theme. We see it as a priority issue,” said Development and Peace program officer Mary Durran.

Violence mars Congo's election

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KINSHASA, Congo - Catholic officials called for calm after a tense day of polling in which violent incidents claimed the lives of nearly a dozen people during Congo's presidential and legislative elections.

"The electoral campaign that took place in a tense atmosphere has ended with a funereal note," the Congolese bishops' conference said in a Nov. 29 statement that deplored deaths in a polling station in the southeastern city of Lubumbashi. Armed men in civilian clothes, reportedly members of a local Katanga separatist movement, attacked the polling station, killing two police officers and one female voter. In the same area, police also opened fire and killed seven or eight men who attacked a convoy carrying electoral materials.

Anglican archbishop’s claim of rape has no substance, investigation finds

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ADELAIDE, AUSTRLIA - A prominent Church-appointed lawyer who investigated an Anglican archbishop’s claims of rape against a Catholic priest has found there is no substance to the allegations.

The primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, Archbishop John Hepworth, claimed in September that a still-living Catholic priest had raped him more than 40 years ago when Hepworth was a young Catholic priest. He also claimed he had been a victim of two other priests who have since died.

Traditionalist head says Vatican doctrinal statement needs changes

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VATICAN CITY - The head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X said a "doctrinal preamble" presented by the Vatican needs changes before it can be accepted as the basis for the group's reconciliation.

The statement by Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the society, appeared to hold out hope for further discussions with the Vatican, but it was unclear whether the Vatican would be willing to revisit the text.

"It is true that this doctrinal preamble cannot receive our endorsement, although leeway has been allowed for a 'legitimate discussion' about certain points of the (Second Vatican) Council. What is the extent of this leeway?" Bishop Fellay said in an interview posted on the society's website Nov. 29.

Pope urges agreement on climate change ahead of Durban meeting

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI urged international leaders to reach a credible agreement on climate change, keeping in mind the needs of the poor and of future generations.

The Pope made the remarks at his noon blessing at the Vatican Nov. 27, the day before officials from 194 countries were to begin meeting in Durban, South Africa, to discuss the next steps in reducing greenhouse gases and stopping global temperatures from rising.

"I hope that all members of the international community can agree on a responsible, credible and supportive response to this worrisome and complex phenomenon, keeping in mind the needs of the poorest populations and of future generations," the Pope said.

Death penalty opponents praise Oregon governor for declaring moratorium

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Catholic and other opponents of the death penalty praised Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber for placing a moratorium on the use of the death penalty for the rest of his term.

"Those of us who respect the dignity of human life from conception to natural death applaud this decision," said Portland Archbishop John G. Vlazny.

"This is what we have been praying for and asking for," said Ron Steiner, a member of Queen of Peace Parish in Salem and an organizer for Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

U.S. priest serving at doctrinal congregation is new nuncio to Ireland

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI has named U.S. Msgr. Charles J. Brown, a longtime official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as the new apostolic nuncio to Ireland.With the appointment, he was named archbishop of the titular see of Aquileia.

The appointment, announced by the Vatican Nov. 26, comes at a delicate moment in Vatican-Irish relations. In July, the Vatican recalled its previous nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, after Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and others sharply criticized the Vatican's handling of clerical abuse.

Parishioners in South Africa find priest murdered in his home

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa - A 35-year-old priest was brutally murdered in South Africa's Eshowe Diocese.

The body of Father Senzo Mbokazi, parish priest of St. Pius Church in the village of Melmoth, was found Nov. 20 by parishioners waiting for him to celebrate Mass.

Father Mbokazi had been strangled and was found with his hands tied behind his back and with stab wounds on his face and neck, Bishop Xolelo Kumalo of Eshowe said in a Nov. 23 telephone interview.

New Mexico man carries cross 630 miles to priest-hero's Kansas hometown

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GALLUP, N.M. - For some, Father Emil Kapaun may be a footnote in a conflict many have come to know as the "Forgotten War," but for John Moore of Gallup, the Korean War chaplain's heroic exploits deserve the attention of congressional and Vatican officials in a movement to have the Kansas priest honored with the Medal of Honor as well as sainthood.

For his part, Moore, 61, embarked on a 630-mile pilgrimage Sept. 11 from the National Cemetery in Santa Fe to Pilsen, Kan., Father Kapaun's rural hometown in the Wichita Diocese, where Moore arrived the morning of Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

In Mexico, Pope to address issue of violence, Vatican official says

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VATICAN CITY - Mexico's high level of violence is of deep concern and will surely be addressed by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the country next year, said a Vatican official.

The Vatican missionary news agency Fides reported that during a news conference in Merida, Mexico, Nov. 22, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to Mexico, said the Pope's visit will provide hope for the country and bring a message of "peace and encouragement" to people suffering from violence.

Vatican plans pastoral guidelines for church personnel in AIDS care

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VATICAN CITY - The Vatican is committed to publishing a set of pastoral guidelines for church personnel engaged in AIDS care and prevention, but it probably won't happen for at least a year, a Vatican official said.

The guidelines are expected to treat the issue of condoms in AIDS prevention, but as part of a much wider approach to the question of the treatment and spread of the disease.

Msgr. Jean-Marie Mpendawatu, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, told reporters Nov. 22 that the first step toward the guidelines was the imminent publication of the acts of a conference on AIDS sponsored by the Vatican last May.