News/International

{mosimage}TORONTO - Close to 70 girls at a Catholic-run orphanage who survived Haiti’s devastating earthquake are sleeping on the streets of Port-au-Prince with little food and water and are still awaiting outside help since the disaster struck Jan. 12, says Frank Chauvin.

Chauvin, a retired police detective in Windsor, Ont., told The Catholic Register that three 18-year-old girls and one worker from his orphanage run by the non-profit organization Le Foyer des Filles de Dieu died after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. But 67 girls at the orphanage and its director survived. At least 30 other children have joined them on the streets and are sharing their food and water.

John Paul II practised self-mortification, new book says

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II always took penitence seriously, spending entire nights lying with his arms outstretched on the bare floor, fasting before ordaining priests or bishops and flagellating himself, said the promoter of his sainthood cause.

Msgr. Slawomir Oder, postulator of the late pope’s cause, said Pope John Paul used self-mortification “both to affirm the primacy of God and as an instrument for perfecting himself.”

Sacramental wine business under Ontario Liquor Board scrutiny

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{mosimage}TORONTO - An internal LCBO review of how Mass wine gets from California to your parish’s altar has church suppliers a wee bit nervous, but the provincial wine merchant and regulator is trying to reassure everyone it is not going to reroute the grape vine.

A January freedom of information request by The Canadian Press uncovered internal Liquor Control Board of Ontario memos which decried “general non-compliance with rules and regulations” in the sacramental wine business.

Frontlines attract Jesuits to Haiti

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{mosimage}Jesuit novices Edmund Lo and Artur Suski of Toronto arrived in Haiti early in the new year to further their formation with a five-month teaching assignment. But after narrowly escaping injury in the Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake they have instead found themselves in the midst of a huge humanitarian relief operation.

“The Jesuits here, in collaboration with the Jesuits from the Dominican Republic, had been spearheading a relief effort, and this is what Artur and I will be doing for the near future,” Lo said through e-mail.

Pope's ecology theology deeply human

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Over the last few months, Pope Benedict XVI has opened a wider dialogue on the subject of environmental protection, and in the process put a sharper focus on an issue that’s become central to his pontificate.

It’s increasingly clear that the “green” label slapped onto Pope Benedict after he installed solar panels at the Vatican and joined a reforestation project in Europe was not the whole story. Now the Pope is defining which shade of green — in moral arguments that are not always popular.

Amid cathedral rubble, Haitians celebrate church leaders' funerals

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{mosimage}PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti  - Amid the rubble of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Haitians celebrated the lives of the archbishop and vicar general of Port-au-Prince, both of whom were killed in the country's earthquake.

Church officials joined ordinary Haitians Jan. 23 for the funerals of Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, who died when the impact of the Jan. 12 quake hurled him from a balcony, and Msgr. Charles Benoit, the vicar general whose body was pulled from the cathedral debris.

Haiti missionaries mourn and mobilize

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{mosimage}Religious communities in the capital of Haiti were devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake that left some of their members dead and buildings completely destroyed.

Two of five Canadian Brothers of the Christian Instruction in La Prairie, Que., who were permanently stationed in Haiti, were injured but were evacuated home by the Canadian Armed Forces and were treated in hospital, said the Quebec provincial Fr. Gabriel Gélinas, f.i.c.

Canadian aid reaching devastated Haiti

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - From soldiers on the ground, to special arrangements for Haitian immigrants, to gifts of cash, the Canadian government has mobilized a multi-pronged disaster-relief effort in Haiti.

At an Ottawa news conference Jan. 19, International Development Minister Bev Oda announced a $60 million contribution to the United Nations appeal for Haiti. This includes $39 million towards food and the security for food distribution and $15 million to UNICEF’s health, water and sanitation programs.

Pope John Paul II shooter released from Turkish jail

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The man who tried to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981 was released Jan. 18 from a Turkish prison.

Mehmet Ali Agca, 52, was taken from prison to a military hospital to be assessed for compulsory military service, which is obligatory for all Turkish men. Agca fled the military draft in the 1970s.

Visiting Rome synagogue, pope honors memory of Holocaust victims

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{mosimage}ROME (CNS) -- Laying a wreath at a memorial to Roman Jews rounded up by the Nazis in 1943 and joining in a standing ovation to a dwindling group of Holocaust survivors, Pope Benedict XVI broke the ice with Rome's Jewish community even before he began to speak.

The pope made his first visit to Rome's main synagogue Jan. 17, strongly affirming the Catholic Church's commitment to improving Catholic-Jewish relations, its respect and appreciation for Jewish faith, its condemnation of anti-Semitism and his own hope that Catholics and Jews can work together to bring biblical values back to society.

Canadian Catholic response to Haiti quake 'phenomenal' so far

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{mosimage}By 5:15 the afternoon of Jan. 14 — a day after a catastrophic earthquake collapsed buildings and killed thousands in Haiti — Catholics had overwhelmed the computer servers and phone systems at the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

The level of generosity "is phenomenal," said Development and Peace spokesperson Jasmine Fortin.