Pope WestminsterLONDON (CNS) -- In a personal meeting with five victims of clerical sexual abuse, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his "deep sorrow and shame" over their suffering and promised the church would do "all in its power" to investigate cases of abuse and safeguard the young.

The encounter Sept. 18 in London took place just hours after the German pontiff, speaking at a Mass in Westminster Cathedral, denounced what he called the "unspeakable crimes" committed by some priests against young people.

Benedict XVI offers British schoolchildren a lesson on sainthood

Pope Queen and school childrenLONDON - In a rousing encounter with some 4,000 schoolchildren, Pope Benedict XVI asked them to make friendship with God the centre of their lives.

"We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only He can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts," the Pope said Sept. 17 in Twickenham, a suburb of London.

No guarantee on reaching Millennium Development Goals

Development world povertyReaching the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by 2015 is “first and foremost a moral problem,” according to Jesuit Father Michael Czerny.

Czerny will accompany Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to a Sept. 20-22 high level meeting at the United Nations in New York to review progress on the MDGs.  The Canadian Jesuit is Turkson’s personal advisor on justice and peace issues.

Muslim mobs attack Christians in Kashmir

VATICAN CITY - Police in India-controlled Kashmir surrounded Catholic churches and schools to protect them after violent mobs went on a rampage Sept. 13, throwing Molotov cocktails at government and Christian buildings.

“There are policemen everywhere, wherever there are churches and schools, to protect Christian sites,” Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery of Jammu and Srinagar, India, told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Pope urges people of Great Britain to preserve Christian tradition

Pope ScotlandEDINBURGH, Scotland  - Arriving in Scotland on the first leg of a four-day visit to Great Britain Sept. 16, Pope Benedict XVI appealed for preservation of the country's long Christian tradition and warned against "aggressive" forms of secularism and atheism.

"Your forefathers' respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike," the Pope said at a reception with Queen Elizabeth II and more than 400 distinguished guests at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital.

Protest leaders tell archbishop they won't disrupt papal events

Pope in EnglandLONDON - Leaders of a coalition of groups planning to protest publicly against Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain have given assurances that they do not intend to disrupt any papal ceremonies during the four-day tour.

Members of the Protest the Pope coalition told Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark that they do not intend to demonstrate at any public events during the Sept. 16-19 papal visit to England and Scotland.

Nine years after 9/11, pastor sees ripples of hope

New JerseyORADELL, N.J.  - Sitting in his office at St. Joseph parish in Oradell on a warm afternoon, Fr. Tom Iwanowski became emotional as he recounted his memories from Sept. 11, 2001.

But it wasn’t the events of the cataclysmic date itself that brought him to tears; rather, it was an unexpected encounter with a woman in 2006 who gently knocked on the door of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the parish in Jersey City where he had served.

'Social business' plan aims to create social change

YunasOTTAWA - The Nobel prize-winning pioneer of the micro-credit movement is developing a concept he calls “social business” to lift people out of poverty and perhaps help revitalize Haiti.

Mohammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, said his social business model could transform Haiti, still reeling from its devastating earthquake, by creating a problem-solving environment that addresses deep-rooted issues such as employment and housing.

Families believe 'miracle' saved 33 Chilean miners

Chile mineSANTIAGO, Chile - Diana Olivares' husband, Daniel Sanderson, had one foot out the door before a gentle nudge from his wife convinced him to stay with the family instead of heading to the mine for work.

Later that day, the couple received word that the San Jose mine where Sanderson worked had collapsed, trapping 33 miners, including Olivares' cousin, Carlos Buge.

For 17 days and nights, the families of the trapped miners crowded in tents at Camp Hope outside of the mine, many of them turning to the Church and praying that their loved ones would be rescued from the belly of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile.

Belgian cardinal admits to naiveness, not cover up

Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels.OXFORD, England - A spokesman for Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels said the transcript of an April meeting with a victim of clergy sex abuse has been interpreted out of context.

“There was no intention of any cover-up,” said Toon Osaer, spokesman for the cardinal, who retired in January as archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels.

Pakistan flood aid picks up

Pakistan floodTORONTO - After a slow start, Canadian Catholics have responded, online and in parishes, to the flood crisis in Pakistan.

Contributions over the Internet pushed the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace disaster relief fund for Pakistan over the $100,000 mark on the Aug. 22 weekend. In the archdiocese of Toronto, the ShareLife Pakistan Flood Relief fund went from less than $11,000 on Aug. 16 to $38,497 as of 3 p.m. Aug. 23.

With the federal government giving in to pleas from Development and Peace and other agencies to establish a dollar-for-dollar program to match private donations, Development and Peace is hopeful Canadian generosity will begin to equal the massive scale of the floods in the Indus River valley.