News/International

St. Gianna Beretta Molla with her then fiance, Pietro MollaEarly on Holy Saturday morning, Pietro Molla, husband of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, died in his family home in Mesero, near Milan in Italy, surrounded by his daughters Gianna Emanuela and Laura, and son Pierluigi. He was 97 years old and had been in failing health for several years.

I have been good friends with the Molla family since 1999 and St. Gianna is the patron saint of Salt + Light Catholic Television Network. I was blessed to accompany the Molla family in the years leading up to the 2004 canonization of St. Gianna, a great contemporary woman, saint, wife, mother, medical doctor and lover of life.

For Iraqi refugees, the healing begins with pain

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{mosimage}DAMASCUS, Syria - On Passion Sunday, no matter where we are, we witness a struggle between the human and what we would like to call the inhuman.

In Damascus among the Iraqi Christians, it’s hard to think of that drama as far away in time or geography. The refugees — afraid and often wounded in body and mind by their experience — are painfully and obviously human. The violence they have fled and their lives of waiting and hoping as they grow poorer in Damascus are exactly what we mean when we call anything inhuman.

Jesus is fully and completely human — human as God intended humanity to be. The forces lined up to hang Him on the cross are the ones that rob us of our humanity in every age.

Former Judicial Vicar denounces Times reporting

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{mosimage}In a harsh indictment of The New York Times, the former Judicial Vicar for the archdiocese of Milwaukee has accused the newspaper of using “sloppy and inaccurate reporting” to wrongly link Pope Benedict XVI to the scandal of priest abuser Fr. Lawrence Murphy.

Fr. Thomas Brundage, who presided over the canonical proceeding against Murphy in the 1990s, released a letter March 29 in which he states The Times never contacted him for comment and that documents allegedly authored by him and quoted in newspaper articles were not his.

“The documents were not written by me and do not resemble my handwriting,” wrote Brundage. “The syntax is similar to what I might have said but I have no idea who wrote these statements, yet I am credited as stating them.

Vatican defends action in case of Wisconsin priest abuser

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The Vatican defended a decision not to laicize a Wisconsin priest who sexually abused deaf children, despite the recommendation of his bishop that he be removed from the priesthood.

In a statement responding to a report in the New York Times, the Vatican said that by the time it learned of the case in the late 1990s, the priest was elderly and in poor health. The Vatican eventually suggested that the priest continue to be restricted in ministry instead of laicized, and he died four months later, the Vatican said.

Obama signs executive order on abortion in health care legislation

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{mosimage}WASHINGTON - In a quiet ceremony before more than a dozen members of Congress, mostly Catholics, U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order stipulating that no federal funds would be used to pay for abortions under the new health reform law.

The ceremony was closed to the media and the president delivered no remarks about the order, which was promised to a group of pro-life House Democrats in exchange for their votes in favour of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The legislation passed by a 219-212 vote late March 21.

Vatican defends action in case of Wisconsin priest abuser

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican defended a decision not to laicize a Wisconsin priest who sexually abused deaf children, despite the recommendation of his bishop that he be removed from the priesthood.

In a statement responding to a report in the New York Times, the Vatican said that by the time it learned of the case in the late 1990s, the priest was elderly and in poor health. The Vatican eventually suggested that the priest continue to be restricted in ministry instead of laicized, and he died four months later, the Vatican said.

U.S. health bill not perfect, but progress, Catholics say

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{mosimage}WASHINGTON  - As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops quietly expressed disappointment, some Catholic groups reacted with enthusiasm to the passage of health reform legislation in Congress and the pending presidential executive order on taxpayer-funded abortion.

The House approved the Senate-passed health reform bill by a 219-212 vote late March 21, then voted 220-211 in favour of a package of legislative fixes which had to go to the Senate for approval.

Pope apologizes to Irish abuse victims, orders Vatican investigation

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - In a letter to Irish Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI personally apologized to victims of priestly sexual abuse and announced new steps to heal the wounds of the scandal, including a Vatican investigation and a year of penitential reparation.

"You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated," he told victims in his letter, released March 20 at the Vatican.

Iraqi Christians still can't go home

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{mosimage}Elections in Iraq that some claim have opened the way for a more peaceful and democratic state haven’t overcome the divisions or the sectarian violence that is generating hundreds of thousands of refugees, said an Iraqi Dominican Sister.

Sr. Aman Miriam of Mosul, Iraq — currently staying with the Adrian Dominican community in Michigan — told The Catholic Register days after 62 per cent of eligible Iraqis voted in national elections March 7 that the thousands of Iraqi Christians living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria can’t return home and fear terrorist attacks and kidnapping if they do return.

Vatican efforts to curb abuse defended

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Amid new disclosures of priestly sex abuse cases in Europe, including one in the German archdiocese formerly headed by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican strongly defended the church’s response to the crisis and said the Pope has led the effort to root out “filth” in the church.

The Vatican statements came in the wake of hundreds of new sex abuse allegations against priests and other church personnel that have surfaced in recent weeks in Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland.

Irish cardinal defends actions in handling abusive priest

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{mosimage}DUBLIN, Ireland - Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, chairman of the Irish bishops’ conference, insisted he will not resign after it was revealed that he failed to report allegations of child abuse by a priest to the police in 1975.

Speaking with reporters March 14, Brady said it was not his responsibility at the time to report the allegations involving Norbertine Father Brendan Smyth to the police.