News/International

VATICAN CITY - Catholic social teaching and the Occupy Wall Street movement agree that the economy should be at the service of the human person and that strong action must be taken to reduce the growing gap between rich and poor, Vatican officials said.

"The basic sentiment" behind the protests is in line with Catholic social teaching and the new document on global finance issued Oct. 24 by Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said Cardinal Peter Turkson, council president.

The U.S. protesters have focused on Wall Street because "Wall Street is considered to be a big engine house -- a big financial structure whose power extends all over the world," the cardinal told Catholic News Service.

Gadhafi's death won't end Lockerbie controversy

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MANCHESTER, England - The death of Moammar Gadhafi will do nothing to end years of controversy over the Lockerbie bombing, said the priest who served in the Scottish town in 1988.

Fr. Patrick Keegans, now the administrator of St. Mary Cathedral in Ayr, Scotland, said he regretted that the Libyan dictator was not allowed to live to stand trial for the "atrocities and crimes" he might have committed.

He also said that Gadhafi, who ruled Libya for 42 years, will take to his grave valuable information about the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and knowledge of who was truly culpable of the attack. The bomb that exploded on board the airliner Dec. 21, 1988, killed 270 people, including 189 Americans and 11 people on the ground.

Catholics ponder Libya's future after Gadhafi

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BEIRUT - Catholic leaders said they could not rejoice at the death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, but they recalled some of his more brutal moments and speculated on the future of Christians in the region.

"Gadhafi brutalized people for 42 years. He lived by the sword and, therefore, it's not surprising that he would die by the sword," said Habib Malik, associate professor of history at the Lebanese American University, Byblos campus.

"The manner of his death was gruesome and, no matter how evil a person might have been, such an ending is never something to rejoice about; however, he is now dead and his people are justifiably relieved and hopeful about starting a new chapter in their history."

Pope praises Dutch efforts to reduce drug abuse, prostitution

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI praised efforts by the Dutch government to reduce drug abuse and prostitution, measures hotly debated in the Netherlands where broad personal freedoms have made some cities, particularly Amsterdam, famous for red-light districts and coffee shops selling marijuana.

"While your nation has long championed the freedom of individuals to make their own choices, nevertheless, those choices by which people inflict harm on themselves or others must be discouraged for the good of individuals and society as a whole," the Pope told the new Dutch ambassador to the Holy See.

With Gadhafi's death, Vatican hopes for end to Libyan bloodshed

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VATICAN CITY - The Vatican said the death of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi marked the end of a "harsh and oppressive regime" that was based on power instead of human dignity.

It expressed hope that the bloodshed would end in the North African country, and that the new Libyan government would open a rebuilding phase based on "a spirit of inclusion" and social justice.

The statement was issued by the Vatican press office late Oct. 20, several hours after Gadhafi was reported killed in his coastal hometown of Sirte, where he had been barricaded with loyalist troops. His death came after months of bloody civil strife and NATO airstrikes in support of Libyan rebels.

Jewish leaders denounce traditionalist's remarks on 'deicide'

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VATICAN CITY - Jewish groups have called on the Vatican to suspend reconciliation talks with a traditionalist group after one of its bishops argued that the Jewish people were responsible for the death of Jesus.

"Comments like these take us back decades to the dark days before there was a meaningful and mutually respectful dialogue between Jews and Roman Catholics," Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said in a statement Oct. 19.

"We call upon the Catholic Church to suspend negotiations with extremist Catholic tendencies until it is clear that these groups show a clear commitment to tackling anti-Semitism within their ranks."

Vatican to issue document on global financial reform

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VATICAN CITY - The Vatican has prepared a document on reform of the global financial system and the potential role of a public regulatory authority.

The document, prepared by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, will be released Oct. 24 in four languages, and presented the same day at a Vatican news conference by Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the council.

The Vatican said the document would address "reform of the international financial system with a view toward a general public authority."

Freedom from hunger is essential part of right to life

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI appealed for immediate and long-term relief for the world's hungry, saying the right to adequate nourishment is a fundamental part of the right to life.

The hunger crisis that affects millions of people today is a sign of the deep gulf between the haves and the have-nots of the world and calls for changes in lifestyle and in global economic mechanisms, the pope said in a message marking World Food Day Oct. 16. The text was addressed to Jacques Diouf, director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Citing the famine and refugee crisis in the Horn of Africa, the pope said the "painful images" of starving people underline the need for both emergency aid and long-term intervention to support agricultural production and distribution.

Pope calls on Italian officials to govern with dignity, responsibility

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VATICAN CITY - In the midst of major economic problems and continuing moral scandals, Italy's prime minister was facing a confidence vote in parliament as Pope Benedict XVI called on Italian public officials to exercise their offices with dignity and responsibility.

The pope met Oct. 14 with Roberto Maroni, Italy's interior minister, and about 200 prefects, who represent the interior ministry in Italy's provinces and have special competence in matters dealing with public order.

U.S. bishops find Iraqi Christians want return to peace, meaningful jobs

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WASHINGTON - Iraqis want a return to peace, security and stability and the chance to secure meaningful employment, said two U.S. bishops who traveled to Baghdad in a demonstration of the American Catholic Church's solidarity with the country's violence-weary Christians.

Visiting Oct. 2-5 at the invitation of the bishops of Iraq, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., and Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, found Iraqi Christians confronting immense daily challenges while facing the threat of violence because of their faith.

Iraqis, the bishops said, repeatedly stressed the need for security and urged the prelates to share their story with the American church and government officials.

Pope condemns attack on Christians in Egypt

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VATICAN CITY - Condemning an attack on unarmed Christians in Egypt, Pope Benedict XVI said that during the country's transition to democracy, all of its citizens and institutions must work to guarantee the rights of minorities.

At the end of his weekly general audience Oct. 12, Pope Benedict said he was "profoundly saddened" by the deaths Oct. 9 of at least 26 people, mostly Christians, after peaceful protesters were attacked by gangs, and then a speeding military vehicle ran into them and officers fired on the crowd. Hundreds of people were injured.

The pope said Egypt, which has been transitioning to democracy since the February ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, has been "lacerated by attempts to undermine peaceful coexistence among its communities."