{mosimage}Editors note: Barack Obama made history Nov. 4, becoming the first African American to be elected president of the United States. His soaringly eloquent victory speech, delivered before more than 100,000 supporters in Chicago's Grant Park recalled the famous “I had a dream speech” of civil rights hero Martin Luther King 40 years ago.

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” said the president-elect.

Convert says Islam not inherently good

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The Muslim-born journalist baptized by Pope Benedict XVI at Easter asked the Pope to tell his top aide for relations with Muslims that Islam is not an intrinsically good religion and that Islamic terrorism is not the result of a minority gone astray.

As the Vatican was preparing to host the first meeting of the Catholic-Muslim Forum Nov. 4-6, Magdi Allam, a longtime critic of the Muslim faith of his parents, issued an open letter to Pope Benedict that included criticism of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

God's word is spread through service

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI closed the Synod of Bishops on the Bible by preaching a lesson on love of God and neighbour, saying the word of God must be put into practice through service to others.

The concluding liturgy came after the Pope accepted 55 final synod propositions, including a proposal that women be admitted to the official ministry of lector, or Scripture reader, at Mass.

Vatican calls for timeout on Pius XII pressure

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The Vatican has asked those supporting and opposing the beatification of Pope Pius XII to stop pressuring Pope Benedict XVI on the issue.

The Vatican statement came after the latest public clash over whether Pope Pius did enough to help Jews during the Second World War.

Bishops Synod propositions in Pope's hands

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - As the Synod of Bishops on Scripture nears its conclusion, three French Canadians are waiting to learn whether their recommendations will advance to the Holy Father.

Bishop Luc Bouchard of St. Paul, Alta., is one of four delegates from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. During his five-minute intervention in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, he recommended that the Catholic Church launch an International Congress on the Word of God.

Canadian prelates spark Synod debate

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The bishops representing Canada here at the Synod of Bishops on Scripture have been gratified by the reception their words have received during the three-week long gathering taking place here.

Though more than 200 interventions (short presentations) have now been read at the Synod, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., can confidently expect that his topic will be discussed during the assembly’s subsequent phases. His thesis echoed those of several other bishops: that an overemphasis on historical-critical biblical scholarship has deprived students of the spiritual sense of Scripture.

U.S. Catholic views documented in Knights survey

{mosimage}WASHINGTON - American Catholic voters in 2008 tend to be more moderate and less liberal than U.S. voters as a whole, according to a survey commissioned by the Knights of Columbus and released Oct. 14.

“A plurality of Catholic voters, 39 per cent, are Democrats, and 45 per cent describe themselves as moderate. Only 19 per cent say they are liberal,” the survey said.

Number of conflicts worldwide up slightly

{mosimage}TORONTO - War has been in decline since the end of the Cold War, but last year it had a slight rebound, according to Project Ploughshares’ annual Armed Conflicts Report.

In 2007 the world hosted 30 wars, up from the 29 Kitchener-based Project Ploughshares counted in 2006. The new total is the result of adding two new conflicts and removing one brief Middle Eastern clash.

Chief rabbi seeks Catholic help to protect Israel

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Israeli Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen, the chief rabbi of Haifa, asked Pope Benedict XVI and top Catholic leaders to continue learning to appreciate the Jewish people and to speak out to defend Israel.

“I thank God who has kept us alive to be together and work for a future of peace and co-existence the world over,” the 80-year-old rabbi told the world Synod of Bishops on the Bible.

Synod seeks to help Catholics read Bible

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - As children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus, Christians must learn how to listen to what God is saying to them today in the Scriptures, said Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec.

The cardinal, recording secretary of the Oct. 5-26 world Synod of Bishops on “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church,” outlined the main themes for the synod’s debate during an Oct. 6 speech in Latin.

Pope explains history, importance of synod meetings

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - At the beginning of the world Synod of Bishops on the Bible, Pope Benedict XVI explained why he thinks such meetings are important.

He did it in typical Benedict style — reviewing a bit of church history and explaining the roots of the Greek word "synodos" to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.