{mosimage}WASHINGTON - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, selected by John McCain Aug. 28 as his vice-presidential running mate, won the praise of Catholic leaders earlier this year for embracing the arrival of her fifth child, born with Down syndrome in April.

The Republican governor, who says she was baptized Catholic but has always attended nondenominational Christian churches, knew from early testing that her son Trig “would face special challenges,” according to a family statement, but she and her husband Todd felt “privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives.”

Attacks on Indian Christians rise


{mosimage}NEW DELHI - Catholic education institutions across India were to close Aug. 29 to protest the continuing violence against Christians that has left at least 10 people dead in India’s eastern Orissa state.

The church also will observe Sept. 7 as a day of prayer and fasting for Christians in Orissa, said the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India at a press conference in New Delhi Aug. 26. The Asian church news agency UCA News reported on the press conference.

Obama chooses Catholic Biden as running mate 


{mosimage}WASHINGTON - Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, announced Aug. 23 as Barack Obama's choice as his running mate for the White House, puts on the Democratic ticket a Catholic who supports legal abortion but on other issues has been an ally for the church 's public policy interests.

Biden, 65, has come in for his share of conflicts with some in the church over his legislative support for keeping abortion legal. The National Right to Life Committee gives him a rating of 0 for his positions on select issues, including federal abortion funding and stem cell research as well as some relating to lobbying by groups like the National Right to Life Committee.

U.S. presidential hopefuls open up on faith


{mosimage}LAKE FOREST, Calif.  - The presumptive presidential nominees of the United States’ two major political parties Aug. 16 tried to define themselves in religious terms on topics ranging from their personal moral failings to how to deal with climate change during a televised forum from Saddleback Church in Lake Forest.

Pakistan's Christians under siege, bishop says


{mosimage}TORONTO -It was like a “tornado” which killed three people in the church neighbourhood in Lahore, Pakistan, rocked a century-old cathedral and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to nearby church buildings and schools.

Heaven is God, not an imaginary place


{mosimage}CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - Heaven is not an abstract idea or an imaginary place, but heaven is God, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Pope calls for end to Georgia fighting


{mosimage}BRESSANONE, Italy - Pope Benedict XVI appealed for an immediate end to military operations in Georgia and its breakaway province of South Ossetia.

Dialogue with Anglicans will continue after Lambeth


{mosimage}VATICAN CITY-The Anglican Communion's Lambeth Conference began a process for addressing issues that divide Anglicans and pose challenges for dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church, said a Vatican official.

Solzhenitsyn left enduring legacy of freedom


{mosimage}LONDON, Ont. - It will take years, even decades, to comprehend fully the impact of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who died of heart failure Aug. 2 at the age of 89 in his home near Moscow.

Born in 1918, the same year as his father’s death, Solzhenitsyn was brought up by his mother and graduated in mathematics and physics from Rostov University in 1941, then went directly into the army. After four years of front-line service in a Russian artillery unit, he was arrested in February 1945 because of disrespectful remarks made about Joseph Stalin and discovered by government censors in correspondence with a friend.

Quebec City hosts 2,000 attendees and friends for annual gathering


{mosimage}QUEBEC CITY - On the heels of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, Quebec City welcomed another Catholic gathering of about 2,000 attendees from the Knights of Columbus from all over the world. The Knights, their families and church leaders converged at the Quebec City Convention Centre, Aug. 5-7, for the 126th Supreme Convention.

Humanae Vitae receives new respect 40 years later


{mosimage}OTTAWA - Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae shocked Catholics and non-Catholics alike with its ban against artificial birth control.

But on its 40th anniversary, marked July 25, the encyclical is widely seen as prophetic and worth a second look for its teachings on human love.