News/International

{mosimage}UNITED NATIONS - Climate change is more than an environmental concern; it is an issue of justice that merits immediate attention by world leaders. This was the message delivered repeatedly by Catholic participants in the Sept. 22 UN Summit on Climate Change in New York.

"It is unfair that people in developing countries pay the consequences for problems that rich countries have created," said Elyzabeth Peredo, director of the Solon Foundation in Bolivia, at a Sept. 22 press conference. As an example, she said Bolivia generates only 0.1 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but melting glaciers caused by the warming effect of emissions worldwide endanger crops for small-scale farmers in communities throughout the country's Andes mountains.

Pope reaching out to secular Czech Republic

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY  - Pope Benedict XVI is making a three-day visit Sept. 26-28 to a nation widely viewed as Europe’s least-religious country.

The trip to the Czech Republic was scheduled to coincide with the feast of St. Wenceslas — a 10th-century prince who is credited with bringing Christianity to the Czech people.

It will be a religious pilgrimage for the Pope, who will make stops in the capital to see the Infant of Prague at the Church of Our Lady of Victory and in Stara Boleslav to celebrate the feast of St. Wenceslas, patron saint of Czechs. Pope Benedict will also speak to political and cultural leaders in Prague and meet with President Vaclav Klaus. It will be his first papal visit to the Czech Republic and his 13th trip outside Italy

Stemming the exodus of Israeli Christians

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Avishay Braverman, Israel’s Minister of Minorities, is as good a Jew, as Jewish a Jew, as anyone could hope to meet. And he’s praying that “the Spirit of Jesus” will guide the leaders of Israel and its neighbours over the coming months and years.

“The basis of religion is not about domination. People often take religion and abuse it for domination,” Braverman told The Catholic Register while on a stopover in Toronto Sept. 15. “It’s about acceptance.”

Obama has encouraging words on health care

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{mosimage}WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama’s pledge to continue the ban on the use of federal funds for abortion and to maintain conscience protections for health care workers in any health reform legislation was welcomed by two officials of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the president of the Catholic Health Association.

Speaking with Catholic News Service Sept. 10, hours after Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and a nationwide television audience, Kathy Saile, director of domestic social development in the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, said the president’s address offered an encouraging sign that the administration has been listening to concerns raised by the bishops and pro-life organizations about abortion funding in any reform legislation.

Vatican caught up in war of words over Italian PM

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - An unusually acrimonious fight has erupted this summer between the Vatican and the government of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, fueled by growing unease over Berlusconi’s personal life and some of his government’s policies.

The conflict was unusual because church leaders in Italy have generally supported Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition, which in turn has favoured church interests in areas like state aid to private schools and pro-life issues. After Pope Benedict XVI met with Berlusconi in 2005, a statement from the prime minister’s office trumpeted the “special convergence between the direction of Italy and the moral and religious objectives of the Catholic Church in the world.”

Legionaries of Christ visitation underway

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A Vatican-led apostolic visitation of the Legionaries of Christ is underway in Canada and the United States to investigate allegations of sexual impropriety made against the order’s late founder.

Francois Tremblay, a member of Regnum Christi , the Legion of Christ’s lay movement, says he welcomes the visitation.

“People will have a better idea about the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi because the visitation will bring light to people about what the movement and the congregation do and who they are,” the 23-year-old student from Saguenay, Que., said in an online interview.

Pakistan blasphemy laws need to be revoked

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{mosimage}Pakistan’s blasphemy law should be re-examined and the government of Pakistan should be held responsible for protecting its Christian minority, the president of the Canadian Islamic Congress told The Catholic Register.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are at issue in a mob attack on Christians in the Punjabi village of Gojra July 30 to Aug. 1. Stirred up by local Muslim legal experts, or ulema, about 1,500 Muslims burned six Christians alive and shot another, killing seven in total, according to a report by the National Commission for Justice and Peace of Pakistan’s conference of Catholic bishops.

Papal encyclical tells us to 'Think!' and 'Love!'

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{mosimage}NAIROBI, Kenya - Pope Benedict XVI opened his new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, with these words: “To all people of good will, on integral human development in charity and truth ...” So what might Caritas in Veritate do for a poor African woman infected with HIV? And can she help a reader of The Catholic Register grasp what the Holy Father is saying?

I thought of Rosanna, an abandoned mother in her 20s, HIV-positive, struggling to get by in a Nairobi slum. “Six years down the line,” she says, “my family has not accepted me, not my mother or sisters or husband. I’ve lost jobs because I’m positive.”

Cory Aquino remembered for her strong faith

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Corazon “Cory” Aquino’s courage in standing up to a feared dictator, says Toronto-based journalist Hermie Garcia, is what many Filipino Canadians admired about the late Philippines president. Mrs. Aquino, 76, died Aug. 1 after a year-long battle with colon cancer.

Garcia, the founding editor of Toronto’s The Philippine Reporter , said Mrs. Aquino’s death saddens many Filipinos in Toronto.

Pope deplores latest killings of Christians in Pakistan 

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI deplored the killing of eight Christians in Pakistan by a Muslim mob and urged the minority Christian community not to be deterred by the attack.

The Christians, including four women and a child, were either shot or burned alive Aug. 1 when a crowd attacked the eastern Pakistani town of Gojra, setting fire to dozens of Christian homes. Authorities said tensions were running high in the area, fueled by a false rumour that a Quran, the sacred book of Islam, had been desecrated.

Tests on apostle Paul's tomb find bone fragments

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{mosimage}ROME - Closing the year of St. Paul, Pope Benedict XVI announced that tests done on the presumed tomb of the Apostle revealed the presence of bone fragments from a human who lived between the first and second century.

"This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul," the Pope said during an evening prayer service June 28 at Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.