{mosimage}JERUSALEM  - Although most Arabs did not accept Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s terms for accepting Palestinian statehood, in reality he could not have said anything different, said an official of the Jerusalem Interchurch Centre.

“Personally I look at it as everyone trying to take a step forward,” said Yusef Daher, the centre’s executive secretary, reacting to Netanyahu’s June 14 speech. “First (U.S. President Barack) Obama took a step. Netanyahu couldn’t say more than he did. He is in a very delicate condition with the (right-wing) coalition he chose, and he needs to change the coalition or we can’t move.”

Pope urges world leaders to tackle hunger at UN summit

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI urged international leaders to turn their attention to the growing problem of world hunger as they deal with the global economic crisis.
Looking ahead to a UN financial summit in New York June 24-25, the Pope said the meeting should be carried out "in a spirit of wisdom and solidarity, so that the current crisis can be transformed into an opportunity."

Church institutions in Pakistan threatened with bomb attack

{mosimage}LAHORE, Pakistan - A Catholic Church centre in Pakistan's cosmopolitan eastern city of Lahore has been threatened with a suicide bomb attack, one of a series of intimidating messages given to Christians as the country's security crisis worsens.

The threat was delivered June 10 to a Christian woman who lives next to Rabita Manzil, National Catholic Centre for Social Communications, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News. The centre includes the offices of the Workshop Audio Visual Education studio, Radio Veritas Asia's Urdu service and the UCA News.

Lebanese election results a boost for diplomatic relations

{mosimage}BEIRUT, Lebanon - Lebanon’s Western-backed ruling majority remains in power as a result of the country’s hotly contested June 7 parliamentary elections, a setback for the Christian opposition backed by Hezbollah.

Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun, a Maronite Catholic who forged alliances through his Free Patriotic Movement with Hezbollah in 2006, had hoped to claim the majority in the Lebanese parliament. Hezbollah, which is supported by Iran and Syria, is considered a terrorist group by many Western countries including Canada.

Mexican controversy should help 're-clarify' Development and Peace role

{mosimage}Having Canada’s bishops investigate accusations that the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace funded abortion-promoting organizations in Mexico has been a good thing for the 42-year-old agency, said executive director Michael Casey.

“It’s not a bad thing to have this moment of reflection and re-affirmation, and to see where we’re going,” Casey told The Catholic Register. “It’s unfortunate it had to come out of such negative impulses.”

Pope petitions God for Air France dead

{mosimage}SAO PAULO, Brazil  - Pope Benedict XVI sent his condolences and apostolic blessing to the families of all those affected when Air France Flight 447 disappeared above the Atlantic Ocean.

The June 2 telegram, signed by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said Pope Benedict begged God to welcome those killed “into his peace and light.”

GM bankruptcy reason to pray

{mosimage}DETROIT - As Michigan braces to add to the nation’s highest unemployment rate, Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron has asked all Catholics to join him in praying for those affected by the bankruptcy of General Motors Corp.

“The news concerning General Motors adds to the disruption and uncertainty already faced by many of our fellow citizens,” Archbishop Vigneron said in a June 1 statement. “All of those impacted by these latest developments are in my prayers.”

Pro-life leaders, groups condemn murder of Kansas abortion doctor

{mosimage}WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pro-life advocates universally condemned the May 31 murder of a Kansas abortion doctor, with officials from several U.S. right-to-life groups saying such extreme acts only hurt the pro-life cause.

"We condemn this lawless act of violence," said Charmaine Yoest, president of the Americans United for Life . "The foundational right to life that our work is dedicated to extends to everyone. Whoever is responsible for this reprehensible violence must be brought to justice under the law."

Up to 35,000 Tamil civilian casualties, says Catholic aid worker

{mosimage}A Catholic aid worker who left Sri Lanka days before the end of his country's 26-year civil war has told The Catholic Register that between 25,000 and 35,000 Tamil civilians were killed or injured in the final days of the war.

The aid worker said Sri Lanka's military used multi-barreled rocket launchers, cluster bombs and chemical weapons in heavily populated areas held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the rebel army that once held sway in most of Sri Lanka's north and east.

Bishop praises California court for affirming voters’ right to define marriage


{mosimage}WASHINGTON - Speaking on behalf of his fellow Catholic bishops in California, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton praised the California Supreme Court for upholding the voters’ affirmation of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, but expressed disappointment that the court permitted an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples to remain legally married.

The May 26 ruling of the high court upheld the constitutionality of the state’s Proposition 8 declaring that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” but said the voters’ decision could not be applied retroactively to those who married before the initiative was passed.

Blaire said he and his fellow bishops “are strongly committed to protecting the dignity and worth of every human person” and supported “the intent of law to provide equal protection for all.”

Sr. Sophie's Bethlehem orphanage makes sure there is room at the inn

{mosimage}Prior to the recent pilgrimage to the Middle East by Pope Benedict XVI, Catholic Register editor Jim O’Leary travelled to the Holy Land and encountered many people who were hopeful that the Pope’s visit would be a prelude to peace. One such person was a remarkable nun whose Bethlehem orphanage has been caught in the middle of the ongoing conflict.

Sr. Sophie Boueri is small, frail and, more than simply tired from a difficult day, her face mirrors  lifetime fatigue. She is 74.