Haiti ChurchWASHINGTON - Haitian bishops were expected to agree Sept. 24 to the creation of a broad-based reconstruction program involving Church partners from around the world that will guide how parishes and Catholic schools destroyed in the January earthquake are rebuilt.

They were meeting in Miami Sept. 22-26 with Catholic officials from Canada, the United States, Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guadeloupe and Mexico and the Inter-American Development Bank. The bishops were considering the proposal developed over several months primarily by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services.

Vatican bank head named in money-laundering probe

vaticanVATICAN CITY - The president of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, has been placed under investigation by Italian magistrates in a money-laundering probe, the Italian state television RAI reported.

RAI, citing judicial sources, said the move followed the seizure Sept. 20 by Italian treasury police of 23 million euros ($30 million) that had been deposited in a Rome bank account by the Vatican bank.

Internet helps D&P raise more than $1 million for Pakistan flood relief

Pakistan floodsTORONTO - With the deadline for federal matching funds extended to Oct. 3, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has raised more than $1 million for flood victims in Pakistan.

Toronto parishes have so far turned in an additional $237,061.11 to ShareLife, the archdiocese's charitable fundraising arm. ShareLife funds will eventually be turned over to Development and Peace, the development arm of the Canadian Catholic bishops that is one of a select group of agencies eligible for federal matching funds.

In Britain, despite protests, Pope gets a fair hearing

Pope Benedict XVI walks with British Prime Minister David CameronLONDON - In terms of his primary objectives — preaching the Gospel to his flock and defending the influence of religion in society — Pope Benedict XVI can look at his four-day visit to Great Britain as a major success.

The big question going into the Sept. 16-19 visit was whether the German Pope would be given a fair hearing in a country where skepticism about religion runs high. The answer was a resounding "yes." Not only did the Pope speak his mind, but he also received unprecedented gavel-to-gavel coverage in the British media.

Pope expresses sorrow, sense of shame to sex abuse victims

Pope WestminsterLONDON (CNS) -- In a personal meeting with five victims of clerical sexual abuse, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his "deep sorrow and shame" over their suffering and promised the church would do "all in its power" to investigate cases of abuse and safeguard the young.

The encounter Sept. 18 in London took place just hours after the German pontiff, speaking at a Mass in Westminster Cathedral, denounced what he called the "unspeakable crimes" committed by some priests against young people.

Benedict XVI offers British schoolchildren a lesson on sainthood

Pope Queen and school childrenLONDON - In a rousing encounter with some 4,000 schoolchildren, Pope Benedict XVI asked them to make friendship with God the centre of their lives.

"We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only He can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts," the Pope said Sept. 17 in Twickenham, a suburb of London.

No guarantee on reaching Millennium Development Goals

Development world povertyReaching the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by 2015 is “first and foremost a moral problem,” according to Jesuit Father Michael Czerny.

Czerny will accompany Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to a Sept. 20-22 high level meeting at the United Nations in New York to review progress on the MDGs.  The Canadian Jesuit is Turkson’s personal advisor on justice and peace issues.

Muslim mobs attack Christians in Kashmir

VATICAN CITY - Police in India-controlled Kashmir surrounded Catholic churches and schools to protect them after violent mobs went on a rampage Sept. 13, throwing Molotov cocktails at government and Christian buildings.

“There are policemen everywhere, wherever there are churches and schools, to protect Christian sites,” Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery of Jammu and Srinagar, India, told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Pope urges people of Great Britain to preserve Christian tradition

Pope ScotlandEDINBURGH, Scotland  - Arriving in Scotland on the first leg of a four-day visit to Great Britain Sept. 16, Pope Benedict XVI appealed for preservation of the country's long Christian tradition and warned against "aggressive" forms of secularism and atheism.

"Your forefathers' respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike," the Pope said at a reception with Queen Elizabeth II and more than 400 distinguished guests at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital.

Protest leaders tell archbishop they won't disrupt papal events

Pope in EnglandLONDON - Leaders of a coalition of groups planning to protest publicly against Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain have given assurances that they do not intend to disrupt any papal ceremonies during the four-day tour.

Members of the Protest the Pope coalition told Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark that they do not intend to demonstrate at any public events during the Sept. 16-19 papal visit to England and Scotland.

Nine years after 9/11, pastor sees ripples of hope

New JerseyORADELL, N.J.  - Sitting in his office at St. Joseph parish in Oradell on a warm afternoon, Fr. Tom Iwanowski became emotional as he recounted his memories from Sept. 11, 2001.

But it wasn’t the events of the cataclysmic date itself that brought him to tears; rather, it was an unexpected encounter with a woman in 2006 who gently knocked on the door of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the parish in Jersey City where he had served.