{mosimage}LOURDES, France - Being Pope is not a one-dimensional job, a fact that was clearly evident during Pope Benedict XVI’s four-day visit to France.

Arriving in Paris Sept. 12, the Pope first engaged in an important political encounter that attempted to build on the new openness shown the church by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Medjugorje priest sanctioned by the Vatican


{mosimage}LONDON - The Vatican has authorized "severe cautionary and disciplinary measures" against a priest who served as spiritual director to the visionaries in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has written to Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, whose diocese covers Medjugorje, to inform him that they are investigating the case of Franciscan Father Tomislav Vlasic.

McCain chooses pro-life running mate


{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.