{mosimage}OTTAWA - A number of Catholic and Christian organizations have asked Canada to intervene in the crisis that has gripped the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The whole civilian population is being held hostage,” said Development and Peace advocacy officer Mary Durran.

Catholic-Muslim forum calls for religious freedom

VATICAN CITY - Christians and Muslims must work together to protect religious freedom, they must learn more about each other and they must witness to the world the reality of God, said members of the Catholic-Muslim Forum.

The forum participants, 28 Muslim and 28 Catholic representatives, met at the Vatican Nov. 4-6 to discuss their faiths' understanding of the obligation to love God and to love one's neighbour. The final statement said both Christians and Muslims recognize the dignity and sacredness of human life because each person is "created by a loving God."

Toronto's Indians appalled by attacks

{mosimage}TORONTO - The picture of a dead child’s charred remains was just one of many photos that shocked Indian-born priest Fr. Jose Thaipparampil about the explosion of violence which has been called the worst anti-Christian attacks in the 61 years since India’s independence.

Indian Catholics in Toronto are increasingly concerned about the persecution of Christians, says the pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Mission parish. So much so that they are turning prayer into action. Thaipparampil’s parish raised $1,500 for the diocese of Orissa to help the victims. At the parish’s Nov. 2 Mass, they also remembered Fr. Bernard Digal, one of the first Christians to be attacked by a Hindu extremist mob in August who died from his injuries at the end of October.

U.S. church view on same-sex marriage wins in California


{mosimage}WASHINGTON — In voting on 2008 ballot questions across the country, the Catholic Church view against same-sex marriage appeared headed for victory, but Catholic efforts to influence voting related to abortion, assisted suicide, embryonic stem-cell research and gambling failed.

Yes he did! Obama victory changes religion/politics debate

{mosimage}Editors note: Barack Obama made history Nov. 4, becoming the first African American to be elected president of the United States. His soaringly eloquent victory speech, delivered before more than 100,000 supporters in Chicago's Grant Park recalled the famous “I had a dream speech” of civil rights hero Martin Luther King 40 years ago.

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” said the president-elect.

Convert says Islam not inherently good

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The Muslim-born journalist baptized by Pope Benedict XVI at Easter asked the Pope to tell his top aide for relations with Muslims that Islam is not an intrinsically good religion and that Islamic terrorism is not the result of a minority gone astray.

As the Vatican was preparing to host the first meeting of the Catholic-Muslim Forum Nov. 4-6, Magdi Allam, a longtime critic of the Muslim faith of his parents, issued an open letter to Pope Benedict that included criticism of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

God's word is spread through service

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI closed the Synod of Bishops on the Bible by preaching a lesson on love of God and neighbour, saying the word of God must be put into practice through service to others.

The concluding liturgy came after the Pope accepted 55 final synod propositions, including a proposal that women be admitted to the official ministry of lector, or Scripture reader, at Mass.

Vatican calls for timeout on Pius XII pressure

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The Vatican has asked those supporting and opposing the beatification of Pope Pius XII to stop pressuring Pope Benedict XVI on the issue.

The Vatican statement came after the latest public clash over whether Pope Pius did enough to help Jews during the Second World War.

Bishops Synod propositions in Pope's hands

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - As the Synod of Bishops on Scripture nears its conclusion, three French Canadians are waiting to learn whether their recommendations will advance to the Holy Father.

Bishop Luc Bouchard of St. Paul, Alta., is one of four delegates from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. During his five-minute intervention in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, he recommended that the Catholic Church launch an International Congress on the Word of God.

Canadian prelates spark Synod debate

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The bishops representing Canada here at the Synod of Bishops on Scripture have been gratified by the reception their words have received during the three-week long gathering taking place here.

Though more than 200 interventions (short presentations) have now been read at the Synod, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., can confidently expect that his topic will be discussed during the assembly’s subsequent phases. His thesis echoed those of several other bishops: that an overemphasis on historical-critical biblical scholarship has deprived students of the spiritual sense of Scripture.

U.S. Catholic views documented in Knights survey

{mosimage}WASHINGTON - American Catholic voters in 2008 tend to be more moderate and less liberal than U.S. voters as a whole, according to a survey commissioned by the Knights of Columbus and released Oct. 14.

“A plurality of Catholic voters, 39 per cent, are Democrats, and 45 per cent describe themselves as moderate. Only 19 per cent say they are liberal,” the survey said.