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Pope’s photographers snap coolly, with class
May 06 2007
VATICAN CITY – They are not pushy or pesky; rather, the pope’s own paparazzi are the epitome of discretion and class. Vatican photographers stand out from other media shutterbugs, not just because they’re always dressed in ironed dark suits and ties, but because, coolly clicking away, they are the ones standing right next to the pope. The papal photographers are also the only ones allowed to shadow the pontiff almost everywhere he goes, even during more private moments – be they special audiences inside the Vatican with heads of state or an intimate luncheon with cardinals or bishops.

Church must dispel prejudice about its stance on AIDS
May 02 2007
LONDON –The Catholic Church must do more to dispel “mistaken prejudices” about its attitudes to people with HIV/AIDS, said a Scottish archbishop. “It needs to be said again and again that the Catholic Church is committed to those works of mercy in the field of HIV/AIDS,” said Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow, Scotland. The archbishop spoke in Kiev, Ukraine, in late April to a Caritas-sponsored conference on HIV/AIDS in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. An archdiocesan official provided Catholic News Service in London with a copy of the text.

Catholic Church in China: 'Two faces' expressing one faith
May 01 2007
BEIJING (CNS) -- Sometime after Easter, Pope Benedict XVI will issue a letter to Chinese Catholics that many hope will call for reconciliation and unity between those who have registered with the government and those who have not registered. In some places in China, that might cause surprise -- but for different reasons in different areas. Some priests and nuns reported not even knowing there was more than one church community as they grew up.

Jack Valenti, 85, dies
Apr 30 2007
WASHINGTON – Jack Valenti, who had overseen the Motion Picture Association of America for almost four decades, was remembered fondly after his April 26 death for his diligence in alerting parents to the content of movies and television programs their children might want to see. Mr. Valenti, a Catholic, died in Washington at his home from complications of a stroke he suffered in March. He was 85 years old. No funeral details were immediately released.

Archbishop pulls support for hospital benefit
Apr 30 2007
ST. LOUIS – Saying that it sent a “contradictory message” for a Catholic institution to raise funds by featuring a musician who supports abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis announced April 25 that he had withdrawn his support for an upcoming benefit for SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. Rock musician Sheryl Crow, a native of Kennett, Mo., has been an outspoken supporter of keeping abortion legal. She also supported Amendment 2, a Missouri initiative passed last fall that constitutionally protects human cloning and embryonic stem-cell research.

Vatican seminar on global warming gets heated
Apr 29 2007
VATICAN CITY – Despite being held in a cool, climate-controlled conference room, some early discussions at a Vatican-sponsored seminar on global warming and climate change got pretty heated. The rifts and tensions still dividing the global debate on the causes of and remedies for drastic climatic shifts were gently simmering in the small microcosm of the two-day Vatican meeting. The seminar, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, gathered some 80 experts representing the scientific, political, economic and spiritual sides of the climate-change debate at the Vatican April 26-27 to discuss “Climate Change and Development.”

Ukrainian cardinal defends decision to support president
Apr 29 2007
KIEV, Ukraine – The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church has defended his decision to support President Viktor Yushchenko’s recent dismissal of parliament, which some argue has deepened a constitutional crisis. “Our declaration didn’t back any party – it merely recalled that the church has not forgotten people, nor has God,” said Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Kiev-Halych, in an April 24 interview with Ukraine’s Fokus weekly.

St. Anthony grad recounts Catholic school upbringing
Apr 27 2007
On Ann Hennessy’s first day of school at St. Anthony of Padua in Baltimore during the Great Depression, the young girl knew she had better be good or her parents would suffer otherworldly consequences. The pastor had given a rabble-rousing homily a few weeks earlier warning that the flames of hell awaited parents who did not send their children to Catholic school, a theologically dubious position that has long since changed. But back then, the priest admonished that no good Catholic should allow his little ones to be educated “among the heathen.”

Archbishop pulls support for hospital benefit
Apr 27 2007
ST. LOUIS – Saying that it sent a “contradictory message” for a Catholic institution to raise funds by featuring a musician who supports abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis announced April 25 that he had withdrawn his support for an upcoming benefit for SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.

Despite Catholic opposition, Mexico City passes abortion bill
Apr 25 2007
MEXICO CITY – Despite an intense opposition campaign by the Catholic Church, the Mexico City Assembly has approved an initiative legalizing abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Following a heated session April 24, the legislature voted in favor of the new law, which will allow hospitals run by the city government to provide abortions. The bill, passed 46-19 with one abstention, will become law when it is signed by the mayor.

Audrey Santo, inspiration to many, dies
Apr 23 2007
WORCESTER, Mass. – In silence, Audrey Santo witnessed to the world, preachers and participants said at an April 17 wake for her at St. Paul Cathedral in Worcester and at her funeral Mass there the following day. Santo, 23, who died April 14 at home, was in a comalike state, unable to move or speak, because of an accident when she was 3 years old, but people had flocked to her bedside at her family’s home, where she was cared for. Unexplained phenomena that seemed to happen in her presence drew thousands of visitors over the years. Many felt she could heal others. More than 100 people attended her wake and about 300 were at her funeral.

World must do more to support Iraqi refugees
Apr 22 2007
ROME – The international community must do more to welcome and support the thousands of refugees daily fleeing the “horrific violence” in Iraq, a Vatican official said. “The world is witnessing an unprecedented degree of hate and destructiveness in Iraq,” which not only destroys the “social tissue and the unity of Iraq,” but is exerting “a widening deadly impact” on the whole Middle East, said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi.

Pastor says ‘words are not enough’
Apr 22 2007
BLACKSBURG, Va. – Words are not enough to comfort grieving parents, said a priest who spent time with the parents of several of the slain Virginia Tech students when they first learned their son or daughter was dead. In the early hours after the murder rampage on campus that left 33 dead, Father James Arsenault, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Blacksburg, was at Montgomery Regional Hospital with those who were wounded and their families.

Participants publish their side of brain death debate
Apr 20 2007
VATICAN CITY – Breaching normal protocol, several participants in a 2005 Vatican-sponsored conference over the ethics of declaring someone brain dead have published the papers they delivered at the debate. Many of the papers reproduced in “Finis Vitae: Is Brain Death Still Life?” argue that the concept of brain death was devised mainly to expand the availability of organs for transplant and claim that some patients who had been pronounced brain dead continued to live for months or even years.

Discovering Christ at Crucifixion
Apr 19 2007
The gathering space at Church of the Crucifixion, Glen Burnie, was packed with people of all ages April 17 as they sat down to a large meal and waited anxiously for the first Discovering Christ session to begin. Discovering Christ is a six-week series, stretching through May 22, which explores the foundations of the Catholic faith and is designed to help men and women encounter Christ, said Father Erik Arnold, pastor. The program was designed by ChristLife, a lay Catholic apostolate of evangelization in Baltimore.