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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abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis announced April 25 that he had withdrawn his support for an upcoming benefit for SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.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.

Animal rights group asks pope to quit wearing fur
Apr 19 2007
VATICAN CITY – An Italian animal rights group called on Pope Benedict XVI to stop wearing fur out of “respect for the sacredness of the lives of all living creatures.” The Italian Anti-Vivisection League made the appeal ahead of the pope’s April 22 visit to the Italian city of Pavia, where he was to receive a fur cape made of white ermine pelts.

Scientists divided on issue of global warming
Apr 18 2007
In the April 12 issue, a book review reprinted from Catholic News Service praised “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore’s book that accompanies his movie of the same name. A central theme of Gore’s efforts is to assert that we have a moral obligation to take action against carbon dioxide emissions. We read “The final 15 pages at the conclusion of the text are a composite of individual and collective action responses ....” The connection to morality gets the attention of religious-minded readers; and indeed, “global warming” is becoming something of a secular “religion” all by itself.

Ethics code comes to posh London hospital
Apr 18 2007
LONDON – A revised code of ethics will prevent doctors from providing contraceptives and abortion referrals at a London Catholic hospital popular with celebrity mothers. The finalized code, which is expected to be passed by the hospital board May 16, will encompass all staff and resident practitioners at the Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth.

Shooting at Virginia Tech ‘tremendously sad’
Apr 17 2007
BLACKSBURG, Va. – The April 16 shooting spree at Virginia Tech that left at least 33 people dead is “tremendously sad,” said Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond. In a phone interview just hours after the shootings, Teresa Volante, Catholic campus minister at Virginia Tech, said she had sent out an electronic notice that the Newman Center chapel was open for anyone who wanted to stop in and pray. But she said the center, located just off the campus, was rather quiet at that time since the dormitories on campus were still locked down and the off-campus students had been instructed to stay away. “I’m here for students to talk to,” she said.

Diocesan newspapers deserve new emphasis
Apr 13 2007
WASHINGTON – Diocesan newspapers deserve new emphasis as a means of spreading the Gospel and connecting Catholics to one another and their church, said the board of directors of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada. “Diocesan publications can light the fire of faith that warms hearts to action for the good of all,” the CPA board said in a statement released April 10.