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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.

Limited child protection audits find compliance
Apr 12 2007
WASHINGTON – Twenty-seven of 29 Catholic dioceses and eparchies audited in 2006 complied with the church's national standards for child protection programs and the prevention of and response to sexual abuse, says a report released April 11. However, four dioceses that were not found in compliance in 2005 refused to participate in the 2006 audit.

Papal nuncio calls teachers 'greatest artists'
Apr 12 2007
While many may consider Michelangelo to be one of the greatest artists of all time, Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic nuncio to the United States told more than 8,000 Catholic educators their daily ministry surpasses the artistry of the great Italian Renaissance sculptor. Presenting the April 10 keynote address during the opening session of the National Catholic Educational Association convention at the Baltimore Convention Center, Archbishop Pietro Sambi said educators touch the lives of children at the most fundamental level.

Latest sex abuse report finds drop in reported victims
Apr 11 2007
WASHINGTON – The number of people who said they are victims of clergy child sex abuse has dropped 34 percent since 2004, according to a national survey of dioceses and religious orders. The survey was conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in conjunction with the 2006 audit on U.S. church compliance with child protection policies.

Holy Week came at time of more church-state harmony
Apr 10 2007
HAVANA – Holy Week in Cuba was marked with processions, a Way of the Cross through the streets of Old Havana and official permission to broadcast radio messages to the faithful. The celebrations came at a time when relations with the socialist government have been characterized by “a process of greater understanding,” said Auxiliary Bishop Juan de Dios Hernandez Ruiz of Havana. For the third time in recent years, a Cuban government television channel also broadcast the Good Friday Way of the Cross from Rome, led by Pope Benedict XVI. The April 8 news program aired on all local TV channels showed images of the papal Easter Mass and part of the pope’s Easter message.

Work must not just be about productivity, but charity
Apr 07 2007
VATICAN CITY – The working world must not just be about competition and productivity; today’s workers must also make room for charity and defending human dignity, said Pope Benedict XVI. “Today more than ever it’s urgent and necessary” to live as Christians in the workplace and to become “apostles among workers,” the pope said. “Becoming more competitive and productive is not the only thing that matters,” he said in a message to young people. “Paying charitable witness” in the workplace and elsewhere is necessary, he said.

Writer awed over responsibility
Apr 06 2007
VATICAN CITY – It’s not every day a person gets a call from the Vatican, and most people would be bowled over when it happens. The late Mario Luzi, who as a prolific Italian poet shouldn’t have been at a loss for words, was “flabbergasted” when the Vatican called him up saying Pope John Paul II wanted him to pen the meditations for the pope’s 1999 Good Friday Way of the Cross, an event watched each year by millions of people around the world.

Time to Time: Events lead up to Holy Week
Apr 05 2007
Among the many ways of communicating the good news of the Gospel is radio. A radio Mass brings the Gospel into many homes in the Baltimore area every Sunday. On March 18 I had the privilege of celebrating a radio Mass and preaching at St. Ignatius Church. The pastor, Father James Casciotti, S.J., welcomed me to the special studio which is the weekly scene of the Mass. The Gospel readings that day told the story of the Prodigal Son, although it really shows God as the Merciful Father, who forgives the failings of the son, embraces him, and has the fatted calf killed to celebrate his return.

Use faith to help survive ‘the blitz’
Apr 01 2007
WORCESTER, Mass. – California businessman Tom Brady Sr. didn’t come to the seventh annual Worcester Diocesan Men’s Conference to tell Hollywood-ready tales about a Super Bowl-winning son and a family leading perfect lives. He came to tell the truth – and to challenge area Catholic men to use their faith to deal with life’s pressures.

Cardinal says government is ‘legislating for intolerance’
Mar 29 2007
LONDON – A British cardinal has said that by sponsoring legislation for gay rights, the government is “legislating for intolerance.” Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster also questioned “whether the threads holding together democracy have begun to unravel.” “My fear is that, under the guise of legislating for what is said to be tolerance, we are legislating for intolerance,” he said during a March 28 lecture in London a week after the government forced through new gay rights legislation with minimal debate in the House of Commons.

Ongoing history
Mar 27 2007
MENLO PARK, Calif. – Even though the average age of religious-order priests, sisters and brothers serving in the United States is increasing and their numbers are declining, don’t conclude religious communities are dying out, a well-known scholar said during a recent national meeting in Menlo Park. Instead, think of consecrated life as an “ongoing history” being written by the Holy Spirit, advised Oblate Father Frank Morrisey, adding that the divine author’s last chapter is “yet to come.”