Life News


Pope accepts resignation of controversial bishop
May 16 2007
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of the controversial head of Argentina’s military diocese, who submitted his resignation at age 75 in accordance with canon law. There was no immediate word on who would succeed Bishop Antonio Baseotto, who clashed with the government of President Nestor Kirchner two years ago. Pope Benedict accepted his resignation May 15. Earlier this year, an Argentine legislator drafted a bill to eliminate his position.

Latin American, Caribbean bishops tackle agenda outlined by pope
May 15 2007
APARECIDA, Brazil – With their agenda broadly outlined by Pope Benedict XVI, the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean began the conference that will lead to pastoral guidelines for the region for the next 10-15 years. Several bishops who spoke with journalists said the pope raised many of the issues likely to be addressed during the conference, including deeper formation in the faith and church social doctrine, poverty, ministry among indigenous peoples and family life. Archbishop Pedro Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo, Peru, called the pope’s May 13 speech to the bishops “inspiring” and “encouraging.” Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo of Merida, Venezuela, told journalists that the pope did not “put us in a straitjacket” but “came to present a challenge to the church.”

Amnesty International backs access to abortion
May 12 2007
WASHINGTON – The International Executive Committee of Amnesty International has declared that a woman should have full, legal access to abortion in cases of rape or incest or if her life or health is at grave risk. The new policy calls for eliminating criminal penalties for anyone who provides an abortion or obtains one. Last fall, when Amnesty was considering such a policy, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops warned that the human rights advocacy group would risk its “well-deserved moral credibility” if it abandoned its neutral stance on abortion. “To abandon this long-held position would be a tragic mistake, dividing human rights advocates and diverting Amnesty International from its central and urgent mission of defending human rights as outlined in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights,” wrote the USCCB president, Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., in a letter last September to the organization’s secretary-general, Irene Khan.

Pope tells reporters church must keep fighting abortion, poverty
May 10 2007
UPDATED ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO BRAZIL – On the plane taking him to Brazil, Pope Benedict XVI called Latin America “the continent of life and hope” and said the church must keep up the fight against abortion, poverty and injustice. Speaking to reporters aboard his chartered Alitalia jet May 9, the pope spent more than 25 minutes answering questions, his longest in-flight press conference to date. He said the late Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar A. Romero deserves to be beatified, denounced the Latin American drug trade and said liberation theology has changed with the political times. In remarks about the recent legalization of abortion in Mexico, the pope appeared to support Mexican church leaders who held out the possibility of excommunication for Catholic legislators who voted for the legislation.

Vatican issues toned-down papal remarks
May 10 2007
UPDATED SAO PAULO, Brazil – Pope Benedict XVI’s comments on excommunication for pro-abortion Catholic politicians touched on huge and sensitive issues – so sensitive that the Vatican issued a toned-down version of his remarks the following day. Speaking with journalists on the plane taking him to Brazil May 9, the pope left the impression that he agreed with those invoking excommunication for Catholic legislators in Mexico City who had voted in April to legalize abortion. When reporters pressed the pope on whether he supported the excommunication of the Mexican deputies, he answered: “Yes, this excommunication was not something arbitrary, but is foreseen by the Code (of Canon Law). It is simply part of church law that the killing of an innocent baby is incompatible with being in communion with the body of Christ.”

Bioethicist calls suicide bill ‘implicitly anti-Catholic’
May 09 2007
SAN FRANCISCO – Calling proposed California physician-assisted suicide legislation “strongly and implicitly anti-Catholic” and accusing its advocates of “trying to bend the Catholic Church’s moral teaching to the will of the culture of death agenda,” an international expert on bioethics urged listeners at a May 7 lecture to do everything in their power to help defeat the controversial bill. Titled the California Compassionate Choices Act, Assembly Bill 374 would allow physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to people diagnosed with a terminal illness, given less than six months to live and declared mentally competent.

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.