Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items:
 News Briefs
 Word To Life
 Special Items:
 Election 2004
 Charter update
 John Jay study
 Other Items:
 Client Area
 Did You Know...

 The whole CNS
 public Web site
 headlines, briefs
 stories, etc,
 represents less
 than one percent
 of the daily news

 Get all the news!

 If you would like
 more information
 about the
 Catholic News
 Service daily
 news report,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 (202) 541-3250


 This material
 may not
 be published,
 rewritten or
 (c) 2006
 Catholic News
 Conference of
 Catholic Bishops.

 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS May-11-2007

By Catholic News Service


Amnesty International backs access to abortion in some circumstances

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- 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.

- - -

Church recognizes immigrants' God-given human rights, cardinal says

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- The basic moral principle that everyone is entitled to God-given human rights is the key to understanding the Catholic Church's support for immigrants, said Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony May 8 in the annual John M. Templeton Jr. Lecture on Economic Liberties and the Constitution in Philadelphia. The current U.S. immigration system accepts the labor, taxes and purchasing power of immigrants who are separated from their families, Cardinal Mahony said, and yet millions of them who are in the country illegally are not protected by laws. "While such a system might meet our economic needs in the narrow measurement of monetary gain, it fails to meet the broad definition of 'oikonomia,' or the call of Scripture," he said. "Oikonomia" is the Greek word at the root of the word "economy" but which first means the arrangement of a household, he explained. In early Christian history, "oikonomia" referred to the way God's household -- in which holiness, truth, justice, love and peace prevailed -- is ordered, he said.

- - -


Pope canonizes Brazilian friar renowned for charity, healings

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI canonized Brazil's first native-born saint, an 18th-century Franciscan friar renowned for his charity to the poor and his legacy of miraculous healings. At an outdoor Mass May 11, the pope read a decree proclaiming sainthood for Father Antonio Galvao, prompting a surge of applause among the hundreds of thousands of people who gathered at Sao Paulo's Campo de Marte Airport for the liturgy. As the saint's relics were brought in procession to the altar, the crowd sang and waved banners and flags in the sunshine. In the front row, wearing bright blue habits, were Conceptionist nuns, whose order used St. Galvao as a spiritual adviser in the late 1700s. In his homily, which the pope read in Portuguese, he said St. Galvao, who died in 1822, was a model of Christian charity and service in Brazil, especially toward the poor and sick. He was sought out as a confessor and inspired people by his attitude of constant devotion to God, the pope said.

- - -

Vatican official: Nations must disarm to stop spread of nukes

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- If the world is to help stop the spread of nuclear weapons, nations must take positive steps toward nuclear disarmament, a Vatican official said. Nuclear disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation "are interdependent and mutually reinforcing," said Msgr. Michael W. Banach, the Vatican's representative to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. "Responsible implementation" of international agreements concerning nuclear weapons represents a crucial step "in the fight against nuclear terrorism" and promoting "a culture of life," peace and human development, he said in a May 1 address. The U.S. monsignor spoke in Vienna, Austria, at the April 30-May 11 proceedings of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. The Vatican released a copy of Msgr. Banach's text May 11. The Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty became effective in 1970 in an effort to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology as well as ensure nuclear energy would be used for peaceful purposes.

- - -

Climate change an ethical, environmental issue, U.N. nuncio says

UNITED NATIONS (CNS) -- Global warming is not just an environmental issue but must be seen in "ethical, economic, social and political terms as well," Archbishop Celestino Migliore told a gathering of high-ranking development officials at the United Nations May 10. The Vatican nuncio's statement to the international body warned that global warming and energy shortages could have a disproportionate effect on the world's poor. "The consequences of climate change ... will impact first and foremost the poorest and weakest who, even if they are among the least responsible for global warming, are the most vulnerable because they have limited resources or live in areas at greater risk," he said. "Many of the most vulnerable societies, already facing energy problems, rely upon agriculture, the very sector most likely to suffer from climatic shifts." Archbishop Migliore spoke during the 15th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development of the U.N. Economic and Social Council. The theme of the May 9-11 meeting was "Turning Political Commitments Into Action, Working Together in Partnership."

- - -

Fatima: The secret's out, despite claims to the contrary

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Despite claims there are still secrets connected to the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Benedict XVI and his secretary of state said the entire message has been published and has been interpreted accurately. The Marian apparitions to three children in Fatima, Portugal, began 90 years ago May 13, and Pope John Paul II ordered the so-called "third secret" of Fatima to be published in 2000. As the Fatima anniversary approached, the Vatican bookstore was selling copies of "The Last Fatima Visionary: My Meetings With Sister Lucia." The 140-page, Italian-language interview with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, opens with a letter of presentation from Pope Benedict. The two men worked with Pope John Paul to publish the "third secret" and to write an official commentary on it, describing its depiction of a "man dressed in white" shot down amid the rubble of a ruined city as a prophetic vision of the 1981 attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul. In the new book, Cardinal Bertone said Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, at the time the last surviving visionary, confirmed the Vatican's interpretation.

- - -

Pope tells enthusiastic Brazilian youths to live fully, responsibly

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI addressed a stadium full of enthusiastic Brazilian young people, telling them that a life lived without moral responsibility is a life wasted. At a rally May 10 in Sao Paulo, the pope warned against sexual infidelity, drug use and unethical shortcuts to success and said the desire to build a more just society depends on following God's law. "Stretching out in front of you, my dear friends, is a life that all of us hope will be long; yet it is only one life, it is unique; do not let it pass in vain; do not squander it," the pope said. "Live it with enthusiasm and with joy, but most of all with a sense of responsibility," he said. About 40,000 young people crowded into the Paulo Machado de Carvalho soccer stadium for the papal encounter, and others spilled out into the Pacaembu neighborhood of Sao Paulo. Many arrived hours before the event. A large group of young people from Rio de Janeiro sang and played tambourines as they walked toward the stadium, stopping to wave at busloads of passing bishops.

- - -

Zambian church official: Take action to prevent theft of public funds

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- A Zambian church official said local action must be taken to prevent the theft of public resources after a British court ruled that former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba must repay money stolen while he was in office. "There is still a lot of corruption in public office, largely because of insufficient controls in public institutions," Samuel Mulafulafu, director of Zambia's Catholic Center for Justice, Development and Peace, told Catholic News Service May 9 in a telephone interview from Lusaka, Zambia. While "we would like to see justice done and the repayment of the money that has been stolen," Mulafulafu said, the ruling "won't deter those misusing public resources until the political will is found to put controls in place." The controls "must be enforced, and those found to be misusing money need to be punished, which will send the signal to others that it is unacceptable," he said.

- - -

Ukrainian cardinal calls for Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation

OXFORD, England (CNS) -- A Ukrainian cardinal called for reconciliation between Poles and Ukrainians on the anniversary of a massive postwar deportation. "History doesn't change, but we can work on our future," said Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Kiev-Halych, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, an Eastern rite. "What's most important is that this sad heritage, and the distaste and dislike accompanying it, aren't passed on from generation to generation. The chain of evil should be broken." He told Poland's Catholic information agency, KAI, that Catholic leaders had helped rebuild unity between Poles and Ukrainians since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, but cautioned that people and groups in both countries still opposed reconciliation. The cardinal made his remarks for the 60th anniversary of Action Vistula, a period of several months in 1947 in which more than 140,000 ethnic Ukrainians were expelled from their homes by Soviet leaders to seal a new Polish-Soviet border.

- - -

Pope tells Brazil's bishops to be clear on family, faith, justice

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI encouraged Brazilian bishops to resist attacks on marriage and the family, seek out fallen-away Catholics and defend the rights and dignity of the poor. In a lengthy speech May 11, the pope laid out guidelines for what he termed a "methodical evangelization aimed at personal and communal fidelity to Christ." What is needed in Brazil, he said, is a "leap forward in the quality of people's Christian lives ... so that they can bear witness to their faith in a clear and transparent way." Brazil's 446 bishops constitute the largest episcopate in the world. The papal encounter in the Sao Paulo cathedral came two days before the pope was to inaugurate a Latin American-wide conference to deal with similar pastoral challenges. The pope rode in a popemobile from his monastic residence to the cathedral, a 20th-century Gothic structure in the heart of the city. Tens of thousands of onlookers lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the pontiff, who was to leave Sao Paulo for Aparecida later in the day.

- - -


Vatican official says young people must learn to respect differences

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Preparing future generations to thrive in a multicultural environment means teaching them to respect differences without trying to erase those differences, said the secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education. "Living together with our differences" requires more than tolerance, Archbishop J. Michael Miller told a conference of European education ministers in Istanbul, Turkey, in early May. The Vatican released a copy of his address May 11. While education is the key to an individual's intellectual and spiritual development, he told the conference, it also must "foster the overcoming of radical individualism" if it is to help people live in a multicultural environment. Education must prepare students for "building together a common destiny, striving for cooperation and fraternity (and) joining together on the road to shape our civilization," he said.

- - -

Senator, archbishop discuss faith and politics at Jewish school

ATLANTA (CNS) -- In a presentation at a Jewish academy in Atlanta, a U.S. senator and an archbishop spoke about the role of faith in public life, how it shapes their outlook on public service and how faith should inform but not dictate a politician's position. The keynote speakers, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, spoke at a fundraising event at the Katherine and Jacob Greenfield Hebrew Academy of Atlanta, which is headed by Matt Lieberman, the senator's son. The event, sponsored April 29 by the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and Greenfield Academy, raised more than $130,000 for a fund for teacher excellence for the Jewish school founded in 1953. Matt Lieberman opened the event by saying, "What unites us as a people of faith is so much more important than what divides, so we are very, very honored to be presenting a dialogue that speaks directly to unity among faiths."

- - -

Brazilians in need, physical or spiritual, seek St. Galvao's pills

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) -- The Brazilians stood quietly in a line, waiting for the nuns at the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception of Light to open the door and start handing out "Frei Galvao's pills." Normally, the nuns distribute packets containing three pills to be taken within a nine-day period. The pills are tiny rice papers inscribed with a prayer, ingested by those in need. The uncertainty as to whether or not the doors would open came from the fact that at that exact time May 11, less than two miles away, Pope Benedict XVI was canonizing Franciscan Father Antonio Galvao in front of nearly 800,000 people. "The first time I swallowed the pills I was 8 years old," said Marta Monteiro, who this time brought her husband and teenage son. "I was sick and some aunts came to the monastery to get the pills for me." Monteiro said that when she was pregnant with her son she also came to receive the pills, which are said to help women in labor. Now, she said, she occasionally will stop by the monastery to obtain the pills.


Copyright (c) 2007 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250