Nation and World News

Papal Message

Here is the Vatican text of Pope Benedict XVI

Catholic peace groups say protests don’t aid terrorists

Leaders of Catholic peace groups bristle when asked if their opposition to the Iraq War and their criticisms of the Bush administration

World and National News Briefs

Cardinal: Study Darwinism as science

RIMINI, Italy (CNS) — Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna said he thought Darwin’s theories on evolution deserve to be studied in schools, along with the scientific question marks that remain. It is right to teach "the science of Darwin, not ideological Darwinism," Cardinal Schonborn said Aug. 23. He spoke at a meeting in Rimini sponsored by the Catholic lay movement Communion and Liberation. In 2005, Cardinal Schonborn helped fuel the debate over evolution and intelligent design when he wrote in The New York Times that science offers "overwhelming evidence for design in biology." He later said some scientists had turned Darwin’s teachings into an ideological "dogma" that admitted no possibility of a divine design in the created world.

Vatican Observatory director takes over

ROME (CNS) — The new director of the Vatican Observatory said it’s important to distinguish between the scientific study of natural causes and the religious beliefs of faith. At the same time, science can sometimes help people "arrive at a knowledge of God," said Argentine Jesuit Father Jose Funes. Father Funes spoke Aug. 24 in a phone interview with Catholic News Service from the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome. On Aug. 19, Pope Benedict XVI named the 43-year-old priest director of the astronomical observatory. Father Funes said he thought it would be an almost impossible mission to match the "wonderful work" of U.S. Jesuit Father George Coyne, 73, who was leaving as the observatory director after 26 years. Father Funes dismissed speculation that Father Coyne had been forced out of the job because of his strong comments in support of evolution and criticism of the "intelligent design" movement.

Colo. bishops call for water improvements

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CNS) — The water-quality issues affecting the Fountain Creek Watershed in Colorado represent a moral problem and need to be resolved ethically and responsibly, Colorado Springs Bishop Michael J. Sheridan and Pueblo Bishop Arthur N. Tafoya said in a joint statement. Residents along and near Fountain Creek claim sewage spills from Colorado Springs have seriously contaminated the water. Pueblo District Attorney Bill Theibaut and the Sierra Club filed federal lawsuits against the city of Colorado Springs last October and December, respectively, claiming that Colorado Springs has violated the Clean Water Act. As the tension between the two cities has increased and with no solution in sight, Bishops Sheridan and Tafoya felt it was time for the Church to encourage collaboration toward a solution.

Pope surprises town with chapel visit

NEMI, Italy (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI made an unannounced visit to a small sanctuary outside Rome, surprising the local priest and exciting the townspeople. The pope went with his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, from the pope’s summer villa in Castel Gandolfo to the nearby town of Nemi to pray at the Chapel of the Crucifix. The Vatican did not release details of the Aug. 24 visit, but Italian news agencies reported on it. Father Giacinto Masala, who helps run the sanctuary, hurried to greet the pontiff and take him to the chapel, where the pope knelt in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, then recited vespers. The priest explained the tradition by which the 17th-century wooden crucifix that stands in the chapel was carved by a Franciscan monk, who fell asleep before he had completed the face of Christ. When he awoke, the story goes, the face had been finished.

Hurricane aid trickles into Catholic schools

When hurricanes Katrina and Rita slammed into the Gulf Coast region one year ago, schools in their path were flattened, swept away, damaged or flooded.

Pre-seminary houses St. Peter’s altar boys

Silently processing out of the sacristy of St. Peter

New U.S. catechism is faith resource for adults

When U.S. Catholics celebrate Catechetical Sunday Sept. 17, they will have a new resource to help deepen their understanding of the faith

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