Nation and World News

St. Augustine knew ‘conversions’

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass April 22 with bishops of Lombardy, priests of the Diocese of Pavia and a number of Augustinian Fathers.

Papal Message

At a Mass marking his 80th birthday, Pope Benedict XVI thanked the Church for surrounding him with affection

Prelates pay tribute to Baltimore Catechism

Like thousands of other American Catholics of his generation, Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore knows why God made him.

President touts Catholic school at prayer breakfast


Diocesan papers’ worth stressed by media group


World and National News Briefs

Bishops’ official laments Senate action

WASHINGTON (CNS) — An official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops criticized the U.S. Senate’s "fixation on destructive research" after the Senate passed a bill that would provide federal funding for stem-cell research involving the destruction of human embryos.

"Many members of Congress remain dazzled by irresponsibly hyped promises of ‘miracle cures’ from the destruction of human embryos, although experts in the field increasingly admit that treatments from this avenue may be decades away," said Richard M. Doerflinger, deputy director of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. Doerflinger made his comments late April 11 following an evening vote in which the Senate approved S5, a bill permitting destruction of human embryos in federally funded stem-cell research, by a 63-34 margin. Should S5 become law, "millions of taxpayers would be forced to promote attacks on innocent human life in the name of scientific progress," he said.

President George W. Bush has promised to veto the legislation, however, and its backers do not have enough votes for an override in the House or the Senate On Jan. 11 the House passed a similar measure, HR3, by a vote of 253-174. The House vote was 32 votes short of a two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.

Educate Africa’s women, nuncio tells U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (CNS) — The best and cheapest way to prepare Africa for a better future is to educate all its youths, especially girls and young women, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Vatican nuncio to the United Nations, said April 10.

Addressing the 40th session of the U.N. Commission on Population and Development, the archbishop said that according to projections, by 2050 a large portion of Europe’s population will be dependent elderly. But "Africa is set to have the lowest dependency ratio in the world." "This projection should hand that continent an unprecedented advantage in economic terms, as a young and numerous workforce should be available to it until at least 2050, while the demographic dividend in most other regions will have run out," he said.

Since many of the people who will make up Africa’s workforce in the coming decades "are already born and are already of school age," Archbishop Migliore urged immediate efforts to achieve primary education for all African children by the year 2015.

Bush expected to meet with pope in June

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — President George W. Bush is expected to have his first formal audience with Pope Benedict XVI in early June, the Vatican spokesman said April 14.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said Bush is expected to visit the Vatican June 9 or 10 after participating in the summit of leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized countries in Germany. Bush made his last visit to the Vatican for the April 8, 2005, funeral of Pope John Paul II. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict, celebrated the funeral Mass.

The president had met Pope John Paul three times.

Polish bishops criticize pro-life rejection

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — Poland’s Catholic bishops have criticized legislators’ rejection of proposed constitutional amendments that would have protected life from the moment of conception.

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow urged Catholics to continue pressing for the reform, which supporters say would help Poland resist pro-abortion regulations from the European Union. "The church has always declared itself for life, demanding its respect from conception to natural death irrespective of all political decisions," Cardinal Dziwisz told 50,000 Catholics during an April 15 Mass at the Divine Mercy center in the Krakow suburb of Lagiewniki.

Poland’s 1993 law allows abortions only in cases of rape, incest and severe fetal damage, or if a woman’s life and health are endangered. About 200 registered abortions occur yearly in Poland. Poland has the lowest birthrate of the European Union’s 27 member-states, according to a March Eurostat survey.

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