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Pope responds to furor over his Muslim remarks

Pope Benedict XVI said he was

Papal Message

Pope Benedict XVI on Sept. 16 received participants in a congress promoted by the Pontifical Academy for Life and by the International Federation of Catholic Doctors

World and National News Briefs

2 miracles for Bishop Sheen’s cause

PEORIA, Ill. (CNS) — Documentation of two alleged miracles attributed to the intercession of the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was sent to Rome this summer as part of the promotion of his sainthood cause. The cases claiming the archbishop’s intercession involve a woman from Champaign and a baby in Pittsburgh. The cases were investigated and documented and, following ceremonies in Peoria and Pittsburgh, documentation was sealed and prepared for delivery to the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes for further study. The ceremony in Peoria was witnessed by several members of the Sheen family and officials promoting the sainthood cause. During the ceremony, folders containing more than 500 pages of witness testimony and medical data regarding the Champaign case were packaged and sealed. Archbishop Sheen, a native of El Paso in the Diocese of Peoria, gained worldwide fame as a radio and television host and author. He died Dec. 9, 1979. The Diocese of Peoria officially launched his cause for canonization in September 2003.

Pro-life students claim discrimination

TORONTO (CNS) — Students for Life, a campus-based pro-life group, alleges the University of Toronto student council has discriminated against it by not allowing information about the club and abortion in first-year-student kits. Students for Life members say the University of Toronto’s Student Administrative Council gave them permission to include a brochure and fact card in each freshman kit to be distributed during the first week of classes. The pro-life group said it prepared 8,500 brochures and dropped them off to the organizing committee; but days later the council informed Students for Life the group would not be allowed to have its material in the kit. "They’ve changed their story," said Santosh D’Souza, director of external communication for University of Toronto Students for Life. D’Souza said that Jen Hassum, SAC president, originally told Students for Life "the images were too graphic, (but) at that point she hadn’t seen the brochures at all. There were no graphic images at all. When they found out the mistake, they said they didn’t have time to make an executive decision." Hassum declined an interview request by The Catholic Register, a Toronto-based weekly.

Bishop cautious on anti-drug campaign

GUATEMALA CITY (CNS) — A Guatemalan bishop cautiously applauded the government’s anti-narcotics campaign in the San Marcos department, a mountainous area near the Mexican border. "We recognize that the state has the obligation to guarantee security and strengthen the state of law in the entire department ... and is responsible for constructing the common good," Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini Imeri of San Marcos said in a statement. Some 1,000 police and army troops began carrying out a massive raid against poppy growers and the leaders of organized crime in the San Marcos highlands Aug. 29. The poppies are used to make opium and heroin in labs across the border in Mexico. The first week of the operation resulted in the eradication of about 17.5 million poppy plants, 84,000 marijuana plants and the capture of several local drug leaders.

Church leaders blast contraceptive rules

SANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) — Chilean Catholic Church leaders have criticized government guidelines authorizing public health centers to distribute free contraceptives, including the morning-after pill, to minors older than 14 without parental consent. Cardinal Francisco Errazuriz Ossa of Santiago has called the guidelines a "blow to marriage, the birthrate and the family." The Health Ministry resolution was announced Sept. 2 and immediately criticized by Catholics, the conservative opposition and the Christian Democratic Party, a member of the ruling coalition. Those opposed to the morning-after pill consider it equivalent to abortion. The guidelines make the morning-after pill Postinor-2 available for free but require a prescription after counseling in primary health centers.

Embryonic stem-cell researcher upbraided

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Senators criticized a researcher behind a controversial new technique to obtain stem cells from embryos during a Senate subcommittee hearing on the controversy. "It’s a big black eye if scientists are making false and fraudulent misrepresentations," said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, during a Sept. 6 hearing. Specter aimed his remarks at Dr. Robert Lanza, vice president of research and scientific development at Advanced Cell Technology, which has offices in Alameda, Calif., and Worcester, Mass. Lanza was the senior author of a study published in August in the online edition of the science journal Nature, which declared that research had "demonstrated, for the first time, that human embryonic stem cells can be generated without interfering with the embryo’s potential for life." In a series of pointed exchanges between Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Lanza, Harkin told the scientist that the technique outlined "may be possible in theory, but it hasn’t actually been accomplished."

Papal Message

Pope Benedict XVI on Sept. 8 received prelates from the Canadian (Ontario) Conference of Catholic Bishops on their

Faith more than pregame prayer to Catholic NFLers

Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu is not an NFL superstar who happens to be a man of faith. Just the opposite; in his heart, he is simply

German pols not always receptive to visiting pope

Pope Benedict XVI returned home to Bavaria to German President Horst Koehler saying,

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