Nation and World News

Church said to have role in mobilizing Hispanics

The Catholic Church can play an important role in mobilizing Hispanics to increase their influence on public policy, said several speakers at a Washington symposium examining Hispanic participation in U.S. political life.

Polish priests barred from clerical spy hunt

The Archdiocese of Krakow said local priests may not investigate allegations of communist-era clergy collaborators after a former friend of Pope John Paul II was named as a secret police agent.

World and National News Briefs

Pope extolls Vatican museums’ mission

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The masterpieces and thousands of artifacts on display at the Vatican Museums "are not simply impressive monuments of a distant past" but represent the Church’s unwavering faith in the beauty of God, Pope Benedict XVI told a group of the museums’ benefactors. He said that for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who flock to the museums and the Sistine Chapel every year, the artistic treasures housed there "stand as a perennial witness to the Church’s unchanging faith in the triune God," who, according to St. Augustine, is "beauty ever ancient, ever new." The pope made his comments during a June 1 audience with the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums to mark the 500th anniversary of the the Vatican Museums’ founding.

Papal Spain trip to be brief and busy

MADRID, Spain (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit to Spain will be short but busy, said a Spanish archbishop. In a May 30 press conference, Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco of Valencia said the city is in the final stages of preparations for the papal visit. The pope plans to visit Spain as part of the Fifth World Meeting of Families, convened by the pope every three years. Families from six continents will meet to discuss the challenges they face in the 21st century. On July 8-9, in little more than 24 hours, the pope will meet with the Spanish royal family and with President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. He also will celebrate Mass and visit the cathedral in Valencia.

Churches urged to seek program money

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic and Protestant leaders praised the Bush administration for making $100 million in new funds available to programs that strengthen marriage in America. After four years of rejecting President George W. Bush’s Healthy Marriage Initiative, Congress passed the proposal May 16. Five religious leaders and marriage advocates spoke about the initiative at a recent event in Washington hosted by Marriage Savers, a nonprofit organization that aims to reduce the nation’s growing divorce rate. "Marriage is the community’s responsibility," said Bishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Knoxville, Tenn., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family Life. "Good marriages cannot exist in a vacuum. We need to take action." Mike McManus, founder of Marriage Savers, said the purpose of the event was to encourage Protestant and Catholic leaders to apply for federal aid to fund marriage programs and to urge their colleagues to consider doing the same.

Catholic journalists called faith exemplars

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Media professionals who work for the Catholic Church must be exemplars of faith and morality as they try to bring Christian values to the world, Pope Benedict XVI said. The pope met June 2 with the employees of the newspaper, news agency, radio network and satellite television station of the Italian bishops’ conference. Pope Benedict said it is their job to bring the Gospel to Italian life. Divorce, abortion and the lack of ethical references in public debates show the consequences of a culture intent on moving away from its Christian roots, the pope said. To be effective witnesses, he said, those who work in Catholic media must give "shining testimony of profoundly Christian lives" and be deeply united with Christ in prayer "in order to see the world with his eyes."

Church in Germany focuses on message in World Cup

The Catholic Church in Germany is harnessing the enthusiasm for the soccer World Cup in June and July by offering religious hospitality in all 12 cities in which games will be played.

Important events in the life of Pope John Paul II

Important events and dates in the life of Pope John Paul II.

  • Born Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, a city in southern Poland, on May 18, 1920.
  • Saw his mother, Emilia, die in 1929, elder brother Edmund, a doctor, die in 1932, and his father, also named Karol, die in 1941.
  • Enrolled in Krakow’s Jagiellonian University in 1938 to study drama. The university was closed the following year by the Nazi invasion that began World War II, and Wojtyla worked in a quarry, then a chemical factory.
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