World News

Vatican says it will promote religious liberty in Saudi-backed center

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A new Saudi-backed interfaith center will provide an opportunity for the church to promote religious freedom for Christians and others around the world, said the head of the Vatican’s office for interreligious dialogue. The King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center will offer “another opportunity for open dialogue on many issues, including […]

Cardinal O’Brien visits Holy Land with message of solidarity, peace

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- On the eve of his first trip to the Holy Land as grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, Cardinal Edwin F. O'Brien said he hoped to encourage the region's Christian minority with a message of solidarity from Pope Benedict XVI and other Catholics in the West. "The church in the Holy Land has been under unfriendly domination throughout the centuries, and the fact that we still exist there is almost a miracle," Cardinal O'Brien told Catholic News Service Nov. 24. "We have to do everything we can as a Catholic people to encourage them and to let them know that we are one with them in their struggle."

Catholics on both sides of Gaza border pray for hostilities to end

JERUSALEM (CNS) — As diplomatic efforts were underway to reach a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel Nov. 20, Catholics on both sides of the Gaza border prayed for peace. “When we pray for peace, we pray for peace for everyone,” said Father Yoel Salvaterra, who serves the Hebrew-speaking Catholic community in the southern Israeli […]

Pope condemns escalating Gaza conflict, calls for truce, talks

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI condemned escalating hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians, saying hatred and violence are never an appropriate solution to problems. He also called for greater efforts to promote a truce and peace negotiations. “I am following with great concern the escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the […]

Meeting in Fatima, bishops voice ‘deep unease’ over worsening Portuguese economy

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — Portugal’s Catholic bishops voiced “deep unease” about worsening economic conditions in their country and urged the government to show greater concern for the common good in its austerity drive. Saying they “feel the suffering and anguish of those suffering harshest consequences from the current crisis,” the bishops said they wanted to […]

Syrian refugees who fled fighting live in limbo in neighboring Turkey

ISTANBUL (CNS) — Michel George Sarkisiyan is behind on the rent for the one-bedroom apartment he shares with his wife and 8-year-old daughter, Magdalena. That’s just one of the hardships the small family has faced since fleeing to Istanbul from their home in Aleppo, Syria, 554 miles away. They can’t afford to pay the gas […]

Pope Benedict teaches about life, death, logic and truth

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The universal, natural human reaction to the death of a loved one should show believers and non-believers alike that human life has value, Pope Benedict XVI said. “The awareness of the sacredness of the life entrusted to us — not as something we can dispose of freely, but as a gift […]

Nativity story’s significance continues to unfold today, pope writes

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Nativity story, like the whole story of Christ, is not merely an event in the past, but has unfolding significance for people today, with implications for such issues as the limits of political power and the purpose of human freedom, Pope Benedict writes in his third and final volume on the life and teachings of Jesus.

Health is universal good to be defended, not commoditized, says pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Good health is a benefit that needs to be defended and guaranteed for all people, not just for those who can afford it, Pope Benedict XVI told hundreds of health care workers. The new evangelization is needed in the health field, especially during the current economic crisis “that is cutting resources […]

Pakistani High Court dismisses blasphemy charge against Christian girl

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNS) — The Islamabad High Court ordered police to dismiss blasphemy charges against a Christian Pakistani girl whose arrest and detention drew international condemnation. The ruling from Chief Justice Iqbal Hammeed ur Rehman Nov. 19 said there was no evidence that Rimsha Masih burned papers from the Quran, reported Pakistan’s Dawn news agency. […]