Life News


Lent: A Time for Prayer, Reflection and Giving
Feb 23 2007

After many years of work with Catholic Relief Services, Lent, and its seasonal period of reflection, prayer, fasting and almsgiving, grows more meaningful to me year after year. It's not just because of the stories I hear about the help that CRS provides to those who are suffering. It is the fact that with each season of Lent we are coming closer and closer to the realization of a global community – of one human family.

Abortion should get same focus as war
Feb 23 2007
Father Joseph Breighner truly hit a nail on the head in his column ‘Truth behind abortion should be in the news as often as the war in Iraq,” (CR, Feb. 8). He so aptly compared and contrasted the loss of life in the Iraq war with the loss of lives resulting from abortion on demand.

Cardinal says China, Vatican must negotiate
Feb 18 2007
HONG KONG – Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong has reiterated the need for negotiations to resolve the issue of Catholic bishops’ ordinations in mainland China and to find a bilaterally acceptable way of normalizing relations. Cardinal Zen said illegitimate episcopal ordinations have created new obstacles for the dialogue between China and the Vatican and the normalization of their relations, and he called for an approach acceptable to both sides.

Italian bill proposes rights for unwed couples
Feb 18 2007
VATICAN CITY – An Italian legislative proposal that would grant some legal rights to unwed couples – including same-sex partners – has set the stage for a major church-state showdown. On one side is a wide spectrum of Italian social and political forces, including many lay Catholics, who say the bill would end discrimination against unwed couples in areas of health care, pensions, housing and employment. On the other side is the Italian bishops’ conference, which has argued that the law would undermine marriage and the traditional family. Some bishops have warned Catholic legislators that they are duty-bound to vote against the proposal.

Why Catholic? Journey through the Catechism
Feb 17 2007
At the turn of the New Year, there was much excitement around my home. It seems that TIME magazine had declared me their Person of the Year. And, God bless them, TIME did the same for you. And you. And you as well.

Faith unlocks doors for former death row inmate
Feb 12 2007
CAMBRIDGE – If anyone has experienced sheer terror, it’s Kirk Bloodsworth. Tried and found guilty of the brutal rape and murder of a 9-year-old Rosedale girl, the barrel-chested crabber from the Eastern Shore was sentenced to die in the gas chamber for his horrific crimes. But Mr. Bloodsworth didn’t have anything to do with what he was accused of. A former marine with no criminal record, he had been wrongly convicted and would later become the first American on death row to be exonerated by DNA testing.

Mercy forum helps women religious live healthy lives
Feb 10 2007
Some 180 sisters of 13 different religious communities listened to experts speak about the topic “Taking charge of your health and wellness,” in the lobby of the Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine at Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, Jan. 27. During the forum the sisters were educated on five different topics: gynecologic health, exercising the mind and body, keeping your bones strong, prevention and detection of colon cancer, and breast health. “Our thought behind this event was these are women that take care of others,” said Amy Freeman with executive services at Mercy. “They need a day to think of their own wellbeing.”

Priest serves as Toronto’s second poet laureate
Feb 01 2007
TORONTO – The second person ever to serve as poet laureate for Toronto is also the first Catholic priest to hold the title. It’s an opportune pulpit for Father Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, 57, a priest-poet-philosopher who is now spreading ideas about how individuals, government officials and even business leaders can make cities and communities more livable as they give more thought to the “poetry” of their lives.

Father Drinan, ex-congressman, dead at 86
Jan 30 2007
WASHINGTON – Jesuit Father Robert F. Drinan, the first Catholic priest to vote in the U.S. Congress, received praise and censure during his lifetime for his active involvement in politics. Father Drinan, 86, died Jan. 28 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, where he had been treated for pneumonia and congestive heart failure for the past 10 days. Funeral arrangements were pending Jan. 29. “Few have accomplished as much as Father Drinan and fewer still have done so much to make the world a better place,” said T. Alex Aleinikoff, dean of the Georgetown University Law Center, where Father Drinan had taught since 1981.

The Joy of Football
Jan 29 2007
As half the nation eagerly awaits the kickoff of the Super Bowl, the other half looks on in wonderment at what could be so enthralling about grown men running up and down a field carrying an oblong ball. Football fans who cannot articulate why they feel such passion for the game may retreat to their television sets feeling a vague sense of guilt that, perhaps, they are wasting their time. However, no guilt is called for, because watching sports satisfies a vital human need.

Decisions on dying: Italian case shows complexity
Jan 28 2007
VATICAN CITY – The death of an Italian muscular dystrophy patient who had his respirator disconnected is fueling a complex and significant discussion among top church officials. Piergiorgio Welby, who was paralyzed and kept alive by a breathing machine for nine years, pleaded for months for the device to be turned off. He said medical technology was only artificially postponing his death. In late December, a physician granted his request, and Mr. Welby died shortly afterward.

‘Angel of the garbage dump’ dies in crash
Jan 25 2007
WASHINGTON – Hanley Denning, known in Guatemala as “the angel of the garbage dump” because she helped poor children escape garbage picking as a livelihood, died in a car crash in Guatemala. Five days after her Jan. 18 death at age 36, a documentary featuring Ms. Denning was nominated for an Oscar. Ms. Denning died from injuries suffered when the car she was in collided with a bus on a mountain road outside of Guatemala City. She was a native of Yarmouth, Maine.

U.S. urged to improve relations with Cuba
Jan 24 2007
WASHINGTON – The U.S. government should emulate the Catholic Church and look for a dramatic way to improve relations with Cuba, said a U.S. lawmaker after returning from a fact-finding trip to the Caribbean island. Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., cited the 1998 trip to Cuba by Pope John Paul II and said it had a “dramatic impact” on improving the church’s situation in the communist-ruled country. “The pope’s visit opened things up for the church,” said Rep. McGovern at a Jan. 23 panel discussion in Washington on U.S.-Cuban relations. “We should learn by that example,” he said.

Culture of life means changing hearts
Jan 23 2007
WASHINGTON – “A true culture of life cannot be built by changing laws alone. We’ve all got to work to change hearts,” President George W. Bush told tens of thousands of participants in the 34th annual March for Life Jan. 22. President Bush spoke by phone at the beginning of a two-hour rally on the National Mall preceding the marchers’ slow, peaceful trek around the Capitol to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. With temperatures hovering right around freezing, the marchers packing several square blocks of the Mall and overflowing onto side streets turned the previous day’s snowfall into acres of muddy slush.

U.S. bishop says he admires Palestinians' spirit
Jan 18 2007
JERUSALEM (CNS) -- The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said he "admired the spirit of the (Palestinian) people" in the face of hardships in the Gaza Strip. Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., said he was "really impressed" by the vision of Msgr. Manuel Musallam of Holy Family Parish in Gaza. His vision is to build "a sense of unity for all people in the Holy Land including Muslims, Christians and Jews" despite the difficult conditions in which the parishioners live, the bishop said.