Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
May 17, 2010
World News in Brief
Pope calls for complete nuclear disarmament
Pope Benedict asked world leaders to work calmly and seriously to control the spread of nuclear weapons "in the prospect of their complete elimination from the planet."
At his weekly general audience May 5, the pope made his appeal to participants at the UN Review Conference of Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, being held in New York May 3-28.
The treaty can succeed only if nations respect the commitments they made in signing it, the pope said.
Pope Benedict said he encouraged "the initiatives aimed at progressive disarmament and the creation of zones free from nuclear arms in the prospect of their complete elimination from the planet."
The previous day, the archbishop of Nagasaki, Japan, called the existence of nuclear weapons "intrinsically evil" and said "there is no reason whatsoever to justify this deadly weapon." Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, who as an unborn child survived the Aug. 9, 1945, atomic bomb that decimated his city at the end of the Second World War, brought his impassioned plea for nuclear disarmament and the abolition of all war to the events at a chapel overlooking the headquarters of the United Nations.
Takami was born seven months after the bomb killed 60,000 people in his hometown, including his grandmother, two aunts and an uncle. "Even one nuclear weapon should not be tolerated," he said.
'New apologetics' needed to defend faith - cardinal
The rise of "new atheism" and the popularity of books that distort Church doctrines call for a "new apologetics" to explain and defend the Christian faith, said Cardinal William Levada. Proclaiming the good news always involves explaining and defending the faith, tailored to the sensibilities of particular times and places, said the cardinal, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The cardinal spoke April 29 at a conference on "a new apologetics" in Rome. The development and use of "apologetics" - the explanation and defence of the truths of faith - largely went out of fashion with the Second Vatican Council, but is still needed today because Catholics in every age are called to explain the reasons for their faith and their hope, Levada said.
Publication of pope's new book still months away
Pope Benedict has handed his editors the final draft of the second volume of his book, Jesus of Nazareth, but it will be months before the work is translated from German and published, the Vatican said May 10. "This second volume is dedicated to the Passion and the Resurrection, and takes up where the first volume ended," the Vatican press office said in a statement. The first volume of the work was published in the spring of 2007 and covered Jesus' life from his baptism to his transfiguration. The Vatican said it hopes to release the book simultaneously in the world's major languages, which means it might be "several months" before it gets to bookstores.
The first volume, which ran more than 400 pages, highlighted what the Bible says about Jesus, what the moral implications of his teachings are and how reading the Scriptures can lead to a real relationship with Jesus.
Benedict begins reform of Legionaries of Christ
Pope Benedict will name a personal delegate with authority over the Legionaries of Christ and a commission to study its constitutions, the first steps toward a profound reform of the order, the Vatican said. In a statement May 1, the Vatican indicated the Legionaries need to undergo deep changes, including a redefinition of the order's religious charism and a revision of the way authority is exercised among its members. One Vatican source said: "It looks like they are calling for a refoundation of the order."
The Vatican statement castigated the Legionaries' founder, the late Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, who had been found to have fathered children and sexually abused seminarians. His "most grave and objectively immoral conduct" calls for "a path of profound revision" in the order, the statement said.
Parents concerned over media content - poll
Parents are concerned about the content of the media to which their children are exposed and are eager to exert more control over that exposure. Those are two principal findings in a national survey commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Parents are right to express concern about their children's exposure to media but have not historically displayed a willingness to follow through, says Emory Woodard, an associate professor of communication at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. In the USCCB survey, released April 15, more than 80 per cent of those who responded said they wanted to be able to control access to media content depicting sex, violence, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse and profane language. The survey found that three-fourths of respondents say makers of media products should do more to help protect children from inappropriate media content, while 58 per cent say government also should do more. Seventy-two per cent of respondents cited TV programs as something they were either "concerned" or "very concerned" about, followed by Internet sites (67 per cent), TV ads (62 percent) and social networking sites (59 per cent).
Diplomat negotiated with communists
Cardinal Luigi Poggi, a Vatican diplomat who served five popes, died May 4 at age 92. The Italian cardinal worked at the Vatican from 1945 until his retirement in 1998. In a telegram of condolence to the late cardinal's brother and sister, Pope Benedict highlighted the long years of service that Poggi dedicated to the Vatican, especially as an apostolic nuncio, then as head of the Vatican Library and the Vatican Secret Archives. The pope praised the cardinal's priestly zeal and fidelity to the Gospel. Poggi was an unheralded but important negotiator with East European communist governments. As the Vatican's first "roving ambassador" in Eastern Europe, he drove hard bargains on religious freedom with regimes in capitals ranging from Prague, Czech Republic to Bucharest, Romania.
Pope, patriarch meeting needs preparation
While a meeting between a pope and a Russian Orthodox patriarch has taken place, the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church hope to draw closer by focusing on culture and spirituality. Russian Orthodox officials have never ruled out a meeting between the patriarch and the pope, said Father Filipp Vassiltsev, secretary of the administrator of Russian Orthodox parishes in Italy. However, the meeting must not be a formal ceremony "just for video cameras and journalists, but must be a significant event for both the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church," he said. For that reason, "a meeting of this kind must be well prepared."
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