Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
May 31, 2010
World News in Brief
Physician recalls his travels with JP2
The suffering and death of Pope John Paul II in April 2005 left a deep and lasting mark on his longtime personal physician, but Dr. Renato Buzzonetti's memories of his service to the pope also include lighter moments.
Buzzonetti, 85, became Pope John Paul's personal physician less than three months after the pope's election and cared for him for more than 26 years.
The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, recently carried an interview with the retired physician who was present at all of the pope's public ceremonies inside the Vatican and accompanied the pope whenever he left Vatican territory.
With Pope John Paul, that meant Buzzonetti not only travelled the globe on papal trips, but that he also was present each time the pope "snuck out" of the Vatican to ski, hike in the mountains or walk along the seashore.
As the pope aged, the doctor said, the skiing disappeared and even the long walks became a matter of finding an isolated place with a nice view where the pope, his secretaries, Vatican security officers, Italian police and Buzzonetti would eat a bag lunch.
"Near sundown, before heading back to Rome, the pope loved to listen to (Polish) mountain songs sung by his small entourage, who were joined by the Vatican gendarmes and members of his Italian police escort," the doctor said.
TV ads for abortion services rile British pro-life groups
British pro-life groups vowed to take all legal steps possible to halt the broadcast of advertisements for abortion services on traditional television. Marie Stopes International, Great Britain's leading provider of health care services, began airing ads May 24 in a campaign that would continue through June. The agency performs about one-third of the country's 216,000 abortions annually. The move came as a shock to Catholic leaders and pro-life groups because the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice, a government agency responsible for writing and reviewing radio and TV advertising codes, forbids advertising of commercial abortion clinics. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales criticized the campaign in a statement released May 20. "We believe that services which offer or refer for abortion - whether commercial or not-for-profit organizations - should not be allowed to advertise on broadcast media," the bishops said. "Abortion is not a consumer service," the statement continued. "To present it as such erodes respect for life and is highly misleading and damaging to women, who may feel pressured into making a quick decision, which can never be revoked."
Boston studies policies for kids of same-sex couples
After a Boston archdiocesan Catholic school rescinded its acceptance of the child of a same-sex couple, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley said archdiocesan officials would "develop policies and procedures" to guide schools on the issue. In a May 19 blog post, O'Malley noted the Denver Archdiocese has already established policies for this area of concern. "It is clear that all of their school policies are intended to foster the welfare of the children and fidelity to the mission of the Church," he said. "Their positions and rationale must be seriously considered." O'Malley's remarks came a week after St. Paul School in Hingham withdrew its acceptance of a lesbian couple's child. In his blog, he stressed that the primary issue is how to make Catholic schools available to children from "diverse, often unconventional households, while ensuring the moral theology and teachings of the Church are not compromised?" The cardinal defended the school's decision.
Shroud exposition drew 2.1M pilgrims
With the Shroud of Turin now carefully put away, Church officials said that more than 2.1 million pilgrims had come to venerate the linen cloth in the six weeks it was on display. During the April 10 to May 23 exposition, officials said 2,113,128 people from around the world passed through the Turin cathedral to catch a glimpse or say a prayer before the cloth revered by many Christians as the shroud that covered the body of the crucified Christ. In a May 22 news conference, Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin said he had " the clear perception that the Lord was speaking to the hearts of the pilgrims who came before the shroud seeking answers." The shroud "gives us the chance to offer faith in a time of confusion and spiritual fog, reconciling in the word of God," Poletto said.
Pope concerned with climate change in Mongolia
Pope Benedict expressed his sympathy and concern for the hundreds of thousands of Mongolians reeling from the effects of extreme floods and the worst winter in the Asian nation's recorded history. "Environmental issues, particularly those related to climate change, are global issues and need to be addressed on a global level," he said in a speech welcoming Mongolia's new ambassador to the Vatican. According to United Nations' officials, by late May nearly eight million animals had died - about 17 per cent of the country's livestock - and another 500,000 more animals were expected to die by the end of June.
Jesuit peace activist to get Pacem in Terris award
Father John Dear, a Jesuit who has been jailed for his efforts to end war and nuclear weapons proliferation, will receive the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award Oct. 31 in Davenport, Ohio. Dear said he is honoured and humbled to be chosen for the award. "It's one of the greatest awards in the Catholic Church in the United States," the 50-year-old Dear said in an interview. "But it's also an affirmation, an encouragement to keep working for peace." Dear, a prolific writer and speaker, attempted to "beat swords into ploughshares" by hammering on an F-15 nuclear fighter bomber at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C. He was arrested Dec. 7, 1993, for his actions and spent eight months in North Carolina county jails. Dear says he's been arrested more than 75 times for actions stemming from his peace activism. He doesn't expect everyone to follow his lead, but this is what he feels compelled to do. "I'm doing my part in God's disarmament of the planet."
Vatican cautious about first synthetic cell
The successful development of a synthetic cell can have many practical applications, but the technology must be regulated, said the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. A team of geneticists in the United States announced May 20 that it had created a living artificial cell. After mapping on a computer the complete DNA code of a bacterium, the team led by Craig Venter, inserted the synthesized DNA into a bacteria cell, which was then able to replicate and be controlled by the synthetic genome. Synthetic cells could be used to convert carbon dioxide into fuel or to create new vaccines for treating diseases, Venter told CNN May 22. The Vatican newspaper emphasized that scientists had not created life, but had "substituted one of its engines." Venter's creation has produced "an interesting result," which could have many applications. But the new technology "must have rules just like everything that lies at the heart of life," it said in an article May 23.
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