Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
June 28, 2010
World News in Brief
Vatican official compares oil spill with Chernobyl
The "sense of powerlessness and delay" in resolving the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history offers a lesson about the limits of technology, a Vatican official said.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said in a commentary June 19 that the leaking BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was a disaster "of enormous proportions, and getting worse."
He compared it to the 1984 chemical factory explosion in Bhopal, India, or the 1986 meltdown of the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine.
"What is striking in this case is the sense of powerlessness and delay in finding a solution to this disaster faced by one of the largest and most technologically advanced oil multinationals in the world, but also by the most powerful country on earth," Lombardi said.
"It seems incredible, but it is a fact. This is not the eruption of a volcano, but a relatively small man-made hole in the seabed. Yet, in two months, expert scientists and technicians, leaders in their field, have failed to plug it."
The Vatican spokesman said he hoped people would draw from the disaster a lesson of prudence and care in the use of the earth's resources.
"Technology will advance. But if a relatively simple production process leaves us so helpless, what will we do if much more complex processes get out of hand, such as those affecting the energy hidden in the heart of matter or moreover in the processes of the formation of life?"
Knights generous with time and money
The Knights of Columbus set record highs in 2009 for charitable donations and volunteer service hours, according to the results of an annual survey. The Knights' Annual Survey of Fraternal Activity for 2009, released June 4, indicates that the Catholic fraternal organization contributed more than US$151.1 million to charitable causes in 2009. That amount exceeds the 2008 total by more than $1 million, said the survey. Group members also collectively contributed nearly 68 million volunteer service hours to charitable causes in 2009 - an increase of more than 468,000 hours over the previous year, the survey said. The survey reported that group members volunteered 227,900 hours to Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit Christian housing organization that builds affordable housing in partnership with people in need. It was the most common service program for Knights.
Priesthood is about service, pope says at ordination
A priest who seeks status rather than the will of God will be a slave to himself and to public opinion, Pope Benedict said. He will never discover how God wants to use his personal gifts and talents for the good of the Church and the world. Being ordained a priest requires "the courage to say 'yes' to the will of another," knowing that God and the Church will not erase his individuality, but will help him become all he can be, the pope said June 20, just before ordaining 14 new priests for the Diocese of Rome. A man who sees the priesthood as a way to gain status obviously does not understand what it means to be a priest, but he also will never be free or happy, the pope said. The path of true discipleship, which includes taking up the cross, "is the sure path for finding true joy."
Priest urges support for Gulf fishing communities
A priest who oversees a Catholic ministry to people who make a living from the sea said consumers should know shrimp in Texas has not been tainted by the massive oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and urged them to support the local seafood industry. But he also expressed deep concern for those in neighbouring states whose livelihoods are being damaged by the man-made disaster. "If people want to be proactive and directly help the fishermen, (they should) make a conscious effort to buy wild-caught Gulf shrimp," said Father Sinclair Oubre of the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas. "Buying and requesting shrimp caught in Gulf-coast areas will be a big help. If the spill is not handled properly, there would be a collapse of the fishing community surrounding the Gulf." Oubre called on Catholics to stand in solidarity with the fishing communities already harmed by the spill.
Vatican calls for reduction in maternal deaths
The Vatican has urged the international community to implement social and health care measures to reduce what it called the "shocking" number of maternal deaths around the world. Such improvements should include better access to antiretroviral medications by African mothers who are HIV-positive, said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's representative to UN agencies in Geneva. Introducing a minimum age of 18 years for marriage could also help reduce the maternal death rate, he said in Geneva June 14. Experts estimate that 350,000 to 500,000 women die each year during or shortly after pregnancy. Tomasi said there is a strong correlation between maternal mortality and neonatal death. Each year, about three million babies die during their first week of life, three million are stillborn and another 2.3 million die during their first year of life. "Policies aimed at combating maternal mortality and child mortality need to strike a delicate balance between the rights of the mother and those of the child, both of whom are rights bearers, the first of which is the right to life," he said.
Sacrifice is key to Eucharist, says Benedict
Participation at Sunday Mass and reception of the Eucharist are central to the life of Catholics because they are a clear expression of belief in the sacrifice of Christ, they create community and motivate charity, Pope Benedict said. "In our day, people don't love the word 'sacrifice,' which seems to belong to another age and another way of understanding life. However, when it is properly understood, it remains fundamental because it reveals how much God, in Christ, loves us," the pope said June 15.
U.S. pro-abortion groups got $1B in federal funds
Six organizations that perform or promote abortion received at least US$967 million in U.S. federal funding in fiscal years 2002 through 2009, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The report, made public June 16, looked at government funding given to Advocates for Youth, the Guttmacher Institute, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Population Council of the United States, and Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.
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