Pope Benedict called for people to remember the significance of Christ’s birth in a Christmas message specially recorded for Britons and aired on the BBC on Friday. It was the first time the pope has addressed a Christmas message specifically to one of the countries visited during the year, the BBC said.
(Photo: The Reichstag building in Berlin, November 22, 2010/Pawel Kopczynski)
A rousing welcome in Berlin it may not be.
(Photo: European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, January 30, 2009/Vincent Kessler)
The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Ireland on Thursday for stopping a Lithuanian cancer sufferer from terminating a pregnancy, in a blow to the predominantly Catholic country and its tough abortion laws. In a final ruling, the rights court found Ireland had not respected the privacy and family rights of the Lithuanian woman, who was living in Ireland and feared a pregnancy could trigger a relapse of her cancer, in remission at the time.
(Photo: Pope Benedict XVI blesses a nativity scene at the Vatican December 15, 2010/Tony Gentile)
Pope Benedict voiced the Catholic Church’s deep concern over “hostility and prejudice” against Christianity in Europe on Thursday, saying creeping secularism was just as bad as religious fanaticism. In the message for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Peace, marked on Jan. 1, he also reiterated recent condemnations of lack of religious freedom in countries in the Middle East where Christians are a minority, such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
(Photo: An Algerian stands near the newly restored Notre Dame D’Afrique Basilica in Algiers December 13, 2010/Zohra Bensemra)
A Catholic church that has been a landmark in Algeria’s capital for over a century has officially re-opened after restoration work, providing a symbol of religious tolerance in the mainly Muslim country. Algeria is emerging from a nearly two-decade-long Islamist insurgency, but the Catholic community has maintained a presence, even though several Christian clergymen have been among hundreds of thousands killed in the violence.
(Photo: A man wearing a T-shirt reading “former foster home child” at a news conference presenting the final report on abuse in foster homes in Berlin, December 13, 2010./Thomas Peter)
German victims of abuse in foster homes say the 120 million euros proposed as compensation was “humiliatingly” small compared with damages awarded in other countries, and vowed to fight for more. After a two-year inquiry, a government-appointed panel on Monday recommended 120 million euros be set aside for an estimated 30,000 victims expected to file abuse claims.
(Photo: Chairs scattered in a courtyard after an attack on pilgrims in Tecalitlan December 10, 2010/Stringer)
Suspected drug cartel gunmen attacked each other during annual religious celebrations in a small Mexican town, killing 11 people and wounding 22 others, local authorities said on Saturday.
A large majority of the Dutch public believes Roman Catholic Church authorities covered up sexual abuse, a poll found on Sunday, revealing the extent of the damage to the Church’s reputation in the Netherlands.
London’s Vatican ambassador feared anti-Catholic violence in Britain after Pope Benedict offered to accept traditionalist Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks. Catholic-Anglican relations faced their worst crisis in 150 years because of the offer, which undercut the authority of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the cable quoted Ambassador Francis Campbell as saying after the offer last year.