National Catholic Reporter

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Between a lifestyle and a life



There is a young man in Haiti who is trying to come to the United States. We are trying to help him. January will mark one year since we started the application process for Winddcheley’s student visa.

My husband and I made an appointment to talk to Winddcheley on Saturday morning. We are driving to Denver, and my husband’s Blackberry is synced with his in-car phone system. The audio is set for speakerphone. I have the passenger seat warmer on high to ease the ache in my lower back. I have a bottle of water. While we are waiting for the call we listen to the Sinatra channel on our satellite radio.

We know that Winddcheley is walking to an Internet café near Port-au-Prince. He will pay to use the Internet. He will spend money on this phone call today, and no money on food. Winddcheley does not eat every day. He is always hungry. He hopes the Internet will be up and working at the café. He hopes he won’t walk for nothing. It is no small thing to expend calories one doesn’t have.

An 'intercessor with Muslims'


Almost 10 years after the attack on the World Trade Center, one thing is clear: In New York City and elsewhere, fear continues to guide many people’s views of Muslims. Is there an alternative pathway to living in peace with Muslims?

Two Catholic women, Erin von Uffel and Lorraine Fusaro, longtime friends and residents of Long Island, N.Y., believe they have identified a way to model peaceful coexistence and respect between Christians and Muslims.

As vote nears, Sudan's possible border area tense


MALAKAL, Southern Sudan -- As January's referendum on independence for Southern Sudan approaches, tensions are running high in communities along what many expect will become a new international border with northern Sudan.

Packed buses arrive in Malakal daily with southerners coming home from the North. Church workers report the exodus is fueled by the fear of being attacked should the South vote to separate.

Similarly afraid in any possible post-referendum violence, Arab traders in the town's market are closing their shops and heading North, causing the price of basic commodities to rise as the flow of commercial goods from Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, grinds to a halt.

Armies from the two sides, camped out here in close proximity, eye each other with mistrust. On the local base of a joint military force -- comprising soldiers from both the northern Sudan Armed Forces and the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army -- rumors run rampant of post-referendum alliances and betrayals.

154-year-old American seminary in Belgium to close


LEUVEN, BELGIUM -- The American College of Louvain, the seminary the U.S. bishops have administered in Leuven, Belgium, since 1857, will close at the end of this academic year. The decision to close the school in June 2011 was made by the board of bishops of the American College and was confirmed last month during the U.S. bishops’ annual fall meeting.

The American College's contributions



John A. Dick is an alumnus of the American College of Louvain, Class of 1969, and a former member of the faculty. He offers this reflection on the closing of the school.

LOUVAIN, BELGIUM — In its 154th year, the American College of Louvain, the oldest foreign seminary governed by the U.S. bihsops, will shut down at the end of the current academic year in June 2011. The official announcement was made in a U.S. bishops' conference news release dated Nov. 22.

Based on the recommendations of a study by its own Apostolic Commission, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, at its most recent November meeting, has called for the closure of the American College of Louvain.

Respect for religion vital, pope tells Ahmadinejad


VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Respect for each person's relationship with God is an essential part of building a just social order and real peace, Pope Benedict XVI said in a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"It is my profound conviction that respect for the transcendent dimension of the human person is an indispensable condition for the construction of a just social order and a stable peace," the pope wrote to the Iranian leader.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran gave the letter to Ahmadinejad Nov. 9 during a meeting in Tehran. The Vatican released a copy of the letter Nov. 11.

Catholic university launches in Sudan


TENAFLY, N.J. -- When Americans think about Sudan -- if they ever do -- they may connect it with some 20 years of civil war, with hunger, refugees and genocide -- especially in Darfur, its northwestern province. Or they may associate it more recently with large oil finds in the south of the country or with the peace agreement of 2005, which has brought an unsteady cease fire to warring factions of the North and South.

Attack on Iraq church called example of intolerance toward Christians


UNITED NATIONS -- The Oct. 31 attack on a Catholic cathedral in Baghdad that left 58 people dead is "another tragic incident of the continued intolerance, discrimination and violence directed at Christians," said the Vatican's representative in a Nov. 1 address at the United Nations.

Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said the incident underscores the need to ensure that all religions and all believers have "the most basic right to religious freedom and worship."

He was addressing the U.N. General Assembly's Third Committee, which deals with social, cultural and humanitarian issues.

Archbishop Chullikatt's statement did not elaborate on the siege by militants at the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, beyond noting that "our thoughts and prayers go to the victims of this attack and their families, some of whom I have known personally."

Cardinal urges US to protect Iraq Christians


WASHINGTON -- The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed solidarity and promised prayers for the Christians of Iraq "at this terrible time of loss and horrific violence."

In a Nov. 2 statement following the attack two days earlier on the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago said the U.S. government -- having invaded Iraq and later withdrawn all combat troops -- "has a moral obligation not to abandon those Iraqis who cannot defend themselves."

"While we welcomed the end of U.S.-led combat in Iraq, we share the Iraqi bishops' concern that the United States failed to help Iraqis in finding the political will and concrete ways needed to protect the lives of all citizens, especially Christians and other vulnerable minorities, and to ensure that refugees and displaced persons are able to return to their homes safely," the cardinal said.



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