events this month
The earliest existing parish registers of Saint Augustine, dating
from 1594 to 1763, are the oldest documents of American origin
north of Mexico. Taken to Cuba when Florida was ceded briefly to
Great Britain (1763-1784), they were discovered in the archives
of the Cathedral of Havana by Augustin Verot, first Bishop of
Saint Augustine, in the summer of 1871. It was an extraordinary
1 Vatican to study care of elderly
Research is underway on how Catholics can offer better pastoral
assistance to the world’s 390 million people over the age 65.
2 Donations for the poor
U.S. parishioners collected 9.5 million in donations in 2007.
The money will be used by more than 300 poverty-fighting
organizations who work to help the 36.5 million Americans living
below the poverty line.
3 Blogged faith
Benedict XVI has encouraged religious leaders to use Internet
blogs as a means of reaching out to the youth and showing them
the true Jesus.
4 Good Christians pay taxes
Good Christians must also be good citizens, and this implies
even the unpleasant task of paying taxes, said Pope Benedict XVI
in a recent address.
5 Five million strong
A petition signed by 5 million people from 154 countries calling
for an end to capital punishment was recently presented to the
United Nations. The document is the fruit of nine years of
6 Chicago Cardinal elected as president of United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops
Cardinal Francis George was elected for a three-year term
beginning in 2008. Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Arizona was elected
7 Responsible withdrawal
The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference is calling for a
“responsible transition” to resolve the problem of Iraq. This
would require our nation’s leaders to be more realistic about
the difficult situation and more concerned about the likely
consequences of a withdrawal that is too rapid or not rapid
enough, Cardinal George said.
8 Iran not an immediate threat
The recent assessment of the confrontation with Iran by U.S.
bishops suggests that all nonmilitary alternatives must be
exhausted before military action is considered.
9 Bishops support child tax
U.S. bishops urged the House of Representatives to make the
well-being of poor families with children a central priority
when they debate and vote on the Temporary Tax Relief Act.
10 Planned Parenthood encounters resistance by Colorado
The bishops decried the secrecy that surrounded the recent
acquisition of new Planned Parenthood facilities in their state.
Planned Parenthood has quietly sought expansion in the state in
order to avoid the protests they’ve encountered at other
People need God to have hope, pope says
In an encyclical on Christian hope, Pope Benedict XVI said that,
without faith in God, humanity lies at the mercy of ideologies
that can lead to “the greatest forms of cruelty and violations
of justice.” The pope warned that the modern age has replaced
belief in eternal salvation with faith in progress and
technology, which offer opportunities for good but also open up
“appalling possibilities for evil.”
Pope Benedict XVI signs his encyclical,
Spe Salvi (on Christian hope), at the
Vatican Nov. 30. Archbishop Fernando
Filoni, Vatican assistant secretary of
state, is at right.
“Let us put it very simply: Man needs God,
otherwise he remains without hope,” he said in
the encyclical, Spe Salvi (on Christian hope),
released Nov. 30. The 76-page text explored the
essential connection between faith and hope in
early Christianity and addressed what it called
a “crisis of Christian hope” in modern times. It
critiqued philosophical rationalism and Marxism
and offered brief but powerful profiles of
Christian saints - ancient and modern - who
embodied hope, even in the face of suffering.
Spe salvi is the second encyclical of Pope
Benedict. His first, Dues caritas est, (God is
love) explored the meaning of Christian love and
how it is expressed in everyday life. He issued
it Dec. 25, 2005.
Spe salvi can be found at
and also in Spanish at