Pope Discusses Peace in Middle East With Mubarak

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, March 13 — Pope Benedict met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss Iran, Iraq and the prospects for lasting peace in the Middle East, the Intelligencer reported.

Mubarak wrapped up a European tour that included discussions about the new Hamas-led Palestinian government and concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. The Holy Father and Mubarak had a cordial half-hour meeting, said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

“The meeting allowed them to review questions dealing with the prospects for a lasting peace in the Middle East,” Navarro-Valls said in a statement. “There was a deep exchange of ideas about the situation in Iraq and also a look at the issues regarding” Iran, he said without giving details.

Christian Presence in Holy Land Is Necessary

AGI, March 14 — Cardinal Ignace Moussa Daoud, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, said the presence of Christians in the Holy Land is vital to the region’s peace, the Italian news service reported.

In an open letter to all the bishops of the world, Cardinal Daoud said, “The presence of Christians in the Holy Land is now, more than ever, necessary to ensure a peaceful future to that area, and for the sake of the universal Church, which must have communities championing the faith in the Gospel.”

The cardinal appealed to Christians to provide funds for Christians living in the Holy Land, otherwise they may leave to earn a living in another country.

“The land of Our Lord keeps on witnessing a conflict that has been going on for years, depriving the Catholic communities and institutions of adequate means to sustain and promote religious, cultural and humanitarian activities,” he said. “This situation leads to poverty and unemployment, with terrible repercussions on the people, and drives Christians away.”

Supposed John Paul II Miracle Investigated

ASSOCIATED PRESS, March 13 — An official inquiry into a possible miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II is under way, Associated Press reported.

Postulator Msgr. Slawomir Oder said he was asking the French bishop in whose diocese the alleged miracle occurred to begin gathering testimony and documentation. According to Msgr. Oder a French nun was inexplicably cured from Parkinson’s disease after her mother-superior asked all the nuns in their community to pray to John Paul for a cure.

“Exactly two months after the death of the Pope, from one minute to the next, the nun didn’t show the symptoms of the illness anymore,” he said. “According to the criteria of human science, the doctor couldn’t give an explanation of what happened.”

Late last year, Msgr. Oder traveled to France to interview the nun, the superior-general and her doctor to determine if the case might be the miracle the Vatican needs to beatify John Paul. He said that when he saw the nun in question, she was “perfectly able to do her work without any symptom of what she had before.”