A round-up of news from the Catholic world...with pithy comments ;-)....
--The man who shot JP II will be released from prison this month. "Agca served 19 years in Italy for the assassination attempt before being pardoned at the Pope's behest in 2000. He was then extradited to Turkey to serve a separate sentence in an Istanbul jail for robbery and murder. "Agca is expected to be released between January 10 and January 15," Anatolian said, adding that he may then be required, like all Turkish men, to perform his military service."
Given that JPII officially forgave him, and it seems that Agca experienced a conversion while in prison, it seems fitting to the late Pope's memory that he is being released. I'm sure that his time in the military would curb any still-existing tendencies toward violence. (or so one would hope).
--B XVI elegantly ties scraments with theology at his first baptism; while baptising 10 babies (five boys, five girls) in the Sistine chapel (appropriately before Michaelangelo's Last Judgement , he decried the "culture of death" (yay!), stating that:
"In our times we need to say 'no' to the largely dominant culture of death... "(There is) an anti-culture demonstrated by the flight to drugs, by the flight from reality, by illusions, by false happiness ... displayed in sexuality which has become pure pleasure devoid of responsibility," he added. He singled out ancient Rome's Colosseum amphitheatre and the gardens of the emperor Nero, where Christians were once martyred, as a "real perversion of joy and a perversion of the sense of life."
"The anti-culture of death was a love of lies and of deceit. It was an abuse of the body as a commodity and as a product. Even in our times there is this culture and we must say 'No' to it," he said. (information from Yahoo! News)
The article also mentions this was the first time that B XVI spoke "off-the-cuff" to reporters (which, as I gathered from the article, was sort of unexpected and not exactly welcomed). I'm glad he talked about this issue, instead of the generic "importance of baptism" on which he was supposed to discuss. Too many priests and bishops in our Church do not discuss the important of this issue enough. It should be preached with regularity and passion, reminding us all of the importance of protecting all human life as our duty as Catholic Christians. It is of vital importance. Kudos to B XVI for continuing this important work.