The Vatican’s chief ambassador to Israel has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the church’s top ambassador to Washington and the U.S. church.
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, a 67-year-old Italian and a veteran diplomat, will succeed Gabriel Montalvo as the papal nuncio, or ambassador of the Holy See. Montalvo has held the post since 1998 and retired when he reached age 75.
More Americans requested emergency food and shelter in U.S. cities last year than the year before, according to a national survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Some service providers were forced to turn clients away, and officials fear that caring for relocated hurricane victims could further inundate urban agencies in 2006.
With many mainline Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church expecting fewer young pastors in coming years, the Fund for Theological Education (FTE) says that it will receive $6 million from the Lilly Endowment for matching grants to congregations that back seminarians starting their Master of Divinity studies.
In a direct action by church progressives who have repeatedly decried the federal spending cuts affecting the poor, more than 100 activists were arrested for blocking an entrance to a congressional office building during a frigid, pre-Christmas confrontation.