Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Debate rages over interpretation of Vatican document barring gays from the priesthood

American bishops praise document, disagree sharply over its interpretation (61 links, updated Wed.)

Nov. 30 - Sharp disagreement between Bishop D'Arcy on the one hand and Cardinal McCarrick, Bishop Skylstad, and Bishop Clark on the other over interpretation of document (Washington Post)

Transcript of interview with Bishop Skylstad (Washington Post)

Bishop D'Arcy believes gays shouldn't be ordained (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette)

Father Fessio, another Jesuit debate document; Jesuit Gregorian University liturgy professor Father Keith Pecklers criticizes document (PBS)

Texas bishop says document has nothing to do with the scandal; openly homosexual Dominican condemns it (Austin American-Statesman)

Delaware bishop supports stand issued by Pope on gays (Wilmington News-Journal)

Reaction from Dallas bishop, seminary rector (Dallas Morning News)

Vatican defends policy on gay priests (AP)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Possible miracle attributed to JPII in France; can help to establish eligibility for sainthood


Archbishop says possible miracle by pope John Paul II was performed in France

November 29, 2005

ROME (AP) - Krakow's Roman Catholic archbishop spoke Tuesday of a possible miracle performed by pope John Paul II in France that a church tribunal will focus on as the Vatican pursues its case for beatification.

Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, who was personal secretary to John Paul, told reporters in Rome that "there are no problems with miracles because there are many, but they have picked one because they don't need more."

Pressed further, Dziwisz added: "Maybe this I can say: they have picked (one in) France."

The Vatican needs proof of a miracle before it can proclaim John Paul eligible for sainthood, and a church tribunal from the archdiocese of Krakow, Poland, has been gathering evidence from witnesses.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Vatican document reiterates policy about gays in the priesthood; it provokes usual responses

Liberal news agencies spout the usual claptrap about how divisive the Vatican's policy of not allowing gays in the priesthood is. Although not a new policy the careful screening of candidates must be enforced in order to weed out unsuitable men.

U.S. Catholics Are Divided Over New Directive on Gays

Published: November 28, 2005

Grappling with the implications of a Vatican directive issued last week that would bar most gay men from seminaries, Roman Catholics at several parishes around the country yesterday offered sharply contrasting interpretations of its impact on the priesthood, on the potential for sex abuse by clergy members and on the church itself.

More than three dozen interviews at churches in Los Angeles and around Boston, Washington and Austin, Tex., underscored that Catholics were as divided as the rest of the country in their attitudes about gay men and lesbians. Roughly half the Catholics interviewed praised the Vatican document as upholding church teachings, which consider homosexuality "objectively disordered." But just as many parishioners criticized it as unfair to gay men, saying that a priest's commitment to celibacy should be the issue, not his sexual orientation.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Vatican document barring gays from priesthood stirs debate

On the heels of the newly issued Vatican document which bars men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies from the priesthood, comes this reaction from Catholic Analysis:

Saturday, November 26, 2005
Homosexuality and the Ordained Priesthood

The next few weeks will see frenetic commentary on the new Vatican document barring those with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies from ordination. The official release of the document is, reportedly, on Tuesday. Already, I saw one liberal Vatican columnist trying his best to grasp desperately at legalistic straws in order to minimize the authoritative nature of the document--a transparently failed effort by the columnist, as I think even he realizes. All of which raises this question: are Catholic liberals the real Pharisees today, ignoring weightier matters while focusing on the unimportant matters? If you have to spend your time always finding a way to discount Church teaching, why identify yourself as Catholic? Either you seek a fuller conversion, or you stop faking it. Stopping the fakery may actually be the first step to an eventual and surprising fuller conversion. It's like AA recommends: stop the denial as the first step.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Pope Benedict remembers JPII's last illness; says his suffering was lesson to the world

ABC News

Pope Recalls John Paul II's Final Illness
Pope Benedict XVI Recalls Anxiety, Emotion of John Paul II's Final Illness

By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press

ROME Nov 25, 2005 — Pope Benedict XVI recalled the anxious and emotional weeks of Pope John Paul II's final illness during a visit Friday to the hospital where he was treated, saying his predecessor's suffering was a lesson for all the world.

Benedict returned to the grounds of the Gemelli Polyclinic to inaugurate the academic year of the Sacred Heart Catholic University, of which the hospital is a part.

During his 26-year pontificate, John Paul was treated at Gemelli several times, including twice in February after suffering breathing problems related to the flu. He died in his Vatican apartment April 2.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Biography of JPII, "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father" released

The New York Sun

The Shoes of the Fisherman

By CARL ROLLYSON - Special to the Sun
November 23, 2005

Hagiography is often a term of abuse, as though a biographer has idealized or sentimentalized the subject, or emphasized the heroic over the humble, the saint over the sinner. To be hagiographic is to be atavistic, harking back to the pre-modern, pre-secular world where the fraught dynamics of human psychology were suppressed in favor of extolling the exemplary figure. And yet here is Peggy Noonan, a believing Catholic, describing an audience with Pope John Paul II:

His cassock was too short - six inches off the floor. We could see his white cotton sports socks. We could see his worn brown shoes! He wears old brown loafers, like a working man, and not the traditional dainty slippers of a pope.

Biographies excite a craving for such details about the late and the great. John Paul II, Ms. Noonan implies, remained always the same man who worked in a chemical factory in Nazi occupied Poland while studying clandestinely for the priesthood.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Spiritual directors have "duty to dissaude" men with deep-seated gay tendencies from priesthood

Priests Citing New Problem in Gay Policy

Published: November 24, 2005

A day after the disclosure of a new Vatican directive that deters most gay men from joining the priesthood, some priests say they are shocked by one easily overlooked clause. It says that spiritual directors and confessors in seminaries "have the duty to dissuade" any candidates "who show deep-seated homosexual tendencies" from joining the priesthood.

These priests said this would turn the confessional and spiritual counseling sessions, which seminarians previously regarded as private and supportive meetings, into a tool for weeding gay men out of seminaries.

"The relationship between a seminarian and his confessor or his spiritual director should not be about enforcing church documents, but to serve as spiritual guides," said the Rev. Michael Herman, a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago who has recently publicly identified himself as gay in order to speak out against the Vatican's action.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Adista leaks complete text of Vatican document on homosexuals in the priesthood

In Strong Terms, Rome Is to Ban Gays as Priests

Published: November 23, 2005

ROME, Nov. 22 - A new Vatican document excludes from the priesthood most gay men, with few exceptions, banning in strong and specific language candidates "who are actively homosexual, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called 'gay culture.'"

The long-awaited document, which has leaked out in sections over the last few months, was published Tuesday in Italian by an Italian Catholic Web site,

Vatican document on homosexuals in the priesthood published by Italian news agency

Rome, Nov. 22, 2005 (CNA) - The Italian news agency Adista has leaked the complete text of the long-awaited Instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education which definitively excludes the admission of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies to the priesthood.

The Instruction “Concerning The Criteria Of Vocational Discernment Regarding Persons With Homosexual Tendencies In View Of Their Admission To Seminaries And Holy Orders” will be officially released next week at the Vatican, but Adista—which calls itself a “progressive” Catholic news agency—leaked the Italian-language document.

The complete text of the document follows:




In continuity with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and, in particular, with the decree Optatam totius on priestly formation, the Congregation for Catholic Education has published various documents to promote an adequate integral formation of future priests, offering guidelines and precise norms concerning its different aspects. The Synod of Bishops in 1990 also reflected on priestly formation in the current circumstances, with the intention of complementing the conciliar teaching on this issue and make it more explicit and incisive in the contemporary world. Following this Synod, Pope John Paul II published the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Could it be the time to exorcise Europe?

As the Church fights to win back and re-evangelize a post-Christian Europe, one of the necessary means to that end might be to engage in both a personal and general exorcism of its people and secular institutions.

Special Report

The Exorcism of Europe
By George Neumayr
Published 10/18/2005 12:08:38 AM

Writing in Newsweek International, Barbie Nadeau scoffs at the Vatican's preservation of its exorcism rite. But judging by the rise of demonic cults cited in the article -- "Interest in satanic worship has risen sharply across Europe recently; there are 5,000 Italians involved in 650 active satanic cults in the country, more than double the number a decade ago" -- the Church's exorcism rite is needed more than ever. If enlightened Europe scoffs at Vatican exorcisms, it is not because Europeans deny the existence of Satan; it is because they don't want to fight him.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose, released in Europe in early October, occasioned Nadeau's article. The movie is based on a European legal case from the 1970s involving Anneliese Michel, a twentyish German woman, now something of a folk hero, who died after months of exorcisms.

The wholly secularized German legal authorities blamed her death on benighted exorcists and her reactionary Catholic parents, who considered post-Vatican II liberalism to be scandalous and stupid. (According to media accounts, Anneliese agreed with them. Before her possession began, she was doing penance for the progressive creeps rapidly filling up the Church in Germany.) If she had only been left to the ministrations of science and medicine, her death would never have happened, went the German court's reasoning, and the exorcists and parents were convicted of criminal negligence. The court declared Anneliese, who had requested the exorcists after medicine failed to help her, the victim of "Doctrinaire Induction."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Pope in remembrance of "Gaudium et spes": Witness to Christ always and live vocation fully

On the solemnity of Christ the King at the Angelus prayer Pope Benedict XVI recalls the Gaudium et Spes constitution : “The Mission of the Church yesterday, today and always is to announce and bear witness to Christ so that every man and woman may live the fullness of his or her vocation”

Vatican City (Fides Service) - On the solemnity of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, at the midday Angelus prayer Pope Benedict XVI focused once again on the Second Vatican Council which closed 40 years ago, referring to the Constitution “Gaudium et spes. “From the moment when his birth was announced, Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary was called "King", in the messianic sense, that is heir to the throne of David, according as promised by the prophets, for a kingdom that will have no end” the Pope said to thousands of people gathered in St Peter’s square to listen to his teaching and r! eceive his blessing after the Angelus prayer. “During his public life, Jesus inaugurated the new Kingdom which is ‘not of this world’, and at the end he brought it to completion with his death and resurrection... Christ’s Kingdom is a gift offered to men and women of every era so that believing in the incarnate Word they ‘will not die but will have eternal life (Jn 3,16). This is why in the last book of the Bible, Revelation Christ announces: ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end’ (Rev 22,13).”

"Christ alpha e omega" is the title of a paragraph of the “Gaudium et spes” pastoral constitution issued by Vatican II, the Pope recalled, quoting Pope Paul VI: “In the light of the centrality of Christ, Gaudium et spes interprets the conditions of humanity today, human calling and dignity, and ambits of human life: family, culture, economy, politics, international community. This is the mission of the Church, yesterday, today and always: announce and bear witness to Christ so that every man and woman may live their vocation to the full.”

The Pope invited those present in the Square pray that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary “we may welcome Christ as the Lord of life and cooperate faithfully for the coming of his Kingdom of love, justice and peace”.
After the Angelus, the Pope sent special greetings to the Catholics of Mexico celebrating the beatification in Guadalajara of 13 martyrs killed for the faith between 1920 and 1930. “On the solemnity of Christ the King, whom they invoked at the moment of giving up their lives, they are permanent examples and encouragement to bear coherent witness to our faith in society today” the Pope said. He also recalled the ‘Day pro orantibus’ 21 November, feast of the Presentation of the Child Mary at the Temple, a special day for religious communities of contemplative life: “On behalf of the whole Church I thank those enclosed religious who dedicate their lives to prayer offering an eloquent witness of the primacy of God and his Kingdom. I encourage you to offer them spiritual and material assistance”. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 21/11/2005; righe 33, parole 480)

See the Pope's address

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Will Pope's stance concerning homosexuals in the priesthood define his papacy?

Spirit Daily


The intersection has been reached at which Pope Benedict XVI will establish his papacy as a strongly distinct one or will head in the direction of an interregnum -- more an in-between papacy.

Both directions have their advantages. Striking it has been how dedicated the former Cardinal Ratzinger has been to John Paul II -- profoundly invoking devotion to him, praying at his tomb, recalling fond moments, and following John Paul's policies in such actions as visiting a synagogue and maintaining the new Vatican relationship with Castro. Thus far, he has been a caretaker -- from Youth Day to ecumenism, keeper of his predecessor's incredible flame.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Pope Benedict gives thumbs up to CBS mini-series on JPII

Pope blesses 'John Paul' TV movie
Reuters via Yahoo! News

By Peter Kiefer
2 hours, 4 minutes ago

ROME (Hollywood Reporter) - It was a meeting of Hollywood and the holy Thursday as the Vatican hosted the world premiere of the TV movie " Pope John Paul II" with Pope Benedict XVI in attendance.

The cavernous Paul VI Hall was near capacity with about 6,000 on hand for the reduced version of the two-part series that will air on December 4 and December 7 on CBS.

"I would like to extend my gratitude to the actors for honoring the memory of my illustrious and loved predecessor," the pope said following the screening. "Viewing this film has reopened my gratitude to God for providing us with a pope both so human and so spiritual. . . . I welcome the distribution of this film."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Message of Pope to Italian Episcopal Conference: priesthood is a gift and mission

In ‘profoundly changing times’, Pope calls for greater pastoral care, education for seminarians

Vatican City, Nov. 17, 2005 (CNA) - As vocational problems and priestly scandals continue to arise in some regions of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict today, called for more priests who are fully aware of the gift of grace received in ordination, and of the important mission entrusted to them.

The Pope made his remarks in a message sent to the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), which is currently meeting in Assisi, Italy, from November 14th until tomorrow.

During the meeting, which marks the conference’s 55th general assembly, special attention will be given, among other issues, to the formation of future priests and to the presence of the Church in the world of health care.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pope's Wednesday audience: God's entrance into space and time reaches apex in Incarnation

Through periods of trial and liberation, God is always with His people, says Pope

Vatican City, Nov. 16, 2005 (CNA) - The continued presence of God with His people throughout history was the major theme of Pope Benedict XVI’s weekly Wednesday audience, held earlier today at the Vatican.

22,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to hear the Holy Father as he continued his ongoing catechesis on the psalms--today speaking on the latter half of Psalm 135, which he called, “thanksgiving for God’s salvation.” Benedict first recalled that the first part of the psalm proclaims "faith in God the Creator, Who reveals Himself through His works of creation," while the second half leads us to "the presence of God ... in the history of salvation."

Pope Benedict XVI weekly Catechesis: “Certainly the Lord is transcendent as creator and arbiter of the being; but he is also close to his creatures and enters space and time, indeed his presence among us reaches its apex in the Incarnation of Christ”

Vatican City (Fides Service) - At his weekly audience this morning in St Peter’s Square Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the second part of Psalm 135 (verses 10-26, “Thanksgiving for God’s work of salvation”, vespers Monday week four). “The Lord’s work is celebrated in two ambits, space and time” the Holy Father explained. The first of the psalm which we looked at last week , proclaims faith in God the creator who reveals himself in his cosmic creatures. “Now the joyous song of the psalmist … leads us to a different horizon. We know that biblical Revelation repeatedly proclaims that the presence of God the Saviour is manifested above all in the history of salvation.”

The psalmist sees the Lord’s many salvific interventions which have their heart in the fundamental exodus from Egypt. “This is closely connected the travailed wandering in the desert of Sinai, the final destination being the arrival in the promised land, a gift of God which Israel continues to experience all through the Bible.” The latter part of the psalm looks on the land which the Bible praises with enthusiasm. “This elaborate celebration which goes beyond the reality of that land, is really in praise of the divine gift”: a gift will allows the people to be free, a gift born from the Lord’s mercy “his fidelity to the promises made in the covenant with Israel, his love continually revealed through «memory».”

Psalm 135 interweaves two modalities of the one divine Revelation, cosmic and historic: “Certainly the Lord is transcendent as creator and arbiter of the being; but he is also close to his creatures, and enters space and time, indeed his presence among us reaches its apex in the Incarnation of Christ.” The Holy Father concluded his teaching quoting Saint Cyprian who at the beginning of his treatise on “works of charity and mercy” “contemplates the great deeds God has accomplished in Christ and concludes with a passionate recognition of God’s mercy”. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 16/11/2005, righe 25, parole 373)

Links: See the Pope addrress

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pope asks Iraqi Catholics to work toward peace and reconciliation
Features: Faith & Values
Last modified Saturday, November 12, 2005 9:45 PM PST

Pope encourages Iraqi Catholics not to be discouraged and to work for peace
By: Associated Press

ROME -- Pope Benedict XVI urged Iraqi Catholics on Saturday not to be discouraged and to continue working for peace and reconciliation.

Benedict made the appeal during an audience with the patriarch of Chaldean Catholics, Emmanuel III Delly, and other bishops from the Chaldean church at the end of their weeklong meeting, or synod, in Rome.

The pope said he wanted to send Iraqi Catholics a special word of encouragement and prayer "so that your beloved country, despite the current difficult situation, doesn't get discouraged and continues in the path toward reconciliation and peace."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Pope meets members of Wiesenthal Centre; asks Christians and Jews to live in harmony

AFP via Yahoo! News

Pope holds audience for Nazi watchdog group
Mon Nov 14, 1:11 PM ET

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI met members of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre at the Vatican, saying Christians and Jews had an important contribution to make to ensuring a future of harmony and trust.

"Christians and Jews can do much to enable coming generations to live in harmony and respect for the dignity with which every human being has been endowed by the Creator," said the 78-year-old pontiff.

"After a difficult and painful history, relations between our two communities are presently taking a new, more positive, direction. We must continue to advance along the path of mutual respect and dialogue," he said.

The delegation's leader, Rabbi Marvin Hier of Los Angeles, has publicly opposed the Catholic Church's impending canonisation of Pope Pius XII, alleging the wartime pope remained silent about the plight of Europe's Jews in the face of the Holocaust.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Pope weighs in on the "intelligent design" of creation

According to the Pope, intelligent design is, to put it succinctly and in a nutshell:
The Creative Word which is Love created everything and made this intelligent project, our universe.

Pope weighs in on creation controversy
Intelligent-design advocates hail Benedict’s criticism of ‘scientific’ atheism

Associated Press
Updated: 5:54 p.m. ET Nov. 11, 2005

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI has waded into the evolution debate in the United States, saying the universe was made by an "intelligent project" and criticizing those who in the name of science say its creation was without direction or order.

Benedict made the off-the-cuff comments during his general audience Wednesday. The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, published the full text of his remarks in its Thursday editions.

Benedict focused his reflections for the audience on scriptural readings that said God’s love was seen in the "marvels of creation."


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Il Giornale: Vatican to restrict active gays and those with "deeply rooted tendencies" from seminary

Italian daily publishes excerpts from long-awaited Vatican document on homosexuals in the seminary

Rome, Nov. 11, 2005 (CNA) - The Italian daily Il Giornale has published what it claims are excerpts from the upcoming Vatican document that will bar homosexuals from the priesthood.

The newspaper claims to have had access to the eight-page document that will be released under the auspices of the Congregation for Catholic Education and will be entitled, “Instruction for vocational discernment criteria regarding persons with homosexual tendencies in view of their admission to the priesthood and holy orders.”

The document will allegedly include an introduction and three chapters: “Affective maturity and spiritual paternity,” “Homosexuality and the ordained ministry,” and “Discernment of the suitability of candidates on the part of the Church.”

Vatican document restricts gays in priesthood: paper
Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:50 AM ET

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A new Vatican document will bar from the priesthood practicing homosexuals, men whose gay tendencies are "deeply rooted," or who openly espouse a gay culture, a leading Italian newspaper reported on Friday.

Il Giornale of Milan printed what it said were excerpts from the eagerly awaited document, expected to be issued at the end of this month.

"The Church cannot admit to the priesthood those who practice homosexuality, have deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or those who support the so-called 'gay culture,'" the newspaper quoted the document as saying.

In recent months there have been numerous leaks about the contents of the document but Il Giornale's report by its respected religious affairs correspondent Andrea Tornielli appeared to be the first with direct quotes.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Iraqi President Talabani meets Pope Benedict; assures Iraq constitution will protect Christians

AP via Yahoo! News

Iraqi President Meets Pope Benedict XVI
Thu Nov 10, 8:40 AM ET

VATICAN CITY - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani met Thursday with Pope Benedict XVI amid tight security that closed down the main boulevard leading to the Vatican.

Talabani is on a weeklong visit to Italy and has met with the country's top officials, including Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Benedict met with Iraq's foreign minister in August and discussed religious freedom in Iraq and the country's constitution.

The Vatican has expressed concern about Iraq's constitution, fearing that any legal system based on Islamic law might not guarantee the rights of religious minorities.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said after his Aug. 25 meeting with the pope that he had sought to assure the pontiff that the constitution would aim to safeguard religious freedom for all Iraqis.

Iraqi President Makes Assurances to Pope
Thursday, November 10, 2005

VATICAN CITY — Iraqi President Jalal Talabani met with Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday and sought to assure him that the rights of Christians and other religious minorities are guaranteed under Iraq's new constitution.

The Vatican has expressed concern about the constitution, which promises religious freedom for all, but says Islam is "a fundamental source" of legislation for Iraq. The Vatican fears that any legal system based on Islamic law might not protect the rights of religious minorities.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Pope Benedict on Psalm 135: as denoted by word "hesed," God's love is paternal, merciful

VATICAN - “God does not appear in the Bible as an immovable and implacable sovereign or some obscure and indecipherable being...he reveals himself as a person who loves his creatures, watches over them and follows their progress in history”: Pope Benedict XVI teaches on Psalm 135

Vatican City (Fides Service) - Part one of psalm 135 as it is divided in the liturgy of Vespers is called «the great Hallel», that is the great and solemn praise sung by Judaism during the paschal liturgy. Dwelling in particular on the refrain - «Eternal is his mercy » - the Holy Father explained during the General Audience this morning that the word mercy “is a legitimate but limited translation of the original Hebrew word hesed which is part of the characteristic language used by the Bible to express the covenant between the Lord and his people … In this relationship, God does not appear in the Bible as an immovable and implacable sovereign or an obscure and indecipherable being, similar to fate, against whose mysterious power it is useless to fight. He reveals himself instead as a person who loves his creatures, watches over them and follows their progress in history and suffers the acts of infidelity with which the people often oppose his hesed, his merciful and paternal love.”


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Pope: dialogue and objective morality are keys to peace in the world

The Universe

Pope lists two key ingredients for world peace at Istanbul Conference

Posted on November 09, 2005

Benedict XVI says that dialogue and an objective morality are the keys to transform the world into a place of peace. The Pope expressed this in a message on the occasion of the second International Conference on Peace and Tolerance, organized by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and Rabbi Arthur Schneier, president of the New York-based Appeal of Conscience Foundation. The three-day congress in Istanbul, Turkey, ends tosday. In his message, the Holy Father pointed out the keys "of peace and tolerance," two themes "of vital importance." "Only through dialogue can there be hope that the world will become a place of peace and fraternity," he said in the message transmitted to the participants in the meeting by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. "It is the duty of every person of good will, and especially of every believer, to help build a peaceful society and to overcome the temptation towards aggressive and futile confrontation between different cultures and ethnic groups," Benedict XVI said.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

In audience with President of Lutheran World Federation, Pope asks greater effort at dialogue

Pope Urges Better Dialogue With Lutherans
Pope Urges Better Dialogue During Audience With President of Lutheran World Federation

by NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press Writer

The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY Nov 7, 2005 — Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that ecumenical talks with Lutherans had run into new challenges and called for greater efforts at dialogue in the years before the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.

Benedict, who has made uniting all Christians a priority of his pontificate, made the comments to Bishop Mark Hanson, president of the Lutheran World Federation, during a Vatican audience.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Mother pleads for Pope to intervene with government of Singapore to save son's life

The Australian

Plea to Pope for condemned Nguyen

By Padraic Murphy
November 07, 2005

THE mother of condemned drug mule Van Tuong Nguyen has placed the last hope for her son's life in the hands of the Pope.

Kim Nguyen choked back tears during a service at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne attended by a thousand people, as prospects for legal and diplomatic attempts to save her 25-year-old son from the Singaporean hangman appeared doomed.

Father Peter Norden, who administers the parish of Van's former Catholic primary school in Richmond, has written to the Pope in a last-ditch effort to save the Melbourne salesman, expected to be executed this month.

After the service, an emotional Mrs Nguyen said she was grateful for the support. "Everyone who comes to help - they pray for my son today, thank you," she said.

Mrs Nguyen did not know if her son was aware of the prayer services and the swell of support for him in the Australian community. "I wish he knows, but I am really not sure."

Father Norden said he was unaware if a plea for clemency from a pope had ever been successful in halting an execution in Singapore, but that the Vatican's intervention had been instrumental in stopping several executions in the US.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

JPII's admonishment against murder helped gain confessions from guilt-ridden IRA men

Sunday Life

Into The Dark: Taking IRA confessions... with a little help from the pope

06 November 2005

THE words of Pope John Paul II helped me gain many a confession from guilt-ridden IRA men.

"Murder is murder is murder," said John Paul II during his visit to Ireland in 1979, and there was no mistaking the genuine admonishment in his tone.

From January 1979, I spent five years as a detective in nationalist west Belfast - based first in Andersonstown station and later at Woodbourne.

When I arrived in the 'wild west' from Bangor, where I was based for a short time, an older detective asked: "What did you do to deserve to be sent to this God-forsaken hellhole?"

"I volunteered. I wanted a challenge," I answered truthfully.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Bishop Robinson: Pope's policy on gay clergy is boosting membership in Anglican church

ABC News Online

Pope's gay clergy policy 'boosting Anglican numbers'

Gene Robinson, the world's first openly gay bishop, says Pope Benedict XVI's attitude toward homosexuals might be boosting membership of the Anglican Church in the United States.

"We are seeing so many Roman Catholics joining the (Anglican) church," Bishop Robinson said.

"Pope (Joseph) Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) may be the best thing that ever happened to the (US) Episcopal Church."

Bishop Robinson, whose appointment in 2003 as Bishop of New Hampshire has been deeply divisive for Anglican Christians around the world, added: "Let's keep our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in our prayers."


Friday, November 04, 2005

In interview about JPII's cause: Postulator feels "fear and trembling" before this responsibility

What the Postulator of John Paul II's Cause Faces
Interview With Monsignor Slawomir Oder

ROME, NOV. 3, 2005 ( Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the postulator of Pope John Paul II's cause for beatification and canonization, admits to feeling "fear and trembling" before this responsibility.

In an interviewed with ZENIT, Monsignor Oder commented on the profound spiritual bond that unites him to the Pope, a fellow Pole, in whose shadow his vocation to the priesthood matured. He outlined the present state of the diocesan investigation of the process of beatification, which opened June 28.

Q: How are you living the responsibility of postulator of John Paul II's cause of beatification and canonization?

Monsignor Oder: I can say that without a doubt it is a venture that I live with fear and trembling in my heart because, when one is before a human and spiritual giant like John Paul II, it's enough to start trembling, above all because one notes the closeness of the grace of God that acted in this man. But also because of the responsibility before the Church, and before so many people of good will, who manifest their desire to see John Paul II beatified as soon as possible.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Beatification process for John Paul II to start--Polish tribunal will hear witnesses on his life

Polish tribunal to prepare for beatification of Pope John Paul II

Thu Nov 3,11:56 AM ET

WARSAW (AFP) - A tribunal to prepare for the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II -- the first step towards full sainthood -- is due to hold its first session on Friday.

The tribunal will be held in Krakow, the southern Polish city where the late pope spent most of his life prior to becoming head of the Roman Catholic Church.

"The tribunal will hear witnesses of the life of Karol Wojtyla," the president of the tribunal Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek told AFP, referring to the Polish pope who died in April by his Christened name.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Pope may prune institutions without a solid Catholic identity

Archbishop: Pope will ‘prune’ institutions with weak Catholic identity

Atlanta, Nov. 02, 2005 (CNA) - The Church, under the papacy of Benedict XVI, will likely refuse to support and maintain ties with institutions that have weakened or lost their Catholic identity, says Archbishop Michael Miller, secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education.

The archbishop made this speculation during his speech Monday at the 2005 Terrence Keeley Vatican Lecture at Notre Dame University, reported the Notre Dame University Observer.

The lecture reportedly drew some of Notre Dame's most prominent leaders, including the university’s president emeritus, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, and the dean of arts and letters, Mark Roche.

Archbishop Miller based his prediction on the writings of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. He said the writings indicate that the new Pope believes it is a mistake to uphold institutions that lack a solid Catholic identity.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Pope Benedict to pray at tomb of John Paul II today on All Saints Day

Pope Benedict to pray at John Paul's tomb

Tuesday November 1, 12:49 PM

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Tuesday he would pray at the tomb of his predecessor John Paul II, who he has put on a fast-track to sainthood, as part of his celebrations marking All Saints feast day.

All Saints Day, held on November 1, is one of the most recognised Christian feast days. The pope traditionally visits the tombs of past popes the next day but it has taken on extra significance this year following the death of John Paul II.