Friday, April 28, 2006

Vatican position on condoms analyzed in light of comments by Cardinal Martini

Many voices have been raised trying to clarify Cardinal Martini's statements regarding the use of condoms. Some excellent analyses are provided by the following articles:

Spirit Daily


It may be just smoke. Or it may be Benedict's first big test. The issue is condoms -- whether the Church can allow them in unusual cases, in order to save lives -- and it was all kick-started by a prominent Cardinal who many had on their short lists of papal candidates.

It showed how close the Church can come to leadership by a pontiff with views at strong variance with current policy.

When Time Magazine speculated on a successor to John Paul II, this former archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Carlo Martini, had been listed as one of 12 likeliest candidates.

Vatican analyst examines reactions to Cardinal Martini’s statements on condom use

Rome, Apr. 27, 2006 (CNA) - In an article entitled, the “Day After Carlo Maria Martini”, set for publication in English on Friday, Italian journalist Sandro Magister of “L’Espresso” analyzes the reactions to the controversial statements by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini regarding the morality of condom use.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wednesday General Audience: Pope remembers Chernobyl

Vatican Radio
26/04/2006 17.45.29

Weekly General Audience

(26 April 06 - RV) Pope Benedict XVI remembered the 20th Anniversary of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. Catherine Smibert reports...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Vatican clarifies statement on AIDS and use of condoms

In response to the story from Reuters below, the Vatican has issued several clarifications:

Vatican office clarifies: teaching on condoms and AIDS will not change

VATICAN CITY, April 24 (CNA) - An official from the Pontifical Council for Health and Pastoral Care, presided by Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, made it clear today that the recent interview given by the Mexican prelate to the Italian daily La Reppublica, doesn’t hint at any change in the doctrine of the Church on the use of condoms to fight Aids.

Church has not changed position on respect for human life, other moral issues, says Msgr. Sgreccia

VATICAN CITY, April 24 (CNA) - The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Msgr. Elio Sgreccia, responded to statements by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, published Friday by the online Italian magazine “L’Espresso,” and said the Catholic Church has not changed her position on fundamental issues such as the right to life from conception to natural death.

Vatican preparing statement on condoms and AIDS
Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:30am ET

ROME (Reuters) - The Vatican will soon publish a statement on using condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, an issue highlighted by a call from a leading cardinal to ease its ban on them, the Catholic Church's health minister has said.

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan declined to reveal the contents of the document in an interview with la Repubblica newspaper published on Sunday, but said that Pope Benedict had asked his department to study the controversial issue.

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the former Milan archbishop who was the standard bearer for the moderate minority in the conclave that elected Benedict last year, called for a reform in an interview published in Italy on Friday.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

In multiple ways, Pope emphasizes mercy of Jesus, today, on Divine Mercy Sunday

May oceans of mercy flood down upon our sinful world, today, this Divine Mercy Sunday.

John Paul II, Pope of Divine Mercy, says Benedict XVI

23 April, 2006

The Pope makes reference to the Sunday John Paul wanted for celebrating the merciful love of Christ. He extends his best wishes for Easter to the Orthodox Churches and prays for Danube flood victims.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – A moving reference to John Paul II as ‘Pope of Divine Mercy’ sparked applause among the tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s square for the Regina Caeli. “The mystery of God’s merciful love was at the centre of the pontificate of my venerated predecessor,” said Benedict XVI.

The Pope mentioned John Paul II’ Encyclical Dives in misericordia and his consecration of the shrine in Kraków in 2002 devoted to the Divine Mercy.

Vatican Radio
Regina Coeli

(23 April 06 - RV) Pope Benedict XVI marked Divine Mercy Sunday, and sent Easter Greetings to the Eastern Churches during his Regina Coeli Message on Sunday. Charles Collins reports...

Friday, April 21, 2006

German paper Handelsblatt reports: Pope Benedict triggering revival in Germany

Media reports spiritual revival in Germany triggered by Benedict XVI

Berlin, Apr. 19, 2006 (CNA) - The German newspaper Handelsblatt is reporting that Pope Benedict XVI has triggered a spiritual revival in his native country, which he will visit for the second time in September.

In a special edition for the first anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, the German daily noted that in visiting his native country twice in such a short period of time, the Pontiff has set off a spiritual awakening among many Germans.

New Polish banknote honors Pope JPII

BBC News
Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK

Polish banknote honours late Pope

The note showing Pope John Paul II will go into circulation in October
Poland's central bank has revealed a new banknote depicting the late Polish-born Pope John Paul II.

The note, worth 50 zloty (£9), portrays the Pope on both sides and will go into circulation in October.

It bears religious symbols linked to John Paul II, quotes from his speeches, a copy of his signature and the dates of his long papacy, from 1978 to 2005.

Poles are overwhelmingly Catholic and hold John Paul II, who died in April last year, in huge regard.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Pope: asks for prayers, so as to be for God a "mild and firm shepherd of his Church"

Washington Post

On anniversary, Pope wants to be mild yet firm

By Crispian Balmer
Wednesday, April 19, 2006; 7:31 AM

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict marked the first anniversary of his pontificate on Wednesday, recalling his shock at being elected and saying he wanted to be a "mild and firm" leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a veteran theologian with a reputation as a fierce traditionalist, was elevated to the papacy following the death of Pope John Paul.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Latest research on Shroud of Turin to be analyzed in Valencia, Spain, April 29-May 1

Catholic News Agency

International experts to analyze latest discoveries on Shroud of Turin

Valencia, Apr. 17, 2006 (CNA) - Scientists from around the world are scheduled to gather at the Catholic University of Valencia, Spain, April 29-May 1 for an International Scientific Convention entitled, “The Shroud Today,” where they will discuss the latest discoveries about the revered artifact that tradition says is the burial cloth of Christ.

The Avan news agency reports that speakers at the Convention will include Bruno Barberis, Director of the International Shroud Center of Turin; American physicist John Carrol; and the President of the Turin Shroud Center in Colorado Springs, John Jackson.

The Spanish Center for Sindonology is organizing the event, which will include conferences, round-table discussions and cultural visits. The program will also feature a new expo on the shroud entitled, “The Man of the Holy Shroud.”

A significant number of discoveries have been made since studies on the Shroud began in 1977 by a group of scientists led by John Jackson at the NASA center in Pasadena, California.

Participants at the gathering will also discuss the most recent research on the shroud, including studies on pollen samples and the carbon 14 dating. More information on the event can be found at:

Monday, April 17, 2006

In "Urbi et Orbi" message Pope urges peaceful resolution of world conflicts

Parts of Pope Benedict's "Urbi et Orbi" message from St. Peter's basilica and commentary on it are presented in this video from Reuters:

Pope calls for Middle East solutions
Reuters - Apr 16 6:49 AM

The Urbi Et Orbi Message, for Easter 2006, is available in multiple languages.

The entire transcript of the "URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI--EASTER 2006 is displayed in English on the Vatican web site:

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Christus resurrexit!- Christ is risen!

During last night’s great Vigil we relived the decisive and ever-present event of the Resurrection, the central mystery of the Christian faith. Innumerable Paschal candles were lit in churches, to symbolize the light of Christ which has enlightened and continues to enlighten humanity, conquering the darkness of sin and death for ever. And today there re-echo powerfully the words which dumbfounded the women on the morning of the first day after the Sabbath, when they came to the tomb where Christ’s body, taken down in haste from the Cross, had been laid.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Divine Mercy Novena--third day

The Divine Mercy Novena started on Good Friday and will continue until Mercy Sunday. On this, the third day, let us bathe the world in an ocean of God's mercy and lift up our Lord Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Lord:

"Today bring to Me All Devout and Faithful Souls and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought Me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were that drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness."

this is an audio post - click to play

He is risen; He is risen, indeed!


Pope prays for peace in Iraq during Easter Mass
100,000 in St. Peter's Square celebrate Benedict’s first Easter as pontiff

Associated Press
Updated: 7:21 a.m. ET April 16, 2006

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his first Easter Sunday as pontiff, praying for peace Iraq, negotiated solutions to the world’s nuclear disputes and dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.

Looking tired, Benedict led nearly 100,000 pilgrims, tourists and Romans in Mass in St. Peter’s Square. His 79th birthday coincided with Easter, when Christians commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion.

As we join the Pope and the universal Church in meditating on the gospel readings, today on Easter Sunday, thanks be to God that we have the joyous privilege of proclaiming, along with Saint Chrysostom and all those saints who have gone before us, "He is risen, He is risen, indeed!:

Saint John Chrysostom (around 345 – 407), Bishop of Antioch, then of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church

Day of the resurrection, day of our joy!

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.” (Ps 118:24) Why? Because the sun is no longer darkened and everything is illuminated; the curtain in the Temple is no longer torn, the Church is revealed; we are no longer holding palm branches, and we are surrounding the newly baptized.

“This is the day the Lord has made”… This now is the day in the real sense of the word, the triumphant day, the day consecrated to celebrating the resurrection, the day when we adorn ourselves with grace, the day when we share the spiritual Lamb, the day when we give milk to those who have just been born, the day when Providence’s plan for the poor is realized.

“Let us rejoice and be glad in this day.”

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Pope reflects on evil during "Way of the Cross" procession

USA Today

Pope Benedict XVI presides over Good Friday services
Updated 4/15/2006 2:51 AM ET

ROME (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI reflected on "diabolical" threats to families and the gap between the world's rich and poor as he led a torch-lit Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum in Rome on Good Friday.

As a full moon hung behind the ancient amphitheater, Benedict compared Jesus' suffering at his crucifixion to that of the "whole of human history, a history where the good are humiliated, the meek assaulted, the honest crushed, and the pure of heart roundly mocked."

Wearing a red cloak, Benedict gripped the slender, dark wooden cross as he began the procession re-enacting Jesus' suffering, final hours and crucifixion death, and the reflection of the flickering lights of candles held by faithful played on the wood.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The award-winning film "Cinque Minuti" makes Jesus' sacrificial love crystal clear

On this day, Good Friday, we remember our Lord's passion and crucifixion, that He gave His life for us, as a sacrificial Lamb. He gave His life for us out of His deep love for us, even while we were DEAD in sin. As the gospel of John so eloquently says: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16 [RSV]).

From Sabaoth Films comes this excellent Christian film, "5 Minutes," produced to very high standards by Deborah E. Brown and winner of the 168 Hour Film Project. The film won 2006 Awards in several categories--Best Film, Best International Film, Best Scriptural Integration-Writer, and Best Screenplay-Writer.

Along with its high production standards, the writing and the integration of scripture into the film are brilliant. The screenwriter, Sergio Masqueroni, is obviously well versed in Christian apologetics and is a masterful writer. Much of the force and emotional impact of this media message for the gospel is due to its poignant screenplay. Kudos to Mr. Masqueroni.

In Italian the film's title is "Cinque Minuti" and it can be watched online in Italian with English subtitles. In this film the immediacy and personal nature of Jesus' self-sacrificial love, expressed for each one of us, is made abundantly clear.

God's blessings to you all on this Good Friday.

Today's post can also be viewed on my Christian screenwriting and media blog, "An Anglo-Irish Convert 'in the City'".

The Divine Mercy Novena begins today

To all of us, repentent sinners,

Today on Good Friday the Novena of the Divine Mercy begins and is culminated 9 days later on Mercy Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter. The Lord pours out His heavenly grace in great abundance during this season of repentance and reconciliation.

For instructions on how to pray the Divine Mercy Novena see below: and

For a general site on the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and Divine Mercy Sunday, see

For audio and video of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, see EWTN at:;;, and;

And, for instructions on how to pray the chaplet as revealed to Sister Faustina (and as she recorded in her Diary, 476) see: and

May all our prayers avail much, for ourselves and others.

Love and blessings, to everyone.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pope on Holy Thursday: bearing witness to God's love, a priest is martyred in Turkey

To quote Tertullian from Apologeticus, 50, "Plures efficimur, quoties metumur a vobis; semen est sanguis christianorum," which can be translated as "We multiply whenever we are mown down by you; the blood of Christians is seed."

A better known paraphrase of Tertullian is this: out of "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." Thanks be to God we know that His priest's sacrifice is not in vain.

Pope Honors Priest Shot to Death in Turkey

By NICOLE WINFIELD, The Associated Press
Apr 13, 2006 10:15 AM (2 hrs 3 mins ago)

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI recalled the sacrifice of a cleric slain in Turkey as the pontiff on Thursday celebrated a Holy Week Mass dedicated to priests.

In his homily, Benedict read a letter written by the Rev. Andrea Santoro in which the Italian prelate spoke of his willingness to offer his own body for the sake of preaching Catholicism in largely Muslim Turkey.

Santoro, 60, was shot and killed Feb. 5 while he prayed in his parish in the Black Sea city of Trabzon. Witnesses said the killer, a 16-year-old boy, screamed "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great," before firing two bullets into Santoro's back.

Benedict quoted Santoro as saying in his letter that he had chosen to live in Turkey to be among its people, "lending" his body to Christ to do so.

Pope's Wednesday audience: the Easter triduum shows God's love for man

Today on Holy Thursday at the start of the Easter triduum, we remember God's holy sacrifice for us as the Pope reminds us in yesterday's Wednesday audience:

On the Easter Triduum

"We Will Relive the Passion, Death and Resurrection"

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 12, 2006 ( Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's address at today's general audience, which he dedicated to explain the meaning of the Easter triduum.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Tomorrow the Easter triduum begins, which is the fulcrum of the whole liturgical year. Aided by the sacred rites of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the solemn Easter Vigil, we will relive the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord.

They are propitious days to reawaken in us a more intense desire to be united to Christ and follow him generously, conscious that he has loved us to the point of giving his life for us. The events that the sacred triduum again proposes to us are the sublime manifestation of this love of God for man.

Let us dispose ourselves, therefore, to celebrate the Easter triduum taking up St. Augustine's exhortation: "Consider now attentively the three holy days of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of the Lord. From these three mysteries we realize in the present life that of which the cross is symbol, while we realize through faith and hope, that of which the burial and resurrection is symbol" (Letter 55,14,24).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Pope Benedict provides much needed spiritual leadership to an ailing Europe

Papal Influence in Europe Intensifies

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

At a time when the European Union appears to be falling apart at its seams, European citizens and politicians are gradually turning to the leadership of one man for solutions.

Looking northward from his balcony at the Vatican must spur some disheartening, even frustrating, thoughts in the mind of Pope Benedict xvi. A bevy of problems are erupting across virtually the entire continent of Europe. Millions of rioters fill the streets in France. Germany is trying to prevent the same. Islam‘s imprint is intensifying in more than a few European nations. National economies are ailing. Added to all this, the pope is acutely aware that for years Europe has been deteriorating spiritually. Large factions of European society are no longer governed by a lucid moral compass.

It’s abundantly clear: economically, politically, socially, morally, religiously—Europe lacks leadership.

As he surveys Europe’s ailing landscape today, the pope surely ponders the greatness of the Continent’s history, when it was heavily influenced and even dominated by the Roman Catholic Church. As the pontiff contrasts today’s Europe with the Europe of yesteryear, a solution to the Continent’s ailing condition must ring clear in his mind: Europe needs a dominant Vatican.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pope Benedict's homily for JPII on anniversary of his death

Papal Homily for Anniversary of John Paul II's Death
"A 'Rock' of Faith"

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 10, 2006 ( Here is a translation of the homily Benedict XVI delivered during the April 3 Mass in St. Peter's Square. The Mass was celebrated to mark the first anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In these days, on the first anniversary of his death, the memory of the Servant of God John Paul II is particularly vivid throughout the Church and the world.

With the Marian Vigil yesterday evening, we relived the precise moment of his devout passing one year ago, whereas today we are here in this same St. Peter's Square to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice in suffrage for his chosen soul.

Together with the cardinals, bishops, priests and religious, I greet with affection the numerous pilgrims who have arrived from very many places, especially from Poland, to bear witness to their esteem, affection and deep gratitude. Let us pray for this beloved Pontiff, allowing ourselves to be illuminated by the Word of God we have just heard.

In the First Reading from the Book of Wisdom, we were reminded of the eternal destiny that awaits the righteous: a destiny of superabundant happiness, an incomparable reward for the sufferings and trials they faced during their lives. "God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them" (Wisdom 3:5-6).

The transforming power of Pope John Paul II's faith and hope is remembered

VOA News -- Voice of America

Legacy of Pope John Paul II Reaches Far Beyond His Church

By Kathie Scarrah
Washington, DC
05 April 2005

Pope Legacy / Real Dialup - Download
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Around the globe, Roman Catholics are mourning the passing of Pope John Paul the Second. But his legacy reaches far beyond his church. The pope was a man whose hope and faith helped transform the world.

Pope John Paul the Second was the first non-Italian Pope in more than 450 years. He ascended to the papacy at a moment of profound change in the world. He battled totalitarianism with kindness and humility and with this appeal to those who yearned for freedom: "Be not afraid."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Pope's birthday falls on Easter

Special Birthday For Pope Benedict

CBS News

VATICAN CITY, April 10, 2006

(CBS/AP) For Pope Benedict XVI, this Holy Week is unlike all others – as this is the first time he has gone through this most solemn season on the liturgical calendar as the earthly leader of the world's Roman Catholics.

His first Easter as pontiff also happens to be his birthday.

The pope, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, will be 79.

Benedict blessed palm fronds and olive branches Sunday in the Vatican, opening a ritual-filled Holy Week that pilgrims in Jerusalem celebrated in a procession retracing Jesus' triumphant return to the holy city some 2,000 years ago.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Jesus rides a colt into Jerusalem; let us hail Him as Messiah and Lord

Today we hail our Lord as King and Messiah. As He rides on a colt into Jerusalem, shall we lay down our palms before Him and submit ourselves humbly under His lordship? Blessings to you all this Palm Sunday.

Pope dedicates Palm Sunday Mass to youth

Sunday, April 9, 2006; Posted: 10:38 a.m. EDT (14:38 GMT)

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI opened a busy Holy Week on Sunday with a Palm Sunday Mass that was dedicated to young people.

Palm fronds and olive trees swayed in the springtime breeze in St. Peter's Square as Benedict blessed the branches carried by the faithful, as is tradition on Palm Sunday.

Wearing embroidered red vestments and a golden miter, or bishop's hat, Benedict carried a large curled palm frond, as did the dozens of cardinals and bishops who joined him at the altar on the sun-soaked steps of the basilica.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Pope urges Muslims to teach against hatred and violence

Details from this audio file from National Public Radio help to explain Pope Benedict's nuanced attitude toward Islam.

New Pope Approaches Islam with Caution
by Sylvia Poggioli

Morning Edition, April 7, 2006 · Pope Benedict XVI has not strayed much from the policies and ideas of his predecessor, John Paul II. But when it comes to Islam, Benedict takes a much less conciliatory approach.

Harsh secular image of Pope fades; writes encyclical on love

The Advertiser

Benevolent Benedict's year of peace and love confounds the critics


In a little over a week, Pope Benedict XVI and his worldwide flock of 1.1 billion celebrate the first year of his papacy.

Pope John Paul II's death a year ago this month left many Roman Catholics nervous that their church would take an even harder, more conservative line if the College of Cardinals picked early favourite Joseph Ratzinger as the next pontiff.

Ratzinger went on to become Pope Benedict XVI, but has confounded his critics.

The Vatican's German-born chief orthodoxy watchdog has hardly acted like the man saddled with the nickname "God's Rottweiler".

Instead, the faithful got a pope who rode around in St Peter's Square in traditional papal headgear that resembled a Santa Claus hat. The man described as a "dour Bavarian" wrote his first encyclical on love.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Pope: "anti-human" culture of Nazis spurred him to priesthood

War spurred pope’s decision to be a priest
Pope Benedict XVI chose religion because of Nazis’ ‘anti-human’ culture

Associated Press
Updated: 10:49 p.m. ET April 6, 2006

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI said he became convinced he should become a priest to help confront what he called the "anti-human culture" of the Nazis in his native Germany.

Benedict made the comments during a meeting Thursday with thousands of young people in St. Peter's Square, during which he fielded questions from five students on issues such as the family, how to read the Bible and faith and reason.