Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pope says Catholic Church will survive all tests

ABS-CBN Interactive
August 31, 2006

ROME - The Roman Catholic Church will overcome any ordeals encountered, just as it weathered Muslim invasions, Nazism, communism and Enlightenment philosophy, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday.

The Church lives and will continue to live, just as it has survived "two thousand years of history ... despite its suffering and its weaknesses," he said at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo outside Rome.

Speaking with priests from the nearby Albano diocese, the pope reached as far back as the first Christian communities in Asia Minor (present-day western Turkey) and North Africa, and talked of "Muslim invasions."

"The Church seemed finished then," the pope said, quoted by the ANSA news agency, adding that numerous saints had revitalized the religion.

The Roman Catholic religion also overcome 18th century philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment, such as Rousseau and Voltaire, and also Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler "who wanted to destroy Catholicism ... and had all the means to do so," the German said.

"Faith is stronger than currents that come and go," the pope stressed. "We must therefore be courageous (as the church) represents never ending hope." AFP

Christian values written into E.U. Constitution: Yes or No?

I agree with Pope Benedict. The E.U. Constitution should be undergirded with a recognition of the Judeo-Christian heritage of Europe. After all the biblical revelation of the Old and New Testaments is part and parcel of European civilization and identity regardless of what secularists say.

The Hindu
Wednesday, Aug 30, 2006

Christian values sought

Nicholas Watt— © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006

Brussels: Europe's ``Christian values'' should be enshrined in a new version of the E.U. Constitution, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared on Monday after meeting Pope Benedict XVI. In remarks, which will reopen the debate on religion in the E.U., Ms. Merkel threw her weight behind the Pope's campaign to recognise Europe's Christian heritage. Any attempt to mention Christianity — or simply God — in the text will be met by stiff resistance from secular France, from Britain,, and from northern Protestant countries such as Sweden and Denmark. During the tortuous negotiations on the Constitution in 2004 there were concerns that any religious reference could upset Muslims and Jews.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pope says St. Mathew provides a witness to the mercy of God

Vatican City, Aug. 30, 2006 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI traveled from his summer residence at Castelgandolfo, back to the Vatican to conduct his weekly General Audience with the faithful gathered in the Paul VI auditorium today. The Holy Father reflected with the crowd, on the mercy of God as evidenced by the life of St. Mathew the Apostle.

Christ, the Pope said, excludes no one from his call to friendship, and the story of the Apostle Matthew reminds Christians of this truth very clearly.

The Holy Father laid out the great disdain with which tax-collectors, such as Matthew, were seen in the Jerusalem of Jesus’s time. Tax-collectors, he said, “were considered public sinners.”

While the job itself was looked down upon, Matthew was also seen as “collaborating with a greedy and much hated foreign power.” The Pope pointed out that the disdain for tax collectors is found throughout the Gospels, with the profession often mentioned in the same breath as prostitutes and other sinners.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Stalin, Hitler Were Possessed by Satan — Vatican Exorcist

Gabriele Amorth / Photo from

Created: 29.08.2006 14:03 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 14:09 MSK, 5 hours 24 minutes ago


Adolf Hitler and Russian leader Stalin were possessed by the Devil, the Vatican’s chief exorcist claims, the Daily Mail newspaper reports. “You can tell by their behavior and their actions, from the horrors they committed and the atrocities that were committed on their orders,” Father Gabriele Amorth, who is Pope Benedict XVI’s “caster out of demons,” said during an interview with Vatican Radio.

“Of course the Devil exists and he can not only possess a single person but also groups and entire populations. I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed. All you have to do is think about what Hitler — and Stalin did. Almost certainly they were possessed by the Devil.

”Secret Vatican documents recently released say that wartime pontiff Pope Pius XII attempted a “long distance” exorcism of Hitler which failed to have any effect. “It’s very rare that praying and attempting to carry out an exorcism from distance works. Of course you can pray for someone from a distance but in this case it would not have any effect,” Father Amorth said.

Pope Has "Intense" Meeting With German Chancellor

2 Weeks Ahead of Papal Trip to Germany

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 28, 2006 ( Benedict XVI received German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a 40-minute private audience, which she later described as "intense."

The meeting held in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo came two weeks before the Holy Father's apostolic trip to his native Bavaria, from Sept. 9-14.

Speaking to reporters after the audience, Merkel said that the two "had an intense conversation on world politics, especially on the situation in the Middle East and on what the international community is doing with Iran."

One key topic was the development of the present process of European integration and of the continent's identity, she said.

"I believe a European identity is needed, in the form of a Constitutional Treaty and, from my point of view, it should be connected to Christianity and God, as Christianity has forged Europe in a decisive way," she added, as reported by Vatican Radio.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Pope urges 'take more care of the environment'

China Post Online


Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged better care for the environment, saying it was being endangered by lifestyle choices causing its deterioration.

Such deterioration, the pontiff said during his traditional Sunday blessing, "make the lives of poor people on earth especially unbearable."

Benedict remarked that the Italian Catholic Church has chosen Sept. 1 to celebrate it first Earth Day.

"Along with Christians from all denominations, we must commit to taking care of creation, without squandering its resources and sharing them in a convivial manner," the pope said.

Europe Needs Christians in Public Square

Interview With Professor Hans Maier

MUNICH, Germany, AUG. 27, 2006 ( Christians have a responsibility to be involved in the preservation of freedom in the modern state, says political scientist Hans Maier.

Maier, 75, retired professor of Munich's Ludwig-Maximilians University, was minister of Education and Culture in Bavaria from 1970 to 1986, and president of the Central Committee of German Catholics from 1976 to 1988.

He has written some 30 books, including "Democracy in the Church?" (1970), in which he collaborated with Father Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI.

In this interview with the Italian daily Avvenire, published July 5, Maier speaks of the soul of Europe, its relationship with Islam and the role of the lay Christian in public life.

* * *

Q: Do you think a European culture exists?

Maier: There is not one European culture that can be studied in school. Just as there is no one European language, or one way of living that can be described as European.

However, there are common foundations and principles, manifested in the cultural specificities of each nation. And these unifying principles are Roman law, which led Europe to develop an efficient juridical culture; the Judeo-Christian belief in one God, which has imprinted itself on institutions and thought; the model of educational formation, which presupposes a certain conception of man and a specific way of situating himself before learning.

Q: The Greco-Roman and Christian heritage appear as constitutive of Europe and its cultural foundations. What kind of Islam can Europe have, without entailing an alteration of identity?

Maier: We cannot say that Europe is only Christian, but the Judeo-Christian heritage profoundly influenced its cultural and political soul. To import in Europe the same Islam that has been structured in Arab countries would mean the suppression of present-day Europe to create another, radically different continent.

This does not mean that we cannot have a Euro-Islam, an Islam adapted to Europe. But it presupposes on the part of Muslims respect for religious freedom, pluralism of thought and the distinction between religion and politics. It requires that the mullahs accept to live their faith along with the Jewish synagogues and Christian cathedrals. It is a process of transformation and maturation to which we must call Muslims, if they wish to be part of this Europe of ours.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

U.S. Message to Vatican on Lebanon; "Our Common Goal Is a Free, Democratic Lebanon"

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 25, 2006 ( Here is the statement sent today by Francis Rooney, U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, on humanitarian relief to Lebanon.

* * *

From the outset of the crisis between Israel and Hezbollah, the United States has worked with the international community to relieve civilian suffering resulting from the conflict, to urgently end the violence that Hezbollah and its sponsors have imposed on the people of Lebanon and Israel, and to change the status quo that produced the war.

Benedict XVI has also made his special concern for the region known. The Pope has called attention to the plight of civilians on all sides of the conflict, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian -- both Israelis and Lebanese.

Aware of the special relationship between the Holy See and Lebanon, the United States consulted closely with Vatican officials throughout the conflict, and continues to do so now that attention has shifted to peacekeeping and reconstruction. We share a common desire to see wartime damage repaired, the Lebanese people assisted, and a lasting peace secured.

To this end, the United States has continued to work to aid the thousands of people who are in distress following this conflict. Since the beginning we have worked to ensure that transportation routes were open and goods could be delivered to those in need. In addition to the $27 million in aid that the United States has already provided, President George Bush recently announced a total current commitment of $230 million to the people of Lebanon.

Please see my blog, "Crusaders for Truth," for more articles concerning the situation in the Middle East.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pope to visit "the Holy Face" shroud in Abruzzo

The Sydney Morning Herald

The shroud of evidence
August 26, 2006

Locals call it 'the Holy Face' but others believe the face is Christ's. The Pope will see for himself next week, writes Desmond O'Grady.

THE brown hair is shoulder-length and a narrow, straggly beard covers the lower part of the oval, asymmetric face. There is a hint of a moustache. A tuft sprouts at the centre of the hairline.

Bruises are visible on either side of the nose and there appears to be other damage to the forehead and an eyebrow. Slightly open lips reveal the teeth, and the eyes are open. The face's biscuity colouring and expression change according to the light thrown on them.

Jesus Christ?

The face certainly makes an impression as you look at it - young, battered - at a church in the foothills of the Abruzzo mountains in Italy. The face, on a piece of fabric measuring 24 centimetres by 17 centimetres, is preserved in a reliquary above and behind the main altar of a church in Manoppello. The town of 5000 is in the foothills of the majestic Maiella massif near the Adriatic coast.

The sacred relic is held within the Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pope to extend visit to Turkey to spend time with Catholics, visit Hagia Sophia

Rome, Aug. 24, 2006 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI will extend his planned trip to Turkey, from three days to four, in order to celebrate Mass with Turkish Catholics and pay a visit to Hagia Sophia, the former seat of the Church of Constantinople, which was transformed into a mosque and is now a Turkish Museum, Italian news service APCom has reported today.

Bishop Luigi Padovese, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia Turkey, told APCom that, "The Pope has decided to remain an extra day, the first of December, to meet the Catholics of Turkey. It was becoming clear that the time was a little tight and there was not an encounter with the Catholics of the county in the program.”

The trip, which was formally announced on February 9th, had begun to take shape when it was realized that the Pope would be unable to accomplish everything he wanted in three short days.

Pope Benedict brings new style to Vatican

Thu Aug 24, 2006 09:45 AM BST
By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - "You must know everything about this place," Pope Benedict said.

"Not as much as I would like to, Your Holiness," I replied.

It was June 17, 2005 and I was one of two journalists present in the papal apartments in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace to cover a visit by the president of Slovakia as a "pool reporter" for the Vatican press corps.

It was my first time under the new papacy, then little more than two months old. Under John Paul, I had been in that same room with the likes of Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Nelson Mandela.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Biblical Scholar’s Unexpected Discovery Leads to New, More Faithful Translation of “The Theology of the Body”

8/18/2006 - 10:07 PST

Catholic PRWire

Contact: Norma Vavolizza
NV Communications

New York, NY, August 18, 2006—The Theology of the Body remains one of John Paul II’s greatest gifts to the universal Church. However, official translations could not deliver the work in the form the Pope had intended.

Thanks to the meticulous research of a noted biblical scholar, John Paul II’s masterpiece has been newly translated and restored to its original meaning. In a series of essays, the book shows the divine plan for human spousal love and the spousal meaning of the body as proclaimed by Christ.

The new translation is the work of Dr. Michael M. Waldstein , Director of the International Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Gaming, Austria. Dr. Waldstein was no stranger to The Theology of the Body. The highly respected doctor of theology and professor had studied and taught its concepts of the spiritual communion of life, love, marriage, and sexuality for 10 years. “I had worked very hard to understand the order of the argument,” he remembers. “I thought I had made real progress, but I always wished I could get my hands on a division of the work by John Paul II himself.”

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What Benedict XVI Plans to Visit in Bavaria

Trip Includes a Stop at His Hometown

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 21, 2006 ( During his fourth international trip, from Sept. 9-14, Benedict XVI will visit some of the places that had great impact on his life.

The most important visits will be to Munich, the city of which he was archbishop from 1977 to 1982; the Altoetting Shrine, symbol of Bavarian Catholicism; Marktl am Inn, his birthplace; and Regensburg, the city in which he was a university professor and where his brother lives and his relatives are buried.

According to the official program, published Saturday by the Vatican press office, the papal plane will land on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 3:30 p.m. at the Franz Joseph Strauss International Airport, where the welcome ceremony at Munich will be held.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Pope laments length of Mideast conflict

AP via Yahoo! News
Mon Aug 21, 7:59 AM ET

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI has expressed dismay that the conflict in the Middle East has persisted for so long and lamented a lack of dialogue to bring lasting peace, according to messages released Monday by the Vatican.

The pontiff had made several impassioned pleas for a cease-fire during the recent fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. He made his latest appeal for reconciliation in a message that was read during a Mass on Sunday at a religious gathering in the Italian sea resort of Rimini.

Benedict XVI to Visit Shrine of the Holy Face

Plans to Travel to Manoppello, Italy

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 20, 2006 ( Benedict XVI will visit the shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy, which houses what is said to be Veronica's veil.

The Vatican press office confirmed Saturday that the Holy Father's pilgrimage will take place Sept. 1, and will last two hours. The Pope will adore the Eucharist in silence, venerate the relic and deliver an address.

Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto will welcome the Pope.

According to the shrine, the Holy Face is a veil of 17 by 24 centimeters (6.8 by 9.6 inches), on which an image is imprinted that to date has no scientific explanation. Studies carried out on the veil confirm that the image is not made from paint.

Iconographer B. Pascalis Shlömer has demonstrated that the image of the Holy Shroud of Turin coincides perfectly with the Holy Face of Manoppello, according to the shrine.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Pacifist Pope?

Hat tip to Amy Welborn for today's post on Open Book pointing out yesterday's insightful post from Blosser on Against the Grain:

Christopher Blosser has a useful post, putting Benedict's recent comments on war in his recent television interview in context, most specifically in the context of some other remarks he has made on war, including an address on the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Is Pope Benedict's stance on Middle East conflict nuanced enough?

We now have a ceasefire in the Middle East. But, the conflict is really not over. Hezbollah has shown itself incapable of honoring the terms of multiple ceasefires. This conflict was just another skirmish in the general war that has existed since 1948 when Israel became a state surrounded by Arab nations that refused to acknowledge its right to exist.

I'm in total agreement with Miller. Israel has a right to defend its population against radical Islamist terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas whose perpetual mandate is to destroy Israel and irradicate the Jews

First Things

On the Square--August 16, 2006

Robert T. Miller writes:

On August 1, I criticized Pope Benedict XVI’s call for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Since then, he has granted an interview to some German journalists in anticipation of his upcoming trip to Bavaria. Asked about the fighting in the Middle East, he said in part:

We do want to appeal to all Christians and to all those who feel touched by the words of the Holy See, to help mobilize all the forces that recognize how war is the worst solution for all sides. It brings no good to anyone, not even to the apparent victors. We understand this very well in Europe, after the two world

I find it difficult to understand how the pope says this. Along with many others, I often invoke the Second World War as the paradigm example of a just war, of a case where morality not only permitted but required the use of armed force in order to combat evil. But here Benedict, expressly mentioning the world wars, says that they brought no good to anyone. No good to Elie Wiesel, and all the other prisoners liberated from Buchenwald? No good to the peoples of France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and others saved from Nazi domination? No good to the Poles and other Slavs, destined to slavery to support the Third Reich? No good to the young Joseph Ratzinger, who, freed from service in the Wehrmacht, was able to enter seminary, study theology, become a priest and a professor, and live to become pope?

For further articles on these issues, please see my new blog, "Crusaders for Truth."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How the Pope Deftly Steers Through a Biased Media Interview

Wednesday August 16, 2006
By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN CITY, August 16, 2006 ( - The full text and audio of the lengthy interview with Pope Benedict XVI and the German media has been released by the Radio Vatican news service. In the interview life and family issues are discussed, but the way in which the Holy Father responded to the leading questions reveals much. The interview comes as a lead up to the Pope's visit to his homeland of Bavaria which is scheduled to take place between September 9 and 14.

One of the questions by German media demonstrated how out of touch with reality much of the media are, and also how out of touch with the Vatican. "Throughout the world believers are waiting for the Catholic Church to answer the most urgent global problems, like AIDS and overpopulation. Why does the Catholic Church pay so much attention to moral issues rather than suggesting concrete solutions to these problems that are so crucial to humanity, in Africa, for example?," asked a German journalist.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Pope: our moral capacity has not kept pace with our technical power

Some reactions to the Pope's interview on German TV:

I Want My Pope TV

Sadly, my lame attempt to teach myself German (“eins, zwei, drei, vier, funf...”)has thus far yielded little to allow me, unaided, to enjoy the Holy Father’s television interview for German broadcast. Luckily, it has been transcribed and translated to English here and the audio dubbed over in English here.

Watching the interview, it seems the Holy Father doesn’t miss a beat, neither hemming nor hawing over a question. He simply plows right into the meat of his answer, and as we have come to expect from him, his answers are quite rich. He really is good on his feet, and the interview seems to suggest that while Benedict may not be quite the media darling John Paul was, he will not be shy about keeping the papacy in the public eye.

A favorite snippet (because it seems to stress the correlative of Gilson’s “Piety is never a substitute for technique.”):
Progress becomes true progress only if it serves the human person and if the human person grows: not only in terms of his or her technical power, but also in his or her moral awareness. I believe that the real problem of our historical moment lies in the imbalance between the incredibly fast growth of our technical power and that of our moral capacity, which has not grown in proportion.

New Vatican Secretary of State Reveals Foreign Policy Objectives
Posted on August 15, 2006

By Gerry O'Connell in Rome: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who takes over as the Holy See’s Secretary of State on September 15, has expressed strong views on the wars in Lebanon and Iraq, Islam and the crippling foreign debt of poor countries in his first interview since Pope Benedict appointed him to the key post.

He also spoke about the Third Secret of Fatima in a frank interview with Italy’s Catholic monthly magazine 30 Days. The 71-year-old Italian cardinal said he stands "four-square" behind Pope Benedict in his opposition to the war in the Lebanon, his appeals for an end to the hostilities and his denunciation of the killing of civilians and children.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pope: feast of "Solemnity of the Assumption" is a "certain sign of our hope"

Today, the "Solemnity of the Assumption," is a holy day of obligation:

Old Calendar: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On November 1, 1950, Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption. Thus he solemnly proclaimed that the belief whereby the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the close of her earthly life, was taken up, body and soul, into the glory of heaven, definitively forms part of the deposit of faith, received from the Apostles. To avoid all that is uncertain the Pope did not state either the manner or the circumstances of time and place in which the Assumption took place — only the fact of the Assumption of Mary, body and soul, into the glory of heaven, is the matter of the definition.

15 August, 2006
Pope: to Mary, Queen of peace, I entrust anxieties of world rent by violence

Benedict XVI drew special attention to the mission of Cardinal Etchegaray in Lebanon and to mass in Nazareth, and he also mentioned Iraq and Sri Lanka. The Assumption teaches us that we should not allow daily difficulties and concerns to suffocate us: “this world” is not “the ultimate scope of human existence”.

Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – The feast of the Assumption of Mary, a “certain sign of our hope”, is an opportunity to entrust to the “Queen of Heaven” the “anxieties of mankind for all places in the world rent by violence”. In his reflection before the Angelus, Benedict XVI recalled the Holy Land, Iraq and Sri Lanka. But he mentioned especially Lebanon and Israel, where masses were being celebrated at the same time at the Shrine of Harissa on Mount Lebanon and at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. The pope said: “We unite with our brothers and sisters who at this very moment are gathered in the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa for a Eucharistic celebration presided over by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who went to Lebanon as my special envoy to take comfort and concrete solidarity to all victims of the conflict and to pray for the great intention of peace. We are in communion also with the pastors and faithful of the Church in the Holy Land, who gathered together in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, around the pontifical representative in Israel and Palestine, Archbishop Antonio Franco, to pray for the same intentions.” And referring to all the ethnic and religious tensions and conflict prevailing in such situations, he said: “May Mary obtain for all sentiments of understanding, a will to agree and a desire for harmony!”

Moreover, said the pope, the feast of the Assumption is the feast in which Christians discern a “certain sign” of hope.

“Mary encourages us not to lose faith in the face of the difficulties and inevitable problems of daily life,” continued Benedict XVI. “She assures us of her help and reminds us that the essential thing is to seek and to think ‘of things that are above, not of things that are on earth’ (cfr Col 3:2). Taken up with daily worries, we run the risk of maintaining that it is here, in this world where we are only passing through, that the ultimate scope of human existence lies. However Paradise is the true goal of our earthly pilgrimage. How different our days would be if they were animated by this perspective! This is how it was for the saints. Their existence testifies how, when one lives with one’s heart constantly turned towards heaven, earthly realities are experienced according to their proper value because they are illuminated by the eternal truth of divine love.”

After the Angelus prayer, the pope greeted pilgrims in different languages. Several groups improvised slogans, sang songs and applauded. In the morning, Benedict XVI celebrated mass in the parish of St Thomas in Castel Gandolfo.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pope to visit Mid-East 'at peace'

BBC News

Pope Benedict XVI has said he would like to visit the Holy Land "in a time of peace" but does not feel strong enough to go on many long trips.

In a wide-ranging interview with German media, he also stressed the need for the Catholic Church to express positive messages rather than prohibitions.

The German pontiff plans to visit his homeland Bavaria next month. He said he would like to visit Brazil next year.

"Then I'd like to visit the Holy Land... in a time of peace," he said.

His predecessor John Paul II made numerous trips spanning the globe to meet Catholics and reach out to other faiths.

Pope Benedict, 79, has travelled abroad three times since becoming pontiff in April 2005 - all within Europe.

The interview, "Pope Benedict XVI’s interview with Bayerische Rundfunk (ARD), ZDF, Deutsche Welle and Vatican Radio," can be heard, in its entirety, on Vatican Radio.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pope grants exclusive interview to German TV

Deutsche Welle
Germany | 13.08.2006

Pope Benedict XVI: "We Have a Positive Idea to Offer"

In an exclusive interview with German media conducted last week, Pope Benedict XVI addressed issues of marriage and family, world peace and intercultural dialogue as well as the future of the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI's interview with broadcasters Bayerische Rundfunk, Deutsche Welle, ZDF and Vatican Radio was held at his summer residence at Castelgandolfo on Aug. 5, 2006. The interview was conducted in German and translated and authorized by the Vatican.

Gerhard Fuchs (Bayerische Rundfunk): Your next trip will be to Bavaria. During preparations for the trip your personnel said you are nostalgic for your homeland. What are the issues you'll be speaking about during the visit and is the concept of "homeland" one of the values you intend touching on, in particular?

Benedict XVI: Of course. The purpose of the visit is precisely because I want to see again the places where I grew up, the people who touched and shaped my life. I want to thank these people. Naturally I also want to express a message that goes beyond my country, just as my ministry calls me to do. I simply let the liturgical recurrences suggest the themes to me. The basic theme is that we have to rediscover God, not just any God, but the God that has a human face, because when we see Jesus Christ we see God. Starting from this point we must find the way to meet each other in the family, among generations, and then among cultures and peoples as well. We must find the way to reconciliation and to peaceful coexistence in this world, the ways that lead to the future. We won't find these ways leading to the future if we don't receive light from above. So I didn't choose very specific themes, but rather, it is the liturgy that leads me to express the basic message of faith which naturally finds its place in everyday reality where we want to search, above all, for cooperation among peoples and possible ways that can lead us to reconciliation and peace.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pope to send special envoy to Lebanon

August 11, 2006, 16:30

Pope Benedict will send a special envoy to Lebanon to lead prayers for peace, the Vatican said today.

The Pope has asked Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, head of the Vatican council for peace and justice, who was often a special envoy for the late Pope John Paul, "to transmit to the suffering population...his spiritual proximity and real solidarity".

The Pontiff has voiced frustration that his repeated calls on Israel and Hizbollah to stop the fighting that erupted last month after Hizbollah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers have fallen on deaf ears.

The French cardinal's mission is "essentially religious" and he will try to celebrate Mass on Sunday with the patriarch of Lebanon's Maronite church, the Vatican said in a statement. - Reuters

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Subject of new movie on 9/11 says Catholic faith saved him from death

Washington DC, Aug. 10, 2006 (CNA) - Will Jimeno, whose story of survival in the 9/11 attacks is retold in the new Oliver Stone movie “World Trade Center,” said this week his Catholic faith and an unexpected vision kept him alive during the long hours in which he was trapped under the rubble of the twin towers.

“What kept me going was the faith in God that my mother instilled in me as a Catholic. And, as the last Pope (John Paul II) said, we Hispanics have very great faith,” Jimeno told the EFE news agency in one of dozens of interviews he has granted.

“World Trade Center” recounts the story of Jimeno and John McLoughlin, two New York police officers who ran into the second tower to help rescue people. When the tower collapsed, all of their fellow officers were crushed to death. Jimeno and McLoughlin managed to survive 12 hours under the rubble, unable to see one another but at least able to communicate. Only 20 people were pulled from the rubble, alive - Jimeno was number 18 and McLoughlin number 19.

Mother Angelica celebrates 25th anniversary of EWTN, launched on Aug. 15, 1981

Religion today

By JAY REEVES, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 9 minutes ago

IRONDALE, Ala. - Twenty-five years ago, Mother Mary Angelica had a vision for Eternal Word Television Network, a channel offering nothing but Roman Catholic programming. She had little more than faith, $200 and a garage to use as a studio.

Now EWTN Global Catholic Network is available in 127 countries and more than 118 million households, and is capping a celebration of its founding in 1981. With viewers from Illinois to India, the satellite channel has grown to include radio and the Internet, and bills itself as the largest religious media network in the world.

The network will stage the last in a series of six public celebrations held around the country this weekend in nearby Birmingham, where Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, the Colombian president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, will celebrate Mass on Sunday.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

John’s teaching on love is an invitation, but also unsettling in its demands, Pope says

VATICAN CITY, August 9 (CNA) - Pope Benedict returned to the Vatican briefly today, from his summer residence at Castelgandolfo, in order to conduct his weekly general audience. During the course of his address to those gathered in the Paul VI auditorium, the Pope discussed the great works of John the Evangelist, works which, he said, invite us to love but also unsettle us.

The Pope told the gathered crowd that there is one characteristic topic that emerges from the writings of John - that of love.

Benedict said that it was no accident that he began his first encyclical with words from one of John’s letters, “God is love; those who dwell in love ! dwell in God and God in them (1 John 4,16).” The Pope said that it is difficult to find such a text in other religions and therefore, “such an expression brings us head-on with a fact particular to Christianity.”

The Holy Father said that there are three points of consideration to develop an understanding of John’s discussion of the profound reality that “God is love.”

Benedict first noted that John’s declaration that “God is love” comes in similar form to other declarations that “God is Spirit” (Jn 4,24) and “God is light” (Jn 1,5).

Pilgrims bottle 'papal' water for healing powers

Water runs over life-sized monument of John Paul II in his hometown
Updated: 2:09 p.m. ET Aug 8, 2006

WADOWICE, Poland - Pilgrims are flocking to a new monument to Pope John Paul II in his hometown, touching the water that runs over its base and collecting it in bottles in the belief that it carries healing powers.

The Roman Catholic church has not proclaimed the water holy, but since the statue was unveiled in Wadowice in southern Poland on June 30, believers have been turning the life-sized bronze figure on a granite base into an informal shrine. The late pontiff was born Karol Wojtyla here in 1920.

“If the water comes from the papal monument, it is holy to us,” said Stanislaw Unijewski, a 37-year-old electrician who traveled 120 miles from his hometown of Nysa.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Chief Exorcist of Rome: Rosary is powerful weapon against Satan

Hat tip to Spirit Daily for noting this post from the “Michael” Journal:

The Rosary, a powerful weapon against the devil

The first “Hail Mary” was brought from Heaven by Gabriel the Archangel, the messenger of Holy Trinity

The following text of Father Gabriel Amorth, chief exorcist of the Vatican, is taken from the March-April, 2003 issue of “Echo of Mary, Queen of Peace”:

The recent Apostolic Letter of John Paul II, "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" (released last October 16) encourages all Christians to turn back to the prayer strongly recommended both by the latest Pontiffs and recent Marian apparitions. Paul VI called the Rosary a compendium of the Gospel. To make it more complete, John Paul II added the 'mysteries of light' to cover Jesus' public life. Padre Pio called the Rosary beads a weapon of extraordinary power against Satan.

One day a colleague of mine heard the devil say during an exorcism: "Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end." The secret that makes this prayer so effective is that the Rosary is both prayer and meditation. It is addressed to the Father, to the Blessed Virgin, and to the Holy Trinity, and is a meditation centered on Christ.

As noted above, this article is excerpted from the publication, "Echo of Mary," from pages 3-4 of the #168 - Mar/Apr 2003 issue.

John Paul II in his beautifully written Apostolic Letter "On the Most Holy Rosary (Rosarium Virginis Mariae)," concurs with Pope Leo XIII's assertion that the Rosary acts as an "effective spiritual weapon against the evils afflicting society." In my own experience I agree and know the Evil One flees from its recitation.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pope ask Christians to mobilize against war

Times of India
6 Aug, 2006 0600hrs ISTAP

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI has called on Christians and others touched by his words to mobilise against the widening warfare in the Middle East, saying no good comes out of war, not even for the victors.

Benedict pressed his campaign for a rapid peaceful solution to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon during an interview with German media to be broadcast in Germany on August 13.

The Vatican released the pope's answer to one of the questions, about the situation in the Middle East.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Portiuncula Indulgence can be obtained this Sunday

Assisi, Aug. 04, 2006 (CNA) - This Sunday Catholics can obtain the Portiuncula Indulgence by visiting any Franciscan parish or chapel around the world.

In the summer of 1216 while praying in the Portiuncula chapel outside of Assisi, St. Francis was inspired to travel to Rome and ask the Pope for an unheard-of privilege: the granting of a plenary indulgence.

Pope Honorius III granted the indulgence as a sign of the greatness of God’s love for humanity. August 2nd was established as the date to receive the “Great Pardon of Assisi.” Eventually, the Church modified the conditions and said the faithful could obtain the indulgence either on August 2nd or on the following Sunday by visiting any Franciscan parish or chapel throughout the world. The conditions for gaining the indulgence include praying the Our Father and the Creed, as well as receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, and praying for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Pope: true joy comes from the faith

August 5,2006
Benedict XVI shows that true joy in life comes from the faith

Rome (CNA) -- In an interview with Vatican Radio, Pope Benedict XVI’s personal secretary revealed that if there is any one thing that is present in all that the Holy Father says and does, it is his desire to show that only, “the faith makes living joyful and brings joy to life.”

Father Georg Gänswein was named personal secretary of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2003 and has remained in the post as his papal secretary. On the occasion of his 50th birthday, he granted an interview to Vatican Radio in which he revealed that the daily life of the Holy Father is filled with work but that he always has time for prayer and meditation.

The German priest says that what has stood out most during the first year of Benedict XVI’s pontificate is his desire to show, both in word and in deed, that true joy in life comes from the faith. “This is present in everything he says…and this joy of the faith should infect us as well,” he said.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Lebanon stories from the Catholic press

Today's post is from Amy Welborn's blog "Open Book":

CRS official says relief work impossible without cease-fire

John Thavis analyzes the Pope's foreign policy stance, as evident so far, and the response:

In private talks, Vatican officials have asked that the U.S. government use its influence with Israel to bring an immediate halt to hostilities.

To the Israelis, the Vatican has made it clear that it views its military offensive in Lebanon as a disproportionate use of force. Israel's ambassador to the Vatican, Oded Ben-Hur, has made counterarguments.

"I say two things: first, that the proportion is to the amount of threat, and (Hezbollah) is putting the north of Israel, a million people, under the threat of missiles," Ben-Hur said told Catholic News Service in an interview.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pope to record 60-minute TV interview Saturday

3 August 2006

MUNICH - ­ Pope Benedict XVI is to give an unprecedented interview Saturday to four German TV journalists invited to his summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, with the discussion set to air worldwide on August 13.

The German-born pope has already given a couple of one-on-one television interviews in his year-long papacy, but no head of the Catholic church has ever gone before the cameras to handle a panel of questioners for a full hour.

"Nothing like this ever occurred with Pope John Paul II," recalls Father Eberhard von Gemmingen, head of the German section of Vatican Radio, who is to be one of the four interviewers.