Monday, July 31, 2006

Israel has a right to defend itself against Islamic jihadists

Pope Benedict rightfully prays and pleads for peace in the Middle East and our Lord in the scriptures asks us to always "pray for the peace of Jerusalem."

But there can never be a real and lasting peace for Israel when it is constantly attacked by Islamist jihadists whose stated goal is total annihilation of Israel and the Jews. In the final analysis, the Israelis have a right to defend themselves and their nation.

In his latest column, Charles Krauthammer eloquently expresses that same belief:

Houston Chronicle
July 27, 2006, 9:35PM

Stop demonizing of Israel for merely defending itself

What other country, when attacked in an unprovoked aggression across a recognized international frontier, is then pu t on a countdown clock by the world, given a limited time window in which to fight back, regardless of whether it has restored its own security?

What other country sustains 1,500 indiscriminate rocket attacks into its cities — every one designed to kill, maim and terrorize civilians — and is then vilified by the world when it tries to destroy the enemy's infrastructure and strongholds with precision-guided munitions that sometimes have the unintended but unavoidable consequence of collateral civilian death and suffering?

Hearing the world pass judgment on the Israel-Hezbollah war as it unfolds is to live in an Orwellian moral universe. With a few significant exceptions (the leadership of the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and a very few others), the world — governments, the media, U.N. bureaucrats — has completely lost its moral bearings.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Pope bids Alps farewell

Benedict at Castelgandolfo for six weeks, then German trip

(ANSA) - Les Combes di Introd, July 28 - Pope Benedict XVI returned to a boiling Rome on Friday after a break in the refreshing air of the Italian Alps .

However, the pontiff will not have to endure the capital's stifling heat for too long - he's off again to his summer residence at the hilltown of Castelgandolfo outside Rome on Friday afternoon .

After the giddy heights of the Alps, the town is sure to seem a mere bump above the surrounding plain - but it does offer a cool lakeside papal residence.

Pope Reiterates Plea for Peace

LES COMBES, Italy, JULY 28, 2006 ( At the conclusion of his vacations in the Italian Alps, Benedict XVI launched a new, louder call for peace in the Middle East.

"We will not keep quiet, we will do everything possible so that those in power hear us," the Pope said before boarding a plane that took him from Aosta to Rome, from where he headed for Castel Gandolfo.

According to the Holy Father, the "principal instrument" for peace "is prayer, which naturally is not only a cry to God, but also to man."

Benedict XVI also said, responding to journalists, that after more than one year as Pope, "I am beginning to learn my position."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pope Hoping Rome Meeting Would Be Fruitful

Comments Ahead of Conference on Lebanon Crisis

INTROD, Italy, JULY 26, 2006 ( Benedict XVI had expressed hope that an international conference held in Rome would bring an end to the violence in the Middle East.

The Pope expressed that hope Tuesday as he paused to talk to journalists during his vacation in the Italian Alps. At his residence in Les Combes, after an outing in the mountains, the Holy Father said: "I think something is happening at this moment. I see that prayers are not fruitless."

"Now let us pray intensely so that this conference in Rome will really bear fruits and concrete results for peace and also the solution of problems," the Pontiff said, according to Vatican Radio. "I hope they will get to the root, finding stable and lasting solutions."

Benedict XVI's Reflection on Peace

"Our Lord Has Conquered With a Love Capable of Going to Death"

RHEMES-SAINT-GEORGES, Italy, JULY 25, 2005 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered last Sunday during a ceremony for Mideast peace over which he presided in the church of Rhemes-Saint-Georges in the Aosta Valley.

* * *

I only wish to offer some brief words of meditation on the reading we have heard. With the background of the tragic situation of the Middle East, we are moved by the beauty of the vision illustrated by the Apostle Paul (cf. Ephesians 2:13-18): Christ is our peace. He has reconciled one another, Jews and pagans, uniting them in his Body. He has overcome the enmity with his Body, on the cross. With his death, he has overcome the enmity and has united us all in his peace.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pope Benedict expresses hope that Rome conference can bring lasting peace in Holy Land

Valle d'Aosta, Jul. 26, 2006 (CNA) - Ahead of an international meeting for peace, which is taking place today in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI called for continued prayers for peace in Lebanon and expressed his hope that the process of establishing a lasting peace can now begin.

The Pope said that he is praying that the international conference for Lebanon, "may bear fruit and bring concrete results for peace, for a solution that goes to the roots of the problem."

Benedict, who is wrapping up a short vacation in the Valle d’Aosta region of Italy, said last night that he is maintaining hope that through the talks "stable and lasting solutions" can be found.

"I feel that something is now moving,” the Pontiff added, “I see that prayers are not in vain."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Carmelite's View From Haifa

Interview With Sister Maria Giuseppina

HAIFA, Israel, JULY 24, 2006 ( A Carmelite convent in Israel is being inundated with phone calls since the new round of strife begin in the Holy Land.

In this interview sent to ZENIT through the Carmelite order, Sister Maria Giuseppina, prioress of the Carmelite Convent of Haifa, talks about the way the religious are living these times of tension in Israel.

Q: What is the atmosphere in the country, where the population lives with the fear of a new alarm siren or the anxiety of having to run to a shelter before a new bombing raid?

Sister Maria: We have experienced the tension of the situation since July 13, when it was announced that they would begin to bomb Haifa, and the rockets arrive with a certain frequency.

The first fell that same night near the Stella Maris Basilica, on the road that goes down to Haifa. A woman died from a heart attack, and then more people have died because of these attacks.

The whole population is in a state of alarm. Thank God, schools are on vacation, but they have had to close the great University of Haifa, and working mothers have been told: "Stay at home with your children." Everything works slowly.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Catholics pray for peace in Middle East

By Arlo Wagner
The Washington Times
July 24, 2006

Catholic churches across the region responded yesterday to Pope Benedict XVI's international call for prayers of peace in the Middle East.

More than 1,100 worshippers attended a noon Mass in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast that was celebrated by Archbishop of Washington Donald W. Wuerl.

"Today we can all be justifiably alarmed that the violence so visible in Lebanon and Israel is qualitatively different from just a year ago because of a new level of weaponry and the wider range of destruction," the archbishop said.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Pope renews Mideast cease-fire call
Sunday, July 23, 2006; Posted: 8:00 a.m. EDT (12:00 GMT)

LES COMBES, Italy (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday renewed his appeal for an immediate cease-fire in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerillas in Lebanon and encouraged all sides to start negotiations.

Benedict issued his latest plea as he greeted some 3,000 pilgrims in a meadow near his Alpine vacation retreat on a day that he had dedicated to prayers for peace in the Middle East. He reiterated his recent statements in support of Lebanese sovereignty and of Israel's right to live in peace.

"I renew with vigor my appeal to all sides in the conflict, so that they immediately cease fighting and allow the delivery of humanitarian aid, and so, with the help of the international community, they search for ways to begin negotiations," Benedict said.

Today, as Pope requested, please pray and do penance for peace in Middle East

As we offer up our prayer and penance today for peace in the Middle East, let us pray that God's plan for peace be instituted above all.

For further details on the Pope's request, please see my post of July 20, "Pope proclaims Sunday, July 23, as special day of prayer and penance for Middle East".

Friday, July 21, 2006

Vatican Laments Destruction of Holy Places

VATICAN CITY, JULY 20, 2006 ( The Vatican newspaper appealed to international diplomacy to put an end to the profanation of the Holy Land, in the aftermath of Wednesday's attack on Nazareth.

"Bombs profane life, kill military men and civilians without distinction. They profane the Holy Land, destroying the places where the Word was made Man," said L'Osservatore Romano.

"It is the task of international diplomacy and of the organisms established to govern crises to halt this profanation," it continued.

"To halt this profanation is a duty of those who recognize the absolute value of the human person and his right to live and pray in places of revelation."

The newspaper reports that on the eighth day of bombardments of Galilee by the Hezbollah militias, the city of Nazareth was also struck: Two brothers, 3 and 9 years of age, died in the attacks.

A rocket exploded in the central street Paul VI, a short distance from the Basilica of the Annunciation.

In Washington, "Christians United for Israel" rally in support of Israel

Christian group to advocate more support for Israel

By Julia Duin
The Washington Times
July 13, 2006

More than 3,000 pro-Israel evangelical Christians will be in town next week for a "Washington/Israel summit" to push the Bush administration toward stronger support for the Jewish state.

Starting with a banquet July 18 at the Hilton Washington and visits to Capitol Hill the next morning, the inaugural gathering of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) will showcase a deeper cooperation between evangelical Christians and Jews in the face of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's suggestion in October, often reiterated since, that Israel "be wiped off the map."

Organizers say Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon, retired Israeli defense chief Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon and Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman -- all of whom are Jewish -- will be at the dinner. Several members of Congress also are scheduled to attend, including Republican Sens. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, both Catholics. Leading evangelicals that have confirmed their invitations include the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Gary Bauer

For more information see the CUFI website and the following article from

Last update - 18:38 03/04/2006
New Christian pro-Israel lobby aims to be stronger than AIPAC
By Shlomo Shamir

NEW YORK - Televangelist John Hagee told Jewish community leaders over the weekend that the 40 million evangelical Christians in the United States support Israel and that he plans to utilize this power to help Israel by launching a Christian pro-Israel lobby.

The lobby is slated to launch in July, during a Washington conference in which hundreds of American evangelicals are slated to participate, Hagee said at a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which represents 52 national Jewish groups. He also discussed the lobby with Israel's consul general in New York, Aryeh Mekel.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Pope proclaims Sunday, July 23, as special day of prayer and penance for Middle East

Holy Father calls for prayer and penance for Middle East

Vatican City, Jul. 20, 2006 (CNA) - The Press Office of the Holy See released, today, a communication from Pope Benedict XVI declaring this Sunday a special day of prayer and penance for peace in the Middle East.

The communiqué states, "The Holy Father is following with great concern the destinies of all the peoples involved and has proclaimed this Sunday, July 23, to be a special day of prayer and penance, inviting the pastors and faithful of all the particular Churches, and all believers of the world, to implore from God the precious gift of peace."

Pope Benedict XVI: "Pray also for the terrorists..."

The Pope calls a spade and a spade offers it conversion

Contradicting those who say that Pope Benedict engages in moral equivalency when he talks about Mideast conflicts, Mike Potemra of National Review points to a recent statement from the Pope he found in La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, which Potemra translates.

The Italian press is reporting that Pope Benedict XVI has said that believers should—my Italian is not great, but I think this is an O.K. translation—“pray also for the terrorists, because they do not know that they are doing evil not just to their neighbor, but, first of all, to themselves.” There are two things to say about this.

Pope working on book and encyclical during vacation

Valle d'Aosta, Jul. 18, 2006 (CNA) - According to several Vatican sources who are following the trip of the Pope to the region of Les Combes, in the northern Alps of Italy, the Pope is working on a book considering the theology of the person of Christ as well as a future encyclical on the importance of human labor.

Last Sunday the Vatican Television Center released a few images of the Pope’s activities in these days, including a moment of study in the Salesian residence in Les Combes.

According to Salvatore Mazza, special correspondent for the Italian daily Avvenire, “It seems that, among other things, he has in his hands the book which he was writing before being elected to succeed John Paul II...a theological text.”

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

David Gilbert Reporting from Israel - Israel Must Win.... for World Peace

As the Lord instructed us in Psalm 122:6, we are to "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem."

And, Rohn Price on "The Blessings Page" answers our natural question, "How are we to pray for the peace of Jerusalem?.

But, above all, as we pray and stand with Israel in its hour of need, let us place our ultimate trust in the Lord that He speedily deliver Israel from evil.

Stand with Us
July 16, 2006

Things here are very tense, there's an open war going on in northern indication (some of you may have heard me tell this story on the air)..... Out of the blue, I got a call from an ex-girlfriend (Miriam Swerdloff for those who know her) near the end of last week. She wants to know how this war is being portrayed in America, afraid that her parents might be concerned for her welfare. In the middle of the conversation, she mentions nonchalantly, that a katyusha rocket fired by Hezbullah made a direct hit on her apartment in Tzfat, totally gutting it. She was out at the time, but seemed remarkably relaxed about the whole thing, feeling that this is a war that Israel will ultimately win.

Meanwhile, Gregg Roman is also defiant. Gregg is a graduate of American University who organized my speech there a couple of years ago. He called me from Haifa where he and 150 other Americans are studying Hebrew. He saw the rocket that hit the train depot in Haifa this morning, killing eight people. He called later to say that he and the other students are being
evacuated to Jerusalem.

This is nothing short of a war of good against evil, pitting those who love life against those who pursue destruction and covet death. Make no mistake, Israel must fight and win this war, not just for herself, but for the entire world.

David Gilbert is a Middle East Correspondent for CBS, based in Jerusalem. He moved to Israel in the summer of 2000, just as the Camp David peace talks were falling apart. Gilbert has been covering the unfolding conflict for the past four+ years and has interviewed most of the leading players.

U.S. Catholic educators in Israel say rockets give them new outlook

By Judith Sudilovsky
Catholic News Service

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- Some 30 Catholic educators from the United States found themselves in the line of fire in northern Israel as the recent crisis between Israel and Lebanon began, but several said it gave them a new perspective on the Middle East.

Despite the flare-up on Israel's northern border with Lebanon, the educators decided to travel to Israel as planned as part of the Anti-Defamation League's Advance Bearing Witness program, designed to give educators an opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of Israel against the backdrop of Jewish history, the Holocaust and Catholic-Jewish relations.

The group was traveling in the north and was to spend the evening of July 14 in Tzfat when word came that Katyusha rockets had fallen on the city. In the days that followed, Katyushas also fell on Tiberias one hour before the group was scheduled to go there.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Pope asks contemplatives to pray for peace in Middle East, Lebanon, and whole world

Pope Praises Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Prays for Contemplatives; Asks Their Prayers for Conflicts' End

INTROD, Italy, JULY 16, 2006 ( Benedict XVI dedicated today's first public meeting during his vacation in the Italian Alps to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, highlighting Mary on this feast day as model and intercessor.

Over 5,000 faithful gathered in the field in front of the chalet in Introd in the Aosta Valley -- where the Holy Father is spending a holiday in prayer, study and outings -- for the usual Marian meeting with the Pope.

Welcomed by the words of the local bishop -- often interrupted by the applause of those present and also by the Pope's smile and applause -- Benedict XVI shared moments of company and prayer, exchanging reciprocal applause and gestures of greeting and gratitude.

The Holy Father assured every one of his prayers, especially the sick and suffering, blessing and shaking hands with the latter.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pope urges parishes to pray for peace in the Holy Land and the Middle East

Voice of America

Pope Expresses Concern Over Escalating Mideast Fighting
By Sabina Castelfranco
16 July 2006

Pope Benedict is expressing grave concern over the escalation of fighting in Lebanon, while denouncing terrorism and retaliation in the Holy Land. Sabina Castelfranco has this VOA report from Rome.

Pope Benedict in Les Combes d'Introd, in Aosta Valley region, Italy, July 16, 2006 Pope Benedict is expressing serious concern over the escalation of violence in the Middle East. He was spoke from his mountain retreat in the Italian Alps, where he is on vacation until the end of this month.

In recent days, the pope said, the news coming from the Holy Land is for everyone a reason for new and serious preoccupation.

Violence has intensified in the Middle East after Hezbollah guerrillas, based in southern Lebanon pounded the Israeli city of Haifa with rockets and missiles, killing at least eight people. It was Hezbollah's deadliest rocket strike on Israel in at least 10 years.

Israel warned residents in southern Lebanon to flee before an imminent Israeli attack.

God bless you, Israel, for standing up against the terror of Hezbollah

American Congress for Truth

Thank you Israel
By Brigitte Gabriel

For the millions of Christian Lebanese, driven out of our homeland, Thank you Israel, is the sentiment echoing from around the world. The Lebanese Foundation for Peace, an international group of Lebanese Christians, made the following statement in a press release to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert concerning the latest Israeli attacks against Hezbollah:

We urge you to hit them hard and destroy their terror infrastructure. It is not [only] Israel who is fed up with this situation, but the majority of the silent Lebanese in Lebanon who are fed up with Hezbollah and are powerless to do anything out of fear of terror retaliation.

Their statement continues,

On behalf of thousands of Lebanese, we ask you to open the doors of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport to thousands of volunteers in the Diaspora willing to bear arms and liberate their homeland from [Islamic] fundamentalism. We ask you for support, facilitation and logistics in order to win this struggle and achieve together the same objectives: Peace and Security for Lebanon and Israel and our future generations to come.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Pope Benedict's Back-to-Basics Strategy

Catholic Herald

By James Maldonado Berry
HERALD Columnist
(From the Issue of 7/13/06)

Described by more than a few prominent Catholics around the world as perhaps one of the Church’s greatest theologians ever, Pope Benedict XVI made the objectives of his pontificate clear from the start. Certainly, Christian unity ranks among the pope’s highest priorities. In particular he hopes to bridge the millennia-long gap between Catholics and Orthodox after centuries of bitter division.

He has reminded the powers in the upper echelons of the European Union that Europe, as a cultural and political entity, cannot simply glide forward effortlessly into the 21st century without an unequivocal recognition and acceptance of its Christian heritage; playing hide-and-seek with one’s identity is a dangerous game and the pope has been the leading voice on this front, warning Europe of the inherent risks involved in trying to turn a blind eye to 2,000 years of Christian contributions to modern-day Europe. At a time when unambiguous moral clarity in the world is sorely needed, this “simple and humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard” has demonstrated that he is not going to take a backseat on the world stage.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nuncios in Lebanon, Israel Voice Hopes

TEL AVIV, Israel, JULY 13, 2006 ( apostolic nunciatures in Lebanon and Israel are anxiously following the escalation of violence in the two countries, which has already claimed 50 lives.

Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio in Israel, told the Italian episcopate's SIR news agency that he hopes "wisdom will prevail" at this time.

For his part, Archbishop Luigi Gatti, apostolic nuncio in Lebanon, explained to the same news agency that it is a "conflict we do not want" and ruled out the possibility of "any internal mediation by the Church."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Seeking an audience with the Pope

As a devout Catholic, an audience with the Pope, no matter how general, is one of my higher priority goals:

Market Manila

An Audience with The Pope
Wed. 12 Jul 2006

What does any practicing Catholic hope to do on a Sunday morning in Rome (actually, The Vatican)???… seek an audience with the new Pope, of course. How could we pass up the chance to show The Kid the impressive façade of St. Peter’s Basilica, hopefully get a glimpse of the Pope Benedict XVI (along with 10,000+ other groupies) and get a dozen rosaries blessed (our moms always said if you had the rosaries on you in the square while the Pope was blessing they were all officially “blessed”!) as pasalubongs for the faithful back home? Before the 11am (I think) appearance and blessing by the Pope, thousands of folks mill around St. Peter’s Square… We shopped rather frantically for rosaries…let me tell you, highway robbery prices at those official stores near the square!!! Cheaper if you buy from ambulant vendors who sell you rosewood rosaries on the fly but we had already stocked up… All I could think of the last time we were in the Vatican shops…“this must be the Saks Fifth Avenue of nuns and priests”…

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pope leaves for mountain vacation

Tue Jul 11, 9:31 AM ET

ROME (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI has left Rome for a two-week vacation in the Italian Alps.

At Les Combes, a small mountain village in the northwestern Aosta valley, he will stay at the wood and stone chalet at the foot of Mount Paradiso which was especially arranged in 2000 for his predecessor John Paul II.

Benedict already spent his first summer vacation as head of the Roman Catholic Church there last year.

After July 28 when he will leave the Alps he will spend time at the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo just outside Rome where he will resume his general audiences on Wednesdays.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Cardinal Dzwisz recalls John Paul II as the “Pope of the family”

Valencia, Jul. 10, 2006 (CNA) - During his participation at the International Theological Pastoral Conference at the World Meeting of Families in Valencia last week, Cardinal Stanislaw Dzwisz recalled John Paul II, as “the Pope of the family.”

According to the AVAN news agency, John Paul II’s former secretary emphasized the late Pontiff’s “courage and conviction” in defending and promoting the family.

During his comments, Cardinal Dzwisz underscored that John Paul II, “always expressed with courage his concern for the family in the countries he visited and he made concrete decisions with initiatives in favor of life.” “He always believed that family ministry was an enormous issue and that a certain sensitivity and clear conviction regarding the important role the family plays in the Church was needed,” the cardinal maintained.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Pope praises traditional family before hundreds of thousands

International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press
Published: July 9, 2006

VALENCIA, Spain Pope Benedict XVI praised marriage between a man and a woman as part of "a loving plan of God," as he defended the traditional family Sunday at a Mass attended by hundreds of thousands of people.

The service in a Valencia park was the highlight of a two-day trip challenging a Socialist government that has angered the Vatican by introducing such liberal reforms as gay marriage and fast track divorce.

The German-born pope, wearing green vestments and a gold miter, stressed that the family is "founded on indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman."

Benedict said every family has its origin in God and that "at the origin of every human being there is not something haphazard or chance, but a loving plan of God."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Today, while in Valencia, Pope to venerate chalice believed to be Holy Grail

Pope to Venerate Holy Grail

Chalice Kept in Valencia Is Sacred Icon

MADRID, Spain, JULY 7, 2006 ( When Benedict XVI is in Valencia on Saturday, he will stop to venerate the chalice that is traditionally considered the one Christ used at the Last Supper.

According to author and professor Salvador Antuñano Alea, the Last Supper's holy chalice, kept in the cathedral of Valencia, bases its probability on tradition and "very reasonable archaeological and historical evidence" but for Christians what is most important is "its condition as a sacred icon."

The Christian people venerate it because it "represents for them and takes them back to the sublime moment in which the Son of God left us his Blood as drink before shedding it on the cross," explained Antuñano to ZENIT.

A doctor in philosophy and professor at the University of Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid, Antuñano became interested in the holy grail given the conjectures, its alleged magical powers and the confusion between history and reality.

He wrote "The Mystery of the Holy Grail: Tradition and Legend of the Holy Chalice," published by EDICEP in 1999.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Using a daily "Examination of Conscience" to help sanctify our souls

An Examination of Conscience

By Mercedes W. Gutierrez *

With the buzz of summer in full swing, it is easy to get swept up in vacation planning, traveling, and family festivities. But, just as we pause during Lent to allow for the spring cleaning of our souls, it is important that we stop during these weeks in Ordinary Time to reflect on where we’ve been spiritually and assess where we are headed.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), created a simple method for examining one’s habits that we, as lay faithful, can easily incorporate into our daily lives. Using his Spiritual Exercises, in particular his Examination of Conscience, we can follow these five steps toward greater sanctification.

In the first step of our examination, we thank God for all he has given us. How easy is it to spend an entire day running errands and never once stop to thank God for the gifts He has blessed us with that day? When we offer thanksgiving to God for His spiritual and temporal graces, we enter into a prayerful dialogue with Him.

Second, we ask God for the grace to know and correct our faults. This prayer of petition opens our minds and hearts to better recognize the areas in our life where we lack charity or have not allowed the indwelling of God’s presence. Just as Christ instructed us in the Gospel to “ask and it will be given to you,” we must ask for the grace to grow in holiness (Matt 7:7).

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pope to rally to defence of 'Christian values' in Spain

by Denis Barnett
1 hour, 6 minutes ago

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI will seek to galvanize his opposition to growing secularism in Europe during a lightning weekend visit to Spain, the first Catholic country to legalize homosexual marriage.

The 26-hour visit, which begins on Saturday morning and ends early Sunday afternoon, comes almost exactly a year after the Socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero formally recognized the rights of same-sex couples, sparking a bitter dispute with Spain's Roman Catholic bishops.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Disciples of Jesus must live with Him and like Him, Benedict says

Vatican City, Jul. 05, 2006 (CNA) - The Apostle John was the subject of Benedict XVI's catechesis during today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of 25,000 people. The Pope told the crowd that John shows us that it is not enough to simply follow and listen to Jesus in a superficial way.

"According to tradition, John is the 'beloved disciple' who rested his head on the Master's chest during the Last Supper; he was at the foot of the Cross together with Jesus' Mother, and was a witness ... to the presence of the Risen One." Various scholars see in him, "the prototype of the disciple of Jesus," who wishes "to make each of us a disciple living in personal friendship with Him. To do this, it is not enough to follow and listen to Him on the outside, it is necessary to live with Him and like Him. This is only possible in the context of a relationship of great familiarity, pervaded by the warmth of complete trust."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

America! America! God Shed His Grace on Thee

America truly is "the Beautiful," and will remain so as long as she remains imbued with "God's Good."

Thank you, Spirit Daily, for posting this excellent article from Mary Kochan, Senior Editor of Catholic Exchange

Today we celebrate our country’s 230th birthday. We find the U.S. of A. still free, more powerful than ever and prosperous almost beyond imagination. All of these things are reasons for celebration — and cautious pause.

In This Article...
Confirm Thy Soul in Self-Control
Crown Thy Good with Brotherhood
God Mend Thine Every Flaw

Confirm Thy Soul in Self-Control

We celebrate these things because they are goods. They are blessings. That they are blessings means that they are received as gifts and with gratitude. There is nothing vague about this. The gratitude is not toward some lucky alignment of stars, nor merely toward the founding geniuses. The gratitude is toward God.

Hence the caution. For God is not a Giver indifferent to the use of His gifts. The proper use of gifts means the proper ordering of their value, and value is measured in reference to ultimate things. God is ultimately and absolutely free. From this flows the fact that freedom is a good desired by those made in His image. But though God is free, God is not freedom, and freedom worshipped becomes selfish idolatry.

Vatican announces Pope’s summer schedule

Vatican City, Jul. 04, 2006 (CNA) - The Vatican Information Service has released a brief schedule for the Holy Father’s vacation and summer residency.

In a statement today, the VIS said that Benedict XVI is scheduled to spend a period of rest at the alpine resort of Les Combes in the Italian region of Valle d'Aosta, from July 11th to 28th.

During this period, the Pope will not hold his Wednesday general audiences. He will, however, make his Angelus addresses on Sunday, July 16th, and Sunday, July 23rd, from Les Combes.

The Holy Father spent his summer vacation at Valle d’Aosta last year as well. During his vacation the pope dedicates his time to prayer and study as well as taking a few walks and hikes.

Upon the conclusion of his stay in Valle d'Aosta, the Pope will travel to his summer residence at Castelgandolfo south of Rome, where he will remain until the end of September.

Over the summer period, the pope traditionally suspends all private and special audiences, but holds his general audiences and Angelus addresses at Castelgandolfo.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Pope appeals for release of kidnap victims in Holy Land

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service (

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has appealed for the release of kidnap victims in the Holy Land, asking that "every kidnapped person be promptly returned to his loved ones."

During his June 29 Angelus address in St. Peter's Square, the pope said he was anxiously following the latest news coming out of Israel and the Palestinian territories.

He made an appeal that, with the help of the international community, Israeli and Palestinian leaders "responsibly resume a policy of negotiation of the conflict," adding that talks were the only method that could "guarantee the peace their people hope for."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Do not forget: Book aims to dispel unease after pope's Birkenau talk

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Amid lingering questions and even disappointment about Pope Benedict XVI's remarks at the Nazis' Birkenau death camp, the Vatican has published a book that attempts to place the speech in a wider context.

The book, "Rouse Yourself! Do Not Forget Mankind, Your Creature," was released in Italian June 27, and an English edition is being prepared.

The title is a line from the German-born pope's May 28 speech at the death camp in Poland, a speech that focused on the theological question of where was God when the Nazis were exterminating 6 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of other innocent people.