Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mystery of Halloween: How it reverted back to paganism after the Reformation

Thanks, Spirit Daily, for this insightful article.

There are mysteries about Halloween. Why is it like it is? Is there really an occult underpinning? Does it have any supernatural ramifications?

One little-known fact is that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses -- his argument against Catholicism -- on the door of the Wittenberg church on October 31, 1517. Those theses led of course to the Reformation and the break up of Catholicism, as Protestantism was born, soon itself to splinter into dozens of denominations.

A former monk and priest, Luther preached not only against the sale of indulgences and corruption in the Church (which were real), but also against the power of priests, the Pope, and saints as intercessors with Jesus.

This is crucial because -- ironically -- it helped to transform Halloween (the very day, coincidentally, that he'd nailed those theses!).

"Halloween" is an abbreviation or corruption of "All Hallow's E'en," the Irish way of saying "All Hallows Eve." It was called that because it preceded All Saints Day (called "All Hallows," or "All Hallowmas"). In old English the word "Hallow" meant "sanctify."

It is not something we associate with October 31 any longer.

That all changed once Protestantism removed the focus on saints and the "holiday" reverted to its original paganism.

Priest blasts Halloween as satanic

Imported American holiday a big hit in Italy

(ANSA) - Rimini, October 30 - A Catholic priest known for his crusades against prostitution has blasted Halloween for being a satanic rite which undermines the principles of religion .

According to Father Oreste Benzi, head of the Pope John XXII community, Halloween "has been imposed by an esoteric-satanic culture which induces the community to perform rituals of witchcraft, spiritualism and satanism which can even lead to ritual sacrifices and violence" .

"For satanists, Halloween is the most magic day in the year and during this night they perform black masses, esoteric-magical ceremonies and encourage witchcraft," he added.

"Christian parents and all those who believe in the values of life should know that Halloween is the adoration of Satan which has been disguised through games and parties for young people," he warned .

"On October 31, satanic rites are performed in deconsecrated churches and in many cemeteries. Communion wafers are stolen and places of our Christian tradition are violated," the priest continued. "I ask that the Catholic world in no way promotes or encourages this celebration of the macabre and horror. We at the Pope John XXIII community have been working for years to free the victims of occult sects," Father Benzi said .

Halloween undermines eternal truths of Christian faith, says Argentinean bishop

Buenos Aires, Oct. 30, 2006 (CNA) - In all letter to the faithful of his diocese, Bishop Rinaldo Fidel Bredice of Santa Rosa said the pagan feast of Halloween undermines the eternal truths of the Christian faith, and he exhorted Catholics to celebrate worthily the feasts of All Saints and November 1 and of All Souls on November 2.

“The preaching of the truth is our weapon: let us take advantage of the Feast of All Saints and the Memorial of All Souls to proclaim the four last things: death, judgment, hell, and heaven,” Bishop Bredice explained.

“Let us be encouraged to carry out the work of mercy of ‘praying for the dead’ (through personal prayer, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, holy hours offered in reparation, and most importantly, the Holy Mass), to visit their tombs in order to honor our roots and become aware of the temporariness of our lives on this earth. Thus we will be enlightening our brothers and sisters in the faith and all men and women of good will,” the bishop stated.

Lastly, Bishop Bredice included an “attachment about Halloween in order to point out the errors and to be able to explain the truth.” The bishop asked Catholics in Buenos Aires to spread his message to others “so that many others can discern and not observe this pagan feast.”

Monday, October 30, 2006

Archbishop Brady invites the Pope to visit Ireland

Belfast Telegraph
By Alf McCreary
30 October 2006

Pope Benedict XVI has been invited by the Roman Catholic Primate Archbishop Sean Brady to visit Ireland.

At the end of a two-week pilgrimage to Rome by the Irish bishops, Dr Brady issued a formal invitation to the Pope to follow in the footsteps of St. Patrick and "your venerable predecessor Pope John Paul II".

As predicted in the Belfast Telegraph at the start of the visit two weeks ago, the invitation to the Pope was likely to be made during the pilgrimage to Rome, where the Irish hierarchy not only met the Pope personally but also a number of leading Vatican officials, including those responsible for his visits.

Informed sources have indicated that Archbishop Brady and his fellow bishops have been anxious for some time that Pope Benedict should come to Ireland to "complete" the visit of Pope John Paul II who was unable to come to Armagh for security reasons.

Such a visit would be particularly appropriate in the event of a political settlement in Northern Ireland, although it is understood that such a visit might cause difficulties for the DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Archival document reveals Pope Pius XII’s support for Jewish people

Rome, Oct. 27, 2006 (CNA) - A recently uncovered archival document demonstrates Pope Pius XII’s high esteem and support for the Jewish people during the Second World War.

The uncovered document provides further evidence against the notion that Pope Pius XII was an anti-Semite and did nothing to help the Jews during World War II.

Monthly magazine, Inside the Vatican, reported on the document, which is an article that was published in The Palestine Post, (now The Jerusalem Post), on April 28, 1944. The article was written as a first-hand account by an anonymous Jewish author in wartime Palestine.

It describes a meeting between Pope Pius XII and the anonymous author, a young German Jew, in 1941 at the Vatican. The young man had gone seeking help for Jews who were being held in an Italian Fascist internment camp.

After listening to the young man and asking him to follow up with a letter to the Secretary of State who was dealing with the matter, Pius told him twice in front of a large group, which included German soldiers: “Be proud to be a Jew.”

See also original article, "Pope Pius XII: 'Be proud to be a Jew!'," at "Inside the Vatican":

In a remarkable historical find, testimony has emerged revealing that, in 1941, Pope Pius XII received a German Jewish visitor at the Vatican who was seeking help for certain Jews who were being held in an Italian internment camp. After welcoming the young man and promising him help, Pius told him not once but twice--in emotional language, in front of a large group that included German soldiers--"Be proud to be a Jew!"

The amazing testimony, written as a first-hand account by an anonymous Jewish author in wartime Palestine, originally appeared on April 28, 1944 in The Palestine Post (now, The Jerusalem Post), the most influential Jewish publication in the world at that time.

According to longtime Inside the Vatican contributor William Doino, who discovered the testimony in an archive, maintained by Tel Aviv University, "the testimony has apparently been forgotten, because, as far as I know, no leading Holocaust authority or biographer of Pius XII has ever cited it."

As the article reports, the Jewish author attended a papal audience in the autumn of 1941. He entered the papal chamber along with numerous other people, including a group of German soldiers. (It was common for soldiers to visit the Pope early in the war era. Later, when Hitler learned of what the Pope told them, he put an end to this practice.)

The author was the final individual to approach the Pope that day. He wanted to tell Pius about a group of Jews who were being interned by Italy’s Fascist government on an island, in danger of starvation. He tried to speak in broken Italian, but the Pope invited him to use his native language, assuming that it would be German. "You are German, too, aren't you?" asked the Pope. The author then explained that he was born in Germany, but he was a Jew.

Pius invited the author to finish his story. He listened intently then said: "You have done well to come to me and tell me this. I have heard about it before. Come back tomorrow with a written report and give it to the Secretary of State who is dealing with the question. But now for you, my son. You are a young Jew. I know what that means and I hope you will always be proud to be a Jew!"

Pius then raised his voice so that everyone in the hall - including the German soldiers - could hear it and said (in a "pleasant voice"): "My son, whether you are worthier than others only the Lord knows, but believe me, you are at least as worthy as every other human being that lives on our earth! And now, my Jewish friend, go with the protection of the Lord, and never forget, you must always be proud to be a Jew!"

The significance of this testimony, particularly for the cause of Pius XII, is still too early to gage, but Doino believes "it may well be the most explicit single testimony about Pius’s personal feelings toward Jews that has ever been recorded. It is not too far removed from Pius XI’s famous declaration of September 1938: "No, it is not possible for Christians to take part in anti-Semitism.... Spiritually, we are all Semites." But Doino notes one great difference between the statements: "Pius XI’s remark to a group of Belgian pilgrims was given wide publicity and is often quoted; Pius XII’s statement has been lost to history -- until now."

"For Pius XII to make this statement to a German Jew, in 1941, in private, would have been remarkable enough," continued Doino. "That he did it in public, with his voice raised so that 'everybody in the hall' could 'hear it clearly,' in front of German soldiers, as well as cardinals, bishops and other high dignitaries of the Vatican government, is more astonishing still. It doesn't merely reveal Pius XII's kindness and Christian compassion; he goes well beyond that and affirms the young man's Jewishness, the very core and dignity of his being."

Attached below is the original article, as it first appeared in the pages of The Palestine Post, in 1944, describing events that had occurred three years earlier. This will be followed by a full-scale commentary by Doino, in an upcoming issue of Inside the Vatican magazine, in which he evaluates the importance of this testimony for Pius XII studies, recounts the story of the shipwrecked Jewish refugees, the Vatican’s support for them, and gives clues as to whom the anonymous Jewish author might be -- the editors of Inside the Vatican

Note: the original article can be found online by accessing the archives of the "Palestine Post," run by Tel Aviv University, here.

Follow the instructions to access the April 28, 1944 issue of the Palestine Post, forward to page 6, and go to the article entitled, A Papal Audience in Wartime, by "Refugee."


The Palestine Post, April 28, 1944; Page 6

A Papal Audience in Wartime
By "Refugee"

The author of this article arrived in this country in the refugee ship Nyassa.

It is on a sunny Wednesday morning in the autumn of 1941. An up-to-date Roman bus takes me from the center of the Eternal City to the Vatican. In the pocket of my dark suit I have a permit to enter the Palace of Vatican City for an audience with His Holiness Pope Pius XII.

As the bus crosses the Tiber, I can see the complex of Hadrian’s Tomb. A moment later we arrive at the huge square in front of St. Peter’s.

Priest Sends SOS for Christians in Iraq; Faithful Flee, Churches Close in Baghdad

KOENIGSTEIN, Germany, OCT. 25, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The recent escalation of violence in Baghdad has become too much for Christians caught in the crossfire, an Iraqi priest told the charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Father Bashar Warda told the aid organization that the conflict between the various warring factions has forced the faithful left in Al Dora -- Baghdad's district known as the "Vatican of Iraq" -- to leave.

"Nearly 700 Christian families living there have been forced to leave toward North Iraq, Syria and Jordan," he said.

"Up to a dozen centers of Catholic life and worship, including the only theological university, Babel College, and at least five churches have been closed in Al Dora," added the priest.

Father Warda said, however, that there is hope.

The Church was able to open a primary school in eastern Baghdad using a building funded in part by Aid to the Church in Need. The priest reported that 380 children attend The Tent of Mary School, 70% of whom are Muslims.

Father Warda also said that Catholic medical centers are very popular among Muslims.

Given "the trust that the Muslims have in our educational and medical institutions, we should definitely keep them going," he said. "It is the only hope we have that some day Iraq will rise again from this terrible situation."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pope to Get Bush-Like Protection

By Sedat Gunec, Ankara
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Zamen Daily Newspaper

Strict security measures will be taken during Pope Benedict XVI’s official visit to Turkey scheduled for November 28 to December 1, 2006.

The Security General Directorate, in cooperation with the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) and the Gendarmerie, is working on security plans in an effort to prevent any provocations or even assassination attempts against the Pope, who, after his offensive remarks on Islam and prophet Muhammad, will be visiting Turkey.

During the papal visit, the Directorate will adhere to their Type A protection plan, which was previously invoked during US president George W. Bush’s visit to Turkey.

During his stay, Benedict XVI will visit Ankara and Istanbul and meet officials. The Pope, will also visit Hagia Sophia and other historical sites in Istanbul.

The Type A security plan will be enforced during the entire visit. Turkish F-16 aircraft will accompany the Pope’s flight upon its entrance into Turkish airspace.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pope Benedict receives JPII Foundation members on their 25th anniversary

VATICAN - “John Paul II, philosopher and theologian, a great shepherd of the Church, left a legacy of writing and gestures which express his desire to spread the Gospel of Christ in the world”: Pope Benedict XVI receives members of the Fondazione Giovanni Paolo II

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - “John Paul II, philosopher and theologian, a great shepherd of the Church, left a legacy of writing and gestures which express his desire to spread the Gospel of Christ in the world, using the methods indicated by the Second Vatican Council, and tracing lines of development for the life of the Church in the new millennium. These precious gifts cannot be forgotten. Today I entrust to you, dear members and friends of the Fondazione Giovanni Paolo II the task to deepen and manifest to future generations the treasures of his message.” Pope Benedict XVI said this when he received members of the Fondazione Giovanni Paolo II this morning on the occasion of the foundation’s 25th anniversary.

The Holy Father said he was happy “to welcome representatives of people all over the world committed to keeping alive the memory of Pope John Paul II and his teaching and apostolic activity during his pontificate”. This commitment is not only a question of organising “archives or research, it touches the mystery of the holiness of this Servant of God”. Thanks to spiritual and economic support of its members the Foundation continues its activity: “collecting documentation on John Paul II, studying and spreading papal teaching and Church Magisterium, in contact and collaboration with Polish and international Centres of science and arts”.

The Pope ended his address thanking the Foundation for offering young people, especially in Central-Eastern Europe, the opportunity to study at various grades and different fields: “I urge you, the Pope concluded, to continue this good work. May it continue and may it expand. May your united efforts, sustained by God’s help, continue to bear magnificent fruits”. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 23/10/2006 - Righe 21, parole 305)

See the Pope’s address in Italian

Monday, October 23, 2006

Information Warfare: Vatican Geeks 1, Islamic Hackers 0

Strategy Page

October 23, 2006: In early October, Islamic hackers tried to make good on their threat to take down a Vatican web site. Attempts to hack into and deface the Vatican web site were defeated. The Islamic hackers also tried a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. Normally, this can shut down a site with a flood of garbage messages, generated from thousands of "zombie PCs" (machines hackers have earlier seized control of). To their credit, the system administrators of the Vatican site were able to defeat the DDOS attack and keep the site operational. The Islamic hackers, who made their threat openly on an Internet forum, were upset at Pope Benedict's criticism of Islam in his Regensburg speech. Other Moslems, in response to the pope's remarks, murdered a nun in Somalia, and burned down several churches else where. Pope Benedict had quoted a medieval comment about Islam being a violent religion.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fallaci bequeaths books and notes to Pope; will be known as "Oriana Fallaci Archives"

The Washington Times

Atheist journalist gifts pontifical school in will
By Frances D'Emilio, Associated Press
October 22, 2006

ROME -- An Italian journalist and self-described atheist who died last month has left most of her books and notes to a pontifical university in Rome because of her admiration for Pope Benedict XVI.

Oriana Fallaci had described the pontiff as an ally in her campaign to rally Christians in Europe against what she saw as a Muslim crusade against the West.

As she battled breast cancer last year, she had a private audience with Benedict, who was elected only a few months earlier, at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

In one of her final interviews, Miss Fallaci told the Wall Street Journal: "I am an atheist, and if an atheist and a pope think the same things, there must be something true."

Benedict was surprised by the gift of the books, which dated back as far as the 17th century and included volumes about the formation of modern-day Italy, American history, philosophy and theology, said Monsignor Rino Fisichella, rector of the Pontifical Lateranense University in Rome.

"The veneration that she had for you, Holy Father, persuaded her to make this donation, which will be known as the Oriana Fallaci Archives," Monsignor Fisichella said during a ceremony at the university yesterday to announce the gift.

Benedict greeted Miss Fallaci's nephew and his family during the ceremony, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. He then spoke briefly about the search for truth in science and academia.

Pope sends 'cordial greetings' to Muslims, calls for Iraq aid

By Andrew Medichini, AP

Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges cheers from faithful and pilgrims after delivering his noon blessing from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's square at the Vatican on Sunday.

Posted 10/22/2006 8:49 AM ET
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday appealed to political and religious leaders in Iraq and the world to help the conflict-ridden country in its reconstruction, and expressed solidarity with the Christian community and all victims of the violence there.

In his Sunday prayer in St. Peter's Square, Benedict also sent his "cordial greetings" to Muslims, who are celebrating the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, and wished them "serenity and peace."

The pope expressed worry for the "news coming out of Iraq on the very grave situation of insecurity and brutal violence to which many innocent people are subjected only because (they are) Shiites, Sunnis or Christians."

Benedict appealed to "the religious leaders, the political leaders, both local and of the world, to support those people on the path to reconstructing their homeland, in the search of a shared balance, in mutual respect, in the awareness that the plurality of its components is an integral part of its wealth."

"I perceive the great worry that runs through the Christian community and I intend to assure that I am close to it, as I am to all victims, and for all I call for strength and consolation," the pope said.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

At Ramadan's end, Vatican asks Catholics and Muslims to overcome terrorism together

Poupard calls for Catholics and Muslims to work together in overcoming terrorism

Vatican City, Oct. 20, 2006 (CNA) - To commemorate the end of the fasting season of Ramadan, Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, sent a message today to Muslims around the world. The cardinal encouraged continued work in dialogue and spoke out against the “painful scourge” of violence and terrorism, which he said, Muslims and Catholics should struggle to overcome together.

The sending of a Ramadan message is now customary at the Vatican, though this message has drawn a bit more attention following recent tensions between the Church and many in the Muslim world.

Pope Benedict XVI himself relayed a pre-Ramadan message during a meeting with diplomats of several Islamic countries as well as Muslim religious leaders.

Cardinal Poupard began by echoing Pope Benedict’s wishes for “peace, tranquility, and joy” in the “hearts, homes and countries” of Muslims everywhere.

The Vatican interreligious dialogue chief made passing reference to the tense situation which has arisen following a lecture offered by Pope Benedict. The academic speech was mischaracterized by many as an attack on Islam and the Muslim prophet Mohammed. The resulting outcry resulted in violent protests and even the murder of a Catholic religious sister and an Orthodox Christian priest.

“The particular circumstances that we have recently experienced together demonstrate clearly that, however arduous the path of authentic dialogue may be at times, it is more necessary than ever,” he said.

Noting that Ramadan allows time for prayer and reflection the cardinal expressed his hope that Muslims reflected on the “serious problems that affect our times.” Poupard noted the problems of “injustice, poverty, tensions, and conflicts between countries as well as within them,” but said that, “violence and terrorism are a particularly painful scourge. So many human lives destroyed, so many women widowed, so many children who have lost a parent, so many children orphaned … So many wounded, physically and spiritually… So much, which has taken years of sacrifice and toil to build, destroyed in a few minutes!”

From the Vatican comes the text of the actual message:

Vatican Message to Muslims at Ramadan's End
"Love for God Is Inseparable From Love for Others"

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 20, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is the message published today by Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, on the occasion of the end of Ramadan.

The message is entitled: "Christians and Muslims: In Confident Dialogue Aimed at Solving Together the Challenges of Our World."

* * *

Dear Muslim friends,

1. I am happy to address this message to you for the first time as president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and to extend the council's warmest greetings as you celebrate the conclusion of the fast of Ramadan.

I wish you peace, tranquility and joy in your hearts, your homes and your countries. These good wishes echo those which His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI expressed personally at the beginning of Ramadan to the diplomats accredited to the Holy See from countries with Muslim majorities, to those from other countries that are members and observers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and to representatives of Muslim communities in Italy.

2. It is good to be able to share this significant moment with you in the context of our ongoing dialogue. The particular circumstances that we have recently experienced together demonstrate clearly that, however arduous the path of authentic dialogue may be at times, it is more necessary than ever.

3. The month of Ramadan which you have just completed has also undoubtedly been a time of prayer and reflection on the difficult situations of today's world. While contemplating and thanking God for all that is good, it is impossible not to take note of the serious problems which affect our times: injustice, poverty, tensions and conflicts between countries as well as within them.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Novena For The Pope's Turkey Trip

I join you all in prayer.
Dear Lord, please guide and protect the Holy Father as he prepares for and while he is on his apostolic mission to Turkey.
Thank you, St. Peter's Helpers et al, for reminding us all to pray for the Pope's intentions and safety.


Please join me, Moneybags and Argent in a Rosary novena for the Holy Father in anticipation of his upcoming apostolic trip to Turkey.This trip will be a sensitive and very important one in attempting to promote dialogue and relations with the Muslim faith.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI sends message to Poland in remembrance of Pope John Paul II

Vatican City, Oct. 17, 2006 (CNA) - The Vatican released today the text of a video message recorded by Pope Benedict XVI to the people of Poland. The nation celebrated its sixth annual “Day of the Pope” yesterday, commemorating the election of Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla as Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict’s message was broadcast on Polish television.

Recalling the day of John Paul II's election, Pope Benedict said he can "still hear the echo" of the words pronounced by Karol Wojtyla as he accepted his election to the Papacy, and also remembers his "prophetic call: 'Do not be afraid! Open the doors to Christ!'"

Professor cited by Pope in Muslim talk is linked to an alleged visionary in Syria

Thanks, Spirit Daily, for this fascinating article.

The theologian quoted by Pope Benedict in his famous remarks at the University of Regensburg is linked to an alleged seer and stigmatic from Syria.

The theologian is Professor Adel Theodor Khoury, whose writings were directly referenced by the Pope in that hotly controversial talk during a trip in August to his homeland of Germany.

"I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodor Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on -- perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara -- by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both," intoned the Pope.

"In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: 'There is no compulsion in religion.' According to the experts, this is one of the surahs of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the 'Book' and the 'infidels,' he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"

It was that last line, drawn from Professor Khoury's book, that provoked Muslim protests and even violence worldwide. Until his retirement in 1993, Khoury was head of the theology department of Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany.

In tighter circles, however, the professor long has been better known in association with a woman in the Soufanieh area of Damascus, Syria, named Myrna Nazzour -- whose mission has been religious unity. Nazzour is the surname of her Greek Orthodox spouse; her Catholic maiden name was Mynra (nee Maria) Koubet al-Akhras.

During 1982 Muslims, Catholics, and Greek Orthodox alike watched in common wonderment as an icon of Mary she owned exuded oil starting on November 22.

Vatican City: Pope’s Trip to Turkey Confirmed

New York Times

Published: October 17, 2006

The Vatican officially confirmed Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to Turkey from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1, his first to a Muslim country. The visit is expected to bring major security concerns because of the pope’s recent speech that seemed to link Islam and violence. The Vatican said Benedict’s trip would begin in Ankara, the capital, and then take him to Aegean city of Izmir, an ancient Christian community, and finally to Istanbul, for a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Polish spies in John Paul II assassination attempt

Researchers have uncovered evidence that the Polish secret service was also implicated in a series of assassination attempts that culminated in the shooting of John Pal II in 1981, following an earlier attempt to kill the Pope during a visit to the Polish Marian shrine of Jasna Gora in 1979.

The revelations are made in an article in Polish weekly Wprost by Leszek Szymowski who was assisted by Marek Lasota, a research fellow of the Polish Institute of the National Memory.

The authors detail evidence confirming that the Soviet KGB planned and led all efforts to "eliminate" the Polish Pope, from 1978 up to 1989, when the Communist regime finally collapsed in Poland, and soon after in all Eastern and Central European countries of the former Soviet Bloc.

According to the website Oracle Syndicate the new evidence delivers a crushing blow to all "conspiracy theories" invented by the Soviet disinformation experts or circulated in the West, which blamed Turkish right wing groups or even the CIA.

The new evidence, found in Berlin in the archives of the East German communist secret service, also confirms the role of the Bulgarian secret services.

The researchers say that the Kremlin allotted to East German intelligence the task of countering all reports and accusations against the Bulgarians.

However, what was not known earlier was the participation of the Polish secret services in the preparations for the plots against the Pope, the researchers say.

The researchers also say that a total of 21 or 22 attempts on the life of John Paul II were planned between 1978 and 1989.

See also, Dark Side - Ali Agca's Secret Services (Oracle Syndicate, 12/10/06).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pope Benedict meets with Anti-Defamation League officials

Interreligious tolerance not enough, authentic respect needed, Pope tells Jewish ADL

Vatican City, Oct. 12, 2006 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI met today with members of the New York based Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The Holy Father told the Jewish group that the challenge of interreligious dialogue is to build relationships which go beyond tolerance to authentic respect.

The Pope welcomed the group, recalling the many meetings between the ADL and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, and affirming his own desire to continue meeting representative groups of the Jewish people.

“In our world today,” the Pope began, “religious, political, academic and economic leaders are being seriously challenged to improve the level of dialogue between peoples and between cultures. To do this effectively requires a deepening of our mutual understanding and a shared dedication to building a society of ever greater justice and peace.”

“We need to know each other better and, on the strength of that mutual discovery, to build relationships not just of tolerance but of authentic respect,” the Holy Father said.

“Indeed,” he continued, “Jews, Christians and Muslims share many common convictions, and there are numerous areas of humanitarian and social engagement in which we can and must cooperate.”

Recalling the words of “Nostra Aetate,” the Church’s document on relations with non-Christian religions, Pope Benedict recalled the “Jewish roots” of the Christian faith and the need to create new bonds of friendship and collaboration between the Church and the Jewish people.

See also:

ADL Officials Meet With Pope Benedict XVI
20:36 Oct 12, '06 / 20 Tishrei 5767

(IsraelNN.com) An official delegation from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) met with Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday and asked him to help protect Jews from Iran. "We hope you will declare the Church's commitment to do everything in its power to prevent another Holocaust against the Jewish people from any part of the globe, including Iran," said ADL executive director Abe Foxman.

The Catholic pope responded by expressing his condemnation of anti-Semitism but made no specific reference to Iran, saying that “the Church deplores all forms of hatred or persecution directed against the Jews and all displays of anti-Semitism at any time and from any source.” He offered a prayer that “the Eternal One, our Father in heaven, bless every effort to eliminate from our world any misuse of religion as an excuse for hatred or violence.”

And, also:

Pope Assures ADL Leaders He Is A Moral Voice Against Anti-Semitism

New York, NY, October 12, 2006 … In a private audience today with leaders from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI issued his strongest declaration against anti-Semitism since assuming the papacy, telling the visiting delegation of Jewish leaders that he would, "be a strong, constant voice against anti-Semitism."

"I will always be there for you in fighting anti-Semitism," Pope Benedict personally assured Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in informal words following his prepared remarks to the delegation.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Former Vatican envoy says Pope was surprised by reaction to comments re Islam

Washington DC, Oct. 10, 2006 (CNA) - A former Vatican envoy told NewsMax.com he believes the violent reaction to Pope Benedict XVI’s comments about radical Islam served as “an eye-opener” for the West about the need to pay more attention to other countries.

In an exclusive interview with the online media outlet, the former mayor of Boston, Ambassador Ray Flynn, said he believes the reaction to the Pope’s speech at the University of Regensburg in Germany last month was unwarranted.

“I think a lot of people just flew off the handle before they even knew what his message was all about,” he was quoted as saying.

Flynn said the Pope was likely surprised by the reaction. “I don't think he [the pontiff] ever realized the intensity, the hatred, that is in society today and I think it was an eye opener for many,” he added.

However, Flynn said, he does not believe the Pope should have apologized for his comments since he was not expressing his personal point of view but citing a 14th-century Christian emperor.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pope uses website to further clarify speech that sparked Muslim ire

2 hours, 47 minutes ago
Published: 10/9/2006

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican on Monday posted on its website an annotated version of the speech Pope Benedict XVI delivered in Germany last month which caused an uproar in the Muslim world.

When he quoted a medieval Christian emperor who equated Islam with violence in the speech at the University of Regensburg in Germany, it "was unfortunately interpreted as the expression of my personal position, sparking understandable indignation," one annotation says.

Quoting Manuel II Palaeologus on the Prophet Mohammed, founder of Islam, Benedict said on September 12: "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"

The head of world's one billion Catholics went on to say: "The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul."

The annotation posted Monday adds: "I hope that the reader of my text will immediately understand that this phrase does not express my personal opinion on the Koran, for which I feel the respect that is due to the holy book of a great religion.

The Pope's annotated speech is available on the Vatican's website.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Pope's Wednesday General Audience: A catechesis on the Apostle Bartholomew

VATICAN - Pope Benedict XVI continues Audience catechesis on the Apostles: The figure of Saint Bartholomew is before us to say that we can live and bear witness as disciples of Jesus even without sensational deeds

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - On Wednesday morning October 4, Pope Benedict XVI returned to the Vatican after spending the Summer at Castel Gandolfo, and gave his customary general audience in St Peter’s square, where he was warmly welcomed by thousands of visitors. On his way to the square the Pope stopped to bless a new statue set in one of the niches on the outside of St Peter’s basilica. The statue represents Saint Genoveva Torres Morales, who founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Angels.

Continuing his catechesis on the Twelve Apostles, this week the Holy Father spoke about Bartholomew: “We have little information with regard to Bartholomew - the Pope said -; his name is found always but only in the lists of the Twelve, never at the centre of a narration. Traditionally however he is identified with Nathaniel, a name which means ‘God has given’. Nathaniel came from Cana and could have been a witness to a great ‘sign’ worked there by Jesus. The identification of these two figures is probably due to the fact that Nathaniel, in the scene of the calling as narrated in the Gospel of John, comes next to Philip, the place given to Bartholomew in the lists of the Apostles in the other three Gospels”.

The Pope recalled that when Philip said he had found “the one of whom Moses wrote in the Law and the Prophets: Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth”, Nathaniel replied: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”. This statement tells us that “for the Jews, the Messiah would not come from such an unknown village as Nazareth” and at the same time, “underlines the freedom of God who surprises our expectations by letting Himself be found exactly there where we least expect Him ”.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Turkish hijacker, a Christian convert, wanted political asylum and Pope's protection

New York Times

Hijacker of Turkish Plane Wanted to Contact Pope, Officials Say
Published: October 4, 2006

ROME, Oct. 3 — A Turkish Airlines jet was hijacked Tuesday by at least one unarmed Turkish man, apparently a convert to Christianity who wanted to communicate with Pope Benedict XVI, Turkish and Italian officials said.

All 107 passengers and 5 crew members walked out of the plane unharmed two hours after two Italian F-16’s escorted it to the southern Italian city of Brindisi for landing.

Just before they left the plane, a hijacker identified as Hakan Ekinci, 28, apologized to the passengers, most of them Albanians flying from Tirana to Istanbul, apparently unaware that the Boeing 737-400 had been hijacked until it landed in Italy at about 5:50 p.m.

Turkish hijacker is seeking asylum
AP via Yahoo! News Wed, 04 Oct 2006 5:33 AM PDT

By ALESSANDRA RIZZO, Associated Press Writer
Wed Oct 4, 8:33 AM ET

BRINDISI, Italy - A Turkish army deserter who hijacked a Turkish airliner to Italy is seeking asylum because he fears persecution in his Muslim homeland after his conversion to Christianity and wanted Pope Benedict XVI's protection, an Italian prosecutor said Wednesday.

"It looks like it was an operation which he had planned for some time, the reasons are of religious nature," Brindisi Prosecutor Giuseppe Giannuzzi told a news conference in this port city where the hijacking ended safely Tuesday night with the hijacker's surrender.

"Having taken up the Christian religion, he feared going back to Turkey," said Giannuzzi, who interrogated the suspect after he surrendered.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Can a Europe, devolved into spineless moral relativism, defend itself against evil?

Pope Benedict has clearly elucidated on numerous occasions the following mandate: Europe must counter moral relativism, be re-evangelized, and come back to the faith.

He is right. Without a spiritual rebirth, the very rock upon which Europe's culture stands--- its Judeo-Christian heritage---could crumble, causing it to devolve relentlessly into barbarism. Europe's very survival is at stake.

National Review Online
October 2, 2006 6:02 AM

Traitors to the Enlightenment
Europe turns its back on Socrates, Locke, et al.
By Victor Davis Hanson

The first Western Enlightenment of the Greek fifth-century B.C. sought to explain natural phenomena through reason rather than superstition alone. Ethics were to be discussed in the realm of logic as well as religion. Much of what Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, and the Sophists thought may today seem self-evident, if not at times nonsensical. But that century was the beginning of the uniquely Western attempt to bring to the human experience empiricism, self-criticism, irony, and tolerance in thinking.

The second European Enlightenment of the late 18th century followed from the earlier spirit of the Renaissance. For all the excesses and arrogance in its thinking that pure reason might itself dethrone religion — as if science could explain all the mysteries of the human condition — the Enlightenment nevertheless established the Western blueprint for a humane and ordered society.

But now all that hard-won effort of some 2,500 years is at risk. The new enemies of Reason are not the enraged democrats who executed Socrates, the Christian zealots who persecuted philosophers of heliocentricity, or the Nazis who burned books. No, they are a pampered and scared Western public that caves to barbarism — dwarves who sit on the shoulders of dead giants, and believe that their present exalted position is somehow related to their own cowardly sense of accommodation.

What would a Socrates, Galileo, Descartes, or Locke believe of the present decay in Europe — that all their bold and courageous thinking, won at such a great cost, would have devolved into such cheap surrender to fanaticism?

Just think: Put on an opera in today’s Germany, and have it shut down, not by Nazis, Communists, or kings, but by the simple fear of Islamic fanatics.

Write a novel deemed critical of the Prophet Mohammed, as did Salman Rushdie, and face years of ostracism and death threats — in the heart of Europe no less.

Compose a film, as did Theo Van Gogh, and find your throat cut in “liberal” Holland.

Or better yet, sketch a cartoon in postmodern Denmark, and then go into hiding.

Quote an ancient treatise, as did the pope, and learn your entire Church may come under assault, and the magnificent stones of the Vatican offer no refuge.

There are three lessons to be drawn from these examples. In almost every case, the criticism of the artist or intellectual was based either on his supposed lack of sensitivity or of artistic excellence. Van Gogh was, of course, obnoxious and his films puerile. The pope was woefully ignorant of public relations. The cartoons in Denmark were amateurish and unnecessary. Rushdie was an overrated novelist, whose chickens of trashing the West he sought refuge in finally came home to roost. The latest Hans Neuenfels adaptation of Mozart’s Idomeneo was silly.

But isn’t that precisely the point? It is easy to defend artists when they produce works of genius that do not offend popular sensibilities — Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws — but not so when an artist offends with neither taste nor talent. Yes, Pope Benedict is old and scholastic; he lacks both the smile and tact of the late Pope John Paul II, who surely would not have turned for elucidation to the rigidity of Byzantine scholarship. But isn’t that why we must come to the present Pope’s defense — if for no reason other than because he has the courage to speak his convictions when others might not?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Missionary Month of October starts tomorrow and culminates with Mission Sunday

Missionary Month of October starting tomorrow will culminate with Mission Sunday. Comment on the Holy Father’s mission prayer intention for October by Cardinal Ivan Dias Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples

Vatican City (Fides Service) - The Church’s Missionary Month of October starting tomorrow will culminate with the annual recurrence of Mission Sunday on the last but one Sunday of the month, this year 22nd October, a day to remember missionaries everywhere with prayers and special collections. October was chosen as the month for the Missions to commemorate the discovery of the new continent, America. For the month of October this year Pope Benedict XVI indicated the following theme to the Apostolate of Prayer: “That the celebration of World Mission Sunday may intensify missionary animation and cooperation everywhere” We give below the comment on this intention by Cardinal Ivan Dias Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. (SL) (Fides 30/9/2006)

Links:Comment on the Holy Father’s mission prayer intention for October by Cardinal Ivan Dias Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples

Cardinal O'Connor protests BBC documentary alleging Vatican sex abuse cover-up


Bishops reject Vatican abuse cover-up report
BBC program alleges Pope Benedict XVI enforced cover-up secrecy oath

Andrew Parsons / AP FILE

The leader of Britain's Catholics, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, seen at Westminster Cathedral in London in April, plans to write to the BBC to protest a program that alleges the Vatican covered-up child sex abuse under a system enforced by Pope Benedict XVI in his previous job.

Updated: 2 hours, 49 minutes ago

LONDON - Roman Catholic bishops in England and Wales rejected as “false and entirely misleading” a BBC documentary about what it said was a cover-up of child sexual abuse under a system enforced by Pope Benedict XVI in his previous job.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, head of the Catholic Church in the two countries, plans to write to Mark Thompson, director general of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) this week to protest about the program, aired late on Sunday.

The documentary, by “Panorama”, the BBC’s flagship current affairs show, examined what it described as a secret document written in 1962 that sets out a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse within the Catholic Church.

The document, called “Crimen Sollicitationis”, imposes an oath of secrecy on the child victim, the priest dealing with the allegation and any witness. Breaking that oath would result in excommunication, the BBC said.

“The procedure was intended to protect a priest’s reputation until the church had investigated, but in practice it can offer a blueprint for cover-up,” the BBC documentary said.

“The man in charge of enforcing it for 20 years was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the man made Pope last year,” reporter Colm O’Gorman said in the program “Sex Crimes and the Vatican”.

Pope Invites Families to Pray the Rosary

For the Intentions of the Pope, Missions and Peace

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, OCT. 1, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI invited all families to pray the rosary for the intentions of the Pope, the mission of the Church and peace.

The Holy Father said this today to the crowds gathered in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo to pray the Angelus, on the first day of October, the month the Church traditionally dedicates to the rosary and the missions.

"It is as if every year Our Lady invited us to rediscover the beauty of this prayer, so simple and profound," said the Pope, referring to the feast of the Virgin of the Rosary, observed on Oct. 7.

The rosary, a "contemplative and Christocentric prayer, inseparable from the meditation of sacred Scripture," is "the prayer of the Christian who advances in the pilgrimage of faith, in the following of Jesus, preceded by Mary," continued the Pontiff.

Pope Benedict's missionary prayer intentions

October 2006: The Pope’s missionary prayer intention “May the celebration of World Mission Sunday intensify the spirit of missionary animation and cooperation everywhere”

Comment by Cardinal Ivan Dias Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - In this month of October 2006 we celebrate the 80th anniversary of the institution of World Mission Sunday. In fact on 14 April 1926 Pope Pius XI gave his approval to a request formulated by the Superior General Council of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith which, in a plenary assembly, petitioned the Supreme Pontiff to establish “a day of prayer and propaganda for the missions to be celebrated on the same day in every Catholic diocese, parish and institute in the world”. The reasons for the request were clearly stated: “The day would foster understanding of the greatness of the missionary task, encourage zeal among the clergy and the people; offer an opportunity to make the Society for the Propagation of the Faith ever more widely known and encourage offerings for the missions...” (cfr. Rescript Sacred Congregation for Rites 14 April 1926).

In these eighty years humanity as walked briskly, ever faster in recent times. It has experienced terrible tragedies, such as two worlds wars, the holocaust, conflicts in every part of the planet, but it has also made progress in the fields of science, technology and medicine; it has launched itself to conquer space, equipped itself with sophisticated means of communications, solemnly proclaimed the inviolable rights of every human person, witnessed profound social and political changes such as the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pope prays for peace between Christians and Muslims in Iraq

Pope prays for peace
Reuters via Yahoo! News - Oct 01 5:14 AM

Pope Benedict XVI blesses to the faithful during Angelus prayer from his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, October 1, 2006. (REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

Sun Oct 1, 8:14 AM ET
CASTELGANDOLOFO, Italy (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Sunday he hoped Iraq's Christian minority could continue to live in peace with the Muslim majority in a country where people of both religions faced tragedy on a daily basis.

The Pontiff, who has been trying to patch up relations with Muslims after a controversial speech last month, said Iraq had traditionally been a place of harmony between Muslims and Christians.

Benedict said the leader of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church visited him on Friday and told him of the "tragic reality faced every day by the dear population of Iraq where Christians and Muslims have lived together for 14 centuries as children of the same land.

"I hope there is no loosening of the bonds of their fraternity," he told pilgrims after delivering his weekly blessing at his summer palace outside Rome.