Monday, April 30, 2007

Papal Prayer Intentions for May

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2007 ( Benedict XVI will pray during May that Christians allow themselves to be guided by the Word of God.

The Apostleship of Prayer announced the general intention chosen by the Pope: "That, following the example of the Virgin Mary, all Christians should allow themselves to be guided by the Word of God and always remain attentive to the signs of the Lord in his own life."

The Holy Father also chooses an apostolic intention for each month. In May, he will pray that "in mission territories there may be no lack of good and enlightened teachers in the major seminaries and in the institutes of consecrated life."

Pope calls on faithful, particularly families, to pray for, nurture priestly vocations

Vatican City, Apr 30, 2007 / 11:34 am (CNA).- Shortly after ordaining 22 men from the diocese of Rome to the priesthood, Pope Benedict XVI charged the throngs of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly Regina Coeli prayer to pray for a greater nurturing of priestly vocations within the Church.

The Pope also called for prayer "for those preparing themselves for the priestly ministry, and for formators in the seminaries of Rome, Italy and the entire world.”

Similarly, he prayed for families, “that in them, the 'seed' of the call to priestly ministry may continue to nurture and ripen."

Sunday marked the 44th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations. This year’s theme was "vocation to the service of the Church as communion."

On this point, the Pope said that all the baptized "are called to contribute to the work of salvation,” but that “in the Church there are, however, a number of vocations especially dedicated to the service of communion. The person primarily responsible for Catholic communion is the Pope, Peter's Successor and Bishop of Rome. Alongside him, custodians and masters of unity are the bishops, successors of the Apostles, assisted by priests. But consecrated persons and all the faithful are also at the service of communion.”

Concluding his brief address, the Pope said that "In the heart of the Church as communion is the Eucharist: the various vocations all draw from this supreme Sacrament the spiritual strength to build ... the one ecclesial Body."

Sunday, April 29, 2007

AP via Yahoo! News
AP - Sun Apr 29, 9:05 AM ET

Men prostrate themselves on a carpet in front of the central altar as Pope Benedict XVI ordained 22 men on Sunday, April 29, 2007 in St. Peter's Basilica, including the son of the man who has been the Vatican's official photographer for decades. Juan Carlos Mari was ordained as a member of the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative religious order. His father Arturo has been taking photographs of pontiffs on pilgrimages and during ceremonies for decades for the Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Vatican officials said. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Vatican sources: Papal trip to U.N. headquarters unlikely this year

By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI accepted an invitation to visit U.N. headquarters in New York City, but Vatican sources said the trip looked unlikely for this year.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters April 26 that during their recent meeting at the Vatican he asked the pope to come "at a mutually convenient time."

"I am very happy that he accepted my invitation to visit," Ban said.

Attention had focused on a possible papal visit in September for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly. Vatican sources said that date now looked improbable, and that no steps were being taken for a U.N. visit this year.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Vatican confirms: Pope Benedict has accepted invitation to visit United Nations HQ in New York

Papal Travels

Vatican City, Apr 27, 2007 / 09:08 am (CNA).- The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., confirmed recent rumors that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted an invitation to visit United Nations headquarters in New York City.

In a short press conference yesterday afternoon Fr. Lombardi announced that “The Pope has accepted the invitation in general terms, and has expressed his willingness to visit the U.N. headquarters, although as yet there is no date or program for the trip.”

The invitation was extended by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on his recent audience with the Holy Father.

Several news sources reported Ban’s declaration yesterday that the Pope had accepted his invite.

Servant of God John Paul II visited the U.N. headquarters in 1979, and again in 1995 for the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the organization.

The Vatican said that during last week's 20-minute private meeting in the pope's library, Ban and Benedict "dwelled on topics of common interest," including strengthening dialogue between cultures and how the Holy See might contribute to solving international conflicts.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ki-moon to meet Pope Benedict

Independent Online
Thu, 26 Apr 2007 10:50 AM PDT

United Nations - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted his invitation to visit the United Nations.

During a meeting with the pope at the Vatican last week, Ban said he invited the pontiff to visit the United Nations "at a mutually convenient time."

"I am very much happy that he accepted my invitation to visit United Nations," the secretary-general told reporters.

No date has been set for the pope's visit to UN headquarters in New York.

The Vatican said that during last week's 20-minute private meeting in the pope's library, Ban and Benedict "dwelled on topics of common interest," including strengthening dialogue between cultures and how the Holy See might contribute to solving international conflicts. - Sapa-AP

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Benedict invites Catholics to “a prayerful reading” of scripture

General Audience

Pope turns to Origen in Wednesday reflection on early Church

Abuja, Apr 25, 2007 / 10:14 am (CNA).- In today's general audience Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to Origen of Alexandria, a third century historian and "one of the greatest writers" of Church history. The audience was held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of more than 25,000 people.

Origen, said the Pope, "took up the legacy of Clement and carried it towards the future in such an innovative way as to effect an irreversible turn in the development of Christian thought. He was a true master ... and an exemplary witness of the doctrine he transmitted."

The "irreversible turn" effected by Origen, said the Pope, substantially involved "grounding theology in the explanation of Scripture, in other words, the perfect symbiosis between theology and exegesis. Indeed, the characteristic of Origen's doctrine seems to lie in the constant invitation to pass from the reading to the spirit of Scripture in order to progress in knowledge of God.”

"This 'allegorism' - to use the words of Von Balthasar - coincided with the development of Christian dogma through the teaching the Doctors of the Church who, in one way or another, learned the lesson of Origen. Thus tradition and Magisterium, the foundation and guarantee of theological research, come together as 'Scripture enacted.'"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bush on G-8 trip to visit Pope, Eastern Europe

Reuters - Tue Apr 24, 3:29 PM ET U.S. President George W. Bush greets guests in the front row after remarks at the Harlem Village Academy Charter School in New York, April, 24, 2007. Bush will attend the Group of Eight summit in Germany in June, pay his first visit to the Pope, and visit Eastern European countries where the United States wants to deploy a missile defense shield. (Jason Reed/Reuters)
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Reuters via Yahoo! News
Tue Apr 24, 3:29 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush will attend the Group of Eight summit in Germany in June, pay his first visit to the Pope, and visit Eastern European countries where the United States wants to deploy a missile defense shield.

The week-long European trip will be centered on the G-8 Summit June 6-8 in Heiligendamm where Bush and leaders from Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Britain and Russia will discuss cooperation on economic, security, and political issues, the White House said.

Bush will also meet with leaders in Poland and the Czech Republic, where the United States is trying to deploy an anti-missile shield that Russia opposes.

The United States wants to put 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic to defend against a perceived threat from Iran and North Korea.

Bush will visit the Vatican on June 9 for his first meeting with Pope Benedict, and Rome for meetings with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Romano Prodi.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Benedict examines St. Augustine's path of conversion

Papal trip to Vigevano and Pavia

Rome, Apr 23, 2007 / 07:24 am (CNA).- Enjoying the second day of his pastoral visit Lombardi Dioceses of Vigevano and Pavia, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Holy Mass at the Borromeo College of Pavia. The Holy Father focused his homily on the conversion of Saint Augustine, whose bodily remains the Holy Father visited at an Augustinian Monastery in the area. The conversion of St. Augustine, Benedict said, was not an event, but a path.

The Holy Father began his homily by examining the work done by the Apostles in the work of preaching conversion in this Sunday’s Gospel. “During Easter time,” His Holiness began, “the Church presents us, Sunday by Sunday, some parts of the preaching with which the Apostles, particularly Peter, invited Israel to faith in Jesus Christ.” Before the Sanhedrin today, Peter “responded with a brief catechesis on the essence of the Christian faith.”

“This brief catechesis,” Benedict continued, “is not valid only for the Sanhedrin. It speaks to all of us.” Jesus is, according to the Pope, “the ‘head’ that leads us on the way and the ‘savior’ that justifies our life.” In fact, he said, the keywords of Peter’s catechesis are “conversion” and “pardon for sin,” “which correspond to Christ’s two titles, ‘head’ and ‘savior.’”

The Pope asked what one needs to do to convert. Noting that “conversion has its own, proper form for each life,” he added that “throughout the history of Christianity, the Lord has sent us models of conversion, so that we may orient ourselves by looking at their example.”

Benedict XVI then noted the moving story of conversion found in Augustine’s Confessions. By reading The Confessions Benedict said, “one can see that the conversion was not an event that happened in a particular moment, but was, instead, a path.”

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pope, at St Augustine burial place, says seeks truth

Pope Benedict XVI holds a cross during a mass in Pavia, northern Italy, April 22, 2007. Pope Benedict on Sunday visited the burial place of St Augustine, the intellectually restless 5th century theologian who had major impact on Western thought, and urged Catholics to never stop seeking the truth. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
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Reuters India
Sun Apr 22, 2007 5:47 PM IST

By Philip Pullella

PAVIA, Italy (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Sunday visited the burial place of St Augustine, the intellectually restless 5th century theologian who had major impact on Western thought, and urged Catholics to never stop seeking the truth.

The 80-year-old Pope, on the second day of a weekend trip to northern Italy, said a mass for some 20,000 people gathered on a riverside field in this city southwest of Milan.

Benedict, one of the Catholic Church's top theologians even before he was elected Pope two years ago, dedicated most of his homily at the mass to St. Augustine, who was born in North Africa and is considered one of history's greatest thinkers.

Augustine's major writings, including "Confessions,", "The City of God," and "Of Free Choice of the Will," are considered to be central to the developing of both Western theology and Western thought in the first millennium.

Augustine was tormented by his personal quest for the truth and a personal relationship with God, and the Pope said today's Christians should emulate him.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Pope traveling to northern Italy

Reuters - Sat Apr 21, 3:37 PM ET

Pope Benedict XVI leads a mass in Vigevano, northern Italy, April 21, 2007. The 80-year-old pontiff is in northern Italy for a two-day Pastoral visit to Vigevano and Pavia. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini (ITALY)
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AP via Yahoo! News
Fri Apr 20, 9:06 PM ET

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI is traveling to northern Italy for a weekend pilgrimage that will take him to the tomb of St. Augustine, the 5th century theologian who is particularly dear to him.

Benedict is scheduled to celebrate Mass on Saturday afternoon in Vigevano, southwest of Milan, and then on Sunday in Pavia, where the remains of St. Augustine lie in the basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro.

During the trip, the pontiff is expected to visit a local hospital and deliver a speech on culture at Pavia's university.

St. Augustine, who lived from 354-430, had a tremendous impact on Christianity and his writings — among them "City of God" and "Confessions" — are considered by many to be the foundations of western theology.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Panel Backs Hopes for Unbaptized Infants Who Die

Pope OKs Publication of Report on Limbo

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 20, 2007 ( Benedict XVI authorized the publication of a report that expresses the hope that babies who die without baptism are able to get to heaven.

The report by the International Theological Commission, published today, concluded that there are serious theological and liturgical grounds for the hope that such babies are saved and enjoy the beatific vision.

The commission says the theological hypothesis of "limbo" appeared to be based on an unduly restrictive view of salvation.

The 41-page document noted this is an "urgent pastoral problem," especially because of the large number of unbaptized babies who die as victims of abortion.

The commission's documents are not considered official expressions of the magisterium. But the commission does help the Holy See to examine important doctrinal issues.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church in No. 1261 explains: "As regards children who have died without baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them.

"Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: 'Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,' allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without baptism.

"All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy baptism."

Pope Revises 'Limbo' for Babies

Newly elected Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St.Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, in this April 19, 2005 file photo. The pope turns 80 on April 16, 2007. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, files)

ABC News
Pope Revises 'Limbo,' Says There Is Hope for Unbaptized Babies


VATICAN CITY Apr 20, 2007 (AP)— Pope Benedict XVI has revised traditional Roman Catholic teaching on so-called "limbo," approving a church report released Friday that said there was reason to hope that babies who die without baptism can go to heaven.

Benedict approved the findings of the International Theological Commission, which issued its long-awaited document on limbo on Origins, the documentary service of Catholic News Service, the news agency of the American Bishop's Conference.

"We can say we have many reasons to hope that there is salvation for these babies," the Rev. Luis Ladaria, a Jesuit who is the commission's secretary-general, told The Associated Press.

Although Catholics have long believed that children who die without being baptized are with original sin and thus excluded from heaven, the church has no formal doctrine on the matter. Theologians have long taught, however, that such children enjoy an eternal state of perfect natural happiness, a state commonly called limbo, but without being in communion with God.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Secretary-general invites pope to visit U.N. headquarters

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit the United Nations headquarters in New York during a private meeting at the Vatican.

The two leaders discussed global trouble spots and cultural tensions during a 20-minute encounter in the pope's private library April 18. It was the first papal audience for Ban, a former South Korean diplomat who took up his U.N. post at the beginning of the year.

A Vatican statement said the pope and Ban had discussed the need for a "restoration of multilateralism" in international affairs and the strengthening of the dialogue between cultures.

The Vatican confirmed that, as expected, Ban had officially invited the pope to visit the United Nations. Vatican sources have said the pope would like to make the visit, and that one possible time frame was in late September, for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly.

Reuters - Thu Apr 19, 8:01 AM ET A poster of a German postal service special edition stamp, released to mark the occasion of the 80th birthday of Pope Benedict XVI, is pictured at the Vatican embassy in Berlin April 19, 2007. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch (GERMANY)
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pope recalls the need for a harmony between faith and reason in the Christian life

General Audience

Vatican City, Apr 18, 2007 / 09:43 am (CNA).- Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square today to attend Pope Benedict XVI’s weekly General Audience and catechesis. The Holy Father discussed the great Father of the Church, St. Clement of Alexandria, who emphasized the need for a harmony between faith and reason to achieve an intimate union with God.

The Pope recalled that Clement was born in the mid second century, probably in Athens, whence "the great interest for philosophy which would make him one of the flag-bearers of dialogue between faith and reason in Christian tradition." He later moved to Alexandria, but abandoned the city during the persecution of 202-203 and died in Cappadocia in 215.

His most important work is a trilogy that has provided "effective accompaniment to the spiritual maturation of Christians," said the Pope. The first part is "an exhortation addressed to those beginning the journey of faith" in which "the Logos, Jesus Christ, exhorts mankind to start decisively down the road of Truth."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pope receives presents and interreligious greetings on his birthday

Herald Sun

Pope receives stuffed bear for birthday
By Philip Pullella in Vatican City
April 17, 2007 05:04am

POPE Benedict received a customary gift for a Pontiff on his 80th birthday yesterday - a concert of classical music - as well as a more unusual offering - a huge stuffed toy bear.

The Pope's secretary, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, told Vatican Radio that the bear, which he called "a beautiful specimen," was sent by an unidentified Italian.

The Pope sent it on to Rome's Bambino Gesu (Baby Jesus) children's hospital and received a letter of thanks from the young patients there.

The German Pope, who marks the second anniversary of his election this week, was feted with a classical concert by an orchestra from Stuttgart.

An accomplished pianist himself, the Pope was treated to works by Mozart, Dvorak and 16th century Italian composer Giovanni Gabrieli.

Pope Receives Interreligious Birthday Greetings
Jewish and Muslim Leaders Send Best Wishes

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 16, 2007 ( Jewish and Muslim representatives congratulated Benedict XVI for his 80th birthday.

Giuseppe Laras, president of the Assembly of Rabbis of Italy, said today on Vatican Radio: "My wish is that he may continue on the road begun and intensify his work in favor of dialogue between the members of the various religions, and I am not only thinking of the Jewish religion, but also Islam and many other religions."

"The wish for the Pope is for him to give a substantial contribution to the cause of pacification and peace among all people," the rabbi added.

Mario Scialoja, director of the Muslim World League in Italy, said on Vatican Radio that he wished Benedict XVI "a long and happy pontificate, and this wish comes truly with complete sincerity and from the heart."

Scialoja, who is a convert to Islam, continued: "I believe, from what Benedict XVI has done till now, that he means to follow along the path of dialogue with the religions, in particular with the great religions of Abraham, meaning Islam and Judaism; a dialogue which in today's world is always more multicultural, multireligious, in evermore mixed societies, not a hoped-for thing, but a necessity."

Referring to the Pope's Regensburg speech last September, he said: "Unfortunately, the mass media took a few phrases from the Holy Father's long and complex speech out of context, which clearly could seem offensive to Islam."

Scialoja acknowledged: "However this was certainly not the Pontiff's intention.

"The Holy Father's travels to Turkey, especially the fact that he went to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and pronounced the invocations from the Kiblah with the imam, which is our traditional direction for prayer, is an extremely strong sign."

Pope Benedict prays that God will send consolation and spiritual strength to all involved in Virginia Tech killings

Papal message

Vatican City, Apr 17, 2007 / 10:30 am (CNA).- The Vatican made public this morning a message from Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father has assured Richmond Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of his “heartfelt prayers” for all the victims, their families, and the Virginia Tech community.

“Deeply saddened by the news of the shooting at Virginia Tech,” the statement begins, “His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has asked me to convey the assurance of his heartfelt prayers for the victims, their families and for the entire school community.”

“In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy,” the message continues, the Pope, “asks God our Father to console all those who mourn and to grant them that spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope, and reconciling love.”

The university and police officials confirmed this morning that Cho Seung-Hui, 23, a Virginia Tech senior and South Korea native is thought to be responsible for the killing of two people at a university dormitory and the subsequent murder of at least 30 people locked inside a classroom building.

The murders constitute the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.

Bishop DiLorenzo will visit the Virginia Tech campus this coming weekend, and offer a Mass for the entire community.

Monday, April 16, 2007

AP - Mon Apr 16, 2:35 PM ET

Pope Benedict XVI is framed by a group of Bishops during a concert offered by the Sudwestrundfunk (SWR 'Southwest Broadcasting') Symphonic Orchestra in the Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican, Monday, April 16, 2007, on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Benedict XVI marked his 80th birthday on Monday by lunching with cardinals and attending a concert, a relatively low-key celebration in line with the quiet pace of what he has said would be a 'short'' papacy. Cardinals from right, Italian Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, U.S. Cardinal William Levada and Italian Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, William Levada (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pope celebrates 80th birthday

AFP - Sun Apr 15, 2:22 PM ET

Pope Benedict XVI walks with his pastoral during a mass to mark his 80th birthday in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated the Pope on his 80th birthday which the pontiff and pilgrims were celebrating with a mass in Rome's St Peter's Square.(AFP/Filippo Monteforte)

AP Photo: Angelo Carconi

A giant birthday banner is seen in the background as Pope Benedict XVI is driven through the crowd at the end of his birthday Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, April 15, 2007. Benedict XVI celebrated his 80th birthday a day early with a Mass in his honor Sunday on the flower-bedecked steps of St. Peter's Square, giving thanks for his long life and the support of the Church.

Reading Eagle
4/15/2007 4:07:00 PM

Pope Celebrates 80th Birthday

Pope Benedict XVI Marks His 80th Birthday a Day Early With Mass on Steps of St. Peter's Square

By FRANCES D'EMILIO Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his 80th birthday a day early with a Mass in his honor Sunday on the flower-bedecked steps of St. Peter's Square.

Cardinals, priests and tens of thousands of faithful joined the pope in prayers of thanks to God for his long life.

Benedict was born in Marktl Am Inn, a riverside town in the Bavaria region of Germany, and sprinkled among the crowd in the square were fellow countrymen and women in traditional dress, including feather-trimmed hats.

Benedict said the faithful had gathered to reflect on what he called his "not brief" life

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday; how to gain a plenary indulgence

From the Apostles of Divine Mercy comes a "Message for all Catholics" concerning Divine Mercy Sunday:


Despite evil’s attempts at discrediting Catholic Priests, many fallen-away Catholics will soon be returning to the practice of their faith. The reason: the Church’s new feast on the Sunday after Easter. What new feast you might say? It is the “Feast of Divine Mercy”. The Catholic Church has been celebrating this feast ever since the Vatican had made it official on April 30th in the Jubilee year 2000. Why would every Catholic want to come back, you might ask? It is the promise that Jesus Himself made for a complete forgiveness of sins and punishment on that day, even to the most terrible sinner imaginable. God in His great mercy is giving mankind a last chance for salvation.

When did Jesus make this promise and how does one get it? Jesus left all the details in a diary that He commanded Saint Faustina to write in the 1930’s. It was her job to record everything that He wanted mankind to know about His mercy before He returns to judge the world. To get this great promise one has to go to Confession and then receive Holy Communion on that Feast of Divine Mercy, which has now been called Divine Mercy Sunday throughout the whole Church. Jesus said, “Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.” (Diary, 300) To receive Communion worthily one should be in the state of grace and without serious sin.

These are the instructions for gaining a "Plenary Indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday":

In a decree dated August 3, 2002, the Apostolic Penitentiary announced that in order “to ensure that the faithful would observe this day (Divine Mercy Sunday) with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence…so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit. In this way, they can foster a growing love for God and for their neighbor, and after they have obtained God’s pardon, they in turn might be persuaded to show a prompt pardon to their brothers and sisters.”

The plenary indulgence is granted (under the usual conditions of a sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and a prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on Divine Mercy Sunday, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, recite the Our Father and the Creed, and also adding a devout prayer (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!).

Additional provisions are offered for those who are impeded from fulfilling these requirements, but who wish to acquire a plenary indulgence. The full text of the decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary may be found at: While the readings and prayers for Mass on this day remain unchanged (they reflect perfectly on Our Lord’s Divine Mercy) the Holy See offers this reflection:

The Gospel of the Second Sunday of Easter narrates the wonderful things Christ the Lord accomplished on the day of the Resurrection during His first public appearance: “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad to see the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so even I send you,’ and then He breathed on them, and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’” (Jn 20, 19-23).

Catholic Culture has also provided directions for gaining the plenary indulgence.

And, EWTN has scheduled numerous programs concerning the Divine Mercy.

Pope Benedict at 80: Blowing on the coals of faith

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When Pope John Paul II turned 80 in 2000, it fueled yet another round of speculation about whether the ailing pontiff might break with tradition and resign.

In contrast, Pope Benedict XVI's 80th birthday April 16 finds him with the wind in his sails.

The pope's new book on Jesus was being released in several languages, an event that will no doubt launch the Christological themes of his pontificate into wider circulation.

In March the pope published a major document on the Eucharist, and sources said he was preparing to release a long-awaited decree liberalizing use of the Tridentine Mass.

Following a recent Vatican summit, the pope's announced letter to Chinese Catholics was anticipated eagerly in April, in hopes that it could offer a new path of dialogue with the government and help heal internal church divisions.

Meanwhile, the pope was preparing for his first papal trip to the Western Hemisphere, a mid-May journey to Brazil for a crucial planning session among Latin American bishops.

Pope Benedict, who marks the second anniversary of his election April 19, seems fit and energetic in public appearances. He glides through crowds and lingers with well-wishers and often delivers his most incisive remarks off the cuff.

Although the pope sometimes suggests he may have little time in office, he shows no sign of ill health or failing stamina. During Holy Week, he seemed unfazed by the heavy schedule of 10 major liturgies and encounters.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Catholics flock to the Vatican for Pope's 80th

Candles to celebrate Benedict XVI's 80th birthday

By Malcolm Moore in Rome and Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:46am BST 14/04/2007

Thousands of Roman Catholics were descending on Rome last night as the Vatican prepared to celebrate the Pope's 80th birthday.

The faithful from Benedict XVI's native Germany were arriving bearing gifts including bone china and teddy bears dressed in papal garb.

They were to be joined by many more from around the world flocking to pay tribute at a special Mass tomorrow to a pope whose calm manner and ability to quietly go about his business has won him many plaudits in the two years since the death of his predecessor John Paul II.

The Pope will then attend a birthday concert of the music of Mozart and Dvorak at the Vatican on the eve of his actual birthday on Monday.

Dr Joaquin Navarro-Valls, a key member of the late pope's stunningly successful papacy and the head of the Vatican's communications department for 22 years, led the tributes yesterday to Benedict, describing him as a man of "elevated, perhaps even unreachable, composure: discreet, alert and Roman".

His words formed part of a growing chorus of praise for the Pope, who has surprised almost everyone with his firm but gentle leadership.

Dr. Navarro-Valls said Benedict's character stemmed from his Bavarian birth, which gave him "both the shy and sober character typical of Northern people and the genuine vitality and fantasy of the Mediterranean."

Bush to pay first visit to Pope Benedict in June

Reuters - Sat Apr 14, 11:18 AM ET

U.S. President George W. Bush waves before speaking at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington April 13, 2007. U.S. President George W. Bush will pay his first visit to Pope Benedict in June, the Vatican said on Saturday. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

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Reuters via Yahoo! News - 1 hour, 31 minutes ago

ROME (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush will pay his first visit to Pope Benedict in June, the Vatican said on Saturday.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said Bush will meet the Pope on June 9 or 10 after attending a Group of Eight summit in Germany.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Pope's new book, "Jesus of Nazareth," to be released on April 16, his 80th birthday

Pope's Book

Benedict’s new book to follow, “the Pope’s path towards Jesus”
Publisher releases preview

Rome, Apr 13, 2007 / 11:33 am (CNA).- The Italian publishing house, Rizzoli has released an extensive press release and synopsis of Pope Benedict’s new book, "Jesus of Nazareth." The book is to go on sale in Italian, German, and Polish bookshops starting Monday, April 16, which is also the Pope's 80th birthday. The volume, 448 pages long, is to be translated into 20 languages, and will be available in English starting May 15th.

Rizzoli, which was entrusted by the Vatican Publishing House with the sale of the rights of the book throughout the world, today released a press communiqué stating that "'Jesus of Nazareth' is the first part of a two-volume work examining Jesus' public life from His Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration."

"On the one hand," the communiqué continues, "this is a pastoral narrative ... offering an introduction to the principles of Christianity. ... On the other, the text is an essay that maintains the strict academic discipline that distinguish the writings and talks of the theologian Joseph Ratzinger.

"The pastoral concerns of the Pope," it adds, "and his exceptional theological doctrine, come together to focus on the central theme of the work: the conviction that, in order to understand the figure of Jesus Christ, it is necessary to start from His union with the Father.”

President addresses National Catholic Prayer Breakfast; quotes Pope Benedict

Remarks by President Bush at National Catholic Prayer Breakfast
Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580

WASHINGTON, Apr. 13 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following text is of remarks by President Bush at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast :

Washington Hilton Hotel
Washington, D.C.

8:43 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all; please be seated. Good morning. Thank you. It's good to be with you. You know how to make a Methodist feel right at home. (Laughter.) I noticed that this year's breakfast was the Friday after Lent -- (laughter) -- you can eat your bacon in good conscience. (Laughter.) And the priests can relax. (Laughter.)

I appreciate the opportunity to be with you, I really do. I thank you for having this prayer breakfast. Prayer breakfasts show the true strength of our nation. I am honored that people say to me and Laura, "We pray for you." It means a lot. A prayerful nation is a strong nation. A prayerful nation is a nation, the true strength of which lies in the hearts of the men and women of our nation.

Our Declaration of Independence states that our freedom rests on self-evident truths about the dignity of the human person. Throughout our nation's history, Catholic Americans have embraced, sustained, and given their lives to defend these truths. This morning, we give thanks for the blessings of freedom, and we ask Almighty God to guide us as we renew our founding promise of liberty and justice for all.

I'm sorry Laura couldn't be here. She is by far the best representative of our family. Thank you for praying for her.

I appreciate my friend, Leonard Leo, for inviting me. I thank the leaders of the National Catholic Prayer breakfast. I'm honored to be in the presence of Archbishop Donald Wuerl. I have known the Archbishop for quite a while. I appreciate his strong and firm dedication to making sure every child in America gets a good education. (Applause.) I am proud to be here with Archbishop Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. I appreciate the members of the Catholic clergy. I am honored to be here with two members of our Supreme Court, the Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. (Applause.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pope, Darwinian 'gaps' show need for faith and reason

Middle East Times
Deborah Cole
April 12, 2007

BERLIN -- Pope Benedict XVI has called for reconciling faith and reason when looking at the earth's creation, arguing that the theory of evolution has significant "gaps."

A German book published this week, Creation and Evolution, records the pope's reflections in a seminar last September at his summer palace in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome with a group of his former students.

Benedict cites "open questions" on Darwinism and the demands they make on followers of Church doctrine.

"Not that I want to cram dear God in those gaps - he is too big to find enough space in those gaps," he said.

Benedict quotes his predecessor John Paul II in saying that the theory of evolution is more than a hypothesis, but adds that it was also "not yet a complete, scientifically verified theory."

He said the teachings of evolution raised philosophical questions that "go beyond natural science," noting that much of Darwinism cannot be proved because "10,000 generations cannot be brought into the laboratory."

But he is equally critical of science that excludes any mention of the divine.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Let us witness to the death and resurrection of the Lord, Benedict says

General Audience

Vatican City, Apr 11, 2007 / 10:28 am (CNA).- More than 50,000 people crowded into St. Peter’s Square this Easter Wednesday to attend today's general audience. The Pope, who arrived by helicopter from his residence in Castelgandolfo, dedicated his catechesis to the Easter Octave.

After reiterating his best wishes for Easter to the faithful, Benedict XVI spoke of Jesus' various appearances following His resurrection. "Also for us," he said, "they represent an invitation to enter more deeply into the Easter message ... and to follow the spiritual itinerary of the people who met Christ and recognized Him in those first days."

The Pope then recalled how St. John and St. Peter, after Mary had given them the news of the resurrection, had run to the tomb each trying to arrive there first, and he highlighted how for the Fathers of the Church this race towards the empty tomb represented "the one form of legitimate competition between believers: zeal in the search for Christ." Referring to Mary Magdalene, the Holy Father pointed out how she recognized Jesus "when He called her by her name."

“We too, if we seek the Lord with a simple and sincere heart, will find Him. Indeed, He Himself will come out to meet us ... He will call us by name ... He will draw us into the intimacy of His love." Like the Apostles, "we are called to be witnesses to the death and resurrection of Christ. We cannot keep the great news to ourselves, we must spread it to the entire world."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pope Benedict On Divine Mercy

National Catholic Register

“God’s passionate love for his people — for humanity — is at the same time a forgiving love.

BY The Editors

April 15-21, 2007 Issue | Posted 4/10/07 at 8:00 AM

"God’s passionate love for his people — for humanity — is at the same time a forgiving love. It is so great that it turns God against himself, his love against his justice.”

This is a startling, radical, statement about divine mercy — the kind of declaration that one might expect to see attributed to Pope John Paul II. But it was Pope Benedict XVI who wrote it, in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love).

Seven years after Pope John Paul II first announced the creation of Mercy Sunday, many priests are still wary of the feast. Why do they hold back? There is a certain assumption that the Divine Mercy is a private devotion that had a personal meaning to a particular Polish man who happened to also be Pope, but that it is not for everyone.

Reading Pope Benedict’s words about Divine Mercy should dispel that notion. Rather than attributing the popularity of the Divine Mercy devotion to Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI seems more likely to attribute the greatness of Pope John Paul II to his devotion to Divine Mercy.

In his homily before the conclave that elected him, he summed up John Paul’s pontificate by speaking about the late Pope’s emphasis on the Divine Mercy: “Jesus Christ is divine mercy in person: Encountering Christ means encountering the mercy of God,” said Pope Benedict. “The mercy of Christ is not a cheap grace; it does not presume a trivialization of evil. Christ carries in his body and on his soul all the weight of evil, and all its destructive force. He burns and transforms evil through suffering, in the fire of his suffering love.”

Benedict at 80: Truth, Love and Liturgy

The Surprising Pontificate of the Man Who Was Ratzinger

National Catholic Register

April 15-21, 2007 Issue | Posted 4/10/07 at 8:00 AM

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI turns 80 April 16, just three days before he completes the second year of his pontificate. Having become Pope at such a mature age, some believed he would accomplish little and would be merely a “caretaker pope.”

But that’s not how this pontificate is turning out: The Holy Father has already made his mark, powerfully reminding the world in his first encyclical that Christianity is primarily about God’s love, reaching out to a spiritually stricken Europe and Islam, and taking careful but firm steps toward Christian unity.

Keeping the Faith

Paolo Pellegrin/Mangum, for The York Times
Spreading the Word Postcards for sale at one of the many kiosks near St. Peter's Square.

New York Times
Published: April 8, 2007

Walk into a shop to buy a newspaper or a wurst or a Game Boy in the German city of Regensburg and your server will probably welcome you with a brisk “grüss’ Gott,” shorthand for “God greet you.” It’s the local form of hello: street-corner dudes and grandmas, everyone says it. This is Bavaria, Germany’s Catholic heartland, a region that gives the lie to the popular notion that Western Europe has tossed its Christian heritage in history’s dustbin. Bavaria is as modern as you please — a center of the European telecommunications industry, the home of BMW (as in Bavarian Motor Works) — but on any special occasion you see couples wandering around looking like Hansel and Gretel, in lederhosen and dirndls. Elsewhere in Germany, Bavarian jokes serve the same function that Polish jokes used to in the United States. Bavarians will tell you they hold to tradition, religion and antique styles of speech not out of stupidity or addiction to kitsch but because they believe these things encompass what is real and true.

The center of Regensburg is all old stone, a carefully preserved medley of medieval towers, gates and spires clustered on the banks of the Danube, and in various ways — the firmness of the material, the rigorous workmanship, the serious commitment to the past as a component of the present — you might see this clutch of buildings as a metaphor for the mind and heart of Bavaria’s most illustrious native. Joseph Ratzinger — Pope Benedict XVI — was born in a little village tucked between a ridge and a broad plain of farmland to the east, and the major events of his childhood and much of his adulthood played out around here. It was in many ways an idyllic, almost fairy-tale youth. The family home in Traunstein was an 18th-century farmhouse with a single wood-shingled roof covering living quarters, hayloft and animal stalls. The Roman Catholic Church provided both structure and spectacle: at Eastertime, black curtains hung on the windows of the village church, so that, as Ratzinger wrote in his 1997 autobiography, “the whole space was filled by a mysterious darkness. When the pastor sang the words ‘Christ is risen!’ the curtains would suddenly fall, and the space would be flooded by radiant light. This was the most impressive portrayal of the Lord’s Resurrection that I can conceive of.”

A Pope Who Gets It

By Micah Halpern | April 9, 2007

It has been confirmed by the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote a letter to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on behalf of the fifteen British sailors and marines taken captive by Iran. Writing this letter to Iran's Muslim leader was a very bold move on the part of the world's leading Catholic.

Evil incarnate is the way the Muslim world views the Catholic Pope. The Muslim world in general and Iran specifically have deemed the Pope the most dangerous leader on our planet. The Western world pales in comparison. The United States is a mere trifling annoyance. Israel is a speck on the Muslim hatred meter when compared to the Catholic Pope.

The Pope is a threat to Islam.

Unlike other Western leaders who, according to present day Muslim theological thought, might be misled by Western ideas and thoughts and whose followers are secular, the Pope is the leader of the behaviors and attitudes of nearly a billion and a half religious people across the globe. The Pope's people are fervent in their belief and their belief and their teachings are very different from Muslim belief and teachings. Muslim fear of and hatred for Catholicism is not new. In Muslim historical memory the horrors of the Crusades are still palpable. The indignity thrust upon Islam when Christians arrived at their doorstep in order to convert them and rule over them and dictate to them and control their holy sites still reverberates throughout the Muslim world.

Given all that Islamic emotional and historical baggage the question begs asking: Would a missive by the Pope have any impact on The Supreme Leader? The answer is, it doesn't matter. This letter was not about Muslim attitudes. This letter was not about the Catholic Church in general. This letter was specifically about the mindset and the insight of Pope Benedict XVI.

Monday, April 09, 2007

We must spread the news of Christ’s resurrection to the world without fear, Pope says

Regina Coeli

Castelgandolfo, Apr 9, 2007 / 01:52 pm (CNA).- Today, at midday, Pope Benedict XVI marked Easter Monday with the praying of the Regina Coeli, the Marian prayer which replaces the Angelus during the Easter Season. Speaking from his balcony at Castelgandolfo, the Pope reminded the faithful that those who have encountered the resurrected Christ and who believe, have nothing to fear.

After presiding over Easter Morning Mass yesterday in St. Peter’s Square and following a long week of liturgies and prayers, the Holy Father departed for the Papal retreat in the small village near Rome. He will remain at Castelgandolfo until Saturday.

The Holy Father offered a short reflection and prayed with those pilgrims gathered under his window as well as those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, who had an Audio/Video link to the Pope.

Prior to leading the group in prayer, the Pontiff of Rome recalled that Church’s “liturgy commits not only one day, but a good fifty days, to the Easter season, which concludes with Pentecost.”

The Holy Father also recalled the particular significance of Easter Sunday, which the Church considers to be spread across an entire week, forming the Octave of Easter.

Today’s liturgy, he continued, calls us to the tomb where Jesus appeared to those women who remained with him during His Passion, and tells us, like them “Do not be afraid.”

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Pope Benedict delivers "Urbi et Orbi" Easter Day address from St. Peter's Basilica

AP - Sun Apr 8, 9:52 AM ET

Pope Benedict XVI stands before an image of Christ before delivering the 'Urbi et Orbi' ('To The City and to The World') Easter address from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, April 8, 2007. The Pontiff decried suffering in much of the world to tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, and read out a litany of troubling current events, saying he was thinking of the 'terrorism and kidnapping of people, of the thousand faces of violence which some people attempt to justify in the name of religion, of contempt for life, of the violation of human rights and the exploitation of persons.' (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)
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The "Urbi et Orbi Message of his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI--Easter 2007":

Dear Brothers and Sisters throughout the world,
Men and women of good will!

Christ is risen! Peace to you! Today we celebrate the great mystery, the foundation of Christian faith and hope: Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One, has risen from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures. We listen today with renewed emotion to the announcement proclaimed by the angels on the dawn of the first day after the Sabbath, to Mary of Magdala and to the women at the sepulchre: “Why do you search among the dead for one who is alive? He is not here, he is risen!” (Lk 24:5-6).

It is not difficult to imagine the feelings of these women at that moment: feelings of sadness and dismay at the death of their Lord, feelings of disbelief and amazement before a fact too astonishing to be true. But the tomb was open and empty: the body was no longer there. Peter and John, having been informed of this by the women, ran to the sepulchre and found that they were right. The faith of the Apostles in Jesus, the expected Messiah, had been submitted to a severe trial by the scandal of the cross. At his arrest, his condemnation and death, they were dispersed. Now they are together again, perplexed and bewildered. But the Risen One himself comes in response to their thirst for greater certainty. This encounter was not a dream or an illusion or a subjective imagination; it was a real experience, even if unexpected, and all the more striking for that reason. “Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘peace be with you!’” (Jn 20:19).

"He is risen!"

Papal Masses

In the resurrection love is shown to be stronger than death, Pope says at Easter Vigil

Vatican City, Apr 7, 2007 / 06:47 pm (CNA).- Preaching to a group of pilgrims and prelates, who filled the entirety of St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the readings and liturgy of the Easter Vigil and reminded those present that in Christ’s victorious Resurrection the power of love is shown to be a force more powerful than death.

The Holy Father considered the Apostle’s Creed, which is professed on the Easter Vigil, and pointed out that Christ is said to have descended into hell, from where he rose again. In this descent, the Pope said, Christ is made victorious over the gates of hell and the power of death.

“There is no key for those iron doors,” Benedict said. “But Christ has the key. His Cross opens wide the gates of death, the stern doors. They are barred no longer. His Cross, his radical love, is the key that opens them. The love of the One who, though God, became man in order to die – this love has the power to open those doors. This love is stronger than death.”

The joy of the Easter Vigil, the Holy Father declared, is that, “we are free.”

“In the resurrection of Jesus, love has been shown to be stronger than death, stronger than evil. Love made Christ descend, and love is also the power by which he ascends; the power by which he brings us with him.”

Though mankind was created with an immortal soul, Pope Benedict recalled, “his own powers are insufficient to lift him up to God.”

Therefore, he concluded, “In union with his love, borne aloft on the wings of love, as persons of love, let us descend with him into the world’s darkness, knowing that in this way we will also rise up with him.”

Below is the entire text of the Holy Father’s Homily:

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

From ancient times the liturgy of Easter day has begun with the words: Resurrexi et adhuc tecum sum – I arose, and am still with you; you have set your hand upon me. The liturgy sees these as the first words spoken by the Son to the Father after his resurrection, after his return from the night of death into the world of the living. The hand of the Father upheld him even on that night, and thus he could rise again.

Pope Benedict XVI presided over a candlelit Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter's

Pope Presides Over Candlelit Easter Vigil Mass

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Pope presides over candlelit Easter Mass

USA Today

Enlarge By Giampiero Sposito, Reuters

Pope Benedict XVI holds a candle as he leads the Easter Vigil service in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Saturday.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI presided over a candlelit Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Saturday night, ushering in the most important event of Christian Church calendar with a lengthy service attended by thousands.

Benedict opened the Mass by blessing a large white candle, which he then carried down the main aisle of the darkened basilica. Slowly, the whole basilica began to twinkle as his lone flame was shared with candles carried by the faithful.

IN JERUSALEM: Thousands gather for 'holy fire' ritual

The Church considers the period between Good Friday, which commemorates Jesus' crucifixion, and Easter Sunday, which marks his resurrection, as the most important of all vigils.

During the service, Benedict was expected to baptize several people — part of the joyful renewal Christians associate with Easter.

Vatican: Pope wrote to Iran's leader for release of 15 British crew members

The Star Online
Saturday April 7, 2007

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to intercede for the release of 15 British sailors and marines who were captured in the Persian Gulf last month, the Vatican said Saturday.

The Britons flew out of Tehran on Thursday. Vatican officials declined to give details about the letters, including at which point in the drama the letter was sent. The Vatican said the pope intervened for humanitarian reasons.

Iran's ambassador to Britain has said that Tehran showed its "goodwill'' in freeing the Britons on Wednesday. The mariners were detained on March 23 while patrolling near the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway, which has long been a disputed dividing line between Iraq and Iran.

Tehran contended the crew was in Iranian waters, while Britain insisted its troops were patrolling in Iraqi waters under a U.N. mandate. - AP

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa

"There Were Also Some Women"

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 6, 2007 ( Here is a translation of the Good Friday sermon delivered today by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa during the Celebration of the Lord's Passion in St. Peter's Basilica, and in the presence of Benedict XVI.

* * *

There were also some women

"Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene" (John 19:25). Let us leave Mary his mother aside this time. Her presence on Calvary needs no explanation. She was his mother, and this by itself says everything; mothers do not abandon their children, not even one condemned to death. But why were the other women there? Who were they and how many were there?

The Gospels tell us the names of some of them: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee, a certain Joanna and a certain Susanna (Luke 8:3). Having come with Jesus from Galilee, these women followed him, weeping, on the journey to Calvary (Luke 23:27-28). Now, on Golgotha, they watched "from a distance" (that is from the minimum distance permitted them), and from there, a little while later, they accompanied him in sorrow to the tomb, with Joseph of Arimathea (Luke 23:55).

This fact is too marked and too extraordinary to hastily pass over. We call them, with a certain masculine condescension, "the pious women," but they are much more than "pious women," they are "mothers of courage"! They defied the danger of openly showing themselves to be there on behalf of the one condemned to death. Jesus said: "Blessed is he who is not scandalized by me" (Luke 7:23). These women are the only ones who were not scandalized by him.

There has been animated discussion for quite some time about who it was that wanted Jesus' death: Was it the Jews or Pilate? One thing is certain in any case: It was men and not women. No woman was involved, not even indirectly, in his condemnation. Even the only pagan woman named in the accounts, Pilate's wife, dissociated herself from his condemnation (Matthew 27:19). Certainly Jesus died for the sins of women too, but historically they can say: "We are innocent of this man's blood" (Matthew 27:24).

Pope presides at Good Friday Way of Cross procession

Pope Benedict XVI carries a cross during the traditional Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) at the Colosseum in Rome April 6, 2007. (REUTERS/Maurizio Brambatti-Pool)

Boston Globe
By Phil Stewart | April 6, 2007

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Benedict led a procession around the ancient ruins of the Colosseum in Rome on Good Friday and listened to meditations including one lamenting the abuse and marginalisation of women across the world.

The 79-year-old Pope led the traditional Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession commemorating Christ's suffering and death, one of the main services ahead of Easter -- the climax of the Christian year.

He stood before a solemn crowd of tens of thousands holding candles under the night sky.

The 14 meditations, written by a church official and read aloud, painted a bleak picture of an abusive and neglectful world.

Pope leads Good Friday observances

AFP - Fri Apr 6, 1:28 PM ET

Pope Benedict XVI prays during the Good Friday service in Saint Peter's basilica at the Vatican. The Pope presided Friday over Good Friday mass at St Peter's Basilica on the most sombre day of the Christian calendar, commemorating the crucifixion of Christ.(AFP/Filippo Monteforte)

enlarge photo...

by Gina Doggett
Fri Apr 6, 1:28 PM ET

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI presided Friday over Good Friday mass at St Peter's Basilica on the most sombre day of the Christian calendar, commemorating the crucifixion of Christ.

The role of women figured prominently in the homily, which was delivered, as tradition dictates, by the Preacher to the Papal Household instead of the pope.

Women's "presence beside the Crucified and the Risen holds a vital lesson for us today: our civilisation dominated by technology needs a heart for man to survive," said Raniero Cantalamessa, a Franciscan Capuchin priest.

Pope Benedict XVI to lead Good Friday Via Crucis in Rome
Posted : Fri, 06 Apr 2007 12:06:00GMT
Author : DPA

Rome- Pope Benedict XVI planned to lead Friday evening's traditional Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) around Rome's Coliseum, his second since his 2005 election as head of the Roman Catholic Church. Also called Stations of the Cross and Via Dolorosa, the Via Crucis candle-lit procession recalls Jesus Christ's death by crucifixion.

Similar ceremonies take place in Jerusalem and around the Catholic world, but the one in Rome is the most famous and is to be broadcast live in more than 40 countries.

This year's meditations will include a testimony from Etty Hillesum, a Dutch Jewish intellectual who died in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz in 1943.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Holy Thursday rites
Posted : Thu, 05 Apr 2007 17:07:00GMT
Author : DPA

Vatican City- Pope Benedict XVI commemorated Jesus's Last Supper with a Holy Thursday Mass in Rome's Basilica of St John in Lateran. The afternoon ceremony, which saw the pope wash the feet of 12 lay men - a traditional gesture commemorating Christ's act of humility with his disciples - ushered in the so-called Easter Triduum, which denotes the three days from the evening of Holy Thursday to the evening of Easter Sunday.

The former theology professor devoted his homely to a study of the biblical accounts of the Last Supper, the final meal Jesus shared with the 12 apostles before his death, in light of the discovery about half a century ago of the Dead Sea scrolls - probably the oldest surviving Biblical documents.

Funds raised during the collection were to be destined by the pope to help pay for the rebuilding of a clinic in Somalia's south-central city of Baidoa, the Vatican said.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

With His love Christ overcomes sin and death, Benedict exclaims

General Audience

"The final triumph is of Christ, truth, love!"

Vatican City, Apr 4, 2007 / 09:45 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI gathered today with tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square on the day before the Church enters its most solemn and holy season. The Holy Father reminded the faithful that what the Holy Triduum celebrates Jesus Christ’s victory over sin and death.

"What we are celebrating over the coming days," he said, "is the supreme confrontation between Light and Darkness, between Life and Death. We too must place ourselves in this context - aware of our own night, our own sins, our own responsibilities - if we wish to gain spiritual benefit from reliving the Paschal Mystery, which is the heart of our faith."

The Holy Father recalled how on Holy Thursday, during the Chrism Mass, diocesan bishops and priests "renew the promises they made on the day of their priestly ordination," and "the oils used for catechumens, to anoint the sick and for confirmation" are blessed. During Mass "in Cena Domini" the Christian community relives "the events of the Last Supper. In the Cencacle, the Redeemer wished, in the Sacrament of the bread and wine transformed into His Body and Blood, to anticipate the sacrifice of His life, His definitive gift of self to humanity."

Following Mass "in Cena Domini" the faithful are invited "to adore the Blessed Sacrament, reliving Jesus' agony in Gethsemane. ... Thus they can better understand the mystery of Holy Thursday, which incorporates the supreme triple gift of priestly ministry, the Eucharist and the new Commandment of love."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The fragrant love of John Paul II has filled the whole Church, Benedict XVI says

Papal Masses

Vatican City, Apr 2, 2007 / 11:00 pm (CNA).- Presiding at a Mass Monday afternoon in St. Peter’s Basilica to commemorate the second anniversary of the death of John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI remarked that “the fragrance of his love has ‘filled the whole house,’ that is, the whole Church.”

Before the thousands of pilgrims gathered - many of them Polish - along with various Cardinals, Bishops, and others, the Holy Father recalled that this second anniversary of Pope John Paul’s death falls in the midst of Holy Week. The Holy Father noted that today’s Gospel speaks of Mary of Bethany’s anointing of the feet of Jesus with aromatic oils (Jn 12:1-9).

The action of Mary, as recounted by John the Evangelist, “speaks of love for Christ, a superabundant love, prodigal, like that ‘costly perfumed oil’ poured upon his feet,” the Pope said.

“For us, reunited in prayer in memory of my venerated predecessor, the gesture of the anointing of Mary of Bethany is rich in echoes and spiritual meaning,” he continued.

This act, Benedict said, “evokes the luminous testimony which John Paul II offered of a love for Christ without reserve or limitation. The ‘fragrance’ of his love has ‘filled the whole house,’ that is, the whole Church.”

AP - Tue Apr 3, 5:51 AM ET

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, flanked by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, of Poland, prays in front of a bust of the late Pope John Paul II during a ceremony marking the second anniversary of his death, at the Vatican, Monday, April 2, 2007. Catholic Church officials reached a key milestone in the drive to make Pope John Paul II a saint Monday, closing an investigation into his life and handing over a dossier detailing the purported miraculous cure of a nun who prayed to him. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano)
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Monday, April 02, 2007

John Paul A Step Closer To Sainthood

CBS News
29 minutes ago

VATICAN CITY, April 2, 2007

Benedict Says He Hears 'Living Voice' Of John Paul In Communion Of Saints

(AP) Pope Benedict XVI said Monday he can already hear the voice of John Paul II among the saints, indicating on the second anniversary of his predecessor's death that he too was fully in favor of canonization.

Benedict spoke during an open-air Mass in St. Peter's Square in honor of John Paul hours after Roman Catholic officials formally closed their investigation into his life and virtues--a milestone in the process of elevating the late pontiff to sainthood.

"In the communion of saints, it seems we can hear the living voice of our beloved John Paul II, who from the house of his father, we are sure, continues to accompany the Church," Benedict said.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Pope Benedict celebrates Palm Sunday

USA Today
Apr 01 8:11 AM

Pope celebrates Palm Sunday Mass on eve of John Paul II anniversary

By Vincenzo Pinto, AFP/Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI attends the Palm Sunday procession in Saint Peter square in Vatican Sunday. The Palm Sunday marks the holy week of Easter in celebration of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square, dedicating the start of the Roman Catholic Church's most solemn week to young people.

This year, Holy Week also includes the second anniversary of the April 2, 2005, death of Pope John Paul II. On Monday, the Catholic Church will close one phase of its investigation into John Paul's saintliness as it keeps up the momentum to have the beloved pope beatified.

Holding an intricately woven palm frond, Benedict opened the celebration by processing through the sun-filled piazza and up the steps of St. Peter's Basilica. He was preceded by dozens of priests, bishops and cardinals who clutched palms and olive branches as their red vestments fluttered in the breeze.

Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and is the start of the church's Holy Week, which includes the Good Friday re-enactment of Christ's crucifixion and death and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Benedict continued the tradition started by John Paul and dedicated his Palm Sunday Mass to the young, who were out in force in St. Peter's.

Voice of America

Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates Palm Sunday
By Sabina Castelfranco
01 April 2007

Pope Benedict XVI, top right, waves pilgrims as he arrives for an open-air Palm Sunday Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, 1 April 2007

Pope Benedict XVI has celebrated Palm Sunday with a Mass in Saint Peter's Square to begin Holy Week ceremonies. Sabina Castelfranco reports from Rome that this year Holy Week also includes a ceremony to mark the second anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II.

A procession of priests, bishops and cardinals holding palm leaves and olive branches opened Pope Benedict's Palm Sunday Mass for thousands of faithful Roman Catholics in Saint Peter's Square.

Continuing in a tradition started by his predecessor, John Paul, Pope Benedict dedicated his Palm Sunday Mass to young people, who turned out in large numbers.