Saturday, June 28, 2008

Reuters Sat Jun 28, 3:06 PM ET
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Pope Benedict XVI leads the Vespri's ceremony at the St. Paolo's Basilica in Rome June 28, 2008. Pope Benedict called for Christian unity when he joined the spiritual head of Orthodox Christians on Saturday to launch a year dedicated to St. Paul, the evangelist of the early Church born two millennia ago. The pope presided over the ceremony at Rome's Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls, which houses a marble sarcophagus believed to contain the remains of the 1st century apostle.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Holy Father says Eucharist is a ‘mystery of alliance’ not a ‘meal among friends’

Rome, Jun 23, 2008 / 10:50 am (CNA).- The Pope addressed participants at the closing Mass for the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec, Canada via satellite from the Vatican yesterday. In his homily, the Pope encouraged to look at the Eucharist as a “mystery of alliance” and not a “meal among friends.” He also announced that the next International Eucharistic Congress will take place in 2012 in Dublin, Ireland.

Calling to mind the theme of the congress - "The Eucharist: gift of God for the life of the world" - the Holy Father, in French, recalled the importance of the Blessed Sacrament: "The Eucharist is our most precious treasure. ... It is the Sacrament par excellence ... It contains all the mystery of our salvation, it is the source and the summit of the activity and the life of the Church."

He also offered some word for pastors and the laity, calling on them to “always seek a more profound understanding of this great Sacrament. Each will thus be able to strengthen his faith and better achieve his mission in the Church and in the world, recalling the fecundity of the Eucharist for his personal life, and for the life of the Church and the world."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Have Fear But Do Not Be Afraid

Gospel Commentary for 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap

ROME, JUNE 20, 2008 ( This Sunday's Gospel contains a number of ideas but they all can be summarized in this apparently contradictory phrase: "Have fear but do not be afraid." Jesus says: "Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear rather him who has the power to make both the soul and the body perish in Gehenna." We must not be afraid of, nor fear human beings; we must fear God but not be afraid of him.

There is a difference between being afraid and fearing and I would like to take this occasion to try to understand why this is so and in what this difference consists. Being afraid is a manifestation of our fundamental instinct for preservation. It is a reaction to a threat to our life, the response to a real or perceived danger, whether this be the greatest danger of all, death, or particular dangers that threaten our tranquility, our physical safety, or our affective world.

With respect to whether the dangers are real or imagined, we say that someone is "justifiably" or "unjustifiably" or "pathologically" afraid. Like sicknesses, this worry can be acute or chronic. If it is acute, it has to do with states determined by situations of extraordinary danger. If I am about to be hit by a car or I begin to feel the earth quake under my feet, this is being acutely afraid. These "scares" arise suddenly and without warning and cease when the danger has passed, leaving, if anything, just a bad memory. Being chronically afraid is to be constantly in a state of preoccupation, this state grows up with us from birth or childhood and becomes part of our being, and we end up developing an attachment to it. We call such a state a complex or phobia: claustrophobia, agoraphobia, and so on.

Trust in God overcomes fear, Pope Benedict says

Pope Benedict at Angelus

Vatican City, Jun 22, 2008 / 11:20 am (CNA).- Pilgrims gathered under a blazing sun in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday to pray the Angelus prayer at noon with Pope Benedict XVI. In his remarks preceding the Angelus, Pope Benedict said that worldly fears can be overcome through trust in God.

Speaking of today’s Gospel, the Holy Father said the scriptures invite us to reflect on the difference between human fears and the fear of God.

Fear, he said, is a natural dimension of human life. While we overcome the imaginary fears of childhood, others emerge that are founded in reality.

These fears “must be faced and overcome with human commitment and trust in God.”

However, the Holy Father said, there is a deeper fear that exists today, an “existential fear, which at times borders on anguish and which stems from a sense of emptiness that is tied to a certain culture permeated by widespread theoretical and practical nihilism.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bear witness to Christ with contemplation and action, Benedict XVI declares

Vatican City, Jun 18, 2008 / 09:49 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI greeted thousands of pilgrims gathered under a warm Roman sun in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday. In his address, the Pope focused on how Christians must live out their faith by uniting contemplation with action.

Continuing his catechetical series on ancient figures in the Church, the Pope turned his attention to the St. Isidore of Seville, the brother of Saint Leander and a contemporary and friend of Saint Gregory the Great.

Isidore, under his brother's guidance, became disciplined and studious. Their house had a large library of pagan and Christian works, and hence Isidore's writings "reveal an encyclopedic knowledge of classical pagan culture as well as a profound understanding of Christian culture."

Holocaust-surviving Jews thank Pope

Catholic League
Wednesday June 18, 2008

Today, Pope Benedict XVI is welcoming a group of Jewish Holocaust survivors. Arranged by the Pave the Way Foundation, the group will personally thank the pope for the Catholic Church’s intervention in saving their lives in Italy during World War II.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue addressed this event today:

“Despite attempts by embittered ex-priests and seminarians, and others, to discredit Pope Pius XII’s heroic efforts in rescuing Jews during the Holocaust (as many as 860,000 were saved), the evidence is mounting that Pius was a ‘Righteous Gentile.’ What is happening in the Vatican today is another reminder of just how great a man he was.

“October 9 marks the 50th anniversary of Pius’ death. To mark this important event, the Vatican announced yesterday that a convention will be held November 6-8 to honor his work; a photo exhibit will be on display in the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square from October 21-January 6. Millions of Catholics hope that eventually Pius will be beatified and then canonized. The Catholic League certainly supports this process.

“Those who disagree with this assessment have a lot of explaining to do. For example, the true test of the Catholic Church’s role in rescuing Jews was in Italy, and nowhere in Europe were more Jews saved—fully 85 percent—than in Italy. Also, the chief rabbi in Rome during the German occupation, Emilio Zolli, once said that ‘no hero in all of history was more militant, more fought against, none more heroic, than Pius XII.’ Indeed, Zolli was so moved by Pius’ work that he became a Catholic after the war, taking the pope’s name as his baptismal name.

“Finally, today’s meeting of Jewish Holocaust survivors thanking the pope for what the Church did to save their lives says it all. No amount of revisionism can change that.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pope's Message to U.N. Food Summit

"Hunger and Malnutrition Are Unacceptable"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 17, 2008 ( Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI sent to the participants attending the U.N.-sponsored High-level Conference on World Food Security, held June 3-5 in Rome. The meeting was titled "The Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy."

* * *

Mr President of the Italian Republic,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Mr Director General of the FAO,
Mr Secretary General of the UN,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to address my respectful and cordial greeting to you, who, in different capacities, represent the various components of the human family and are gathered in Rome to negotiate suitable solutions to face the problem of hunger and malnutrition.

I have asked Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, my Secretary of State, to express to you the particular attention with which I am following your work and assure you that I attribute great importance to the arduous duty that awaits you. Millions of men and women look to you while new snares threaten their survival and worrisome situations put the security of their Nations at risk. In fact, the growing globalization of markets does not always favour the availability of foodstuffs and the systems of production are often conditioned by structural limits not to mention by political protection and speculative phenomena that relegate entire populations to the margins of development processes. In light of this situation, one must strongly repeat that hunger and malnutrition are unacceptable in a world that, in reality, possesses production levels, resources and sufficient knowledge to put an end to these dramas and their consequences. The great challenge of today is ""to globalize' not only economic and commercial interests, but also the expectations of solidarity, with respect for and valuing the contribution of each component of society" (cf. Address to the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, 31 May 2008).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cooperation and peace are part of Christian message, Pope recalls

Brindisi, Jun 15, 2008 / 11:01 am (CNA).- Thousands of people prayed the Angelus at midday Sunday with Pope Benedict XVI in the Italian city of Brindisi. The Holy Father told the people that they are true signs of peace – a message which must be spread among nations.

After celebrating Mass at the shrine of Santa Maria de finibus Terrae, or St. Mary of the Ends of the Earth, the Holy Father called upon the faithful "to renew the Christian message of cooperation and peace among all peoples, especially among those in the…ancient cradle of civilization, and the Near and Middle East."

Pope Benedict's visit in Italy this weekend took him to the Italian towns of Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi, "the heel of the boot," in the extreme south-east of the Italian peninsula.

Brindisi is an ancient port city, where the epic poet Virgil died and where St. Peter is said to have disembarked on his way to Rome.

Before praying the Angelus, Pope Benedict explained the port is filled with symbolic significance.

"Every port speaks of hospitality, shelter, security, speaks of a longed-landing after a sea voyage, perhaps long and difficult. But a port also tells of departures, plans and aspirations of the future. In particular, the port of Brindisi plays a leading role in communication with the Mediterranean and towards the East, and for this reason also hosts a base of the United Nations, which plays an important role in terms humanitarian aid."

Church Has Antidote to Individualism, Says Pontiff

Affirms That Church Serves Society by Educating in Solidarity

SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA, Italy, JUNE 15, 2008 ( The Church must overcome individualism by educating in solidarity and sharing, Benedict XVI explained at the beginning of his 10th apostolic trip in Italy.

The Pope affirmed this Saturday in the homily he delivered at the shrine dedicated to Mary "De Finibus Terrae" (at the end of the earth) in Santa Maria di Leuca, Italy.

The Holy Father began his homily by greetings the sick, who were in the front rows. More than 20,000 faithful filled the area around the shrine, which was bathed in sunlight.

In his homily, the Pontiff spoke about the Church's social role: "In a context that tends to give more and more incentives to individualism, the first service of the Church is that of educating in a social sense, in attention to neighbors, in solidarity and in sharing."

"The Church," he went on, "charged as she is by her Lord with a spiritual mission that she continually renews, shows herself to be capable of exercising a positive influence even on the social level because she promotes a renewed humanity and open and constructive human relationships, in respect and in service, first of all to the least and the weakest."

Friday, June 13, 2008

President Bush ‘honored’ to meet Holy Father at the Vatican

Vatican City, Jun 13, 2008 / 08:58 am (CNA).- This morning at the Vatican, U.S. President, George W. Bush met with the Holy Father in the Tower of St. John, located in the Vatican Gardens. The tower, which is not typically where the Pontiff receives heads of state, was restored by Pope John XXIII as a place he could work in peace, and is sometimes used as a residence for important guests.

President Bush, his wife, Laura, and the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon met the Pontiff at the entrance to the Tower of St. John, before the President and Pope held their discussions. The Vatican reports that the Pope wanted to meet President Bush at the unique venue to express gratitude for the warm reception at the White House the Pontiff received when he visited the United States last April.

As the two heads of state ascended the stairs of the tower, it was reported by the UK Telegraph that President Bush whispered, “what an honor, what an honor!” Laura Bush and the ambassador remained with the prefect of the Pontifical Household, Michael Harvey.

Bush meets Pope Benedict XVI

President George W. Bush arrives with Italian General Rolando Mosca Moschini at Rome's presidential palace.
updated 6:33 a.m. EDT, Fri June 13, 2008

ROME, Italy (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI gave President Bush a rare peek on Friday of the Vatican Gardens, a spot where popes pray privately and only special guests are allowed to stroll.

"Your eminence, you're looking good," Bush told the pope as the two shared a warm greeting.

Normally, VIPS are received in the pope's library in the Apostolic Palace. That's where Bush had his first meeting with Benedict in June 2007.

But in a gesture of appreciation for the warm welcome Bush gave him in Washington in April, Benedict welcomed the president and first lady Laura Bush near St. John's Tower in the lush Vatican Gardens.

The presidential motorcade had bounded through downtown Rome, with people leaning out balconies and popping out of their businesses to watch.

Bush's limousine pulled into St. Peter's Square and continued on to St. John's Tower, where he and Mrs. Bush were greeted by the pope.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Associated Press Wed Jun 11, 12:16 PM ET
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U.S. President George W.Bush is saluted by a Carabinieri paramilitary police officer upon his arrival at Ciampino's military airport, near Rome, to start his three-day visit to Italy and the Vatican as part of his European trip, Wednesday, June 11, 2008. Bush will meet Pope Benedict XVI on Friday.
(AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

Benedict XVI offers St. Columban as a guide back to Europe’s Christian roots

Vatican City, Jun 11, 2008 / 09:40 am (CNA).- Arriving in St Peter's Square to greet a cheering crowd of pilgrims and tourists, Pope Benedict spoke today about St. Columban, an early Irish saint who helped re-evangelise Europe in the early Middle Ages, and can serve as a guide for Europe to return to its Christian roots.

Seated under the shade of a large canopy, the Holy Father began recalling the life of the saint. "Columban made his monastic profession in Bangor and was ordained a priest. At the age of fifty, he left the monastery to begin missionary work in Europe, where entire regions had lapsed into paganism. Beginning in Brittany, Columban and his companions established monasteries at Annegray and Luxeuil. These became centres for the spread of the monastic and missionary ideals brought by the monks from their native Ireland. Columban introduced to Europe the Irish penititential discipline, including private confession."

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bush to meet pope in medieval Vatican tower
Agence France-Presse
First Posted 23:36:00 06/09/2008

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI will play host to US President George W. Bush in an unusual setting in the Vatican gardens when he visits on Friday, spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church will meet with Bush, who headed to Europe early Monday, in the medieval St John's Tower which was restored under pope John XXIII in the early 1960s and is reserved for illustrious guests.

The pope usually receives foreign dignitaries in the Apostolic library but protocol there rarely leaves room for spontaneity.

In meeting Bush at Saint John's Tower the pope wanted to pay back some of the warmth showered on him when they met at the White House on April 16, said Lombardi.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sunday Angelus: 'True religion is to love God and neighbor'

Vatican City, Jun 8, 2008 / 10:08 am (CNA).- Thousands of worshippers and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square despite the summer rains to participate in the Sunday Angelus with Pope Benedict XVI today. Meditating on the Gospel for Sunday, the Holy Father noted that "the true religion is to love God and neighbor" because it "gives value to worship and the practice of the precepts."

The reflections of Pope Benedict sprung from the encounter of Jesus with Matthew, who was at the time still a tax collector. Benedict XVI recalled that Jesus quoted, "I want love and not sacrifice" from the prophet Hosea, and that these words are a “keyword” that “bring us into the heart of Sacred Scripture.”

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

His humility is the measure of his greatness, Pope says of St. Gregory the Great

Vatican City, Jun 4, 2008 / 09:50 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict held his weekly General Audience this Wednesday in St. Peter's Square. As he pondered what makes St. Gregory the Great truly deserving of his title, the Holy Father said that his humility is the true measure of his greatness.

Today's general audience marks the second week in a row that the Pope has devoted his address to Gregory the Great. The Holy Father devoted his remarks today to the saint's literary legacy and his goal of constantly presenting the Church's teaching on the ways that lead to the contemplation of God.

"His ‘Homilies on Ezekiel,’ and his ‘Moral Commentary on Job’ present a model of spiritual life which integrates prayer and action. In his Homilies on the Gospels Saint Gregory explained how the preacher's own spiritual experience of Christ should form the basis of his exhortations. The Pastoral Rule describes the ideal Bishop as a teacher and guide who leads by example and adapts his preaching to the specific background of those he addresses," Benedict XVI said.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Associated Press Mon Jun 2, 12:10 PM ET
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In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI is shown a copy of the Shroud of Turin by pilgrims from Turin, northern Italy, on the occasion of their audience with the pontiff, in Hall Paul VI at the Vatican, Monday, June 2, 2008. The Shroud of Turin, revered by many Christians as Jesus Christ's burial cloth, will go on rare public display in 2010, the pontiff announced Monday. The shroud last was shown to the public in 2000, when more than 1 million visitors viewed it in Turin cathedral during a special display for the new millennium Holy Year.
(AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

Pope Benedict XVI announces Turin Shroud display for 2010

From The Times
June 3, 2008

Vatican City Pope Benedict XVI has announced that the Shroud of Turin will go on public display in 2010. The shroud is held by some to be the burial cloth of Christ. It is kept in Turin Cathedral and is rarely put on public view. The shroud bears an imprint believed by some Catholics to be the image of Christ. A carbon-dating test conducted in 1988 declared that it came from medieval times but more recent testing concluded that it originated in Jerusalem before the 8th Century. The cloth, measuring 4.4m by 1.2m (14.5ft by 3.9ft), was last put on public display ten years ago. (Reuters)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Pontiff: Presence of Christ Needed

Encourages Devotion to Sacred Heart

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2008 ( Even though the presence of Christ is only perceptible through faith, it's a deeper and more trustworthy presence that everyone needs, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today before praying the Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square, encouraging the faithful to renew their devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ this month.

He recalled that June is traditionally dedicated to the devotion of the heart of Christ, which he said is "a symbol of the Christian faith that is dear to the faithful, to the mystics and to theologians because it expresses in a simple and authentic way the 'glad tidings' of love, summarizing the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption in itself."

The Holy Father explained that the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, celebrated Friday, along with the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi, "brings to mind a movement toward the center: A movement of the Spirit that is guided by God himself."