Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Resurrection will be 'the last word’ on suffering, Pope Benedict says

Vatican City, Aug 31, 2008 / 10:53 am (CNA).- Before the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about today’s Gospel, in which Jesus reveals to his disciples his coming passion, death and resurrection. Telling his audience that faithful obedience to God and loving service to our neighbor do not always come easily, the Holy Father reminded them that to follow Jesus they too must enter into the mystery of the cross.

Following the Angelus, he also addressed the problem of irregular immigration.

Speaking from the balcony of his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict compared the apostle Peter’s actions in last week’s Gospel, in which he proclaimed Jesus the Messiah and Son of God, with this week’s, showing his faith to be immature and too tied to the “pattern of this world.”

Friday, August 29, 2008

Pope Prays for Refugees

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 29, 2008 ( Benedict XVI will be praying this September for the protection and defense of the rights of refugees.

The Apostleship of Prayer announced the general intention chosen by the Pope, "That those, who because of war and totalitarian regimes have been obliged to leave their homes and country, be supported by Christians in the defense and protection of their rights."

The Holy Father also chooses a missionary intention for each month. In September he will pray, "That all Christian families, faithful to the sacrament of matrimony, will cultivate the values of love and community, so that they will be a small evangelizing community, open and sensitive to the material and spiritual needs of their brothers and sisters."

The Language of Love

Gospel Commentary for 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap

ROME, AUG. 29, 2008 ( In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear Jesus who says: “Whoever wants to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Because whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

What does it mean to “deny" yourself? And why should you deny yourself? We know about the indignation of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche over this the request of this Gospel.

I will begin answering these questions with an example. During the Nazi persecution, many trains full of Jews traveled from every part of Europe to the extermination camps. They were induced to get on the trains by false promises of being taken to places that would be better for them, when, in fact, they were being taken to their destruction. It happened at some of the stops that someone who knew the truth, called out from some hiding place to the passengers: “Get off! Run away!” Some succeeded in doing so.

The example is a hard one, but it expresses something of our situation. The train of life on which we are traveling is going toward death. About this, at least, there are no doubts. Our natural “I,” being mortal, is destined for destruction. What the Gospel is proposing to us when it exhorts us to deny ourselves, is to get off this train and board another one that leads to life. The train that leads to life is faith in him who said: “Whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.”

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pope appeals for end to attacks against Indian Christians

Vatican City, Aug 28, 2008 / 02:44 am (CNA).- Upon finishing his talk on St. Paul at today’s general audience in Vatican City on Wednesday, Pope Benedict turned his attention to the attacks against Christians in India. He appealed for an end to the violence and prayed that a return to peace would soon be restored.

Benedict XVI told of his deep sadness upon having learned the news about the violence against Christian communities in the Indian State of Orissa. People have been killed, others injured, and church property and private houses destroyed following the murder of the Hindu leader Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati.

The Holy Father said, "I implore the Lord to accompany and support (our brothers and sisters in faith) in this time of suffering and to give them the strength to continue in the service of love in favor of all."

He concluded by asking local religious leaders and civil authorities "to work together to restore among the members of the various communities the peaceful coexistence and harmony which have always been the distinguishing mark of Indian Society."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Christians should imitate St. Paul's passion for evangelizing, says Pope Benedict

Vatican City, Aug 27, 2008 / 12:21 pm (CNA).- During today's general audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the life of St. Paul. Recounting that the Church honors the great missionary in a special way this year, the Holy Father said that Catholics should emulate Paul by sparing no energy and enduring trials for the sake of the Gospel.

After making clear the significance of this year as the 2,000th anniversary of St. Paul's birth, Pope Benedict noted Paul's Jewish birth in Tarsus, his Hebrew name "Saul" and his training as a "tent" maker. The Holy Father explained that from around the age of 12, Paul was instructed in Jerusalem in the strict Pharisaic tradition, on the basis of which, the future saint "viewed the Christian movement as a threat to orthodox Judaism".

The great missionary, Pope Benedict noted, persecuted the Church "until a dramatic encounter on the road to Damascus radically changed his life."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Musicians Perform for Pope One of His Favorites

Castel Gandolfo Offers Schubert's "Winter Journey"

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 26, 2008 ( The city of Castel Gandolfo offered its honored guest -- Benedict XVI -- a classical music concert in his honor, featuring one of the selections the Pope says is among his favorites.

Romanian cellist Yvonne Timoianu and pianist Christoph Cornaro, former Austrian ambassador to the Holy See, performed Franz Schubert's "Winter Journey," inspired by 24 poems of German Wilhelm Muller. The concert was held Sunday at the Apostolic Palace where the Holy Father is staying.

After the concert, Benedict XVI expressed his gratitude and praise for "the masterly interpretation that inspired in us profound emotions and spiritual suggestions," Vatican Radio reported.

The Pontiff said the combination of music and poetry realized by Schubert is one of his favorite compositions. He recalled the composer's epitaph: "He gave sound to poetry and speech to music."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pope: I face old age calmly
2008-08-22 19:35:07

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI said he is living out his old age calmly and with courage, thanks to the help of his elder brother, Vatican Radio reported Friday. Benedict mused aloud about growing old at a ceremony Thursday to make his brother, Georg Ratzinger, an honorary citizen of Castel Gandolfo, the lakeside town near Rome which hosts the papal summer residence.

Benedict is 81, and Georg, who is a priest in Germany, is 84.

"We have reached the last stage of our life, old age," Vatican Radio quoted the pope as saying.

"The days to live are progressively growing fewer. But even in this stage, my brother helps me to accept the weight of every day with serenity, humility and with courage. "

The brothers recently vacationed together in the Italian Alps. Georg Ratzinger is a former choirmaster who is now nearly blind. A piano was set up for the music-loving brothers in the seminary where they stayed in the Alpine town of Bressanone.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Book to Feature Pope's Thoughts on St. Paul

WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 19, 2008 ( A book due out next week will feature reflections from Benedict XVI on St. Paul, as the Church continues to celebrate the Pauline Jubilee Year.

The U.S. bishops, in agreement with the Vatican Publishing House, are creating a series of books presenting reflections from the Pope. The series is called "Spiritual Thoughts" and the book on Paul is its second installment. The books contain excerpts from a variety of Benedict XVI's speeches and homilies.

Paul Henderson, publishing director for the episcopal conference, said he views the release of a book on St. Paul as "a timely opportunity for Catholics to join the Pope and return to the Bible as the source of parish and personal renewal."

Father David Toups, of the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, added: "The book series is an opportunity for U.S. Catholics to gain access to the Pope's personal thoughts and deep spiritual insights."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We must ‘cultivate knowledge and devotion to the saints,’ Holy Father exhorts

Castelgandolfo, Aug 20, 2008 / 10:26 am (CNA).- During today’s general audience in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI recalled the saints and feasts the liturgical calendar celebrates this week and the next.

The Holy Father said, “Every day the Church offers us one or more saints and blessed to invoke and to imitate.” He proceeded to speak about yesterday’s Feast of St. John Eudes, who confronted with 17th century Jansenism and promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Heart of Mary.

Pope Benedict also spoke about St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Bernard, who Pope Pius VIII labeled the “Honey-Sweet Doctor” for his eloquence, traveled throughout Europe defending the Christian faith. The Holy Father added, “He was also remembered as a Doctor of Mariology, not because he wrote extensively on Our Lady, but because he understood her essential role in the Church, presenting her as the perfect model of the monastic life and of every other form of the Christian life.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Researcher to re-examine radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin

Dr. John and Rebecca Jackson (Photo credit: The Tablet, newspaper for the Diocese of Brooklyn)

Colorado Springs, Aug 19, 2008 / 03:00 am (CNA).- The Shroud of Turin Center in Colorado Springs is preparing linen samples similar to the materials used in the Shroud of Turin in an attempt to determine whether or not the carbon dating tests of the shroud could have been skewed by contamination from atmospheric carbon monoxide.

The Shroud of Turin is considered by some to bear an image of the face of Jesus Christ. Made of herring bone linen, the shroud has dimensions of about 4 feet by 14 feet. It bears faint brown discolorations forming the negative image of a man. Its positive image, revealed by modern photography, shows the outline of a bearded man.

Skeptics contend that the shroud is a medieval forgery.

At a conference sponsored by the Shroud Science Group at Ohio State University this weekend, the Los Alamos National Laboratory presented findings that the 1988 test results were flawed because the tested linen samples may have been from material added to the shroud during medieval repairs, the Los Angeles Times says.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Aug. 17 Angelus Address

"Overcome Every Possible Temptation to Racism, Intolerance and Exclusion"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 18, 2008 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered Sunday before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

On this 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the liturgy proposes a reflection on the words of the prophet Isaiah: "And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him ... I will bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer ... for my house shall be called a house of prayer" (Isaiah 56:6-7). The Apostle Paul also makes reference to the universality of salvation in the second reading, as does the Gospel page that narrates the episode of the woman of Cana, a foreigner for the Jews, that Jesus listened to because of her great faith. The word of God thus offers us the opportunity to reflect on the universality of the mission of the Church, made up of peoples of all races and cultures. Indeed, herein lies the great responsibility of the ecclesial community, called to be a hospitable house for all, sign and instrument of communion for the whole human family.

How important it is, especially in our time, that every Christian community be ever more conscious of this, in order to help civil society to overcome every possible temptation to racism, intolerance and exclusion, and to organize itself with options that are respectful of the dignity of every human being! One of humanity's great victories is precisely the overcoming of racism. Unfortunately, however, there are new worrying manifestations of the latter, often linked to social and economic problems, which, however, can never justify contempt and racial discrimination. Let us pray that respect for every person will grow everywhere, together with the responsible awareness that only by the reciprocal acceptance of all is it possible to build a world marked by real justice and true peace.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pope calls for peace and humanitarian relief in Georgia

Vatican City, Aug 17, 2008 / 12:22 pm (CNA).- In remarks following his recitation of the Angelus at Castel Gandolfo on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI made a strong appeal for peace in Georgia, asking that the truce declared in the region be allowed to strengthen and transform into a stable peace. Offering his prayers for all victims of the conflict, the Holy Father encouraged the delivery of relief aid to affected populations and called for humanitarian corridors for refugees.

"I am following with attention and concern the situation in Georgia and I feel particularly close to the victims of the conflict,” he said. “While I raise a special prayer for the dead, I express my sincere condolences to all those who mourn, and I ask that the severe hardships of refugees, especially those of women and children who might have difficulty in obtaining necessities, be relieved with generosity," the Holy Father said.

Pope Benedict exhorts faithful to overcome racism

Vatican City, Aug 17, 2008 / 11:38 am (CNA).- Speaking before the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI recounted the Sunday readings and emphasized the universality of the Church’s mission. He called for the end of racism and encouraged people to reflect on hospitality as a “sign and instrument of communion among human beings” of every race and culture.

Addressing his audience from the balcony of his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father cited the Book of Isaiah’s prophesy of a “house of prayer for all peoples,” the gospel story concerning the healing of a Canaanite woman’s daughter, and the “universality of salvation” taught in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

Pope Benedict expounded on the Church’s responsibility to society to overcome racism, intolerance and exclusion, noting “one of humanity’s greatest challenges today is to end racism.”

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pope: Feast of the Assumption, trip to Lourdes in view

08/15/2008 13:24

Benedict XVI will go to Lourdes, "universal citadel of life and of hope", in a month. The Assumption of Mary, body and soul, into heaven helps us to be "witnesses of hope and consolation" in a world dominated by "false joy and tormented suffering".

Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) - On the feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven (body and soul), Benedict XVI recalled the "maternal solicitude" of the Virgin Mary toward "her children", especially "in their difficult times of trial". Visiting the shrines dedicated to her, the pope continued, one encounters many "witnesses" of this concern. "At this moment, I think especially of the unique universal citadel of life and of hope that is Lourdes, where, God willing, I will go in a month, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparitions that took place there".

In his reflection before the Angelus, from the courtyard of the pontifical residence in Castel Gandolfo, the pope also explained the biblical and theological foundations of this feast, which expresses a "firm conviction of the Church, [which] found its highest expression in the dogmatic definition of the Assumption, proclaimed by my venerable predecessor Pius XII in 1950".

The pontiff's explanations seemed to be intended to smooth over the difficulties that the Protestants and Orthodox have in accepting this dogma: "In the Bible, the last reference to her earthly life is found at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, which presents Mary gathered in prayer together with the disciples in the upper room, waiting for the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14). Following this, a twofold tradition - in Jerusalem and in Ephesus - attests to her 'dormition', as the Eastern [Christians] call it, her 'falling asleep' in God. This was the event that preceded her passage from earth into Heaven, which is the confession of the uninterrupted faith of the Church. In the eighth century, for example, John Damascene, establishing a direct relationship between the 'dormition' of Mary and the death of Jesus, explicitly affirms the truth of her bodily assumption. In a famous homily, he writes: 'It was necessary that she who had carried the Creator as a child in her womb should live together with Him in the tabernacles of heaven' (Homily II on the Dormition, PG 96, 741 B)".

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cat-Loving Pope Urged to Stop Wearing Fur

Animal Rights Campaigners Urge Pope to Quit Wearing Fur

Pope Benedict XVI wears a red velvet cape trimmed in ermine during his an end-of-year speech to cardinals at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2005.
(Pool Photo/AP)

ABC News
August 13, 2008

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Italian animal rights campaigners are urging Pope Benedict to stop wearing ermine on his hats and robes, appealing to his reputation as a cat lover.

The Italian Association for Defense of Animals and the Environment, which has a white bunny logo, has started an online petition signed by nearly 1,900 people asking the German-born pontiff to stop wearing fur. Corriere della Sera newspaper had photos Benedict and one of his predecessors, Pope John XIII, wearing an ermine-trimmed hat and cape. It put the shots next to a picture of a live stoat.

Ermine is the white winter fur of the stoat, which has been used to trim the crowns, ceremonial hats and robes of European royalty, aristocrats, judges and popes for centuries.
The pope wore the fur-trimmed hat and cape before pilgrims around Christmas in 2005, giving him the look of Santa Claus and delighting well-wishers and photographers alike.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

He who prays never loses hope, says Holy Father

St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross / St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe

Castelgandolfo, Aug 13, 2008 / 03:17 pm (CNA).- In Wednesday's general audience, celebrated in Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross, also known as St. Edith Stein, and St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, whose feast days the Church celebrates in August.

Speaking from a balcony in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father recalled his recent two-week vacation in Bressanone, Italy. He said that many people have written him requesting prayer for their intentions. Pope Benedict explained, “They tell me about their joys, but also their worries, their family problems and those at work, the hopes which they carry in their heart and the anguish and uncertainties which humanity is living this moment.” He assured all persons that he remembers their intentions in his daily celebration of the Holy Mass and recitation of the Holy Rosary.

The Holy Father stressed, “He who prays never loses hope, even when he finds himself in difficult situations.” He said that Sacred Scripture and the history of the Church give witness to how prayer sustains the way of the saints and Christian people.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pope calls for immediate end to military action in Georgia

POPE-GEORGIA (UPDATED) Aug-11-2008 (670 words) With photos posted Aug. 8 and 11. xxxi

BRESSANONE, Italy (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI appealed for an immediate end to military operations in Georgia and its breakaway province of South Ossetia.

Citing reports of heavy civilian casualties and a large number of refugees, the pope called on the international community to act quickly to bring Russian and Georgian leaders to the bargaining table.

"It is my fervent wish that military actions cease immediately," the pope said Aug. 10.

He urged both sides to "refrain, also in the name of a common Christian heritage, from further confrontations and violent retaliations that could degenerate into a wider conflict."

The pope made the remarks in the northern Italian city of Bressanone, where he was ending a two-week vacation. Vatican sources said he was following the swiftly moving events in the Caucasus region, where a Georgian army operation in South Ossetia Aug. 8 prompted a heavy Russian retaliation that extended far into Georgian territory.

The pope expressed his "deep anguish" at the fighting so far, which he said already had led to dramatic and tragic consequences. He said it was important to resume the process of respectful and constructive dialogue and spare the civilian population "additional painful suffering."

"I also invite the international community and the countries most influential in the current situation to make every effort to sustain and promote initiatives aimed at reaching a peaceful and lasting solution, one which favors open and respectful coexistence," he said.

Pope ends holiday in the Italian Alps
Posted : Mon, 11 Aug 2008 16:20:12 GMT

Bolzano, Italy - Pope Benedict ended Monday a 10-day holiday on the foothills of Italy's Dolomite Alps - a sanctuary located in the northeasternAlto Adige region, home to the country's German-speaking minority. Benedict left Bressanone, the town which hosted him during his vacation, and travelled to Bolzano from where he bordered a plane for Rome.

The 81-year-old pontiff was expected to arrive in the Italian capital in the evening and then to proceed to the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.

In one of his few public appearances during his vacation, Benedict on Saturday attended a ceremony in which he was made a honorary citizen of Bressanone, a town of 20,000 inhabitants.

The pontiff began his holiday after returning from an intense 10-day visit to Australia in July where he presided over World Youth Day celebrations.

In April Benedict made a groundbreaking visit to the United States that included a White House meeting with President George W Bush and a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

A busy schedule also attends the pontiff during the second half of 2008.

Included is a trip to Cagliari, Sardinia scheduled for September 7, following which, Benedict is set to travel to France from September 12-15 with visits to Paris andand Lourdes.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The human person is only renewed through a relationship with God, says Pope

Bressanone, Aug 10, 2008 / 09:56 am (CNA).- Reflecting on the joy of the young people at last month’s World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, Pope Benedict encouraged his audience to renew their relationship with God, dedicating time to silent prayer.

Speaking in Bressanone, Italy, where tomorrow he will conclude his two-week summer vacation, the Holy Father said he felt “at home” in the familiar surroundings and thanked the hospitality of the local inhabitants. He told his audience that he was grateful to God for the physical and spiritual renewal and that he “was able to rest in a manner suitable to a minister of God:” dedicating himself to prayer, reading and meditation, away from the daily worries of a pastor.

The Holy Father then recalled his experience in Sydney and the joyful faces of young people from around the world. He called them a “sign of authentic joy…always peaceful and positive.” To be joyful, Pope Benedict continued, “they did not need to resort to being vulgar and violent, to alcohol and drugs.”

Friday, August 08, 2008

Pope sends pre-Olympic greetings to China

The Fayetteville Observer
Published on Friday, August 08, 2008

The Associated Press

BRESSANONE, Italy — Pope Benedict XVI sent greetings to China on Sunday before the Olympics and said he hoped the Games would offer an example of coexistence among people from different countries.

He said he will follow the Olympics, which open today, with a sense of “deep friendship” and expressed hope the sports can represent “a pledge of brotherhood and peace among people.”

Benedict spoke during the traditional Angelus prayer in Bressanone, a town in the Italian Alps where he is vacationing.

“I follow with deep friendship this great sporting event — the most important and awaited on a world level — and I wish that it offer the international community a valid example of coexistence among people of different background in the respect of common dignity,” the pope told the faithful gathered in Bressanone.

Benedict sent his greetings to China, organizers of the Games and the athletes, expressing hope that “each can give their best in the true Olympic spirit.”

Benedict has made the improvement of relations with Beijing a priority of his papacy.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Pope Benedict tells China: open up to Christianity

AP via Yahoo! News - Aug 05 12:53 PM
By DANIELA PETROFF, Associated Press Writer

OIES, Italy - Pope Benedict XVI urged China Tuesday to open up to Christianity as he visited the birthplace of a 19th century saint who died as a missionary there 100 years ago.

China's officially atheistic Communist Party forced Chinese Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, and the two sides have not restored formal relations. Many of the country's estimated 12 million Catholics worship in congregations outside the state-approved church and often are arrested or harassed.

"It is important for this great country to open itself to the Gospel," said Benedict, who has made the improvement of relations with China a priority of his papacy.

The pope sent a special letter to Catholics in China last year, praising the underground church, but also urging the faithful to reconcile with followers of the official church.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pope Benedict working on draft encyclical during Bressanone vacation

Rome, Aug 5, 2008 / 03:48 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI is continuing to vacation with his brother in the northern Italian town of Bressanone, where he is reportedly drafting a new encyclical.

On Sunday, after celebrating the Angelus service at Bressanone’s cathedral, he and his elder brother Father Georg Ratzinger made a quiet visit to the tomb of his friend and Catholic missionary Anton Agreiter in the nearby village of Sant’Andrea.

The Pope, who had vacationed in Bressanone before his election to the papacy in 2005, has reportedly spent much time in his seminary retreat’s library where he reads and prays. According to ANSA, he has planned to devote his two-week break to draft his encyclical on social issues and also to work on the second part of his book Jesus of Nazareth.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Pope: best wishes for Beijing Games; remembrance of Paul VI

08/03/2008 13:13

Benedict XVI hopes that the Beijing Olympics may be a "pledge of fraternity and peace among peoples", and may unfold "in respect of common dignity". Remembrance of the "superhuman merit" of Paul VI, for guiding the Church in the difficult post-council phase.

Bressanone (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI hopes that the Beijing Olympics may offer "to the international community a valid example of coexistence among persons of the most varied origin, in respect of common dignity. May sports once again be a pledge of fraternity and peace among peoples".

The pope made no reference to the problems surrounding the games in the Chinese capital (freedom of the press, social and environmental questions), nor did he recall the problems that various Christian and other religious communities - including Catholic - still suffer (disappeared bishops, priests in prison, communities prevented from meeting together). Magnanimously, he addressed "cordial greetings" "to the host country, to the organizers and participants, in the first place to the athletes" and said he is following "this great sporting encounter with profound interest".

But the reflection of today's Angelus, from the square of the cathedral in Bressanone, where he has been on vacation since July 28, was dedicated above all to the memory of Pope Paul VI, who died on August 6, 1978.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Pope Benedict asks faithful to treasure teachings of Pope Paul VI

Pope Benedict at Bressanone Angelus

Rome, Aug 3, 2008 / 10:41 am (CNA).- Before the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about his predecessor Paul VI. Recounting the Pontiff who concluded the Second Vatican Council, the Holy Father encouraged his audience to remain faithful to Pope Paul’s teaching and witness of holiness.

Speaking in the square in front of the cathedral of Bressanone, Italy, Pope Benedict thanked those present for joining him to pray the Angelus. He thanked Bishop Wilhelm Egger of Bolzano-Bressanone and the local authorities for assuring him a “peaceful and safe stay in the city.” The Holy Father extended a special blessing to children, the sick and those in difficult situations.

Pope Benedict then invited his audience in Bressanone to remember the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI, the 30th anniversary of whose death is commemorated in three days. The Holy Father recalled that his predecessor, who died on the eve of the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ, had “guided the people of God to contemplate the face of Christ.” Christ, he continued, is “at the center of the Bible and Tradition, the heart of the church, the world and the whole universe.”

Pope sends Olympics greetings to China, athletes

USA Today - 1 hour, 39 minutes ago

BRESSANONE, Italy (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday sent his greetings to China before the Olympics and said he hoped the Games would offer an example of coexistence among people from different places.
He said he will follow the Olympics, which open Friday, with a sense of "deep friendship" and hopes the sports can represent "a pledge of brotherhood and peace among people."

Benedict spoke during the traditional Angelus prayer in Bressanone, a town in the Italian Alps where he is vacationing.

"I follow with deep friendship this great sporting event — the most important and awaited on a world level — and I wish that it offer the international community a valid example of coexistence among people of different background in the respect of common dignity," the pope told the faithful gathered in Bressanone.

Benedict sent his greetings to China, organizers of the Games and the athletes, expressing hope that "each can give their best in the true Olympic spirit."

Friday, August 01, 2008

Associated Press Fri Aug 1, 2:34 PM ET
Enlarge photo...

This photo released by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Friday, Aug.1 2008 shows Pope Benedict XVI, center, flanked at left by his brother, Father Georg Ratzinger, and by his personal secretary Georg Gaenswein in Bressanone, near Bolzano, Italy, Thursday, July 31, 2008. The Pontiff is spending his Alpine vacation in this mountain resort of the Dolomites where he will remain until August 11. The 81-year-old pontiff has two scheduled appearances, on August 3 and August 10, to deliver the Sunday noon Angelus prayer.
(AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, HO)