Friday, July 31, 2009

Traces of Aramaic on Shroud of Turin

Published: July 29, 2009

As Pope Benedict confirmed his intention to visit the Shroud of Turin next year, French scientist Thierry Castex has revealed that he has found traces of Aramaic on the Shroud.

Pope Benedict confirmed his intention to visit the Shroud of Turin when it goes on public display in Turin's cathedral April 10-May 23, 2010, Catholic News Service reports.

Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin, papal custodian of the Shroud of Turin, visited the pope on July 26 in Les Combes, Italy, where the pope was spending part of his vacation. The Alpine village is about 137 kilometres from Turin.

The cardinal gave the pope the latest news concerning preparations for next year's public exposition of the shroud and the pope "confirmed his intention to go to Turin for the occasion," said the Vatican spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, in a written statement on July 27.

A recent study by French scientist Thierry Castex has revealed that on the shroud are traces of words in Aramaic spelled with Hebrew letters.

A Vatican researcher, Barbara Frale, told Vatican Radio on July 26 that her own studies suggest the letters on the shroud were written more than 1,800 years ago.

She said that in 1978 a Latin professor in Milan noticed Aramaic writing on the shroud and in 1989 scholars discovered Hebrew characters that probably were portions of the phrase "The king of the Jews."

Pope sings, speaks on new album

Friday, July 31, 2009 11:57 AM

Associated Press

LONDON -- A new album coming out of Abbey Road studios may be a first: it features the pope praying as well as singing.

Geffen/Universal says Pope Benedict's album will include eight original pieces of contemporary classical music. The pontiff will sing and recite prayers to the Virgin Mary.

Benedict will be accompanied by the Choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome, as recorded in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. The original compositions are performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded at London's Abbey Road.

Proceeds from the as-yet-untitled album will help fund music education for underprivileged children around the world.

It's due for release on Nov. 30.

See also:

From ABC News, "
Pope Benedict Can Sing Too, Will Sales Be Heavenly?"

From, "Pope Benedict album set for holiday release"

From The Week, "Pope Benedict XVI's record deal with Geffen"

From BigPond News, "Pope Benedict to release album"

From WIVB Buffalo, "Pope releases album of song and prayer"

From Bloomberg, "Pope Benedict’s Voice to Feature in Album of Hymns for Christmas"

Pope's recording of Marian prayers and hymns due out for Christmas

Catholic Culture-News Briefs
July 31, 2009

The Geffen/Universal recording studio, which last month struck an agreement to produce a recording of Marian hymns and prayers by Pope Benedict XVI, has now announced that the recording will be released November 30, in time for Christmas shoppers. Entitled Alma Mater, the album will feature the Pope's voice, accompanied by the choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London.

The papal recording is a new wrinkle for Geffen/Universal, which has produced recordings for U2, Nirvana, Eminem, and Guns N' Roses. Proceeds from the sale of the recording will go to charity.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Pope to Cut Album for Charity (AP)

Pope's voice to be heard on album (BBC)

Pope signs deal for Christmas-music recording (CWN, June 22)

Benedict XVI: "Happy to Be in Castel Gandolfo"

Will Work From Summer Residence Until October

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 31, 2009 ( "I am happy to be in Castel Gandolfo, in this beautiful city, and I hope to be with you for a few weeks," Benedict XVI affirmed Wednesday afternoon as he arrived to his summer residence on the shores of Lake Albano.

Today, L'Osservatore Romano reported that the Pope was welcomed to Castel Gandolfo by his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone; the president and secretary-general of the Governor's Office for Vatican City State, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo and Archbishop Carlo Viganò, respectively; and the vicar-general of the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini.

As well, the bishop of Albano, Marcello Semeraro, was on hand, as were Bishop Giorgio Corbellini, president of the Labor Office of the Apostolic See; the parish priest and mayor of Castel Gandolfo; and the directors of the pontifical residence and the Vatican Observatory.

The Holy Father greeted and thanked them in a discourse interrupted by applause. He assured them that he had spent "beautiful days" in the Aosta Valley, "despite my small accident"
(referring to the fall that fractured his right wrist).

Refugees and persecuted Christians in Pope's prayers for August

Vatican City, Jul 31, 2009 / 10:41 am (CNA).- Today, the Vatican published Pope Benedict’s prayer intentions for August. The Pope will be praying for refugees and for those who are persecuted in Christ’s name.

Pope Benedict’s general prayer intention for August is “That public opinion may be more aware of the problems of millions of displaced persons and refugees, and that concrete solutions may be found for their often tragic situation.”

His mission intention is “That those Christians who are discriminated against and persecuted in many countries because of the name of Christ may have their human rights, equality and religious freedom recognized, in order to be able to live and profess their own faith freely.”

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pope's home in Bavaria becomes a solar-power generator


By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's home in Bavaria near Regensburg, Germany, will become a solar-power generator.

Workmen from the area donated some 580 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels to install on the house's rooftop, the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, reported July 30.

The panels should generate about 5,800 kilowatt hours of energy a year, which corresponds to saving 11 barrels of petroleum.

The project will produce income, which may amount to $3,500 a year, by providing the German electricity grid with energy. The money will go to an association that offers skills and job training to disadvantaged youths, the newspaper said, citing the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

According to the German news agency, the pope approved the project as long as no church funds were used. Local workers donated the panels and students at the trade school were to install the panels the week of July 27-31, the agency said.

Understanding Caritas in Veritate

An interesting perspective:

By David Warren
Inside Catholic (

The Holy Father has begun the long process of recovering for the Catholic Church a view of politics and society.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Inside Catholic) - I was struck once -- struck and annoyed -- with a vagrant remark made to me by the Canadian philosopher George Grant (1918-1988). It came up in a conversation about Vietnam. He was using such terms as "technology" and "hegemony," which he'd employed elsewhere more abstractly in condemnation of the whole modern world, in pedestrian ways to condemn U.S. military operations against the Vietnamese Communists.

Grant was my hero and, for various reasons, always will be. He was a man who would go to the wall for the truth. He possessed real historical insights into the nature of modernity. He was a sharp observer of many moral facts. He was of a truly Socratic disposition, and he walked through the poisoned halls of post-War academia in a deeply humane and beneficent fog. But he could also talk nonsense about party politics, the economy, foreign policy, etc.

I had gone to some length to tell him, as a journalist who had been in Vietnam, that he had no idea what he was talking about; that he'd been felled by a frozen northern chunk of cheap leftist drivel; that he was parroting sources far more materialist, hegemonic, and malign than anything he could then have found in the Pentagon or White House. (Not that he'd find angels in there.)

The dear man took my critical explosion in good sort and admitted that he was a bit of a fool in politics. "I'm sure you are right about the Communists. There are far worse accounts of justice than we find in John Locke." He then added, defensively: "If I'd wanted to get into politics, I would have studied current events when I was younger, instead of the things I did study."

That was the remark that annoyed me. "If you admit to knowing nothing about these subjects, why do you publish opinions on them? Why do you allow cynical people to set you up with false information, and manipulate you with flattery, in order to exploit your reputation?"

Grant looked hurt, confused, and so very innocent. We went back to discussing matters on which he was infinitely better informed: the lives of Anglican bishops, for instance.

There were moments, in first reading Caritas in Veritate, when I came very close to the same bad reaction. There are moments when I almost think that Pope Benedict XVI -- unquestionably one of my heroes -- is surrounded by leftwing political operators who set him up with very false and twisted information about how the world works, in the hope of exploiting his magisterial authority. There are even moments when I think that people who live all their lives among "officials" of one kind or another may themselves believe that everything on earth requires central administration. So much, at least, for certain "new world order" passages, on subjects such as how energy supplies should be distributed internationally. I wish such ideas could remain unexpressed.

But in the main, and in its spiritual depths, the encyclical is a wonderful thing. It seems to me that the Holy Father has begun the long process of recovering for the Catholic Church a view of politics and society that is organically related to her salvific faith, rather than an afterthought to it.

He does, I think, a better job of avoiding "policy prescriptions" than his immediate predecessors, and helps un-write much that I thought unfortunate in the Populorum Progressio of Pope Paul VI, which went some distance to identify Christianity with "social democracy."

Peace and ecology: theme announced for 2010 World Day of Peace

» 07/30/2009 12:12

The message will focus on globalization, the protection of creation and cultivation peace and good. A follow on from, Benedict XVI’s Encyclical "Caritas in Veritate social. More solidarity and less control over the population by preventing population growth.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Holy See Press Office has published a statement announcing the theme of the Message for World Day of Peace, celebrated on 1 January 2010: "If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation". The chosen theme, which will be developed into a complete message circulated in several languages, wants to point out the "close bond that exists in our globalized and interconnected world between the protection of creation and cultivation of peace and common good."

The statement emphasizes that in our time this bond is put into question by man’s carelessness towards the natural environment, "the use of resources", "climate change", but also by genetic manipulation ( "Biotechnology") and the policies of anti-natal programs that seek to reduce population growth”.

The statement warns that "if the human family does not meet these new challenges with a renewed sense of social justice, equity and international solidarity, it runs the risk of sowing violence among peoples and between the present and future generations”.

Benedict XVI had already alluded to these problems in his new social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, especially chapter IV.

There the pope stresses the urgent need to preserve nature and creation, seen as a gift from God. He denounces as ‘incorrect’ the current trend among international organizations, that sees increasing population the main cause of underdevelopment and the decrease of the population the only solution to avoid natural disasters and deaths. At the same time he calls for greater solidarity in the face of natural disasters and asks everyone to observe a "human ecology" because even the “environmental ecology” will benefit.

See also from CNA, "Creation must be protected to achieve peace, Pope will say in message."

Pope leaves the Alps and Returns to Castelgandolfo

VATICAN CITY, 30 JUL 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI's two-week holiday at Les Combes came to an end yesterday with a ceremony held at midday in which he bid farewell to the police, fire service and Italian civil protection for their help and vigilance during his stay.

"You have been like angels", the Pope told them. "Angels are invisible but also efficient. So you too have been. You were invisible to me, but always efficient".

"Unfortunately", he joked, "my own guardian angel did not prevent my accident. ... Perhaps the Lord wished to teach me greater patience and humility, to give me more time for prayer and meditation".

In the afternoon, having bid farewell to Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta and the local and regional authorities, the Holy Father travelled by helicopter to the northern Italian city of Turin where he boarded his flight for Rome. Having landed at Rome's Ciampino airport, he continued his journey by car to his summer residence of Castelgandolfo.

See also:

From CNA, "Pope Benedict says his guardian angel allowed accident to teach him humility"

From Zenit, "Benedict XVI: Broken Wrist Was Part of God's Plan"

65,000 Americans Sign Petition Demanding Congress Exclude Abortion from Health Care Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 29, 2009 ( - About 65,000 Americans have signed a national petition in just one week calling on Congress to exclude abortion as a mandatory health benefit as part of any health care legislation being considered, The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) announced yesterday. The ACLJ, which specializes in constitutional law, is providing legal analysis to House members urging them to reject the abortion mandate.

"The American people understand that mandatory coverage for abortion services should not be a part of any health care legislation," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "The opposition to defining abortion services as a mandatory health benefit is clear.

"It's time that Congress gets the message: When it comes to mandatory health benefits, Americans don't want their tax dollars used - or force private insurance plans - to fund abortion. We will continue to push for a legislative remedy that explicitly excludes abortion from any government mandated coverage or taxpayer funded health plan."

The ACLJ says they received some 65,000 signatures from Americans in its nationwide petition campaign launched one week ago - with more than 55,000 people adding their name online. (The online petition is available here.)

In their legal analysis of the health bill addressed to the U.S. House of Representatives, the ACLJ points out that legal precedent concerning Medicaid has frequently interpreted terms such as "inpatient services," "outpatient services" and "physician's services" to include abortion. Therefore, said the law group, "it is vital that any health care reform plan explicitly exclude abortion services from any national health care coverage mandate."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pope: 'Guardian Angel' Failed Me on God's Orders

Pope Benedict with some amusing, but, of course, theologically insightful musings concerning God's providential will:
Wednesday, July 29, 2009 9:24 AM

Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday that his "guardian angel" let him down when he fell and broke his wrist earlier this month, but that the angel was clearly acting "on superior orders."

The Pope thanked law enforcement officials for being "like angels," as he prepared to depart Les Combes, the Alpine resort where he tripped and injured his wrist 10 days ago while on vacation.

"Unfortunately, my own guardian angel did not prevent my injury, certainly following superior orders," Benedict said.

"Perhaps the Lord wanted to teach me more patience and humility, give me more time for prayer and meditation," the Pope added.

Benedict leaves Les Combes, near the French border, later Wednesday to spend the rest of the summer in Castel Gandolfo, a papal retreat near Rome.

The 82-year-old Pope fell in his mountain chalet and fractured his right wrist. He had surgery at a local hospital on July 17 and spent the rest of his two-week vacation in a cast.

He kept up his limited public schedule and seemed to move with ease, though the injury made writing by hand difficult.

The pontiff had hoped to make progress during the vacation on the second installment of his two-book project on Jesus of Nazareth. The Pope, who likes to write by hand, used a tape recorder to collect his thoughts.

Holy Father's Holiday in Valle d'Aosta Comes to an End

VATICAN CITY, 29 JUL 2009 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father's holiday at Les Combes near Introd - his third there since the start of his pontificate - is due to come to an end. The Pope travelled to Les Combes in the Italian alpine region of Valle d'Aosta on 13 July.

Benedict XVI is due to leave his residence at 5 p.m., travelling by helicopter to Caselle airport near the northern Italian city of Turin. From there he will fly by plane to Rome's Ciampino airport.

From Ciampino he will be taken by car to the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, where he will spend the rest of the summer and continue treatment of his right wrist which he broke in a fall on 17 July.

On Saturday 1 August he is scheduled to receive around 100 athletes who are currently participating in the world swimming championships in Rome. On Sunday 2 August he will pray the Angelus from the balcony overlooking the central courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo. Weekly general audiences will resume from Wednesday 5 August.

See also from CNA, "Pope ends vacation, travels to Castelgandolfo."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Benedict XVI to travel to Turin for Shroud exposition in 2010

Pope Benedict XVI

Vatican City, Jul 28, 2009 / 04:26 pm (CNA).- Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI plans to attend the public exposition of the Shroud of Turin in 2010, although no exact date has been set.

Speaking on Vatican Radio, Father Lombardi said the Pope met with Cardinal Severino Poletto, Archbishop of Turin, for lunch in Aosta where he is vacationing. The two discussed the public showing of the Shroud which will take place in the spring of 2010.

“Naturally, Cardinal Poletto informed the Pope about preparations for the event and once again invited him to attend. As he has mentioned in the past when speaking about the public showing, the Pope confirmed his intention to travel to Turin for the occasion, although the date still needs to be determined,” Father Lombardi stated.

See also from CWN, "Pope plans trip to Turin for exposition of Shroud in 2010."

Pope to End Vacation, Bid Farewell to Youth

Benedict XVI to Become Honorary Citizen of Introd

INTROD, Italy, JULY 28, 2009 ( Benedict XVI will bid farewell to the Italian Alps on Wednesday, ending his annual vacation with a meeting with Salesian youth.

The Pope will receive these young people as a sign of his appreciation for the welcome offered him in the Salesian residence of Les Combes of Introd. He has been staying there since arriving July 13 to northern Italy.

According to Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, the Holy Father will also express his gratitude to the authorities of the region and the people of Introd, the police force, military personnel, civil security, firefighters and all those who collaborated in ensuring a restful stay.

He will also "bid farewell to the children and residents of Les Combes," Father Lombardi added in declarations today.

In addition, the spokesman reported that Introd's city council has "decided to offer the Holy Father honorary citizenship." This is to be followed by an official response detailing the Holy Father's acceptance of the honor. And in upcoming months, a "delegation will go to Rome for the official conveying."

See also:

From Adnkronos, "Vatican: Pope to be granted honorary citizenship of alpine town"

VIS-Press release, "Benedict XVI to become an honorary citizen of Introd"

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pope will be more protected in CzechRep than Obama was - press

published: 25.07.2009, 12:23 updated: 25.07.2009 12:41:19

"We expect many more people to come to public spaces, therefore the measures will be greater than during President Obama's visit," Kvicala said.

Obama attended an informal EU-United States summit in Prague last April.

The Pope will stay in the Czech Republic on September 26-28.

Pravo writes that mainly the mass that Benedict XVI will celebrate at the Brno-Turany airport on Sunday, September 27, will place big demands on protection.

Brno Bishop Vojtech Cikrle estimates that some 120,000 people will attend it.

Obama's speech outside Prague Castle was attended by some 15,000 people.

Pope confirms visit to Shroud of Turin; new evidence on shroud emerges


By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI confirmed his intention to visit the Shroud of Turin when it goes on public display in Turin's cathedral April 10-May 23, 2010.

Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin, papal custodian of the Shroud of Turin, visited the pope July 26 in Les Combes, Italy, where the pope was spending part of his vacation. The Alpine village is about 85 miles from Turin.

The cardinal gave the pope the latest news concerning preparations for next year's public exposition of the shroud and the pope "confirmed his intention to go to Turin for the occasion," said the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, in a written statement July 27.

The specific date of the papal visit has yet to be determined, the priest added.

The last time the Shroud of Turin was displayed to the public was in 2000 for the jubilee year. The shroud is removed from a specially designed protective case only for very special spiritual occasions, and its removal for study or display to the public must be approved by the pope.

The shroud underwent major cleaning and restoration in 2002.

According to tradition, the 14-foot-by-4-foot linen cloth is the burial shroud of Jesus. The shroud has a full-length photonegative image of a man, front and back, bearing signs of wounds that correspond to the Gospel accounts of the torture Jesus endured in his passion and death.

The church has never officially ruled on the shroud's authenticity, saying judgments about its age and origin belonged to scientific investigation. Scientists have debated its authenticity for decades, and studies have led to conflicting results.

A recent study by French scientist Thierry Castex has revealed that on the shroud are traces of words in Aramaic spelled with Hebrew letters.

A Vatican researcher, Barbara Frale, told Vatican Radio July 26 that her own studies suggest the letters on the shroud were written more than 1,800 years ago.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

For Pope we must pray for and be grateful to all the grandparents of the world

» 07/26/2009 15:25

Pope makes request on his last Sunday in Valle d’Aosta. On 29 July he will travel to Castel Gandolfo. The multiplication of the loaves and the fish suggests how we can help Jesus. The Pope’s broken wrist is healing, as shown by an X-ray carried out yesterday.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pray for “all the grandparents of the world” who are witnesses to fundamental values and play an important educational role for young people, especially in today’s world. Pope Benedict XVI gave the advice as he spoke to a crowd of a few thousands who had joyfully gathered in front of the cottage in Les Combes, where the Holy Father is staying until next Wednesday, 29 July, for a short period of rest.

“A good Sunday to all of you!,” Benedict XVI said as he greeted those present. “We meet here in Les Combes at such a comfortable house which the Salesians have put at the disposal of the Pope, where I am completing a period of rest amid the beautiful mountains of Valle d’Aosta. I am glad God gave me an opportunity to enjoy these days amid these beautiful mountains of yours, a time of real relaxation, despite a small accident which you all know about and can see.”

Playfully the Pope raised the arm with the broken wrist, which is healing nicely as shown by an x-ray that was done yesterday.

Taking his lead from today’s Gospel, “in this splendid Sunday in which the Lord shows us all the beauty of creation,” Benedict XVI focused on two passages.

The first one is about the multiplication of the loaves and the fish. John, pointing to the loaves as a “sign”, “emphasised how Christ, before he distributed them, blessed them with a prayer of thanksgiving (cf 11). The verb he used was eucharistein, a direct reference to story of the Last Supper in which John mentions the washing of the feet, but not of the institution of the Eucharist. Here the Eucharist is anticipated as the great sign of the bread of life.”

See also from CNA: "Holy Father gives special blessing to grandparents on feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne" and "Priests are ‘instruments of salvation’ for all, says Benedict XVI."

See also from YouTube-Vatican's Channel:

The Priest is an instument of Salvation if he Trusts in God
July 26, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vatican: pope's wrist healing well

AP via Yahoo! News
2 hrs 58 mins ago

VATICAN CITY – Doctors examined Pope Benedict XVI's broken wrist at the pontiff's Alpine vacation chalet and are pleased with how the injury is healing, a Vatican spokesman said Saturday.

During the half-hour checkup, the cast on the fractured right wrist was removed and a new one put on, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

The 82-year-old pope had surgery at the hospital on July 17 on his right wrist, which he fractured in a fall in the chalet near Aosta.

Doctors from Aosta hospital as well as Vatican doctors carried out medical and radiological exams at the chalet in the mountains near the French border, Lombardi said.

The exams yielded "excellent results," said Lombardi.

"The (healing) process is good and is in line with what was expected," the spokesman said.

Vatican CTV television captured some of the pope's chatting with his doctors, the Italian news agency ANSA reported from the vacation retreat.

"Well, then, doctor, thanks. Let's hope that all is going well," the pope was overheard telling Dr. Manuel Mancini, the orthopedist who had done the surgery, ANSA said. "It's all going very well. Now we're just awaiting the X-ray results,'" the doctor replied. "It will be satisfactory, we hope," the pope was heard saying. "It will surely be satisfactory," Mancini was quoted as replying.

At noon Sunday, Benedict will recite prayers and greet the public on a meadow outside the chalet, after local bishops celebrate Mass.

See also:

From Bloomberg, "
Pope’s Medical Visit Produced ‘Excellent’ Results, Ansa Says"

From The Star, "
Pope has medical exam on broken wrist, healing well"

From the Straits Times, "Pope's wrist healing well"

Friday, July 24, 2009

Vacationing Pope: a Rainy Walk, a Paperless Homily

INTROD, Italy, JULY 24, 2009 ( The Italian resort where Benedict XVI is vacationing is preparing a public encounter with the Pope: He will pray the midday Sunday Angelus with some 5,000 people who are expected for the event.

Les Combes, nestled in the Aosta Valley of the Italian Alps, is hosting the Holy Father through July 29. Last Sunday, he prayed the midday Angelus in Romano Canavese, the birthplace of his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. This weekend, however, he will go no farther than the meadow surrounding his vacation chalet.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, explained today how Les Combes is preparing for their papal encounter. The bleachers and flowers were already being set up.

Meanwhile, the Holy Father is continuing his vacation schedule, taking afternoon strolls even if the weather doesn't cooperate. Thursday, for example, he went out despite the rain. On Wednesday, he came across an ill woman, and expressed his hopes for her speedy recovery.

And he continues to accept the incapacities caused by his fractured wrist. Today when he celebrated vespers at the cathedral in Aosta, he delivered his homily without notes -- he is unable to write, with his right hand immobilized with the cast.

Vatican Radio: Pope's Encyclical Got US Talking

Reports That 1,800 Articles Discussed the Text

VATICAN CITY, JULY 24, 2009 ( According to Vatican Radio, Benedict XVI's encyclical "Caritas in Veritate" has caused quite the media buzz in the United States.

The Italian edition of Vatican Radio reported today that even after the text's release more than two weeks ago, analysis of the document continues. It noted that more than 1,800 articles have been written on the encyclical, many of them the report called "valuable."

In an article titled "'Caritas in Veritate' Welcomed With Great Interest in the United States" posted on Vatican Radio's Web site, the news outlet reported that the press in the United States dedicated more space and time covering the Pope's encyclical than in any other country, and that it was covered on a national and local level.

"The contribution to the debate on the part of laity, economists, experts in social science, history, theology, professors, is noteworthy," it said.

While acknowledging critiques of the document, such as the one written by George Weigel for the National Review, which held that the pontifical document was a "hybrid" of ideas that interspersed the thought of Benedict XVI with that of the more progressive Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vatican Radio affirmed that the vast majority of analyses were positive, noting commentaries written by Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute and Catholic author and theologian Michael Novak.

Novak, writing the day after the encyclical's release in The Catholic Thing, summarized the document into four ideas: communion, gift, caritas, and truth.

The President and the Government of Vietnam will visit the Vatican

» 07/24/2009 13:34

by Thanh Thuuny

The news is given by Cardinal Pham Minh Man and confirmed by the government. The hope of the Catholics is to meet with Benedict XVI on the occasion of the special jubilee anniversary, which starts in November this year and ends Epiphany of 2011. New pastoral impetus in wake of bishops ad limina visit.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - Diplomatic relations and, perhaps, an invitation to Benedict XVI to visit Vietnam next year, where even John Paul II failed to make it. These are the hopes of Vietnamese Catholics spurred on by the news, given by Cardinal JB. Pham Minh Man and confirmed by the authorities, that in November a government delegation will visit the Vatican and the following month the President will meet the Pope.

The visit of the Vietnamese delegation has an important precedent; on 25 January 2007 Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (pictured) was received at the Vatican. At that time it seemed that many of the issues which divide the two parties could have been resolved and that and that there was the possibility of establishing normal diplomatic relations on the horizon. It was not to be and Vietnamese Catholics continue to experience difficult times.

Relations between Vietnam and the Vatican, were not interrupted however and regular visits to the nation by a Holy See delegation continued. Now the government says that "a delegation of the Government of Vietnam will visit the Vatican in November 2009to discuss some issues involving relations on both sides, and on December 2009 Vietnam’s President will meet and for an exchange of views with the Holy Father Benedict XVI for the relations in a near future. "

For Catholics in Vietnam, the bishops ad limina visit in June of this year was a particularly important event. On that occasion, the chairman of the Bishops Conference, Msgr. Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon, had expressed the hope that the pope might one day visit the country and recalled that the Church will celebrate a special Vietnamese jubilee year from 24 November 2009, the Solemnity of the martyrs of the country, to the Epiphany of 2011. Clearly the hope of Catholics is to see the Pope at that time, while the Vatican has said that next year, Benedict XVI will undertake a journey to Asia.

Associated Press Fri Jul 24, 12:44 PM ET

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing to faithful as he arrives for a Vesper prayer at the Aosta's cathedral, northern Italy, Friday, July 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Enlarge photo...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

ObamaCare: Soylent Green - By Nancy Matthis

From the blog, "The Betrayal":

Posted on July 24th, 2009 by David-Crockett

Infanticide and euthanasia for less viable paying citizens will save costs. Twelve million illegal aliens will receive coverage. Restrictive compliance laws will eventually force private insurers out of business. Within five years everyone will be dependent on the federal government for their right to live (or, in some cases, their obligation to die). The administrative and expense burden will destroy small businesses. Doctors will be too snarled in red tape to deliver good service.

Hospitals will also face a bureaucratic reporting nightmare. No one can refuse to enroll: the IRS will levy a 2.5% tax on personal gross income to pay their share. That’s the bottom line in Obama’s Hitleresque socialized health care plan.

Before Obama was elected, Illinois nurse Jill Stanek exposed his support for infanticide. Several sources reported the details of his four distinct votes supporting infanticide:

Illinois Senate Bill 1095, Born Alive Infant Protection Act — Voted NO in the Senate Judiciary Committee, March 27, 2001

Illinois Senate Bill 1662, Born Alive Infant Protection Act — Voted NO in the Senate Judiciary Committee, March 5, 2002

Illinois Senate Bill 1662, Born Alive Infant Protection Act — Voted NO on the Senate floor, April 4, 2002

Illinois Senate Bill 1082, Born Alive Infant Protection Act — Voted NO in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, March 12, 2003

But the voters of the United States elected Obama anyway.

Now the older demographic among them may have to pay an unexpected price for their folly. The health care bill provides for mandatory euthanasia counseling for senior citizens every five years AND whenever they receive a diagnosis of terminal illness (page 425, House version of the bill — H.R.3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009). First to sound the alarm was patient advocate Betsy McCaughey, founder of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a former lieutenant governor of New York. You can listen to her interivew on the Fred Thompson Show here.

Keith A. Fournier is a Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, a noted human rights lawyer and long time public policy activist. He comments on the lethal potential of the health care bill:

Is Euthanasia Included in National ‘Health Care’ Reform?

….Will this National “Health Care” Plan encourage our elderly to take their own lives rather than somehow become a “drain” on the rest of us? Will it withhold medical care from them based upon a bureaucrat’s decision regarding so called “quality of life” issues? Will it encourage the rationing of medical services? Will it counsel the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration in order to expedite their death? In short, is Euthanasia included in this National ‘Health Care’ Reform?

The more I have looked at the proposals the more it seems not only possible, but probable. After all, when the foundational understanding of the dignity of every human person is removed from our approach to health care in the spring of life, with the acceptance of the killing of innocent children in the womb being considered as a “health service”, it is profanely consistent to see the same approach applied in the winter of life….

But we are not just talking about those very near the end of life. The specific wording in the bill is:

….if there is a significant change in the health condition of the individual, including diagnosis of a chronic, progressive, life-limiting disease, a life-threatening or terminal diagnosis or life-threatening injury, or upon admission to a skilled nursing facility, a long-term care facility (as defined by the Secretary), or a hospice program.

Just a “life-limiting” disease is enough to trigger the state’s interest in you. Down’s Syndrome? Muscular dystrophy? Alzheimer’s? Senile dementia? You could be encouraged to “go home” early.

Pope to Preside at Vespers in the Cathedral of Aosta

VATICAN CITY, 23 JUL 2009 (VIS) - Tomorrow evening, Friday 24 July, Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of Vespers in the cathedral of Aosta, Italy.

The Holy Father will cross the city centre by popemobile before moving on to the cathedral. The ceremony there is due to be attended by some 400 people including priests, religious, two lay people from each of Aosta's ninety-three parishes, and representatives from diocesan offices and ecclesial organisations.

Following Vespers of the day in Italian and in French, the Holy Father will pronounce a homily. At the end of the ceremony he will emerge onto the cathedral's balcony to bless other faithful present. On his return journey to his holiday villa at Les Combes, he will stop to greet elderly people at the old people's home of Introd.

Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., who is at Les Combes, has announced that Benedict XVI "is well and in good spirits. He is using a tape recorder to dictate his ideas as he finds it difficult to wield a pen, his right hand being in plaster because of his broken wrist".

Fr. Lombardi also indicated that the Holy Father takes two daily walks near the chalet in which he is staying, one after lunch and the other in the evening.

Yesterday the Holy Father received Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. They attended to certain pressing matters then had lunch together.

The Holy See Press Office Director also explained that Benedict XVI "makes regular phone calls to his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger who, in a few day's time, will travel to Castelgandolfo to spend four weeks with the Pope".

See also from CNA, "Holy Father to bless faithful of Aosta, will preside over Vespers."

True Democrats Defend Children against the Abortion Mandate

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

More courageous Pro-Life Democrats joined the others who just last week stood up against what is being properly called the 'Stealth FOCA.'

No-One who recognizes the objective truth that every human person has dignity and possesses an inalienable, fundamental Natural Law Right to Life should support this legislation in its current form.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) – Many in the media focus on the fiscal concerns raised by the so called “Blue Dog” Democrats. Still others, the possible dangers the legislation poses to those who wish to keep their existing health care. However, the real story is not being covered in the media. It is the Abortion Mandate which is clearly in the “Health Care” Reform proposals.

Wednesday, more courageous Pro-Life Democrats joined the others who just last week stood up against what is being properly called the “Stealth FOCA” (Freedom of Choice Act) effects of the several Health Care Proposals. It is hidden in this legislation and is not being honestly admitted to by its supporters, including the President. This Legislation will mandate abortion coverage which will be paid for by taxpayers if it is passed.

Further, it will offer absolutely no conscience protection for Doctors who still believe in their Hippocratic Oath and refuse to participate in abortion or euthanasia. I wrote about this in a recent article. Many readers sent me the actual legislation and confirmed my concerns. Those similar effects at the other end of life can be found in the House Bill at Pages 425 – 430. The Proposals will implement euthanasia by stealth.

See also Deacon Fournier's article, "Is Euthanasia Included in National ‘Health Care’ Reform?"

Dr. Alveda King to Join African American Leaders in Calling for No Abortion in Health Care Bill

Contact: Margaret, Priests for Life, 888-735-3448 ext. 251

WASHINGTON, July 23 /Christian Newswire/ -- Dr. Alveda King, Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will join with other African American leaders Monday at 10:00 AM in front of the Cannon House Office Building to demand that abortion and Planned Parenthood be excluded from any health care reform legislation.

"Our message is clear – abortion is neither health care nor a benefit. It's genocide," said Dr. King. "Give us procreative reproductive rights. Repair our communities with life affirming programs. My fellow civil rights workers and I will be on Capitol Hill to say that if President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, or anyone else truly wants to reduce the number of abortions, they will not coerce Americans to pay for them and they will not subsidize Planned Parenthood, the billion-dollar business that has killed more black children than the KKK."

Priests for Life is the nation's largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Will President Obama Continue the Acknowledged 'Tradition' of Keeping Federal Tax Dollars Away from Abortion?

Contact: Joy Yearout, Susan B. Anthony List, 703-380-6674

WASHINGTON, July 22 /Christian Newswire/ -- Today the president of the Susan B. Anthony List urged President Obama to clarify his position on abortion coverage and health care reform at tonight's presidential press conference.

"This morning President Obama acknowledged the longstanding 'tradition' of excluding abortion coverage from government-funded health care programs," said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. "When we find long-standing traditions like limiting taxpayer funds for abortion, we know political common ground has been achieved. This is exactly the type of policy the President has sought to achieve, one that stands the test of time, agreed to by both Democratic and Republican administrations alike. Yet both the House and Senate versions of health care reform legislation seek to undo this commonsense policy. Without language to explicitly exclude an abortion mandate, the legislation will result in Americans footing the bill for abortion on-demand in the largest expansion of government-backed abortion since Roe v. Wade."

In an interview with CBS' Katie Couric this morning, President Obama said, "What I think is important, at this stage, is not trying to micromanage what benefits are covered. [. . .] As you know, I'm pro choice. But I think we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care."

"Just yesterday Representative Lynn Woolsey objected to an amendment to exclude abortion coverage, arguing that abortions are no more controversial than tonsillectomies," said Dannenfelser "Does President Obama agree with Ms. Woolsey that an abortion is no worse than having your tonsils removed? Does the President feel that Americans should be forced to finance the deaths of unborn children and the subsequent pain experienced by their mothers? Does he wish to undo a 32 year-old common ground policy that respects the wishes of American taxpayers?"

See video of Rep. Lynn Woolsey's (D-CA) comments comparing abortion to a tonsillectomy here.

"Families are at the very heart of the health care issue," said Dannenfelser. "And with pregnancy there are always two patients, mother and baby. We must establish a health care system that respects, protects and cherishes both. Americans deserve direct answers about where the President stands, and tonight he will have the opportunity to clarify his position with regard to the common ground policies supported by the growing majority of pro-life Americans."

Susan B. Anthony List activists have also sent over 340,000 letters urging Congress to keep taxpayer funds from supporting abortion on-demand in 2009.

The Susan B. Anthony List is a nationwide network of Americans, over 162,000 residing in all 50 states, dedicated to mobilizing, advancing, and representing pro-life women in politics. Its connected Candidate Fund increases the percentage of pro-life women in the political process.

13,000+ Signed Up for Tomorrow's Emergency Pro-Life Webcast on Obama Healthcare

By John Jalsevac

July 22, 2009 ( - Tomorrow night an all-star lineup of pro-life speakers is set to address the thousands of pro-lifers who have signed up for what promises to be the largest pro-life web even in history. The free Stop the Abortion Mandate webcast is set to begin at 9pm Eastern time.

(To sign up for tomorrow's limited space, free webcast click here.)

So far some 13,000+ people have signed up for the online event that will be devoted to informing Americans about the Obama healthcare proposal, which has been called the "silent FOCA" and the "largest abortion expansion since Roe v. Wade" by pro-life leaders.

20 feature speakers, including James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Congressman Chris Smith, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, and many others, will address the dangers of the Obama healthcare plan, which experts say will include taxpayer funded abortion on demand, and could undermine fundamental physician conscience rights - unless concerned citizens take action.

Connie Marshner, a well-known Washington pro-life political organizer, told LSN last week that the Obama healthcare plan "is the biggest issue since Roe v Wade. This is not just about funding. Everyone will be forced to have abortion coverage."

She encouraged pro-lifers to sign up for the webcast, warning that unless pro-life advocates join together to fight abortion coverage in the bill, the effect of successful passage of the Health Care bill will dramatically change the pro-life movement as we know it, "because every doctor and health care worker will be forced to be involved in abortion."

(To sign up for tomorrow's limited space, free webcast click here.)

Randall Terry quotes Pope JPII; "it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil"

Randall Terry sent out a letter via e-mail today calling for action against the proposed healthcare bill which provides for government funding of abortion:

July 22, 2009

Greetings Pro-life Champion!

What would John Paul II say about the godless effort of our government to force us to pay for the murder of babies in the health care bill?

What would he say about civil disobedience in our struggle to end the slaughter of the innocent, and to resist this legislation?

(At the bottom is a link to a youtube of the press conference we did yesterday, quoting him.)

What follows are quotes from our glorious late Pope. You can see for yourself!

Here are his words. First, note that he boldly declares that abortion is murder!

The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder..." Evangelium Vitae, 58

God help those who are "wiser" than the late Holy Father; those who refuse to call abortion murder!

Next, note that JPII taught that a majority in a democracy cannot legitimize or justify murder:

When a parliamentary or social majority decrees that it is legal, at least under certain conditions, to kill unborn human life, is it not really making a "tyrannical" decision with regard to the weakest and most defenceless of human beings? Everyone's conscience rightly rejects those crimes against humanity of which our century has had such sad experience. But would these crimes cease to be crimes if, instead of being committed by unscrupulous tyrants, they were legitimated by popular consensus? Democracy cannot be idolized to the point of making it a substitute for morality or a panacea for immorality." 70

The next quotes are a sample (there are many more from Evangelium Vitae) of the Church's teaching on civil disobedience. As you will see for yourself, we have the right - and at points THE DUTY - to refuse to obey a godless order from government.

Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity. Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good. Consequently, a civil law authorizing abortion or euthanasia ceases by that very fact to be a true, morally binding civil law." 72

Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. From the very beginnings of the Church, the apostolic preaching reminded Christians of their duty to obey legitimately constituted public authorities (cf. Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13-14), but at the same time it firmly warned that "we must obey God rather than men"(Acts 5:29)... 73

For those who foolishly say, "Render unto Caesar..." in an effort to justify giving our tax money to be used to kill babies, these passages makes it clear that God - not Caesar - demands our absolute obedience.

...It is precisely from obedience to God-to whom alone is due that fear which is acknowledgment of his absolute sovereignty-that the strength and the courage to resist unjust human laws are born. It is the strength and the courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned or put to the sword, in the certainty that this is what makes for "the endurance and faith of the saints" (Rev 13:10). 73

In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to "take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it". 73

Finally, this passage teaches the danger we are in if we cooperate with the murder of the innocent.

Christians, like all people of good will, are called upon under grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God's law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. Such cooperation occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it. This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it. Evangelium Vitae, 74

I urge you to do three things:

1) Read these passages again, and pray, and consider what you should do.

2) Cut and paste JPII's words, and send them to your friends, your priest, your bishop, and anyone else you can think of. Evangelium Vitae gives the best advice we could have in this critical hour.

3) Quote JPII in any emails, blogs, or "letters to the editor" you might send out.

As Catholic Christians, or Evangelical Christians, "We must obey God rather than men." In this critical hour, we will be put to the test. Let us not flinch.

Finally, I BEG YOU to send a FAX to your Senators and the Catholic bishops of your state. We have created a system whereby you can send a FAX (which will get read by MANY more people than an email) to EVERY OFFICE of each of your Senators.

If your Senators have 10 offices, EVERY OFFICE will get your letter!

In addition, every Catholic bishop in your state can hear from you - beg them to follow the directives of our late Holy Father.

And as an added touch, YOU can add a paragraph of your own in each letter!

Friend, NO ONE has created a system like this, where you can reach so many CRITICAL people, with such speed of time, and for so little cost.

Please, rattle the cage of those who want us to become accomplices to murder. And plead with the Catholic bishops of your state to stand like Saints and Martyrs against this damnable proposal.

We must fight while it is still day; the night comes, when no man can fight.

Pray for us.

Randall Terry

P.S. As you will see, the cost of the FAX is only $25 - for 10 or 20 faxes or more. This brings in a trickle of revenue, which is a help, but we need much more. Perhaps you are reading this, and you are thrilled with what we are doing. Maybe you can give $1,000 or $2,500 or more. If so, I beg for your help. We are standing for the babies without flinching, but our battles take revenue. And please note: Your gifts are not tax deductible. We will not let the government tell us what we can and cannot say! I hope to hear from you. God bless you.


In this press conference, he puts the government on notice: active non-cooperation in many forms will occur if citizens are forced to fund abortion:

Part 1 - Randall Terry press conference on healthcare plan to fund abortion
July 21, 2009

Part 2 - Randall Terry press conference on healthcare plan to fund abortion

Pope adjusting to wrist in plaster; can't write, so must use recorder

Reuters Wed Jul 22, 6:25 AM ET

Pope Benedict XVI sits with Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone (L) in the Italian Alps while on vacation in Les Combes July 22, 2009.
Enlarge photo...

» 07/22/2009 18:14

Pope doing well, in a good mood, but has to use a recorder because he can’t write

Father Lombardi describes Benedict XVI’s day Valle d’Aosta. He is “learning how to live with a wrist in plaster”. The Pope goes for daily walks and this Friday will travel to Aosta for Vespers.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI is doing “well” and is “in a good mood”. He is “learning how to live with a wrist in plaster and has been equipped with a small recorder to dictate his thoughts, as he is unable to use a pen with ease these days,” said Fr Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, as he described the Pope’s rest in Les Combes, in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta region. His inability to use the pen, which he prefers to do, is the Pope’s main concern after he broke his right wrist.
In his daily report, Father Lombardi said that Holy Father is “in regular communication by telephone with his brother”, with whom he has a close relationship. In a few days, his brother, Mgr Georg Ratzinger, “will be at Castelgandolfo to spend the weeks of August together with the Pope, as has been customary in past years.”

The Pontiff also continues to make a short walk after lunch and in the late afternoon, enjoying the “great serenity and tranquillity” offered by this mountain location.

Today “Cardinal Bertone arrived by helicopter at 10.30 am from Romano Canavese,” father Lombardi said. “He will have an audience with the Pope and the two will lunch together. In the afternoon he will be back in Romano Canavese before returning to Rome tomorrow morning.”

In the Italian capital “Cardinal Bertone has been invited by the Speaker of the Italian Senate Schifani to hold a conference in the Senate on 28 July building on the Pope’s [latest] Encyclical.”

See also:

From the Buffalo News, "Pope uses tape recorder as writing tough with cast"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Benedict XVI calls on Tour de France cyclists to use sports to build moral character

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVILes Combes, Italy, Jul 21, 2009 / 10:09 am (CNA).- Tour de France competitors entered the 16th stage today, winding through the Italian and Swiss Alps and bringing cyclists near the village where Pope Benedict is vacationing. Aware of the athletes’ presence, he sent them a message challenging them to let sports form their character, especially in the realm of “moral and educational values.”

After a rest day on Monday, the world's greatest cyclists began a grueling mountain stage on Tuesday. The 16th stage of the tour, it stretches from Martigny to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, France, a distance of almost 100 miles.

The Tour will pass by the Italian Alpine town of Introd, which is near the Pope's vacation spot in Les Combes. Although the papal vacation doesn't usually make headlines, last Thursday evening Pope Benedict slipped and fractured his right wrist, an injury that required minor surgery to correct.

Today however, the message from the chalet was of an entirely different tenor.

The Vatican's press director, Fr. Federico Lombardi, announced that on the “occasion of the passage of the Tour de France in the Valle d'Aosta, the Holy Father … addresses his cordial greetings to all the athletes and to the organizers of the race, at the same time extending his thoughts to all sports men and women currently involved in various activities and competitions.”
Benedict XVI, Lombardi said, hopes that “involvement in sport may contribute to the integral development of the person, and that it may never be separated from respect for moral and educational values."

See also:

VIS-Press release, "Papal Greeting to Tour de France Cyclists"

From BikeRadar, "Tour de France news"

Vatican daily recalls 40th anniversary of first lunar landing

Vatican City, Jul 20, 2009 / 04:57 pm (CNA).- L’Osservatore Romano published a series of articles today commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing on July 20, 1969, by Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins.

The Vatican newspaper called it “an historic event” that was “truly colossal, costly and difficult,” with “hundreds of millions of spectators throughout the world” following the landing on black and white television.

It went on to recall Armstrong’s famous words at setting foot on the moon: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” “The safe return of the astronauts to earth was a triumph for them. This journey was compared to that of Christopher Columbus and became the main theme of news reports, science and literature,” the paper reported.

L'Osservatore also recalled the message sent by Pope Paul VI to the astronauts on the night of July 20, after peering at the moon through the “Specola Vaticana” telescope at Castel Gandolfo. In that message, the Pope said, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to all men of good will! … and honor to you, the men who have carried out this great space enterprise!”

“Honor, greetings and blessings to you, conquerors of the moon, the soft light of our nights and our dreams! With your living presence bring to it the voice of the spirit, the hymn to God, our Creator and our Father,” the Pope added.

The Vatican daily then recalled Pope Paul VI’s remarks at the Wednesday General Audience of July 23, 1969, in which he stressed the important need to reflect deeply on this event and respond from the faith. People should always seeks the encounter between its “humble doctrine and the marvelous riches of modern scientific thought” in the same way that the truth, “while diverse and ordered in different ways, is always one and in agreement with itself, and the benefit that results from such an encounter is always reciprocal for the faith.”

See also from CBN, "Communion on the Moon: July 20, 1969"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Letter from Rome, #24: On the Road

insidethevatican - Jul 20, 2009

As the Pope rests in northern Italy after his fall, I am packing my bags for a journey. The strange patterns of providence...

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from Rome


Rome this summer of 2009 has become quiet, especially in the past few days since the Pope went to northern Italy, and Claudio's restaurant, La Vittoria, closed for a three-week summer vacation.

Around the Vatican, small crowds, or none. In the press office, no one. Empty.

The weather has been hot, but good, for weeks now. Tonight it was actually cool, not at all oppressively hot — amazing for this time of year...

In another week, Pope Benedict will return to Rome, and go out to Castel Gandolfo for most of August and September, where he will have views like this one from the roof of his palace, where I was on Thursday (I was able to visit the palace because one of my oldest friends in Rome is a Jesuit astronomer; see below).

In this letter, I wanted to thank those of you readers who are traveling along with me on this journey, and have sent messages of support and encouragement. I am, obviously, trying to find a new way to talk about Vatican and Church events. By mingling genres which are usually kept rigidly separated (letter writing and news reporting and personal meditation), I am taking a risk. Perhaps I will "get it wrong." But perhaps (perhaps) I will get it more "right" than I could in any other way...

Pope receives laptop to help him work after injuring his wrist

Pope Benedict XVI

Vatican City, Jul 20, 2009 / 12:11 pm (CNA).- The Italian technology firm Olivetti has given Pope Benedict XVI a top-of-the-line laptop computer to help him continue writing the second part of his book, “Jesus of Nazareth,” after he fractured his wrist last Friday while on vacation.

The Pope was given the computer on Sunday in the Italian town of Romano Canavese, where he prayed the Sunday Angelus with about 9,000 people. The laptop was presented to the Pontiff by Franco Bernabe of Telecom and the president of Olivetti, Francesco Forlenza.

The computer also contained a slide show of papal photographs featuring Pius XII and John XXIII, who also visited the town.

Pope thanks doctors, well-wishers for treatment, prayers


By Catholic News Service

ROMANO CANAVESE, Italy (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI thanked the doctors who treated his broken wrist and thanked everyone who prayed and expressed their concern for him.

Before reciting the Angelus prayer in the town of Romano Canavese in northern Italy July 19, the pope greeted thousands of the faithful gathered outside the town's parish church, waving enthusiastically even though his right arm was encased in a plaster cast.

"As you can see, because of an accident, my mobility is a bit limited, but my heart is fully present," he assured the crowd.The pope traveled about 50 miles by helicopter and car from Les Combes, where he has been vacationing, to Romano Canavese, the hometown of his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone."

I offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone -- and there are many of you -- who have demonstrated your closeness, your sympathy and your affection for me and who have prayed for me," he said."I especially want to thank the doctors and the medical staff who treated me with such diligence, compassion and friendship. As you can see, they were successful ... we hope they were successful," he said.

Pope’s Surgery Done With Dated Technique, La Stampa Says

By Lorenzo Totaro

July 20 (Bloomberg) -- Italian surgeons used an “out-of- date” technique to fix Pope Benedict XVI’s broken wrist last week, which may delay the pontiff’s full recovery, La Stampa reported, citing comments by Orfeo Soldati, head of the department of hand surgery at the Pellegrini Hospital in Naples.

“That technique is out of date; it was used until 15 years ago and it has been abandoned since,” La Stampa quoted Soldati, as saying. Had the pope “undergone a surgery to reconstruct the fracture” with the bones fragments fixed internally, “he may have regained control of the hand within one week.”

The pontiff had surgery on July 17 in Aosta, in the Italian Alps, after falling in his holiday chalet and breaking his wrist. The doctors “realigned the fractured fragments and fastened them through osteosynthesis, using a local anesthetic then applying a cast”, the Holy See said in a July 17 statement. Benedict will need at least “30-40 days” to recover, Soldati told La Stampa.

“Let’s hope it will be a complete success,” the 82-year- old pope, pointing to the cast on his right wrist, said before reciting prayers yesterday in Romano Canavese, in the northwestern Piedmont region. The injury will slow the pope’s work on the second part of his book, “Jesus of Nazareth,” news agency Ansa reported yesterday, citing the Vatican’s secretary of state, Tarcisio Bertone.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at

Last Updated: July 20, 2009 05:54 EDT

Sunday, July 19, 2009

‘Do not be discouraged!’ Pope Benedict tells faithful in economic crisis

Turin, Italy, Jul 19, 2009 / 10:08 am (CNA).- In the first public outing of his current vacation in Les Combes, Pope Benedict XVI told 9,000 faithful gathered in Italy’s Romano Canavese village, the birthplace of Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, not to be discouraged by the current economic crisis or to forget those people who are worse off.

Before the recitation of the Angelus prayer, his first public appearance since a minor accident broke his wrist on Thursday night, the Pope thanked the doctors of Aosta.

“I have been treated with skill and courtesy,” he said.

“Dear friends, do not be discouraged!” Pope Benedict continued, “Providence always helps those who do good and are committed to justice. It helps those who think not only of themselves, but also of those who are worse off.”

“The fundamental values of family and respect for human life, attention to social justice, the ability to tackle hard work and sacrifice, strong bonds with the Christian faith through parish life, especially participation in the Holy Mass, have been down through the centuries your true strength,” he said. “These same values will allow the generation of today to build their own future with hope, giving rise to a truly united and fraternal society, where all the different aspects, the institutions and the economy, are imbued with the Gospel.”

See also:

From Asia News, "
Pope: do not be discouraged by the crisis or forget those who are worse off"

From Zenit, "
Pope Urges Selflessness Faced to Economic Crisis"

And also from YouTube-Vatican's Channel:

Pope: May Encyclical mobilize forces to renew the world
July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Letter from Rome, #22: Love in the Ruins

insidethevatican - Jul 18, 2009

The monsignor of whom the dying cardinal spoke, speaks. And, a love story...

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from Rome


"What needs to be discharged is the intolerable tenderness of the past, the past gone and grieved over and never made sense of. Music ransoms us from the past... Start a new life, get a girl, look into her shadowy eyes, smile... You play a tune and we'll watch evening fall and lightning bugs wink in the purple meadow..." —Walker Percy, Love in the Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World, 1971


I studied the works of Walker Percy, the American Catholic novelist, when I was in college, at Harvard. I went to meet Percy in 1977. His most important book is a collection of philosophical essays entitled The Message in the Bottle.

The entire goal of his writing was to show how the historical events of Christian history constituted a "message" which brought life to people who were in the position of "castaways" on a desert island, waiting for a message that could help them in their plight to wash up on the beach...

And he did not write didactically, as if to say, "this is the message, here is part one, here is part two, you must believe this point, and this point, and also this other point..."

Rather, he described men and women finding the message, right in the middle of their loneliness -- all of us are shipwrecked; that is why we should be kind to one another -- and in finding the message, finding true life.


The Pope Seems Fine

Before continuing, I should note that Pope Benedict XVI seems fine, though he broke his write in a fall the night before last.

He fell after getting up from his bed about 1 am, but did not tell anyone until the next morning. "He slipped in his bath this morning. He was taken to hospital for check-ups. It's nothing serious," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., said.

The injury was so minor that the Pope ate breakfast and celebrated Mass before he went to hospital. At hospital he had minor surgery to treat a slight fracture of his wrist. The Pope was lightly sedated for the procedure.

Benedict is at the resort of Val d'Aosta for a two-week holiday. While on holiday, the Pope, an avid pianist, planned on enjoying the use of a piano that had been sent to the chalet.

This morning's accident is the first health concern for Pope Benedict since he took the position in April 2005.

I do think, however, that this is a valuable "sign." What do I mean?

I mean that the Pope, despite the care of his staff, is still working a very busy schedule for a man of 82. I get tired just trying to follow all the meetings he has.

Perhaps he and his staff should consider cutting back even further on his schedule of meetings, and the number of discourses he reads.

After all, he is still writing his second book on Jesus — an important task he should bring to completion.

Pope Adapting to Wrist in Cast; Will Recite Angelus Tomorrow

Associated Press Sat Jul 18, 9:57 AM ET

In this photo made available by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI walks with his personal aide Rev. Georg Gaenswein in the Italian Alps in Les Combes, near Aosta, northern Italy, Saturday, July 18, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI was hospitalized, Friday, July 17, 2009, after he broke his right wrist in a fall during his vacation in the Italian Alps. The Pope, 82, fell in his room in a chalet overnight and despite the accident, celebrated Mass and had breakfast before going to the hospital, a Vatican statement said.(AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, HO)
Enlarge photo...

See also:

From the Washington Post, "
Pope fine after breaking wrist, misses writing"

From the Gulf Times, "
Pope ‘can’t pray’ with wrist in plaster"

From News 24 South Africa, "Pope has problems praying"

From CNews, "Pope copes with cast on broken wrist"

From Bloomberg, "Pope Will Recite Angelus Tomorrow After Surgery for Fracture"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pope expected to resume activities after wrist injury and treatment

Associated Press Fri Jul 17, 12:21 PM ET

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI greets hospital staff as he leaves the Regional Hospital after a surgery on his right wrist, seen in a cast, in Aosta, northern Italy, Friday, July 17, 2009. Benedict XVI emerged smiling from the hospital Friday after undergoing surgery for a broken wrist due to a fall at his Alpine vacation chalet. Doctors said his right arm would be in a cast for a month.
(AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)
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AFP Fri Jul 17, 3:51 PM ET

The Vatican said surgeons operated on Pope Benedict XVI after the pontiff fell and broke his right wrist while on holiday in northern Italy.
(AFP Graphics)
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Catholic Culture-News Briefs

Pope fractures wrist in fall
July 17, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI broke his wrist in a fall at his vacation home in the Italian Alps on July 17.

Father Federico Lombardi, the papal spokesman, said that the Pope's injury was a "slight fracture of the right wrist," incurred when the 82-year-old Pope slipped in his bathtub. The Holy Father was able to celebrate Mass and have breakfast before making the decision to have his injury checked at the hospital in nearby Aosta, he said.

At the hospital, the Pope refused preferential treatment, insisting that doctors treat other patients before examining him. An X-ray revealed the fracture, and doctors performed an operation-- with the Pope under "light" sedation-- to repair the bone. The operation was described as completely successful, and the Pope is expected to resume his vacation, with his movements (including, presumably, his beloved piano practice) inhibited by a cast.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Statement of the Director of the Press office of the Holy See, Federico Lombardi, SJ, regarding Pope Benedict XVI’s Health (Vatican Radio)

Pope waits his turn (ANSA)