"Furthermore, We declare, We proclaim, We define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff."- Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pope Makes Plea for Safety of Iraqi Christians


Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)

Leader of the Archdiocese of Mosul, Archbishop Emil Shimoun Nona, says if the situation does not improve, the ancient Christian community of the region will disappear.

Tuesday, three Christians of the same family were slain in Mosul, now bringing to eight the number of Christians killed in the city in the last 10 days.
Tuesday, three Christians of the same family were slain in Mosul, now bringing to eight the number of Christians killed in the city in the last 10 days.

VATICAN CITY (Zenit.org) - Benedict XVI is asking the Iraqi government to increase security around places of worship; a letter to the Iraqi prime minister was published today after more Christians were killed in Mosul.

A Jan. 2 note from the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was published today in L'Osservatore Romano.

The letter affirms that the Pontiff "prays with fervor for the end of the violence and appeals to the government to do everything possible to increase security around places of worship in the whole country."

At the time the letter was written a church had been attacked on Christmas morning 30 miles north of Mosul, three Christians in Mosul were killed, and a Christian student was kidnapped from her university.

In the note, the cardinal recalled the visit of the prime minister to the Vatican in 2008, during which "the common hope was expressed that, through dialogue and cooperation between the ethnic and religious groups of your country, including its minorities, the Republic of Iraq will be able to effect a moral and civil reconstruction, in full respect of the identity of those groups, in a spirit of reconciliation and in the pursuit of the common good."

He added that on that occasion, the Pope exhorted "respect in Iraq for the right of freedom of worship and appealed for the protection of Christians and their churches," and the secretary of state did the same.

"You assured me," the cardinal wrote, "that your government was taking very seriously the situation of the Christian minority which has lived for so many centuries together with the Muslim majority, contributing in a considerable way to the economic, cultural and social well-being of the nation."


Cardinal Bertone stressed that the Pope asked him to write the Iraqi prime minister "to transmit his sincere solidarity to you, Excellency, and to all those who died or were wounded in the recent series of attacks on government buildings and places of worship in Iraq, both Muslim as well as Christian."

The letter ends with the cardinal expressing his "appreciation for the numerous initiatives undertaken in benefit of the whole Iraqi community," and assuring Al-Maliki of his "highest esteem."

According to L'Osservatore Romano, the text was published after the Pope learned "with profound sorrow" of the latest killings in Mosul.

The Pontiff, who at present is on spiritual exercises together with his collaborators of the Roman Curia, "is close to those who are suffering the consequences of the violence, with prayer and affection," it reported.


Already last week, the leader of the Archdiocese of Mosul, Archbishop Emil Shimoun Nona, told Aid to the Church in Need that if the situation does not improve, the ancient Christian community of the region will disappear.

Four Christians had been killed in as many days, and the prelate -- who at 42 is the Church's youngest archbishop -- affirmed that the city's few remaining Christians are panicked.

The situation has only worsened, however. Tuesday, three Christians of the same family were slain in Mosul, now bringing to eight the number of Christians killed in the city in the last 10 days.

Syrian Catholics Aishwa Maroki, 59, and his two sons, Mokhlas, 31, and Bassim, 25, were shot in their home.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pope likely to draw huge crowds in Malta

.- In preparation for Pope Benedict's coming visit to Malta, the Holy See has released some numbers concerning the Church there. The large number of Catholics on the island nation could mean the Pope will see huge crowds.

The Holy Father will be visiting Malta between April 17 and 18 on the occasion of the 1,950th anniversary of the shipwreck of St. Paul.

If the statistics released through Vatican Press Office on Tuesday are any sign, it's likely that the Pope will draw large crowds during his visit.

The Central Office of Statistics of the Church reports that 94.4 percent of the country's 443,000 people are Catholic and that there are 853 religious and diocesan priests in their service.

This, according to the official statistics, means that there is a priest for every 490 Catholics on the island and an average of 10 priests for every place of worship.

In addition to the elevated number of clergy, there are almost 1,150 religious in Malta.

The Church in Malta also has 91 major seminarians, nearly half the number currently studying for the priesthood in Ireland, which has nearly 10 times the population.

Among scheduled events over Pope Benedict's two-day visit are stops at the place traditionally though to have been where St. Paul preached and St. Paul's Grotto in Rabat. The Holy Father will also celebrate Sunday Mass in the Granaries Square of Floriana.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pope praying for victims of disaster on Portuguese island

Vatican City, Feb 23, 2010 / 11:13 am (CNA).- The Holy Father offered his profound condolences today for the victims of the recent flooding on the Portuguese island of Madeira. In a telegram to the Bishop Antonio Jose Cavaco Carrilho of Funchal, he said that he was "dismayed with the "grave consequences" of the disaster.

Torrential rains hammered the island of Madeira in the Atlantic over the weekend, swelling rivers and leaving the coastal city of Funchal "thigh deep in mud," according to Agence France Presse. At least 42 people perished in the tragedy.

The papal telegram comes on the second of three days of mourning decreed by the Portuguese goverment for the victims. Through the letter signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy Father wished to "assure the whole local community" that he had entrusted the victims to God and asked for "comfort and assistance" for the victims' families, for the injured and for everyone who had lost their possessions.

Pope Benedict XVI also offered his Apostolic Blessing and invoked the divine graces on "all tested by this drama," as well as those participating in search and rescue and relief efforts on the island.

SIR news agency reported yesterday that Bishop Cavaco Carrilho of Funchal also expressed his "profound communion and solidarity to the population and victims" on Tuesday.

Cat's biography of Pope purrfect for kids

Taken from Brisbane Times

THE story of Pope Benedict XVI's life — from his birth in Germany to his election as pontiff — is told through the eyes of a tabby cat called Chico in a children's book to hit Italian bookstores soon.

In Joseph and Chico: A Cat Recounts the Life of Pope Benedict XVI, the orange tabby cat tells readers the Pope is "my dearest friend, a wonderful man with whom I've spent many happy moments".

He recounts the pontiff's childhood and his passion for reading and playing the piano. The book depicts the future Pope's early steps in the Catholic Church from when he entered a seminary in 1939 to his ordination as a priest in 1951.

The feline narrator is inspired by a real orange tabby in Pentling — the German town where the Pope, then Joseph Ratzinger, lived before moving to Rome in 1981 — that belonged to the family next door.

"I can assure you that what you will find in this book … is all true and interesting," the Pope's secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, says in the preface.

The 44-page book touches on the Nazi era, when a teenaged Ratzinger enrolled in the Hitler Youth. "In that period, Joseph was forced to do something that absolutely went against his will: enrol in the army and leave for war," it says.

The Pope eventually deserted without seeing combat and was taken prisoner by US forces before being released several weeks later. The biography ends with Pope John Paul II's funeral and Benedict XVI's election to the pontificate on April 2005.

The Pope is known to like cats. Before he was elected, he looked after stray cats in his old neighbourhood near the Vatican.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Pope sees Lent as time for spiritual combat

February 22, 2010

Catholic Culture.org

At his Angelus audience on February 21, the first Sunday in Lent, Pope Benedict XVI likened the season of Lent to a "long retreat," a period of spiritual combat. Commenting on the day's Gospel, which recounted Christ's temptation in the desert, the Pope remarked that Jesus taught not merely by example but by actions, "by struggling personally with the Tempter, all the way to the Cross." The message for the faithful, the Pope said, is "that the world is improved by beginning with ourselves, by changing, with God's grace, what is wrong with our lives."

At the conclusion of his remarks, the Pope asked the crowd in St. Peter's Square to pray for the success of the annual Lenten Retreat at the Vatican, which would begin that evening. The Pope and the leaders of the Roman Curia will set aside their regular work for the week-long spiritual exercises.

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

Angelus: Lent, a Period of Spiritual 'Combat' (VIS)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI Calls Child Sexual Abuse a Heinous Crime

Author: Racquel Nicdao
Published: February 21, 2010 at 11:29 am

Taken from Technorati

As a result of the two-day closed door discussions between Irish Bishops and senior members of the Roman Curia, concerning the child sexual abuse scandal in the Irish Catholic Church, the Vatican released an official statement February 16.

In the Vatican statement, Pope Benedict XVI was quoted as saying that child sexual abuse is a “heinous crime and is a grave sin which offends God and wounds the dignity of the human person created in his image.”

The discussions which took place last Monday and Tuesday have brought into light the serious situation in the Irish Catholic Church, revealed by the Murphy and Ryan reports. The two reports accounted cases of sexual abuse of minors committed by Priests from 1975 and 2004, and the efforts to cover up such abuses by some of the Church’s hierarchy over many years. A third government inquiry is still going on in the diocese of Cloyne.

There were 24 Irish Bishops present in the reunions, headed by Archbishop of Armagh, Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. Each of the Bishops were called in separately and were given the opportunity to voice their respective views, and to explain the line of conduct they had assumed in addressing the delicate issue.

The failure of the Church authorities to act effectively was acknowledged in the Vatican statement. Furthermore, it stated errors and omissions in judgment were some of the factors that contributed in a “breakdown in trust” in the Church’s leadership in Ireland.

The Pope Benedict XVI expressed his hope that the discussions would eventually conduct in a cohesive effort in establishing concrete and effective steps meant to bring justice to the victims, to promote a rekindling of faith, and to re-establish the Church’s spiritual and moral reputation.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


A call by Blessed Pope Pius IX for all Protestants and non-Catholics to reject their errors and embrace the truth of the Holy, Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I think it is important in this day of so much error, to remember that the Catholic Church alone leads men to eternal salvation.-Ashley


Pius IX., Pope.

You all know already that We, having been raised, not withstanding Our unworthiness, to this Chair of Peter, and therefore invested with the supreme government and guardianship of the whole Catholic Church, divinely entrusted to Us by Christ our Lord, have judged it seasonable to call to Us Our Venerable Brethren, the Bishops of the whole earth, and to unite them together, to celebrate, next year, an Ecumenical Council ; so that, in concert with these Our Venerable Brethren who are called to share in Our cares, We may take those steps which may be most opportune and necessary, both to disperse the darkness of the many noxious errors which everywhere increasingly prevail, to the great loss of souls ; and also to establish and confirm daily more and more among the Christian people entrusted to Our watchfulness the Kingdom of true Faith, Justice, and the Peace of God. Confidently relying on the close ties and most loving union which in so marked a way unite to Ourselves and to this Holy See these Our Venerable Brethren, who, through all the time of Our Supreme Pontificate, have never failed to give to Ourselves and this Holy See the clearest tokens of their love and veneration ; We have the firm hope that this Ecumenical Council, summoned by Us at this time, will produce, by the inspirations of Divine Grace, as other General Councils in past ages have done, abundant fruits of benediction, to the greater glory of God, and the eternal salvation of men.

Sustained by this hope, and roused and urged by the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life for the whole human race, We cannot refrain Ourselves, the occasion of the future Council, from addressing Our Apostolic and paternal words to all those who, whilst they acknowledge the same Jesus Christ as the Redeemer, and glory in the name of Christian, yet do not profess the true faith of Christ, nor hold to and follow the Communion of the Catholic Church. And We do this to warn, and conjure, and beseech them with all the warmth of Our zeal, and in all charity, to consider and seriously examine whether they follow the path marked out for them by Jesus Christ our Lord, and which leads to Eternal Salvation. No one can deny or doubt that Jesus Christ Himself, in order to apply the fruits of his redemption to all generations of men, built His only Church in this world on Peter ; that is to say, the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic ; and that He gave to it all necessary power, that the deposit of Faith might be preserved whole and in inviolable, and that the same Faith might be taught to all peoples, kindreds, and nations, that through baptism all men might become members of His mystical body, and that the new life of grace, without which no one can ever merit and attain to life eternal, might always be preserved and perfected in them ; and that this same Church, which is His mystical body, might always remain in its own nature firm and immovable to the end of time, that it might flourish, and supply to all its children all the means of Salvation. Now, whoever will carefully examine and reflect upon the condition of the various religious societies, divided among themselves, and separated from the Catholic Church, which, from the days of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles has never ceased to exercise, by its lawful pastors, and still continues to exercise, the divine power committed to it by this same Lord; cannot fail to satisfy himself that neither any one of these societies by itself, nor all of them together, can in any manner constitute and be that One Catholic Church which Christ our Lord built, and established, and willed should continue; and that they cannot in any way be said to be branches or parts of that Church, since they are visibly cut off from Catholic unity. For, whereas such societies are destitute of that living authority established by God, which especially teaches men what is of Faith, and what the rule of morals, and directs and guides them in all those things which pertain to eternal salvation, so they have continually varied in their doctrines, and this change and variation is ceaselessly going on among them. Everyone must perfectly understand, and clearly and evidently see, that such a state of things is directly opposed to the nature of the Church instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ; for in that Church truth must always continue firm and ever inaccessible to all change, as a deposit given to that Church to be guarded in its integrity, for the guardianship of which the presence and aid of the Holy Ghost have been promised to the Church forever. No one, moreover, can be ignorant that from these discordant doctrines and opinions social schisms have arisen, and that these again have given birth to sects and communions without number, which spread them selves continually, to the in creasing injury of Christian and civil society.

Indeed, whoever recognizes religion as the foundation of human society can not but perceive and acknowledge what disastrous effect this division of principles, this opposition, this strife of religious sects among themselves, has had upon civil society, and how powerfully this denial of the authority established by God, to determine the belief of the human mind, and to direct the actions of men as well in private as in social life, has excited, spread, and fostered those deplorable upheavals, those commotions by which almost all peoples are grievously disturbed and afflicted.

Wherefore, let all those who do not hold to the unity and truth of the Catholic Church avail themselves of the opportunity of this Council, whereby the Catholic Church, of which their forefathers were members, displays a fresh proof of her perfect unity and her unconquerable vitality; and let them, in obedience to the longings of their own hearts, be in haste to rescue themselves from a state in which they cannot be assured of their own salvation. And let them not cease to offer most fervent prayers to the God of Mercy, that He may break down the wall of separation, that He may scatter the mists of error, and that He may lead them back to the bosom of Holy Mother Church, where their fathers found the wholesome pastures of life, and in which alone the doctrine of Jesus Christ is preserved and handed down entire, and the mysteries of heavenly grace dispensed.

As for Us, seeing that We ought, in accordance with the duty of Our supreme Apostolic Ministry intrusted to Us by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, to fulfil with most fervent zeal all the offices of a good Shepherd, and with paternal love to follow and embrace all men throughout all the world We therefore address this Our Letter to all Christians separated from Us, wherein We exhort and entreat them, again and again, to hasten their return to the One Fold of Christ; for with Our whole soul We ardently desire their salvation in Jesus Christ, and We fear lest We may one day have to render an account to the same Lord, who is Our Judge, if We do not, so far as is in Our power, show them, and prepare for them the way to attain to this eternal salvation. Truly, in every prayer of Ours, beseeching and giving thanks, We cease not, day and night, to entreat humbly and earnestly for them, from the Eternal Pastor of souls, the abundance of light and heavenly grace. And since, notwithstanding Our unworthiness, We are His Vicar here upon earth, We therefore wait, with outstretched hands, and with most ardent desire, the return of Our wandering children to the Catholic Church, that We may most lovingly welcome them to the home of their Heavenly Father, and enrich them with his exhaustless treasures. Upon this longed for return to the truth and unity of the Catholic Church depends the salvation not only of individuals, but also of all Christian society; and never can the whole world enjoy true peace, unless there shall be one Fold and one Shepherd.

Given at Rome, in St. Peter's, on the 13th day of September, 1868, and in the year of Our Pontificate the twenty-third.

Taken from:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI to visit Lutheran Church in Rome

Read the article on Rorate Caeli.

Take a look at the comments...Food for thought?

Remember the heretic Martin Luther and all his followers are reprobates. See Pope Leo X's Bull, "Exsurge Domine."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Incorrect Date on Pius XII Document Explains Silence

This is taken from Zenit, and it was published on the 2nd of February, I only saw it today.-Ashley

Pope Couldn't Be Indifferent to Raid as It Hadn't Happened Yet

By Jesús Colina

ROME, FEB. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Pope Pius XII was again in the news this week, as researchers presented two documents that were interpreted as putting the Pope in a negative light regarding his response to the Holocaust.

As ZENIT reported Monday, a brief document was presented as a new find dated Oct. 19, 1943. The document is a telegram from American diplomat Harold Tittmann on his meeting with the Pope.

The document does not mention the Oct. 16 raid on the Jews of Rome, wherein more than 1,000 of the city's Jews were rounded up and deported to Auschwitz.

Given that Tittmann's report does not mention the raid (though theoretically it had happened just three days before), and instead reports Pius XII's concern about Communists in Rome and his desire to keep the Eternal City in peace, headlines reported the Pope's "indifference" to the Holocaust.

However, there is a basic problem.

In a statement sent to ZENIT, Professor Ronald Rychlak of the University of Mississippi explains that Pius XII could not have expressed concern about the roundup of Roman Jews because it hadn't happened yet.

Rychlak is the author of "Hitler, the War, and the Pope.

"He explained: "The transcribed message to Washington from Harold Tittmann is dated Oct. 19, but this is a mistake. Vatican records show that the meeting between Pius and Tittmann took place on Oct. 14.

"In fact, L'Osservatore Romano of Oct. 15, 1943, reported on page one -- top of the first column -- that Tittmann was received by the Pope in a private audience on Oct. 14, 1943.

"Apparently a handwritten '14' was misread as a '19' when the documents were typed. The Pope did not mention the roundup of Jews because it had not yet happened!"

Rychlak noted that what the Pope did express to Tittmann was his concern "that a group of Communists would commit a violent act and this would lead to serious repercussions. Of course, he proved to be exactly correct the following spring."

Moreover, though the Oct. 14 document was presented as a new find, historians were already aware of it because it was published in 1964, with the incorrect date.

It is in the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) collection, in Volume II of 1943, on page 950.

In his blog, Andrea Tornielli, Vatican expert of the Italian daily "Il Giornale," points out that the researchers who presented this "new document," Giuseppe Casarrubea and Mario Cereghino, have already made such "revelations" in the past.

"In October of 2008," he reported, "they presented as unpublished a document to use it against Pius XII (it was also referred to by ANSA [news] agency) and later they had to apologize."

--- --- ---
On the Net:

Text of the telegram in the Foreign Relations of the United States:


Why it doesn't matter if the Pope's Ordinariate for ex-Anglicans is small at first

By Damian Thompson Last updated: February 18th, 2010

Taken from the Telegraph

Here’s my op-ed article on the Anglican ordinariates from this week’s Catholic Herald:

On Monday, Anglo-Catholics across England will be holding a day of prayer to help their bishops, clergy and laity decide how to respond to the Pope’s provision of a self-governing Ordinariate for former Anglicans. Many members of our Church will be praying with them; in Oxford, Anglicans are joining the members of the Oratory for a Holy Hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

There is a lot to pray about, and a lot to pray for. Anglo-Catholics interested in the Holy Father’s offer will be praying for gifts of discernment not only for themselves but for their fellow Anglican Catholics and Catholic Anglicans. (The two terms are not quite interchangeable, which gives you some idea of the complexity of the situation.)

But I’m guessing that top of the list of requests to the Almighty will be for the Catholic Church, in consultation with the Anglo-Catholic leaders, to get it right. That is, to offer a carefully designed model for the Ordinariate, together with detailed instructions for constructing it. And they will have to be detailed, because people will be joining what is, in effect, a non-territorial diocese from different starting points, bringing with them different aspects of the Anglican “patrimony”, and – at least initially – different expectations.

In his address to the English and Welsh bishops earlier this month, Pope Benedict urged them to be generous in their implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus, the Apostolic Constitution that will create Ordinariates worldwide as a permanent provision for ex-Anglicans. Why did he single out this subject? One rumour is that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is puzzled by the small numbers of members of the Church of England planning to join the Ordinariate, and are worried that elements in the Bishops’ Conference are pouring cold water on the project.

As it happens, there are prominent Catholics talking down the Ordinariate scheme, and they should be ashamed of themselves; but they certainly do not include Archbishop Bernard Longley, Bishop Malcolm McMahon and Bishop Alan Hopes, the three bishops on the Commission working out the details of the English scheme. This seems to me to be an ideal trio of English bishops for the task, combining holiness, humour, intellect and, in the case of Bishop Hopes, the specialist knowledge that comes from having once been a leading Anglo-Catholic.
No: what is slowing things down is the fact that a divided, demoralised and confused Anglo-Catholic constituency is under pressure to make decisions about an offer that is not yet on the table. How could it be, when so much hangs on the attitude and decisions of the Church of England?

The General Synod will not outline its legislation for women bishops until its July meeting. So far as I can work out, there is a slim chance that the Synod may give traditionalists limited oversight by bishops who do not ordain women. This would be no more than a fig leaf, and it is probably not going to be offered anyway, so how can Forward in Faith, the main Anglo-Catholic body, justify delaying its official response to Anglicanorum coetibus until the Synod is over? The Apostolic Constitution, remember, was drawn up following requests from traditionalist Anglican bishops for pastoral oversight; it was not intended as a last resort.

In the end, however, the Catholic Church has to face the fact that, in England more than any other country, history has bequeathed us an almighty ecclesiastical mess. Anglo-Catholicism is part of the established religion of England; it is here that a movement of clergy and their patrons adopted a Catholic (sometimes ultra-Catholic) style of worship that developed in opposition to the Church of England hierarchy, and has always been embraced more readily by priests than by lay people. Not only are there fearsome legal barriers to vicars “taking their parishes with them” – the congregation does not own the building, as it does in other countries – but the men and women in the pew are often less diehard in their opposition to women priests and bishops than their pastors. Or, to put it another way, their objections are cultural rather than theological.

My impression is that the Ordinariate appeals most to the Anglican bishops who proposed it and to young, conservative Anglican clergy and seminarians. Older incumbents are split between those few who will move soon, with whoever follows them; those who never wanted to be “Roman Catholics” and will either stay put or move into a dissident Anglican sect or Orthodoxy; and a very large group who favour the Ordinariate in principle but will stay in the C of E for as long as it takes to persuade significant numbers of their flock that this is their only opportunity to carry on worshipping as Catholics (which is what they consider themselves to be). That will take time; the reality of women bishops will have to sink in. The Catholic Church must not be too dismissive of Anglo-Catholic priests who stay to argue gently the case for the Ordinariate, as opposed to staying to fight the lost cause of classic Anglo-Catholicism. Anglicanorum coetibus has no expiry date; some of its finest fruits may not be visible for a decade, when traditionalist laity overcome their natural fear and plunge into the Tiber.

For that to happen, it is essential that the first groups of Anglicans who enter the Ordinariate do flourish, on however small a scale. There have been predictions that around 20 parishes will leave the Church of England soon; I take those with a pinch of salt, so enormous are the legal and pastoral obstacles for a single parish to detach itself corporately from the Established Church. It may be that the first English Ordinariate structure incorporates merged parishes using borrowed church buildings; that will not be a disappointing outcome so much as a realistic one.

In a sense, we should be glad that this experiment, unprecedented in English history, will be pioneered on a small scale. If the Church gets this right, I am confident that the Ordinariate will not stay small for long. The Catholic Church in England and Wales is crying out for new talent, for a true “diversity” rooted in an English devotion that pre-dates the Reformation. But that discussion must wait for another day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Daily conversion frees and saves, Pope declares as Lent begins

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2010 / 11:05 am (CNA).- The Holy Father dedicated the General Audience on Wednesday in the Paul VI Hall to the significance of the Lenten season which begins today. He emphasized the importance of daily conversion for swimming "against the current" of a society that promotes a “superficial lifestyle” and “moral mediocrity.”

Lent, Pope Benedict observed, is an "acceptable and grace-filled time" in which we can better understand the words "repent and believe in the Gospel."

The call to conversion is one to take with "extraordinary seriousness" because it "reveals and denounces the easy superficiality that often characterizes our lives," Pope Benedict taught.

"Repentance means changing direction in the path of life," he said emphasizing that this is "not with a small adjustment, but with a true and personal reversal." It is going "against the current, where the 'current' is the superficial lifestyle... that often pulls at us, dominates us and makes us slaves of evil and, so, prisoners of moral mediocrity."

In our conversion, the Pope explained, we shoot for the "highest measure of the Christian life” as we put our trust in the "living and personal Gospel" of Jesus Christ.

"His person is the final goal and the deep meaning of repentance... he is the road by which all are called to walk in life, letting ourselves be illuminated by his light and sustained by his strength that moves our steps."

In this way, "it isn't a simple moral decision that rectifies our life's conduct, but a choice of faith that involves us entirely in the intimate communion with the living and concrete person of Jesus, noted Benedict XVI.

Repenting and believing the Gospel, the Holy Father elaborated, are expressions of the same reality and conversion, which "is the 'yes' of he who gives his own existence to the Gospel, responding freely to Christ who first offers himself to man as the way, truth and life, as it is He alone that frees and saves him."

This is the meaning of the first words with which Jesus preaches the Gospel, 'This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel,' the Pope added.
Pope Benedict also focused on how repentance and conversion are lifelong commitments.

"Every day is a 'acceptable' moment, one of grace, for every day we are invited to give ourselves to Jesus, to trust in Him, to abide in Him, to share His lifestyle, to learn true love from Him, to follow Him in doing the will of the Father every day, which is the only great law of life.”

"Every day" we need to seek conversion, Pope Benedict continued, "even when we are faced with difficulties and troubles, in spite of the tiredness and the failures, including when we feel like abandoning the path of following Christ, and when we want to withdraw into ourselves, into our selfishness, without realizing that we need to open ourselves to God’s love in Christ to live the same logic of love and justice.”

The Holy Father also reflected on the meaning of the ashes distributed today. The ashes given on the first day of Lent, he said, serve as an act of renewal "of our commitment to follow Jesus, to let ourselves be transformed in His paschal mystery, to win over evil and do good, to let the 'old man' tied to sin die and let the 'new man' be born transformed in the grace of God."

In closing, Pope Benedict invoked the protection and aid of Our Lady to accompany us in these 40 days of prayer and sincere penance so that we will be purified and "completely renewed" for Easter.

Pope sprinkles ashes in Lent tradition

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI is marking the start of the solemn Lenten season by sprinkling ashes on the bowed heads of faithful in a Roman Catholic tradition.

Ash Wednesday services for Roman Catholics worldwide usher in a period of penitence and reflection that leads up to Easter Sunday, this year being celebrated on April 4.

Benedict pinched a bit of ash from a silver-colored bowl held out to him by an aide, and then distributed the ashes to prelates, other clergy and lay people, including children, who approached him one by one in St. Sabina's Basilica on Rome's ancient Aventine Hill.

The Pope in his homily said that humanity needs to hope in a world that is more just, and described Lent as an opportunity for spiritual renewal of people.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

BBC lobby Pope to deliver Thought for the Day slot

By Ian Burrell

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Independent

The BBC is lobbying the Vatican in an effort to persuade the Pope to deliver the “Thought for the Day” religious slot on the Radio 4 Today programme.

The corporation hopes that a broadcast can be recorded to coincide with the Papal visit to Britain later this year.

Mark Thompson, the BBC director general and a devout Roman Catholic who was educated by Jesuits, is leading the corporation’s negotiations himself. Thompson met the Pope recently on a visit to Rome, when he is believed to have raised the possibility of the recording.

Plans for the broadcast, which would be unprecedented in the history of the BBC, are certain to upset secularist groups which have already expressed fears that the Papal visit will be exploited by the Vatican as great media opportunity.

But the BBC has also recently found itself under fire from the religious establishment over a perceived marginalisation of faith issues in its broadcasting schedules in recent years. The Church of England’s General Synod last week carried an almost unanimous vote on a motion criticising the lack of religious output on the BBC.

If Pope Benedict XVI, who is likely to come to Britain in September, was to appear on the Today programme it would be a personal ambition realised for Mark Damazer, the controller of Radio 4, who today confirmed that talks were already taking place with the Vatican.

Damazer whose ambition is to include on the Radio 4 schedule during his tenure as controller a list of “dream” presenters that also includes Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen, indicated that Thompson was taking the lead in the negotiations. “I think Mark Thompson is better qualified than me,” he said, referring to the director general’s religious beliefs.

Asked if a request had been made specifically in relation to the Today programme, Damazer said: “Mark knows of my aspiration.”

The recording, if it happens, would be likely to be made by the BBC’s religious department, which is based in Manchester.

The BBC’s plan was condemened today by the Secularist Society which is running a campaign to stop the Papal visit being state-funded. Terry Sanderson, the society’s president, said: “I think this is an indication of what we can expect. I think the BBC under Mark Thompson is going to go into overdrive and we are going to have Pope, Pope, Pope, driven down our throats for the whole three days of the visit.

“We cannot help but suspect that Mark Thompson’s recent visit to the Vatican for what were called ‘high-level talks’ with Vatican officials might well have been to plan this kind of propaganda exercise.”

When challenged, Sanderson accepted that “Thought for the Day” was a religious slot and so to have the Bishop of Rome of presenter was not an unreasonable ambition. But he said: On its own terms it is reasonable that he should be invited onto ‘Thought for the Day’ but the Pope gets to say what he wants unchallenged.

“It would be much better if he was on the mainstream Today programme under the scrutiny of [presenter] John Humphrys rather than just giving the Catholic Church an opportunity to promote itself.”

Catholic scholars urge Pope to slow Pius sainthood

Despite the typical media hype surrounding this article, especially the end bit where the Pope's past in the Hitler Youth League and the lifting of the excommunication of "holocaust-denier" Bishop Williamson, are brought up, rather unnecessarily, I think this article actually brings forth a good point. Despite my personal opinions regarding Venerable Pius XII, and despite what I think of ecumenism, I must say I agree with the Catholic scholars. History will vindicate Venerable Pius XII, and if it means Pope Benedict must slow down the canonization process of Pius XII, in order to fully examine the historical evidence from the Vatican Archives, then I say go ahead. Also, like I said earlier, despite my feelings regarding ecumenism, there is no need to offend the Jews unnecessarily. If Pius XII's canonization is held off a bit longer, the media, sensitive Jews, and other enemies of the Church will forget about this and move on to something else. - Ashley

ROME (Reuters) - Top Catholic scholars have written an unusual and impassioned private letter to Pope Benedict urging him to slow down the sainthood procedure for wartime Pope Pius XII, accused of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust.

The letter, which was made available to Reuters by a source familiar with the initiative, is extremely rare because in the past it has mostly been Jewish groups and not Catholic academics who have written to Popes about the issue.

The 18 Catholic scholars from United States, Germany and Australia, used the word "implore" twice in the letter, saying that if Pius was made a saint before the historical record is cleared up, it could irreparably harm Catholic-Jewish relations.

"Holy Father, we implore you, acting on your wisdom as a renowned scholar, professor and teacher, to be patient with the cause of Pius XII," the scholars wrote in their letter.
Many Jews say Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, did not do enough to help Jews facing persecution by Nazi Germany.

The Vatican maintains that Pius chose to work behind the scenes, concerned that public intervention would have worsened the situation for both Jews and Catholics in a wartime Europe dominated by Hitler.

The Catholic scholars suggested that they had to take a hard-line judgment on Pius until Vatican archives were open for more study by historians.

"Currently, existing research leads us to the view that Pope Pius XII did not issue a clearly worded statement, unconditionally condemning the wholesale slaughter and murder of European Jews," the scholars told the German Pope.


In December, Benedict angered Jews when he approved a decree recognizing Pius's "heroic virtues", moving him one step closer to sainthood. The two remaining steps are beatification and canonization.

"The movement to press forward at this time the process of beatification of Pius XII greatly troubles us," the scholars told the Pope.

The scholars included Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski of the Catholic Theological Union, a leading historian on Judaism and the Holocaust and Dr. Eugene Fisher, the retired expert on Jewish relations for the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference.

Copies of the letter were to be sent to Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican official in charge of relations with Jews, and Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, a leading figure in Catholic-Jewish dialogue in the United States.

Jews have asked repeatedly that the Vatican's wartime archives be opened for study and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom repeated the request to the Pope directly when the Pontiff visited Rome's synagogue last month.

"We implore you to ensure that such a historical investigation takes place before proceeding with the (sainthood) cause of Pope Pius XII," the scholars told the Pope.

They said that Pius had become in essence, a de facto "symbol of Christian-anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism" and added:

"Proceeding with the cause of Pope Pius XII without an exhaustive study of his actions during the Holocaust might harm Jewish-Catholic relations in a way that cannot be overcome in the foreseeable future."

Benedict, a German who was drafted into the Hitler Youth and German army as a teenager during World War Two, has had a more difficult relationship with the Jewish community than his predecessor Pope John Paul II.

Many are still seething at his decision last year to start the rehabilitation process of traditionalist Bishop Richard Williamson, who denied the full extent of the Holocaust.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Revealed: Anglo-Catholic bishop in talks with CDF to stop English bishops 'smothering' Pope's Anglican plan

"Somebody has leaked to the Guardian a sensitive email from the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, “flying” Bishop of Ebbsfleet, to Bishop Peter Elliott of Melbourne, the Catholic auxiliary bishop in charge of implementing Anglicanorum coetibus in Australia.

In it, Bishop Burnham – an outstanding and inspiring Anglo-Catholic leader – confirms what we’ve all long suspected: that there are forces in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales who hate the Pope’s plan and want Anglicans to stay Anglican. Or, as he puts it, “who think that Anglicans are best off doing what they are presently doing”.

Bishop Burnham will be embarrassed by this leak, which reveals that in order to make sure that the Ordinariate project is not “smothered” he has been talking privately to Mgr Patrick Burke at the CDF (another great priest, by the way). He’s also a bit disobliging about Archbishop Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion.

But the important point is this. Although of course Bishop Burnham wouldn’t want his private correspondence revealed in this way, it does show that he has been doing the sensible thing, which is to deal directly with the CDF to stop the Magic Circle (the name of a certain monsignor comes to mind) putting a spanner in the works. He’d be neglecting his duty to his flock if he wasn’t doing so.

This email was leaked by an enemy of the Pope who timed it to throw Anglo-Catholics into confusion just before their day of prayer on Monday. They mustn’t let that happen."

Taken from the Telegraph

This is disturbing, when a possible convert to the Catholic faith has to secretly avoid Catholic Bishops in order to contact Rome about converting to the Catholic Church! Why? Because these Catholic Bishops are opposed to the plans of the Pope to bring lost sheep back into the fold!!! The Catholic Bishops are opposed to the Pope saving lost souls! This is what it boils down to.

"Pray much for the Holy Father fo he has much to suffer..." Let us pray also for those Bishops to stand behind our Holy Father, and not against him.

Faithful Priests are spur to more vocations, Pope says

Catholic Culture.org 16 February 2010

Good Priests are the best natural encouragement for young men considering a life in ministry, Pope Benedict XVI writes in his message of the 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

The World Day of Prayer will be observed on April 25, the 4th Sunday of Lent (The 25th of April is actually the 3rd Sunday after Easter). The Pope's message for the occasion was released by the Vatican on February 16.

In the message the Holy Father says that while prayer is the first essential means of ensuring new vocations, experience shows that the witness offered by faithful Priests can "awaken in others a desire to respond generously to Christ's call." He notes that St. Peter was called through St. Andrew, and the same call went out to other disciples.

To be effective witnesses, the Pope says, priests must be thoroughly dedicated to God, encouraging others along the same path. "The story of every vocation," he writes, "is almost always intertwined with the testimony of a Priest who joyfully lives the gift of himself to his brothers and sisters for the sake of the Kingdom of God."

If Priests are remote figures, they do not attract the attention of the young, the Pope observes. But a Priest who "radiates the joy of serving Christ" cannot fail to attract others.

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

•Witness Awakens Vocations (VIS)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Vatican WW2 secret archives to go online

Posted: Sunday, February 14, 2010 11:46 pm
ICN- Indepenent Catholic News

Pope Pius XII The Holy See has announced plans to publish secret archive documents from World War II on the internet.

The Pave the Way Foundation, an organization dedicated to bridging gaps between religions, has begun making digital files of about 9,000 pages of documents, descriptions from the closed section of the Vatican archives, from the period of March 1939 to May 1945.

The documents will be available on the Pave the Way and Vatican websites. Gary Krupp, the Jewish president and founder of Pave the Way explained that they had decided to make the documents in order to clarify the role of Pope Pius XII during World War II.

"Controversy abounds on whether he did enough to prevent the slaughter of Jews at the hands of the Nazis. Our research has revealed that five years after Pius XII's death, the KGB hatched a plot to discredit their enemy, the Roman Catholic Church, called 'Seat 12."

Krup said Rolf Hochhuth's fictitious 1963 play about Pius XII, 'The Deputy', was "the worst character assassination of the twentieth century."

He explained that in 1964, Pope Paul VI had asked a team of Jesuit historians to "conduct intensive research to identify relevant documents from the war years from the closed section of the Vatican Secret Archives."

They had begun the project, but not completed it, he said. In 1999, Cardinal Edward Cassidy, at that time the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, called for a special commission of Jewish and Catholic scholars to come together to study these documents. Again, the work was never completed.

Krup his foundation wanted to publish as many documents as possible, and make them publicly available so they can be studied by all.

He has requested that "French, Italian and German scholars consider helping us by translating documents into English and forward this work to Pave the Way Foundation so that we can make the information available to more scholars for research."

"We also would like to receive any comments, positive or negative, relative to the content of these documents."

He said: the initiative was "not meant to be a substitute for the full access" to the archives, "but will absolutely show the unique efforts of Pope Pius XII and the dangers he was forced to operate under a direct threat from the Nazi regime."

Source: VIS

Pope in running for Brit award

(UKPA) – 10 hours ago

Pope Benedict XVI has received his first Classical Brit nomination - and finds himself battling it out with Britain's Got Talent star Faryl Smith and X-Factor's Rhydian Roberts among others.

Each year, The Classical Brit Awards highlight the 10 biggest-selling classical albums of the past 12 months by nominating them for the NS&I album of the year award, the only category to be voted for by the public.

The Priests' second release Harmony will see the three Catholic Fathers also vying with the Pope, whose voice appears on Alma Mater - Music From The Vatican.

The only two female nominations go to debut albums from 14-year-old Faryl Smith, which became the fastest selling solo classical album in British chart history, and Gary Barlow's protegee Camilla Kerslake with her eponymously-titled record.

Following in the footsteps of last year's winners, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, are The Coldstream Guards with their debut Universal release Heroes.

Also nominated are Blake with Together and last year's composer of the year winner Howard Goodall with Enchanted Voices.

Welsh artists dominate the category with three of the album nominations - Fron Male Voice Choir for Memory Lane, Choir Wars winners Only Men Aloud with their debut Band Of Brothers and former X-Factor runner-up Roberts with his debut O Fortuna.

Votes can be cast via classicfm.co.uk/music and voting closes on April 23.

The winners will be announced at the 11th annual Classical Brit Awards with NS&I at the Royal Albert Hall in London on May 13.

Hosted by Myleene Klass, the event will feature performances from the lifetime achievement recipient Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and chart phenomenon Andre Rieu.

Copyright © 2010 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pope promotes common good

Published Date: 14 February 2010

Taken from News.scotsman.com

THE visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Scotland is a challenge to the secular assumptions that appear to underpin life. Religion is marginalised to the outer periphery of the polity where dialogue of faith and culture does not exist. The teaching of the Catholic Church on such matters as the sacredness of human life from the moment of conception to natural death is a case in point.

We in Scotland tolerate the destruction of unborn life as a matter of "choice" and have recently witnessed the attempt of a parliamentarian to introduce a bill to allow voluntary euthanasia for those who believe their own life is no longer worth living.

The Pope recently told the bishops of Scotland that the "positive and inspiring vision" of the Church on human life is a positive message of hope: not a series of prohibitions and retrograde positions, but a message directed to "the fullest possible realisation of the great potential for good and for happiness that God has implanted within every one of us."

The development of a "culture of death" our society is experiencing is dangerous for all, as a coarsening of public opinion to accept and even welcome abortion and euthanasia leads inexorably to a "survival of the fittest" mentality, where brute power and strength are the points of reference to what is considered the "good" of human life.

I am sure that the Holy Father will be made welcome by the people of Scotland and will offer the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to aid us in promoting the common good for our nation in the midst of confusion and moral relativism.

Andrew Gray, Edinburgh

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pope to start UK visit in Scotland to visit the Queen

"Hello, I will be able to update this blog a bit more regularly, Deo volente, for the next couple of weeks. I thought I would start off with this bit of news, seeing as I am in Scotland myself!"-Ashley

Taken from The Mirror

The Pope will fly from Rome and touch down in Scotland on his visit to Britain later this year.
Pope Benedict XVI will arrive at Edinburgh Airport in September on the first UK visit by a pontiff since 1982.

Protocol demands that as a visiting head of state the Queen receives him ceremonially – usually at Horse Guards Parade in London.

But the Queen will be at Balmoral making it practical to receive the Pope at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh.

A source said: “Neither the Pope, who will be 83, nor the Queen, need any stress and it was thought this will be more comfortable. The Pope has a huge following in Scotland.”
The source added: “They will have lunch and then Pope Benedict will rest before Mass at Glasgow Green.”

The Pope will then fly to London on his four-day tour taking in Birmingham. In another break with tradition, he has refused a state procession due to the austere times.