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Posts Tagged ‘Pope’

Pope talks of God’s ‘surprises’ in Christmas message

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 5:56 am

Pope Benedict XVI will say that God is faithful to his promises but often surprises us by how he fulfils them, in a message for for BBC radio’s “Thought for the Day” to be broadcast later Friday.


In a special event to mark Christmas Eve, Benedict recorded the message in Rome on Wednesday and his comments will go out in the slot during the corporation’s flagship Today programme at 0745 GMT.


“I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this Holy Season,” the pope says in the broadcast, excerpts of which were carried on the BBC’s website.

Handout picture from the BBC shows a picture released by The Vatican press ofiice of Pope Benedict XVI recording a message for BBC radio’s Thought for the Day programme

The pontiff is quoted as saying that Christmas recalls the time in history when the Israelites were waiting for the Messiah, whom they pictured as a great leader who would restore their freedom.


But God surprised them because it was Jesus, a child born in Bethlehem, who would become their saviour instead.


The broadcast comes three months after the 83-year-old Benedict visited Britain.


In the message, listeners will hear the pope say: “I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you again, and indeed to greet listeners everywhere as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ.”

Source: SGGP

Pope says Church ‘persecution’ comes from within

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2010 at 4:52 pm

LISBON (AFP) – A penitent Pope Benedict XVI referred to the paedophile priest scandal rocking the Catholic Church as he began a four-day trip to Portugal Tuesday, saying the Church’s “greatest persecution” came from its own “sin”.


“Today the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from outside, but from the sin inside the Church itself,” the pope told journalists aboard his plane before his arrival in Lisbon.


The 83-year-old pontiff, who met alleged victims of priestly sex abuse during a visit to Malta last month, said the Church’s forgiveness could not replace the need for justice.

Pope Benedict XVI reviews the honour guard upon his arrival at Lisbon airport. AFP photo

He said the Church had a “profound need” to “learn forgiveness and also the necessity of justice,” underlining that “forgiveness does not replace justice.”


The comments were the strongest yet on the issue from Benedict, whose five-year-old papacy has been rocked by allegations that the Vatican for years protected paedophile priests from prosecution in several European countries and in the United States.


The months-long scandal, which has seen bishops offer their resignation in Ireland and Germany, has overshadowed preparations for his four-day visit to overwhelmingly Catholic Portugal.


Wearing an ivory robe with a golden crucifix around his neck, a tired-looking Benedict walked gingerly down the gangway steps to be met by Portugal’s President Anibal Cavaco Silva and his wife Maria.


The president welcomed the pope to a “free and plural Portugal” whose people, he said, have “a calling to recognise the value of diversity”.


The centre-right president is due to decide next week whether to sign into law a bill passed by parliament which would make Portugal the sixth country to allow same-sex marriage.


Church authorities in Portugal said Benedict was likely to call on Portugal to uphold Christian values and urge solidarity across Europe’s struggling economies.


“I come as a pilgrim to Our Lady of Fatima,” the pope said in his speech on the airport tarmac.


Tens of thousands of festive Portuguese lined the leafy suburbs of Lisbon as Benedict took an eight-kilometre (five mile) ride aboard his white bullet-proof popemobile to the papal nunciature.


Pilgrims waved yellow and white Vatican flags and the red and green colours of Portugal as the pope passed by, raising his hands in acknowledgement.


“Viva o Papa,” the crowd chanted as he arrived at the nunciature and cautiously climbed down from the vehicle, before raising his arms in greeting.


Later Tuesday, Benedict is to pray in the chapel at the 16th century Jeronimos monastery in Lisbon, the burial site of the great Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama renowned for its religious carvings which have made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


He was also to pay a brief courtesy visit to the presidential Belem palace.


In the evening, the Portuguese Church expects up to 160,000 pilgrims to attend an open-air mass with Benedict in the historic Terreiro do Paco square on the banks of the Tagus.


“The pope will encourage institutions to lend a hand and show solidarity during difficult times,” said Carlos Azevedo, the auxiliary bishop of Lisbon and the visit’s chief organiser.


“Europe needs to be awoken, there is a lack of strong values. If there was greater ethical conscience, we would not have arrived at the current economic disaster.”


Tuesday evening’s mass is one of three giant gatherings scheduled for the visit, the “heart” of which, according to the Vatican, will be his stop in Fatima, the site where three shepherd children reported seeing visions of the Virgin Mary in 1917.


The pope’s visit to the sanctuary town comes exactly 10 years after his predecessor John Paul II beatified two of the children at the site, bringing them one step from sainthood.


A third open-air mass is to be held in the northern city of Oporto on Friday, shortly before the pope returns to Rome.

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Source: SGGP

Pope says he leads a ‘wounded and sinner’ church

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2010 at 3:44 am

VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI admitted to world cardinals Monday that he led a “wounded and sinner” Church, as he marked five tumultuous years in charge, most recently mired in paedophile priest scandals.


The pontiff “evoked the sins of the Church”, describing it as “wounded and sinner” to some 50 cardinals gathered for his anniversary, the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano said.

Pope Benedict XVI addreses a gathering of cardinals as he marks the fifth anniversary of his pontification at the Vatican. AFP photo

He “feels very strongly that he is not alone”, the paper reported the pontiff as saying, he “has at his sides the whole college of cardinals who are sharing with him vicissitudes and reassurance”.


Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi defended the embattled pope, telling Radio Vatican the priorities Benedict had defined after his election were being “pursued with coherence and courage” despite “tensions” and “obstacles”.


Waves of allegations sweeping the Church in Europe and the Americas had also been the backdrop to a tearful meeting between the pope and abuse victims on Sunday in Malta, one of the latest countries to be hit by sex abuse scandals.


In his third meeting with victims of child-molesting priests — the other two were during trips to Australia and the United States in 2008 — Benedict had expressed his “shame and sorrow” over the scourge.


Lawrence Grech, one of eight Maltese abuse victims who met the pope, told AFP: “He listened to us individually, and prayed and cried with us.”


Little fanfare accompanied the pope’s five-year milestone.


At a gathering of religious officials in Jerusalem, the head of the Pontifical Institute of Notre-Dame, Juan Solana, said “this year the Holy Father is attacked and his Church too”.


But while the Vatican and senior bishops have rallied around the pope, he has come under increasing pressure over allegations that the Vatican hierarchy, himself included, helped protect predator priests.


The paedophilia crisis has also shifted the focus away from other flashpoints that have marked Benedict’s papacy so far.


The pope found himself in his first full-blown crisis in September 2006 when he unleashed fury in the Muslim world with a speech in which he appeared to endorse the view of an obscure 14th-century Byzantine emperor that Islam is inherently violent.


It is with Judaism, however, that Benedict has had the most frequent brushes, notably when he lifted the excommunication of traditionalist bishop Richard Williamson, who has insisted that there were no Nazi gas chambers.


In 2008, Benedict allowed the revival of a Good Friday prayer “for the conversion of the Jews”, which had been thrown out by Vatican II in the 1960s.


Catholic-Jewish relations improved with a series of fence-mending statements and gestures by the Vatican and the pontiff, notably Benedict’s trip to Israel in May last year during which he prayed at Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall.


But in December, Jews were up in arms once again when the pope moved his World War II-era predecessor pope Pius XII a step closer to sainthood with a decree bestowing the title “venerable”.


Ill-advised remarks dealing with the paedophilia priest scandals by officials close to the German pontiff have inflicted collateral damage on relations both with Jews and with gays.


Early this month the pope’s personal preacher evoked a parallel between anti-Semitism and the drumbeat of criticism against the Church for its handling of the paedophilia crisis.


And Benedict’s right-hand man, Cardinal Tercisio Bertone, sparked worldwide condemnation by linking paedophilia and homosexuality.


Vatican watcher John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter told AFP: “In terms of business management, this pontificate goes from one crisis to the other.”

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Source: SGGP

Paris archbishop hits out at ‘smear campaign’ targeting pope

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2010 at 11:20 am

PARIS, April 4, 2010 (AFP) – The archbishop of Paris and head of the Catholic Church in France on Sunday denounced paedophile priest scandals as a smear campaign targeting the pope.


Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois told Le Parisien newspaper that shocking cases that have recently been made public of priests sexually abusing children date back several decades and that these concerned a small minority in the clergy.


“There is a smear campaign aimed at the pope,” he said.


“And yet it was Cardinal Ratzinger who, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, encouraged bishops to take action against paedophilia by systematically informing Rome of such cases.”

Pope Benedict XVI looks on during the celebration of Easter mass on April 4, 2010 at St Peter’s square at the Vatican. AFP photo

Before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spent 24 years as head of the Congregation, once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition.


The interview with Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois took up a full page of the popular newspaper and ran on Easter Sunday, a religious holiday widely celebrated in France, where Catholicism is the number one religion.


France has not seen the sort of large-scale paedophile scandals that have rocked the Irish, German and US churches, but there have been some cases such as the arrest last week of a Christian radio station director.


Father Jacques Gaimard, who worked in the northern Normandy region, was charged on Wednesday with sexual assaults on a minor in 1992 and 1993 and released on bail.


“Faced with these appalling crimes committed by some priests, we are filled with horror,” said the cardinal. “We all feel shame and regret.”


“Having said that, there is no wave of paedophile acts, but a series of revelations of acts committed over the past fifty years,” he said.


Of the 20,000 priests practicing in France, about 30 have been convicted and jailed for sexual crimes and not all of them involving paedophilia, said the cardinal.

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Source: SGGP

New criticism of pope further clouds Easter Week

In Uncategorized on April 3, 2010 at 9:06 am

VATICAN CITY, April 3, 2010 (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI faced new criticism Saturday after his preacher likened attacks on the Catholic Church over the paedophile priest furore to anti-Semitism, further marring Easter Week celebrations.


Jewish groups and those representing victims of abuse by Catholic priests denounced the remarks by the pope’s personal preacher during a Good Friday homily.

Pope Benedict XVI blesses faithful as he leads the Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) on Good Friday on April 2, 2010 at Rome’s Colosseum. AFP PHOTO

Rome’s chief rabbi joined the chorus of criticism, saying in an interview published Saturday: “It’s an inappropriate parallel and of dubious taste.”


The comparison was not made on “any day, but on Good Friday, that is the saddest day in the history of relations between Christians and Jews,” Riccardo Di Segni told the Italian daily La Stampa.


The parallel was drawn in a letter that Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher to the Papal Household, said he received from an unnamed Jewish friend.


“The stereotyping, the transfer of personal responsibility and blame to a collective blame reminds me of the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism,” he wrote, according to Cantalamessa.


Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi later told AFP the comments were from “a letter read by the preacher and not the official position of the Vatican.”


The new woes for the 82-year-old pope came as he prepared to lead an Easter vigil in St Peter’s Basilica late Saturday.


Benedict made no mention of the child abuse controversy during a traditional procession later Friday at Rome’s Colosseum re-enacting Jesus Christ’s Passion.


But the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the largest and most active of such groups in the United States, denounced the remarks, saying they insulted “both abuse victims and Jewish people.”


“The remarks are shameful, inaccurate and a complete distortion of history,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, demanding an apology from the pope himself.


The child abuse scandal has engulfed much of Europe and the United States, prompting harsh criticism of the Vatican’s handling of the scourge.


The pope himself faces allegations that, as archbishop of Munich and later as the Vatican’s chief morals enforcer, he helped to protect predator priests.


The Archbishop of Canterbury, meanwhile, told the BBC in a radio interview to be aired next week that the Irish Catholic Church had lost “all credibility” over its massive abuse scandal compounded by evidence of cover-ups by high-ranking prelates, the Times of London reported Saturday.


“An institution so deeply bound into the life of a society suddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility — that’s not just a problem for the Church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland,” said Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of more than 70 million Anglicans.


The comments risk creating tensions with the Vatican ahead of the pope’s visit to Britain in September.


Predominantly Catholic Ireland was rocked by two reports in the last year detailing child sex abuse stretching back decades and Church leaders’ complicity in covering it up.


Leading prelates have rallied around the pope in the run-up to Easter, the most joyous day in the Christian calendar.


The Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano on Friday published messages of support from around the world including a letter signed by a group of 70 leading French figures “paying homage to the pope’s will to shed light” abuse cases while expressing horror at paedophilia crimes and solidarity with the victims.


The letter, signed by writers, a philosophy professor and a Lutheran pastor among others, accused the media of unfair reporting.


The Osservatore also published messages of support for the pope from the Canadian bishops and from the Latin American Episcopal Conference, both of which attacked media coverage of the story.


But in Austria Friday, the Platform for Victims of Violence by the Church said it had received reports of 174 more cases of maltreatment and sexual abuse in Catholic institutions since creating a hotline two weeks ago.


And in New York, about 10 victims of abuse by paedophile priests demonstrated in front of Saint Patrick’s cathedral during the Good Friday service.


The pope celebrates Easter mass on Sunday, to be followed by his traditional “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) message.

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Source: SGGP

New criticism of pope further clouds Easter Week

In Uncategorized on April 3, 2010 at 9:06 am

VATICAN CITY, April 3, 2010 (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI faced new criticism Saturday after his preacher likened attacks on the Catholic Church over the paedophile priest furore to anti-Semitism, further marring Easter Week celebrations.


Jewish groups and those representing victims of abuse by Catholic priests denounced the remarks by the pope’s personal preacher during a Good Friday homily.

Pope Benedict XVI blesses faithful as he leads the Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) on Good Friday on April 2, 2010 at Rome’s Colosseum. AFP PHOTO

Rome’s chief rabbi joined the chorus of criticism, saying in an interview published Saturday: “It’s an inappropriate parallel and of dubious taste.”


The comparison was not made on “any day, but on Good Friday, that is the saddest day in the history of relations between Christians and Jews,” Riccardo Di Segni told the Italian daily La Stampa.


The parallel was drawn in a letter that Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher to the Papal Household, said he received from an unnamed Jewish friend.


“The stereotyping, the transfer of personal responsibility and blame to a collective blame reminds me of the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism,” he wrote, according to Cantalamessa.


Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi later told AFP the comments were from “a letter read by the preacher and not the official position of the Vatican.”


The new woes for the 82-year-old pope came as he prepared to lead an Easter vigil in St Peter’s Basilica late Saturday.


Benedict made no mention of the child abuse controversy during a traditional procession later Friday at Rome’s Colosseum re-enacting Jesus Christ’s Passion.


But the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the largest and most active of such groups in the United States, denounced the remarks, saying they insulted “both abuse victims and Jewish people.”


“The remarks are shameful, inaccurate and a complete distortion of history,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, demanding an apology from the pope himself.


The child abuse scandal has engulfed much of Europe and the United States, prompting harsh criticism of the Vatican’s handling of the scourge.


The pope himself faces allegations that, as archbishop of Munich and later as the Vatican’s chief morals enforcer, he helped to protect predator priests.


The Archbishop of Canterbury, meanwhile, told the BBC in a radio interview to be aired next week that the Irish Catholic Church had lost “all credibility” over its massive abuse scandal compounded by evidence of cover-ups by high-ranking prelates, the Times of London reported Saturday.


“An institution so deeply bound into the life of a society suddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility — that’s not just a problem for the Church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland,” said Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of more than 70 million Anglicans.


The comments risk creating tensions with the Vatican ahead of the pope’s visit to Britain in September.


Predominantly Catholic Ireland was rocked by two reports in the last year detailing child sex abuse stretching back decades and Church leaders’ complicity in covering it up.


Leading prelates have rallied around the pope in the run-up to Easter, the most joyous day in the Christian calendar.


The Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano on Friday published messages of support from around the world including a letter signed by a group of 70 leading French figures “paying homage to the pope’s will to shed light” abuse cases while expressing horror at paedophilia crimes and solidarity with the victims.


The letter, signed by writers, a philosophy professor and a Lutheran pastor among others, accused the media of unfair reporting.


The Osservatore also published messages of support for the pope from the Canadian bishops and from the Latin American Episcopal Conference, both of which attacked media coverage of the story.


But in Austria Friday, the Platform for Victims of Violence by the Church said it had received reports of 174 more cases of maltreatment and sexual abuse in Catholic institutions since creating a hotline two weeks ago.


And in New York, about 10 victims of abuse by paedophile priests demonstrated in front of Saint Patrick’s cathedral during the Good Friday service.


The pope celebrates Easter mass on Sunday, to be followed by his traditional “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) message.

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Source: SGGP

Pope Benedict XVI puts John Paul II on next step to sainthood

In World on December 20, 2009 at 4:37 am

VATICAN CITY, Dec 19, 2009 (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday declared his predecessor John Paul II “venerable,” moving the long-serving Polish-born pope closer to sainthood, the Vatican said.








This file picture taken on June 14, 1987 shows Pope John Paul II (R) accompanied by Polish Premier General Wojciech Jaruzelski while listening to the Polish anthem at Warsaw`s Okecie airport at the end of the Pope third visit to Poland (AFP photo)

The decree bestowing the title is the first step towards beatification and eventual sainthood for the charismatic Pole who headed the Roman Catholic Church for nearly three decades.


Pope Benedict launched the lengthy process — which can take decades if not centuries — just two months after the death in 2005 of John Paul II, whose funeral was marked by calls of “Santo Subito” (Saint Now).


The final stage for beatification is providing evidence of a miracle, usually a medical cure with no scientific explanation which is reviewed by several commissions.


In John Paul II’s case, the miracle under consideration — and subject to another papal decree — involves a French nun who was cured of Parkinson’s disease in 2005.


Vatican watchers expect Benedict to approve the beatification, which could be celebrated next year, either on the April 2 anniversary of his death or in October on the anniversary of the start of John Paul II’s papacy in 1978.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share