Joseph Li Shan, Archbishop of Beijing, held a meeting for Olympic preparations

Beijing – His Excellency Joseph Li Shan, Archbishop of Beijing, held a meeting on June 12 for the Archdiocesan preparations for the Olympics, which will begin this August 8, in Beijing. Archbishop Li asked all parish priests, religious sisters, and laity to work together in offering improved pastoral and evangelization initiatives to the Chinese and foreign visitors: “every parish should offer its most competent lay members in receiving the visitors and meeting their needs, whether they be Catholic or non-Catholic, who wish to visit the church or participate in a religious service.” The Archbishop also appointed Father Matthew Zhen, Diocesan Chancellor, as the head of the Welcome Office for foreign visitors. The Archdiocese has already planned for 16 priests, along with other religious and laity to serve at the Olympic Village. In addition to the prayers of all Catholics, the Archdiocese will be offering the celebration of the Mass in English, French, and Italian for all guests. The ...Read More

Masochism or self-mutilation, has marked the life of the Church for two millennia

Vatican City - Masochism or self-mutilation, has marked the life of the Church for two millennia. The first was Judas, who thought it might be a good idea to make the person and the message of Jesus Christ more acceptable to worldly powers. Perhaps he did not have the time to come to know and to accept the mystery of God made man for mankind.Something similar happened following the Second Vatican Council, and after two thousand years of reflection on Jesus Christ and investigation: Karl Rahner especially took a “turning”, - which proved to be a pause and a transformation - distancing himself from earlier epochs, convinced as he was that up to then theological reflection had overlooked, or worse, forgotten the reality of man.In what did that "turning" consist ?To be brief: the origin of human discussion about God and divine revelation was not God Himself, instead it was man's questions about himself. Consequently, theology must always speak of man and hi ...Read More

Pope: Even in the third millennium Christians must pray

Vatican City Jun.19, 2008 – Even today at the start of the third millennium Christians must pray, but they must also act together for the good of their fellow human beings. Prayer is indispensable but not if it disconnected from charity-inspired action in the service of others. Benedict XVI devoted his thoughts in today’s general audience to Saint Isidore of Seville, a Father of the Church who lived between the 6th and 7th centuries, who even today teaches us about the need for the right mediation between the desire to lead a contemplative life and the duty to devote oneself to the service of others.To the more than 20,000 people present in St Peter’s Square, the Pope focused on Isidore’s thoughts. “Considered the last Christian Father of Antiquity,” he believed that in imitating Christ, who had an active life and at the same time withdrew to the “mountain” to pray, Christians can “devote themselves to contemplation without ...Read More

Vatican prepares guidelines for Interreligious dialogue

Vatican City, June 17, 2008 – The plenary meeting that the pontifical council for interreligious dialogue held at the Vatican last week was the first of this pontificate, and took place with a new president – Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran – and with experts who were also newcomers to a great extent. And the aim of the plenary session was itself new: to develop new guidelines for the bishops, priests, and faithful in relating to other religions. This objective, Cardinal Tauran said, was decided "after many years of hesitation over its appropriateness." On Saturday, June 9, at the end of the three-day meeting, Benedict XVI received the participants in the Sala del Concistoro. He encouraged the publication of the guidelines because, he said, "the great proliferation of interreligious meetings in today's world requires discernment." This last word is used in ecclesiastical language to urge critical analysis and the choices that stem from it. ...Read More

WYD:14 Australians confirmed by Pope Benedict

FOURTEEN Australians will join a select group confirmed by Pope Benedict during the Catholic leader's visit to Sydney for World Youth Day (WYD)The Pope will anoint each confirmation candidate with holy oil during the final mass on July 20 of the six-day WYD event, expected to be attended by some 500,000 people. The candidates will also receive holy communion from Pope Benedict . The 14 people, drawn from all Australia's states and territories, will be aged between 16 and 43. Ten international visitors will join them to "receive the sacrament that marks the completion of baptismal grace", organisers say. "It's not every day that one is confirmed by the global leader of the Catholic Church before hundreds of thousands of people," WYD coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher said in a statement released today. "The sacrament is life-changing and to receive the sacrament in this way will prove an unforge ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI praised the work of the Catholic Church in southern Italy

SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA, Italy — Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday praised the work of the Roman Catholic Church in southern Italy as he began a two-day visit to the impoverished Apulia region.Tradition holds that it was here that Saint Peter, the disciple of Jesus considered the founder of the Christian Church, arrived from Palestine and headed to Rome to begin the evangelisation of Europe."This promontory between Europe and the Mediterranean, between West and East, reminds us that the Church has no borders, that it is universal," said the 81-year-old pontiff.Benedict also hailed the "generosity" of the port city of Brindisi that for years took in thousands of refugees from the former Yugoslavia and Albania.The German-born pope celebrated an open-air mass attended by several thousand people under a hot sun at a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary overlooking the sea in this town at the tip of the heel of Italy's "boot."&q ...Read More

Tim Russert's special moment with the Holy Father Benedict XVI

It was back in April when Pope Benedict XVI came to Washington. The Rev. David O'Connell, the president of The Catholic University of America, was hosting the pope for a large meeting with bishops.Before that meeting, the Vatican said O'Connell could invite 10 guests to a small session with Benedict . Tim Russert and I were the only journalists on that special guest list. We were both thrilled, but Tim, a devout Catholic with deep roots in the Church, was very excited.While we were waiting for the pope to arrive, he was like a little boy. He had his rosaries in his hand, ready for the pope to bless them. This was not the Tim Russert whom we all saw and admired as he grilled presidents, prime ministers, kings and mere politicians. When the pope finally approached him, he could barely utter a word. This was a special moment, and he knew it. For those of us who knew him for a long time, we certainly could appreciate what he was enjoying. His roots in Buffalo, New Yo ...Read More

Stem-cell research not a conflict between science and religion - U.S. bishops

ORLANDO, June 13, 2008 ( -- Declaring that stem-cell research does not present a conflict between science and religion, the U.S. bishops overwhelmingly approved a statement June 13 calling the use of human embryos in such research "gravely immoral" and unnecessary.In the last vote of the public session of their Jan. 12-14 spring general assembly in Orlando, the bishops voted 191-1 in favor of the document titled "On Embryonic Stem-Cell Research: A Statement of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.""It now seems undeniable that once we cross the fundamental moral line that prevents us from treating any fellow human being as a mere object of research, there is no stopping point," the document said. "The only moral stance that affirms the human dignity of all of us is to reject the first step down this path."Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., introduce ...Read More

U.S. Bishops conference: child sexual abuse by priests

ORLANDO, June 13, 2008 ( -- Opening their spring general meeting in Orlando, members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops got an interim report on the causes and context of child sexual abuse by priests and made quick work of proposals to revisit the ethical guidelines on feeding tubes and to declare a National Catholic Charities Sunday in 2010.In the first morning session of the June 12-14 assembly at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, the bishops also took a preliminary look at two documents they will vote on later in the meeting. The first was a 700-page draft translation of the proper prayers in the Roman Missal for each Sunday and feast day during the liturgical year.The other was a seven-page policy statement from the Committee on Pro-Life Activities that calls embryonic stem-cell research "a gravely immoral act" that crosses a "fundamental moral line" by treating human beings as mere obje ...Read More

Russert kept a promise to God to never miss Sunday Mass

WASHINGTON ( -- NBC News Washington bureau chief and "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert, who died June 13 at the age of 58, was remembered for his warm lifelong ties to the Catholic Church and his support for Catholic education as well as for his career covering politics.Russert collapsed of an apparent heart attack at work.An active Catholic who apparently kept a promise to God to never miss Sunday Mass if his son was born healthy, Russert spoke often and fondly of his Catholic school education and of the role of the church in his life."Americans valued his tremendous command of the political electoral process and his commitment to discovering each aspect of the story that contributed to people having a better awareness of the issues of public life and candidates for political office," said Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. bishops' communication ...Read More

Voters in Ireland have rejected the Lisbon Treaty

Dublin, Jun. 13, 2008 ( - Voters in Ireland have rejected the Lisbon Treaty, casting into doubt the drive for approval of a new and stronger constitution for the European Union. Despite endorsement by all the country's major political parties, the Lisbon Treaty received the endorsement of only 46.6% of the Irish voters participating in a June 12 referendum; 53.4% of the votes were cast against the treaty. The Lisbon Treaty offered an amended version of the proposed European Union constitution that had been turned down by voters in France and the Netherlands in 2005. Among the 27 member-states of the European Union, only Ireland required a popular vote to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. In every other country, a parliamentary vote was sufficient for ratification, and 18 countries had already taken that step. However, the terms of the Lisbon Treaty required unanimous ratification by all of the European Union nations. Prior to the vote in Ireland, French Pri ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI hosted US President George W. Bush at the Vatican

Vatican City, Jun. 13, 2008 ( - Pope Benedict XVI  hosted US President George W. Bush at the Vatican on June 13 for an extraordinarily cordial private talk. The warmth of the Holy Father's reception for the American leader, and the enthusiasm that Bush showed during the meeting, prompted several Italian journalists to question whether the American president might be considering a personal commitment to the Catholic faith. Breaking with the usual Vatican protocol, the Pope met President Bush in the Tower of St. John, rather than in the apostolic palace. After their private conversation, the two men walked together through the Vatican gardens, visiting the Lourdes grotto there. The Vatican announced that the unusual reception was arranged "to respond to the cordiality of the welcome received by the Supreme Pontiff during his recent visit to the United States of America." In April the Pope had been clearly surprised and delighted by the warmt ...Read More

Let us pray for the missions - Msgr Pietro Parolin(shrine of La Vang)

Hue, June 12, 2008 ( - "Let us pray for the missions": this is the call issued from the shrine of La Vang by Msgr Pietro Parolin, Vatican undersecretary for relations with states, who arrived yesterday at the national Marian shrine in Vietnam.  Speaking to the correspondent for AsiaNews, the prelate spoke of the Church's desire and commitment to work to improve the situation of those who are in need in the country.  "In order to help the people and make our contribution to the progress of Vietnam", he added, "we need to know the reality of the country.  This is a task in which the role of the laity is particularly important, who are able to meet the real needs of the people".  He then emphasised how "the laity in the parish communities are able to work in the sectors of education, health care, and social services for the poor". The Vatican delegation arrived in the diocese of Hue on the fourth day of its visit to V ...Read More

Baltimore archbishop restricts the work of Legionaries of Christ

Baltimore, Jun. 11, 2008 ( - An American archbishop has placed restrictions on the work of the Legionaries of Christ in his archdiocese. Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore, Maryland, has sent a "letter of understanding" to Father Alvaro Corcuera, the superior general of the Legionaries of Christ, setting forth the conditions under which he will allow the group to be active in the Baltimore archdiocese. The archbishop's letter, written after a meeting with leaders of the Legionaries, is posted on the website of the Baltimore archdiocese. "Knowing that your willingess to accept the discernment of ecclesiastical authority is but a further proof of the authenticity of the charisms of the Legionaries and Regnum Christi, as pastor of the local Church in Baltimore I need the following from you," Archbishop O'Brien wrote, adding a list of stipulations. The archbishop asked Father Corcuera to designate a priest as liaison between the L ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI's weekly public audience on June 11 about St. Columbanus

Vatican City, Jun. 11, 2008 ( - Pope Benedict XVI spoke of St. Columbanus, the 6th-century Irish monk, at his regular weekly public audience on June 11. After his education and spiritual formation in an Irish monastery, Columbanus and a group of 12 companions became missionaries on the European continent, the Pope recalled. They spread the faith "where the migration of peoples from the north and the east had caused entire Christian regions to lapse back into paganism." This first "re-evangelization" of Europe succeeded, the Pope said, because of the powerful witness of sanctity in the missionaries' own lives. Soon Columbanus and his monks had to found a new monastery to accommodate the young men seeking to enter their community. Then a third monastery was started and the movement began to take root. St. Columbanus wrote Regula Monachorum, which, Pope Benedict remarked, is "the only ancient Irish monastic rule we posse ...Read More

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