Pope Benedict: Address to the UN General Assembly [full text]

Mr President,Ladies and Gentlemen,As I begin my address to this Assembly, I would like first of all to express to you, Mr President, my sincere gratitude for your kind words. My thanks go also to the Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, for inviting me to visit the headquarters of this Organization and for the welcome that he has extended to me. I greet the Ambassadors and Diplomats from the Member States, and all those present. Through you, I greet the peoples who are represented here. They look to this institution to carry forward the founding inspiration to establish a "centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends" of peace and development (cf. Charter of the United Nations, article 1.2-1.4). As Pope John Paul II expressed it in 1995, the Organization should be "a moral centre where all the nations of the world feel at home and develop a shared awareness of being, as it were, a ‘family of nations’&quo ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI told, "Human rights must be established on the principles of natural law"

New York, Apr. 18, 2008 (vaticans.org) - Human rights must be established on the firm and unchanging principles of natural law, Pope Benedict XVI told world leaders in an April 18 address to the UN's General Assembly. The papal speech-- which he opened with several paragraphs in French before switching to English-- underlined the importance that Pope Benedict attaches to the recognition of natural law as the basis for human rights. Commenting on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Pontiff remarks that those rights, codified by the UN 60 years ago, "are based on the natural law inscribed on human hears and present in different cultures and civilizations." The UN speech was perhaps the most important address sche ...Read More

Cardinal Trujillo, President of Pontifical Council for the Family, passes away

Rome,Italy, Apr,20, 2008 (vaticans.org)- Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, died Saturday of complications from diabetes.  The cardinal had been in a hospital fighting different health complications for nearly four weeks before he passed away.  Cardinal Trujillo, Archbishop emeritus of Medellin, Colombia, was 72.Born on November 8, 1935 in the Colombian city of Villahermosa, he moved to the capital Bogotá when he was a young boy. After entering seminary, he studied in Rome and obtained his doctorate in philosophy from the Angelicum, taking courses in theology and sociology and also studying Marxism.  Ordained a priest on November 13, 1960, he continued his studies in Rome for another two yearsReturning to B ...Read More

Rally with Seminarians and Young People - Pope Benedict XVI

April 19, 2008 - By Pope Benedict XVIYour Eminence,Dear Brother Bishops,Dear Young Friends,"Proclaim the Lord Christ … and always have your answer ready for people who ask the reason for the hope that is within you" (1 Pet 3:15). With these words from the First Letter of Peter I greet each of you with heartfelt affection. I thank Cardinal Egan for his kind words of welcome and I also thank the representatives chosen from among you for their gestures of welcome. To Bishop Walsh, Rector of Saint Joseph Seminary, staff and seminarians, I offer my special greetings and gratitude.Young friends, I am very happy to have the opportunity to speak with you. Please pass on my warm greetings to your family members and relatives, and to the teachers and staff of the various schools, colleges and universities you attend. I know that many people have worked hard to ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI said the U.S. bishops have "rightly moved" to address the sex-abuse scandal

WASHINGTON, April, 17, 2008 (vaticans.org) -- One of the "countersigns to the Gospel of life" in the United States is the sexual abuse of minors, a situation "that causes deep shame," Pope Benedict XVI told about 300 U.S. bishops gathered April 16 in the crypt church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.He called it an "evil" and said the U.S. bishops have "rightly moved" to address it. The programs they have put in place to discipline priests and other church personnel who are abusers, to create safe environments protecting young people, to foster healing and to "bind up the wounds" caused by "such breach of trust" are bearing fruit, he said.But the pope also said the problem of sex abuse must be placed in a wider context when pornography, violence and "the crude manipulation of sexuality" are so prevalent in society ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI’s 81st Birthday

Pope Benedict will turn 81 on today, April 16. ...Read More

The eighth international voyage of Pope Benedict XVI began today

Vatican City, April 15, 2008 (vaticans.org) - Under the banner of a "hope for peace, for justice, for freedom" that cannot be realised "without obeying the law of God", the eighth international voyage of Benedict XVI began today, which will take him to the United States of America and to the headquarters of the United Nations. The airplane with the pope on board took off from the airport of Fiumicino (Rome) at noon, and will arrive in Washington at 4:00 p.m. local time (8:00 p.m. GMT).  At his arrival at the international airport of Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, Benedict XVI will be welcomed by President George W. Bush, together with the first lady.  It is an unusual gesture for American protocol, and indicates the importance that the White House attributes to the papal visit, to which the American media are also devoting significant coverage. The trip, which will continue until the 20th, includes among its most highly anticipated appointmen ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI called attention to the World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Vatican City, Apr. 14, 2008 (vaticans.org) - During his Regina Caeli address on April 13, Pope Benedict XVI called attention to the World Day of Prayer for Vocations and encouraged more prayers "for numerous and holy vocations to the priesthood, to consecrated life and the missions, and to Christian marriage." The Holy Father reminded the faithful that the Church is preparing for a special year devoted to St. Paul, who was a "missionary par excellence." The epistles of St. Paul, he remarked, remind readers that "vocation and mission are inseparable," because God calls all of his follower to spread the Word. "This missionary service is carried out in the first place by priests," the Pope continued, noting that priests are necessarily to bring the sacraments to the people. Male and female religious also play "a prime role in evangelization," he continued-- pausing to pay tribute to two religious who were killed recently w ...Read More

Pope and US President spoke about a wide range of issues

Washington, Apr. 16, 2008 (vaticans.org) - In a private conversation at the White House on April 16, Pope Benedict XVI and US President George W. Bush spoke about a wide range of issues including terrorism, the dignity of human life, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, immigration, and development in Africa. The Holy Father met with Bush in the Oval Office after a public reception attended by over 10,000 people on the White House lawn earlier on Tuesday morning. [See the separate CWN headline story.] In a joint statement released after the private session, the Vatican and the White House reported that President Bush had renewed his birthday greetings to the Pontiff, thanking him for his visit. The President made a special point of thanking the Pope for scheduling a visit to pray at the "Ground Zero" site in New York--- an event that is on the papal calendar for Sunday, April 20. The joint statement listed a number of topics on which the Vatican an ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI was "deeply ashamed" of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests

Vatican City, Apr. 15, 2008 (vaticans.org) - During an exchange with reporters who accompanied him on an April 15 flight from Rome to Washington, Pope Benedict XVI said that he was "deeply ashamed" of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests. The Holy Father told reporters that he would "do everything possible to heal this wound." Specifically, he said that it was important to exclude pedophiles from the priesthood. The Pope's reaction to the sex-abuse scandal is a leading concern among reporters covering the papal visit to the United States. As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, prior to his election as Pope, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was responsible for disciplinary action imposed on pedophile priests. Close associates report that the future Pontiff was appalled by the information he received from the US about priestly misconduct. Vatican officials have indicated that the Pope will address some remarks t ...Read More

The agenda of the papal voyage to the United States

Vatican City, April 5, 2008 (vaticans.org)– When, in mid-April, Benedict XVI lands at the military airport of Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, the United States will take the lead in the list of the countries most visited by the popes, tieing Poland for the number of visits, with nine, and Turkey for the number of popes who have visited, with three, following his predecessors Paul Vi and John Paul II. The latter, a ceaseless traveler, made the rounds all over the United States. During his first visit, in 1979, he visited seven cities in six days, delivering 63 speeches. The more sedate Joseph Ratzinger, who also make a visit of seven days, will instead stop in only two places: Washington – where he will meet George W. Bush at the White House on April 16 – and New York. He will deliver just 11 speeches. But the mere announcement of at least two of these are already causing jitters, after the current pope showed the world in Regensburg to what daredevil extremes he is wi ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI's reflections should help Americans make a "deeper moral judgment"

VATICAN CITY, April 09,2008 (vaticans.org) -- Pope Benedict XVI will not bring political directives during his U.S. trip, but his reflections should help Americans make a "deeper moral judgment" during this year's election campaign, a leading U.S. cardinal said.Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, one of two U.S. cardinals who will accompany the pope from Rome to the United States in mid-April, said he thinks Americans will listen closely to what the pope has to say."The pope is coming at a particularly sensitive time, with the presidential election scheduled for November," Cardinal Stafford told CNS in an interview April 8 in his Vatican office.The cardinal said he does not expect the pope to address partisan political issues, but to "heighten people's awareness" about what is right and what is wrong."That is what a religious leader is about, to re ...Read More

Syria and Jordan called on US to share refugee burden

WASHINGTON, April 09, 2008 (vaticans.org) -- The ambassadors of Syria and Jordan called on the United States to share the burden of the unprecedented Iraqi refugee crisis."The situation is terrible and the burden" on Syria's resources and population is horrendous, said Imad Moustapha, Syrian ambassador to the U.S. The "United States is categorically refusing to help" solve the refugee crisis, "the largest exodus in the Middle East," he said.Moustapha was a participant on one of several panels at an April 4 forum, "The Iraqi Refugee Crisis: Law, Policy and Practice," in Washington. The forum, sponsored by Villanova University School of Law in Pennsylvania, gathered advocates, aid workers and lawyers involved with Iraqi refugees.Moustapha stressed the economic and security problems that 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria have caused the already strained government, which subsidizes so ...Read More

Pope will pray for world peace at ground zero

VATICAN CITY, April 11, 2008, (vaticans.org)-- In addition to praying at ground zero in New York for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and for their families, Pope Benedict XVI will pray for peace and understanding in the world.On April 10 the Vatican posted on its Web site the missal Pope Benedict will use during his April 15-20 visit to Washington and New York; the missal includes the prayer he will recite at ground zero April 20.Describing the site as "the scene of incredible violence and pain," the prayer asks God to grant eternal light and peace to all who died there when terrorists flew two planes into the World Trade Center. It also recalls those who died the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa.According to the missal, the pope will pray: "God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the eart ...Read More

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's preview of Pope's US trip

Vatican City, Apr. 10, 2008 (vaticans.org) - Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone , the Vatican Secretary of State, has offered a preview of next week's trip by Pope Benedict XVI to the US, in a pair of interviews with American news outlets. Speaking to an Associated Press reporter, Cardinal Bertone said that the Holy Father will address the effects of the sex-abuse scandal when he speaks to the clergy in New York. The Pontiff "will try to open the path of healing and reconciliation," the cardinal said. He added that the Pope is keenly aware of the suffering endured by victims of priestly abuse, and the damage done to the Church as a whole, "because it was a contradiction with the great educational mission of the Church." In a separate interview with the Fox News network-- which was taped for a future telecast-- the Secretary of State added the observation that the sex-abuse scandal has left an "open wound." Some American observers have questi ...Read More

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