The Pope's condolences for the death of Fr Jesus Reynaldo Roda

Manila, Philippines, Jan.20,2008 ( - Pope Benedict XVI on Friday expressed "great sadness" over the death of Fr Jesus Reynaldo Roda of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), and asked his killers to "renounce the ways of violence and to play their part in building a just and peaceful society where all can live together in harmony". Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone sent the pope's message to the bishop of Jolo, Angelito Lampon, and to his fellow OMI religious.Fr Roda was killed by a group of at least ten persons, when he resisted a kidnapping attempt on the evening of January 15 in the chapel of the Notre Dame school in Tabawan (Tawi-Tawi). The kidnappers fled, taking with them a Muslim teacher, Omar Taub.Cardinal ...Read More

To the Church of God

by Fr.Brendan Slevin O.P.20 January 2008Second Sunday of the Year (A)Readings:Isaiah 49:3,5-6And he said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified." And now the LORD says, who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength-- he says: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Is ...Read More

Pope at Angelus: Pray for Christian Unity

Vatican City, Jan.20, 2008 ( - Tens of thousands of young people and adults - more than 200,000, if the television linkups with other cities are counted - streamed into Saint Peter's Square from all over Italy to express their solidarity with Benedict XVI. It was a response to the invitation from Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar of Rome, after the violent controversy that had arisen at the La Sapienza university, leading the Holy See to decline the invitation for the pontiff to give the opening address for the university's academic year. Without any stridency, the pontiff exhorted all to work in a climate of "fraternity" and to "seek truth and freedom, in a shared commitment to a fraternal and tolerant society".When Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study for the recitation of the Angelus, an ovation ca ...Read More

Pope at Angelus: Christ gives true and full life

Vatican City, Jan.13, 2008 (  - At the last Angelus of the Christmas liturgical season, the pope recalled the mystery of today's feast, that of the baptism of Jesus, "his first public manifestation, after about thirty years of hidden life in Nazareth". The profound meaning of this act, the pope said, "would emerge only at the end of Christ's earthly life, in his death and resurrection".Before thousands of pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square under a driving rain, the pope explained: "In being baptised by John together with sinners, Jesus began to take upon himself the weight of the sins of all humanity, as the Lamb of God who 'takes away' the sin of the world (cf. John 1:29). He brought this work to fulfilment on the cross, when he also received his 'baptism' (cf. Luke 12:50). By dying, in fact, he ...Read More

Baptism, interweaving of the mystery of human life and the mystery of divine life

Vatican City, Jan.13, 2008 ( - In the sumptuous surroundings of the Sistine Chapel, Benedict XVI today baptised 13 children, giving them "the mystery of divine life . . . the rebirth of water and of the Holy Spirit". The 13 little ones are all children of Vatican employees, and were accompanied by their parents, godparents, and relatives: thanks to them, the Sistine Chapel, the place where the papal election takes place, was transformed into a humble domestic church, a little parish.In the homily, the pope recalled that baptism is an interweaving of the mystery "of human life" and "the mystery of divine life". Physical death and sin threaten this life. "Everything that has its beginning on the earth comes to an end sooner or later . . . While in the other creatures, which are not called to eter ...Read More

The Sudden Appearance of God in our World

by Fr.Columba Ryan O.P.13 January 2008Baptism of the Lord (A)Readings:Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. "I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light ...Read More

The Growth of Relativism: Pope Benedict XVI sounded the alarm about an "educational emergency"

Vatican City, Jan. 11, 2008 ( - Pope Benedict XVI sounded the alarm about an "educational emergency" during a January 10 meeting with political leaders from Rome and he surrounding Lazio district. The "emergency" to which the Holy Father referred was the growth of relativism. Young people, he said, find it difficult to develop "firm certainties and criteria upon which to build their lives." This failure of moral guidance, the Pope said, threatens "the very basis of coexistence and the future of society." In restoring a sense of moral order upon which young people can build their lives, the Pontiff said, "It is clear that respect and support for the family based on marriage have primary importance." The "unrelenting and threatening" attacks on family life, he said, are undermining the most basic unit of healthy social life, and public officials must respond ...Read More

Card Telesphore Toppo, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India - condemns attacks on Christians

India, Jan.11, 2008 ( – A “man-made tsunami” seems to have swept over the Christian community of the north-eastern Indian state of Orissa, said the chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Card Telesphore Toppo, after he visited Bubhaneshwar, an area touched by a wave of anti-Christian violence led by the Hindu fundamentalist group Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP). Over Christmas holidays, more precisely from 24 to 27 December, Hindu extremists attacked properties owned by Christians, Dalits and Tribals. After their rampage they left on their trail six people dead. They attacked, destroyed or set on fire 70 churches and other religious facilities. Some 600 homes suffered damages or were destroyed. Altogether about 5,000 people were negatively impacted.Card Telesphore Toppo, who was a guest of Archbishop Raphael Cheenath from 2 to 4 January, was prevented from visiting victims in their h ...Read More

The Pope is at one with Iraqi Christians touched by attacks in Baghdad

Vatican City, Jan. 10, 2008 ( – The Pope is at one with Iraqi Christians touched by attacks in Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk, which for him are attacks against the whole people of Iraq. He therefore calls upon those who perpetrated such acts of violence to stop and forsake them.In a telegram signed by the Vatican Secretary of State, Card Tarcisio Bertone, that was sent to the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Card Emmanuel III Delly, the Holy Father said that he was urging “all those in authority to renew efforts towards peaceful negotiation aimed at a just resolution of the country's difficulties, respectful of the rights of all.”“Deeply concerned to learn of the attacks on Christian targets in Baghdad, Mosul, and Kirkuk which took ...Read More

Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki promises to protect Christians

Baghdad, Iraq, Dec.09, 2008 ( - Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki has promised his governments commitment to protect Iraq’s Christians following coordinated attacks on convents and churches on January 6th. Yesterday he met with Apostolic Nuncio, Msgr. Francis Assisi Chullikatt, and condemned th e Epiphany attacks in Mosul and Baghdad guaranteeing those responsible will be found and punished.A statement released from al-Maliki’s office underlines that the Iraqi governments desire to promote “strong and friendly links with the nation’s Christian groups” and insisting that “peaceful coexistence is possible”. The premier told the Holy See representative that “Christians and Muslims are united in the face of terrorists and outlaws” and that violence in the nation “targets all religious groups”. Al-Maliki had already promised greater ...Read More

Cardinal Jose Saraiva: Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman "imminent"

Vatican City, Dec.09,2008 ( - Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Cause of the Saints, has announced that the beatification of the great British convert and scholar, Cardinal John Henry Newman, is "imminent."In an interview to be published on Wednesday in the daily Italian edition of L'Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Saraiva said that among the most important personalities to be beatified "soon" is "the case of Cardinal Newman, a relevant intellectual, and an emblematic figure of conversion from Anglicanism to Catholicism.""Personally, I wish his beatification to happen very soon because it would be very important at this moment for the path of ecumenical dialogue,” Cardinal Martins said. ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI: Saint Augustine of Hippo was a bit like today's young people

Vatican City, Dec.09,2008 ( - Saint Augustine, a figure of "singular relevance" in the history of the Church and of Christian literature, and not only in these, was a bit like the young people of today - he had "extremely robust intelligence, but was not always a model student"'; he had widely varied experiences; he sought, at first, moral rules that were not too burdensome; he was anxious to know the Truth. Benedict XVI today illustrated the figure of the saint of Hippo to the six thousand persons present for the general audience in the Paul VI hall, and announced that he will dedicate his upcoming catecheses to this most prolific of the Fathers of the Church. The pope today said of Augustine - who was an object of special study for him as a theologian, and the subject of his thesis - that "all the road ...Read More

Dialogue between Christians and Muslims

Beirut, Lebanon, Dec.09, 2008 ( - The masterful lecture by the pope in Regensburg, so widely criticised by much of the Muslim (and also Western) world, is producing positive results in the very domain of dialogue with the Muslim world. Following the address in Regensburg (September 12, 2006), 38 Muslim scholars sent an initial letter in response (October 13, 2006), and a year later a second letter (signed by 138 scholars, whose number has since grown to 216) in an effort to find common ground of collaboration between Christians and Muslims.In his turn, last November 19 Benedict XVI responded to the letter of the 138, opening the way to possible collaboration in various areas. A few weeks ago (December 12, 2007), in a letter to Cardinal Bertone, Jordanian prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal agreed to lay the groundwork for collaboration: between February and ...Read More

German company's gift of solar system for Vatican

Vatican City, Dec.08, 2008 ( - Paul VI HallA German solar company has given Pope Benedict XVI an electricity-generating solar rooftop for the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall.Bonn-based SolarWorld is donating approximately 2,000 solar modules to be installed on the audience hall roof to provide what it claims will be “the very first solar power ever generated in the Vatican”.The solar system will produce some 315,500 kilowatt-hours of power a year, offsetting some 315 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, it said.Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases that trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and is seen as a major cause of global warming.The company said it had read repo ...Read More

Young Priest Sacrifices his life to save a boy

New Caledonia, New Zeland, Dec.06, 2008 ( - A Kiwi priest has died a hero after sacrificing his life for a 7-year-old boy drowning off the coast of New Caledonia.Jeremy Gray, 29, was walking in shallow water with the boy while on a New Year's church picnic celebration, when the pair fell into a hole in a coastal reef at Yate, near Noumea.Neither of them saw the hole because the water was muddied by the recent rainy season floods. They were trapped by the swirling seas.Gray managed to push the boy out of the deep water and back into the shallows and, despite being tired from his efforts, refused to take the youngster's outstretched hand."Jeremy shouted 'go back, go back'. He knew he would pull the small boy back into the water and they would both die," said Father Bernard Girol, one of those at the picnic."He used all his energy ...Read More

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