Pope at Angelus: Christian Families should experience the loving presence of Jesus

Vatican City, Dec.31,2007 (vaticans.org) – Yesterday's Angelus was a special one, dedicated to the family. Pope Benedict XVI, who mentioned that this sunday was the Feast of the Holy Family, was “linked” to  Plaza de Colon in Madrid, where a celebration of the family was underway, a meeting sponsored by Spain’s Catholic bishops and Spanish Catholic associations aimed at reasserting the value of the family defined as a man, a woman, and their children, as well as parents’ responsibility in education and the need for society to support the family as an institution in which children and the elderly are welcomed. Every diocese and Church movement joined the celebration which brought together an estimated 1.5 million people in Madrid’s Plaza de Colon.Speaking to them (in Spanish) the Pope said: “Contemplating the mystery of the Son of God who cam ...Read More

Malyasian Catholic weekly permitted to use the word ‘Allah’

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Dec.30,2007 (vaticans.org) – The Catholic Weekly Herald can continue publication in 2008 using the term ‘Allah’ when referring to ‘God.’  Malaysia’s Ministry of Internal Security has decided to reverse its early position and is allowing the Herald to continue unhindered, including its Bahasa Malaysia segment, which was supposed to be eliminated.Fr Lawrence Andrew, the Herald’s editor, told AsiaNews that Sunday morning, 30 December, at 10 am, he received a letter dated 28 December from the Ministry of Internal Security renewing the paper’s permit for 2008.“This letter places no restrictions whatsoever and includes the permit for all the languages, including the Bahasa Malaysia Segment,” he said. ...Read More

Fighting for Survival

by Fr.Peter Clarke O.P.30 December 2007Feast of the Holy Family (A)Readings:Ecclesiasticus 3:2-6,12-14For the Lord honored the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard. Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother; O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your str ...Read More

Cardinal Jean Louis:New level of dialogue with muslims expected in 2008

Vatican City, Dec.29,2007 (CINS/CNS) - The Vatican official in charge of interreligious dialogue said he is confident a new level of dialogue with Muslims will take place in 2008."There is good will on both sides," said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.After 138 Muslim scholars sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders in October outlining a proposal for a new dialogue and greater understanding, the pope invited a representative group of the scholars to meet with him at the Vatican. At the same time, the pope suggested the scholars hold a working session with officials from Cardinal Tauran's office, the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies and the Pontifical Gr ...Read More

Svet Evangelia, the only Catholic Weekly in Russia ends publication

Moscow, Russia, Dec.29,2007 (CINS/Spero) - Russia’s only Catholic weekly Svet Evangelia (The Light of the Gospel) ceased publication on Christmas Day on orders of Mgr Paolo Pezzi, the new Archbishop of Moscow. In a farewell editorial its editor-in-chief Victor Khroul announced the paper closing, thanking readers for “their long lasting attention to weekly’s publications, for their prayer support, for their strong interest to Catholic Church life, for their generous mercy and inexhaustible hope.” Moreover, “[w]e would like to use this last chance to publish serious and interesting texts. That is why this Christmas issue is not so festive and joyful as it was some years before,” Mr Khroul wrote.For many Catholic and non-Catholic readers alike the decision was as sad as it was unexpected. After its last issue was released the editorial offices received via e-mail many letters ...Read More

Pope's condolences to the family of Benazir Bhutto

Vatican City, Dec.29, 2007 (CINS/AsiaNews) – Pope Benedict XVI sent a telegram of condolences following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, whose remains were laid to rest yesterday. At least 20 people have died in clashes between police and demonstrators.This heavy toll is a far cry from the Pope’s prayers. In his message the Holy Father said he was praying in the hope that “further violence will be avoided and that every effort will be made to build a climate of respect and trust, which are so necessary if good order is to be maintained in society and if the country’s political institutions are to operate effectively.”In the telegram, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Card Tarcisio Bertone, and sent to the chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, Mgr Lawrence John Saldanha, the Pope also ...Read More

Will 2008 be a busiest year for Pope Benedict XVI?

Vatican City, Dec.28,2007 (CINS/CNS) -- As Pope Benedict XVI looks at his 2008 calendar, he's no doubt recognizing that life doesn't slow down after 80.With three foreign trips, a world Synod of Bishops on the Bible, a jubilee year dedicated to St. Paul, an important dialogue with Muslims, and an encyclical and a new book in the works, 2008 is shaping up as perhaps the busiest year of his pontificate.The pope will celebrate his 81st birthday in Washington April 16, the day he's scheduled to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House and with U.S. bishops at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. There's bound to be a birthday cake somewhere along the way. ...Read More

Vatican condemns the assassination of Benazir Butto, Al Quaeda claims responsiblity for her killing

Vatican City, Dec.28, 2007 (CINS/Agencies) - Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated last night shortly after she addressed a rally in Rawalpindi. A three-day mourning period has been declared in Pakistan.Vatican Called Benazir Bhutto's assassination "terrible and tragic".Vatican spokesman Father Frederico Lombardi told that the attack on former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Butto shows how extremely difficult it is to pacify a nation so wrought by violence,he also added that the killing made the peace more distant. Bishop Anthony Lobo of Islamabad-Rawalpindi,Secretary General of Catholic Bishops Coneference of Pakistan condemned the attack as a dastrdly act and a terrible tragedy for Pakistan. ...Read More

Pope at General Audience: Martyrdom, an act of Love

Vatican City, Dec. 27, 2007 (CINS/CWN) - On December 26, Pope Benedict XVI reminded a midday audience that martyrdom is "essentially an act of love-- for God, for men, and even for one's persecutors." In his audience on the feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, the Holy Father remarked that martyrdom has been a constant in the life of the Church, from the time of St. Stephen to the present. "Even today," the Pope continued, "it is not unusual to hear reports from various parts of the world about missionaries, priests, bishops, religious, and laymen who are persecuted, imprisoned, tortured-- deprived of their liberty or prevented from exercising it-- because they are disciples of Christ and apostles of the Gospel." ...Read More

Violence against Christians in India,Church leaders to hold protest vigil

New Delhi, Dec.27, 2007 (CINS/CBCI) - As the violence against Christians by the Hindutva extremists in Orissa has seen over 30 churches and institutions destroyed, some people shot and injured in gunfire, nuns and pastors forced to flee their homes and the administration held to ransom, reportedly by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) activists, fear has engulfed the minority Christian community in Orissa.Meanwhile, Civil society and Human Rights activists, university teachers and students, Nuns, pastors, priests and Bishops will be holding a prayer vigil ending with candlelight vigil from 4 PM to 6 PM today at Orissa Bhawan, New Delhi.Former Prime Minister VP Singh, Delhi Archbishop Vincent Concessao, other Church leaders, and several other political leaders are also expected to participate. ...Read More

Tony Blair received into Catholic Church

Vatican City, Dec 27, 2007 (CINS/CNA).- After years of rumors and speculation about his religious beliefs, former British prime minister Tony Blair was officially received into the Catholic Church on Friday.  Blair was received into full communion by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, during Mass in the chapel at the Archbishop’s house in Westminster.  He had been receiving doctrinal and spiritual preparation from the cardinal’s private secretary, Monsignor Mark O’Toole.Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor commented: “I am very glad to welcome Tony Blair into the Catholic Church. For a long time he has been a regular worshipper at Mass with his family and in recent months he has been following a program of formation to prepare for his reception into full communion. ...Read More

Twelve Churches vandalised and a youth killed on Christmas eve in India

New Delhi, India, Dec.26, 2007 (CINS/CBCI) - A youth was killed, 12 temporary church structures vandalized, many Christian shops destroyed and Christmas Pandal razed in Kandhamal district, Orissa on the eve of Christmas.As the situation was deteriorating, curfew was imposed in four towns of Orissa.One Lokhanand, a known fundamentalist political activist of the area, has been warning Christians not to celebrate Christmas in any way.On Dec. 24, he led a mob of over 100 persons, many of whom were armed with guns and sharp weapons, to attack the Christmas celebrations and prayers taking place in a Pandal set up in the area.The mob shot at the people, injuring two critically. They destroyed s ...Read More

Urbi et Orbi Message

Of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI -Christmas 2007   “A holy day has dawned upon us.Come you nations and adore the Lord.Today a great light has come upon the earth.”(Day Mass of Christmas, Gospel Acclamation)Dear Brothers and Sisters!  “A holy day has dawned upon us.”  A day of great hope:  today the Saviour of mankind is born.  The birth of a child normally brings a light of hope to those who are waiting anxiously.  When Jesus was born in the stable at Bethlehem, a “great light” appeared on earth; a great hope entered the hearts of those who awaited him:  in the words of today’s Christmas liturgy, “lux magna”.  Admittedly it was not “great” in the manner of this world, because the first to see it were only Mary, Josep ...Read More

Midnight Mass - Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

 Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI Saint Peter's Basilica25 December 2007Dear Brothers and Sisters,“The time came for Mary to be delivered.  And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Lk 2:6f.).  These words touch our hearts every time we hear them.  This was the moment that the angel had foretold at Nazareth:  “you will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Lk 1:31).  This was the moment that Israel had been awaiting for centuries, through ma ...Read More

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