The face of "L'Osservatore Romano" has been Changed

Vatican City, November 30, 2007 (CINS /Chiesa) – To the cardinals gathered behind closed doors for their consistory with the pope, on Friday, November 23, Vatican secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone recommended one thing above all: that they read "L'Osservatore Romano." And he did the same thing with his fellow diners at a celebratory dinner for one of the new cardinals, the evening of Sunday, November 25. For one month, "L'Osservatore Romano" has had a new director, professor Giovanni Maria Vian, 55, a specialist in ancient Christian literature and in Church history. And for one month, the publisher of this same newspaper has shown a keen interest in its recovery. The main publisher is the pope. On Thursday, November 8, in a rare gesture for him, Benedict XVI invited to lunch Vian and his vice-director Carlo Di Cicco, also freshly appointed, sharing a drop of port with them at dessert, another sign of trust. But after the main st ...Read More

Firm hope is necessary for facing difficulties

VATICAN CITY, Dec.01, 2007 (CINS /VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, Cardinal s Georges Marie Martin Cottier O.P., pro-theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household, and Albert Vanhoye S.J., professor emeritus of New Testament exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, presented the Encyclical of Benedict XVI, "Spe salvi," on the theme of Christian hope. In his talk, Cardinal Cottier explained how "Christian hope has been subject to ever-harsher criticisms" to the effect that "it is pure individualism: by abandoning the world to its misery, Christians allegedly take refuge in an eternal salvation which is exclusive and private." "A question remains," said the cardinal, "a question that cannot be eluded: how did the idea arise that, with Christianity, the quest for salvation became a selfish quest that refuses service to others?" New problems "have a vital impact on the modern crisis of Ch ...Read More

Protests against teacher Gillian Gibbons : Muhammed teddy bear Issue

Khartoum, Dec.1, 2007 (CINS /CNA)- "Shame, shame on the U.K.," thousands of armed Sudanese protestors shouted, as they spilled out of their mosques after their Friday services to rail against Gillian Gibbons, a teacher from Britian that they claim insulted Muhammad. The Associate Press reports that the disgruntled demonstrators gathered in central Martyrs Square outside the presidential palace, where hundreds of riot police were deployed. Efforts were not made to stop the rally, which lasted about an hour, even though the government promised on Thursday that they would prevent the promised protests.Shouts calling for Gibbons' execution, could be heard from the crowd: "No tolerance: Execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad." One Muslim cleric from the Martyrs Mosque denounced Gibbons during his sermon, saying she intentionally insulted Islam. He did not call for protests, however.&q ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI's second Encyclical : "SPE SALVI"-"In hope we were saved"

 VATICAN CITY, Dec.01, 2007 (CINS /VIS) - Benedict XVI's second Encyclical, "Spe Salvi" which is dedicated to the theme of Christian hope, was published today. The document - which has an introduction and eight chapters - begins with a quote from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans: "spe salvi facti sumus" (in hope we are saved). The chapter titles are as follows: "1. Faith is Hope; 2. The concept of faith-based hope in the New Testament and the early Church; 3. Eternal life - what is it?; 4. Is Christian hope individualistic?; 5. The transformation of Christian faith-hope in the modern age; 6. The true shape of Christian hope; 7. 'Settings' for learning and practicing hope: i) Prayer as a school of hope, ii) Action and suffering as settings for learning hope, iii) Judgement as a setting for learning and practicing hope; 8. Mary, Star of Hope." The Holy Father explains in his Introd ...Read More

Letter from the 138 Muslims to Pope

Vatican City, Nov.28, 2007 (CINS /Chiesa) - The letter from the 138 Muslims addressed last month to Benedict XVI and to the heads of the other Christian churches received a spectacular collective reply in a message signed by 300 scholars and published in "The New York Times" on November 18. The message originated in the Divinity School of Yale University, specifically through the initiative of its dean, Harold W. Attridge, a professor of New Testament exegesis. The signatories belong mainly to the Protestant confessions, of both "evangelical" and "liberal" strains, and include such a celebrity as the theologian Harvey Cox. But the list of the 300 also includes a Catholic bishop, Camillo Ballin, the apostolic vicar in Kuwait. Other Cathol ...Read More

New seminarians 'prayerful and eager to learn' - Rev.Fr. John Folda, seminary rector

Seward, Nov.28, 2007 (CINS /CNS) – The 23 newcomers attending St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward this fall are "full of questions, obviously prayerful and eager to learn," said Father John Folda, seminary rector."They're going to be a great group of seminarians, I have no doubt," he added. Among them are 19 young men who are in priestly formation for the Diocese of Lincoln. The other four new men are studying for the priesthood for either the Diocese of Rockford, Ill., or the Diocese of Madison, Wis. One student studying for Lincoln is from the Canadian province of Manitoba. Father Folda said it is the largest group to enter St. Gregory the Great all at once, but everything has gone smoothly in terms of course scheduling, housing, books and all the other particulars. The first-year class of seminarians is on ...Read More

"Sale of relics is sacrilegious" - Msgr. Marco Frisina, Diocese of Rome

Vatican City, Nov.28, 2007 (CINS /CNS) – The Diocese of Rome has underlined that the sale of relics is sacrilegious, following media reports that bits of garments worn by Pope John Paul II were being sold online.The Rome diocesan office charged with promoting Pope John Paul's sainthood cause has been distributing prayer cards and relics, tiny pieces of one of the white cassocks worn by the late pope. The cards and relics are offered free of charge to those requesting them, but the office has sometimes encouraged donations for postage. More recently, its Web site ran a more general invitation to make a "free-will offering for the cause." That apparently caused enough confusion to spur press reports of the sale of relics. In late September, the diocesan Web site posted interviews with church officials empha ...Read More

Faith Satellite Radio (FSR) receivers currently distributed to Catholic Parishes in Africa

Africa, Nov.28, 2007 (CINS / CISA) - A project launched early this year to supply African Catholic parishes with easy access to quality radio programs and multimedia content from across the world is underway.The first shipping of Faith Satellite Radio (FSR) receivers is currently being distributed to dioceses in the continent. The project is co-sponsored by FSR and the World Catholic Association for Communication, SIGNIS. ...Read More

"Pray for Us. Pray for Iraq" - Cardinal Delly

Vatican City, Nov 28, 2007 (CINS /CNA).- At a Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica on Saturday elevating twenty-three clerics to the cardinalate, Pope Benedict XVI created the first Iraqi cardinal, VOA News reports. The Pope expressed special concern for all Iraqis in his sermon. He said that by calling the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church Emmanuel Delly to the College of Cardinal s he wanted to express his spiritual closeness and affection for the Iraqi people. He called for the Church to reaffirm her solidarity with Iraqi Christians and asked God to bring peace and reconciliation to all Iraqis. After the Mass, Cardinal Delly told well-wishers in Saint Peter's Square that it was a very happy day for him and "for all people, especially for Iraq." He repeated the Pope's call for prayer, saying "pray for us, pray for Iraq and for [the] population of Iraq." ...Read More

Giovanni Maria Vian as the new director of Vatican newspaper - L’Osservatore Romano

Vatican City, Nov 27, 2007  (CINS /CNA) - The recent naming of Catholic intellectual Giovanni Maria Vian as the new director of L’Osservatore Romano, means the opening of a new era for the Vatican publication, which will include its complete publication online. L’Osservatore Romano was founded in 1861 at the request of Pope Pius IX in order to give a public voice to the Vatican, just months after the Pontifical states were lost in the wake of Italian unification.The Vatican daily, which is currently published daily in Italian, has a limited circulation of around 3,000, with only about 1,000 actually sold. The actual impact of the paper is much larger though because it reflects the position of the Vatican on critical issues. Although the Vatican daily will never be profitable, as it rarely prints ads, Vian has proposed not only creating greater i ...Read More

Sizing up Catholic schools: a partnership between religious, laity

Vatican City, Nov.27, 2007 (CINS /CNS) - A transformation has occurred in Catholic schools over the last 50 years, and the Vatican took its measure at a recent press conference. The occasion was the Nov. 20 release of a document, "Educating Together in Catholic Schools: A Shared Mission Between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful," prepared by the Congregation for Catholic Education. The congregation said lay teachers now make up the overwhelming majority -- at least 80 percent, according to one official -- of the 3.5 million teachers working in the church's 250,000 schools around the world. That represents a dramatic shift, reflecting the declining numbers of men and women religious. In the United States, the percentage of lay teachers went from 14 percent in 1950 to more than 95 percent this year. Similar figures were cited for pl ...Read More

Cardinal DiNardo: Annapolis summit, an opportunity that can't be missed

Vatican City, Nov 26, 2007 (CINS /CNA)- The recently created Cardinal Daniel N.DiNardo has said in an interview that both the Israelis and the Palestinians need to treat tomorrow's Annapolis peace summit as an “opportunity that cannot be missed”. In an interview to be published in tomorrow's daily edition of L'Osservatore Romano, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, who was made a cardinal this past Saturday, said that the Church in the US is responding to the Pope’s call to pray for the fruits of the Annapolis summit. The conference will bring together Jews, Palestinians and Syrians for peace talks.DiNardo related that, “parish communities as well as individual Catholics are praying, at the request of the bishops, so that the summit will become a concrete opportunity for peace between the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples.”Cardinal DiNardo said that p ...Read More

Bishop: Lebanon's presidential vacuum could stir religious conflicts

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Nov.27, 2007 (CINS /CNS) - Lebanon's lack of a president could stir religious conflicts in the Middle East and affect Christians' role in the country, said a Lebanese bishop.Maronite Bishop Bechara Rai of Jbeil told Catholic News Service that "the danger of the vacuum of the presidency is that it would lead to an absence of the Christian role in Lebanon, so that the actual conflict between the Shiites and Sunnis will continue as a consequence of the war in Iraq.""In fact, this conflict aims to determine who will rule the policy in Lebanon. All this will threaten the security of Lebanon and stir up the confessional conflicts in the Middle East," said Bishop Rai."The second danger, if the vacuum persists," said the bishop, "is it will empty the presidency of its value and active role in the Lebanese political system and again marginalize t ...Read More

Pope urges 23 new Cardinals to be “servants” of love

Vatican City, Nov.24,2007 (CINS/AsiaNews) – The Catholic Church has 23 new Cardinal s.  A suggestive ceremony, comprising over 100 crimson robed cardinals and hundreds of bishops, to the tones of Latin formulae and song marked there entrance into what was once referred to as the Roman clergy and what today represents the universality of the Church.  Love, dedication, loyalty, service: these are the virtues which the Pope said must characterise the works of those whose very vestments symbolise the commitment to serving the Gospel “to the spilling of blood”, as is recited in the Latin formula which they all swear.This vocation was made all the more poignant by both Benedict XVI and newly elected cardinal Leonardo Sandri in their addresses, when they evoked the sufferance of Christians across the world but especially in Iraq, the violation of religious freedom and the offences ...Read More

Pope at Angelus: May God bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians in Annapolis

Vatican City, Nov.25,2007 (CINS/AsiaNews) – Let us pray so that God may bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians and “the gift of wisdom to all the participants” when they meet for the Israeli-Palestinian peace conference in Annapolis. The Pope invited the new cardinals with whom he celebrated the solemn mass this morning in St Peter’s Basilica to join the day of prayer organised for today by the bishops of the United States. He did the same with all the faithful gathered for today’s Angelus so that they may join the event as well.“Next Tuesday in Annapolis, in the United States, Israelis and Palestinians with the help of the international community will try to re-launch the negotiating process in order to find a just and lasting solution to the conflict that has brought bloodshed to the Holy Land and tears and suffering to the two peoples,” the Pope said. ...Read More

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