Vatican City, 6 June, 2009 - This morning the Pope received the rector, priests and seminarians of Rome's Pontifical French Seminary. The institution, having been run for 150 years by the Holy Ghost Fathers, is now to pass under the aegis of the Conference of Bishops of France.Having given thanks to God "for the work accomplished by this institution, founded in 1853, where some 5,000 seminarians have been prepared for their future vocations", the Holy Father highlighted how "the task of forming priests is a delicate mission. ... Future priests require many aptitudes: human maturity, spiritual qualities, apostolic zeal and intellectual rigour", he said."Those whose duty it is to discern and form [seminarians] must remember that the hope they place in others is, first and foremost, a duty they themselves must shoulder".Benedict XVI then went on to recall that the change of administration "coincides with the beginning of the Year for Priests", due to be inaugurated ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI granted the powers to dismiss priest

Pope Benedict XVI has granted the Congregation for Clergy new powers to dismiss from the priesthood and release from the obligation of celibacy priests who are living with women, who have abandoned their ministry for more than five years or who have engaged in seriously scandalous behavior.The new powers do not apply to cases involving the sexual abuse of minors by a priest; those cases continue to be subject to special rules and procedures overseen by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.The new faculties were announced by Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the clergy congregation, in an April 18 letter to the world's bishops. Catholic News Service obtained a copy of the letter in early June.Cardinal Hummes told CNS June 3 that the new, quicker administrative procedure for dismissing priests was prompted by "many situations where canon law did not seem adequate for meeting new problems."As an example, the cardinal said the 1983 Code of Canon L ...Read More

Dioceses on the mainland have welcomed new priests

Beijing,China, May 29, 2009 – Several dioceses on the mainland have welcomed new priests during this Month of Mary, especially on the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China (May 24) and on the feast of Saint Matthias (May 14).According to information released to Agenzia Fides, Archbishop Joseph Li Shan ordained Deacon Wang Zhan Bo to the priesthood in the Archdiocesan Cathedral of Beijing, dedicated to the Holy Savior, on the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China and feast of Our Lady, Help of All Christians.On the feast of the Apostle Saint Matthias, thousands of faithful of the Diocese of Yu Ci (today, Jin Zhong), in the Province of Shan Xin, enthusiastically welcomed their new priest, Fr. Joseph Wang Yong Qing. The priestly ordination was also accompanied by the deaconate ordination of Sun Jian Xin and Dong Tian Jun. Some fifty priests from all over the country participated in the event. The new priest, Fr. Joseph Wang, concluded his studies in the Semina ...Read More

The Year for Priests will be inaugurated by Pope Benedict XVI on June 19th

Vatican City, May 29, 2009 - "The Year for Priests, announced by our beloved Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the death of the saintly Curé of Ars, St. John Mary Vianney, is drawing near. It will be inaugurated by the Holy Father on the 19th June, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests."This is the opening of the letter written by the Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, addressed to the priests of the world, asking for their common effort "so that it may be a year amply celebrated in the whole world – in the Dioceses, parishes and in every local community – with the warm participation of our Catholic people who undoubtedly love their priests and want to see them happy, holy and joyous in their daily apostolic labors.”The Cardinal continues: “It must be a year that is both positive and forward looking in which the Church says to her priests above all, b ...Read More

Christian community in Pakistan condemned the dynamite attack

Lahore, Pakistan May 28, 2009 – The Christian community in Pakistan has issued a firm denunciation of the dynamite attack that took place in the city of Lahore. Today, May 27, in a violent explosion at the Central Police Station in the city, over 40 people lost their lives and 200 were wounded.Local police say the terrorist attack was carried out using a car bomb. The building in question is located in the commercial center of the city, which is full of offices and businesses. The explosion completely destroyed a building belonging to the police emergency services and seriously damaged others, including a police station, a Secret Service office, and the Supreme Court headquarters. Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, and civil and political authorities across the nation, have all condemned the attack (just another in a series of attacks in Lahore) and said that “enemies of Pakistan who want to destabilize the country are coming here after their defeat in Swat.”P ...Read More

Archbishop Gomis: War is not over in Sri Lanka

India, May 21, 2009 - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared an end to the nation's civil war in mid-May, but the head of the Sri Lankan Catholic bishops' conference said the war will be over only when the island nation is able to overcome its ethnic divisions."The war is technically over. But we can celebrate the real end of war only when we are able to overcome our prejudices and live together as one people," Bishop Joseph Vianney Fernando of Kandy, conference president, told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview from his home May 19."I was extremely happy to hear the president (Rajapaksa) say today that the word 'minority' will be removed from our dictionary," the bishop said.The government said it killed rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, ending an ethnic conflict that has claimed more than 80,000 lives. Prabhakaran, who founded the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the mid-1970s, led the group's campaign for autonomy for the predominan ...Read More

Day of Prayer for the Church in China

Vatican City, May 21, 2009 – May 24 is the second “Day of Prayer for the Church in China,” which was instituted by Pope Benedict XVI in his Letter to Chinese Catholics, signed May 27, 2007, Solemnity of Pentecost, with these words: “Dear Pastors and all the faithful, the date 24 May could in the future become an occasion for the Catholics of the whole world to be united in prayer with the Church which is in China. This day is dedicated to the liturgical memorial of Our Lady, Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the Marian Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai.”After the large participation and success of the celebration last year, and thanks as well to the great care and attention of Cardinal Sepe, Archbishop of Naples, the Chinese Catholic community in Italy is collaborating with the Archdiocese of Naples to celebrate the Day there. All Chinese people, Catholic and non-Catholic here in Italy are invited to the “Duomo” in Naples at 11am on May 24 to respond to ...Read More

Catholic Church in Sri Lanka request to protect minority rights

Colombo, Srilanka, May 21, 2009 – The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka has made several petitions to the government in Colombo, following the national celebration of the end of the war, assuring that, at the dawn of this new era without violence the Church will do her part to build reconciliation and peace. Among the Church's requests are: to resolve the matter of the Tamil refugees with haste; protect minority rights for ethnic and religious groups; take measures for ensuring a “fair peace.”In a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo affirms that “the war would end only on the day that we grow in nationhood realizing that we are all one people in one country with equal rights.”The nation has realized in the years of conflict and suffering, that it is “a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural community. As such we are now left with the great task of nation-building forgetting our ethnic, political and religious differences,” the Archb ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI calls Sri Lanka to ensure security civilians

Pope Benedict XVI has called for the warring sides in Sri Lanka to ensure security for evacuating civilians and for aid groups to get them the food and medicine they urgently need.In his weekly Sunday blessing, Benedict said he was spiritually close to all Sri Lankans and was praying for peace and reconciliation in the island nation."There are thousands of children, women, old people for whom the war has taken years of their lives and hope," Benedict said.Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels admitted defeat on Sunday in their 25-year civil war with the government, promising to lay down their arms.Benedict said the aid groups should "leave no stone unturned" as they care for the thousands of civilians who fled the waning battles between the government and rebels.He said he was adding his voice to that of the UN Security Council, which last week demanded that civilians be allowed to leave the war zone. ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI : I come to encourage you

Amman, Jordon, May 11, 2009 - May Christ “give you his courage”: that was Benedict XVI’s wish and mandate to the 20 thousand Catholics who filled the International Stadium of Amman for mass this morning which gave the Pope the opportunity to underline “prophetic chrism” of women, particularly in this region.It is the only public mass to be celebrated by the Pope in this nation. Jordan – which conceded a holiday to Christians today – is in a certain way a oasis for the regions Christians, who count a little over 100 thousand, 2% of the entire population, but who are free to profess their faith, build churches and schools and now even universities. All around the situation is completely different: from tight control in Syria to violence in Iraq. And there are 70 thousand Christians among the 700,000 Iraqi refugees in Jordan. They too were present at the mass, calling out loud in greeting to their Pope. Among the 200 children receiving their first Holy Communion today were 4 ...Read More

To believe in God is to uphold the dignity of every person

Amman, Jordan, May 11, 2009 - To believe in God is to pray, to be merciful and compassionate, to witness to the truth and to uphold the dignity of every person, Pope Benedict XVI said after visiting a monumental new mosque in Amman.Acknowledging that much of the history of Christian-Muslim relations has been marked by misunderstanding and tension, the pope said it is faith that calls members of both communities to respect each other and join together to promote the common good.The pope visited the King Hussein Mosque in Amman May 9, the second day of his eight-day trip to the Holy Land. It was his second visit as pope to a mosque; he made history in 2006 when he entered the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, and stood praying next to the imam.Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters in Amman, "It would not be precise to say the pope prayed in the mosque (today), but it would be right to say he paused in respectful meditation in a place wh ...Read More

Jewish leaders know Pope Benedict's teaching about Jews and Judaism

Vatican City, May 11, 2009 - As Pope Benedict XVI prepared to visit Israel in early May, Jewish leaders involved in dialogue appeared to be hopeful and not particularly wary about what the pope would say.On the other hand, many members of the Jewish community and Catholics sensitive to their feelings appeared to be holding their breath, praying that the pope would not inadvertently offend his hosts.The difference stems from the fact that Jewish leaders know Pope Benedict 's teaching about Jews and Judaism from his theological speeches and articles.Speaking in Rome in March, Rabbi Michael Schudrich, the U.S.-born chief rabbi of Poland, said the Holy Land trip can be "very enlightening and help Pope Benedict show in a very clear way" the sensitivity and respect that has been clear in his writings for decades.In evaluating the pope's work, Jewish leaders appreciate several facts: Pope Benedict explicitly recognizes that God chose the Jewish people as his own ...Read More


Vatican City, May 08, 2009 - The Holy Father has sent a Message to Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest, Romania, for celebrations taking place to mark the tenth anniversary of John Paul II's visit to that country from 7 to 9 May 1999. The Message was delivered by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States and the Pope's special envoy to the event.In his Message the Pope praises the current initiative, which has been promoted by the Catholic Church in Romania, the Romania Orthodox Church and the State, saying that it "brings together the Catholic and Orthodox faithful of that country which, for its geographical location and its long history, for its culture and its traditions, has a unique ecumenical vocation inscribed in its very roots".The Pope expresses the hope "that believers in Christ will not only treasure the memory of those unforgettable days, but that, drawing from the teaching of my venerated predecessor John Paul II, they will commit th ...Read More


Vatican City, May 8, 2009 - The Holy Father departed from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 9.50 a.m. today. Following a four-hour flight, his plane landed at the Queen Alia airport in the Jordanian capital Amman, thus beginning his apostolic pilgrimage to the Holy Land which is due to last until 15 May. This is the twelfth trip outside Italy of his pontificate.King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan welcomed the Pope as he descended from his aircraft. Also present to greet the Holy Father were the political and civil authorities of the country, the ordinaries of the Holy Land, patriarchs, bishops and a group of faithful."I come to Jordan as a pilgrim", said the Pope in his address, "to venerate holy places that have played such an important part in some of the key events of biblical history".He then went on to express his appreciation for the "opportunity that Jordan's Catholic community enjoys to build public places of worship", describing it as "a sign of this c ...Read More

Basis of human rights has been the message of Christ

Vatican City, May 08, 2009 - “The basis of human rights has been the message of Christ that the Church has interpreted with various notions that have arisen in the Christian world, like the idea of the person, the idea of freedom as the essential component of man.” This is what Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, affirmed in presenting the conclusions from the 15th Plenary Assembly of the Academy, whose theme was: “Catholic Social Doctrine and Human Rights.”In the press conference held in the Holy See Press Office, also present were Mary Ann Glendon, President of the Academy, and Ombretta Fumagalli Carulli, Professore of Canon Law at the University of Milan. Glendon highlighted the fact that in today's world there are still many problems with the protection of human rights, and mentioned that next year, the workshops will be centered on the economic crisis and its social consequences.The Holy Father Benedict XVI rece ...Read More

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