Norcia Close to Epicenter of Devastating Earthquake in Central Italy

08/24/2016 Comments (1)

Rescue efforts taking place in Amatrice. The town's mayor has said half the town "isn't there anymore."

– RT/YouTube

Like many in Rome, I was awoken at around 3.30 this morning as the top floor apartment I was staying in gently swayed from an earthquake tremor for about 30 seconds, setting off car alarms. A slightly gentler aftershock followed about half an hour later.

It was ominously similar to the earthquake that struck L’Aquila in 2009 which resulted in 309 people losing their lives and which we also felt in the Eternal City.

As then, I suspected that Rome would escape largely unscathed, but places close to the epicenter would not be so fortunate. Little did I know that the quake struck very close to Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict. I had only left the town the day before.

So far, the...READ MORE

Filed under benedictines, earthquake, italy, norcia, pope francis

Pope Francis: The Narrow Door to Salvation Limits Our Pride

08/23/2016 Comments (3)

In his Angelus address on Sunday, the Holy Father focused on a crucial issue surprisingly not given much attention in the Church today: salvation.  

Jesus' words on salvation — to "strive to enter through the narrow door" — were not "oppressive", the Pope said, but rather ask us to "restrict and limit our pride and our fear, to open ourselves with humble and trusting heart to Him, recognizing ourselves as sinners, in need of his forgiveness." 

He added that the Lord offers us "many opportunities to save ourselves and to enter through the door of salvation” and this door is an "opportunity that must not be wasted." 

The Pope ended by urging the faithful to call on the Virgin Mary so that...READ MORE

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Pope Francis in Assisi: The World Needs Forgiveness

Full text of Pope Francis' meditation at the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi.

08/04/2016 Comments (9)

"The path of forgiveness can truly renew the Church and the world," Pope Francis told the faithful during a visit to Assisi, Italy, today. 

"The world needs forgiveness," he said. "Too many people are caught up in resentment and harbour hatred, because they are incapable of forgiving. They ruin their own lives and the lives of those around them rather than finding the joy of serenity and peace."

The Pope then asked "Saint Francis to intercede for us, so that we may always be humble signs of forgiveness and channels of mercy."

The Pope was speaking this afternoon in the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, on the occasion of the eighth centenary of the Pardon of Assisi. Soon...READ MORE

Filed under assisi, pope francis, st. francis of assisi, year of mercy

Spokesman: WYD One of the 'Most Important' Events in Polish History

07/31/2016 Comments (4)
Edward Pentin/

Father Paweł Rytel-Andrianik, spokesman for the Polish bishops' conference.

– Edward Pentin/

The 31st World Youth Day in Krakow has been one of the “most important” events in Poland’s history, and for its future, the spokesman for the Polish bishops’ conference has said.

In an interview with Register shortly before yesterday evening’s Prayer Vigil, Father Paweł Rytel-Andrianik said the fact that it coincided with the 1050th of Poland’s baptism and the Jubilee of Mercy made it a very special occasion.

He also spoke about how the bishops have viewed the event, and responded to some criticisms that World Youth Days can lack sufficient reverence.

The Pope will close World Youth Day later today at the end of his five day visit to Poland. The event has attracted hundreds of thousands...READ MORE

Filed under poland, polish bishops, pope francis, world youth day

Pope Francis at Final WYD Mass: Aim High, Be Courageous, Take Risks to Encounter Jesus

07/31/2016 Comments (2)
© Mazur/

Holy Communion during the final Mass for World Youth Day in the Campus Misericordiae field near Krakow, July 31, 2016. The archway on the Holy Door of Mercy reads in various languages: "Jesus, I Trust in You". Pope Francis and five young people representing different continents processed through the door of ‪mercy‬ during Saturday night's prayer vigil.

– © Mazur/

In order to meet Jesus, aim high, overcome a paralysis of shame, and be courageous in ignoring the critics of the Gospel, Pope Francis has told young pilgrims said at the final Mass of World Youth Day in Krakow. 

In a reflection peppered with some social media references, the Holy Father reflected on the Gospel reading of Zacchaeus the tax collector whose life changed after his encounter with Jesus. But before that could happen, he had to overcome a number of obstacles.

The first of these was his smallness of stature: we, too, can risk not getting close to Jesus because we don’t feel big enough, Francis said. But this is a “great temptation” that not only has to do with “self-esteem, but...READ MORE

Filed under poland, pope francis, world youth day

Pope Francis to Youth: Leave the Sofa and Make Your Mark on History

Full text of Pope Francis' address at the World Youth Day Prayer Vigil in Krakow.

07/30/2016 Comment
© Mazur/

Pope Francis addressing a large crowd of pilgrims at the prayer vigil in Campus Misericordiae, Krakow, July 30, 2016. The organizers said an estimated 1.6 million pilgrims attended the vigil.

– © Mazur/

At last night's World Youth Day prayer vigil, at the purposefully named Campus Misericordiae field in Krakow, Pope Francis urged young people to leave the comforts of what he called "sofa happiness" and, with Jesus help, put on "walking shoes" to make a mark on history.

"You might say to me: Father, but I have my limits, I am a sinner, what can I do?," the Pope said. "When the Lord calls us, he doesn’t worry about what we are, what we have been, or what we have done or not done. Quite the opposite. When he calls us, he is thinking about everything we have to give, all the love we are capable of spreading. His bets are on the future, on tomorrow. Jesus is pointing you to the future, and...READ MORE

Filed under krakow, pope francis, prayer vigil, world youth day

Pope Francis: The Way of the Cross Opens Door to New and Fuller Life

Full texts of papal discourses on Friday afternoon.

07/29/2016 Comments (1)
© Mazur/

WYD pilgrims carry a large wooden cross during the Way of the Cross with young people at Jordan Park in Kraków's Błonia, July 29, 2016.

– © Mazur/

In Krakow this evening during a Via Crucis with young people, Pope Francis gave a catechesis on the Way of the Cross, stressing that it is not an exercise in sadomasochism. "The Way of the Cross alone defeats sin, evil and death, for it leads to the radiant light of Christ’s resurrection and opens the horizons of a new and fuller life," he said.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Pope visited the "Children's University Hospital" in Prokocim, Kraków. 

Here below are the full texts of both his discourses:



Jordan Park in Błonia, KrakówI was hungry and you gave me food, 

I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, 
I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 

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Pope Francis to Young People: Pursue an 'Adventure of Mercy'

Urges large crowd of youth in Krakow to oppose those who say things "can never change", warns against "young pensioners".

07/28/2016 Comment
Edward Pentin/

Pilgrims gather for WYD's Welcome Ceremony for Pope Francis, July 28, 2016.

– Edward Pentin/

In his address at tonight’s welcoming ceremony for World Youth Day, Pope Francis urged young people to oppose those who say things can never change, and encouraged them instead to pursue an "adventure of mercy."

Recalling his time as bishop during the ceremony in Krakow’s Blonia Park, the Pope said one thing he learned was that “nothing is more beautiful” than seeing young people’s enthusiasm.

“It is exciting to listen to you share your dreams, your questions and your desire to oppose all those who say that things cannot change,” the Pope said.

Speaking off the cuff, he said he describes such people who say nothing can be altered as “quietists” [generally a political term meaning those...READ MORE

Filed under krakow, poland, pope francis, welcome ceremony, world youth day

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About Edward Pentin

Edward Pentin
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Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of "The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family", published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin