A Conversation with an Iranian Ayatollah

Thursday, October 21, 2010 1:29 PM Comments (19)

Ayatollah Seyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Ahmadabadi. He sees secularism as more dangerous than Islamic extremism.

It’s not often that an Iranian Ayatollah addresses a Synod at the Vatican – in fact, until last week, it had never happened. But on Oct. 14, Ayatollah Seyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Ahmadabadi, popularly known as Mohaghegh Damad, gave an intervention at the Synod on the Middle East currently taking place in Rome, becoming the first Iranian Shi’ite Muslim ever to do so.

Speaking with him shortly after his speech, he discussed his relationship with the Iranian government and his controversial views on Israel but he also expressed concerns that secularism is leading to godless societies without values.  A genial and somewhat eccentric Islamic scholar, he has a doctorate in law from the Catholic...READ MORE

Filed under interreligious dialogue, iran, islam, israel, middle east synod, palestinians

Archbishops Burke, Wuerl to Become Cardinals

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 8:39 AM Comments (6)

At the end of his weekly General Audience this morning, Pope Benedict XVI announced the names of 24 new cardinals who will be raised to the cardinalate at a consistory next month.

The complete list, in the order announced by the Holy Father:

Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Coptic Patriarch Antonios Naguib of Alexandria, Egypt (also General Relator of the current Synod on the Middle East)
Archbishop Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum
Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, Archpriest of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls
Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli, prefect of the Apostolic Penitentiary
Archbishop Raymond Burke, prefect of the...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, cardinals, consistory, donald wuerl, raymond burke

Pope Sends Personal Letter to Seminarians

Monday, October 18, 2010 9:36 AM Comments (3)

Pope Benedict XVI ordains 14 priests for the Diocese of Rome in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican June 20, 2010. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Benedict XVI has written a letter to seminarians to mark the conclusion of the Year for Priests.

In the letter published today, he tackles issues including priestly formation, the relevance of celibacy and the scandal of abuse. Drawing on his own experience, it also contains themes not only relevant to candidates for the priesthood but to the faithful in general.

The letter begins:

“When in December 1944 I was drafted for military service, the company commander asked each of us what we planned to do in the future. I answered that I wanted to become a Catholic priest. The lieutenant replied: “Then you ought to look for something else. In the new Germany priests are no longer...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, priesthood, seminarians

New Evangelization Council Launched

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 12:12 PM Comments (21)

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, head of the new Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, talks with a cleric before the start of an evening prayer service led by Pope Benedict XVI at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome June 28. At the service, the Pope announced he was establishing the new Pontifical Council. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Benedict XVI has formally established a new Vatican department dedicated to re-evangelizing the West.

At a press conference at the Vatican this morning to launch the new Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, its first president, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, explained the contents of “Ubicumque et semper”, the Apostolic Letter “Motu Proprio data” by which Benedict XVI has established the new dicastery.

The Italian archbishop said the theme of new evangelisation had been the subject of “deep reflection” by the Church Magisterium “over recent decades”. The challenge of the entire Church, he said, “was to find adequate ways to renew her announcement to many baptised people...READ MORE

Filed under archbishop rino fisichella, benedict xvi, new evangelization

Pope: 'False God' of Terrorism Must Fall

Monday, October 11, 2010 6:22 PM Comments (6)

It’s often when the Holy Father speaks off-the-cuff that his words have the most impact.

That was the case today when he gave a reflection on the first General Congregation of the Synod for the Middle East and spoke out strongly against terrorist ideologies. The Pope warned those who follow such beliefs that they are not fighting in the name of God but a false god which must ultimately fall. He said the same of those who impose a false idea of marriage and other destructive powers, ones based on “false divinities that must be unmasked.” .

Violence in the name of God is a key concern of the Synod Fathers who say that it is on the rise in Middle East, causing many of the region’s problems....READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, marriage, middle east, synod, terrorism

News Briefs from the Vatican

Thursday, October 07, 2010 9:56 AM Comments (0)

A full day of news today at the Vatican. Here’s a short summary:

• Pope Benedict XVI has today accepted the resignation of Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, on grounds of age. He will be replaced by Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, Secretary of the same Congregation.

• Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes has stood down also on grounds of age as president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Pope’s charitable and humanitarian institution. He will be replaced by Archbishop Robert Sarah, until now Secretary at the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples.

• Benedict XVI’s series of interviews with the German journalist Peter Seewald will be published on November...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, cor unum, iran, news, venice

The Key to the Pope's Trips

Monday, October 04, 2010 5:16 PM Comments (3)

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he meets with youths during his pastoral visit to Palermo, Sicily, Oct. 3. The banner reads, "Trust in you." (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

The Holy Father has again confounded the skeptics, attracting very large crowds on his trip to Sicily over the weekend.

CNA reports:

Contrary to preliminary reports from Sicily on Sunday, the crowds attending papal events in the island’s capital city were “never before seen in Italy.” According to an official from Holy See’s Press Office who was on the ground at the event, this is just the latest occurrence in a continuous “crescendo” of “miracle” turnouts for Pope Benedict XVI.

Some might argue that this isn’t so surprising given that Sicily and most of southern Italy are probably the most Catholic parts of the country. Still, the turnout was impressive for what is a moderately small...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, italy, pilgrimage, sicily

Pope's Birmingham Oratory Visit Photos

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 8:55 PM Comments (2)

PETRINE FELINE The Pope meets one of the Oratory's cats.

Some uplifting photos here of the Holy Father’s private visit to the Birmingham Oratory Sept. 19 after he beatified Blessed John Henry Newman. The photographs were taken by L’Osservatore Romano but not seen elsewhere.

Particularly appealing, I thought, are the ones of Benedict XVI in Cardinal Newman’s library (p14) - the Holy Father’s delight is written all over his face.

The provost of the Oratory, Fr. Richard Duffield, who acted as the Pope’s guide during the visit, told me soon after the Pope had gone that the Holy Father enjoyed looking through some of Blessed John Henry’s books and papers. “He told us that he wished he had more time to spend in the library,” he said, adding that the...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, birmingham oratory, great britain

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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. Follow on Twitter @edwardpentin