Pope's Christmas Urbi et Orbi Message and Midnight Mass Homily

12/25/2014 Comments (5)

Here below are the full texts of Pope Francis' Urbi et Orbi message and his homily at Midnight Mass in St. Peter's basilica. 


Urbi et Orbi Christmas Message 2014:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas!

Jesus, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, is born for us, born in Bethlehem of a Virgin, fulfilling the ancient prophecies. The Virgin’s name is Mary, the wife of Joseph.

Humble people, full of hope in the goodness of God, are those who welcome Jesus and recognize him. And so the Holy Spirit enlightened the shepherds of Bethlehem, who hastened to the grotto and adored the Child. Then the Spirit led the elderly couple Simeon and Anna into the temple of Jerusalem, and...READ MORE

Filed under christmas, pope francis, urbi et orbi

Pope Sends Letter to Middle East Christians

12/23/2014 Comment

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I during the Pope's visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem earlier this year.

– Wikipedia

Pope Francis has sent a long letter to Christians facing persecution in the Middle East.

"This suffering cries out to God and it calls for our commitment to prayer and concrete efforts to help in any way possible," he writes in the letter released today - the first of its kind issued by a Pope at Christmas. "I want to express to all of you my personal closeness and solidarity, as well as that of the whole Church, and to offer you a word of consolation and hope."

He alludes to the emergence of ISIS, calling it a "disturbing terrorist organisation, of previously unimaginable dimensions, which has perpetrated all kinds of abuses and inhuman acts."

But he encourages Middle East Christians to...READ MORE

Filed under christians, middle east, persecution, pope francis

Pope Francis' Address Risks Lowering Curial Morale

12/22/2014 Comments (98)

Pope Francis' delivering his traditional Christmas message to heads of the Roman Curia, Dec. 22, 2014.


Pope Francis’ list of 15 spiritual “diseases”, given today in his Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia, is playing well to the secular world that’s been bombarded with media coverage of Vatican scandals over the past few years.

After Vatileaks, sex scandals and financial misconduct, it’s no surprise that the media has jumped on the speech, portraying the Holy Father as the outsider who’s come in to clean up the Curia but grown frustrated with a sclerotic and corrupt bureaucracy resistant to change.

The danger of this, however, is that it gives credence to such a portrayal of the Curia, that it’s largely a nest of careerists, brimming with sin and intrigue. 

Veteran Vatican watcher...READ MORE

Filed under christmas message, pope francis, reform, roman curia, vatican

Pope Warmly Congratulates U.S. and Cuba on Re-establishing Diplomatic Relations

12/17/2014 Comments (15)

Pope Francis has warmly welcomed the news announced today that the United States and Cuba are to re-establish diplomatic relations.

In a statement issued this evening by the Secretariat of State, the Vatican said "the Holy Father wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision", adding that the Pope took a leading role in achieving the breakthrough by writing to the Presidents of both countries and making humanitarian appeals. 

The Holy See also "provided its good offices to facilitate a constructive dialogue" between the two nations, the communique added. 

The full text of the statement can be read below.

The Holy See mediates in international disputes more often...READ MORE

Filed under cuba, diplomacy, pope francis, united states

C9 Cardinals Conclude Meeting, No Decision Yet on Reform

12/12/2014 Comments (5)
Edward Pentin

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi SJ.

– Edward Pentin

The seventh meeting of the Council of Cardinals - the so-called C9 - concluded yesterday evening with no formal decisions made.

The cardinals' three-day meeting, which began on the morning of 9 December, was mostly dedicated to three themes:

• the reform of the Curia;

• the composition of the Commission for the Protection of Minors;

• the reorganization of the economic organs of the Holy See.

On reforming the curia, the cardinals looked at the specific question of the reorganization of the pontifical councils that work in relation to the laity, the family, justice, peace and charity.

Although Pope Francis hinted in a recent interview that some could be merged and headed by laity, no...READ MORE

Filed under consistory, council of cardinals, pope francis

Pope Francis' World Day of Peace Message 2015

Sin of estrangement from God gives rise to a culture of enslavement with all its consequences extending from generation to generation.

12/11/2014 Comments (2)

Pope Francis addresses the scourge of modern slavery and human trafficking in his message for the 48th World Day of Peace which takes place on the Solemnity of the Mother of God, Jan. 1st, 2015. Here below is the full text: 

"No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters"


1. At the beginning of this New Year, which we welcome as God’s gracious gift to all humanity, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace to every man and woman, to all the world’s peoples and nations, to heads of state and government, and to religious leaders. In doing so, I pray for an end to wars, conflicts and the great suffering caused by human agency, by epidemics past and present, and by the devastation wrought by natural...READ MORE

Filed under human trafficking, slavery, world day of peace message

Lineamenta Raises More Concerns About Synodal Process

12/10/2014 Comments (3)
Edward Pentin

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.

– Edward Pentin

The lineamenta – or preparatory document – for next year’s ordinary synod of bishops on the family that the Vatican published Tuesday is raising further questions about the way the synodal process is being handled.

Usually the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops holds a press briefing on the day of a lineamenta’s publication, and the media is notified of its release sometime before the event. The lineamenta is usually then ready right away in various languages and sent to bishops conferences, religious superiors, laity and others.

But in this case, no briefing took place, the document appeared unexpectedly on the Vatican website, and then in Italian only. The press was given no...READ MORE

Filed under family, lineamenta, synod of bishops

Interreligious Leaders to Sign Historic Joint Declaration Against Human Trafficking

12/01/2014 Comments (30)

Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Orthodox leaders will come together at the Vatican for the first time in history on Tuesday to sign a joint declaration against modern slavery and human trafficking.

The signatories, who will include Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Rabbi David Rosen will declare their commitment towards the eradication of the worldwide scourge by 2020.

The initiative has been drawn up by the Global Freedom Network, a faith-based organization launched in March this year aimed at ending modern slavery and human trafficking.

The network defines modern slavery as the “systematic...READ MORE

Filed under global freedom network, human slavery, human trafficking, joint declaration, pope francis

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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