Navarro-Valls on the Abuse Crisis

Thursday, April 01, 2010 8:58 AM Comments (19)

Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls

The Holy See press office director under John Paul II, Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, has today criticized the media for “a raging phobia” against the Church over pedophilia while ignoring the problem in the rest of society which he says is widespread.

Writing in the Italian daily La Repubblica, the former medical doctor did not lessen the “grave criminal phenomenon” in the Church, but quoted alarming figures of abuse against children in society in general, adding that to focus only on the Church was “very misleading.”

The current papal spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said over the weekend that the recent media attacks “have without doubt caused damage” to the Church but...READ MORE

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New Medjugorje Diocese?

Thursday, March 25, 2010 6:40 AM Comments (4)

A woman touches a cross at a venerated site in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in June last year. Widespread devotion and controversy have surrounded the reported apparitions of Mary in Medjugorje since they were first made known in 1981. An internation al commission has been appointed by the Vatican to study the alleged apparitions. (CNS/Damir Sagolj, Reuters) (March 17, 2010)

The new Vatican commission being set up to investigate the reported apparitions at Medjugorje is allegedly considering the creation of a new diocese to include the Bosnian town.

According to Andrea Tornielli, Vatican correspondent for the Italian daily Il Giornale, the proposal for a new diocese, combining the territories of three existing sees, was advanced last year. He said Bishop Ratko Peric, who heads the existing Mostar diocese where Mejugorje is located, strongly opposed the idea.

Yesterday, I asked the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, about the report. He was unaware of the speculation but stressed that the commission was only just getting started and so it was...READ MORE

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Vatican on Twitter - Really

Monday, March 22, 2010 11:12 AM Comments (2)

Vatican's Twitter page

The Vatican really does now have a Twitter account.

The new service was launched over the weekend and timed to coincide with the Holy Father’s letter to Irish Catholics on clerical sexual abuse. As well as English, there are Twitter feeds in French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

The service will also be used by Vatican Radio and other Vatican media whenever there is “news or multimedia content particularly relevant to the life of the Church.” The Vatican has also launched a new page dedicated to major news events of the day called ‘resources’ which can be found here. Currently it is dedicated to the sexual abuse crisis. 

Earlier this year a Twitter page, which looked to be...READ MORE

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Stunning Holy Sepulcher Virtual Tour

Friday, March 19, 2010 1:27 PM Comments (2)

A screenshot of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, part of a Turkish initiative which aims to promote peaceful coexistence among Jerusalem's religions and cultures.

Easter is fast approaching and one of the best places to celebrate Our Lord’s Resurrection is, of course, the Holy Land with a pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to make such a trip, but thanks to a Turkish multimedia company, it’s now possible to make a virtual visit from your own computer.

Two websites, www.360tr.com and www.std24.net, have teamed up with Turkish photographer, Aykut Ince, to create this stunning panoramic virtual tour of the basilica. Using your mouse or cursor keys, you can view the basilica in detail from every possible angle. Note you will need a fast/broadband connection and Adobe Flash to view it....READ MORE

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Holy See's Concerns Over Religious Freedom

Monday, March 15, 2010 8:41 AM Comments (0)

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi

Nearly 70 percent of the world’s 6.8 billion people live in countries with high restrictions on religion, the brunt of which often falls on religious minorities.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, made this alarming observation during the 13th session of the Human Rights Council on March 12th.

His speech, a helpful and timely assessment of restrictions on religious freedom and what governments, including Western democracies, must do to protect religious minorities, is reproduced here in full (source: Fides):

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Statement by H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent...READ MORE

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Pope to Skip Alpine Vacation

Friday, March 12, 2010 1:11 PM Comments (1)

Pope Benedict XVI will not be taking a vacation in the Italian Alps this summer but instead spend all the season at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo near Rome, the Vatican announced today.

According to a Holy See press office statement: “During the summer, the Holy Father will travel directly from Rome to Castel Gandolfo to spend the whole summer. He appreciated the calls received this year to spend a few weeks in alpine locations and has sincerely thanked the bishops who had offered, but this year he prefers to begin his period of rest and study immediately, without undertaking further transfers.”

Since becoming Pope, Benedict XVI has spent about three weeks in the...READ MORE

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How to Bring Peace to Nigeria

Tuesday, March 09, 2010 9:42 AM Comments (1)

BOY CRIES DURING FUNERAL IN NIGERIA A boy sitting with his mother cries during a funeral March 8 for people killed in attacks in the Dogo Nahawa village, near the capital city of Jos in central Nigeria. (CNS photo/Akintunde Akinleye, Reuters) (March 8, 2010)

“Nigeria: Calls for inquiry into religious violence” runs the headline in an article by the Associated Press today.

Hundreds of Christians, including women and children, were killed over the weekend when Muslim herdsmen attacked three mostly Christian towns near the northern Nigerian city of Jos. The attacks are thought to be reprisals for similar clashes between Muslim and Christian groups over control of fertile farmland in the region in January.

But contrary to many news reports, Nigeria’s bishops and the Holy See stress the conflict is more about ethnicity and politics than religion. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi expressed the Holy See’s “concern and horror”...READ MORE

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The Apostolic Palace - Behind the Scenes

Wednesday, March 03, 2010 7:13 PM Comments (1)

RAI Vaticano on Facebook have posted a fascinating behind the scenes look at a day in the life of the Holy Father, recorded in 2007.

To view it, go to this page and click on ‘LA GIORNATA DI PAPA BENEDETTO SOTTO LA TELECAMERA CTV-DE CARLI [HQ]’ towards the bottom. (The link below that one shows the Pope celebrating Mass in his private chapel).

Although the commentary is in Italian, the pictures are mostly self-explanatory. It might be helpful also to watch it alongside this article I wrote on the documentary back in 2008 before it was sold to other broadcasters.

Rai Uno aired the documentary, filmed by Vatican Television Center, on the Holy Father’s 80th birthday. After some archive...READ MORE

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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