Benedict XVI and Francis Both Decline Castel Gandolfo

07/07/2014 Comments (7)

Onlookers observe the crowds at last year's Mass on the Feast of the Assumption at Castel Gandolfo.

– EP

Despite a reigning and retired pope at the Vatican, the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo will again be bereft of a pontiff this year now that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has reportedly let it be known he won’t be vacationing there.

According to Corriere della Sera Vaticanist Gian Guido Vecchi, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein said some time ago that, at one of the most recent meetings between the Pope and the former Pope, Benedict XVI asked Francis if he would at least be taking a small vacation this year having not had one in 2013.

“It was one of those conversations which, in their simplicity, they cover everything,” the prefect of the Pontifical Household said. “The Pope smiled and...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, castel gandolfo, pope francis

Full Text of Pope's Address at Invocation for Peace

06/08/2014 Comments (2)

Here below is Pope Francis' address at this evening's Invocation for Prayer in the Vatican Gardens in the presence of Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


Distinguished Presidents,

I greet you with immense joy and I wish to offer you, and the eminent delegations accompanying you, the same warm welcome which you gave to me during my recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

I am profoundly grateful to you for accepting my invitation to come here and to join in imploring from God the gift of peace. It is my hope that this meeting will mark the beginning of a new journey where we seek the things that unite, so as to overcome the things that divide.

I also...READ MORE

Filed under holy land, invocation for peace, pope francis, prayer

Prayers and Program for Invocation for Peace

06/07/2014 Comments (5)

The Vatican has released the prayers and program for tomorrow's 'Invocation for Peace' (see below). The prayer meeting, hosted by Pope Francis in the Vatican Gardens, will be attended by the Israeli and Palestinian Presidents, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Vatican television will offer a live feed (above) beginning at 6.05pm local time (12.05 EDT).


Vatican Gardens, June 8, 2014

Musical meditation


May the Lord give you peace!

We have gathered here, Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims, so that each of us can offer his or her own that each of us can express his or her...READ MORE

Filed under holy land, invocation for peace, middle east, pope francis, prayer

Israeli-Palestinian Prayer Meeting Confirmed for June 8

05/29/2014 Comments (2)

A prayer meeting at the Vatican with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will take place in the afternoon of June 8, Pentecost Sunday, the Vatican has announced.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi confirmed this afternoon the date of the "Prayer for Peace", first announced by Pope Francis during his May 24-26 Holy Land pilgrimage.

In a short statement, Father Lombardi said the date had been "accepted by both Israel and Palestine". It's believed the Sunday meeting will take place at the Pope's Casa Santa Martha residence but this hasn't been confirmed.

During his visit to the Holy Land, the Holy Father spontaneously invited the two presidents to...READ MORE

Filed under holy land, israel, palestine, pope francis, prayer

'We Are Church' Founder Excommunicated

05/22/2014 Comments (12)
Wir Sind Kirche

Martha Heizer

– Wir Sind Kirche

Pope Francis has allowed the excommunication of the co-founder of the dissenting group 'We are Church', Austrian media has reported.

Martha Heizer, 67, and her husband, Gert, were excommunicated for “simulating the Mass”, according to the website 

The Heizers reportedly often took part in “private Eucharistic celebrations” at their home with no priest present. The Church considers the simulation of the Mass a delictum gravius, or a grave delict, on a par with sexual abuse and violation of the confessional.

Heizer chairs 'We are Church', which she co-founded in 1995 in Austria, Germany and South Tyrol. The group seeks liberal reforms within the Catholic Church and has long...READ MORE

Filed under dissent, excommunication, pope francis, we are church

SSPX Confirms Bishop Fellay-Pope Francis 'Meeting'

05/12/2014 Comments (135)

The breakaway Society of St. Pius X has confirmed reports that its Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, met Pope Francis at his St. Martha residence, but said the encounter was unplanned and the exchange was brief, lasting "a few seconds".

“On 13 December 2013 Bishop Fellay and his assistants went to Rome at the request of the Commission Ecclesia Dei, for an informal meeting,” said a May 12 statement in French.

Following this meeting, the statement said Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Commission, "invited his counterparts to lunch in the dining room of St. Martha House where they were joined by Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, adjunct-secretary of the Congregation [for the...READ MORE

Filed under bishop fellay, pope francis, sspx, tradition

Cardinal Baldisseri's Comments in Context

05/10/2014 Comments (20)

As I reported earlier this week, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, recently gave an interview in which he said he wanted to bring the Church's teaching on marriage up to date. The interview was with the Belgian Christian weekly, Tertio.

I have now obtained the full translation of his remarks from the interview which I attach below. We are only allowed to reprint exerpts, but these are in any case the most relevant.

The content of the original report on the interview still stands: Cardinal Baldisseri says he wants to "update" St. John Paul II's apostolic exhortation on the meaning of marriage and the family, Familiaris Consortio, noting that it's...READ MORE

Filed under cardinal baldisseri, divorce, family, marriage, synod

Pope Calls on U.N. Leaders to Resist Culture of Death

05/09/2014 Comments (6)

Aware of the U.N.'s contrary positions on many life issues, Pope Francis today challenged 29 heads of U.N. agencies to resist the "throwaway culture" and the "culture of death" which, he said, "nowadays sadly risk becoming passively accepted." 

It is one of the few times - if not the first - that Francis has used the term "culture of death" which was first coined by St. John Paul II in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae. John Paul defined the term as the "war of the powerful against the weak", characterized by a society that lacks solidarity, and fostered by "powerful cultural, economic and political currents which encourage an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency." He...READ MORE

Filed under culture of death, life issues, pope francis, united nations

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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