Pope Writes Op-Ed on Meaning of Christmas

12/20/2012 Comments (5)

As the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord draws near, Pope Benedict XVI has taken the unusual step of writing an op-ed in a globally-read, mass circulation newspaper.

In an article in today’s Financial Times headlined: “A time for Christians to engage with the world  - Christmas is a time of great joy and an occasion for deep reflection,” the Holy Father draws on the meaning of Christmas and contrasts the ways of the world and the state with the ways of God.

It is believed to be the first time that a pontiff has accepted an invitation to write an article for a secular mainstream newspaper.

The Pope recalls the humility, poverty and simplicity of the crib scene, and says the birth...READ MORE

Filed under christians, christmas, economy, financial times, jesus christ, nativity, pope benedict xvi, poverty, twitter

Tweeting Vitriol at the Pope

12/13/2012 Comments (7)

Pope Benedict XVI sending his first tweet from @pontifex at the end of his weekly general audience, Dec 12, 2012.


Ever since the Vatican announced the Holy Father was going to have his own Twitter account, it was a cause for concern: how should the Vatican deal with the abusive replies he could be expected to receive on his Twitter feed?

Twitter has no moderators, so is it right that the Vicar of Christ should be exposed to unlimited vitriol and abuse?

So far, most of the abusive replies to his tweets have been mild, juvenile stuff, probably written by adolescents who don’t know any better.

Some of the mockery could also have been easily avoided. For instance, to have the Holy Father tweet during his Q&A on the faith: “Any suggestions on how to be more prayerful when we are so busy with the...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, communications, twitter

Pope on Twitter: I Bless All of You From My Heart

12/12/2012 Comments (2)


The Pope has officially begun tweeting from his own Twitter account (@pontifex).

At the end of his weekly general audience this morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father sent out the following tweet: 

“Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”

The same tweet was simultaneously translated into seven other languages and sent out on seven other accounts.

According to Twitter’s Claire Diaz-Ortiz, just minutes before the first tweet went out, the Pope had managed to attract one million Twitter followers across all eight accounts.

This afternoon he began tweeting answers to...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, twitter

Vatican Astronomer: World Not About to End

12/11/2012 Comments (3)
2012 Answers

– 2012 Answers

Responding to the media circus over a possible end of the world on December 21st – a claim that’s circulated for years and even spawned a Hollywood blockbuster – the Vatican's top astronomer has said the scientific basis for such speculation is “not even worth discussing” as it is “obviously false.”

Jesuit Father Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, wrote in L'Osservatore Romano’s Dec. 12 edition that the perennial question “Where do we come from and where are we going?” is often met with “irrational responses.”

He noted that if you search this “prophecy” on Google, it brings up 40 million results.

This year’s prediction, which derives from the Mayan calendar, requires...READ MORE

Filed under 2012, apocalypse, astronomy, fr jose funes, mayan prophecy, revelation, vatican

Vatican: Medjugorje Commission Findings Not Imminent

12/05/2012 Comments (195)

"Seer" Mirjana receiving an apparition in Medjugorje. Nov. 2, 2012.

– MaryTV

The Vatican is denying reports that a Vatican commission studying the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje will release its findings by the end of this year.

In comments to the Register today, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said the speculation was “not true” and that the commission’s findings will take longer.

Earlier this week, the French magazine La Vie said the commission, established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 and chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, was expected to present its report to the Holy Father by the end of December.

“I have spoken with Cardinal Ruini and I can assure you that it will take longer,” Fr. Lombardi said. “Among other things, the commission must...READ MORE

Filed under cardinal vinko puljic, medgjugorje, vatican commission

Israeli Rabbi, Vatican Official and Saudi King Join Forces for Peace

11/29/2012 Comments (2)

Representatives including U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon pose for a photograph at the inaugural ceremony of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, Nov. 26, 2012.


King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has invited an Israeli rabbi, a Vatican official and other religious leaders to help run his new inter-faith centre in Vienna - an initiative which could pave the way for freedom of worship in the Arab kingdom.

Rabbi David Rosen, an advisor on interreligious affairs to Israel's Chief Rabbinate, will be the only Jewish representative on a nine-member board of directors that will help run the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Centre for Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Dialogue. 

The other board members consist of three Christians (Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican), three Muslims (two Shia, one Sunni), a Buddhist and a Hindu. The Catholic representative, Spanish...READ MORE

Filed under cardinal jean-louis tauran, christianity, interfaith, interreligious dialogue, islam, judaism, king abdullah, miguel ayuso, rabbi david rosen, saudi arabia

Sparks Fly at Pius XII London Debate

11/22/2012 Comments (25)


Scholars speaking in favour of Venerable Pope Pius XII and his wartime record managed to convince a significant number of people that the Pontiff did the best he could to save Jewish lives from the Holocaust, even if they failed to win over the majority of the audience at a recent lively debate in London.

The Intelligence Squared debate, held last Wednesday in front of a large audience of participants, heard four scholars debate the motion:  “’Hitler’s Pope’: Pius XII did too little to save the Jews from the Holocaust”.

Speaking for the motion were the British historian Viscount John Julius Norwich and UN jurist Geoffrey Robertson. Speaking against were William Doino, a leading...READ MORE

Filed under debate, geoffrey robertson, holocaust, intelligence squared, john julius norwich, pius xii, ronald rychlak, william doino, world war two

Pope to Take to Twitter

11/09/2012 Comments (4)


Pope Benedict XVI is to start tweeting from his own personal account, probably by the end of this year, according to the Vatican.

It says the Holy Father’s tweets will be “fairly infrequent” and their content will probably “not veer too far from his texts, and on many occasions point to the things the Pope says.”

Someone else will be typing out the actual tweets, the Vatican says, though he will be signing off on each one.

“It’s going to be nice having the Pope up there [with other popular tweeters],” a Vatican official told me. “If you look at the top 10 tweeters in the world, those with the most followers, I think eight of them are entertainers - Lady Gaga, actors and...READ MORE

Filed under internet, new evangelization, pope benedict xvi, social communications, twitter, web

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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