Mass Media Ignore Iraq Christian Emergency

02/26/2010 Comment

An Iraqi soldier stands guard near a campaign billboard of Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Mosul, Iraq, Feb. 24. The billboard reads "State of Law coalition, the willing of change and construction." (CNS photo/Khalid al-Mousuly, Reuters)

The news has escaped much of the mass media but Christian families are leaving the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in their droves to escape a concerted campaign of violence and intimidation.

Chaldean Bishop Emil Shimoun Nona has said that Mosul is experiencing a “humanitarian emergency” and that “hundreds of Christian families” left the city Feb. 24 in search of shelter, leaving behind their homes, property, commercial activities, according to Asia News. The situation “is dramatic”, he said, and warned that Mosul could be “emptied completely of Christians”.

The families have chosen to flee after a spate of violent attacks which left five Christians dead last week, and members of a...READ MORE

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Spiritual Exercises and Today's Secular Society

02/19/2010 Comment

Pope Benedict XVI, seen through the doorway in a traditionally separate and private chapel, attends a prayer and meditation session on the final day of a Lenten retreat for the Pope and Vatican officials at the Vatican March 3, 2007. The retreat that year was led by retired Italian Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, seen at left. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Catholic Press Photo)

During this time of spiritual exercises and Lenten retreats, L’Osservatore Romano today reports on the words of Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, president of the Italian Federation of Spiritual Exercises (FIES), who has issued a timely reminder of their importance, especially in today’s world marked by secularism.

Addressing the opening of a three day conference of the federation in Rome this week, he began by stressing how, in this Year of the Priest, spiritual exercises are an invaluable means for clergy to enhance and promote their life and ministry. He pointed out that this is the reason why popes, from Leo XIII to Benedict XVI, have proposed and recommended them, “not so much as a...READ MORE

Filed under lent, lenten retreat, spirituality, st. ignatius

Irish Bishops' Rome Summit Concludes

02/16/2010 Comment

At the end of a two-day Vatican summit with Ireland’s bishops, Pope Benedict XVI said today priestly sexual abuse was a “heinous crime” and a grave sin, and he urged the country’s bishops to act courageously to repair their failures to deal properly with such cases.

In a Vatican statement released this afternoon, he said that “errors of judgment and omissions” were at the heart of the crisis. It said Church leaders recognized the sense of “pain and anger, betrayal, scandal and shame” that those errors have provoked among many Irish Catholics, Catholic News Service reports.

A press conference was held this afternoon with Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Primate of Ireland and president...READ MORE

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Pope's Foreign Visits Taking Shape

02/11/2010 Comments (2)

Pope Benedict XVI disembarks from an aircraft after arriving in Luanda, Angola, March 20, 2009. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI’s foreign visits this year appear to be taking shape, with the Vatican yesterday publishing details of his forthcoming visit to Malta and media reports that preparations for his trips to Cyprus and Britain are proceeding well.

The program for his April 17th-18th apostolic voyage to Malta will include a visit St. Paul’s Grotto in Rabat, a large open-air Mass, and an arrival by boat to greet young people in the Maltese capital, Valetta. The main purpose of the visit is to mark the 1950th anniversary since St. Paul was shipwrecked off the coast of the archipelago, which according to tradition took place in 60 A.D.

Also during the visit, the Pope will celebrate Mass in...READ MORE

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Vatican Preparing Marriage Preparation Handbook

02/08/2010 Comments (2)

Martin Perez carries his son Benjamin as he stands next to his wife Rosalind Bribiesca while waiting for lunch at the Sixth World Meeting of Families in Mexico City Jan. 14, 2009. The couple attended the five-day meeting with their six children. (CNS photo/Dav id Agren)

Pope Benedict XVI revealed today that the Vatican is preparing a handbook of preparation for marriage inspired by the ideas of John Paul II.

Addressing members of the Pontifical Council for the Family currently taking part in their annual plenary assembly, the Pope said the document will be based around three main preparation stages: “remote, proximate and immediate” (more detail on these below).

Elsewhere in his speech, the Pope praised other initiatives of the Council which seek to raise awareness of the benefits the family brings to society. He also recalled the World Meeting of Families in Mexico last year and looked forward to the next one, in Milan, Italy, in 2012.

Referring to the...READ MORE

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Pope Benedict Scores Victory in Britain

02/03/2010 Comments (10)

Pope Benedict XVI speaks with Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown during their meeting at the Vatican Feb. 19, 2009. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI has again shown just how necessary and effective it can be to speak out in the face of unjust legislation against the Church.

The British government today backed down from pursuing parts of its Equality Bill, legislation which would have removed the Church’s right to refuse employing certain lay staff including, for instance, the right of a Catholic school to employ a Catholic as a head teacher. The government’s decision came after a furore in Britain following the Holy Father’s remarks to the bishops of England and Wales over such legislation.

According to The Times newspaper: “Ministers were astonished on Monday when the Pope said that the Bill violated...READ MORE

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This Week in Rome

02/01/2010 Comment

Sometimes during the year, so many papal, Vatican and other Church events take place in Rome that it can be hard to keep up.

To help readers keep tabs with what’s going on, I’ve put together a list of the most significant engagements scheduled to take place over the next seven days.

Other unforeseen events may arise, of course, but these are the major ones planned for the moment.

Tuesday, 2nd February - Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the 14th Day of Consecrated Life.

Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to preside over the celebration of Vespers on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord at St. Peter’s basilica at 17.30 CET. At the celebration will be members of religious...READ MORE

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John Paul II Beatification October 10?

01/23/2010 Comments (2)

Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre of the Little Sisters of Catholic Motherhood in France believes she was healed from Parkinson's disease through the intercession of Pope John Paul II, who also had the disease. The healing could be the miracle needed for the late Pope's beatification. (CNS photo/Serge Pagano, Reuters)

At least two Italian newspapers have today claimed that John Paul II will be beatified in October this year, although the date remains highly speculative.

Without naming sources, Il Sole 24 Ore and La Stampa are confidently predicting the ceremony will take place on October 10th in St. Peter’s Square.

Il Sole 24 Ore
says the date cannot be formally announced as “four steps” still need to be taken, but the “organizational machinery for the event, which promises to be of enormous proportions, needs to be set in motion in time, albeit with much discretion.”

The paper says confirmation of a miracle is still needed, although one has already been identified: the healing of a French...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