Pope: In the Silence of the Cross, Uproar of Weapons Ceases

Full text of Pope Francis' homily at the Vigil of Prayer and Fasting in Saint Peter's Square, Saturday 7 September 2013.

09/07/2013 Comments (30)


“And God saw that it was good” (Gen 1:12, 18, 21, 25). The biblical account of the beginning of the history of the world and of humanity speaks to us of a God who looks at creation, in a sense contemplating it, and declares: “It is good”. This allows us to enter into God’s heart and, precisely from within him, to receive his message.

We can ask ourselves: what does this message mean? What does it say to me, to you, to all of us?

1. It says to us simply that this, our world, in the heart and mind of God, is the “house of harmony and peace”, and that it is the space in which everyone is able to find their proper place and feel “at home”, because it is “good”. All of creation...READ MORE

Filed under middle east, peace, pope francis, syria

Pope Emeritus's Unexpected Homily on Humility

09/04/2013 Comments (25)
Giovanni Tridente

Benedict XVI with Archbishop Gaenswein in a photograph taken on Sunday.

– Giovanni Tridente

Although the full text has yet to appear, Benedict XVI’s homily during Mass for his former students on Sunday is one of wisdom and truth.

Essentially a treatise on humility, his words come as a welcome surprise, especially as the world wasn’t expecting to see or hear from the Pope Emeritus after his retirement.

He began by saying that "everyone is looking for a good place in history, and each wants to find his right place in life. The only question is: which place is good and which is right? The word of the Lord from last Sunday’s Gospel comes to mind: The first shall be last and the last shall be first. A seemingly good place can be a very bad place, and we know that this happens not...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, humility, schulerkreis

Pope Chooses Humble and Respected Diplomat as Secretary of State

08/31/2013 Comments (2)

– Wikipedia

Pope Francis today appointed Archbishop Pietro Parolin, until now the Pope's diplomatic representative to Venezuela, as the new Vatican Secretary of State.

The 58 year-old apostolic nuncio replaces Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who will step down from heading the most important dicastery in the Roman Curia on October 15th. 

A modest, humble and highly competent Italian diplomat, Archbishop Parolin is well regarded in Rome. He is also the youngest prelate to be appointed Secretary of State since Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) in 1930 at the age of 53.

We will publish a full report on the appointment soon. In the meantime, here is Archbisop Parolin's statement, released today by...READ MORE

Filed under cardinal bertone, holy see, pietro parolin, pope francis, roman curia, secretary of state, vatican

Patriarch Twal: Attack Syria on What Authority?

08/30/2013 Comments (10)

His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.


In a break from his more usual diplomatic style, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, has lambasted the proposed policy of the U.S. government and its allies to launch air strikes against Syria.

In a forceful statement, released Wednesday, he questions the authority of these states to launch an attack, wonders who appointed them to be "policemen of democracy", and warns of the risk of more civilian casualties.

Each of his four points is an attempt to appeal to reason:

• “Why declare war when UN experts have not yet delivered the definitive findings on the chemical nature of the attack and the formal identity of its agents?  We witness here a logic reminiscent of the Iraq...READ MORE

Filed under middle east, patriarch twal, syria

Benedict XVI Makes Brief Trip to Castel Gandolfo

08/20/2013 Comment
Edward Pentin

Two residents of Castel Gandolfo watch Pope Francis celebrate Mass in the town on the Feast of the Assumption, Aug. 15, 2013.

– Edward Pentin

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI briefly returned to the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo on Sunday, where he spent time in prayer and attended a small concert in his honor.

He was accompanied by four 'memores domini', consecrated women belonging to the Communion and Liberation movement. When he was Pope, they looked after him in the apostolic palace, and continue to do so now as Pope Emeritus, in his new residence in the Vatican Gardens.

During his three hour visit, Benedict XVI recited the Rosary while taking a stroll in the villa gardens, just as he used to do when he was Roman Pontiff. He also attended a short piano recital of classical music performed in his honor before...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, castel gandolfo, john xxiii, pope francis

40 Churches Burned, Looted or Destroyed in Egypt

08/16/2013 Comments (27)

The video above (warning: contains some violent images) is CCTV footage showing a mob attacking St. George's Coptic Orthodox church in Sohag, Upper Egypt, a couple of days ago.  

The images haven't been independently verified, but reports coming out of the country say 64 churches and institutions, including many belonging to the Coptic Catholic Church, were attacked in one day by Islamist mobs opposed to the current government. The website "Protect the Pope" has the full list here.

Fr. Rafiq Greiche, spokesman for Egypt's Catholic bishops, told Vatican Radio today that "40 churches - 10 Catholic and 30 Orthodox, Protestant and Greek-Orthodox - have been looted or burned, if not...READ MORE

Filed under copts, egypt, islamist, muslim brotherhood

Castel Gandolfo Welcomes Pope Francis for Assumption Mass

08/15/2013 Comment

An estimated 10,500 jubilant pilgrims crammed into Castel Gandolfo's small piazza Thursday where Pope Francis celebrated his first Mass on the Feast of the Assumption as Roman Pontiff.

In his homily (full text below), the Holy Father spoke of how the Virgin Mary prompts us to reflect on the struggle against evil, the resurrection, and the importance of hope.

In his Angelus address, the Pope included an appeal for "peace, dialogue and reconciliation" in Egypt where violence and unrest has caused over 600 deaths.

Pope Francis has broken with tradition this year and is taking a "working vacation" at the Vatican instead of residing at the papal summer residence in the town. Consistent...READ MORE

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Italian Anti-Homophobia Debate Heightens After Teen Suicide

08/14/2013 Comments (32)

Palazzo di Montecitorio in Rome where Italy's Lower House sits.

– Wikipedia

Roberto, a 14-year-old boy, plunged to his death from his parents’ balcony in downtown Rome on Saturday, ending his life after being bullied for being homosexual.

The tragedy of Roberto's suicide has been causing much debate here in Italy, also because the country’s Lower House is currently debating a controversial anti-homophobia law.

Opponents say the law, if passed, would shut down and criminalize any public opposition to “gay marriage,” civil unions, or homosexuals adopting children, according to LifeSite News.

The Italian bishops’ newspaper Avvenire has been firmly against the legislation, warning it could usher in prosecutions for anyone who publicly denounces the homosexual...READ MORE

Filed under homophobia, homosexuality, legislation, manif pour tous, roberto de mattei

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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