Benedict and St. Benedict

05/23/2009 Comment

Montecassino Abbey, founded by St. Benedict in 529.

Pope Benedict XVI will make a pastoral visit tomorrow to Montecassino, Italy. The monastery, 73 miles from Rome, was founded by St. Benedict around 529 and is where he developed the Rule of St. Benedict.

The Pope is due to arrive by helicopter in the town of Cassino at 10.15 a.m.. There, he will preside at a Eucharistic concelebration and give a homily in the city’s Piazza Miranda.

Then, having prayed the Regina Coeli, he will travel by car to the abbey of Montecassino, making a brief stop at the Casa della Carita (House of Charity) in Cassino.

The Holy Father will lunch at the abbey, greet the monastic community, and, at 5 p.m., celebrate Vespers with Benedictine abbots and communities...READ MORE

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John Paul II Cause Hits Snag

05/23/2009 Comment

reuters photo

A meeting of theological consulters was held at the Vatican May 13 to decide on the process of the beatification of John Paul II.

According to my fellow Vatican journalist the reliable Andrea Tornielli, writing in today’s Il Giornale, the consulters have given a positive opinion on the process, but they were not unanimous. Several parties “raised objections and difficulties,” he says, and so the meeting has been postponed to a later date, probably before the Vatican summer holidays in August.

However, he reports that “none of the consulters doubts the personal sanctity of the great Pontiff” and that there are “no insurmountable obstacles.”

What is at issue are “other...READ MORE

Filed under beatification, pope john paul ii

Pope Invited to N. Ireland

05/22/2009 Comment

British cabinet minister Shaun Woodward

Pope Benedict XVI was invited Wednesday to visit Northern Ireland by the British government, and is considering the possibility.

The invitation came from Britain’s Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Shaun Woodward, who met the Holy Father after his weekly General Audience.

“It’s very clearly something in his mind,” Woodward said, “but there are some matters that the Pope should rightly be allowed to decide on because he makes very good judgments about when the time is right.” The invitation comes three months after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown invited the Pope to visit Britain.

Woodward had come to Rome to thank the Pope and the Vatican for their support in the...READ MORE

Filed under northern ireland

L'Osservatore Editor Defends

05/22/2009 Comment

(CNS photo)

Gian Maria Vian, editor of L’Osservatore Romano, commented to the Register about the controversy (detailed here) surrounding the paper’s coverage of President Obama.

Is L’Osservatore Romano in agreement with those bishops of the United States who were opposed to Obama being honored by the University of Notre Dame?

L’Osservatore Romano always stands by different episcopates, and on this point, naturally, in our reports on international religious news, we support the positions of United States’ bishops. This is much more the case when it concerns serious and sensitive issues such as abortion, which the Second Vatican Council in “Gaudium et Spes” (No. 51) has defined as an...READ MORE

Filed under l'osservatore romano, notre dame, obama

Vatican Clarifies Obama Stance

05/21/2009 Comment

“It is true we don’t share many views with the present administration on bioethical issues, but at the same time the traditional policy of the Holy See is to try to always have open channels, to follow a policy of dialogue through which you can tell people you don’t agree on certain issues, but at the same time keep on with a dialogue.”

Those are the words of Msgr. Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s Undersecretary for Relations with States and one of the Vatican’s leading diplomats.

Here is the complete text of my interview yesterday with Msgr. Parolin, in which he also discusses Pope Benedict XVI’s recent trip to the Holy Land. The interview will be published in the next issue...READ MORE

Filed under barack obama, holy land visit, l'osservatore romano, vatican

Vatican Off Obama’s Itinerary

05/19/2009 Comment

When will Obama come here? (CNS/Reuters)

The White House disclosed over the weekend that President Barack Obama is to make a weeklong foreign tour in July that will include Russia, Italy and Ghana. However, noticeably missing from the list is the Vatican.

It’s been widely thought that Obama would visit Pope Benedict XVI when the president attends the G8 summit in the Italian town of L’Aquila July 8-10. But there was no mention of the Holy Father or the Holy See in the statement, despite the fact that, according to sources in Rome, the president will be staying at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Italy in Rome.

The White House says the reason is because the precise details of his tour have yet to be worked out. “We...READ MORE

Filed under barack obama, vatican

Where Tony Blair Puts His Faith

05/14/2009 Comment


It received little press attention, but as the Daily Blog reported earlier this week, Msgr. Michel Schooyans, a human-rights expert, recently made some strong criticisms of Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation.

Speaking May 1 at the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, Msgr. Schooyans said Blair’s foundation — which the former British prime minister set up last year to promote respect and understanding about the world’s major religions — actually aims to remake these religions and use them to expand “new rights.”

The result would be to reduce those religions “to the same common denominator, which means stripping them of their identity,” Msgr. Schooyans said.

The 79-year-old...READ MORE

Filed under tony blair

Pope Visits Upper Room

05/13/2009 Comment


Pope Benedict XVI yesterday visited some of the holiest places in Judaism and Islam, including a stop at a humble yet holy setting: the Cenacle, the Shrine of the Last Supper, where essentially the Church was born.

There, the Pope greeted the bishops of the Holy Land with “great joy,” noting the importance of this place where the Eucharist was instituted. Through the mystery of the Eucharist, he said, “our lives become a grateful, docile and active acceptance of the power of a love which is given to us.”

This transforming love, the Holy Father added, “prompts us, as individuals and communities, to overcome the temptation to turn in upon ourselves in selfishness or indolence,...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, holy land visit

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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