Exaggerations for Dubious Ends

01/22/2010 Comment

Pope Benedict XVI talks with Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, the chief rabbi of Rome, during his visit to Rome's main synagogue Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

After a week in which Pope Benedict XVI visited the Great Synagogue of Rome and the Vatican and the Rabbinate of Israel held their regular annual meeting, Catholic-Jewish relations are looking considerably healthy – much more so than it might appear in some of the mass media.

As mentioned in an earlier post, whatever the controversies affecting the dialogue, relations usually continue much as they did before, largely thanks – as the Holy Father noted in his synagogue address – to advances in dialogue emanating from the Second Vatican Council’s declaration Nostra Aetate.

Rabbi David Rosen, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Department for Interreligious Affairs, called...READ MORE

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Benedict XVI Warmly Received at Rome Synagogue

01/17/2010 Comments (16)

The Holy Father was very warmly received at Rome’s synagogue this afternoon, and those gathered gave him a standing ovation at the end of his address.

He made no explicit reference to the Pius XII controversy, except to underline the efforts the Apostolic See made to save Rome Jews during Nazi persecution. Historians say the “hidden and discreet” assistance given by the Vatican can be traced to the direct intructions of Pius XII.

Here is Benedict XVI’s complete speech, one filled with sensitivity and respect for the Jewish people.

“What marvels the Lord worked for them!
What marvels the Lord worked for us:
Indeed we were glad” (Ps 126)

“How good and how pleasant it is
when brothers...READ MORE

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Pius XII: Less Heroic for Surviving?

01/13/2010 Comments (5)

Portrait of Pius XII (CNS photo)

The eyes of the mass media will be on Pope Benedict XVI this Sunday when he visits Rome’s synagogue.

After the furore among some Jewish leaders following his decree last month declaring Pius XII venerable, many are wondering what the Holy Father will say to bring Catholic-Jewish relations back on track.

But as with previous recent disputes between the Vatican and Judaism, after some initial protests, tempers die down and relations return to normal.

Speaking with me a few weeks after the Williamson affair last year, Father Norbert Hoffman, the Vatican’s Secretary for the Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism, said this quick resumption of dialogue shows just how far...READ MORE

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Pope Speaks Against Mass-Media Sensationalism

12/09/2009 Comment

On the feast of the Immaculate Conception yesterday, the Holy Father had some stern words on the role of the mass media in our everyday lives in this information age:

“Every day, in the newspapers, television and radio, evil is told to us, said again, amplified, so that we get used to the most horrible things and become desensitized,” Pope Benedict XVI said at the Spanish Steps in Rome. “In a certain way, it poisons us, because the negative is never fully cleansed out of our system but accumulates day after day. The heart hardens, and thoughts become gloomy. For this reason, the city needs Mary, whose presence speaks of God, reminds us of grace’s victory over sin, and makes us hope...READ MORE

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Anglican-Catholic Unity

10/20/2009 Comment

Cardinal William Levada (CNS photo)

This article will appear in the next print issue of the Register:

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has paved the way for groups of disaffected Anglicans to come into communion with Rome.

In a historic announcement Oct. 20, the Vatican said the Holy Father has approved canonical structures to allow Anglican clergy and faithful to be received into the Church while retaining elements of their distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.

The new structures would be open to members of the Episcopal Church in the United States, otherwise known as TEC (formerly ECUSA); the TEC is the main American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. They will also help regularize Pope John Paul II’s 1982...READ MORE

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Archbishop Burke Appointed to Congregation for Bishops

10/19/2009 Comment

CNS photo

Pope Benedict XVI Oct. 17 appointed Archbishop Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, and Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, members of the Congregation for Bishops.

The appointments are significant: Both will now be able to share their views and, to some extent, exert their influence on future appointments of bishops.

Archbishop Burke, the archbishop emeritus of St. Louis and a distinguished canon lawyer, is also a member of two other departments: the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and the Congregation for the Clergy.


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SSPX Talks Scheduled

10/15/2009 Comments (1)

The first meeting of talks between the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and the Society of St. Pius X will take place in the morning of Monday, Oct. 26, the Vatican announced today.

The talks are taking place to consider the doctrinal issues that separate the traditionalist society from full unity with the Church. The SSPX refuses to accept the authority of some elements of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the popes.

In a statement, Father Federico Lombardi said the Ecclesia Dei commission will be represented by Msgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the commission, and Archbishop Luis F. Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of...READ MORE

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Cardinal George Interview

10/14/2009 Comment

This interview will be published in the Oct. 25 issue of the Register:

Cardinal’s Virtues
Chicago Archbishop’s New Book Focuses on Faith and Culture


In his first book, The Difference God Makes — A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion and Culture, Cardinal Francis George aims to bring together some of the most influential writings on the Catholic vision — “not just of the Church herself, but also of all the peoples of the world,” according to the book’s synopsis.

The publication, which went on sale in American bookstores Oct. 11, contains the author’s observations of Catholicism in cultures around the globe, as well as the...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