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

English Translation of Second Part of Papal Press Conference

08/03/2013 Comments (19)

The second part of Pope Francis’ in-flight press conference given on the papal plane from Brazil has been published in English by ZENIT (see my blog post on the first part here).

This isn’t the official translation which is yet to appear, though the Secretariat of State is said to be working on it.

Like the first part, the Holy Father’s words are revelatory. As reported widely elsewhere, he discusses the subject of homosexuality and “gay lobbies”; his wish to visit Asia, and travel to Jerusalem where he hopes to meet Patriarch Bartholomew; his call for a “profound theology of woman”; John Paul II’s definitive “no” to women priests; the canonization date for John XXIII and John Paul...READ MORE

Filed under liturgy, marriage, media, orthodox, pope francis, press conference

English Translation of Pope Francis' Press Conference

08/01/2013 Comments (3)
Pope Francis disembarks the papal plane after returning from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.


– Pope Francis disembarks the papal plane after returning from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.

ZENIT has helpfully translated the first part of Pope Francis' press conference on the papal plane back from Brazil which can be read here. The second part will be published tomorrow.   

As has been reported elsewhere, the frankness of the Pope's responses is a clear break with the past. True, Benedict XVI and John Paul II could be candid during such briefings, but they tended to refrain from going into too much detail, or discussing in any great depth their perceptions of the Vatican or how or why they made decisions. 

Pope Francis is also the first Pontiff to face an 80 minute press conference of spontaneous questions.   

Some aspects that hadn't received so much attention in...READ MORE

Filed under media, pope francis, wyd

Pope Francis Meets Benedict, Asks for His Prayers During WYD

07/19/2013 Comments (6)

Pope Francis visited Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI this afternoon to ask the former Pontiff to “spiritually accompany him in prayer” during his visit to Brazil for World Youth Day next week.

The Vatican said the Holy Father called in on the Pope Emeritus shortly after 4pm and brought with him a booklet covering the program of the trip so that Benedict can participate spiritually and follow the transmission of the events.

Benedict XVI, who was originaly scheduled to go to Rio until he announced his retirement in February, "assured him of his prayers, recalling the intense and wonderful experiences of his past world meetings with young people in Cologne, Sydney and Madrid.” The Vatican...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, pope francis, world youth day

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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