Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Pope's dollars against Hitler

Pope Pius XII "An unknown history obliges us to chart new appraisals.  A story of espionage, secret contacts, very sensitive documents – which remained buried for 70 years and only now are emerging from archives with momentum.  At the centre of the story is Bernardino Nogara, a member of the board of directors of the Banca Commerciale Italiana and a friend of the Ratti family, who in 1929 was appointed the financial advisor to the Holy See.  He, led by meetings with the Curia, would be the protagonist of the Vatican's financial strategy which was fundamentally important to the Allies' victory over the Nazis and Fascists in World War II.  This strategy concerns millions of dollars invested in the largest banks of the US and Great Britain, by which persecuted Churches and exhausted peoples were given aid."

More at

Monday, January 21, 2013

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Audience to the Circus and Migrant People

Pope greets circus performers

 2012-12-01 Vatican Radio

  "Over the last two days anyone coming to St Peter’s Square will not have failed to notice the theatrical spectacle occupying part of this vast space with a carousel, circus and puppet theatres taking their places near the Piazza’s famous obelisk and renowned colonnades.
It’s all part of an initiative organised by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People which is hosting thousands of travelling performers this weekend as part of the Year of Faith."

More at http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-greets-circus-performers

Pope: "Religious ignorance" serious problem

Pope Benedict XVI on Friday spoke to the third and final group of French bishops coming to Rome this year for their ad limina visits.
“One of the most serious problems of our time is the religious ignorance in which many men and women live, including those who are Catholic,” the Holy Father told the Bishops.
He said this ignorance is two-fold.
“It is an ignorance of the person of Jesus Christ; and an ignorance of the sublimity of his teachings, which have universal and permanent value in the search for the meaning of life and happiness,” said the Pope.
“This ignorance also produces new generations which are unable to understand their history, nor feel heir to this tradition, that has shaped life, society, art and European culture,” he continued.
The Pope went on to speak about the importance of Catholic education, and commended the bishops for their support of schools and institutes of all levels of society. He also encouraged the laity to study theology, calling it “a source of wisdom, joy and wonder that cannot be restricted to seminarians, priests and those in religious life.”
“Catholic schools, which have shaped the Christian life and culture of [France], now have a historic responsibility,” Pope Benedict sad. “Schools and other institutions of Catholic education undergirds many of the initiatives and movements of the New Evangelization.”


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday Audience - 28.11.12

  “How do we speak of God in our times?” Pope Benedict XVI asked the crowd in the Paul VI auditorium as he opened his weekly public audience on November 28. The Pope answered his own rhetorical question by saying that we “encounter the face of God” in the Person of Jesus Christ. “God has spoken to us,” he said, “not an abstract or hypothetical God, but a real God, a God Who exists, Who entered history and remains present in history.”


Picture: Vincenzo Pinto/ AFP/ Getty Images

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The persecution of Christians in Pakistan

Pakistan: Christian orphan meets terrible death
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The victim: Suneel Masih (photo by Asia News)
 The victim: Suneel Masih (photo by Asia News)

First the case of the disabled girl put behind bars and now the story of a 14 year old boy found disfigured and brutally murdered. The Christian community is in shock

Mauro Pianta

Fear among the Christian community in Pakistan is growing. After the case of the eleven year old disabled girl who was arrested on charges of blasphemy the country has been shaken by the news of the violence committed against another Christian child.

Missionary news agency AsiaNews reported that on 21 August the police in Faisalabad found the horribly mutilated body of Suneel Masih in an isolated area of ​​the city.  They 14 year old boy, a Christian orphan from the city, had disappeared two days earlier. There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding the brutal murder. Sadly, what is certain, is that the body was found with the ears, nose, tongue and limbs torn from the body, the belly ripped open and internal organs (including the liver and kidneys) taken, perhaps to be sold on the black market. As if this were not enough, the killers then poured acid on his face, possibly to make him unrecognizable.

The boy’s funeral was held yesterday in the presence of the minority leader and local politicians. A protest march was held on the streets of Faisalabad, during which people repeatedly demanded "justice" for the 14 year old Suneel Masih. AsiaNews reports that no investigation has been opened yet.

But what happened? What was the reason for a murder of this kind? According to some witnesses, - AsiaNews says - last 19 August Suneel, a 5th class student, went to a shop in Liberty Market to buy a shirt. That night, the boy did not return home and the family raised the alarm. A desperate search began, which proved to be useless and his disappearance was reported to police. Two days later, on 21, police found the horribly mutilated corpse of the boy in an isolated industrial area. 

The murder comes as yet another terrible shock to Pakistan’s Christian community. Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr. Nisar Barkat, diocesan director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Church of Pakistan (NCJP), appealed to the government and law enforcement to bring the perpetrators to justice "as soon as possible." The Christian community, the priest adds, feels insecure and cannot stop thinking about this horrible case. Hindus and Christians "live in fear". The Christian MP of Punjab Joel Aamir Sohotra echoes this fear, saying that "this brutal murder poses a serious reflection on the freedoms enjoyed by minorities, because "we are not just in front of the murder of a Christian boy, but the freedom of all minorities."

Some Christians are now beginning to see that the time has come for mass manifestations.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Presentation of the Year of Faith

Vatican City, 21 June 2012 (VIS) - A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office for the presentation of the Year of Faith which is due to last from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013. The conference was presented by Archbishop Rino Fisichella and Msgr. Graham Bell, respectively president and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.
Archbishop Fisichella also presented the website and logo of the Year of Faith, and outlined the calendar of events due to take place in Rome during that period.

Pope to Syrian Christians: Do not lose light of hope

This morning the Holy Father received participants in the annual general meeting of the Reunion of Organisations for Aid to the Oriental Churches (ROACO).
In his remarks to the group Benedict XVI mentioned the social and economic crisis which, "due to the global dimension it has taken on, does not spare the more economically developed parts of the world and, even more worryingly, also affects the most disadvantaged areas". Above all in the East, "homeland to ancient Christian traditions", this process "generates insecurity and instability also at the ecclesial level, and in the ecumenical and inter-religious fields. These factors nourish endemic wounds of history and make dialogue, peace, coexistence among peoples and authentic respect for human rights even more fragile, especially the right to religious freedom for individuals and communities".
In this year's meeting, representatives form the Holy Land were joined by prelates from the Syro-Malabar Church in India, the Greek-Catholic Church of Ukraine, the apostolic nuncio to Syria and the president of Caritas in Syria.
"This", the Holy Father said, "is an occasion to reaffirm my closeness to the great suffering of our brothers and sister in Syria, in particular the young innocents and those most defenceless. May our prayers, our commitment and our concrete fraternity in Christ ... help them not to lose the light of hope at this moment of darkness; and may God give wisdom of heart to those in positions of responsibility, that all violence and bloodshed may cease".
In closing Benedict XVI called on the members of ROACO to be "eloquent signs of the charity that pours from Christ’s heart" and to "present the Church to the world in her most authentic identity and mission". He concluded by expressing the hope that the Virgin would give them hope and watch over his own forthcoming trip to Lebanon.

Full text of Pope Benedict XVI's speech to ROACO

More at

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Yesterday's Audience - 13.6.12

Pope: in a world that relies only on efficiency, we witness the power of prayer

General audience, Benedict XVI speaks of the Second Letter to the Corinthians. St. Paul emphasizes the difficulties and opposition encountered, he does not boast of his strength and his success, but of what God has done through him. To the point of saying: "I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In a world in which we risk relying only on the power of human means, we are called to rediscover and bear witness to the power of prayer, through which we grow day by day as our lives are conformed to that of Christ, who 'was crucified through weakness, but lives by the power of God,' "a God who does not free us from ills, but it helps us to mature in the face of suffering, difficulties, persecution" . This the teaching that Benedict XVI has taken from II Corinthians, of which he spoke to eight thousand people present in the Paul VI for the general audience.

The Pauline text, the Pope explained, shows that even "though our outer world is unraveling," "If we remain in God", "the inner world matures every day." St. Paul, in fact, "lists the communities that he founded, the miles traveled, not only to remember the difficulties and opposition he faced in order to proclaim the Gospel, but to indicate is relationship with the Lord, a relationship so intense to be characterized also by moments of ecstasy, deep contemplation, so he does not boast of what he did, of his strength, but boasts of the action of God in him and through him. " And "to tell what can not be told, he even speaks in third person, when he says: I know someone in Christ who, fourteen years ago, was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this person was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one may utter ".

"His contemplation was so deep and intense that the Apostle does not even remember the contents of the revelation received, but has in mind the date and circumstances in which the Lord grabbed him so completely, drew him to Himself, as He had done on the road to Damascus at the time of his conversion "
In order not to suffer from pride he "bears a thorn, a suffering" from which he prayed to be freed. "The Risen Lord speaks clear and reassuring words to him: My grace is sufficient for you, strength is made perfect in weakness." " Paul's comments to these words are surprising, but they also reveal how he really understood what it means to be an apostle: I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. So I am content with weaknesses , insults, hardships, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ: for when I am weak, then I am strong. '"

Paul "clearly understood how to face and experience each event in his life, especially those involving suffering, difficulty and persecution: at the moment we feel our own weakness the power of God becomes manifest, a power which does not abandon or leave us alone but becomes our support and our strength. "
And for us, as " As our union with the Lord grows and our prayer becomes more intense, we too come to focus on the essential and to understand that it is not the power of our own means that creates the Kingdom of God, but God Who works miracles through our very weakness. We must be humble enough not to trust in ourselves, but to work in the vineyard of the Lord, trusting in Him. "

Another point that emerges from the Letter, is the value of the contemplation of God, it is at the same time, "fascinating and terrifying: fascinating because he draws us to himself and steals our heart upwards, bringing it to its height where we experience the peace, the beauty of his love; terrifying because it lays bare our human weaknesses, our inadequacies, the effort to overcome the evil that threatens our lives, even the thorn in our flesh. In prayer, in everyday contemplation of the Lord, we receive the power of God."

"The more we give time to prayer - concluded the Pope - the more we will see our lives transformed and animated by the real power of God's love. This is what happened, for example, to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta who, in contemplating Jesus, discovered the ultimate reason and incredible strength to recognise Him in the poor and abandoned, despite her fragile figure. The contemplation of Christ in our life does not distance us from reality", the Pope concluded. "It makes us even more involved in human affairs, because the Lord, drawing us to Himself in prayer, enables us to remain close to all our brothers and sisters in His love".


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Canonization of St. Hildegard of Bingen

Pope Declares Hildegard of Bingen a Saint


VATICAN CITY (Catholic News Service) -- Although she was never canonized, St. Hildegard of Bingen is to be added to the Catholic Church's formal list of saints, and Catholics worldwide may celebrate her feast day with a Mass and special readings by order of Pope Benedict XVI. 
The Vatican announced May 10 that the pope formalized the church's recognition of the 12th-century German Benedictine mystic, "inscribing her in the catalogue of saints." The same day, the pope advanced the sainthood causes of 19th-century U.S. Bishop Frederic Baraga of Marquette, Mich., and of Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, a member of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, N.J., who died in 1927. The Pope's order regarding St. Hildegard recognizes her widespread fame of holiness and the that Catholics have venerated her for centuries.
In a 2010 series of audience talks about women's contributions to the church, Pope Benedict dedicated two talks to St. Hildegard. He said she is a worthy role model for Catholics today because of "her love for Christ and his church, which was suffering in her time, too, and was wounded also then by the sins of priests and laypeople." In St. Hildegard's time, there were calls for radical reform of the church to fight the problem of abuses made by the clergy, the pope had said. However, she "reproached demands to subvert the very nature of the church" and reminded people that "a true renewal of the ecclesial community is not achieved so much with a change in the structures as much as with a sincere spirit of penitence."

Frei Galvão - Feast Day 11.May

Saint Anthony of Saint Ann Galvão (Portuguese: Santo António de Sant'Anna Galvão), O.F.M., popularly known as Frei Galvão (Friar Galvão), (1739 — December 23, 1822) was a Brazilian friar of the Franciscan Order. One of the best-known religious figures in Brazil, renowned for his healing powers, canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on May 11, 2007.
His father, António Galvão de França, was the Portuguese-born Captain-General of the village. Although he was active in the world of politics and commerce, Anthony the father also belonged to the Third Order of Saint Francis and was known for his generosity. His mother, Isabel Leite de Barros, was from a farming family, and was a great-granddaughter of the famous bandeirante explorer Fernão Dias Pais, known as the "Emerald Hunter". She gave birth to eleven children before her premature death in 1755, at age 38. Equally known for her generosity, Isabel was found to have given away all of her clothes to the poor at the time of her death.

St. John of Avila, soon to be a Doctor of the Church

Feast Day 10.May
6 January 1499 at Almodovar del Campo (Ciudad Real), Toledo, New Castile, Spain - 10 May 1569 at Montilla, Spain, of natural causes
Soon to be a Doctor of the Church
St. John of Avila, soon to be a Doctor of the Church

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Pope's Audience to the Swiss Guards


Vatican City, 7 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience new Swiss Guard recruits who yesterday took the oath at their swearing-in ceremony.

After greeting the recruits and their families, as well as representatives of the Swiss authorities accompanying the group, Benedict XVI dwelt on the fact that the Swiss Guards undertake "a direct service to the Supreme Pontiff and the Apostolic See. It is heartening to see that young men choose to consecrate a number of years of their lives to helping Peter's Successor and his collaborators", he said.

"Your work", he told the recruits, "is part of a tradition of unquestioned fidelity to the Pope, which became heroic sacrifice during the 'Sack of Rome' in 1527 when, on 6 May, your predecessors lost their lives. The special service of the Swiss Guards could not then, and cannot now be carried out without the characteristics which distinguish each member of the corps: firm Catholic faith; faithfulness and love for the Church of Jesus Christ; diligence and perseverance in everyday tasks, the great and the small; courage and humility; altruism and willingness. Your hearts must be replete with these virtues when you discharge your service of honour and security in the Vatican.

More at http://visnews-en.blogspot.pt/2012/05/pope-to-swiss-guards-secret-of-your.html
Picture: Getty Images

The new France

This article was writen on Mai,1.

On the left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon – 11.1% in the first round, with a largely communist and revolutionary rhetoric – has openly called on his electors to vote for François Hollande and although he is not officially asking for anything in exchange, the sheer weight of his first-round result is expected to induce Hollande into radicalizing his left-wing stance if he is elected.
[ he was]

Mélenchon is a self-proclaimed admirer of Robespierre who personally organized and watched over the genocide of the “Vendéens”, catholic peasants in the West of France who rose up in arms to defend persecuted priests, their local rights and the traditional political order during the French Revolution and its secularist dictatorship.

Mélenchon is not so far removed from Hollande himself who has promised to inscribe the law of separation of State and Church of 1905 into the French Constitution, should he be elected to the presidency. The beginning of the XXth century in France saw the exile of religious orders, the confiscation of church buildings and assets, the tracking of Catholic officers in the French army and other restrictions on religious liberty which declined in the common effort of World War I. Enshrining the largely unapplied law of 1905 in the Constitution is seen by many as a declaration of open hostility to Catholic and Christian rights, in the name of securalism.

Apart from heavy taxation, massive State spending and extended rights for the non-European immigrant population – including voting rights for those immigrants in local elections and political overtures to the Muslim population – François Hollande’s program contains many unacceptable promises from the pro-life viewpoint.

He has promised the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia, albeit in guarded tones. The French senate can be expected to vote for such a measure since the socialists gained a majority there last September. The National Assembly is expected to follow suit in the legislative elections next June if François Hollande wins on Sunday.

All of these potential developments would create a dramatically dangerous new political situation for France since, until now, the Senate acted as a brake on leftwing policies even under socialist presidents with a majority in the National Assembly.

François Hollande has also promised to make abortion more widely available and to create abortion centers in all State hospitals. 80% of abortion costs are paid for by the State budget; he has promised to drive up that figure to 100%. He wants to make contraception free and anonymous for minors. He has promised to legalize embryo research, homosexual “marriage” and homosexual adoption.
Hollande also wants to make schooling compulsory at three years of age (against the currently age six) and has committed himself to reducing State funding of Catholic schools and reversing legislation that allows parents to choose a State school outside their particular territory. "

So now we can see how will be France from now on.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Australian Priest announces he has a wife

Australian Priest announces he has a wife, claims there are more like him

The now dismissed priest tries to use his action as basis for dissent

A Catholic priest in Australia has confessed to the public that he was secretly married last year. Now former Father Kevin Lee of Padre Pio parish in Glenmore Park, Australia, says the Church should relax its rules on celbacy for priests. 
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (Catholic Online) - Lee also claimed in an opinion offered to Australia's Seven Network that, "There is a connection between the fact that the church commits people to celibacy and yet there's so many abuses and scandals that have been hidden behind that cloak of celibacy."

Lee referred to a recent sex scandal involving another priest that was publicized on the same day of his secret marriage in an effort to make such a connection. Of course, it proves nothing. Lee also confessed to having a series of girlfriends during his 20-year tenure as a priest.

The priest was immediately removed from ministry. He certainly excommunicated himself by his own action. A consecrated celibate priest cannot enter into marriage.

In the Roman Catholic Church, men who are called forth to orders in priestly ministry pledge to remain celibate. This is an ancient practice, with biblical and early Christian roots. They are set aside to be a sign of the life to come where there will be no giving or taking in marriage.

Consecrated celibacy also makes the priest more available for pastoral service to the whole Church.  There is a different practice and discipline in Eastern Catholic Churches. It is also ancient. In the Eastern Catholic churches, only celibate priests can be called forth to the office of Bishop.

In both Roman and Eastern Catholic Churches, both married and celibate men can be called to ordination as deacons. However, the married deacons pledge to remain cleibate ifthey lose their wives.

Some priests have broken their vow of celibacy. Others are seeking to use this in a kind of pressure movement to persuade the Church to abandon this ancient discipline. others, like Lee claim there are others like him that are also secretly married or dating women. He said he intends to reveal the names of others who are living secret lives like himself.

Bishop Anthony Fisher, the head of Lee's diocese said, "As Father Kevin is aware, by his actions he can no longer operate as a priest and as a result I will immediately be appointing an administrator to Padre Pio parish." Fisher also denied the allegation that most priests live secret double lives.

In recent years, Pope Benedict XVI has dealt with the issues attendant to marriage and Holy Orders on several fronts. He has regularly affirmed the ancient practice in the West of choosing only celibate men for the priesthood.

Some members of the Church have used this issue to dissent. They do not ask the question properly, "whether married men should ever be allowed to be ordained as priests in the Catholic Church". Instead they "demand" that priests already ordained, having pledged to remain celibate, be allowed to be dispensed from that vow and marry.

Still some others have called for something which is never going to happen, the ordination to the priesthood of women. Finally, some call for the abandonment of fundamental Christian morality such as the acceptance of homosexual practice.

Pope Benedict has made it clear that such dissent from the teaching of the Church will not change the teaching and discipline of the Church. 

The teachings of scripture, the traditipon and discipline of the Church, and her mission, cannot be altered by the political climate or from pressure groups outside or insideher membership.  

Scandals will occur, but the Church will always abide in Christ and will continue to tirelessly fulfill its mission (Matthew 16:18-19).

© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

China: blind pro-life activist makes daring escape

CWN - April 27, 2012

A blind attorney who has documented forced late-term abortions and sterilizations in Shandong province has made a daring escape from his home. Hiding in an undisclosed location in Beijing, Chen Guangcheng said in a video that he and his family suffered beatings from authorities during his house arrest.
“The wife, children, and mother are on the extreme edge of vulnerability,” said Phelim Kine of Human Rights Watch. “They have already been brutally victimized for merely trying to get outside the compound for food or medical attention, so it is quite likely that the plainclothes thugs will react quite brutally to his escape. It is our hope that all diplomatic missions will make strong representations for their safety.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
Feastday: April 24
1577 - 1622

Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, Germany, in 1577. A practicing lawyer, he traveled across Europe as a tutor to aristocrats but then started defending the poor. In 1612, he became a Franciscan Capuchin monk, taking the name of Fidelis. A missionary to Grisons, Switzerland, Fidelis was so successful that local Protestants claimed that he was a spy for the Austrian Emperor. Fidelis was stabbed to death in a church id Seewis. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XIV. Fidelis served also as the head of the Congregation for the Spreading of the Faith. 
Fidelis of Sigmaringen (1577 – 24 April 1622) was a Capuchin friar martyred in the Counter-Reformation at Seewis im Prättigau, Switzerland.

Early life

He was born Mark Roy or Rey and took the name of "Fidelis" when he joined the Capuchin Order at the age of 35 in 1612. He was born at Sigmaringen, a town in modern-day Germany, in the then Principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. His father's name was John Rey. He studied law and philosophy at Freiburg.
St Fidelis subsequently taught philosophy at the University of Freiburg, ultimately earning a "doctor of laws". During his time as a student he did not drink wine, and wore a hair-shirt. He was known for his modesty, meekness, and chastity.
In 1604, he accompanied three young gentlemen of Switzerland on their travels through the principal parts of Europe. During six years of travel, he attended Mass very frequently; in every town where he came, he visited the hospitals and churches, passed several hours on his knees in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and gave to the poor sometimes the very clothes off his back.
Upon his return to Switzerland, he practiced law as a counsellor or advocate, at Colmar, in Alsace. He scrupulously forbore all invectives, detractions, and whatever might affect the reputation of any adversary. His charity procured him the surname of "counsellor and advocate for the poor". Disenchanted with the evils associated with his profession, he was determined to enter the Capuchin friars.

Life as a friar

Upon entering the convent, the guardian gave him the Latin religious name of "Fidelis", meaning Faithful, alluding to that text from the Scriptures (Book of Revelation) which promises a crown of life to him who shall continue faithful to the end. He finished his novitiate and studies for the ministry, offering his first Mass at the Capuchin convent at Fribourg, on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi (October 4), in 1612.
As soon as St Fidelis finished his course of theology, he was immediately employed in preaching and in hearing confessions. After becoming guardian (superior) of the Capuchin Convent of Weltkirchen, Feldkirch, many residents of town and neighboring places were reformed by his zealous labors, and several Calvinists were converted. The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith commissioned Fidelis to preach among the Grisons. Eight other Capuchin fathers were to be his assistants, and they labored in this mission under his direction.
The Calvinists of that territory, being incensed at this attempt to convert their brethren, loudly threatened Fidelis' life, and he prepared himself for martyrdom. Ralph de Salis, and another Calvinist gentleman, were both converted by his first conferences. Fidelis and his companions entered into Prättigau, a small district of the Grisons, in 1622, on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6. The effects of his ardent zeal, where the Bishop of Coire sent a lengthy and full account to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, enraged the Calvinists in that province.
On April 24, 1622, St Fidelis made his confession, said Mass, and then preached at Grüsch. At the end of his sermon, which he had delivered with more than ordinary zeal, he stood silent all of a sudden, with his eyes fixed upon Heaven, in ecstasy. He foretold his death to several persons in the clearest terms, and began signing his letters, "P. Fidelis, prope diem esca vermium" ("Father Fidelis, in days ahead to become food for worms"). After the service at Grüsch he and several companions traveled to Seewis. His companions noted that he was particularly cheerful.

More at http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=3355

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Brother, the Pope

The Ratzinger Family Secret

Pope Benedict XVI’s brother shares memories in My Brother, the Pope.

Msgr. Georg Ratzinger’s new book, My Brother, the Pope, brings new insights into the private life of the Ratzinger family. First published in Germany, the book is a series of interviews Msgr. Ratzinger gave to German journalist Michael Hesemann.
Hesemann was born in Düsseldorf in 1964 and studied history and cultural anthropology at the University of Göttingen. Accredited at the Holy See Press Office since 1999, Hesemann wrote several bestselling books on Church history and Christian archaeology.
My Brother, the Pope has been translated into English by Michael Miller and was recently published in the United States by Ignatius Press. Hesemann spoke with Register correspondent Robert Rauhut about the project.


In the past, we have experienced various attempts to reduce Pope Benedict’s past to the Nazi era. How does this book help to address that mischaracterization of the Ratzinger family’s values and activities during that era?

Well, you could have been hardly more anti-Nazi than the Ratzinger family. The Pope’s father was a small-town policeman when he stopped Nazi rallies and ended Nazi Party meetings, so the Nazis complained about him, and he was advised to request removal to a village — which he did, although it was a step down the career ladder. He hated them; he called Hitler “the Antichrist.” He couldn’t wait for his retirement, since he did not want to serve the Nazi regime, and, of course, he never joined the Nazi Party.
Instead, he was a subscriber to the most outspoken Catholic anti-Nazi newspaper, Der Gerade Weg, whose editor in chief, Fritz Gerlich, was murdered by the Nazis just after they came to power. After Hitler’s election, Joseph Ratzinger Sr. told his family frankly and nearly prophetically: “Soon we will have a war, so let’s buy a house” — which they did. He wanted to create security. They did not want to stay in an office flat of or for policemen. He foresaw a possible devaluation of money already earned and saved. And his retirement wasn’t a long way off. To ensure his family greater security they bought a house.
Indeed, the decision of both brothers to join the seminary was also a protest against the Nazis, and you can just imagine how seminarians were mocked by the Nazi boys of their age. Although it was the law to join the Hitler Youth and the whole class was automatically enlisted, young Joseph Ratzinger avoided it. He frankly told his school teacher he did not want to go, and, eventually, the teacher allowed him to stay at home. Even their older sister, Maria Ratzinger, who was an intelligent young lady and dreamed of becoming a school teacher for all her childhood, refused to study when the Nazis came to power and became a lawyer’s secretary instead: She just did not want to teach Nazi ideology at a Nazi school.
There were a few good Catholics in Germany, even during the Nazi regime — people who suffered a lot, and the Ratzingers were among them.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Catholics and death penalty

Noting the notable role of Catholicism in recent state death penalty abolition efforts

Today's Washington Post ran this interesting story headlined "Catholic activists pushing politicians to turn tide against the death penalty." Here are excerpts:
Soon, probably next week, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy will sign into a law a bill that abolishes the death penalty in his state. When he does, Connecticut will be the fifth state to enact such legislation in as many years — and the third with a governor who was raised a Roman Catholic....
Powerful, vocal Roman Catholics have been much in the news of late, mostly for their hard-line positions on abortion and birth control, and their self-serving rhetoric on the subject of religious rights in the health-care debate.  But Catholic activists are playing another political role, too — under the radar — on an issue that hasn’t made the same sorts of headlines.
They are helping to turn the tide of public opinion in the United States against the death penalty.  (According to a Pew poll earlier this year, about a third of Americans now oppose capital punishment, up from 18 percent in the mid-1990s.)  And they are appealing to the consciences of Roman Catholic politicians to do it.
The sanctity of human life is central to Catholic theology, and for death penalty opponents, this sanctity extends as much to living men and women convicted of capital crimes as it does to embryos and fetuses....
Last November, a delegation of international death-penalty opponents was invited to a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI.  There, the pope praised and encouraged “the political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty.”...
In 2011, on Ash Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that abolished the death penalty in Illinois.  Quinn had attended Catholic schools as a child and went to Georgetown University but had long supported capital punishment.
More at http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2012/04/noting-the-notable-role-of-catholicism-in-recent-state-death-penalty-abolition-efforts.html


"Pope seeks end to death penalty"

The title of this post is the headline of this AP story, which gets started this way:
Pope Benedict XVI voiced support Wednesday for political actions around the world aimed at eliminating the death penalty, reflecting his stance as an opponent of capital punishment.
He made the comments during his weekly public audience to participants at a meeting being promoted by the Catholic Sant'Egidio Community on the theme "No Justice without Life."  He said he hopes "your deliberations will encourage the political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty."
At http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2011/12/pope-seeks-end-to-death-penalty.html

That unforgettable day

One of the happiest days of my life!

Alessandra Benedetti/ Corbis

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Pope's Birthday V

The Pope's Birthday IV

AFP/Osservatore Romano/ Profimedia

AFP/Osservatore Romano/ Profimedia


AFP/ Osservatore Romano/ Profimedia

AFP/ Gregorio Borgia/ Profimedia

AFP/ Gregorio Borgia/ Profimedia

AFP/ Osservatore Romano/ Profimedia



The shadow

The shadow
Even when we can not see him, his hand is always there!

At God's service