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13 March 2013
Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, greets the crowd from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. The 76-year-old Jesuit is from Buenos Aires, Argentina — making him both the first pontiff from the Americas and the first Jesuit pope. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
12 March 2013
Tags: Pope Francis Vatican Pope Papacy
Huddled in the rain, people in St. Peter’s Square watch on a large television monitor as cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel to begin the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI on 12 March. Shut off from the outside world, the 115 cardinals will cast their ballots to select a new pontiff. (photo: CNS/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters)
The conclave to elect to new pope began today, and so did the waiting:
Invoking the aid of the Holy Spirit and the holy men and women from all over the world recognized as saints, 115 cardinals processed slowly into the Sistine Chapel to begin the process to elect a pope.
Once in the chapel, the cardinals from 48 countries vowed that, if elected pope, they would faithfully fulfill the ministry of universal pastor of the church and would defend the rights and freedom of the Holy See.
They also solemnly swore to scrupulously follow the rules for the election of a pope and keep secret the results of the votes, unless they have express permission from the new pope to reveal details.
After reciting the oath together, each cardinal walked up to the Book of the Gospels, put his right hand on it, said his name and sealed his oath, “So help me God and these holy Gospels that I touch with my hand.”
The portion filmed by Vatican television ended with Msgr. Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, saying, “Extra omnes,” ordering out everyone not authorized to remain.
There’s more the Catholic News Service site.
11 March 2013
Tags: Vatican Catholic Pope Papacy Rome
In their new village home in Kerala, boys say grace before their meal. (photo: Sean Sprague)
In 2003, we took readers to a community in southwestern India caring for the poor and sick, where people were finding a new home with a new family:
Ajith, 7, and his brother, Ranjith, 10, used to eat dirt to stave off hunger pangs while living on the streets in a remote corner of India’s southwestern state, Kerala. The diet of the two boys, who had been abandoned by their parents, greatly improved, however, after they found a home in a village established two and a half years ago by a Syro-Malabar Catholic priest, Vincentian Father Anthony Plackal.
“We had no food, shelter or clothes, but now we are happy and well-fed,” Ranjith said. “We even attend school.”
The village, located in Vettikkuzi near the Christian heartland of Irinjalakuda, provides much-needed shelter and a new sense of “family” to local homeless people, young and old, healthy and infirm. Ajith and Ranjith live with 80 other residents, or patients as they are called, in six brick homes scattered across the gardens of the community’s 13 acres.
Local demand for the services of the project, dubbed Sacred Scripture Social Message Into Living Experience, or SSSMILE, is growing. The constant devotion of local religious and the construction of a new dormitory, built with financial assistance from CNEWA, will enable the village to help even more of those in need.
Read more on this remarkable project from the November 2003 issue of the magazine.
11 March 2013
In this image from last December, a blind man walks past cars and buildings damaged in fighting in the old city of Aleppo, Syria. (photo: CNS/Ahmed Jadallah, Reuters)
Few civilian areas remain untouched by Syrian war (Reuters) Few civilian areas in Syria remain untouched by the country’s two-year civil war and more than 2.5 million people have been displaced internally, according to the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria. Over the past two months, there has been a dramatic erosion of areas inside Syria where civilians are able to live unaffected by the violence and destruction caused by the conflict,” the panel told the Human Rights Council in Geneva today, according to an advance copy of its presentation. In its latest report, the commission said the collapse of Syria’s economy has crippled citizens’ access to basic economic and social rights...
UN: Syrian refugees top one million (Vatican Radio) The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says number of Syrians who have fled the conflict to other countries has now reached the one million mark. The agency says about half of the refugees are children, the majority under the age of eleven...
Timetable announced for conclave (VIS) During the course of the briefing for journalists on Saturday in the Press Office of the Holy See, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, outlined a timetable for the ceremonies and proceedings on the first days of the upcoming Conclave...
Egyptian Christian reportedly dies in Libyan custody (Associated Press) An Egyptian Foreign Ministry official says a man suspected of trying to spread Christianity in Libya has died in prison there. The diplomat says Ezzat Atallah, who suffered from diabetes and heart ailments, likely died of natural causes. He spoke anonymously Sunday in line with regulations. Atallah was among five Evangelical Christian Egyptians detained in Libya for allegedly proselytizing in the predominantly Muslim nation...
8 March 2013
Tags: Syria Egypt Refugees Pope Benedict XVI Libya
Workers cover the floor of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel on 8 March in preparation for the papal conclave. Cardinal electors assembled in Rome will begin voting for the next pope on 12 March. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)
It was announced today that cardinals will begin the process to elect the pope next Tuesday:
Cardinal electors assembled in Rome will begin voting for the next pope on 12 March.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, announced the date for the start of the election, known as a conclave, in a message to reporters on 8 March.
The first session of voting inside the Sistine Chapel will begin in the afternoon, following a morning Mass “Pro eligendo Summo Pontifice” (“for the election of the supreme pontiff”) in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Rules governing papal elections state that a conclave must start between 15 and 20 days after the Holy See falls vacant; but shortly before his resignation on 28 February, Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree allowing cardinal to move up the start date if they choose.
The College of Cardinals decided the date on the fifth day of its pre-conclave meetings, after waiting for the 115 cardinals eligible and expected to vote. The last to arrive in Rome was Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, who joined the others on 7 March.
At the morning session on 8 March, before announcing the scheduled vote, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, told the assembly that with the changes made by Pope Benedict, the cardinals would not have to debate on whether they were authorized to begin the conclave before 15 March, Father Lombardi said.
7 March 2013
Tags: Vatican Pope Papacy Rome
In Ohrid, Macedonia, a priest takes to the streets, blessing the faithful with holy water. (photo: Sean Sprague)
In 2004, writer Sean Sprague visited a corner of Macedonia to report on the thriving faith of the Orthodox:
Although Macedonia became a republic within the newly created Yugoslav federation, which also included Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia, the Communist government of Josip Broz Tito encouraged Macedonian nationalists and the independence of the Church of Ohrid — if only to irritate Greek ambitions in the area.
The Archdiocese of Ohrid was restored in 1958. Nine years later on the 200th anniversary of its dissolution and despite opposition from the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Macedonian Orthodox Church proclaimed itself autocephalous.
“We are now a free church and a free people,” exclaimed Father Eftim Betinski, a parish priest from St. George Church. “Now that we have independence, people feel free to visit churches, participate in public ceremonies and make old traditions a part of their lives again.”
When Macedonia was a part of Yugoslavia, people were free to worship, but the Communist government discouraged public religious activities.
“We have an annual tradition where the bishop throws a cross into the lake on 19 January, symbolizing the baptism of Christ. Men dive into the frigid water to retrieve the cross and the one who finds it keeps it for 40 days and receives small donations from people,” Father Betinski said. “The practice used to be forbidden, but now it is allowed.”
The Macedonian Orthodox Church — now under the leadership of Stefan, Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia — is clearly growing.
Read more about the Macedonian Orthodox in Answering the Macedonian Question from the July 2004 issue of ONE.
6 March 2013
Tags: Cultural Identity Eastern Europe Communism/Communist Macedonia Macedonian Orthodox Church
Patriarch Louis Raphael I stands with his crosier after being enthroned as the new head of the Chaldean Church at St. Joseph Chaldean Church in Baghdad on 6 March. For more on the Chaldean Catholic Church, check out this overview or our more-recent profile in ONE. (photo: CNS/Saad Shalash, Reuters)
5 March 2013
Tags: Chaldean Church Patriarchs Eastern Catholic Churches
The stovepipe that carries the smoke from burning conclave ballots and documents is seen in the Sistine Chapel after it was made ready for the 2005 conclave. Both Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have remarked on the inspiration of Michelangelo’s frescos during the deliberations and rituals of the conclave. Reports indicate that the Sistine Chapel will be closed to the public after Tuesday, to prepare for the conclave. (photo: CNS)
Amid building anticipation for the beginning of the conclave, those cardinals who participated in the 2005 conclave recount their experiences. CNS reports:
Less than half of the 117 cardinals eligible to vote for a successor to Pope Benedict XVI were in the 2005 conclave that elected him.
Two of those that were — Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa and South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier — described the scene as being one of deep prayer and trembling.
Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga told Catholic News Service that, during the conclave, the cardinals spend most of their time in the Sistine Chapel, even though they cast ballots only four times a day.
The time in the chapel includes prayer, writing names on ballots and counting them. But when casting each vote, each cardinal must stand and publicly swear, in Latin, that he is voting according to his conscience. With 115 cardinal-electors expected, that will take time.
“In front of the crucifix and in front of the ’Final Judgment’ painting, we say, ’I call Jesus as a witness, and he will judge me that I have elected according to my conscience,’ so you can imagine … why it takes so long. And in the meantime, when everybody is casting their votes, we are praying, so it is like a big cenacle of prayer.”
“This is beautiful,” Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga said. “This is the most loving experience, how an election should be. I wish all the elections in the world could be like that: in an atmosphere of prayer.” …
U.S. Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, who celebrated his 80th birthday last July and is ineligible to enter this conclave, told CNS, “The conclave is basically an extended liturgy,” with prayer punctuating every moment of the day, including the voting.
Read the rest here.
4 March 2013
Tags: Vatican Catholic Church Papacy Catholicism
Cardinals attend a meeting at the synod hall in the Vatican on 4 March. Preparations for electing a new pope began as the College of Cardinals met. Catholic News Service has additional details about the pre-conclave meetings. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano Via Reuters)
4 March 2013
A Swiss Guard salutes as U.S. Cardinals Roger M. Mahony, retired archbishop of Los Angeles, Edward M. Egan, retired archbishop of New York, and Donald W. Wuerl of Washington arrive for the first general congregation meeting in the synod hall at the Vatican on 4 March.
(photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Vatican says 12 cardinal electors still to arrive for conclave (Vatican Radio) 142 of the 207 Cardinals from the College of Cardinals were present Monday morning for the First General Congregation in preparation for the Conclave to elect the 265th Successor to St. Peter. Of those present Monday 103 are Cardinal electors, meaning that 12 Cardinal electors are still on their way to Rome...
Patriarch thanks Benedict for firmness, humility (Interfax) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has thanked Pope Benedict XVI, who has stepped down from his post, for his uncompromising position on faith issues and wished him strength, the patriarch’s press service reported. “In these days, which are special to you, I would like to express feelings of brotherly love in Christ and respect,” the patriarch said in his message to the pontiff...
Thousands demand tougher adoption laws in Russia (Vatican Radio) Pro-Kremlin activists have rallied in central Moscow to demand that the government extends a ban on American families adopting Russian children to all foreign nationals. Saturday’s protest of up to 20,000 people came a day after authorities in the U.S. State of Texas said the death in January of 3-year-old Max Shatto, was “an accident.” Protesters also demanded his brother to be returned to Russia...
Kidnapping ring in Eritrea reaches into the U.S. (Wall Street Journal) To the outside world, Eritrea is a little-known sliver of Red Sea coastline above the Horn of Africa. But refugees fleeing its single-party regime have become the primary victims of what human rights groups say is one the world’s more elusive and terrifying kidnapping rings. The refugees are typically captured as they cross Eritrea’s border, then trafficked into regions of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula that are virtually lawless, creating an open season for smugglers who hold victims while extorting family members in Africa, Europe and the U.S...
Syrian government urged to seize window of opportunity (Vatican Radio) United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is urging the Syrian government to take up a proposal of opposition representatives for a meeting to discuss a resolution to the ongoing conflict, calling it a “small window of opportunity” that “may soon close.” Ban met Saturday with a senior group of UN advisers in order to discuss a possible resolution for the ongoing conflict in Syria...
Tags: Syria Pope Benedict XVI Russia Orthodox Eritrea