22 February 2013
In this image from 2009, Pope Benedict XVI prays inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at the spot that marks the traditional site of the crucifixion at Golgotha. The church in the Old City of Jerusalem was one of the last places the pope visited during his weeklong pilgrimage to the Holy Land in May 2009. The text of the address he delivered inside the church can be found here. (photo: CNS/Yannis Behrakis, Reuters)
21 February 2013
Tags: Jerusalem Pope Benedict XVI Holy Land Pilgrimage/pilgrims Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Pope Benedict XVI presents a red hat to Syro-Malankara Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis of Trivandrum, India, during a consistory in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 24 November. The pope created six new cardinals from four different continents, representing the Latin rite as well as two Eastern Catholic churches. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Last fall, Pope Benedict XVI named as a cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis of India — a man who is a longtime friend and collaborator with CNEWA. Just a few months before he became a cardinal, Mar Cleemis paid a visit to our offices in New York:
Accompanied by the exarch for Syro-Malankara Catholics in North America and Europe, Bishop Thomas Mar Eusebius, His Beatitude shared some of his thoughts about his country, its people and the vibrant faith they have brought to North America. During a wide-ranging conversation in our staff conference room, he spoke passionately and eloquently about “witnessing” to the faith — through acts of compassion, charity and simple piety.
“We do that,” he said, “through education, through health care, through caring for those with H.I.V. and leprosy. It has to do with human dignity. I am proud and happy of how our people give witness with how they live.”
The major archbishop also wanted to underscore the universality of the Catholic Church. “Catholicity,” he noted, “is not uniformity, but diversity.” And he said that the Syro-Malankara Church could make its own unique contribution to “bring a new dimension to the Catholic Church.”
“We promote the theology of communion,” he said. “In this country, we have a strong vocation of being an apostle of communion.”
We are not here, he said, “just to preserve our linguistic tradition, but to strengthen the existing Catholic community. The church is beyond ethnic and linguistic boundaries.
“A lot of people have deserted, have gone away from the church and I think we have a responsibility. ... We have a role to play, to bring people back to the fold,” he continued.
Read more about his visit.
And you can learn more about the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church here.
20 February 2013
Tags: India Pope Benedict XVI Indian Christians Indian Catholics Eastern Catholics
In this image from 2010, Pope Benedict XVI visits Rome’s main synagogue on 17 January. During his visit the pope strongly reaffirmed the church’s commitment to dialogue with the Jews and its modern teachings against anti-Semitism. At left is German Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. From right is Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen, the chief rabbi of Haifa, Israel, and Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, the chief rabbi of Rome.
(photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
20 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Christian Unity Jews Judaism
Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah waves as he walks near St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 18 February. Cardinal Sarah is expected to have a major voice in the deliberations when they cardinals gather next month in Rome to elect a new pope. He is now on a visit to Syria for a regional conference and to meet Jordanian refugees. (photo: CNS/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)
Pope may change rules on conclave (CNN) Pope Benedict XVI is considering changing the Vatican constitution to allow a vote for his successor to begin before March 15, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Wednesday...
Cardinal visits Syria (VIS) Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” and Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, secretary of that dicastery, are in Jordan from today until Thursday, 21 February, to participate in the regional conference of Caritas in the Middle East, North Africa, and Horn of Africa, which is taking place in that country. The forum is a very important opportunity to take stock of the humanitarian aid provided by Catholic charities, including Caritas, to refugees and victims of violent conflict in Syria since representatives of all the Caritas organizations of that region, as well as representatives of the local churches, will be present...
Reports of typhoid in parts of Syria (Vatican Radio) Typhoid has broken out in an opposition-held region of Syria due to people drinking contaminated water from the Euphrates River, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced. An estimated 2,500 people in north-eastern Deir al-Zor province are infected with the contagious disease, which causes diarrhoea and can be fatal, the United Nations agency said. Meanwhile, both pro- and anti-government forces in Syria have become increasingly violent and reckless with human life, according to a report by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria...
Thousands of Indian villages affected by drought (Fides) At least 12,000 villages affected by prolonged drought in the district of Marathwada, in the central Indian state of Maharashtra, now face severe famine due to massive damage to crops over the past 12 months...
Indian government considers armed protection for temples, churches (The New Indian Express) Earlier this week, the State Government said it was toying with a proposal for constituting a Temple Protection Force using retired armed forces personnel. A dedicated corps of ‘guardian angels’ would indeed prove a blessing to places of worship, since statistics reveal that they are having a hard time in God’s Own Country keeping burglars out...
19 February 2013
Tags: Syria India Pope Benedict XVI Pope
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be hearing a lot of names and locations mentioned in connection with the conclave to elect the next pope.
This morning, Catholic News Service released the brief video below. It offers what the producer calls a “slow melodic” look at “faces and places” that will figure in this historic drama. It may even offer a peek at the next pope.
Take a look:
19 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Pope Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan Cardinal Leonardo Sandri
In this image from 2006, Pope Benedict XVI and Mustafa Cagrici, the grand mufti of Istanbul, pray in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. In trying to help people understand how belief in God is a natural part of life and provides grounding for the values that protect human dignity and peaceful coexistence, Pope Benedict saw Muslims and Jews as natural allies. (photo: CNS/Patrick Hertzog, Pool via Reuters)
During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has encouraged Christian-Muslim dialogue. He mentioned that prominently in his apostolic exhortation, delivered during his trip to Lebanon last September:
“May this region demonstrate that coexistence is not a utopia, and that distrust and prejudice are not a foregone conclusion. Religions can join one another in service to the common good and contribute to the development of each person and the building of society. The Christians of the Middle East have experienced for centuries the dialogue between Islam and Christianity. For them it means the dialogue of and in daily life. They know its rich possibilities and its limitations.”
15 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Unity Turkey Muslim Christian-Muslim relations
In this image from 2009, Pope Benedict XVI takes in the panoramic view from Mount Nebo in Madaba, Jordan. The place where Moses glimpsed the Promised Land before dying is marked by a modern sculpture of the prophet’s serpentine staff. (photo: CNS/Ali Jarekji, Reuters)
During his trip to the Holy Land in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI visited Mount Nebo in Jordan, the spot where tradition holds that Moses saw the Promised Land.
In a message that seems today both poignant and prophetic, the Holy Father said at the time:
In the footsteps of the prophets, the apostles and the saints, we are called to walk with the Lord, to carry on his mission, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s universal love and mercy.
We are called to welcome the coming of Christ’s kingdom by our charity, our service to the poor and our efforts to be a leaven of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace in the world around us.
We know that, like Moses, we may not see the complete fulfillment of God’s plan in our lifetime. Yet we trust that, by doing our small part, in fidelity to the vocation each of us has received, we will help to make straight the paths of the Lord and welcome the dawn of his kingdom.
The full text of his remarks can be found here.
You can read more on the pope’s trip from the July 2009 issue of ONE.
14 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Jordan Pilgrimage/pilgrims
Pope Benedict XVI prays at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, in the Old City of Jerusalem on 12 May 2009. The pope left a written prayer in a crevice of the wall. It appealed to God to bring “your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East, upon the entire human family.” (photo: CNS/Catholic Press Photo)
Like his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI has spent much of his time as pontiff traveling the world. In 2009, he made a historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land, praying at sites sacred to Christians, Muslims and Jews. He said at the time:
My friends: Jerusalem, which has long been a crossroads for peoples of many different origins, is a city that affords Jews, Christians and Muslims both the duty and the privilege to bear witness together to the peaceful coexistence long desired by worshipers of the one God; to lay bare the Almighty’s plan for the unity of the human family announced to Abraham; and to proclaim the true nature of man as a seeker of God. Let us resolve to ensure that through the teaching and guidance of our respective communities we shall assist them to be true to who they are as believers, ever aware of the infinite goodness of God, the inviolable dignity of every human being and the unity of the entire human family.
You can read more of his remarks from his journey in the July 2009 issue of ONE.
12 February 2013
Tags: Middle East Jerusalem Pope Benedict XVI Holy Land Prayers/Hymns/Saints
Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation yesterday at the Vatican. (photo: CNS/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
After Pope Benedict XVI’s historic announcement yesterday, the world has been asking a lot of questions about what the days ahead will bring.
John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter has posted a very good Q&A primer, which includes some speculation about how a former pontiff might spend his time:
What will Benedict’s role being in the election of his successor?
To hear [Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico] Lombardi and others tell it, he won’t have any role at all.
“Benedict XVI will surely say absolutely nothing about the process of election,” Lombardi told the media. “He will be retired and will not interfere in any way in the process. You can be assured that the cardinals will be completely autonomous in their decision.”
That said, Benedict’s imprint is nevertheless destined to be on the conclave in two ways.
First, he has by now appointed the majority of the cardinals who will elect his successor (67 out of 117 who will be under 80 when the sede vacante begins and thus hold the right to vote). In that sense, one can expect these are men who mostly share his outlook on things.
Second, because he’s still alive, at least some cardinals may feel special pressure not to do anything that would be perceived as a repudiation of Benedict’s papacy, or that they suspect would cause him consternation. How that might translate into choices inside the conclave isn’t entirely clear, but it’s a piece of the puzzle worth considering.
What will Benedict do after the new pope is on the job?
Here we’re really in the realm of the hypothetical, because the only honest answer is that we just don’t know.
It’s reasonable to think that after some period of near-complete withdrawal to make it clear that the new pope is fully in charge, Benedict might want to resume writing on the scholarly and spiritual topics that have always been his passion.
Lombardi hinted at that possibility Tuesday, saying Benedict’s long-awaited encyclical on faith (timed to coincide with the Year of Faith, and completing a triptych with his earlier works on love and hope) would not be ready to go before he steps down. He left open the possibility, however, that Benedict might be able to make use of this material in another form in a private capacity.
Whether Benedict will publish writings while he’s still alive, however, or whether he’ll take appointments, appear at Vatican events, or otherwise play some sort of public role, is all apparently still being pondered.
What are the implications of all this for future popes?
Once again, Vatican officials have been at pains to say that Benedict’s is an “absolutely personal” choice, and that because every situation is different, it’s impossible to say what future popes might do.
Lombardi made a special point today of stressing that Benedict wouldn’t do anything to tie his successor’s hands. He said, for instance, that while Benedict clearly wants a pope to be present at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in July, it will be up the next pontiff to freely decide if he wants to go or not.
Read it all at the NCR link.
12 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Pope Papacy Holy See
Pope Benedict XVI has made many travels during his pontificate, including a historic trip to Lebanon in September, to deliver his apostolic exhortation. In this image, he is welcomed to Bkerke by Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter. Click here to read the full text of the exhortation. You can also read analysis of the document by Father Elias Mallon in the November 2012 issue of ONE. (photo: John E. Kozar)
Tags: Lebanon Pope Benedict XVI Ecumenism Christian Unity Exhortation