4 March 2013
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)
1 March 2013
Workers remove the banner with Pope Benedict XVI's coat of arms after the pope's final public appearence as pope in the town square in Castel Gandolfo on 28 February. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
28 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Catholic Pope Papacy
Pope Benedict XVI addresses the College of Cardinals at the Vatican on 28 February, the final day of his papacy. In attendance were 144 cardinals, including many of the 115 younger than 80 who are eligible and expected to vote in the upcoming conclave. Read the text of his final remarks to the cardinals here. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
27 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Pope Papacy
Signs salute Pope Benedict XVI with words of gratitude as he arrives to lead his final general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 27 February. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Pope Benedict XVI held his final public audience this morning. CNS describes the scene:
On his last full day as pope, Pope Benedict XVI delivered an unusually personal and emotional farewell address, thanking the faithful around the world for their support and assuring them that he would remain in their service even in retirement.
“I will continue to accompany the path of the church with prayer and reflection, with that dedication to the Lord and to his bride that I have tried to live every day till now and that I want to live always,” the pope told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square on 27 February, the eve of his resignation.
Under a clear blue sky with temperatures in the low 40s, the pope arrived for his last public audience shortly after 10:30 a.m., standing and waving for almost 15 minutes as his white popemobile made a circuit through the square. Cheering pilgrims waved national flags and banners with slogans such as “always with the pope” and “you will never be alone.”
The crowd spilled over into the adjacent Via della Conciliazione, which had been closed to motorized traffic, and the Vatican estimated turnout at 150,000.
Abandoning his usual practice of giving a catechetical talk on a devotional text or theme at public audiences, the pope spoke about his time as pope and his historic decision to resign. He looked tired but composed as he read his speech, and he smiled at the frequent interruptions by applause.
Pope Benedict recalled his almost eight-year pontificate as a time of “joy and light, but also difficult moments.”
“The Lord has given us so many days of sun and light breeze, days in which the catch of fish has been abundant,” he said, likening himself to St. Peter on the Sea of Galilee.
“There have also been moments in which the waters were turbulent and the wind contrary, as throughout the history of the church, and the Lord seemed to be asleep,” he said. “But I have always known that the Lord is in that boat and that the boat of the church is not mine, it is not ours, but it is his and he does not let it sink.”
Read the full text of the pope’s remarks here. Below, CNS has posted a video of the final blessing of the general audience:
26 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Pope Papacy
In this image from 2008, Pope Benedict XVI and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, left, stand in front of the tomb of St. Peter at the conclusion of a Mass on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican June 29. (photo: CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
Yesterday, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople paid tribute to Pope Benedict XVI and called him a “friend of the Orthodox Church”:
Pope Benedict leaves an indelible mark on the life and history of the Roman Catholic Church, sealed not only by his brief papacy, but also by his broad and longstanding contribution as a theologian and hierarch of his Church, as well as his universally acknowledged prestige.
His writings will long speak of his deep theological understanding, through his knowledge of the Fathers of the undivided Church, his familiarity with contemporary reality, and his keen interest in the problems of humankind.
We Orthodox will always honor him as a friend of our Church and a faithful servant of the sacred proposition for the union of all. Moreover, we shall rejoice upon learning of his sound health and the productivity of his theological work.
The photograph above is a reminder of the fraternal closeness of the patriarch and the pope: the successor of Peter and the successor of Peter’s brother, Andrew.
25 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Ecumenism Orthodox Church Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Pope Benedict XVI, Rabbi David Rosen and Wande Abimbola, representative for the Yoruba religion of Nigeria, smile as a dove is held up during the interfaith meeting for peace outside the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy,
on 27 October 2011. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
In October of 2011, Pope Benedict made a pilgrimage to Assisi to meet with other religious leaders and mark the 25th anniversary of the first interfaith gathering for peace there, hosted by Pope John Paul II in 1986.
As CNS reported at the time:
After a train ride of almost two hours from the Vatican, Pope Benedict and his guests arrived in Assisi and were driven to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels for the morning gathering focused on “testimonies for peace.”
Entering the basilica before the pope, the delegates created an unusually colorful congregation: They wore white, black or crimson robes or business suits; on their heads were skullcaps, turbans, scarves or veils.
The pope condemned the use of religion to excuse violence and the use of violence to impose a religion, as well as the growing violence resulting from “the loss of humanity” that comes from denying the existence of God and of objective moral standards.
“As a Christian, I want to say at this point: Yes, it is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith. We acknowledge it with great shame,” Pope Benedict said.
Christian leaders, like all religious leaders, he said, must work constantly to help their followers purify their faith and be “an instrument of God’s peace in the world, despite the fallibility of humans.”
But a lack of religion is not the answer to world peace, he said.
The Nazi death camps clearly proved that “the denial of God corrupts man, robs him of his criteria (for judging right and wrong) and leads him to violence,” the pope said.
On the other hand, he said, many nonbeliever also are “pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace.”
22 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Ecumenism Orthodox Interfaith Judaism
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 Holy Land Pope Benedict XVI 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)
19 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Christian Unity Jews Judaism
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.”
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Unity Turkey Muslim Christian-Muslim relations