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Pope calls for dialogue, not arms, in Libya

ope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during the Angelus prayer from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's square at the Vatican, Sunday, March 27, 2011. Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged diplomats to work for immediate dialogue aimed at suspending the use of arms by all sides in Libya. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

 

 

VATICAN, March 27, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Pope Benedict XVI has made his strongest statement to date on the conflict in Libya, calling for “an immediate dialogue” to halt the violence there, Deutsche Welle reported on Sunday.

Speaking at his Sunday blessing in St Peter’s Square, Benedict said he was appealing to “international organizations and those with political and military responsibilities” to start talks leading to a suspension in armed hostilities.

The pontiff said there was “an urgent need to rely on every diplomatic measure available” to bring about a reconciliation between the warring parties.

Nazi massacre site

On Sunday, the Pope also paid his respects at a site on Rome’s outskirts where the Nazis executed over 300 Italian men and boys during World War II in retaliation for a partisan attack in which 33 German soldiers were killed.

The 83-year-old pontiff knelt in prayer at the graves of the victims, before he and Rome’s Chief Rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, each recited a psalm. Among those killed were some 76 Jews.

It was the first visit to the site as pope by the German-born Benedict. The location, known as the Ardeatine Caves, was also visited by his predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II.

In 1998, former SS Captain Erich Priebke was sentenced to life in prison by an Italian court for his role in the killings. The 97-year-old Priebke is currently under house arrest granted to him due to his age.  (*)

 

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in World News

 

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Pope Benedict urges military consider safety of Libyan civilians in first comments on conflict

Pope Benedict XVI

 

 

VATICAN CITY, March 20, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / WASHINGTON POST / AP)  — Pope Benedict XVI issued an urgent appeal Sunday to military and political leaders to consider the safety of Libyan civilians and ensure they have access to emergency aid in his first public comments on the conflict, as reported by The Washington Post.

Benedict said the outbreak of hostilities had sparked “great fear and alarm in me” and said he was praying for peace in the region.

Benedict didn’t identify which political or military leaders he was referring to in comments at his traditional Sunday blessing. Rather, he directed his appeal to “those who have the political and military responsibility to take to heart the safety and security of citizens and guarantee that they have access to humanitarian aid.”

The Vatican has been remarkably quiet about the mounting tensions in Libya and U.N. Security Council decision to authorize military force to halt Moammar Gadhafi’s crackdown: the Vatican newspaper has reported on the developments matter-of-factly, without commentary.

That was not the case eight years ago in the run-up to the Iraq war, when Pope John Paul II voiced emphatic opposition to U.S.-led military action and sent an envoy to Washington to try to avert it.

Recently, the Vatican has been chastened for what some in the Arab world considered interference in its internal affairs: The pre-eminent institute of Islamic learning in the Sunni Muslim world froze talks with the Vatican earlier this year after Benedict called for better protection of Christians in Egypt.

Benedict’s appeal had followed the New Year’s bombing on a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria that killed 21 people.  (*)

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in World News

 

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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Sends Letter of Appreciation to Pope Benedict XVI

File picture : May 15: Pope Benedict XVI shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as President Shimon Peres looks on, during a farewell ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Peres praised the pope and called his visit "a profound demonstration of the enduring dialogue between the Jewish people and the hundreds of millions of Christian believers throughout the world." ( Photo : Gpo-Getty Images )

March 4, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Following the publication of Pope Benedict XVI’s new book, in which he exonerates the Jews from being responsible for Jesus’s death, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter of appreciation to the Pontiff.

Full text of PM Netanyahu’s Letter  :

“I commend you for forcefully rejecting, in your recent book, a false charge that has been a foundation for the hatred of the Jewish People for many centuries.  My fervent hope is that your clarity and courage will strengthen the relations between Jews and Christians throughout the world and help promote peace and reconciliation for generations to come.  I look forward to seeing you again soon and to expressing my deep appreciation for you in person.”   (*)

 

 

 

 

Source : PMO

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in World News

 

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Pope Benedict XVI says prayer most important for Christian unity

Pope Benedict XVI

Jan 15 (KATAKAMI.COM / VATICAN RADIO) — Pope Benedict XVI greeted an ecumenical delegation from Finland on Saturday. The group of Lutherans were making their annual pilgrimage to Rome to mark the feast of Saint Henry, the patron of their country. The meeting is coming just before the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins next week.

The majority of Finns belongs to The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, which has nearly 4 ½ million members.

Speaking in German, the Pope reminded the delegation that Christian unity is ultimately a fruit of the action of God, and its success depends on the effectiveness of efforts which come from persistent prayer.

He noted the recent final report on Justification in the Life of the Church prepared by the Nordic Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue Group in Finland and Sweden, whose members he was able to meet last year.

He said a deepening of the understanding of justification will help Catholics and Lutherans reach a common view regarding the nature of the church and the episcopal office.

He also drew attention to the awareness that the ecumenical journey has become in many ways more difficult and more challenging. The Pope said questions have been asked about the ecumenical method and the achievements of recent decades, and some express uncertainty about the future.

In this light, the Holy Father said this annual pilgrimage to Rome for the feast of St. Henry is important, and an encouragement for ecumenical efforts.  (*)

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2011 in World News

 

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Pope John Paul II to be beatified May 1

FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2010 file photo made available by the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper, Pope Benedict XVI prays before the tomb of Pope John Paul II for the traditional November 2nd All Soul's day prayers, in the Vatican Grottoes. Evidence is mounting that the pope will soon approve the miracle needed to beatify Pope John Paul II. On Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011, workers began restoring a mosaic near the entrance of St. Peter's Basilica where John Paul's remains are expected to be moved for better public access once he takes the key step toward possible sainthood. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, File)

 

VATICAN CITY, Jan 14 (KATAKAMI / AP)  — The pope on Friday signed off on the miracle needed to beatify Pope John Paul II, and set May 1 as the date to honor one of the most beloved popes of all times as a model of saintliness for the church.

Pope Benedict XVI said in a decree that a French nun’s recovery from Parkinson’s disease was miraculous, the last step needed for beatification. A second miracle is needed for the Polish-born John Paulto be made a saint.

The May 1 ceremony, which Benedict himself will celebrate, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Rome — a major morale boost for a church reeling from a wave of violence against Christians and fallout from the clerical sex abuse scandal.

“This is a huge and important cause of joy,” Warsaw Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz told reporters at his residence in the Polish capital.

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul’s longtime secretary and friend, expressed “huge thanks” to Benedict for the decree. “We are happy today,” he said.

Benedict put John Paul on the fast track to possible sainthood just weeks after he died in 2005, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood immediately!” that erupted during his funeral.

Benedict waived the typical five-year waiting period before the process could begin, but he insisted that the investigation into John Paul’s life be thorough so as to not leave any doubts about his virtues.

John Paul’s beatification will nevertheless be the fastest on record, coming just over six years after his death and beating out Mother Teresa’s then-record beatification in 2003 by a few days.

The last remaining hurdle in John Paul’s case concerned the approval by Vatican-appointed panels of doctors and theologians, cardinals and bishops that the cure of French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, was a miracle due to the intercession of the late pope.

The nun has said she felt reborn when she woke up two months after John Paul died, cured of the disease that had made walking, writing and driving a car nearly impossible. She and her fellow sisters of the Congregation of Little Sisters of Catholic Maternity Wards had prayed to John Paul, who also suffered from Parkinson’s.

On Friday, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre said John Paul was and continues to be an inspiration to her because of his defense of the unborn and because they both had Parkinson’s.

John Paul “hasn’t left me. He won’t leave me until the end of my life,” she told French Catholic TV station KTO and Italy’s state-run RAI television.

Wearing a white habit and wire-rimmed glasses, she appeared in good health and showed no signs of tremors or slurred speech which are common symptoms of Parkinson’s.

John Paul II did everything he could for life, to defend life,” she said. “He was very close to the smallest and weakest. How many times did we see him approach a handicapped person, a sick person?”

Last year, there were some questions about whether the nun’s original diagnosis was correct. But in a statement Friday, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints said Vatican-appointed doctors had “scrupulously” studied the case and determined that her cure had no scientific explanation.

Once he is beatified, John Paul will be given the title “blessed” and can be publicly venerated. Many people, especially in Poland, already venerate him privately, but the ceremony will make it official.

Born in Wadowice, Poland, in 1920, Karol Wojtyla was the youngest pope in 125 years and the first non-Italian in 455 years when he was elected pope in 1978.

He brought a new vitality to the Vatican, and quickly became the most accessible modern pope, sitting down for meals with factory workers, skiing and wading into crowds to embrace the faithful.

His Polish roots nourished a doctrinal conservatism — opposition to contraception, euthanasia, abortion and women priests — that rankled liberal Catholics in the United States and Western Europe.

But his common touch also made him a crowd-pleasing superstar whose 26-year papacy carried the Roman Catholic Church into Christianity’s third millennium and emboldened eastern Europeans to bring down the communist system.

He survived an assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square in 1981 — and then forgave the Turk who had shot him.

He was the most traveled pope ever, visiting more than 120 nations during the third-longest papacy and covering distance equal to nearly 1 1/2 trips to the moon.

After suffering for years from the effects of Parkinson’s disease, he died in his Vatican apartment on April 2, 2005, at the age of 84.

While adored by Catholics, John Paul did not escape scrutiny about the clerical abuse scandal which came to light in the final years of his papacy. Many of the thousands of sexual abuse cases that emerged in Europe and beyond last year concerned crimes or cover-ups that occurred under his watch.

Vatican officials have said there was nothing in John Paul’s record that called into question his path to beatification.

Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, one of the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organizations, noted that John Paul’s beatification process is not a “score card on his administration of theHoly See.”

Rather, he said, it’s a statement about his personal sanctity since beatification is way of holding up Catholics as models for the faithful.

“Pope John Paul’s life is precisely such a model because it was lived beautifully and with love, respect and forgiveness for all,” Anderson told the AP in an e-mail. “We saw this in the way he reached out to the poor, the neglected, those of other faiths, even the man who shot him. He did all of this despite being so personally affected by events of the bloodiest century in history.”

Dziwisz, John Paul’s most trusted friend who seemed at times impatient with the slow pace of the process, gave thanks on Friday from Krakow, where he is archbishop.

“We are happy that this process came to an end, that what people asked for — “Santo Subito” — was fulfilled,” Dziwisz said. “I express great joy on behalf of the entire diocese of Krakow — and I think I am also authorized to express this on behalf of all of Poland.”  (*)

 

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2011 in World News

 

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Pope Benedict XVI urges leaders to defend Christians after bombing

Pope Benedict XVI

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VATICAN CITY (KATAKAMI / THE STRAITS TIMES) — POPE Benedict XVI on Saturday urged world leaders to defend Christians against abuse and intolerance after a New Year’s day bomb attack in a Coptic church in Egypt claimed 21 lives.

In the wake of mounting tensions and ‘especially discrimination, abuse and religious intolerance which are today striking Christians in particular, I once again launch a pressing appeal not to give in to discouragement and resignation,’ he said, speaking at the New Year mass.

He appealed for the ‘concrete and constant engagement of leaders of nations,’ in what he termed a ‘difficult mission.’

The pontiff underscored that ‘humanity cannot display resignation in the face of negative forces of selfishness and violence, it cannot get accustomed to conflicts which claim victims and endanger the future of people.’

The attack in Alexandria also wounded 43 people.

Although there were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack, the bombing came two months after gunmen stormed a Baghdad cathedral and took the worshippers hostage. — AFP

 

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2011 in World News

 

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The Pope's Christmas message in full

Pope Benedict XVI delivers the "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter's basilica at the Vatican on December 25, 2010. (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

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December 25, 2010 (KATAKAMI / TELEGRAPH.CO.UK) — Dear brothers and sisters listening to me here in Rome and throughout the world, I joyfully proclaim the message of Christmas: God became man; he came to dwell among us. God is not distant: he is “Emmanuel”, God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus.

This message is ever new, ever surprising, for it surpasses even our most daring hope.

First of all, because it is not merely a proclamation: it is an event, a happening, which credible witnesses saw, heard and touched in the person of Jesus of Nazareth! Being in his presence, observing his works and hearing his words, they recognised in Jesus the Messiah; and seeing him risen, after his crucifixion, they were certain that he was true man and true God, the only-begotten Son come from the Father, full of grace and truth (cf. Jn 1:14).

“The Word became flesh”. Before this revelation we once more wonder: how can this be? The Word and the flesh are mutually opposed realities; how can the eternal and almighty Word become a frail and mortal man? There is only one answer: Love. Those who love desire to share with the beloved, they want to be one with the beloved, and Sacred Scripture shows us the great love story of God for his people which culminated in Jesus Christ.

God in fact does not change: he is faithful to himself. He who created the world is the same one who called Abraham and revealed his name to Moses: “I am who I am … the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob … a God merciful and gracious, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (cf. Ex 3:14-15; 34:6). God does not change; he is Love, ever and always. In himself he is communion, unity in Trinity, and all his words and works are directed to communion. The Incarnation is the culmination of creation. When Jesus, the Son of God incarnate, was formed in the womb of Mary by the will of the Father and the working of the Holy Spirit, creation reached its high point. The ordering principle of the universe, the Logos, began to exist in the world, in a certain time and space.

Dear brothers and sisters listening to me here in Rome and throughout the world, I joyfully proclaim the message of Christmas: God became man; he came to dwell among us. God is not distant: he is “Emmanuel”, God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus.

This message is ever new, ever surprising, for it surpasses even our most daring hope.

First of all, because it is not merely a proclamation: it is an event, a happening, which credible witnesses saw, heard and touched in the person of Jesus of Nazareth! Being in his presence, observing his works and hearing his words, they recognised in Jesus the Messiah; and seeing him risen, after his crucifixion, they were certain that he was true man and true God, the only-begotten Son come from the Father, full of grace and truth (cf. Jn 1:14).

“The Word became flesh”. Before this revelation we once more wonder: how can this be? The Word and the flesh are mutually opposed realities; how can the eternal and almighty Word become a frail and mortal man? There is only one answer: Love. Those who love desire to share with the beloved, they want to be one with the beloved, and Sacred Scripture shows us the great love story of God for his people which culminated in Jesus Christ.

God in fact does not change: he is faithful to himself. He who created the world is the same one who called Abraham and revealed his name to Moses: “I am who I am … the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob … a God merciful and gracious, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (cf. Ex 3:14-15; 34:6). God does not change; he is Love, ever and always. In himself he is communion, unity in Trinity, and all his words and works are directed to communion. The Incarnation is the culmination of creation. When Jesus, the Son of God incarnate, was formed in the womb of Mary by the will of the Father and the working of the Holy Spirit, creation reached its high point. The ordering principle of the universe, the Logos, began to exist in the world, in a certain time and space. (*)

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2010 in World News

 

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