Monday, December 18, 2006

Vatican Considers Fielding a Football Team

The Vatican apparently is considering fielding a football team (or soccer team for all you Americans reading) that would compete in the Italian Serie A.


"I do not preclude the possibility that the Vatican, in the future, could put together a football team of great value, that could play on the same level as Roma, Inter Milan and Sampdoria," all first division teams, said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy See's Secretary of State.

One thing is certain: the team would have two loyal diehard fans in Boney and Jimbo.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

John Paul II Cartoon to Be Released by Vatican

Great news! The Vatican has announced that they will be releasing a DVD about the life of Pope John Paul II. From BBC News:

The cartoon traces the history of a man who rose from humble beginnings in Poland to lead millions of Catholics.

The story is narrated by two white doves and animated versions of his personal diary and fountain pen.

The film has been created by animation producer Jose Luis Lopez-Guardia.

Read more: Cartoon tribute to Pope John Paul

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Debate Regarding Pope's Islam Quotes Blown Out of Proportion

On Tuesday, September 12, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI gave a lecture at the University of Regensburg in Bavaria, Germany. The main point of his lecture, Faith, Reason and the University - Memories and Reflections, is to underline that God is logos, or reason, and only by acting with logos can we be in harmony with the nature of God. Yet one passage in the Pope's lecture has caused great offense among certain Muslim communities recently. At one point early in the lecture, the Pope refers to a 14th century dialogue between Byzantine emporer Manuel II Paleologus and a Persian scholar.

The two men are speaking on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and in the seventh conversation, the subject of holy war comes up. The emporer argues against the use of violent conversion employed by Muslims because violence is acting without reason. He says bluntly, "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

While speaking of the prophet Muhammad in this way certainly is both rash and insulting, it should be noted that these are not the words of Pope Benedict XVI. He is citing a 14th century Byzantine emporer. The Pope does not endorse these words. He was merely using them to make a larger point: that religion and violence do not go together but that religion and reason do.

Earlier this week, he clarified his intentions, according to Reuters:

"For the careful reader of my text it is clear that I in no way wanted to make mine the negative words pronounced by the medieval emperor and their polemical content does not reflect my personal conviction," he said.

While some extreme Muslims are demanding that the Pope apologize for his lecture and clarify his stance on Islam, the majority of Muslims understand the Pope's intentions. Even hard-line Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said during a visit to the United Nations, "There is no problem." The bottom line is the Pope meant absolutely no offense by his remarks and he owes no one an apology. Anyone who carefully reads his lecture can clearly see that this debate has been blown way out of proportion.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pope: Lebanon-Israel Conflict a "Violation of Law and Justice"

Pope Benedict XVI condemned the violence between Israel and Lebanon on Sunday, saying, "The causes of such fierce confrontation are unfortunately objective situations of violation of law and justice." He has urged that the two sides meet for talks.

At a G8 meeting earlier this week, leaders approved a statement that called for immediate ceasefire. The statement called upon Israel to act with restraint, yet placed the blame for the violence upon the Hezbollah terrorists. The Pope, when questioned about it said, "I fully agree with the G8 statement." According to Catholic World News:
Pope Benedict said that in his view, the G8 statement "indicates the path" that should be taken toward peace in the Middle East. That statement had called for the safe return of Israeli soldiers who have been captured in Gaza and Lebanon; a halt to the rocket attacks and terror bombings on Israeli territory; the end of Israeli military operations in Lebanon; rapid withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza; and the release of Palestinian parliamentary leaders who have been arrested by Israeli forces.

"I have nothing to add," Pope Benedict said, "except the importance of prayer that God will help us."

Read more: Pope backs G8 stand on Lebanon

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates Easter Mass, Turns 79

From Yahoo! News:

Looking tired, Benedict led nearly 100,000 pilgrims, tourists and Romans in Mass in St. Peter's Square... "Today, even in this modern age marked by anxiety and uncertainty, we live the event of the resurrection, which changed the face of our life and changed the history of humanity," Benedict said in the traditional "Urbi et Orbi" message — Latin for "to the city and to the world."

From the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, the pontiff reviewed conflicts around the globe to rousing cheers and applause.

The Pope's birthday happened to coincide with Easter this year. He is now 79.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Pope John Paul II Is Remembered

The anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death was remembered last night at the Vatican by Pope Benedict XVI and tens of thousands of people who gathered in and around St. Peter's Square during a candlelight vigil. Today, Benedict led a commemorative mass in John Paul's memory, and spoke of his predecessor's strong faith: "It was a solid, strong and authentic faith, free from fear and compromise, which infected the hearts of many people, also thanks to his numerous pilgrimages around the world, and especially thanks to that last 'journey', which was his agony and his death." Pope John Paul II died of an irreversible cardiovascular collapse and septic shock at 9:37pm on April 2, 2005. He was 84.

For The Pope Blog's archive of Pope John Paul II's final days, please see our March 2005 and April 2005 archives.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Pope's Encyclical Sends a 'Lovely' Message

The fact that the Pope's first encyclical was a message of love perhaps softened his image as a stern enforcer in his former capacity of Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We at the Pope Blog feel that this document is a truer representation of the Pope's personality and heart than any 'image' the mainstream media projects, anyway.

The Guardian reports:

The 78-year-old pontiff devoted much of the first half of his treatise to the relationship between Eros - erotic love - and Agape, the Greek word for unconditional and selfless love...

The encyclical says both forms are interrelated: "The more the two, in their different aspects, find a proper unity in the one reality of love, the more the true nature of love in general is realised."

Read the Guardian story, or the actual encyclical.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Swiss Guard Celebrates 500 Years

Today marks the 500th anniversary of the date on which the first Swiss Guards arrived at the Vatican to protect the pope.

From the official Vatican Web site:

January 22nd, 1506, is the official date of birth of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, because on that day, towards the evening, a group of one hundred and fifty Swiss soldiers commanded by Captain Kasparvon Silenen, of Canton Uri, passed through the Porta del Popolo and entered for the first time the Vatican, where they were blessed by Pope Julius II.

From the Associated Press via CBS News:

"Thank you for your service of 500 years!" Benedict told the guards in a special blessing, to applause from tourists and the faithful also gathered for his traditional Sunday greeting.

From now through June, the Vatican will commemerate the 500th anniversary with many special events, including a re-enactment of the march from Switzerland to Rome of the first 150 Swiss mercenaries. From all of us at the Pope Blog, a very special thank you goes out to all Swiss Guardsmen for a fine 500 years of service.