Pope approves Archbishop Sheen's heroic virtues, step toward sainthood

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI has approved the heroic virtues of U.S. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the Vatican announced June 28, clearing the way for the advancement of his sainthood cause.

Among the others honored in decrees announced the same day were first prelate of Opus Dei, the Canadian and Irish-American founders of two orders of religious women, a priest murdered by the Sicilian Mafia, and 154 martyrs killed during the Spanish Civil War.

    Submission, not power, raises people up to God, says Pope at audience

    VATICAN CITY - Christians find fulfillment not by using power or force to realize their own wishes, but by being submissive to God's will and serving others, Pope Benedict XVI said.

    Many in the world today are surrounded by people or things that threaten to become the guiding force in their lives, therefore, "it's necessary to have a hierarchy of values in which the top priority is God," the pope said during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall June 27.

    It was his last general audience before the pope was to leave July 3 for vacation at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome. The weekly general audience was scheduled to resume Aug. 1.

      Pope tells homeless, jobless quake victims to put trust in God

      ROVERETO DI NOVI, Italy - Fear and anxiety are natural responses to the terror and destruction wrought by a natural disaster, but God's love is rock solid, providing certainty and solace for all victims, Pope Benedict XVI said.

      "Upon this rock, with this firm hope, one can build and one can rebuild," he said to more than 2,000 Rovereto di Novi residents -- many of whom were rendered homeless and jobless by two earthquakes in May.

      "Remain true to your vocation as fraternal and supportive people, and tackle everything with patience and determination, fighting the temptations that unfortunately come with these moments of weakness and need," he said June 26.

        Vatican faces 'urgent' need for priests with new vocations guidelines

        VATICAN CITY - In an effort to respond to a "clear and pressing" need for priests, the Vatican released a set of guidelines to help bishops and church communities promote, recruit and educate a new generation of men for the priesthood.

        The church needs "suitable" candidates and must avoid men who "show signs of being profoundly fragile personalities," while helping others heal from any possible "individual deviations" from their vocations, the document said.

          Pope: Revitalized faith can help Catholics avoid evangelical movements

          VATICAN CITY - The increasing number of Pentecostal and evangelical communities in Latin America cannot be ignored or taken too lightly, Pope Benedict XVI told bishops from Colombia.

          Catholics are "called to purify and revitalize their faith" as well as strengthen pastoral programs to improve formation and help people feel welcome in the church, he said.

          The Pope made the remarks in a talk June 22 to a group of Colombian bishops making their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses and hold discussions with Vatican officials.

            At audience, Pope appeals for peace in Nigeria, talks about prayer

            VATICAN CITY - Expressing his "deep concern" about terrorist violence in Nigeria, Pope Benedict XVI urged an end to "the shedding of the blood of so many innocent people."

            Speaking at the end of his weekly general audience June 20, the Pope said the terrorist attacks are continuing and are "directed mostly against Christian faithful."

            For months, bombs have exploded at Christian churches in various cities; the attacks were carried out on Sunday mornings when the churches were full. Forty-five people were reported killed June 17 after four churches in Zaria and Kaduna were bombed, and mobs carried out reprisal attacks on Muslims.

              Vatican II's Bible promotion said to create vitality in church life

              NEW YORK - In the 50 years since the Second Vatican Council encouraged Catholics to read, reflect and act on Scripture, there has been a "surging vitality in the life of the church," according to Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

              "There is nothing that the church does that is not rooted in Scripture," he told participants at the New York Catholic Bible Summit June 16.

                Lived faith, service, charity keys to evangelization, says synod text

                VATICAN CITY - Catholics who act like their faith has nothing to do with daily life and a church structure that is more bureaucracy than service are two impediments to the church's ability to proclaim faith in Jesus, said the working document for the next world Synod of Bishops.

                "Every one of the church's actions has an essential evangelizing character and must never be separated from the duty to help others encounter Christ in faith," said the document that will guide the work of the synod, scheduled for Oct. 7-28 at the Vatican.

                Pope Benedict XVI chose as the synod's theme: "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith."

                  Cardinal Ouellet homily at Lough Derg

                  Here is the text of the homily given by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who asked forgiveness on behalf of the Church for the sexual abuse of children by some clergy.

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                  Related Story: Cardinal Ouellet, representing Pope, meets with Irish abuse victims

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                  Dear brothers and sisters,

                  Pope Benedict XVI asked me, as His Legate to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, that I would come to Lough Derg and ask God’s forgiveness for the times clerics have sexually abused children not only in Ireland but anywhere in the Church.

                    Pope prays Dublin congress draws people closer to Christ, one another

                    VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI called for prayers for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress under way in Dublin, expressing hopes it would lead to a greater appreciation of Jesus' self-sacrifice and deeper love and unity in the church.

                    The weeklong gathering, which opened June 10, is "a precious occasion for reaffirming the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the church," the Pope said at the end of his weekly general audience June 13.

                      Love, patience led promoter of Kateri's sainthood cause for 55 years

                      VATICAN CITY - Although separated from her by three centuries, an ocean and major cultural differences, Jesuit Father Paolo Molinari absolutely loves Kateri Tekakwitha, the Native American who will become a saint in October.

                      While the 88-year-old Italian Jesuit was forced to give his successor most of the sainthood causes he still was actively promoting when he turned 80, "thank God, they let me keep Kateri."

                      Father Molinari, one of the church's most prolific postulators -- as the official promoters of causes are called -- inherited Kateri's cause from his Jesuit predecessor in 1957.