Silence is key ingredient to meaningful communication, pope says

VATICAN CITY - Amid the deluge of information and nonstop chatter in today's media, the church needs to help people find safe havens of silence, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Far from being the enemy of calm and quiet, social media and the Internet can lead people to virtual sanctuaries that offer silent reflection, thoughtful dialogue and true meaning in life, he said.

"Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God," he said in his message for the 2012 celebration of World Communications Day.

    Pope says neocatechumenal celebrations must lead members to parish Mass

    VATICAN CITY - As the Vatican approved the Neocatechumenal Way's unique rite, Pope Benedict XVI underlined that its celebrations were not "strictly liturgical" and that their aim must be to encourage members to partake fully in the liturgical life of the parish.

    The pope encouraged the movement's members to continue "to offer your original contribution to the cause of the Gospel," and he urged them to always make sure their "precious work" was in "profound communion with the Apostolic See and the pastors of the local church in which they're inserted."

      Pope says virginity and martyrdom of St. Agnes example of faith

      VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI held up the life of a young virgin and martyr as an example to seminarians of the total commitment to Christ required by young men seeking to enter the priesthood.

      The Pope also said that a solid cultural background and intellectual understanding of faith was essential in the formation of priests as spreaders of the word of God.

        As Tet nears, migrants return to Vietnam, get chance to renew faith

        HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam - Catholic migrant workers based in Laos are returning home to be with their families in time for the Tet New Year holidays and, for many, the trip will offer a chance to renew their faith.

        Others, however, even within Vietnam, will not make the traditional journey to be with their family for the lunar new year, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News.

        Paul Le Quoc Hai, a Catholic who works as a carpenter in Laos' Khammouan province, said he will take advantage of this Tet holiday to get his two children baptized.

          Pope urges agreement between Christians on ethical questions

          VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI said Christians of all denominations should come to agreement on ethical matters, especially regarding human life, family and sexuality.

          The Pope, in a meeting Jan. 19 with an ecumenical group of Catholic and Lutheran leaders from Finland, said that differences among Christians regarding the "proper understanding of human nature and its dignity" had grown in recent years.

            Christian divisions, including on morality, weaken witness, pope says

            VATICAN CITY - Divisions among Christians, including on moral issues, weakens their credibility and their ability to respond to the spiritual yearning of many men and women today, Pope Benedict XVI said.

            While "there is more that unites us than divides us" on the basic tenets of faith -- belief in Christ, the son of God and savior of humanity -- "divisions remain and regard many practical and ethical questions, giving rise to confusion and mistrust, weakening our ability to transmit the saving word of Christ," Pope Benedict said Jan. 18 at his weekly general audience.

              Pope prays for migrants, refugees seeking a better life

              VATICAN CITY - The millions of refugees and migrants in the world are not numbers but people in search of a better life for themselves and their families, Pope Benedict XVI said.

              "They are men and women, young and old, who are looking for a place they can live in peace," the Pope said Jan. 15, which the Vatican marked as the World Day for Migrants and Refugees.

                Eucharist gives strength to those who are weak, weary, lost, pope says

                VATICAN CITY - The Eucharist sustains those who are tired, worn out or lost in the world and transforms human sin and weakness into new life, Pope Benedict XVI said.

                Speaking at his weekly general audience Jan. 11, the Pope focused on Jesus and the Last Supper, where he instituted the Eucharist, "the sacrament of his body and blood."

                "Jesus' gift of himself anticipates his sacrifice on the cross and his glorious resurrection," the Pope said.

                  Pope baptizes 16 infants, says sacraments help parents raise kids right

                  VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI baptized 16 infants and told their parents and godparents that prayer and the sacraments will give them the strength and guidance they need to promote a child's true well-being.

                  Presiding over the annual liturgy in the Sistine Chapel Jan. 8, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Pope said the sacraments and putting one's trust in God through prayer offer "that light of truth" that illuminates the right path to take in their child's education and upbringing.

                    Vatican to issue recommendations for celebrating Year of Faith

                    VATICAN CITY - In an effort to help Catholics have a better and correct understanding of their faith and become authentic witnesses to Christ, the Vatican is issuing a list of pastoral recommendations for celebrating the Year of Faith.

                    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will release a "note" Jan. 7 outlining the aims of the special year and ways bishops, dioceses, parishes and communities can promote "the truth of the faith," the congregation said in a written statement Jan. 5.

                      Pope, at audience, reflects on meaning of Christmas, Epiphany

                      VATICAN CITY - At Christmas, the human dream of being like God started to become a reality -- not through any human efforts, but through God sending his son to be born on earth to redeem humanity, Pope Benedict XVI said.

                      Addressing an estimated 7,000 people gathered for his weekly general audience Jan. 4, the pope encouraged Christians to continue living the joy and mystery of Christmas as they prepare for the feast of the Epiphany, celebrated at the Vatican Jan. 6, and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which the pope planned to celebrate Jan. 8 by baptizing babies in the Sistine Chapel.