Christian, Buddhist clergy call for commitment to overcome evil, greed

GARRISON, N.Y. - Combating greed in contemporary society requires a personal commitment to overcome an ancient moral evil, according to speakers at a Buddhist-Christian dialogue May 5 at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center in Garrison.

"A Buddhist & Christian Understanding of Greed: Personal and Structural" was the topic for the ninth annual dialogue between the two religions sponsored by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement.

Presenters said both Christian and Buddhist scriptures decry greed, but prescribe different solutions.

US bishops reflect on their role in the new evangelization

ROME - Celebrating Mass in Pope Benedict XVI's cathedral, Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran, a group of U.S. bishops prayed for the Pope and reflected on what they need to do to respond to his call for a new evangelization.

Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs was the homilist and principal celebrant of an evening Mass May 3 during the "ad limina" visit of bishops from Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming.

On the eve of the bishops' meeting with Pope Benedict, Bishop Sheridan led his fellow bishops in a reflection on the Pope's insistence that strengthening the faith of Catholics, reviving the faith of those who have fallen away and sharing the Gospel with others means they must preach that Jesus is the son of God and continues to live in the church and the Eucharist.

Progress brings problems without guidance from truth, faith, Pope says

VATICAN CITY - Excluding truth and the transcendent from scientific debate and research has impoverished modern thought and weakened the intellect's ability to understand reality, Pope Benedict XVI said.

True intellectual and scientific progress requires an openness to dialogue with opposing views, rather than settling with the "mere repetition" of what one already knows, he added.

Closeness to God gives strength to withstand everything, pope says

VATICAN CITY -- The church's first martyr found the strength to face his accusers because of his close relationship with God, Pope Benedict XVI said.

St. Stephen, who was accused of blasphemy and stoned to death, upheld the faith and gave witness to Christ as the righteous one proclaimed by the prophets, the pope said during the general audience in St. Peter's Square May 2.

Jesus’ sacrifice was the highest form of love

Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year B) May 13 (Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17)

There is never a dull moment when the Holy Spirit is involved. The Spirit was probably the most exhilarating and disconcerting experience of the first generation of Christians. It has a mind of its own and cares little for our prejudices, opinions, preferences or theologies. That is probably why we try to keep it under lock and key. The Spirit had already shocked Peter and his companions by commanding them to eat foods without distinction — nothing that God created was to be called unclean.

A child-like openness to God can help us grow in faith

Her hands covered her face. She was weeping inside herself, her body shaking. “I know I need to let go,” she cried, “but I don’t know how. I can’t.”

Before she was 14, Marie already experienced tragedy, not once but several times: violence, betrayal. It’s buried deep within her. She carries it like an interior mountain without realizing the weight. No wonder she can’t stop clinging to the person who’s been for her a little life raft in the middle of the Pacific, but who is pulling her under the roaring waters. How can she let go of him, even though he’s harming her?

Living our lives in the light

Several years ago, I was approached by a man who asked me to be his spiritual director. He was in his mid-40s and almost everything about him radiated a certain health. As we sat down to talk, I mentioned that he seemed to be in a very good space. He smiled and replied that, yes, this was so, but it hadn’t always been so. His happiness had its own history ... and its own pre-history. Here’s how he told his story:

Priests must live holy lives to be effective ministers, Vatican says

VATICAN CITY - Ten years after a historic papal response to clerical sex abuse, the Vatican urged priests to strive for greater holiness in their own lives so that they might effectively minister to others and reverse the tide of atheism.

In its annual letter to priests for 2012, the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy focused on Blessed John Paul II's 2002 Holy Thursday letter to clergy, in which the late pope responded to the growing revelations and scandal of sexual abuse of minors by priests.

Pope says quest for peace must also be quest for truth

VATICAN CITY - The quest for justice and peace will bear fruit only if it's also a quest for the truth about the human person, created by God and "endowed with intelligence and freedom, capable of knowing and loving," Pope Benedict XVI said.

Intelligence enables people to discover what is good and beneficial -- "the right order that is inscribed within creation itself" -- the Pope said in a message April 30 to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Don't let fear, search for the superficial deafen God's call, Pope says

VATICAN CITY - God is always calling people to dedicate themselves fully to serving him, but they often don't hear because they are either too distracted or afraid they would no longer be free if they answered the call, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"Let us pray that all young people pay attention to the voice of God, who speaks to their hearts and calls them to detach themselves from everything in order to serve him," he said April 29 -- the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Celebrating in different languages, Pope sees translation troubles

WASHINGTON - Pope Benedict XVI told the German bishops that, as Pope, he has celebrated Mass in different languages and "sometimes it is hard to find common ground" in the various translations.

"The underlying common text often remains visible only from afar," he told the bishops, who were preparing to send their revised Mass translation to the printers.

In a letter dated April 14 and posted on the German bishops' website April 24, Pope Benedict said that, over the years, it has become "increasingly clear" to him that not translating liturgical texts literally creates difficulties.