Pope asks for prayers for Benin trip

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI asked for prayers for his trip to Benin and for those suffering from violence on the African continent.

The pope, addressing pilgrims at his noon blessing Nov. 13, said he was traveling to Benin "in order to strengthen the faith and hope of Christians in Africa."

"I entrust this trip and the inhabitants of this beloved continent to your prayers, especially those who experience insecurity and violence," he said. He prayed that Mary give support to all those working for reconciliation in Africa.

    Christian volunteers are signs of God's love, Pope says

    VATICAN CITY - Through volunteer work, Christians become signs of God's love in the world, Pope Benedict XVI said.

    Especially at a time of serious economic crisis, moral uncertainty and social tension, Christian volunteers show "that goodness exists and that it is growing in our midst," the Pope said Nov. 11 in a speech to participants at a Vatican meeting on Catholic volunteer activity in Europe.

    The two-day meeting, sponsored by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which promotes and coordinates Catholic charity, was held in conjunction with the European Year of Volunteering. It brought together about 160 bishops and representatives of charitable organizations from 25 countries.

      At audience, pope appeals for victims of flooding around world

      VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI offered prayers for victims of recent flooding in Central America, Southeast Asia and other parts of the world and urged people to be generous in helping those suffering the effects of natural disasters.

      In a sunny St. Peter's Square, after days of rain in Rome, Pope Benedict made his appeal at the end of his weekly general audience Nov. 9.

        "The Future of Religion in a Secular Age" - writers say faith requires intelligence

        TORONTO - With a title like “The Future of Religion in a Secular Age” the evening of high-minded talk on the campus of the University of Toronto might have been an invitation to religious hand-wringing.

        The new atheists, religious illiteracy, technology, loneliness, multiculturalism and community breakdown were all on the agenda. But with humour and insight two of the most prolific and thoughtful religious writers alive used the evening to affirm that faith requires intelligence.

        “Think of me as a lapsed heretic,” said England’s Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

          Vatican’s top ecumenist Cardinal Koch assesses progress, prospects

          WASHINGTON - A top Vatican ecumenist said different types of divisions affect Catholic relations with the Orthodox churches and with those that were born from the Protestant Reformation, but both can be resolved with dialogue.

          He also criticized the “anti-Catholic attitude” displayed by some Pentecostals and said Catholics must resist a temptation to adopt the “sometimes problematic evangelical methods” of those churches.

          Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Swiss-born president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, spoke at The Catholic University of America Nov. 3. The title of his talk was “Fundamental Aspects of Ecumenism and Future Perspectives.”

            Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers...

            Christ the King (Year A) Nov. 20 (Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; Psalm 23; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; Matthew 25:31-46)

            Why is the image of the shepherd used so often in the Bible as a metaphor for God? A shepherd never leaves the sheep — he or she is with them 24/7 — and their safety and well-being is the shepherd’s prime concern. That sounds a lot like God!

              If we love each other, that’s enough

              It’s not easy to sustain love, at least not with constant emotional fervour. Misunderstandings, irritations, tiredness, jealousies, hurt, temperamental differences, the familiarity that breeds contempt and simple boredom invariably chip away at our emotional and affective edges and, soon enough, fervour gives way to routine, the groove becomes the rut and love seems to disappear.

              But we can easily misread this.

                Chaminade's first graduate-priest gained strength through faith

                TORONTO - It's fitting that Chaminade College School's motto is Fortes in Fide, strength through faith, said Fr. Ante Market, the school's first ever graduate to be ordained to the priesthood.

                "I'm thankful to God for calling me and I'm thankful to Chaminade for giving me the opportunity to grow in my faith," he told The Catholic Register.

                  Life-giving power of resurrection is not symbol, but reality, Pope says

                  VATICAN CITY - Christ's resurrection is not a mere symbol of life and renewal but is the true source of a love that conquers the power of death, Pope Benedict XVI said.

                  "The abyss of death is filled by another abyss of even greater depth, that of God's love, so that death no longer has any power over Jesus Christ nor over those who, through their faith and baptism, are tied to him," he said during a memorial Mass Nov. 3.

                    At audience, Pope prays G-20 summit will help world's poor

                    VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI prayed that a summit of the leaders of countries with the world's largest economies would find ways to overcome the current economic crisis and promote real development.

                    At the end of his weekly general audience Nov. 2, the pope issued a special appeal to the leaders of the G-20 nations scheduled to meet Nov. 3-4 in Cannes, France.

                    "I hope the meeting will help overcome the difficulties, which -- on a global level -- block the promotion of an authentically human and integral development," the Pope said.

                      Irish eucharistic congress a time of communion

                      TORONTO - The 50th anniversary of the International Eucharistic Congress will be a time of communion, reflection and renewal of faith, says Fr. Kevin Doran, secretary general of the congress to be held next year in Dublin.

                      With the theme “The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another,” the congress will be held June 10 to 17, 2011 in the Irish capital.