VATICAN CITY - In her 60-year reign, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has offered the world an inspiring example of Christian leadership and dedication to duty, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message to the monarch.

Congratulating the queen on her diamond jubilee, the Pope said her reign demonstrated "a commitment to maintaining the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, in keeping with a noble vision of the role of a Christian monarch."

Published in International

MILAN - As Pope Benedict XVI closed the World Meeting of Families in Italy's capital of finance and fashion, he opened the possibility of his heading to the United States when he named the Archdiocese of Philadelphia the next venue of the world gathering.

"God willing," he said, he would attend in 2015 as he greeted Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and "the Catholics of that great city," saying he looked forward to meeting U.S. Catholics and other families from around the world there.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI voiced regret for the turmoil surrounding the recent publication of leaked Vatican documents, but thanked the vast majority of people who work at the Vatican for their dedication and fidelity.

Speaking at the end of his weekly general audience May 30, the pope said much of the media coverage of the leak of private letters and of the arrest May 23 of his personal assistant has been exaggerated and "completely gratuitous, and has gone far beyond the facts, offering an image of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality."

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - The modern world is a latter-day Babel, where arrogance inspired by technological progress leads people to play God and sets them against each other, a predicament from which people can escape only through divinely inspired humility and love, said Pope Benedict XVI.

The pope made his remarks during his homily May 27, Pentecost Sunday, during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI joined the international community in condemning a massacre in Syria, and he called for Christian and Muslim leaders in the country to guide their faithful in prayer and collaboration to restore peace and calm.

The massacre in Houla May 25-26 left about 108 people dead, including 49 children and 34 women. The U.N. Security Council May 27 condemned the massacre of civilians and, while not pinning all the blame on the Syrian government, it accused the government of inappropriately using heavy weapons in a residential area.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Addressing God as "Father" is an acknowledgement that God is the one who created, supports and guides humanity, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"Maybe people today do not understand the beauty, greatness and deep consolation" that comes from recognizing God as father, "because the paternal figure is not sufficiently present today," the Pope said May 23 during his weekly general audience.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - In five speeches over a period of six months, Pope Benedict XVI warned visiting U.S. bishops of the threats that an increasingly secularized society poses to the Catholic Church in America, especially in the areas of religious liberty, sexual morality and the definition of marriage.

Yet the Pope did not advise that American Catholics withdraw from a largely hostile environment in order to preserve their values and faith. Instead, as part of his call for a new evangelization within the church and beyond, he urged believers to engage even more closely with wider society for the benefit of all Americans.

Published in Features

Recently a new expression has made its way into our theological and ecclesial vocabulary. There’s a lot of talk today about the New Evangelization. Indeed the Pope has called for a Synod to meet this year for a month in Rome to try to articulate a vision and strategy for such an endeavour.

What is meant by New Evangelization? In simple terms: Millions of people, particularly in the Western world, are Christian in name, come from Christian backgrounds, are familiar with Christianity, believe that they know and understand Christianity, but no longer practise that faith in a meaningful way. They’ve heard of Christ and the Gospel, even though they may be overrating themselves in their belief that they know and understand what these mean. No matter. Whatever their shortcomings in understanding a faith they no longer practise, they believe that they’ve already been evangelized and that their non-practise is an examined decision. Their attitude toward Christianity, in essence, is: I know what it is. I’ve tried it. And it’s not for me!

Published in Fr. Ron Rolheiser

VATICAN CITY - "We are on the Lord's team, the winning team," Pope Benedict XVI told members of the College of Cardinals at the end of a luncheon he hosted to thank them for their friendship and support.

At the end of the meal in the frescoed Sala Ducale of the Apostolic Palace May 21, the Pope told the Cardinals that St. Augustine once described history as "a battle between two loves," love for oneself and love for God.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI called on Chinese Catholics to be faithful to the Pope, asked that mass media worldwide promote mutual respect and dialogue, and prayed for those hit by a deadly earthquake near Bologna and a school bombing in Brindisi.

After reciting the "Regina Coeli" prayer with those gathered in St. Peter's Square May 20, the Pope denounced a May 19 bombing of a high school in southern Italy, calling it "a vile attack."

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI will meet with the world's families at a time when the institution of the family is under threat and many are still struggling with a worldwide economic crisis and a lack of cultural and societal support.

As a sign of his deep concern for bolstering the family based on the lifelong union between a man and a woman, the Pope will travel to Milan to meet with those attending the May 30-June 3 World Meeting of Families.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - Work obligations should not harm a person's family relationships but should provide support, giving couples the resources to have and raise children and spend time together, Pope Benedict XVI said.

At the end of his weekly general audience May 16, Pope Benedict noted how the United Nations chose "family and work" as the focus of the 2012 International Day of Families, which was celebrated May 15.

Published in Vatican

MONTREAL - It is rare to meet a real-life knight today. It is even rarer to meet someone knighted by the Pope. So it is truly extraordinary to meet a papal knight — who is also Jewish.

Canada can now boast of one Jewish papal knight. Montreal interfaith pioneer Victor Goldbloom was welcomed into the Vatican’s Order of St. Sylvester on May 10 at a reception organized by the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism.

Published in Canada

Speaking recently about priesthood, Pope Benedict XVI said a priest must not ask what he can gain for himself but ask what he can give back to Christ and others. That sentiment, if not those very words, will be evident this week as St. Peter’s Seminary celebrates its 100th anniversary.

It has been a century of forming men to follow faithfully and selflessly in the footsteps of the first disciples. By their work in parishes and missions across Canada and throughout the world, graduates of St. Peter’s in London, Ont., have helped write the history of the modern Church in Canada.

Published in Editorial

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican and the Italian fashion house Benetton reached an out-of-court settlement after the Vatican took legal action against an ad campaign that depicted Pope Benedict XVI kissing a Muslim leader.

The settlement included the fashion company making an unspecified donation to a Catholic charity and a promise to stop the image from being used by third parties, including being displayed on the Internet, according to a Vatican statement May 15.

Published in International