pope benedict xvi

Vatican Official Calls Leaked Documents an ‘Immoral,' ‘Brutal’ Attack

Martin Ezequiel Gardeazabal / Shutterstock.com

Pope Benedict XVI last May in St. Peter's Square. Photo by Martin Ezequiel Gardeazabal / Shutterstock.com

The Vatican's No. 3 official on Tuesday (May 29) condemned the theft and publication of secret papal documents as an “immoral act of unheard-of gravity.”

In an interview published on the front page of L'Osservatore Romano, the Holy See's semiofficial newspaper, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, who is the deputy to Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, also described the publication of an unprecedented number of leaked Vatican documents in recent months as a “brutal” attack against Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict XVI Gives Direction to U.S. bishops on Hot-Button Issues

Photo by Martin Ezequiel Gardeazabal / Shutterstock.com

Pope Benedict XVI last May in St. Peter's Square. Photo by Martin Ezequiel Gardeazabal / Shutterstock.com

Over the course of the last six months, Pope Benedict XVI delivered five major speeches to small groups of American bishops who were in Rome for their "ad limina" visits, which are required once every five years.

The ad limina visits are the way the pope and and Vatican departments keep tabs on bishops from around the world. They are also an occasion for the pope to address the major issues faced by a local church.

In his speeches, Benedict often echoed bishops' concern about religious freedom and the challenges confronting the American church. In his last address, on May 22, he warned bishops of the “threat of a season in which our fidelity to the Gospel may cost us dearly.”

Vatican Settles with Benetton Over Pope-Kissing Ad

The Vatican announced on Tuesday (May 15) it had settled a lawsuit against Italian clothing group Benetton for using an image of Pope Benedict XVI in one of its advertisement campaigns.

The image had been modified to show Benedict kissing Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed El-Tayeb, imam of Cairo's renowned al-Azhar Mosque.

The Vatican's chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the image was "offensive" and stressed that the Benetton group had agreed to remove the pope's images from its campaign, and to ask third parties to do the same.

Pope Finds Kindred Spirit in German ‘Feminist’ Saint

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German composer and abbess of St Rupert's Mount, Hildegard von Bingen. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Here are two things that don't typically go together: Pope Benedict XVI and feminist culture.

Yet they both share a veneration for Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th-century German nun who was the first woman to be officially recognized as a “prophetess” by the Roman Catholic Church.

On Thursday (May 10), Benedict ordered Hildegard, who died in 1179, to be inscribed “in the catalogue of saints,” thus extending her cult “to the universal church.”

Pope Wants Catholic Colleges to Ensure Faculty is Faithful to Church Doctrine

Fordham University. Image via Wiki Commons/ http://bit.ly/JlQ9Nt

Fordham University. Image via Wiki Commons/ http://bit.ly/JlQ9Nt

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday (May 5) called on Catholic colleges and universities in the United States to do more to affirm their "Catholic identity," particularly by ensuring the doctrinal orthodoxy of their faculty and staff.

Speaking to a group of bishops from Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Wyoming, who are in Rome on a regularly scheduled visit, Benedict said there has been a "growing recognition" on the part of Catholic colleges of the need to "reaffirm their distinctive identity."

But "much remains to be done," the pope said, singling out the church law requirement that Catholic theology teachers "have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority," usually the local bishop.

What To Do About “Radical Feminist Nuns”

Catholic nun photo, Elena Ray/Shutterstock.com

Catholic nun photo, Elena Ray/Shutterstock.com

It’s not exactly headline-worthy news that many Catholics actually hold personal beliefs that don’t line up with church doctrine. It does get a little more interesting, however, when an umbrella group for 57,000 American nuns is called to the carpet for straying from Church teaching.

Reportedly, the nuns are promoting ideas on issues like abortion and homosexuality, among others in their programs that the Church condemns.

The ladies in black and white have gotten into some hot water with the Vatican, whose representatives claim the nuns are practicing “certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

After Pope’s Trip, Catholic Bishops Seek End to Cuba Embargo

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Pope Benedict XVI meets with former Cuban President Fidel Castro llast month. L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images

Following Pope Benedict XVI's recent trip to Cuba, U.S. Catholic bishops are pushing the State Department to lift the 50-year Cuban embargo in order to improve religious liberty and human rights for the Cuban people. 

In a Tuesday (April 17) letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, the chairman of the bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, pressed the Obama administration to pursue “purposeful engagement rather than ineffective isolation” with Havana.

Is Pope Ratzinger Suffering From the Seven-Year Itch?


Pope Benedict XVI waves to pilgrims in St. Peter's square on April 18. VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

As Pope Benedict XVI marked his seventh anniversary as pope on Thursday (April 19), many Catholics were wondering if the pontiff is finally becoming the papal enforcer that some feared – and others hoped – he would be when he was elected to lead the church in 2005.

The questions were prompted by this week’s announcement that Benedict had signed off on a crackdown on the organization representing most of the 57,000 nuns in the United States, saying that the group was not speaking out strongly enough against gay marriage, abortion and women’s ordination.

But does this latest move indicate that the man once known as the Grand Inquisitor is returning to form, or that a new wave of dissent is emerging?

Vatican Official Calls for Stronger Protection for Conscientious Objection

A senior Vatican official on Tuesday (April 17) called for stronger protection for conscientious objection for both the Catholic Church and individual Catholics when they are faced with laws that conflict with their “moral norms.”

Speaking at Italy's Catholic University in Milan, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, former governor of the Vatican City State, waded into the fight between the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Obama administration over mandatory insurance coverage for contraception, saying the mandate raises "serious problems of conscience” for Catholic institutions and citizens.

Pope Turns 85 Amid Speculation of Resignation


Pope Benedict XVI leads the Regina Coeli prayer on April 15. ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI turned 85 on Monday (April 16) amid renewed speculation about his declining health and possible resignation.

The German-born pope has appeared tired and fatigued in recent months and admitted at a morning Mass to being in “the final leg of the path of my life." But on Sunday, he signaled his resolve to carry on with his duties as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, asking the faithful to pray that he have the “strength” to “fulfill his mission.”

This week will mark a double milestone for Benedict, with Thursday being the seventh anniversary of his election as pope.