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Retired Pope Benedict XVI greets Pope Francis at the Vatican May 2. The 86-year-old retired pontiff, who had been staying at the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo since retiring Feb. 28, returned to the Vatican to live in a monastery in the Vatican Gardens. (CNS photo/L’Ossevatore Romano via Reuters) [Read more...]

Germany to unveil portrait of Benedict to mark his birthday

The pope emeritus turns 86 today. From Vatican Radio:  The German Embassy to the Holy See will be hosting a party which will unveil a new portrait of the former pontiff painted by German artist Michael Triegel, who is known as “Papstmaler”, or “Pope Painter”. The painting is on permanent loan to the Embassy. A [Read More...]

Rumor control at the Vatican—UPDATED

From the indispensable John Allen:  In what has become a daily exercise in rumor control, the Vatican spokesperson on Thursday shot down one hot bit of speculation about the resignation of Benedict XVI and confirmed another one about his life after the papacy. Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi denied that an accident suffered by Benedict XVI [Read More...]

Benedict’s next home

For those wondering where Benedict will be hanging his biretta after February 28th, some answers from John Allen:  After a brief period at the summer papal residence at Castel Gandolfo, Benedict XVI plans to move into a former convent on the grounds of the Vatican, which is currently undergoing renovations to accommodate its new resident. [Read More...]

Obama releases statement on Pope Benedict

 From the White House:  On behalf of Americans everywhere, Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Michelle and I warmly remember our meeting with the Holy Father in 2009, and I have appreciated our work together over these last four years.   The Church plays a critical [Read More...]

Benedict’s resignation: what happens next?

A good primer on the days ahead, from Rome Reports:  During this transition, the chamberlain will be in charge. Right now, that post is held by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who also serves as the Vatican’s Secretary of State. To prevent any forgery, he must also break the pope’s fisherman’s ring by hitting it with a [Read More...]

Dolan statement on pope’s resignation

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued this statement moments after learning of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013: +++ The Holy Father brought the tender heart of a pastor, the incisive mind of a scholar and the confidence of a soul united [Read More...]

Looking at your computer screen and seeing the “kindly light of faith”

That’s one of the connections the Twitter-happy Pope Benedict makes in his message for World Communications Day, released today at the Vatican. Much of the message is devoted to what the pontiff has called the “digital continent,” and the growing use of social networks to evangelize, share, teach, connect: In social networks, believers show their [Read More...]

Arabic to become part of papal audience

This is huge.  Not too long ago, it would have been unthinkable. From the Vatican news site:  Beginning on Wednesday 10 October, during the Holy Father’s weekly general audience, an Arabic speaker will join the other speakers who provide a summary of the papal catechises in various different languages. In this way, in the wake [Read More...]

Pope Benedict: “Religious freedom is the pinnacle of all other freedoms”

This morning, I attended a staff meeting where we spent over three hours dissecting and reflecting on parts of Pope Benedict’s recent apostolic exhortation delivered in Lebanon. Many Catholics, I suspect, haven’t read it, or read it closely. But in the course of just 100 paragraphs, The Holy Father  presents some  challenging and  timely themes [Read More...]