FaithWorld

After abuse scandal, Pope Benedict appoints new head of the Irish Catholic Church

(Cardinal Sean Brady speaks to members of the media outside Armagh cathedral in northern Ireland May 2, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer)

Pope Benedict on Friday appointed the new head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland to succeed Cardinal Sean Brady, whose tenure has been plagued by scandal over the sexual abuse of children on the predominantly Roman Catholic island.

The Vatican said Monsignor Eamon Martin, 51, had been named “coadjutor” archbishop of Armagh, meaning he will automatically succeed Brady when he retires next year.

Brady, who will remain primate until his retirement, has resisted calls by three of the four main parties in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister to resign over the sexual abuse scandal.

The Vatican’s move was seen as an attempt to give him a soft exit. While it spared him the embarrassment of stepping down before his scheduled retirement, he will effectively be sidestepped as Martin takes over the running of the diocese.

Pope’s secretary “Gorgeous George” on cover of Italian Vanity Fair

(Bishop Georg Gänswein gestures before Pope Benedict XVI meets Prince Albert of Monaco and his wife Princess Charlene in a private audience at the Vatican January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Vincenzo Pinto)

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Pope Benedict’s private secretary, who has been dubbed “Gorgeous George” by the Italian media, is now a real-life cover boy.

The prelate has landed on the cover of Vanity Fair.

The cover on the Italian edition of the magazine shows the 56-year-old archbishop smiling, his blue eyes beaming, above a headline that reads “Father Georg – It’s not a sin to be beautiful.”

The S-word “spread” goes from financial pages to papal speeches

(A Swiss Guard stands as he waits for the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI before a meeting with the diplomatic corps at the Vatican January 9, 2012. REUTERS/Pier Paolo Cito)

The ubiquitous term “spread” – a staple of financial news bulletins and one of the main measures of investor sentiment – has now penetrated even the elevated lexicon of the papacy.

In his speech to diplomats from around the world, Pope Benedict chastised those who only think of a “spread” in financial terms. He said there should be a simultaneous concern for a social “spread” – the gap between the rich and poor.

Pope says Catholic Church must stand firm against “intolerant agnosticism”

(Italian outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti looks on as Pope Benedict XVI arrives to lead the Epiphany mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican January 6, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi)

Pope Benedict said on Sunday that Roman Catholic leaders must have the courage to stand up to attacks by “intolerant agnosticism” prevalent in many countries.

The pope and the Church have come under increased attack because of their opposition to homosexual marriage and women priests. The pope has repeatedly denounced what he says are attempts to push religion out of public debate.

Pope Benedict signals inter-faith alliance against legalising gay marriage

(Pope Benedict XVI attends Christmas greetings with the Roman curia at the Clementine hall at the Vatican December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandra Tarantino)

The pope’s latest denunciation of gay marriage came in a Christmas address to Vatican officials in which he blended religion, philosophy, anthropology and sociology to illustrate the position of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican has gone on the offensive in response to gains for gay marriage in the United States and Europe, using every possible opportunity to denounce it through papal speeches or editorials in its newspaper or on its radio station.

Vatican crows that Pope Benedict beats Justin Bieber on re-tweets

(Pope Benedict XVI’s twitter account is pictured with his first tweet on an iPad tablet in this photo illustration taken in Milan December 12, 2012. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)

Pope Benedict, white-haired, 85, and a neophyte to social media site Twitter, has beaten out 18-year old heartthrob Justin Bieber to set a percentage record for re-tweeting by his followers, the Vatican said on Thursday.

The Vatican newspaper said that as of noon Italian time on Thursday the pope had 2.1 million followers on Twitter, eight days after his first tweet was sent.

Pope gets over half million Twitter followers a day after joining as @Pontifex

(Pope Benedict XVI’s twitter account is pictured on a smart phone in front of the Twitter logo displayed on a laptop in this photo illustration taken in Rome December 3, 2012. Benedict’s new handle on Twitter will be @pontifex, beating out other contenders that had been considered to showcase the thoughts of one of the world’s most visible leaders. The Vatican said on Monday that the pope will start tweeting on December 12. REUTERS/Max Rossi )

Even though he hasn’t sent a single tweet yet, Pope Benedict had more than half a million Twitter followers in eight languages on Tuesday, the day after the Vatican unveiled his handle: @Pontifex.

They included people ranging from the simple Roman Catholic faithful to a Jewish head of state.

Read all about it: Pope Benedict is not the Grinch that stole Christmas!

(Pope Benedict XVI, wearing the white fur-trimmed red bonnet reserved to Popes and called camauro, arrives to celebrate his general audience in St. Peter’s square at the Vatican December 21, 2005.REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico)

And so it came to pass that in the eighth year of Pope Benedict’s reign, some tabloid and social media decreed that he had cancelled Christmas.

The day after Benedict’s latest book “The Infancy Narratives – Jesus of Nazareth” – was published on November 20, Vatican officials found some headlines they were not expecting.

Pope Benedict’s third book on Jesus reaffirms doctrine of his virgin birth

(Italian-language copies of Pope Benedict XVI’s book “The Childhood of Jesus” are seen during a presentation in the Vatican November 20, 2012.  REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

Pope Benedict published the last part of his trilogy on the life of Jesus on Tuesday, delivering an early childhood narrative which strongly reaffirms the doctrine of the virgin birth as an “unequivocal” truth of faith.

The book, 137 pages in its English version, is titled “The Infancy Narratives – Jesus of Nazareth” and will be published around the world in some 20 languages. It goes on sale on Wednesday.

“Uncle Technology” joins the Assisi family of St Francis

A visitor uses a touch screen to view a digital detail of a fresco by Giotto in the basilica of St Francis in Assisi October 6, 2012. REUTERS/Handout

St Francis of Assisi, who called the sun “brother” and the moon “sister,” might have referred to it as “uncle technology”.

Visitors to the monumental basilica-convent complex where St Francis is buried in the Umbrian hill town of Assisi will now be able to enjoy a touch-screen and 3-D experience to help them better appreciate the art, history and spirituality inside.