Out of the spotlight, Israel and Vatican negotiate holy sites

January 19, 2010
Vatican flag in Jerusalem, Reuters photo by Baz Ratner

Vatican flags raised outside Jerusalem's Old City before Pope Benedict's visit, 6 May 2009/Baz Rattner

New Catholic archbishop of Brussels raises hackles in Belgium

January 18, 2010
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Archbishop Léonard and Cardinal Danneels at news conference in Brussels 18 Jan 2010/Thierry Roge

Visiting synagogues is not getting easier for Pope Benedict

January 17, 2010
pope speech

Pope Benedict at Rome's main synagogue, 17 Jan 2010/Osservatore Romano

Visiting synagogues is not getting any easier for Pope Benedict.

Today’s meeting with Rome’s Jewish community was the third time he has entered a synagogue, which is a kind of a papal record considering that his predecessor Pope John Paul — probably the first pope to do so since Saint Peter two millennia ago — made only one such visit himself.

Pope’s synagogue visit splits Italy’s Jews over stand on Pius XII

January 16, 2010
rome synagogue

Rome synagogue, 7 July 2008/Jensens

Deep splits have appeared in Italy’s Jewish community just before Pope Benedict makes his first visit to Rome’s synagogue, with at least one senior rabbi and one Holocaust survivor announcing a boycott.  The row revolves around the pontiff’s decision last month to raise nearer to sainthood wartime Pope Pius XII, who many Jews say did not do enough to help Jews facing persecution by Nazi Germany, a position the Vatican rejects.

U.S. Jesuits honour ABC Williams with prize named after English martyr

January 15, 2010
williams preaching

Archbishop Rowan Williams leads Christmas carol service at Canterbury Cathedral, 23 Dec 2009/Suzanne Plunkett

Port-au-Prince RC cathedral in ruins after Haiti earthquake

By Reuters Staff
January 15, 2010

Our photographers in Haiti have produced many sad images of the widespread death and destruction from Tuesday’s massive earthquake, some of which are collected in a slideshow here.  Following are shots of the Roman Catholic cathedral in Port-au-Prince in ruins.  Among the dead in the quake was Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, who the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano reported was found lifeless “under the rubble of the archbishop’s residence.”

Traditional Anglican bloc eyeing union with Rome is far-flung group

January 14, 2010
TAC seal

TAC seal

The question of how many Anglicans will join the Roman Catholic Church has been hanging in the air since Pope Benedict made his offer last October to take in Anglican groups that cannot accept reforms such as ordaining women bishops. The largest figure mentioned is the 400,000-strong membership of the Traditional Anglican Communion, a traditionalist group that is not actually a member of the Anglican Communion that most Anglicans belong to. It is sometimes presented as a bloc whose transfer will be an important event.

Ukraine dispute blocks Vatican, Russian Orthodox meeting – Hilarion

By Reuters Staff
January 13, 2010

By Aidar Buribayev kirill dome

Patriarch Kirill in Pochayiv Monastery in Ukraine, 5 Aug 2009/Vitaliy Hrabar

Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, would be willing to meet Pope Benedict after disputes with Catholics in Ukraine are resolved, Archbishop Hilarion, the Church’s external relations head, has said.  A meeting with the pope would begin to heal the 1,000 year-old-rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, which split in 1054 amid disputes over doctrine and papal authority that remain unresolved.

Pope says gay marriage threat to creation

January 11, 2010
gay marriage

Argentinans exchange rings in Ushuaia, 28 Dec 2009

Pope Benedict on Tuesday linked the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage to concern about the environment, suggesting that laws undermining the differences between the sexes were threats to creation.

Vienna cardinal’s Medjugorje visit stirs emotions, speculation about Mary visions

January 6, 2010
Medjugorje, 25 June 2006/Danilo Krstanovic

Medjugorje, 25 June 2006/Danilo Krstanovic

A highly-publicised visit by Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn to the disputed Roman Catholic shrine of Medjugorje seems to have deepened the divide between Catholics who fervently believe the Virgin Mary appears to visionaries there and those who suspect the Bosnian pilgrimage site may be a hoax.