Guestview: Why has Pope Benedict chosen a European strategy?

By Guest Contributor
November 17, 2010

Pope Benedict will boost the European majority among the men due to elect his successor when he creates 24 new cardinals at the Vatican on Saturday. The nominations are part of a wider strategy by the German-born pope to strengthen Roman Catholicism in Europe. The following is a guest contribution and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Jean-Marie Guénois is deputy editor-in-chief of the Paris daily Le Figaro and a specialist on religion. The article first appeared in French on his Religioblog.*

Libya’s Gaddafi upsets Italy with bid to convert women to Islam

August 30, 2010

gaddafi 1Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s attempt to convert dozens of young women to Islam during a visit to Italy led to an angry reaction from Italian media on Monday. The mercurial Gaddafi invited a large group of young women hired by a hostessing agency to an event at a Libyan cultural centre in Rome on Sunday and tried to convert them to Islam.

Italy and 10 allies fight Euro rights court’s school crucifix ban

June 30, 2010

crucifix (Photo: Demonstrator outside European Court of Human Rights with leaflet saying in Italian and French: “Let’s defend the crucifix,” 30 June 2010/Vincent Kessler)

Italy and 10 other European states urged the continent’s top human rights court on Wednesday to overturn its ban on crucifixes in schools, arguing they were signs of national identity and not overtly religious symbols. The alliance of traditionally Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian countries backing Italy’s appeal against the ban which was handed down last November reflected their concern that the court had set a precedent for strict secularism across Europe.

Italian sexual abuse victims want Pope Benedict to speak out

April 9, 2010
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Abuse victim Gianni Bisoli in Verona April 8, 2010/Paolo Bona

Abuse victim Dario Laiti is deaf and has great difficulty speaking. But he has a clear message for Pope Benedict: expose predator priests, past and present, living and dead, for the good of the Church.

Catholic bishops see campaign against Church over child sex abuse

March 22, 2010
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Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco and Pope Benedict in Paul VI hall at the Vatican 25 April/Osservatore Romano

Catholic daily buries the news in sexual abuse headline

March 13, 2010

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Headlines are supposed to highlight the news, but sometimes the news is uncomfortable. Like the sexual abuse cases for the Roman Catholic Church. Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian Catholic bishops’ conference, played down the big news in its front-page headline on Saturday about an  interview with the head of the Vatican office dealing with charges of sexual abuse against priests.

Italy moves towards emulating France on burqa ban

January 29, 2010
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Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna in the Senate in Rome, 15 May 2008/Max Rossi

Visiting synagogues is not getting easier for Pope Benedict

January 17, 2010
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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
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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.

Rome’s chief rabbi says only God can judge Pius XII on Holocaust

January 14, 2010
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Pope Pius XII in an undated file photo from the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano