Bush soon a Catholic? Fantasy, speculation, wishful praying?

April 30, 2008

U.S. President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair often saw eye to eye politically. Are they about to see eye to eye religiously?

Can China and the Vatican make beautiful music together?

April 30, 2008

World Team Table Tennis Championships in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, 2 March 2008/Bobby YipRemember ping-pong diplomacy, the exchange of ping-pong players between the United States and communist China in the 1970s that was one of the first steps that led to a thaw in relations between the two countries? If the Vatican had a ping-pong team, perhaps China would have considered sending their squad to the walled city in Rome for a match.

Communion politics issue boils up after U.S. papal visit

April 29, 2008

Papal Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, 19 April 2008/Shannon StapletonA papal visit, with its weeks of build-up and intense media coverage, often seems to end with an afterglow — but very little news — once the pope and his party fly back to the Eternal City. Not so with Pope Benedict’s recent U.S. visit where, more than a week after it ended, the volatile issue of public figures, the abortion & Communion issue is making headlines.

Pope trip: when the news isn’t really new

April 22, 2008

Pope Benedict at Yankee Stadium, 20 April 2008/poolIt seems that we’ve been writing for the past three years that Pope Benedict is different from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The fact there is a kinder, gentler person there than the worn-out “God’s Rottweiler” tag suggests doesn’t seem to be news anymore. But it apparently still is. When I sat down to write a summary of the pope’s trip to the United States, what struck me most was how many people were surprised by how favourably impressed they were. There were comments that he’d “changed his image” or “softened the edges” on this trip. In fact, he changed his image three years ago. What happened on the trip was that these people changed their view of him.

Pope sets higher goals for Catholic education

April 18, 2008

Pope Benedict waves after his speech to Catholic educators, 17 April 2008/Jonathan ErnstThere was some speculation before his visit that Pope Benedict was going to read the riot act to Catholic educators for not keeping their universities and schools sufficiently Catholic. That was never really on the cards, because Benedict doesn’t like to come and berate people like that.

Benedict’s deeper thoughts about faith in the U.S.

April 17, 2008

Pope Benedict addresses U.S. bishops, 16 April 2008/Kevin LamarquePope Benedict made so many positive comments about the positive role of faith in U.S. public life before and at the beginning of his U.S. visit that it was inevitable he would get around to a deeper analysis at some point. That point came in his meeting with American bishops in Washington on Wednesday. It was the kind of analysis we’ve come to expect from him — clearly expressed, intellectually ambitious and focused on his trademark issue of relativism.

Singing and dancing welcome pope on DC streets

April 16, 2008

Crowds welcome Pope Benedict in Washington, 16 April 2008/Jonathan ErnstThe Washington Post carries an interesting story today examining how American Catholics are split when it comes to music — many older parishioners are partial to folk-style songs written in the 1970s, while many younger members want Gregorian chant and other older forms of music.

Bush poaches some of Benedict’s best lines

April 16, 2008

Pope Benedict and President Bush at the Rose Garden, 16 April 2008/Max Rossi There was a curious reversal of roles when Pope Benedict and President Bush spoke in the Rose Garden today during the pontiff’s visit to the White House. As we put it in a sidebar to the main story :

Mormons say polygamist sects a headache

April 16, 2008

Salt Lake Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, 28 May 2007/Lucy NicholsonNow here’s something new for us — a story that began with a post on FaithWorld last week, prompted a slew of comments and now features in an interview for the wire. Ed Stoddard’s post “Mormons have ‘fundamental’ PR problem” highlighted the confusion caused by the case of a breakaway sect whose Texas compound was raided this month. The post has over 130 comments so far. As the debate raged, Ed interviewed Quentin Cook, a spiritual elder with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to get the official view:

The “pope of the Internet age” on the papal flight

April 16, 2008

Pope Benedict during his Q&A on his flight to Washington, 15 April 2008/Max RossiJust heard an interesting idea from Delia Gallagher, a Vatican analyst for CNN, who said that Pope John Paul was the pope of the television age but Pope Benedict is the pope of the Internet age. John Paul was good for the dramatic gesture and sound bite, which was just right for television, while Benedict speaks in lectures you should really read from start to finish. Thanks to the Internet, you can do this and more — something that was just not possible when John Paul was globe-trotting around.