Rare pope trip to Britain faces welcome ranging from polite to hostile

September 13, 2010

tartan (Photo: Cardinal Keith O’Brien displays the papal visit plaid in Edinburgh, Scotland September 9, 2010/David Moir)

Pope Benedict this week makes a challenging trip to Britain — only the second by a pope in history — and his welcome in one of Europe’s most secular nations will range from polite to indifferent and even hostile.

Criticism mounts of “anti-Muslim frenzy” in U.S., Koran burning plan under fire

By Reuters Staff
September 8, 2010

koran burning 1U.S. religious leaders  have condemned an “anti-Muslim frenzy” in the United States, including plans by a Florida church to burn a Koran on September 11, an act a top general said could endanger American troops abroad. Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders denounced the “misinformation and outright bigotry” against U.S. Muslims resulting from plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque not far from the site of the September 11, 2001, hijacked plane attacks in New York by Islamist militants. The Vatican has also condemned the Koran burning plan.

Leaked Danneels tapes with Catholic sex abuse victim make for sad reading

August 29, 2010

danneels (Photo: Cardinal Danneels arrives at federal police headquarters in Brussels July 6, 2010 for questions about  allegations of sexual abuse by priests/Stringer)

No musical instruments please, Vatican asks Britons

August 23, 2010

vuvuzelaPilgrims attending the large public events during Pope Benedict’s visit to England and Scotland next month have been issued a long list of do’s and don’ts including a ban on musical instruments and steel cutlery.

Vatican toughens child sex abuse rules, says ordaining women is serious crime

July 15, 2010

The Vatican made sweeping revisions on Thursday it its laws on sexual abuse, doubling a statute of limitations for disciplinary action against priests and extending the use of fast-track procedures to defrock them.

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.

Pope rebukes Austrian cardinal who accused peer of cover-up

June 28, 2010

schoenbornPope Benedict, still struggling to control the damage a sexual abuse scandal has done to the Catholic Church’s image, has bluntly told his top advisers that they should not trade accusations in public.

Roman archaeologists find oldest images of Apostles in a catacomb

June 22, 2010

apostles 4 (Photo: Professor Fabrizio Bisconti shows the image of an unidentified person on the ceiling of the catacomb chamber, with the four portraits of Apostles in circles in the corners of the ceiling, 22 June 2010/Tony Gentile)

Archaeologists and art restorers using new laser technology have discovered what they believe are the oldest paintings of the faces of Jesus Christ’s Apostles.  The images in a branch of the catacombs of St Tecla near St Paul’s Basilica, just outside the walls of ancient Rome, were painted at the end of the 4th century or the start of the 5th century.

Vatican official’s Cuba visit spurs new hopes for political prisoners

By Reuters Staff
June 22, 2010

mambertiA five-day visit to Cuba by Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Dominque Mamberti, which ended on Sunday, has raised hopes that more political prisoners will be released and the Catholic Church’s recent prominence will continue, dissident and church leaders say.

Vatican beatifies the Blues Brothers … well almost …

June 18, 2010

blues brothersJake and Elwood, the loveable if hapless characters played by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in the classic 1980 film The Blues Brothers, have finally gotten Vatican recognition for their “Mission from God.”