Agca says he is a messiah who will write a “perfect Bible”

January 13, 2010
agca note

A hand-written letter by Mehmet Ali Agca released by his lawyers on 13 Jan 2010/Umit Bektas

Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who tried to kill Pope John Paul

January 13, 2010
pope agca prison

Pope John Paul meets Mehmet Ali Agca in Rome's Rebibbia prison on 27 Dec 1983/Vatican photo

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.

Pope John Paul remains touchstone for Poland’s Catholic Church

December 17, 2009
JP2 commemoration (Photo: Candles in Warsaw on fourth anniversary of Pope John Paul’s II, 2 April 2009/Peter Andrews)

Four and a half years after his death, Pope John Paul II remains a dominant presence in Poland’s Roman Catholic Church. Pictures of him are still ubiquitous in his homeland, and not only in churches. His former private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, regularly invoked the name of the Polish-born pontiff during an interview in Krakow with Reuters, either lauding his role in the victory of democracy over communism in eastern Europe two decades ago or speaking of the need for the church today to follow his example in reaching out to other faiths in a spirit of ecumenical dialogue.

Child abuse crisis to spark Irish Catholic Church shake-up

December 12, 2009
irishvatican Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (L) and Cardinal Sean Brady (C) after meeting Pope Benedict, 11 Dec 2009/Tony Gentile

Q+A – Vietnam and Vatican talk about diplomatic relations

December 8, 2009

vietnam cathedral

Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet will meet Pope Benedict this week during a trip to Italy to talk about improving ties. The Vatican and the Communist-run Southeast Asian country do not have diplomatic relations. Click here for some questions and answers about the Vietnam-Vatican relationship.

Pope and Irish Catholic Church to hold summit on child abuse by clergy

December 7, 2009

abuse (Photo: Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern while discussing abuse report with journalists, 26 Nov 2009/Cathal McNaughton)

Ireland’s top Roman Catholic leaders will hold talks with Pope Benedict this week to formulate the Vatican’s response to an Irish government report on a 30-year cover-up of sexual abuse of children by priests.

Vatican rebukes prelate denying heaven to gays and transsexuals

December 3, 2009

barraganA Roman Catholic Cardinal has told homosexuals and transsexuals  they would never get into heaven, prompting a rebuke from the Vatican itself.