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Archive for December 21st, 2009

Morning Catholic must-reads

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Pope Benedict recalled his “upsetting” visit to Yad Vashem in his annual address to the Roman Curia yesterday. Sandro Magister picks out the speech’s highlights.

The Telegraph suggests that the Pope’s visit to a Rome synagogue next month is in doubt following the decision to advance Pius XII’s Cause.

Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel respond to the Pius move.

A church lawyer explains what the JFS ruling means for Britain’s faith schools.

Japan’s bishops have reportedly clashed with the Vatican over a new Japanese translation of the Mass.

A priest in Turkey has been threatened as a consequence of the Swiss minaret vote.

CBS examines the plight of Turkey’s beleaguered Christians.

One of Cardinal Francis George of Chicago’s aides has denied giving money to the campaign of the city’s mayor, who supports abortion.

The brother of a Canadian archbishop takes out a newspaper advertisement to explain why he pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

Scientist P Z Myers calls Cardinal Pell a “religious nitwit”.

The Pope has given his blessing to a new initiative of L’Osservatore Romano.

Ross Douthat says James Cameron’s new film, Avatar, is “a long apologia for pantheism”.

Jonathan Jones argues that Caravaggio paved the way for today’s insipid Christmas decorations.

And a new book considers the rise in displays of faith by elite athletes.


Bishops wind down their evangelisation agency. What comes next?

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Bishop Kieran Conry, the chairman of the department of evangelisation and catechesis of the bishops of England and Wales, and Fr Marcus Stock, the new general secretary of the bishops’ conference, have written to supporters of the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation (CASE), informing them that the bishops “have decided to relocate the core work being done by the agency to other areas within the bishops’ conference”.

They write:

The Catholic Communications Network (CCN) will take a leading role in this re-structure. Developing ways of proclaiming the Gospel with the CCN by using all forms of media presents an exciting opportunity for work of evangelisation.

It’s not immediately clear what this means for the evangelisation efforts of the Church in England and Wales. As new information emerges I’ll report on it here.

Written by Luke Coppen

December 21, 2009 at 3:30 pm

World Jewish Congress criticises Pope Benedict over Pius XII move

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The World Jewish Congress has criticised Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to move the Cause of Pius XII forward.

A press release issued this morning reads:

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) today criticised the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to pave the way for the beatification of his controversial war-time predecessor Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli), who was pontiff of the Catholic Church from 1939 to 1958.

WJC President Ronald S Lauder declared: ‘As long as the archives of Pope Pius about the crucial period 1939 to 1945 remain closed, and until a consensus on his actions – or inaction – concerning the persecution of millions of Jews in the Holocaust is established, a beatification is inopportune and premature. While it is entirely a matter for the Catholic Church to decide on whom religious honours are bestowed, there are strong concerns about Pope Pius XII’s political role during World War II which should not be ignored.’

Lauder called on the Vatican to immediately open all existing archives about the Pius era to international researchers in order to dispel doubts that still persist. ‘Given the importance of good relations between Catholics and the Jews, and following the difficult events of the past year, it would be appreciated if the Vatican showed more sensitivity on this matter,’ he said.

The World Jewish Congress is the international organisation representing the Jewish communities in 92 countries around the world. The WJC serves as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people to governments and international organizations, and it has in the past been at the forefront of dialogue with the Vatican.

Written by Luke Coppen

December 21, 2009 at 1:39 pm