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Pope Benedict XVI announced the creation of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation yesterday. John Allen analyses the move (video, full text of papal homily).

The US Supreme Court has declined to review a case claiming that the Vatican is responsible for the actions of a clerical abuser. Jeffrey Lena, the Holy See’s lawyer, responds to the decision.

Westminster Cathedral is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its consecration this week (photo gallery).

Grant Gallicho is puzzled by yesterday’s Vatican statement “slapping” Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. Rod Dreher is infuriated by the rebuke, as is Andrew Sullivan.

John Allen explains why the abuse crisis is so explosive in Belgium. Time also offers analysis.

And Mark Shea says John Paul II sinned when he ignored warnings about Fr Marciel Maciel.

Morning Catholic must-reads

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The Foreign Office has ordered members of its papal visit team to undergo “urgent diversity training” following the leaking of a memo mocking the Pope.

Catherine Pepinster explains the background to the Foreign Office fiasco.

Andrew Brown, Neil Addison and Rob Vischer react to the Macfarlane ruling on religious discrimination. Simon Sarmiento has more reaction.

A 73-year-old priest has been killed in India.

The French Catholic Church is seeking candidates for priesthood on Facebook.

Philip Jenkins considers how the abuse crisis will change the Catholic Church.

Fr Raymond de Souza goes another round with Christopher Hitchens.

The Economist tours the Vatican Secret Archives.

Professor Eamon Duffy tries to define Anglican patrimony at a conference on Anglicanorum coetibus.

Joanna Bogle hails the new English translation of the Mass.

Matthew Archbold says ultrasounds will prove to be “the Rosa Parks of abortion”.

And the Church has finally done something to make Andrew Sullivan proud.

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In an oblique response to the abuse crisis, Pope Benedict has announced that he will dedicate his Easter weekly general audiences to the priesthood (video).

The Vatican confirmed yesterday that Fr Jerzy Popiełuszko, the Solidarity priest and martyr, will be beatified on June 6 in Marshal J Pilsudski Square in Warsaw.

Mexico City churches have reported a surge in Mass-goers during Holy Week.

Ross Douthat goes another round with Christopher Hitchens over the Pope and the abuse scandal.

Fr Joseph Fessio SJ defends the future Pope’s handling of the Kiesle case (video).

Paolo Rodari reports that the Vatican’s English Twitter feed is far more popular than those of other languages.

Thinking Faith salutes Robert Parsons, “the exemplar of the sinister Jesuit of popular imagination”, who died 400 years ago today.

Rod Dreher wonders if our minds are hard-wired for God.

Rob Vischer asks why senior Church officials are so gaffe-prone.

Andrew Sullivan suggests that new Catholic churches should look like Apple stores.

Catholic blogger Mark Shea wonders if the internet is making our manners coarser.

And, in response to the “12 evilest Pope pictures” meme, Anna Arco presents the “12 sweetest Pope pictures“. E D Kain applauds.

Morning Catholic must-reads

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There was a torrent of comment on Pope Benedict XVI and the sex abuse crisis at the weekend. Here is a selection: John Allen, Fr Raymond de Souza, Fr Federico Lombardi, Richard Dawkins, Andrew M Brown, Ross Douthat, Maureen Dowd, Tim Rutton, Andrew Sullivan, India Knight, Rod Dreher, George Weigel, Kathryn Jean Lopez, Matt Taibbi, Conrad Black, Elizabeth Lev, John Hooper, Catherine Pepinster, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, Rocco Palmo, Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Michael McCarthy.

About three dozen demonstrators” held a protest outside Westminster Cathedral yesterday.

The Guardian publishes an extract from Philip Pullman’s controversial new novel, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. Insight Scoop tears it apart.

Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has given a rare television interview (video).

And Mark Oppenheimer gives the thumbs down to a new computer game based on Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Morning Catholic must-reads

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John Allen has an exclusive interview with Mother Mary Clare Millea, the nun leading the Apostolic Visitation of America’s female religious.

Pope Benedict XVI has chosen Salesian Fr Enrico dal Covolo to preach at his week-long Lenten retreat.

The Pope is considering an invitation to consecrate the Sagrada Familia church, designed by Antoni Gaudí, in Barcelona.

The Pope told Rome’s priests yesterday that they must be true men in order to bridge the human and divine realities (video).

The number of students who claim they were sexually abused by Jesuit priests at schools across Germany has risen to 115, a lawyer has said.

Cardinal George Pell has confirmed that he had a pacemaker fitted in a Rome hospital after a cardiac problem during his visit to the Vatican last month.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, has urged Christians not to fear Islam.

The American bishops are to offer seminars on the new English translation of the Roman Missal across the country.

Rocco Palmo reports on Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s powerful Ash Wednesday homily and assesses the Pope’s choice as the next Archbishop of Prague.

Vatican Radio catches up with Cardinal Peter Turkson, the new president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Andrew Sullivan challenges the US bishops to crack down on dissent from the Magisterium’s teaching on torture, while Fr James Martin SJ accuses EWTN of “cafeteria Catholicism”.

No Hidden Magenta suggests the Church needs to employ a PR firm.

Deacon Greg Kandra spots the rarely seen “Loggia whisperer”.

Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni says he would like to coach Vatican City’s football team after he retires.

The Vatican Observatory? There’s an app for that.

And Mark Shea discovers that rare thing: Lenten humour.

Morning Catholic must-reads

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Pope Benedict XVI said true conversion prevents us becoming “slaves of evil or at least prisoners of moral mediocrity” at his general audience yesterday (video). He received ashes at St Sabina, in accordance with tradition (video).

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York has a simple message for Lent: “Get back to confession.”

Fr Tom Rosica, head of Salt + Light Television, Canada’s national Catholic television station, has uploaded a series of Lenten meditations to YouTube.

More than one million people have already reserved a place to see the Turin Shroud when it goes on display for the first time in a decade in April.

Pope Benedict XVI must not overlook the suffering of those abused in the care of Church-run institutions in Northern Ireland, an abuse victim there has said.

Paul Inwood, Director of Music and Liturgy of Portsmouth diocese, says the impact of the new English translation of the Mass “is not as upsetting as one might have thought” (scroll down to comments). Meanwhile, Jeffrey Tucker is disturbed by Mr Inwood’s suggestion that he attended a demonstration Mass with the new texts with music.

The BBC hopes that the Pope will appear on Radio 4’s Thought for the Day during his visit to Britain.

No more than 200 people attended the protest against Pope Benedict in London last Sunday, says Fr Tim Finigan.

A father in Chicago could be jailed after taking his three-year-old daughter to a Catholic church.

Andrew Sullivan is appalled by EWTN’s decision to broadcast an interview with a leading apologist for torture (warning: graphic images).

Rob Vischer asks what Catholic legal theory has to say to the Tea Party movement.

And No Hidden Magenta says the Church and controversial ethicist Peter Singer have a surprising thing in common.

Morning Catholic must-reads

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John Allen reflects on the lessons the Irish Church must learn following the abuse crisis.

Benedict XVI meditated on St Francis and the Christ Child at his general audience yesterday.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster will celebrate Midnight Mass live on BBC One tonight. The Beeb has a sneak preview of his homily.

Nicholas King SJ explains what we can truly know about the first Christmas.

The controversial theologian Edward
Schillebeeckx has died.

The new head of the Russian Orthodox Church has said gay people should not face unjust discrimination.

Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City has condemned the capital’s decision to recognise same-sex unions.

Umberto Eco deplores the lack of religious literacy in secular Europe.

As the Holy See responds to criticism of the Pius XII move, Hugh O’Shaughnessy considers the case against the Cause of the wartime pope. John Allen urges someone – anyone – to make the case in favour.

Andrew Sullivan says Robert George’s philosophy is “evil”.

Dr Samuel Gregg applauds Pope Benedict’s “stinging rebuke” to liberation theologians.

An adult stem-cell breakthrough has restored a man’s sight.

PETA encourages Pope Benedict to become a vegan.

Finally, I would like to thank you for reading this blog and wish you a very happy Christmas.