EWTN - April 16, 2014
The Wall Street Journal
April 17, 2014 6:48 p.m. ET
Two popes who differed on the Second Vatican Council become saints a half century later.
By FRANCIS X. ROCCA
Mr. Rocca is Rome bureau chief of Catholic News Service and director of a forthcoming documentary film, "Voices of Vatican II: Council Participants Remember."
If Pope Francis follows tradition, he will not deliver a homily when he celebrates Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square on Sunday. Rather, after Mass has ended he will read a message "Urbi et Orbi"—to the city of Rome and to the world—to commemorate Christ's resurrection by calling for peace and reconciliation around the globe. The address is typically among the pope's most quoted speeches of the year.
But this time, the most important day of the Catholic Church's liturgical calendar may feel like a prelude to an even more spectacular celebration the following Sunday. On April 27, Pope Francis will add Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II to the church's canon of saints. The event presents an opportunity to send a message of peace and reconciliation not only to the nations of the world, but also to a church still recovering from decades of discord.
More than a million pilgrims will travel to Rome to attend the canonization ceremonies in St. Peter's Square. Hundreds of millions will watch at home or in movie theaters around the world, and the Vatican is broadcasting the images in 3-D. Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, is expected to make a rare public appearance.
The Boston Globe
APRIL 12, 2014
Also: Bioethics; Venezuela; Synod of Bishops; and a little friendly slang to greet the pope
By John L. Allen Jr.
Dutch Jesuit priest Frans van der Lugt, killed in Syria last week just shy of his 76th birthday, personified the best of the missionary spirit in Catholicism. He spent 50 years in his adopted country, humbly serving poor and disabled persons regardless of their race or religion.
Whenever a Syrian came to his door seeking help, van der Lugt told a friend, “I don’t see Muslims or Christians, only human beings.”
At the time of his death, van der Lugt was the last Westerner in the bitterly contested city of Homs. On Monday morning, a still-unidentified assailant dragged him into the street outside his Jesuit residence, beat him, and then shot him twice in the head.
Most observers believe the killer was an Islamic radical, though a few suspect the Assad regime may have orchestrated the murder in order to blame the rebels.
For the last several years, van der Lugt served at a small center for mentally and physically disabled people. A Muslim charity would give him around nine pounds of flour every week, which he turned into bread, giving half a loaf to the 30 neediest people he knew.
The Associated Press
March 31, 2014
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has kneeled before a priest and confessed his sins in a St. Peter's Basilica ceremony he hopes will inspire others to seek forgiveness.
Traditionally, popes have heard confessions of some faithful in the basilica on Good Friday morning. But Francis did so three weeks early. And he surprised many in the packed church Friday by confessing his own sins with his back to cameras. At one point, the priest hearing his confession appeared to chuckle. Francis, solemn-faced, then rose and started hearing confessions himself.
The footage is unprecedented, wrote Whispers in the Loggia blogger Rocco Palmo. "No pope has ever been seen as a penitent."
In his homily, Francis tweaked some religious commandments to stress the positive. Building on "don't' steal," Francis suggested, "share what you have with others," especially the needy, and when trying to "not yield to anger," he advised, be "magnanimous and ready to forgive."
March 28, 2014
Deviation from Bible doesn't detract from religious essence.
Christians may be tempted to skip or even object to the forthcoming movie Noah over controversies ginned up by those who have not seen the movie. But before you rush to join the Noah haters, consider the beautiful story of how the film came to be.
The film's director, producer and screenwriter, Darren Aronofsky of Black Swan fame, first encountered the story of Noah as a child. When asked to write a poem about peace as a 13-year-old, he adapted the story of Noah into a poem so beautiful, his teacher entered it into a United Nations poetry contest. It won. Aronofsky speaks of a fascination with the story that has stayed with him ever since, propelling him to finally set the story to the big screen, with his middle school teacher even appearing in a cameo role.
Aronofsky has made it clear; Noah is not a "Biblical movie." Or as he put it, Noah is "the least Biblical movie ever made." Or is it?
Aronofsky, as far as I can tell, does not self-describe as a Christian.