Category Archives: Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict addresses Pope Pius XII study group

Pope Benedict met today with the Pave the Way Foundation (PTWF). The PTWF met in Rome this week to hold a symposium to study the papacy of Pope Pius XII. “Pave the Way has identified this period in history as one of the most difficult between Catholics and Jews, and so we have taken on this challenge in the furtherance of our mission” says PTWF President, Gary L. Krupp. “PTWF has launched an independent investigation by video interviewing eye witnesses to events of war years. We have uncovered a great deal of information which is not known by any of the scholarly institutions including the Vatican itself.” Krupp believes there is considerable evidence from eye witnesses and other archival materials to help to answer questions of what in fact the Pius XII papacy did during World War II and its importance today.


In his audience the Pope said:


The focus of your [Pave the Way Foundation] study has been the person and the tireless
Pius 12.jpgpastoral and humanitarian work of Pius XII, Pastor Angelicus. Fifty years have passed since his pious death here at Castel Gandolfo early on the ninth of October 1958, after a debilitating disease. This anniversary provides an important opportunity to deepen our knowledge of him, to meditate on his rich teaching and to analyze thoroughly his activities. So much has been written and said of him during these last five decades and not all of the genuine facets of his diverse pastoral activity have been examined in a just light. The aim of your symposium has been precisely to address some of these deficiencies, conducting a careful and documented examination of many of his interventions, especially those in favour of the Jews who in those years were being targeted all over Europe, in accordance with the criminal plan of those who wanted to eliminate them from the face of the earth. When one draws close to this noble Pope, free from ideological prejudices, in addition to being struck by his lofty spiritual and human character one is also captivated by the example of his life and the extraordinary richness of his teaching. One can also come to appreciate the human wisdom and pastoral intensity which guided him in his long years of ministry, especially in providing organized assistance to the Jewish people.


Thanks to the vast quantity of documented material which you have gathered, supported by many authoritative testimonies, your symposium offers to the public forum the
Pope Pius XII.jpgpossibility of knowing more fully what Pius XII achieved for the Jews persecuted by the Nazi and fascist regimes. One understands, then, that wherever possible he spared no effort in intervening in their favour either directly or through instructions given to other individuals or to institutions of the Catholic Church. In the proceedings of your convention you have also drawn attention to his many interventions, made secretly and silently, precisely because, given the concrete situation of that difficult historical moment, only in this way was it possible to avoid the worst and save the greatest number of Jews. This courageous and paternal dedication was recognized and appreciated during and after the terrible world conflict by Jewish communities and individuals who showed their gratitude for what the Pope had done for them. One need only recall Pius XII’s meeting on the 29th of November 1945 with eighty delegates of German concentration camps who during a special Audience granted to them at the Vatican, wished to thank him personally for his generosity to them during the terrible period of Nazi-fascist persecution.

Pope Prays for World at Feet of Our Lady

Pope Benedict XVI went to pray at the feet of Our Lady of Lourdes. This weekend the Pope made a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, to visit the place where Our Lady visited Saint Bernadette Soubirous 150 years ago to offer prayer for the Church, the sick and to plead for peace in the world.

Thumbnail image for OL Lourdes Church.jpgThe Pope stated the goal of his pilgrimage:

I go as a messenger of peace and fraternity. Your country is not unknown to me. On several occasions I have had the joy to visit it and to appreciate its generous tradition of hospitality and tolerance, as well as the solidity of its Christian faith and its lofty human and spiritual culture. After visiting Paris, your country’s capital, I will have the great joy to join the crowd of pilgrims who are going to follow the stages of the jubilee journey, after Saint Bernadette, to the Massabielle grotto.


My prayer will intensify at the feet of Our Lady for the intentions of the whole Church, in particular for the sick, the abandoned, as well as for peace in the world.


May Mary be for all of you in particular for young people, the Mother always attentive to the needs of her children, a light of hope that illuminates and guides your ways. I invite you to join me in prayer so that this trip will bring abundant fruits.


At the beginning of the candlelight procession in Lourdes the Holy Father said:


Dear Brothers and Sisters!


1. When the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in the grotto at Massabielle, she began

OL Lourdes.jpga dialogue between Heaven and earth which has lasted through time and continues to this day. Speaking to the young girl, Mary asked that people should come here in procession, as if to signify that this dialogue cannot be limited to words, but must become a journey at her side along the pilgrim way of faith, hope and love.


Here in Lourdes, for more than a century the Christian people have faithfully responded to that maternal summons, walking each day behind Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and processing each night amid songs and prayers in honor of the Lord’s Mother.


This year the Pope joins you in this act of devotion and love for the Most Holy Virgin, the glorious woman of the Book of Revelation, crowned with twelve stars (cf. Rev 12,1). Holding in our hands the lighted torch, we recall and profess our faith in the Risen Christ. From Him the whole of our life receives light and hope.


2. To you, dear brothers and sisters, I entrust a particular intention for our prayer this evening: join me in imploring the Virgin Mary to obtain for our world the longed-for gift of peace.


May forgiveness and brotherly love take root in human hearts. May every weapon be laid down, and all hatred and violence put aside.


May everyone see in his neighbor not an enemy to be fought, but a brother to be accepted and loved, so that we may join in building a better world.


3. Together let us invoke the Queen of Peace and renew our commitment to the service of reconciliation, dialogue and solidarity. In this way we shall merit the happiness which the Lord has promised to the peacemakers (Mt 5,9).


I accompany you with my prayer and my blessing. May God bless you!

The Beauty of the Name of Mary

BVM with female saints.jpgA blessed feast of Mary to you!


Today is the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. It has a feast of the Church since 1683 when Pope Innocent XI made it a universal feast. It was removed from the Church’s liturgical memory after Vatican II but was restored  when Pope John Paul II published the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal in 2002. His tremendous love for the Mother of God is a significant benchmark for all of us.


Pope Benedict XVI said the following about Mary’s holy name at Abbey of Heiligenkreuz (9 September 2007):


Let us say a few words about this Name which means “Star of the Sea” and is so appropriate to the Virgin Mother. She — I tell you — is that splendid and wondrous star
stephansplatz2.jpgsuspended as if by necessity over this great wide sea, radiant with merit and brilliant in example.
O you, whoever you are, who feel that in the tidal wave of this world you are nearer to being tossed about among the squalls and gales than treading on dry land: if you do not want to founder in the tempest, do not avert your eyes from the brightness of this star. When the wind of temptation blows up within you, when you strike upon the rock of tribulation, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary.


Whether you are being tossed about by the waves of pride or ambition, or slander or jealousy, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary. When rage or greed or fleshly desires are battering the skiff of your soul, gaze up at Mary. When the immensity of your sins weighs you down and you are bewildered by the loathsomeness of your conscience, when the terrifying thought of judgment appalls you and you begin to founder in the gulf of sadness and despair, think of Mary. In dangers, in hardships, in every doubt, think of Mary, call out to Mary. Keep her in your mouth, keep her in your heart. Follow the example of her life, and you will obtain the favour of her prayer. Following her, you will never go astray.


Asking her help, you will never despair. Keeping her in your thoughts, you will never wander away. With your hand in hers, you will never stumble. With her protecting you, you will not be afraid. With her leading you, you will never tire. Her kindness will see you through to the end. Then you will know by your own experience how true it is that the Virgin’s Name was Mary.


Holy Name of Mary.jpg


Let us pray.

Grant, we beseech you, almighty God,
that to all who are celebrating her glorious name, the Blessed Virgin Mary herself may dispense the benefits of your mercy.

Pope Benedict Prepares for the 12th Synod of Bishops on the Word of God

Today the press office of the Holy See published the names of those the Pope asked to
Pope and Gospel.jpgassist the work of the
12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops being held in Rome October 5-26, 2008. The Synod will be dealing with the topic of The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.”


Pope Benedict’s Janaury 21st address to attending the general meeting for the Synod is here. In the address, the Holy Father says: “Among the Ecclesial Community’s many and great duties in today’s world, I emphasize evangelization and ecumenism. They are centred on the Word of God and at the same time are justified and sustained by it. As the Church’s missionary activity with its evangelizing work is inspired and aims at the merciful revelation of the Lord, ecumenical dialogue cannot base itself on words of human wisdom (cf. I Cor 2: 13) or on neat, expedient strategies, but must be animated solely by constant reference to the original Word that God consigned to his Church so that it be read, interpreted and lived in communion with her.”


On Sunday October 5, at 9:30 a.m., in the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls, Pope Benedict will open the Synod.


The list of the Ordinary members with the assistance of experts and auditors is extensive and likely to be meaningless for many but there are some names that we ought to raise an eyebrow and say, “Well….” Of interest to me and perhaps to you are the following:



Ordinary members

-Marc Cardinal Ouellet, P.S.S.

Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, Bishop of Terni-Narni-Amelia, Pres. of the Catholic Biblical Federation

-Very Rev’d Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus

-Rev’d Fr. Julián Carrón, President of Communion and Liberation




Thumbnail image for St Jerome.jpgExperts

-Rev’d Fr. Peter Damian Akpunonu, Mundelein Seminary, Mundelein, IL

-Rev’d Fr. Enzo Bianchi, Prior of the Monastic Community of Bose, Italy

-Rev’d Sr. Sara Butler, M.S.B.T., Professor of Dogmatic Theology, St. Joseph Seminary, NY

-Rev’d Fr. Juan Javier Flores, O.S.B. Pres. of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Rome

-Rev’d Fr. Stephen F. Pisano, S.J. Rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute (from the USA)

-Rev’d Fr. Marko Rupnik, S.J., Director of the Ezio Aletti Center for Studies & Research, Rome

-Rev’d Sr. Germana Strola, O.C.S.O., Trappist nun of the Vitorchiano Abbey, Italy

-Rev’d Fr. Cyril Vasil, S.J., Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome

-Rev’d Mons. Timothy Verdon, Professor of Sacred Art, Theological Faculty of Central Italy, Florence (from the USA)

-Prof. Michael Waldstein, Professor of NT, International Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, Gaming, Austria (citizen of the USA & Austria)




-Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus (from the USA)

-Luis F. Figari, Superior General of the Sodalitium Vitae Christianae (from Peru)

-Abbot Michel Jorrot, O.S.B., Abbey of Clervaux (from Luxemburg)

-Rev’d Mother Clare Millea, A.S.C.J., Superior General of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart (from the USA)

-Andrea Riccardi, Founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio (from Italy)

-Maria Voce, Pres. Of the Focolari Movement (from Italy)


Interesting to note that there are no bishops from the USA among the Ordinary members of the Synod. Plus, a number of the experts already sit on the International Theological Commission which is under the auspices of the CDF. One can also appreciate the presence of the ecclesial movements participating in the Synod!



Foundation to Promote Thought of Benedict XVI

A foundation devoted to the study of the thought of Pope Benedict XVI will be unveiled in Munich on November 12th. The foundation is devoted to “the promotion of theology in the spirit of Joseph Ratzinger.” The press release announcing the foundation said: “The board of trustees whose members include former students from Germany, Portugal, Ireland, Benin, and the United States, reflects the international character of the Schülerkreis and the international scope of the foundation’s outreach.”

For 30 years there has been a meeting of the Schülerkreis since it was set up after then Professor Joseph Ratzinger was named archbishop of Munich in 1977.


UPDATE 17 September: Rome Reports gives us perspective here.


May the Lord bring success to the work of their hands and minds.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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