Papal Transition

Conclaves: Vatican Library official shares interesting, strange facts

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Ambrogio Piazzoni, vice prefect of the Vatican Library and author of the book, "History of Papal Elections," shared facts and curiosities with journalists at the Vatican Feb. 20.

Canonist explains ‘rigid, highly formal’ rules for electing pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The voting by cardinals to elect the next pope takes place behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, following a highly detailed procedure that underwent major revisions by Blessed John Paul II and a small, but very significant change, by Pope Benedict XVI.

Twelve to watch as cardinals gather in Rome

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Wherever journalists and bookmakers may be getting the names on their lists of top candidates for the next pope, it's not from the cardinals who will actually vote in the election. Both custom and canon law forbid the cardinals to discuss the matter in such detail with outsiders. Moreover, the true "papabili" -- literally, pope-ables -- are likely to emerge only after all the worlds' cardinals -- not just the 117 who will be under 80 and eligible to vote -- begin meeting at the Vatican in the coming days.

What the church needs now: Synod gives clues to cardinals’ priorities

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — One task facing the College of Cardinals already has been completed: A job description for the Catholic Church’s chief evangelizer already is written. He must be humble, but firmly grounded in church teaching; joyful and enthusiastic; willing to listen to and dialogue with others; and courageous in defending human rights, including […]

Family remains ‘fundamental unit of human society,’ says Archbishop Paglia

UNITED NATIONS (CNS) — Despite threats on many sides and prophesies of its extinction, the traditional family remains a vital resource for society, according to speakers at a U.N. event Feb. 15. The panel was held in conjunction with the 51st session of the U.N. Commission for Social Development. It was sponsored by the Holy […]

Barrier’s extension could separate West Bank Salesians from communities

The Israeli Supreme Court recently heard Israel's appeal to extend the Israeli-Palestinian separation barrier, a series of cement slabs, barbed wire fences and security roads that would separate the city of Beit Jalla from two Israeli settlements, creating a contiguous strip of land that could be used for expansion and their eventual joining. It will also separate 57 Christian Palestinian families from their agricultural lands, the last green area left for expansion of the city.

Before mortal remains of St. Valentine, couples pledge unending love

TERNI, Italy (CNS) -- Holding hands as they processed into church, 101 couples approached the mortal remains of St. Valentine, invoking his protection and promising that their upcoming weddings would bind them to one another forever. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, presided over the Mass and told the couples that "in a world that no longer understands love and marriage and family," their promises are an affirmation that true love is forever and that marriage involves an openness to having children.

Maronite patriarch, on ecumenical visit to Syria, prays for peace

DAMASCUS, Syria (CNS) — Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic patriarch, visiting war-torn Syria for the enthronement of Greek Orthodox Patriarch John, prayed for peace in the country. Celebrating Mass on the feast of St. Maron Feb. 9 at the Maronite Cathedral of St. Anthony, Cardinal Bechara Rai said in his homily, “We pray each day for the […]

On Ash Wednesday, pope preaches on humility, Christian unity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Celebrating what was expected to be the last public liturgy of his pontificate two weeks before his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI preached on the virtues of humility and Christian unity and heard his highest-ranking aide pay tribute to his service to the church. Jesus “denounces religious hypocrisy, behavior that wants to […]

Sadness, celebration mark pope’s first public event since announcement

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Sadness and celebration marked Pope Benedict XVI’s first public appearance since announcing Feb. 11 that he was stepping down. Compared to his other public events, this time the chants and cheers had more punch; loud, long supportive applause erupted more often, and the singing had the air of adieu. Some 7,000 […]