Benedict XV's latest book
In his new book, Jesus, the Apostles and the Early Church (Ignatius), Benedict XVI shows clearly the real relationship between Christ and His Church by way of His earliest followers. Despite what many modern-day profiles of Jesus and the Apostles seek to put forth, the Pope shows that Jesus' first disciples faithfully conveyed the truth about Him, and conscientiously laid the foundations for the growth of the Church.
The new book tells of the unique drama of Christ's first disciples - his Apostles and their immediate successors - and how they spread His message throughout the ancient world, remaining faithful to it even at the expense of their own lives.
Benedict's book is intended to have wide appeal to all Christians, with its focus on the authentic, historical Jesus and the genuine story of His first disciples.
'Before being sent out to preach, they [the Apostles] had to 'be' with Jesus (cf Mark 3:14), establishing a personal relationship with him,' the Pope writes. Then after Christ's Passion and Resurrection, He would send his Apostles 'to the whole creation' (Mark 16: 15), to 'all nations' (Matthew 28: 19; Luke 24: 47), 'to the ends of the earth' (Acts 1:8). 'And this mission continues,' says the Pope, 'this is our hope and our mandateÉ'.
Benedict XVI demolishes the many widespread myths and misconceptions about the early Christians and enables contemporary readers to discover the accurate history of Jesus and His early followers.
Catholic News Agency
Worldwide Children's Holy Hour
Benedict XVI has granted an Apostolic Blessing on the upcoming annual worldwide Children's Holy Hour, to take place on the First Friday, 5 October 2007.
The World Apostolate of Fatima's program, Children of the Eucharist, invites school children and all children around the globe to gather before the Blessed Sacrament and follow a simple program of prayer for peace in families and around the world generally.
Bishops, parish priests, school principals and families worldwide are being encouraged to plan 'little pilgrimages' to their local shrines, diocesan cathedrals, parish churches, and chapels.
The worldwide Children's Holy Hour will be broadcast live to over 40 different nations by EWTN from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC where Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St Joseph will lead the Children's Holy Hour at 10:00am EST.
The fruit of the annual global Holy Hour has been the spread of children's Eucharistic Adoration in parishes, schools and families.
For more information visit www.childrenoftheeucharist.org
Omaha Archdiocese clashes with Catholic university
The Jesuit-run Creighton University has been in the news because of its pattern of disagreement with the Archdiocese of Omaha within which it is located.
The most recent development was the university's invitation to speak, and then a last minute retraction, for the pro-assisted suicide campaigner Anne Lamott.
Creighton University officials said they invited Anne Lamott to speak before her book Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith was published in March 2007. The book describes her personal experience in helping a friend commit suicide.
'Everybody knew what they were getting so it is hard to understand a last minute disinvitation,' said Fr Joseph Taphorn, chancellor for the archdiocese. 'All you have to do is put the name in Google and you see what she believes.'
This latest disagreement has caused many local Catholics to lose patience with the university because it has been part of a succession of run-ins with the archdiocese.
In June Archbishop Elden Curtiss of Omaha officially disassociated the archdiocese from the university's Center for Marriage and Family after two of its researchers published an article in US Catholic magazine encouraging couples to have sex and children before marriage as long as they were engaged.
One of the Center's researchers, Michael Lawler, also co-wrote an article in the academic Heythrop Journal with the chairman of the school's theology department, suggesting that some homosexual sex is actually permissible according to Catholic teaching.
While Fr Taphorn would not say if the archdiocese had discussed the possibility of Archbishop Curtiss removing Creighton's status of being a Catholic university, it remains a possibility if the relationship continues to deteriorate.
The removal of the school's Catholic designation could result in an identity crisis and make fundraising from alumni harder.
Catholic News Agency
Third Fatima secret
The only surviving person to witness the opening of the third Fatima secret has denied claims that the Vatican is hiding details about a predicted apocalypse.
In September, Archbishop Loris Capovilla, 91, who witnessed Pope John XXIII open the envelope of the third secret, said there was no truth in the rumour that the Vatican was suppressing a vision of the end of the world.
'There are not two truths from Fatima and nor is there any fourth secret. The text which I read in 1959 is the same that was distributed by the Vatican,' said Archbishop Capovilla.
'I have had enough of these conspiracy theories. It just isn't true. I read it, I presented it to the Pope and we resealed the envelope,' he declared.
The three 'Secrets of Fatima' were written down by one of the children, Lucia Dos Santos, who later became a Carmelite nun. The nun revealed two of the secrets in 1941.
The first was a vision of hell, while the second apparently predicted the two world wars and the return of Russia from communism to Christianity.
The third secret was sent to John XXIII in a sealed envelope in 1959. John Paul II only revealed it in 2000 and said it referred to the 1981 assassination attempt on himself.
Catholic News Agency
Wider use of the 1962 Missal for Latin Mass
Benedict XVI's move to allow for wider celebration of the Roman Missal of 1962 has received a positive reaction from the Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow who told the Italian daily Il Giornale in August, 'The recovery and valuing of the ancient liturgical tradition is a fact that we greet positively.
'We hold very strongly to tradition. Without the faithful guardianship of liturgical tradition, the Russian Orthodox Church would not have been able to resist the period of persecution.'
On 14 September, EWTN telecast a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, live from the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. The Mass was celebrated by clergy of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in commemoration of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
In preparation for the telecast, EWTN presented on 12 September a one-hour round table: 'The Motu Proprio on the Traditional Latin Mass,' hosted by the Network's Vice President for Theology, Colin Donovan, and featuring a panel of experts.
Then, on 14 September, The World Over Live EWTN program featured Raymond Arroyo talking with Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St Louis, Missouri, about the Motu Proprio. Archbishop Burke was one of two American bishops personally invited to Rome by Benedict XVI for a briefing on the Motu Proprio before its release. He shared his thoughts on that meeting and took questions from EWTN viewers.
Meanwhile, one of the best known Catholic universities in the US, Notre Dame, announced in September it would be offering the Latin Mass on campus as soon as the necessary requirements, outlined in Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio of 7 July, had been fulfilled.
Notre Dame's campus ministry is offering a catechesis on the Eucharist to provide students with a deeper understanding of the Eucharist, the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Mass, and the Pope's Motu Proprio.
Zenit News Agency
Maitland-Newcastle Diocese confession survey
In 2006 Catholics in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle were surveyed about 'their present understanding and experience of the Sacrament of Penance'. Respondents were also invited to make suggestions for 'enhancing the celebration of this Sacrament'. The survey results have been released.
Four different survey forms were distributed to general parishioners, parish sacramental teams, young adults and diocesan clergy. A total of 523 responded to one or other of the forms, a small fraction of those regularly at Mass, and a miniscule percentage of the Diocese's 150,000 Catholics.
Of those who responded, most were over 60 and female and only four percent were aged between 21 and 40. Responses from Year 12 students at diocesan high schools were negligible and only 16 of the diocesan clergy filled out the questionnaire.
Regarding individual confession, the typical response from priests was 'almost too small to measure' while half of the priests were very much in favour of the Third Rite; the other half were well disposed towards the Third Rite subject to certain conditions.
The Sacrament of Penance Working Party commented: 'The findings reveal that the Sacrament of Penance is fast fading from Catholic practice except where opportunities are offered for the 3rd Rite and to a lesser extent the 2nd Rite. Church leadership needs to hear what the majority of people are saying if the Sacrament of Penance is not to be lost to the coming generations'.
This 'majority', however, is derived from just 0.35 percent of the Diocese's Catholic population.
World Youth Day Timorese benefit concert
A benefit concert jointly sponsored by AD2000 and the Timorese Australian Community of Victoria has raised about $20,000 to bring young Timorese people to Australia in July 2008 for World Youth Day.
The benefit concert featured a range of talented performers, including Blair McWhinney, Michael Lapina from Opera Australia, Liam Pederson, Josie Restall and the Rejoyce Family Choir, and was hosted by John Canavan.
The concert will help young people from the newest Catholic nation in Asia to attend an international event which will be attended by Pope Benedict XVI.
Among those present at the concert were members of the Timorese community, Australians who had visited East Timor, seminarians and many other Australians who saw the concert as a means to help develop the Faith in East Timor.
East Timor emerged from 24 years of Indonesian occupation in 1999, and was granted independence under UN auspices in 2002. In recent elections, a coalition of pro- democracy parties defeated the left-wing Fretilin Party which had governed East Timor since independence.
The new government has set about a development program based on rebuilding harmonious relations within the divided population, and co-operating in development with the Catholic Church.