Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Patriarch gives address on Christmas

25 DECEMBER 2013 (ORCNS) - The address of the Patriarch of Saint Stephen, Cardinal Rutherford Johnson, to the members of the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham today centered on the situation facing the Christian population of Syria. Citing the words of Pope Pius XII, Cardinal Johnson indicated the need for action by the world governments. The full text of the address is provided below. 

Patriarchal Address on the Feast of the Nativity of O.L.J.C.
A.D. 2013

To the members of the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham,

Greetings and Apostolic blessings on this Feast of the Nativity in the year of our Lord 2013. When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, it was a time of great unrest and conflict in what we now know as the Holy Land. This Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus while there is again great unrest in that region of the world. The Christian people of Syria have been hounded, harassed, attacked, and persecuted in this past year, creating many martyrs and refugees, and placing one of the oldest Christian sites in grave peril of irrecoverable loss. What do the governments of the world do as a whole? They remain silent. They do nothing. We can be reasonably assured that had it been Muslims being persecuted or killed, there would have been a loud outcry from the governments demanding that it cease and threatening military intervention or economic sanctions. We see here, then, the evidence of the power of the Cross. The world loves its own and hates what is not of the world, and thus despises the Cross and all the faithful in Christ. The forces of darkness are ever-ready to seek the destruction of the Church wherever they find opportunity. Sometimes the mechanisms are subtle and even imperceptible to most. In Syria, it is direct violence and brutality by Islamists. We ask again: where are the voices of outrage in the international community? Where are the widespread voices of outrage even within the Christian communities of the world? Where are the calls to action?

Over 900 years ago, when the Christian people in the region of the Holy Land were threatened and harassed by expanding Islamic rule, such a call to action was issued by the highest authority in Christendom. In 1095, Pope Urban II issued the first call to Crusade, beginning the first of more than ten such efforts of the high middle ages. The Crusades of that time were first and foremost military actions undertaken with great moral imperative to free the Holy Land from the Muslims and to defend the many pilgrims to the Holy Land. What is our sacred duty to protect we must protect indeed. There ought to be no apology for that in general, and, unfortunate abuses due to the fallen state of mankind notwithstanding, there ought to be no apology for the Crusades. As direct successors to the legacy of the knights of the Holy Church who fought before the Cross, this Patriarchate certainly issues no such apology. Rather, we praise and commend the efforts of all who fought with pure heart against the enemies of the Christian Faith in order to preserve the Church, protect the faithful, and ultimately save lives.

Where, then, we ask yet again, is the call to action to defend the Christian Church in our age? Where is the outrage demanding that action be taken in Syria to institute freedom and defend life? Why does the prevailing attitude among at least vocal Christians seem to be one of weak capitulation and begging pardon for defense of the Faith? Remember the words of the Holy Father Pius XII when he issued the reminder that the Church on earth is known as the Church Militant because "...on earth the powers of darkness are ever restless to encompass her destruction. Not only in the far-off centuries of the early Church, but down through the ages and in this our day, the enemies of God and Christian civilization make bold to attack the Creator’s supreme dominion and sacrosanct human rights."

The clergy of Christ's Holy Church are leaders in what Pius XII termed the militia of the faithful. Let this holy and spiritual militia of today indeed stand firm against the forces of darkness around the world, inspired by the Passion of our Lord, the blood of the martyrs, the wisdom of the Doctors, the words and deeds of the Confessors, and the example of the shepherds of the flock. Let the powers of the civilized and Christian world likewise stand firm against evil and, in this present situation, stand firm against those who persecute and destroy the Christian civilization of Syria. To the clergy and faithful we admonish prayer; the rosary, novenas, private orations, and the most powerful prayer of all, the Holy Mass. Let us all offer our prayers and service ceaselessly in this never-ending conflict into which the Church Militant has been plunged and will remain until the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ in glory.

May the blessing of Almighty God, the + Father, + Son, and Holy + Ghost, be upon you and remain with you always. R. Amen.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Call to Action

Rutherford Cardinal Johnson
Patriarch of Saint Stephen

It has recently been announced that the Obama administration has downgraded the Nunciature (Embassy) of the Vatican to the United States. It will no longer occupy its present building, but will be moved to offices within the embassy of the Italian Republic to the U.S. Likewise, it is said that in time the American Embassy to the Holy See will be moved to offices within the American Embassy to Italy. Aside from the glaring geopolitical fact that the Vatican City-State is a sovereign state and not part of the Republic of Italy, this is disturbing in the extreme on a much higher level. 

America has a long history of anti-Catholicism. It was a major step when Ronald Reagan gave full diplomatic recognition to the Vatican. Mr. Reagan and Blessed John Paul II were friends and allies in the cause to defeat communism around the world. Now we have a White House occupied by a communist who shows Islamist tendencies. He does not mind bowing before Saudi royalty, but he snubs the representative of the Vicar of Christ. Particularly as seen in the light of the Obama Administration's numerous attacks on religious freedom, human dignity, and the sanctity of life, this is disturbing indeed and a grave matter of concern.

It has been said by some, and certainly asserted by the Obama Administration, that the Church must yield to the civil government when the two are in conflict. One common argument for this is that the Church exists in part within the territorial boundaries of the United States. Yet, the United States exists within the territory of God's earth. The Church Militant has lasted on earth approximately 2000 years. It has outlasted every empire and nation on earth. Duty to God is greater than duty to country or to anything else. In fact, a Christian's service to one's country (which is a laudable thing) can only be done in a manner consistent with the laws of Christ. This applies likewise to participation in civic societies and even to one's employment.

It is time for all who profess the Catholic Faith in America to stand up and make their voices heard that they are servants of Christ above all else. It is time to say that our loyalty is to Christ and His Holy Church above any nation, however great it may be. No nation of this earth compares to the Kingdom of God.

The Church Militant is the body of faithful here on earth. She is militant because the enemies of Christ are always seeking her destruction, and we certainly see this with the present situation in the United States. The Church Militant is not a body on its own. It is joined through bonds that no earthly power can sever with the Church Suffering (the souls in purgatory) and the Church Triumphant (the souls in Heaven). Many tyrants have sought the destruction of the Holy Church. By the Passion of Christ and the blood of the martyrs, all tyrants have failed.

Now is the time for those who profess the Catholic Faith to stand up with the resolve of Christ as He faced the Passion and with the courage of the martyrs as they earned their holy crowns. Let no one of the faithful stand idly by as the forces of darkness attack the Church.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

New Cardinals to be Created in Rome

VATICAN CITY 2 November 2013 (ORCNS) - The Press Office of the Holy See announced that a public Consistory will be held February 2014 during which new Cardinals of the Roman Communion will be appointed. According to Rev. Federico Lombardi, SJ, head of the Press Office, Pope Francis indicated his intention to create new Cardinals earlier this month, The Consistory will take place on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, 22 February 2014.

The Holy Father has not yet announced who the new Cardinals will be. Father Lombardi also did not comment on this subject in his official statement. In previous Consistories, the names of the new Cardinals typically were made public a few weeks prior to the event.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

In Memoriam Count Robert Clark

October 2013 (ORCNS) - The Patriarchal See is sad to report the death of one of its most distinguished friends and supporters, Count Robert L. Clark, in October of 2013. A resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico, he was reported missing from his cabin in the Apache Springs Ranch area in late September. After an intense search and rescue effort, he was found in the wilderness on 3 October.

Robert Clark's life was one of accomplishment and adventure. He was known for his inquisitive mind, his sense of loyalty, and great personal honor. Clark graduate in 1968 from Virginia Institute of Technology and served in the Vietnam War as a Captain in U.S. Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal. He flew private aerobatic aircraft for some years. In civilian life, he worked as a CPA and wrote a book, Crossing Wall Street - The Road to Independent Financial Security, in which he hoped to help people gain financial independence and not to be manipulated by the corporate system and financial marketplace. Clark was also a man of very high intelligence. He was a long-time member of the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry and served as its ninth President. Clark was a hereditary Companion of the Most Honorable Legion of the Eagle and an Italian Count.

The coat of arms of Count Robert L. Clark.

Friends of Clark knew him to be dedicated, loyal, and always up for a good intellectual discussion. He was someone who always loved to learn something new and from whom others could learn a great deal. He was not one to stand by idly as others behaved dishonorably. He was always quick to rise to the defense of the falsely maligned. His words carried great weight wherever he went, and many people followed his excellent example.

Shortly before his death, Clark came to Catholicism and believed in the benefits of the rosary. He had begun the initial stages of discerning a possible vocation to the priesthood. As a scientist himself, he was particularly interested in the Saints and clergy who were involved in making scientific contributions.

Two of Clark's quotes were "War is hell" and "Man is a fragile commodity." He was equally qualified to comment on both accounts.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fr. Anthony Giunta continues animal blessing tradition

COLUMBIA S.C. 4 October 2013 (ORCNS) - The Very Rev. Anthony Giunta, TOR Mar., a priest of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, continued the centuries-old tradition of blessing animals on the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. (Who does't know and love the images of St. Francis surrounded by animals?)

Fr. Giunta is a former police officer and now a police chaplain, so it is no surprise that the blessing was held at the Columbia Police Department. After all the animals were blessed, a reception was held at police headquarters. This is a particularly special blessing for Fr. Giunta, because he is a Franciscan, the order founded by Saint Francis of Assisi himself.

Video of the Blessing (WISTV Columbia, SC)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Vatican City, 2 October 2013 (VIS) – The holiness of the Church was the theme chosen by Francis for his catechesis during today's general audience, which took place in St. Peter's Square and was attended by more than 50,000 people.

In the Creed, after professing that the Church is “one”, the Pope said, “we also confess that she is 'holy'; we thus affirm the holiness of the Church, and this is a characteristic that has been present ever since the beginning in the conscience of the first Christians, who called themselves simply 'the holy', as they were certain of the action of God, of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies the Church”.

“But”, he asked, “How can we say that the Church is holy, if we see that the Church throughout history, during her long journey through the centuries, has experienced many moments of darkness? How can a Church be holy if she is made up of human beings, of sinners? Of men who are sinners, women who are sinners, priests who are sinners, nuns who are sinners, bishops who are sinners, cardinals who are sinners, popes who are sinners? Everyone. How can a Church like this be holy?”

The Church is holy because “she comes from God Who is holy, Who is faithful to her and never abandons her to the power of death and evil. She is holy because Jesus Christ, Saint of God, is indissolubly united to her; she is holy because she is guided by the Holy Spirit which purifies, transforms, and renews. She is not holy by our merits, but because God makes her holy”.

“You could say to me: but the Church is made up of sinners, we see this every day. And this is true: we are a Church of sinners, and we sinners are called to let ourselves be transformed … by God. Throughout history there has been the temptation to say: the Church is just the Church of the pure, of those who are entirely coherent, and the rest are to be cast aside. No! It's true! This is heresy... The Church is holy, she does not refuse sinners; on the contrary, she welcomes them, she is open even to those who are most distant, she calls to all to allow themselves to be surrounded by the mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness of the Father, Who offers to all the opportunity to encounter Him and to walk the path to holiness. … Is there anyone here who brings no sin with them? No, we all carry our sins with us.”

In the Church, the God we encounter “is not a ruthless judge, but is like the Father in the Gospel parable. … The Lord wants us to be part of a Church who knows how to extend her arms to welcome all, who is not the house of few, but the home of all, where everyone can be renewed, transformed and sanctified by His love; the strongest and the weakest, sinners, the indifferent, the discouraged and the lost. The Church offers to all the possibility of embarking on the road of holiness, which is the road of the Christian”.

“Do not be afraid of holiness”, concluded Francis, “of letting yourself be loved and purified by God. … Let us allow God's holiness be transmitted to us. Every Christian is called to holiness; and holiness does not consist, first and foremost, in doing extraordinary things, but rather in letting God act. It is the encounter between our weakness and the strength of His grace”.

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Friday, September 20, 2013


Vatican City, 20 September 2013 (VIS) – Today the Pope met with members of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations and Catholic gynaecologists, and spoke of the current paradoxical situation of the medical profession. “On the one hand we see progress in the field of medicine, thanks to the work of scientists who passionately and unreservedly dedicate themselves to the search for new cures. On the other hand, however, we also encounter the risk that doctors lose sight of their identity in the service of life”. He referred to the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate to explain that this paradoxical situation is seen also in the fact that, “while new rights are attributed to or indeed almost presumed by the individual, life is not always protected as the primary value and the primordial right of every human being. The ultimate aim of medicine remains the defence and promotion of life”. Faced with this contradictory situation, the Pope renewed the Church's appeal to the conscience of all healthcare professionals and volunteers, especially gynaecologists. “Yours is a singular vocation and mission, which necessitates study, conscience and humanity”, he said.

Again, Francis spoke of the “throwaway culture” that leads to the elimination of human beings, especially those who are physically and socially weakest. “Our response to this mentality is a 'yes' to life, decisive and without hesitation. 'The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are precious, but this one is fundamental – the condition for all the others'”.

Reiterating that in recent times, human life in its entirety has become a priority for the Magisterium of the Church, the Pope emphasised that “goods have a price and can be sold, but people have dignity, they are worth more than goods and have no price”.

Francis asked those present to “bear witness to and disseminate this 'culture of life' … remind all, through actions and words, that in all its phases and at any age, life is always sacred and always of quality. And not as a matter of faith, but of reason and science! There is no human life more sacred than another, just as there exists no human life qualitatively more meaningful than another”.

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Vatican City, 20 September 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received in audience Porfirio Lobo Sosa, president of the Republic of Honduras, who subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the course of the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the good relations between Honduras and the Holy See, and for the gift of a statue of Nuestra Senora de Suyapa, national patron, offered to the Pontiff by the Head of State and displayed in the Vatican Gardens. Emphasis was given to the Church's valuable contribution within the country, especially in the fields of education and healthcare, as well as in charitable works to combat poverty and organised crime.

The discussions then turned to themes of an ethical nature such as the defence of human life and the family, and the importance of continuing efforts in favour of reconciliation and the common good.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013


Vatican City, 19 September 2013 (VIS) – At midday, in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience the recently appointed bishops who will participate in the congress organised by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Eastern Churches.
Francis encouraged the bishops, in the words of St. Peter, to “tend the flock of God that is in your charge”, and reminded them that “we are called and made Shepherds not by ourselves, but by the Lord, and not to serve ourselves, but rather to serve the flock entrusted to our care, to serve to the extent of offering our lives, like Christ, the Good Shepherd”.

The Pope asked what it means to “tend”, to have “ habitual and daily care” of the flock.

“Three thoughts arise from this”, he explained. First, the importance of welcoming with generosity: “Your heart must be large enough to be able to welcome all the men and women you meet during your days and whom you will seek out as you walk your parishes and your communities”.

Secondly, to accompany the flock: “to walk alongside the faithful and all those who turn to you, sharing joys and hopes, difficulties and suffering, as brothers and friends, but even more so as fathers, who are able to listen, to understand, to help and to orientate”. Francis urged the bishops not to forget the affection they hold for their priests, who are those “closest to the bishop”, who mix with the faithful, who have the “smell of their sheep”, and reminded them to be humble, austere and essential in the service of their flock. “We shepherds are not men with the psychology of princes – ambitious men, who espouse this Church while awaiting another, more beautiful and richer. But this is a scandal! Imagine that a man confesses, saying, 'I am married and I live with my wife, but I continually look at a woman who is more beautiful than her; is this a sin, Father?' The Gospel tells us that this is the sin of adultery. Is there such thing as 'spiritual adultery'? I don't know, think about it yourselves. Do not await another more beautiful, more important, richer Church. Do not fall into the trap of careerism! It is a form of cancer!”

Finally, Francis referred to the importance of staying with the flock: the stability of remaining in the diocese without seeking change or promotion. He urged the bishops as far as possible to avoid being absent from their diocese, and if unavoidable, to do so for the shortest period possible and not on a regular basis. “Espouse your community, be profoundly bonded to it! I beg you, please, to stay among your people. … Avoid the scandal of being 'airport bishops'!” Francis urged the bishops to welcome their people “with affection, with mercy, with fatherly gentleness and firmness, with humility and with discretion; know how to recognise your limits, and have a good dose of humour”.

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Friday, September 13, 2013


Vatican City, 13 September 2013 (VIS) – Francis sent a message to participants in the 47th Social Week for Italian Catholics, which will be held from 12 - 15 September in Turin, to commend their choice of the theme “The Family: Hope and Future for Italian Society” and for linking the family with these two concepts. The Pope also commented that for the Christian community, the family is “a path for generations through which faith, love and fundamental moral values are transmitted, as well as concrete solidarity, hard work, patience, and also plans, hope, and future. All of this - which the Christian community lives in the light of faith, hope and charity - it has never kept to herself, but every day it becomes leaven in the dough of society, for the greater common good.”

The tradition of the Social Weeks began in 1907 and one of its promoters was the blessed Giuseppe Toniolo. This will in fact be the first Week convened since his beatification on 28 April 2012. The Weeks are proposed as high profile cultural and ecclesiastical initiatives which aim to face and, if possible, anticipate the at times radical challenges posed by the evolution of society.

“Hope and future”, writes the Pope, “presuppose memory. The memory of the elderly gives us the support we need to continue on our path. The future of society ... is rooted in the elderly and the young: the latter because they have the strength and youth to carry history forward, and the former because they are the source of living memory. A population that does not take care of the elderly and of children and the young has no future, because it abuses both its memory and its promise”.

“As the Church, we offer a concept of the family rooted in the Book of Genesis, of the unity in the difference between man and woman, and the fruitfulness of this complementarity, and we recognise it as an asset for all, as the first natural society. … The family understood in this way remains the first and principle building block of society and of an economy on a human scale. … The consequences, positive or negative, of decisions of a principally cultural or political nature in relation to the family touch upon the various areas of the life of a society and a country”.

In his message, Pope Francis reiterated that we cannot ignore the suffering of many families caused by a lack of employment, housing problems, the fractures that may develop within a family or a marriage, and “the violence that unfortunately lurks and does damage inside our homes”. However at the same time, he concluded, we must remember the “simple, but beautiful and courageous witness given by many families, who experience matrimony and parenthood with joy, illuminated and supported by the grace of the Lord, without fear of facing the moments of the cross that, lived in union with the Lord, do not obstruct the path of love, but rather make it stronger and more complete”.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vatican Says Clerical Celibacy in the Roman Communion is Open to Discussion

VATICAN CITY 12 September 2013 (ORCNS) - Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the new Secretary of State of the Vatican, said yesterday that clerical celibacy is open to discussion in the Roman Communion. He pointed out that celibacy is not a dogma of the Church, but a discipline. The Roman Communion did not make celibacy a requirement for the Roman Rite until the Second Lateran Council in 1139. Married clerics are still common within Eastern Rite Catholicism, the Orthodox, and Old Roman Catholics. 

Archbishop Pietro Parolin
Credit: Osservatore Romano

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Patriarchal Address on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin 2013

8 SEPTEMBER 2013 (ORCNS) - The Patriarch of Saint Stephen, Cardinal Johnson, gave his annual address on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the members of the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham.

VENERABLE Brethren and members of the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham, greetings and Apostolic blessings on this Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the year of our Lord 2013. It is customary on this feast day to bless seeds and seedlings. These symbols of new life help us to remember to respect life as Mary did, bringing the Prince of Peace into the world. Now, though, the seeds of war are being sown after more than a decade of continuous global conflict. We speak, of course, of the pending military action in Syria planned by the United States of America. It is true that there exist just wars, the doctrine of which was first laid down by Saint Augustine. Yet, there is grave doubt as to the justice of this planned war. More troubling is that the American government seems determined to press for military action now without considering even the basic points of Just War Doctrine. A government, if it is to be legitimate, must exercise extreme diligence in such grave matters. As the government possesses information that the people do not, the government bears the majority of the responsibility. The burden of proof lies with the State to demonstrate that it is a just war rather than with those who oppose war to demonstrate that it is not a just war.

While there is much violence and strife in Syria at present, there appears to be no sufficient case made for American involvement in yet another regional conflict. Other nations around the world that have typically allied with America in military action have thus far refused to participate in the proposed Syrian campaign. Furthermore, have other means truly been exhausted? Where is the evidence that diplomacy has not worked? The mere fact that diplomatic efforts do not bear fruit according to one’s own timeframe does not itself justify warfare nor make warfare inevitable. War may only be just if it is truly a last resort. That is not the only condition for a just war, but it is an essential one and perhaps the most essential one.

The Christian population of Syria is approximately 10%, making is a small minority compared to the Muslims. Make no mistake that they are in danger. Prelates of the Church in Syria have already been victims of anti-Christian hate. If there is military involvement in Syria by the Western governments or the United States alone, there is good reason to believe that Christians in Syria will be in even more grave danger than they are now.

We call upon the American government to exercise extreme caution and diligently discern whether or not their planned military action in Syria is truly necessary. They must seek to find and exercise every possible alternative to war before initiating a war. A war in which all alternatives have not, within the bounds of human weakness, been exhausted is mal in se, and the faithful are right in opposing it. Remember always that one’s duty is first to Christ and His Holy Church. This is and always is above all duty to country.

Whatever the decision of the American government, we as Christians must bear witness to the truth of Christ and openly pray and work for peace. We must also pray especially for the safety of any military personnel sent into Syria, and that any who may die will not die in vain. Our increasingly secularized society has long since abandoned respect for life, and a society that does not respect life will not respect peace. The sword is taken not for justice but for vanity, for life has become cheap. Where is the respect for our fellow man? Where is our respect for life, regardless of national border? Let a renewal of the faith begin inside each of us. Let the spark of this faith grow into a flame that cannot be hid from others. Let the Passion of Christ on the Cross be shown to the world in part through our own passionate life in Christ!

We commend and thank each of you for your tireless and diligent service to Christ’s Holy Church in this year. The liturgical year drawing to a close was dedicated to Faith and Tradition. We now announce that the upcoming liturgical year will be the Year of Chivalry and Service. May the traditions of chivalry remind us that the sword may only be taken only as a last resort in defense of life and justice and with the ultimate goal of peace.

And may the blessing of Almighty God, Father, + Son, + and Holy + Ghost, come upon you and remain with you always. R. Amen.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Vatican City, 7 September 2013 (VIS) – More than a hundred thousand people gathered in St- Peter's Square this evening in response to Pope Francis' appeal during last Sunday's Angelus in which he convoked for today, 7 September, a day of fasting and prayer for peace, in the light of the dramatic circumstances which have engulfed Syria. Since then, this initiative has been welcomed and applauded not only by Catholics and other Christian confessions, but also by those belonging to other religions, from Buddhists to Jews and Muslims, and even those who do not belong to any religion. This week has seen extensive mobilisation on the part of parishes and associations, Caritas and the Community of St. Egidio, prayer groups and religious orders such as the Descalced Carmelites of the Holy Land, mayors and presidents of autonomous regions, organisations for peace, co-operation and development, unions, and so on. Many prominent figures have joined in with the initiative, such as the architect Renzo Piano, the president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and the Grand Mufti of Syria, spiritual leader of the Sunnis, who invoked peace this afternoon in the Ummayad Mosque, Damascus, with the nation's religious leaders. A prayer for peace was raised this afternoon in Catholic churches around the world, from Australia to Egypt.

The Square was crowded with people since the morning; among them there were many who wished to confess, from 5.45 onwards, to one of the fifty priests in the Constantine Wing and below the colonnade; Francis wanted confessors to be present on this day as “true peace is born of the human heart reconciled with God and with one's brothers”. At 18.30, the words uttered by the Pope last Sunday were repeated as an introduction to the Vigil which began at 7 p.m. with a greeting from the Pope and the singing of the “Veni Creator”, followed by the enthroning of the image of the Virgin as “Salus Populi Romani”, carried by four Swiss Guards.

The Pope began by praying the Rosary; each mystery was accompanied by the reading of a poem by St. Therese of Lisieux about the child Jesus, and at the end he invoked Maria: “Queen of Peace, pray for us”. He then pronounced the following homily:

“'And God saw that it was good'. The biblical account of the beginning of the history of the world and of humanity speaks to us of a God who looks at creation, in a sense contemplating it, and declares: 'it is good'. This, dear brothers and sisters, allows us to enter into God’s heart and, precisely from within him, to receive his message. We can ask ourselves: what does this message mean? What does it say to me, to you, to all of us?

“It says to us simply that this, our world, in the heart and mind of God, is the 'house of harmony and peace', and that it is the space in which everyone is able to find their proper place and feel 'at home', because it is 'good'. All of creation forms a harmonious and good unity, but above all humanity, made in the image and likeness of God, is one family, in which relationships are marked by a true fraternity not only in words: the other person is a brother or sister to love, and our relationship with God, who is love, fidelity and goodness, mirrors every human relationship and brings harmony to the whole of creation. God’s world is a world where everyone feels responsible for the other, for the good of the other. This evening, in reflection, fasting and prayer, each of us deep down should ask ourselves: Is this really the world that I desire? Is this really the world that we all carry in our hearts? Is the world that we want really a world of harmony and peace, in ourselves, in our relations with others, in families, in cities, in and between nations? And does not true freedom mean choosing ways in this world that lead to the good of all and are guided by love?

“But then we wonder: Is this the world in which we are living? Creation retains its beauty which fills us with awe and it remains a good work. But there is also 'violence, division, disagreement, war'. This occurs when man, the summit of creation, stops contemplating beauty and goodness, and withdraws into his own selfishness.

“When man thinks only of himself, of his own interests and places himself in the centre, when he permits himself to be captivated by the idols of dominion and power, when he puts himself in God’s place, then all relationships are broken and everything is ruined; then the door opens to violence, indifference, and conflict. This is precisely what the passage in the Book of Genesis seeks to teach us in the story of the Fall: man enters into conflict with himself, he realizes that he is naked and he hides himself because he is afraid, he is afraid of God’s glance; he accuses the woman, she who is flesh of his flesh; he breaks harmony with creation, he begins to raise his hand against his brother to kill him. Can we say that from harmony he passes to 'disharmony'? Can we say this: that from harmony he passes to 'disharmony'? No, there is no such thing as 'disharmony'; there is either harmony or we fall into chaos, where there is violence, argument, conflict, fear.

“It is exactly in this chaos that God asks man’s conscience: “Where is Abel your brother?” and Cain responds: 'I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?'. We too are asked this question, it would be good for us to ask ourselves as well: Am I really my brother’s keeper? Yes, you are your brother’s keeper! To be human means to care for one another! But when harmony is broken, a metamorphosis occurs: the brother who is to be cared for and loved becomes an adversary to fight, to kill. What violence occurs at that moment, how many conflicts, how many wars have marked our history! We need only look at the suffering of so many brothers and sisters. This is not a question of coincidence, but the truth: we bring about the rebirth of Cain in every act of violence and in every war. All of us! And even today we continue this history of conflict between brothers, even today we raise our hands against our brother. Even today, we let ourselves be guided by idols, by selfishness, by our own interests, and this attitude persists. We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep, and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves. As if it were normal, we continue to sow destruction, pain, death! Violence and war lead only to death, they speak of death! Violence and war are the language of death!

“After the chaos of the Flood, when it stopped raining, a rainbow appeared and the dove returned with an olive branch. I think also of the olive tree which representatives of various religions planted in Plaza de Mayo, in Buenos Aires, in 2000, asking that there be no more chaos, asking that there be no more war, asking for peace.

“And at this point I ask myself: Is it possible to walk the path of pace? Can we get out of this spiral of sorrow and death? Can we learn once again to walk and live in the ways of peace? Invoking the help of God, under the maternal gaze of the Salus Populi Romani, Queen of Peace, I say: Yes, it is possible for everyone! From every corner of the world tonight, I would like to hear us cry out: Yes, it is possible for everyone! Or even better, I would like for each one of us, from the least to the greatest, including those called to govern nations, to respond: Yes, we want it! My Christian faith urges me to look to the Cross. How I wish that all men and women of good will would look to the Cross if only for a moment! There, we can see God’s reply: violence is not answered with violence, death is not answered with the language of death. In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken. This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions, and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: violence and war are never the way to peace! Let everyone be moved to look into the depths of his or her conscience and listen to that word which says: Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation. Look upon your brother’s sorrow – I think of the children, look upon these - look upon your brother's sorrow, and do not add to it, stay your hand, rebuild the harmony that has been shattered; and all this not by conflict but by encounter! May the noise of weapons cease! War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity. Let the words of Pope Paul VI resound again: 'No more one against the other, no more, never! ... war never again, never again war!'. 'Peace expresses itself only in peace, a peace which is not separate from the demands of justice but which is fostered by personal sacrifice, clemency, mercy and love'. Forgiveness, dialogue, reconciliation – these are the words of peace, in beloved Syria, in the Middle East, in all the world! Let us pray for reconciliation and peace, let us work for reconciliation and peace, and let us all become, in every place, men and women of reconciliation and peace! Amen”.

Following the Pope's words, a moment of silence was observed during the preparation of the altar for the exposition of the Holy Sacrament. The adoration was accompanied by a biblical reading on the theme of peace, followed by the Pope's prayer on this subject and a responsorial invocation as a plea for peace. At the end of each of those moments, five pairs of people, representing Syria, Egypt, the Holy Land, the United States and Russia, placed incense in the censer to the right of the altar. This offering was accompanied by a series of invocations on the common theme of peace, including: “Lord of life, bring to us your peace, to where the fate of nations is decided” and “Stop, with your creative power, all violence against human life”.

The adoration was followed by the reading - “in the longest form planned for the celebration of a vigil” - of the Gospel of St. John. Then, from around 10.15 to 10.40 p.m., there was a long period of silence for personal prayer.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Pope Francis imparted his Eucharistic blessing to those present. Today, the Pope wrote to his nine million followers on Twitter, “Pray for peace”.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Vatican City, 4 September 2013 (VIS) – In his greeting in various languages, the Pope addressed the Arabic-speaking faithful, especially those from Iraq, Jordan and Egypt, encouraging them to “be always united with Christ, building his Kingdom with fraternity, sharing and merciful works. Faith is a potent force capable of making the world a more just and beautiful place! Be an example of God's mercy and demonstrate to the world that trials and tribulations, difficulties, violence and evil can never defeat He Who has vanquished death: Jesus Christ”.

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Vatican City, 4 September 2013 (VIS) – “This coming Saturday we will experience together a special day of fasting and prayer for pace in Syria, the Middle East”, said the Pope at the end of the catechesis of today's general audience. “I renew my invitation to all the Church to live this day intensely, and from this moment on, express my gratitude to those brothers and sisters, Christians and of other religions, and to men and women of good will who wish to join, wherever they may be and in their own way, in this moment. I particularly urge the faithful and pilgrims in Rome to participate in the prayer vigil here in St. Peter's Square at 7 p.m., to invoke from the Lord the gift of peace. Let us raise a cry for peace all over the world!”

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Vatican City, 4 September 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis today recommenced the Wednesday general audiences, following the summer break. Addressing the faithful in a crowded St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father selected as the theme of his catechesis the World Youth Day held at the end of July in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the continent “where the majority of the world's Catholics live”.

To summarise his experience of the World Youth Day in Brazil, the Pope proposed three words: welcome, celebration and mission, remarking that the welcome he received from Brazilian families and parishes was one of the most beautiful features of his trip. “Pilgrimage always involves some discomforts, but the welcome we receive helps us to overcome them and, instead, to transform them into an opportunity for knowledge and friendship. Bonds are created that remain, especially in prayer. Also, in this way the Church grows throughout the world, as a network of true friendship in Jesus Christ, a network that, when it 'captures' you, liberates you”.

To explain the second word describing the event – celebration - Francis commented that this is always typical of World Youth Day since “when a city is full of young men and women, walking the streets carrying flags from all over the world, greeting each other, embracing each other, this is a real celebration. It is a sign for everyone, not only for believers”. But on this occasion there is also “the greatest celebration of all, which is the celebration of faith, when together we praise the Lord, we sing, we listen to the Word of God … all this is the culmination of World Youth Day, the true aim of the pilgrimage, and we live this in a special way in the great Saturday evening Vigil and the final Mass. This is the great celebration, the celebration of faith and brotherhood, which begins in this world and is without end”.

Mission is a key characteristic of this World Youth Day, the theme of which was “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Pope Francis emphasised that this is “Christ's mandate to his disciples: 'Go', come out of yourselves … to bring the light and the love of the Gospel to all, to the every extremes of existence”. And it is precisely this, Jesus' mandate, which I entrusted to the young people who filled the beach of Copacabana as far as the eye could see. A symbolic place, the ocean shore, that recalls the shore of the Lake of Galilee. Yes, as also today the Lord repeats, 'Go', and adds, 'I am with you, every day'. … Even a boy, a girl, who in the eyes of the world is of little or no account, is in the eyes of God an apostle of His kingdom, a hope for God”.

“Do you want to be a hope for God, hope for the Church?” the Holy Father asked, addressing the young people present, recalling the multitudes of their peers who in Rio de Janeiro encountered the Risen Christ and are “filled with His love in their everyday lives, who live and communicate it. They do not end up in the newspapers, because they do not commit acts of violence; they do not provoke scandals, and so they do not make the news. But, if they remain united with Jesus, they build his Kingdom, they build fraternity, sharing, they carry out merciful works, and they are a potent force for making the world a more just and beautiful place, for transforming it!”

“The experience of World Youth Day”, he concluded, “reminds us of the true great news of history, the Good News, even if it does not appear in the newspapers or on television: we are loved by God, Who is our Father and Who sent his Son Jesus to be near to every one of us and to save us. Welcome, celebration, mission: may these words be not only a memory of what took place in Rio; but also the spirit of our lives and our communities”.

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Monday, September 2, 2013


Vatican City, 1 September 2012 (VIS) – Pope Francis has launched a heartfelt appeal for peace in Syria, expressing his pain and concern regarding the conflict and asking the concerned parties and the international community to embark on the path of negotiation, setting aside partisan interests. His plea was made during the Angelus prayer at midday in St. Peter's Square, in the presence of thousands of faithful. We offer below the full text of the Holy Father's homily:

“Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.

“There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.

“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children who will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgement of God and of history upon our actions which is inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.

“With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.

“May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.

“What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love.

“All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!

“I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.

“May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

“To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

“On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 7 p.m. until 12 a.m. we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

“Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!”

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Vatican City, 1 September 2012 (VIS) – This morning Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI celebrated Holy Mass in the Chapel of the Governorate of Vatican City State, to mark the conclusion of the traditional summer seminar held by the Ratzinger Circle of Alumni, the so-called “Ratzinger Schulerkreis”. The meeting took place in Castel Gandolfo but Benedict XVI did not participate this year. The 38th edition of the Ratzinger Schulerkreis examined the theme “The question of God against the background of secularisation” in the light of the theological work of the thinker Remi Brague, who was awarded last year's Ratzinger Prize for theology.

Holy Mass was attended by around fifty people, and Benedict XVI concelebrated with the cardinals Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna, Austria; the archbishops Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household, and Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture; and Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke, auxiliary of Hamburg, Germany.

The Pope-emeritus commented in his homily on today's gospel in which Jesus invites his disciples to take the last place, “a place which seems very good”, he said, “but which proves to be very bad. … Those who in this world and throughout history are perhaps driven ahead and arrive in first place, must be aware of the danger they are in; they must look ever more to the Lord … they must measure up to their responsibility for others, become those who serve, who in reality place themselves at the feet of others, who bless and are in turn blessed”.

“The cross, throughout history”, he explained, “is the last place … the Cross is no place, it is bare, nothing … and yet this “extreme humiliation” is “the true exaltation. … Yes, Jesus is at the level of God, because the height of the Cross is the height of God's love, the height of His self-abnegation and His dedication to others. Thus, this is the divine place, and we pray to God that He may enable us to understand this ever more clearly so that we might accept with humility, each in his own way, this mystery of exaltation and humiliation”.

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Vatican City, 31 August 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father today accepted the resignation of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone from the office of Secretary of State in accordance with canon 354 of the Code of Canon Law, requesting that he remain in office until 15 October 2013, to all effects. At the same time he appointed Archbishop Pietro Parolin, currently apostolic nuncio to Venezuela, as the new Secretary of State. The archbishop will assume this role on 15 October 2013.

On this occasion the Pope will receive in audience the superiors and officials of the Secretariat of State to publicly thank Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone for his loyal and generous service to the Holy See and to present the new Secretary of State.

Archbishop Pietro Parolin was born in Schiavon, Italy in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1980. He holds a licentiate in Canon Law. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1986 and has worked in the pontifical representations in Nigeria and Mexico, and in the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State, where he was appointed under-secretary in 2002. In 2009 he was appointed as apostolic nuncio to Venezuela and at the same time elevated to the dignity of archbishop. He received episcopal ordination from Pope Benedict XVI on 12 September of the same year.

Upon learning of his nomination, Archbishop Parolin thanked the Holy Father, expressing his “complete availability” and willingness to collaborate with him, and under his guidance “for the greater glory of God, the good of the Holy Church, and the progress and peace of humanity, that humanity might find reasons to live and to hope”. He extended his thanks to all those who have been part of his life, in the parishes where he has served and the countries in which he has worked, to Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and to the Secretariat of State, which was his “home for many years”, and his colleagues and members of the Roman Curia.

“It is with trepidation that I place myself in this new service to the Gospel, to the Church and to Pope Francis, but also with trust and serenity – disposed – as the Holy Father has asked us from the beginning – to walk, to build and to profess”, he writes.

“May our Lady, whom I like to invoke under her titles as Our Lady of Monte Berico, Guadalupe and Coromoto, give us the courage to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward."

“And, as they say in Venezuela, "¡Que Dios les bendiga!", he concluded.

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Vatican City, 2 September 2012 (VIS) – On Friday 4 October Pope Francis will visit the city of Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis. The Pope will depart from the Vatican at 7 a.m. by helicopter and will land around three quarters of an hour later at the sports field of the Seraphic Institute of Assisi, where he will meet with disabled and sick children.

At 8.45 a.m. he will make a private visit to the Shrine of St. Damian to pray, and from there will proceed to the archbishop's residence, where he will meet with the poor assisted by Caritas. After this meeting he will transfer by car to the Superior Basilica of St. Francis where he will be received by the convent friars and will pray in the crypt where the saint is buried.

At 11 a.m. he will celebrate Holy Mass in Piazza San Francesco. Following the Eucharist he will proceed to the Caritas reception centre near the railway station of Santa Maria degli Angeli where he will have lunch with the poor from the city centre. After lunch he will make a private visit to the Hermitage of the Prisons, where he will pray in St. Francis' cell. At 3.15 p.m. he will meet with clergy, consecrated persons and members of the diocesan pastoral council in the cathedral of St. Rufino. From there he will transfer to the Basilica of St. Clare to venerate the body of the saint and pray in silence before the cross of St. Damian. He will subsequently proceed to the Porziuncola in Santa Maria degli Angeli and at 5.45 p.m. will meet with young people on the terrace in front of the basilica. At 6.30 he will transfer to Rivotorto where he will pray privately in St. Francis' hovel and at 7.15 p.m., after greeting the authorities who received him in the morning, will begin his return trip by helicopter to the Vatican, where he is scheduled to arrive at 8 p.m.

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Friday, August 30, 2013


Vatican City, 31 July 2013 (VIS) - “Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace”: this is the theme of the 47th World Day of Peace, the first during the pontificate of Pope Francis.

"Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace". This is the theme of the 47th World Day of Peace, the first during the pontificate of Pope Francis.

The World Day of Peace was an initiative of Pope Paul VI and it is celebrated on the first day of each year. The Message for the World Day of Peace is sent to particular churches and chancelleries all around the world, drawing attention to the essential value of peace and the need to work tirelessly in order to attain it.

As the theme of his first Message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis has chosen Fraternity. Since the beginning of his Petrine Ministry, the Pope has stressed the need to combat the “throwaway culture” and to promote instead a "culture of encounter", in order to build a more just and peaceful world.

Fraternity is a dowry that every man and every woman brings with himself or herself as a human being, as a child of the one Father. In the face of the many tragedies that afflict the family of nations - poverty, hunger, underdevelopment, conflicts, migrations, pollution, inequalities, injustice, organized crime, fundamentalisms - fraternity is the foundation and the pathway to peace.

The culture of personal well-being leads to a loss of the sense of responsibility and fraternal relationship. Others, rather than being “like us”, appear more as antagonists or enemies and are often treated as objects. Not uncommonly, the poor and needy are regarded as a "burden", a hindrance to development. At most, they are considered as recipients of aid or compassionate assistance. They are not seen as brothers and sisters, called to share the gifts of creation, the goods of progress and culture, to be partakers at the same table of the fullness of life, to be protagonists of integral and inclusive development.

Fraternity, a gift and task that comes from God the Father, urges us to be in solidarity against inequality and poverty that undermine the social fabric, to take care of every person, especially the weakest and most defenceless, to love him or her as oneself, with the very heart of Jesus Christ.

In a world that is constantly growing more interdependent, the good of fraternity is one that we cannot do without. It serves to defeat the spread of the globalization of indifference to which Pope Francis has frequently referred. The globalization of indifference must give way to a globalization of fraternity.

Fraternity should leave its mark on every aspect of life, including the economy, finance, civil society, politics, research, development, public and cultural institutions.

At the start of his ministry, Pope Francis issues a message in continuity with that of his predecessors, which proposes to everyone the pathway of fraternity, in order to give the world a more human face.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

New cleric receives First Tonsure

17 August 2013 (ORCNS) - Dennis J. Klinzing of Anniston, Alabama, was admitted as a cleric of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church through the rite of First Tonsure. Following his bachelor's degree in theology, he has just begun his four years of seminary studies towards the priesthood. The ancient rite of First Tonsure is a ceremonial cutting of the hair in five places in the form of a cross, symbolizing the former layman entering the clerical state.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Year of Italian Culture - You might be more Italian than you think!

26 July 2013 (ORCNS) - This year, 2013, is the Year of Italian Culture in the United States. Know what else? You might be more Italian than you think! Are you French or Celtic? You might be Italian. Let's get some background first.

American perceptions of what it means to be Italian typically follow the stereotype of a Sicilian or Neapolitan with a Mediterranean appearance. Not surprising at all, since so many Italian immigrants to the United States came from those areas and other places in Southern Italy. But there is more to Italy!

The concept of Italy as we know it today really didn't start until the Kingdom of Sardinia annexed (that's a fancy term for conquering, partly through military force and partly through diplomatic means) the entire Italian peninsula. Pretty tall order, eh? Before that, "Italy" was a collection of sovereign (another fancy term for "independent") states that existed at various times, including the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Duchy of Milan, the Republic of Venice, the Kingdoms of Sardinia, Etruria, Naples, and the Two Sicilies, and several others. It was kind of like the United States, only the States weren't united under one common government.

And what about that Kingdom of Sardinia that unified Italy? That's the House of Savoy...which is from...that's right, you guessed it...Savoy! But wait! Savoy is in France! Turns out that whole border in Northern Italian is sort of a figment of someone's imagination. It's really just a political boundary. Savoy (home of fondue and skiing) is actually Italian, but the House of Savoy gave it to France as a little thank you gift. Nice gift, eh?

Let's go beyond the border all the way to the north of France...Normandy! Viking, right? Only in part. Ethnically, Normans are Scandinavian, Frankish (just like Charlemagne), AND Gallo-Roman. The Gallo-Romans were Romans who moved up into Gaul (France during the Roman Empire) and stayed. So, if you're of French ancestry, then you have strong ties to the Italians, too! And, while William the Conqueror was leading the Norman Conquest of Britain, Roger (another Norman) was leading his own conquest of Sicily.

But wait, there's more! The ancient civilization of central Italy, the Etruscans, were getting squeezed by the Romans from the south and the Celtic tribes from the North. The Romans eventually took over, and the Celts moved up into France, Spain, and the British Isles where they really became famous in just about everything. Art, government, military, farming, and invention, including Guinness beer! So, if you're of Celtic ancestry, you also have strong ties to Italy. After all, your ancestors used to live there!

So, whether you think you're Italian or not, let's celebrate the great culture of the Italian peninsula with a glass of wine and a cup of espresso! Buon appetito!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Following Christ in Service

25 July 2013 (ORCNS) - The Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church has a special mandate of mission, service, and charity, following in the footsteps of its patron, St. Stephen the Deacon and Martyr. Deacons led offices in the early church known as deaconries that helped to provide for the needs of the poor. Saint Stephen was known for his great charity and was among these first deacons and is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. He was eventually stoned to death for his faith and became the first Christian martyr.
This legacy of charitable service is continued by the ARRCC as a particular church today, supporting food banks and homeless shelters, children's medicine, clothing supplies, educational programs, and more. This is accomplished in part through the efforts of its charitable wings such as the Deaconry of Santa Maria Antiqua, the Order of Saint Stephen, and the Order of Mary Immaculate. Carrying the Holy Sacrifice on the altar to the world,  The Bishop of Saint Stephen, Cardinal Rutherford Johnson said, "Faith must be put into action in order to have any meaning. If we are to be Christ-like, then we must help others as Christ helped others." 
The charitable works of this Old Roman Catholic patriarchate have touched six continents. The Patriarchal See made it clear that there is no score card and that there is always a vast amount of work to be done. The Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church continues in mission, service, and charity to help make the world a better place and, above all, to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

William and Kate's baby born into a great big royal world

LONDON 24 July 2013 (ORCNS) - The world has been abuzz with news and talk about the newly-born George, Prince of Cambridge, son of Prince William and Princess Catherine of Cambridge. The newest addition to the British royal family joins a rich tradition that extends well beyond their own national borders. Despite the fact that many are not currently reigning, the world is brimming with royal dynasties. In fact, the British Windsors are in fact of a German line. They originally were the House of Hanover until Queen Victoria married Prince Albert von Saxe-Coburg-und Gotha. That name continued until the King was requested to change the family name to some a little less German sounding in light of the First World War. Let's celebrate the new royal birth by taking a look at just a few of the other royal and serene families of the world, reigning and non-reigning.

Kingdom of Albania - House of Wied
Principality of Andorra - (vested in the Bishop of Urgell)
Duchy of Anhalt - House of Ascania
Empire of Austria-Hungary - House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Grand Duchy of Baden - House of Zaehringen
Kingdom of Bavaria - House of Wittelsbach
Kingdom of Belgium - House of Wettin
Kingdom of Bohemia - House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Kingdom of Brazil - House of Orleans-Braganza
Duchy of Brunswick - House of Welf-Guelph
Kingdom of Bulgaria - House of Wettin
Kingdom of Croatia - House of Savoy
Duchy of Courland - House of Biron
Kingdom of Denmark - House of Oldenburg
Kingdom of Epirus - House of Santa Sofia
Kingdom of Etruria (Napoleonic) - House of Bourbon-Parma
Kingdom of Etruria (Holy Roman) - House of Johnson-Etruria-di Daniell
Kingdom of France (Legitimist) - House of Bourbon
Kingdom of France (Orleanist) - House of Orleans
Kingdom of France (Merovingian) - House of Gavalda-Gevaudan
Empire of France - House of Bonaparte
Kingdom of Finland - House of Hesse
Kingdom of Georgia - House of Bagrationi and Imeretinsky
Empire of Germany - House of Hohenzollern
Kingdom of Great Britain - House of Windsor (Saxe-Coburg-und Gotha)
Kingdom of Greece - House of Oldenburg
Kingdom of Hanover - House of Hanover
Grand Duchy of Hesse-by-the-Rhine - House of Lorraine-Brabant
Holy See - (elected, vested in the Pope)
Kingdom of Italy - House of Savoy
Principality of Liechtenstein - House of Liechtenstein
Principality of Lippe - House of Lippe
Kingdom of Lithuania - House of Urach
Grand Duchy of Luxenbourg - House of Nassau-Weilburg
Sovereign Military Order of Malta - (elected Prince Grand Master)
Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin - House of Mecklenburg
Duchy of Modena - House of Habsburg-Este
Empire of Mexico - House of Iturbide
Principality of Monaco - House of Grimaldi
Kingdom of Montenegro - House of Petrovich-Njegosh
Kingdom of Naples - House of Bourbon
Kingdom of the Netherlands - House of Orange-Nassau
Kingdom of Norway - House of Oldenburg
Grand Duchy of Oldenburg - House of Oldenburg
Duchy of Parma - House of Bourbon-Parma
Kingdom of Prussia - House of Hohenzollern
Principality of Reuss - House of Reuss
Kingdom of Romania - House of Hohenzollern
Empire of Russia - House of Romanov
Kingdom of Sardinia - House of Savoy
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-und Gotha - House of Wettin
Kingdom of Saxony - House of Wetting
Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe - House of Lippe
Kingdom of Serbia - House of Karageorgevich
Kingdom of Spain (Bourbon) - House of Bourbon
Kingdom of Spain (Carlist) - House of Bourbon-Parma
Kingdom of Sweden - House of Bernadotte
Grand Duchy of Tuscany - House of Habsburg-Tuscany
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - House of Bourbon
Principality of Waldeck - House of Waldeck
Kingdom of Westphalia - House of Steinhurst v.u.z. Westfalen
Kingdom of Wurtemburg - House of Wurtemburg