Benedict XVI has a reputation as a blunt, rigorous teacher of doctrine, so it was perhaps surprising that the highlight of his much publicized visit to the U.S. was an unexpected private pastoral act—his meeting with people who had been sexually abused by Catholic priests.
Pope Benedict XVI’s baptism of an Egyptian-born formerly Muslim Italian journalist, known for being a strident critic of restrictions on religious freedom in Islamic countries, has been questioned by Muslim leaders in Italy.
Pope Benedict XVI has called for greater consistency in the granting of annulments, suggesting that Catholic church authorities in some countries have been too lax in declaring marriages void. The pope apparently did not cite U.S. dioceses, though they handle more than half of all annulments worldwide.
In an ecumenical first, a general secretary of the World Council of Churches took part with the pope in a Rome service to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an observance that began 100 years ago in the U.S.
Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, who has been stripped of his credentials to function as a priest by the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa, has formed his own church, the Anglican Province of Zimbabwe.
A groundbreaking group of prominent Muslim scholars and clerics has accepted the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI for a “working meeting” on interreligious dialogue at the Vatican within the next two months.
The second encyclical from Pope Benedict XVI, warning against secular ideas of progress, has prompted a lively debate among newspaper commentators in Italy—some labeling the pope a reactionary, but others springing to the pontiff’s defense.
Muslim leaders at an interfaith peace conference with Pope Benedict XVI in Naples chided him for not responding to a recent olive-branch missive from Muslim scholars and complained that the reaction of a high Vatican official “misses the very point of dialogue.”
The Roman Catholic Church recently restated its view that Protestant churches are not “churches in the proper sense.” Some Protestants take offense. But we need not. The word church in Catholic parlance refers to those bodies that have bishops in apostolic succession and that recognize the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.