Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Pope John Paul II film could outsell Michael Jackson's "Thriller"

A film of the late John Paul II has been released featuring speeches he made set to music ranging from Gregorian chants to trip-hip hop.

Simon Boswell – an agnostic British composer of horror movie scores – was given unprecedented freedom to edit the Pope's voice for Santo Subito!, which means "canonise him quickly".

The phrase was displayed on banners held up at the Pope's funeral in 1995.

“The visuals resemble a pop video, a lot of it is quite trippy," Boswell said.

Described by Boswell as a “celebration of JPII’s life” he said the project was unlike any other, the Irish Independent reports.

“I have felt very moved and I've almost felt guided or watched over in a way I haven't felt before,” he said.

"I've felt privileged and an empathy towards the subject that I very often don't.

"If 5 per cent of all Catholics buy it, this will sell more copies than Michael Jackson's Thriller."

Friday, 16 November 2007

Pope Benedict's second encyclical due by Christmas

Pope Benedict has finalised his second encyclical on the subject of Christian hope, and it is expected to be released in time for Christmas.

Catholic News Agency reports this second encyclical has been tentatively titled Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope), and follows the first Deus Caritas est was signed on Christmas Day 2005.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica says Pope Benedict drew inspiration from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans.

The potential title comes from the 24th verse of the eighth chapter of St Paul's letter, which reads: "Because we have been saved by hope."

The hope of the Holy Father, the newspaper reported, is to "reach the hearts of Christians and invite them to have hope, without being thrashed by pessimism."

The document will be translated into several languages and could be signed by the Holy Father on 8 December, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the anniversary of the close of Vatican II.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 6, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique:
"Today in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican, the Holy Father Benedict XVI met with King Abdallah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. The sovereign subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
"The meetings took place in a cordial atmosphere and provided an opportunity to consider questions close to the heart of both sides. In particular, the commitment to inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue aimed at peaceful and fruitful coexistence between individuals and peoples was reiterated, as was the importance of collaboration between Christians, Muslims and Jews for the promotion of peace, justice and spiritual and moral values, especially in support of the family.
"The Vatican authorities expressed their hope for the prosperity of all the inhabitants of the country, and mention was made of the positive and industrious presence of Christians.
"Finally, views were exchanged on the situation in the Middle East and on the need to find a just solution to the conflicts affecting the region, especially that between Israelis and Palestinians."

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Cat tells life story of his "best friend" the Pope

By Philip Pullella 05/10/2007

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Chico the cat describes the life of his "best friend", Pope Benedict, in an authorised biography for children released this week.

"Dear Children, here you will find a biography that is different to others because it is told by a cat and it is not every day a cat can consider the Holy Father his friend and sit down to write his life story," the Pope’s personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, says in the foreword.

"Chico and Joseph -- A Cat Recounts the Life of Pope Benedict XVI" is narrated by Chico who took up with the Pope in his native Germany when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The illustrated 44-page book is written by Italian author Jeanne Perego and set mostly in Germany in the years before Benedict was elected in April 2005.

Chico is a real cat who belongs to a German couple in the German city of Pentling, where the Pope lived until he moved to Rome in 1981. The couple are caretakers of the house where Ratzinger had hoped to retire had he not been elected Pope.

Chico tells the story of the life of "my best friend" from his birth in Germany in 1927, through his days as a young man, priest, bishop and cardinal. It ends with his election as Pope on April 19, 2005.

It recounts the Nazi era in Germany when the Pope was a teenager, calling the war years "one of the most dramatic and shameful times in the history of man".

"At that time, Joseph was forced to do something which was absolutely against his will: john the army and leave for the war. We cats do not make war," Chico narrates.

Chico recounts how each time then Cardinal Ratzinger returned to Germany for a vacation, the cat would run into his house and sit on his lap as he played the piano.

One Christmas, when the future pope tried to put the cat out of the house "I misbehaved" and scratched him. "He forgave me right away but told me: ’Don’t do it again".

In his foreword Ganswein tells the children: "Keep in mind that the cat is writing from his point of view. At the end of the day he is a cat, even if he is a cat who is a friend."

During the years when he was a cardinal in Rome, the future Pope befriended another cat he found on the street and kept him in his apartment until he was elected pope.