- In May, it was revealed that Two Moroccan terrorist suspects, Mohammed Hlal and Errahmouni Ahmed [students of the University of Perugia], were allegedly involved in a plot to kill Pope Benedict XVI, according to the Italian weekly Panorama:
"Hlal wanted to kill the Vatican's head of state (the pope), saying he was ready to assassinate him and gain his place in paradise," Italy's interior minister Roberto Maroni wrote in the expulsion order authorising Hlal and Ahmed's deportations, cited by Panorama.
Anti-terror police in Perugia intercepted Hlal discussing his plans to carry out attacks and readiness to obtain explosives for the attacks during a series of tapped telephone conversations, according to Panorama.
Moroccan authorities on 6 May released Hlal and Ahmed, who had been receiving legal assistance from a local human rights association.
The pair have denied any wrongdoing and said they intend to challenge their expulsions in the administrative tribunal in Italy's Lazio region surrounding Rome.
- On May 13, the Holy Father shocked the international press by his denunciation of homosexual marriage in his visit to Fatima. (Fr. John Zuhlsdorf unpacks the Pope's statement).
- On May 10, The Holy See announced that the final draft of Pope Benedict XVI's long awaited second volume of "Jesus of Nazareth" has been completed and sent to the publishers:
The second volume is dedicated to the Passion and Resurrection and picks up where the first volume—focused on Jesus' public ministry—left off.
"The definitive text of the second volume of the book 'Jesus of Nazareth' by His Holiness Benedict XVI was recently consigned to the publishers entrusted with its publication," reads the Holy See Press Office communiqué from Monday. ...
[T]he original German version had been entrusted to two publishers for printing. The Vatican Publishing House, led by Fr. Giuseppe Costa, is responsible for the concession of rights, the publication of the Italian version and for contracting other publishers for its translation into other languages.
Meanwhile, publisher Manuel Herder, which is in the process editing Joseph Ratzinger's complete works, was given the responsibility of printing the German version.
Copies in major languages, including English, will require a few months to be completed, "given the time necessary for an accurate translation of such an important and long-awaited text," noted the Vatican.
- On May 5, Pope Benedict XVI asked world leaders to control the spread of nuclear weapons "in the prospect of their complete elimination from the planet", making his apeal to participants at the U.N. Review Conference of Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Catholic News Service).
- On May 3rd, Pope Benedict traveled to Turin on Sunday to celebrate Mass, meet with young people and the sick, and venerate the Holy Shroud. Alessia Domanico from Salt + Light Television reports on his visit. (Here is a translation of the remarks Benedict XVI gave today after venerating the Shroud of Turin and Benedict XVI's homily when he celebrated Mass).
- On April 20, 2010, the Vatican announced highlights of the Pope's summer schedule.
- Pope Benedict's visit to Britain was jeopardized because of a leaked British government document that mockingly suggests the pontiff open an abortion clinic and endorse gay marriage. The diplomat who authorized the memo, Anjoum Noorani, was moved to “other duties” in a disciplinary action; Steven Mulvain, a 23-year-old gay Oxford graduate who assisted in the memo's circulation, was not (London Telegraph April 27, 2010):
Although the Vatican is now trying to draw a line under the memo fiasco, Papal aides believe the Government’s choice of non-Catholic staff typifies the “lack of respect” being shown towards the first ever state visit by a Pontiff.
One source said: “The most striking thing about the Foreign Office team has been how ineffectual they are. They have been disengaged and, frankly, clueless.
“I have never had the impression that any members of the team were informed or even sensitive to the Catholic Church or Catholicism generally.”
- On April 28, 2010, Shmuley Boteach, Rabbi to the late Michael Jackson and served as Oprah’s marriage, parenting and relationship expert, met Pope Benedict XVI. He was accompanied by five of his nine children, his parents and Sydney businessman Rodney Adler. An account of the visit is given on Boteach's website, though the extent to which the Holy Father spoke with the Rabbi is disputed:
The delegation met the Pope as part of his weekly audience in St Peter's Square, seeking backing for a "Turn Friday Night into Family Night" initiative. The American rabbi wants parents of all faiths to spend Friday nights at home to give their family uninterrupted time.
"Rodney emphasised to the Pope the importance of partnering with me on creating an international family dinner night and how much he believed in the idea," the rabbi's website says of Mr Adler's meeting with His Holiness. The Pope "warmly agreed".
Mr Adler missed about 130 Friday night family dinners with his wife Lyndi and their children while serving 2½ years in prison for obtaining $2 million from HIH by false or misleading statements and being dishonest as a director. HIH collapsed in 2001 with debts of $5.3 billion.
But his recollection of last week's meeting was less certain than his friend's. "My conversation with the Pope was quite short," Mr Adler told the Herald. "It went something like, 'Your Holiness, it's a great pleasure and privilege to meet you' and then I discussed for about 15 seconds how I felt that making Friday night family night transcended religion. It was a global issue. "He did not say yes or no, he just acknowledged it with an appreciative smile … and then moved on."
- A Unity for the Good: Benedict’s Rhetoric and Economic Thought as Social Solidarity, by Jonathan Jones. Postmodern Conservative May 25, 2010.
- “The Pope does good even from afar” And one thing I remember well: the Pope’s words for us Iraqis in the Angelus of Sunday 28 February. We were all pleased, Christians and Muslims” -- Notes by the Chaldean Patriarch Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly on his visit to Mosul, Iraq.
- Benedict XVI versus the papophobes The Catholic Herald May 14, 2010. Conrad Black says the New York Times and other media have failed in their attempt to turn the abuse crisis into a Watergate-style scandal; meanwhile, John Allen Jr. noted that in the media and on the street, defenders of Pope Benedict XVI pushed back.
- Holy, Yet Mingled with Sinners: The Church of the Pope Theologian In an exchange with Joseph A. Komonchak, Sandro Magister examines John Paul II and then-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's positions on the alleged "sinfulness" of the Catholic Church:
Both for John Paul II and for his prefect of doctrine, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in fact, the formula "sinful Church" was seen as being dangerously misleading, because of its unresolved contradiction with the profession of faith in the "holy Church" found in the Creed.
Proof of this fear is in the note on "The Church and the faults of the past" published on March 7, 2000 by the international theological commission overseen by Ratzinger, as comment and clarification on the requests for forgiveness made by John Paul II during that jubilee year.
In it, there is a passage dedicated precisely to explaining why the Church "is also in a certain sense sinner," and to suggesting how to express this concept in terms that are not misleading.
- Zenit interviews social communications professor Norberto González Gaitano on "Benedict XVI and Public Opinion", according to whom, when the public has an opportunity to see and hear Benedict XVI without "filters," it generally has a good impression of the Pope."
- Five Years With Benedict XVI | Host: Alicia Ambrosio. "A look back over the first five years of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy, with special attention to his travels, his writings, interfaith relations, and the liturgy." (Salt + Light Television, May 5, 2010):
Philippa Hitchens of Vatican Radio shares what she’s noticed about Pope Benedict’s travels since 2005. Scott Hahn of the Franciscan University of Steubenville shares his insights into the Pope’s theology and writings. Mordechay Lewy, the Israeli ambassador to the Holy See, talks about the current state of Catholic-Jewish relations, and Fr. Mark Francis of the Pontifical Liturgy Institute talks about the liturgical changes this papacy has brought with it.
- Russell Shaw examines Pope Benedict's "beef" with Gaudium et Spes:
Forty-five years later Gaudium et Spes still stands as a major achievement of Vatican II, but the overall judgment of it by now is mixed. The pastoral constitution, it is commonly pointed out, was in many ways a product of its time and that shows — not for the best either. For these were the tumultuous, confused 1960s when cultural revolution had entered the mainstream, including even the mainstream of the Church.
In this context, the big problem with Gaudium et Spes is its “uncritical acceptance of modern progressivism,” said to cause Christians to neglect “the necessary distinction between progress conceived politically, economically, and scientifically … and the advancement of the kingdom of heaven.” This in turn is responsible for a kind of collective amnesia concerning “the most fundamental political insight that faith has to offer,” namely: “that politics is not the working out of the divine plan, that it is essentially limited and anti-utopian, and this for its own good.” The words quoted here come from an important — and unusual — new book, The Social and Political Thought of Benedict XVI by Thomas Rourke.
- The Pope, Unscripted, by Joseph Wood (The Catholic Thing April 21, 2010):
Consider the case of perhaps the most intelligent man in the world, a quiet theologian who, a little over five years ago, expected at this point in his life to be playing the piano with his brother in a serene retirement. What would it sound like if this man took upon himself, in his office, the horrible sins committed by some in the hierarchy he now supervises over the course of the two or three previous decades? And if he felt as well the weight of both the 2000-year history of his office as the safeguard of what we know of truth, plus the burden his successors will carry?
Would it sound like a guest on Oprah, splashing all the lurid details and pronouncing the saving grace of therapy? Would it sound like the standard politician or sports figure or businessman who has been caught in the standard transgressions giving the standard apology before moving on to the next standard step in his or her pursuits?
Apparently, it would begin like this ...
- Gratuitous Foundations: Benedict XVI’s Humanism of the Gift, Part I | Part II, by James Matthew Wilson. Front Porch Republic April 2010. Republished from The Publican of Philadelphia.