An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Catholic Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop. For the modern Catholic Church an encyclical is a letter, usually treating some aspect of Catholic doctrine, sent by the Pope and addressed either to...

Here’s a recipe for overinterpretation: start with intense public fascination with a new Pope and add a basic lack of substantive movement on matters of policy and personnel. Sprinkle in the coincidence of the new regime reaching its 100-day mark and mix with a slow news cycle.Two stories in the Italian press over the weekend nicely...

‘Bless me Father, for I have sinned” is a phrase I remember repeating consistently before my first confession until it became an almost hypnotic mantra, for fear I would get tongue tied prior to rattling off rote learned ‘sins’ to the parish priest. “I took the Lord’s name in vain” was first up, followed closely by “I dishonoured my father and my...

The Vatican has confirmed that a reference to St Joseph will be permanently included in the Eucharistic Prayers at most Masses. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments has said Pope Francis confirmed a decision originally made by Benedict XVI to include the reference. A decree signed by the head of the congregation said Benedict XVI...

Here’s a recipe for overinterpretation: start with intense public fascination with a new Pope and add a basic lack of substantive movement on matters of policy and personnel. Sprinkle in the coincidence of the new regime reaching its 100-day mark and mix with a slow news cycle. Two stories in the Italian press over the weekend nicely illustrate...

Pope Francis celebrated the dignity of life at the weekend presiding over his first Evangelium Vitae Day as part of the Year of Faith celebrations. Evangelium Vitae Day is the annual Vatican celebration that promotes the respect and dignity of human life.  It is a celebration that began some years ago with the then Pope, Benedict XVI, that...

The Archbishop of Washington DC, Cardinal Donald Wuerl has announced an archdiocesan synod is to be held in Washington next year. The goal of the synod is to give the faithful an opportunity to participate in the work of their local Church. According to Archbishop Wuerl, the synod calls on all of the faithful to participate in listening sessions...

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