After 20 children and six adults were shot dead in Connecticut, Pope Benedict XVI offered his condolences and prayers, urging all to dedicate themselves to acts of peace in the face of such "senseless violence."After reciting the Angelus Dec. 17, the pope, speaking in English, said he was "deeply saddened" by the Dec. 14 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. In addition to the students and staff killed, the gunman took his own life.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI launched his very own Twitter account, sending a short inaugural message to his more than 1 million followers.
"Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart," it said.
His tweet — 139 characters — went viral as the number of followers of @Pontifex and its seven other extensions grew by more than 5,000 new people an hour, a Vatican official said. Tens of thousands of followers retweeted the messages in the short minutes after they were posted.
VATICAN CITY -- The universal, natural human reaction to the death of a loved one should show believers and nonbelievers alike that human life has value, Pope Benedict XVI said.
"The awareness of the sacredness of the life entrusted to us -- not as something we can dispose of freely, but as a gift to safeguard faithfully -- belongs to the moral heredity of humanity," the pope wrote in a message to a dialogue between Catholics and nonbelievers, meeting in Portugal.
WASHINGTON -- Care for creation has been a hallmark of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy.
From his 2009 encyclical "Caritas in Veritate" ("Charity in Truth") to his leadership in guiding the Vatican to reduce its carbon footprint, Pope Benedict continues an 800-year Catholic tradition of holding up the environment as a gift from God that must be protected and sustained.
His writings on the environment are so extensive that some Catholics call him the "green" pope.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Shortly after announcing he was creating six new cardinals, Pope Benedict XVI said he was doing so to show that "the church is a church of all peoples, (and) speaks in all languages."
The six new "princes of the church" hail from six different countries in North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia, and represent both the Latin-rite of the Catholic Church as well as two of the Eastern Catholic Churches.