VATICAN CITY -- When Pope Benedict XVI travels to Lebanon Sept. 14-16 -- assuming spillover from the civil war in neighboring Syria doesn't force a last-minute cancellation of the trip -- his purpose will be above all pastoral; and, as usual for papal trips, most of his remarks will focus on the spiritual.
Yet as the Syrian conflict exemplifies, the concerns of Christians in the Middle East are in many respects inseparable from politics; and however diplomatically the pope may word his statements, some will inevitably touch on the region's political struggles and tensions.
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI will present a papal document addressing the Church's concerns in the Middle East, meet with representatives of local Christian and Muslim communities, and address political and cultural leaders on a three-day visit to Lebanon Sept. 14-16.
Pope Benedict's primary task on the trip will be to present a document, called an apostolic exhortation, based on the deliberations of a special Synod of Bishops held at the Vatican in 2010.
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy -- While people obviously need to provide for their families and even make sure they get some rest and relaxation, the Gospel teaches that it's even more crucial to strengthen one's relationship with God, Pope Benedict XVI said.
"Jesus wants to help people go beyond the immediate satisfaction of their material needs, important as they are," he said Aug. 5, commenting on the Sunday Gospel reading during his midday Angelus address.
VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican said it is committed to restoring a sense of trust and transparency as it seeks the truth behind leaks of letters written by Vatican officials to each other and Pope Benedict XVI.
Paolo Gabriele -- the pope's private assistant accused of having a cache of illicitly obtained Vatican documents -- was still under arrest and would face his first round of formal preliminary questioning by Vatican judges "later this week or early next week," Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said May 29.
VATICAN CITY — In five speeches over a period of six months, Pope Benedict XVI warned visiting U.S. bishops of the threats that an increasingly secularized society poses to the Catholic Church in America, especially in the areas of religious liberty, sexual morality and the definition of marriage.
VATICAN CITY -- Work obligations should not harm a person's family relationships but should provide support, giving couples the resources to have and raise children and spend time together, Pope Benedict XVI said.
At the end of his weekly general audience May 16, Pope Benedict noted how the United Nations chose "family and work" as the focus of the 2012 International Day of Families, which was celebrated May 15.
Work should not be an obstacle to the family, he said, "but rather should support and unite it, help it to open itself to life" and interact with society and the Church.