Thursday, July 02, 2009
WHAT THE PRESIDENT WILL GIVE THE POPE I am told by a source in Philadelphia that the President will present the Pope with a stole that once belonged to St. John Neumann when he visits Rome on the 10th. Apparently, administration officials contacted "The DiCocco Family's St. Jude Shop" in Pennsylvania for help in locating an "appropriate gift" for the Holy Father. The DiCocco's are no stranger to the Pope Benedict. They created the Papal Chair for Benedict's visit to the National Shrine last year. (They also worked on some of the furnishings at Mother Angelica's Shrine in Hanceville).

My source tells me that St. Peter's Church at the St. John Neumann Shrine donated the stole--a second class relic-- for the special occasion. Now you know what to look for during the President's meeting with the Pope. And admit it: it's better than an Ipod of show tunes.

PREVIEW OF THE ENCYCLICAL Pope Benedict XVI previewed his latest teaching document this week. The Pontiffs third encyclical, titled Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) will be released on July 7. It is expected to address how the global economy should meet the needs of the worlds poor. This week Corriere della Sera, the Italian daily, released what it claims are excerpts from the forthcoming encyclical. There two excerpts should give the Pope and President Obama much to discuss when they meet on July 10th in Rome:

'The encyclical will also pay attention to the ecologic health of the planet, but will remind that the duties we have to the environment are connected to the duties we have toward the human person, because the first capital to be protected and cherished is the human person in its integrity.

'The encyclical, in fact, is likely to say that openness to life is at the core of every true development, and regarding the ambiguous policies aimed at reducing the need for abortion by means of other social policies, the Pope warns that if personal and social sensibility toward the welcoming of a new life is lost, even other forms of welcoming [life] useful to social life become fruitless.'

Wouldnt you love to be a fly on the wall when the President and the Pope meet in private? For his part, the President told Catholic print journalists during a meeting on Thursday (according to the National Catholic Register) that he will continue to try to find common ground on abortion and will carve out robust conscience clauses for health care workers. Still it wont please everybody, the President added. Well discuss the new encyclical and the Presidents visit with Fr. Robert Sirico on the July 10th World Over.

ST. PAUL'S BIG FINISH As the year of St Paul drew to a close, the saint received almost as much media attention this week as Michael Jackson. The Saints feast day was on June 29, which marked the end of the Pauline year. Pope Benedict announced on Sunday that tests conducted on bone fragments found in the tomb of the apostle date to the 1st or 2nd century. Tradition holds that the remains of St. Paul were buried in a sarcophagus beneath the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. According to the Pope: This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the apostle Paul.

Vatican archaeologists began excavating the tomb in 2002. In a related story, it was announced that an icon of St. Paul was unearthed in excavations of the tombs of St. Tecla, also in Rome. The fresco appears to date to the end of the 4th century. Surrounded by gold edging, it features the gaunt features of the man known as the apostle to the gentiles. The icon is believed to be the oldest known image of St. Paul.

TWEET, TWEET...TWITTER! Hard as it was for me to sign up, I now have a Twitter account. If youd like the latest updates, news, and occasionally cultural commentary, follow me on Twitter. Im at www.Twitter.com/raymondarroyo. Go to the page and click the follow button. Naturally, youll have to sign up for a free account first. In addition to breaking news, I will also preview World Over guests and our other coverage.

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