A bit of light, holiday reading: Benedict XVI responds by letter, to an Atheist.

Exclusive to the Register, we publish below the first English translation of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s letter to the militant Italian atheist, Piergiorgio Odifreddi.

In September, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica printed extracts of the letter whose full contents were published in Italian on Nov. 23 by the German-language agency Kath.net.

The Pope Emeritus sent the letter in response to a book Odifreddi wrote in 2011 entitled Dear Pope, I’m Writing to You. The work was a critique of certain arguments and lines of thought found in Benedict’s theological writings, beginning with his 1967 volume Introduction to Christianity, and including his book Jesus of Nazareth, which he wrote as pope.

Full text

Pope Francis and Benedict Do Lunch

The Vatican downplayed the remarkable reunion in keeping with Benedict’s desire to remain “hidden from the world” and not interfere with his successor’s papacy. There was no live coverage by Vatican television, and only a short video and still photos were released after the fact.

The Vatican spokesman said the two spoke privately for 40-45 minutes, followed by lunch with the two papal secretaries, but no details were released.

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Two inspiring stories of faith come to light in Croatia

Daniel, a 25-year-old Croatian, took the stage and told the pope and some 50,000 people gathered in a post-thunderstorm, puddle-strewn Ban Josip Jelacic Square about his life of rebellion and debauchery.

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Leo XIII was the Pope who declared that Anglican ordinations, orders, priesthood, were invalid.


Leo XIII was the Pope who declared that Anglican ordinations, orders, priesthood, were invalid.

So,… the Pope of Rome goes into Westminster Abbey, a church dedicated to the Prince of the Apostles, and – while wearing Leo XIII’s stole – reminds them that he is the Successor of Peter.

And they applauded!

The title of this entry is a bit lighthearted, but the issues at hand are very serious.

Benedict XVI teaches through signs. Signs point to deeper issues. Vestments are signs.

In the person of Pope Benedict, Peter’s Successor came to Westminster. In Benedict, in a symbolic sense, Leo XIII came to Westminster as well.

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Excellent wrap-up of all the events of the pope’s UK trip


The Catholic Herald is featuring an excellent summary of all the key events of Pope Benedict’s four-day visit to the U.K.

The definitive guide

Complete list of articles

Pope’s Visit to Britain: ‘Astonishing’

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster described the events of yesterday in which the Pope gave addresses in Westminster Hall, Westminster Abbey, and Lambeth Palace as “astonishing.”

It was the first time the Successor of Peter had ever set foot in any of these historic buildings which at any one time have been pillars of Church and State in Britain for the past thousand years.

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Great Photos and News Coverage of the Pope’s Visit to Scotland

Click here for some great photos and news coverage of the Pope’s visit to Scotland.