Monday, April 29, 2013

Abortion "House of Horrors" in Spotlight

From The Lookout:
Anti-abortion movement seeks new laws with Gosnell trial 
Anti-abortion activists are harnessing the outrage generated over the trial of a Philadelphia abortion doctor to pressure lawmakers to pass more restrictive abortion laws. 
The activists say the trial of 72-year-old Kermit Gosnell, which concludes Monday as attorneys on both sides make their closing arguments, shows that late-term abortions are inhumane and unsafe and should be banned. 
Gosnell is charged with murder in the deaths of four babies who were born alive after abortion procedures (he is alleged to have cut their spinal cords) and in the death of a woman who died of a drug overdose he allegedly administered. 
Gosnell faces other charges, including violating Pennsylvania's law against performing abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy; violating a state law requiring a 24-hour waiting period for patients before obtaining an abortion; and of endangering child welfare by employing a 15-year-old in the clinic, which investigators labeled a "house of horrors." 
Abortion foes say Gosnell's crimes are representative of larger abuses in late-term abortion clinics, while abortion rights advocates say he is a criminal outlier who would not have been stopped by more regulations. ...
No, you've gotta tweak that a bit. "Abortion foes say Gosnell's crimes are representative of abortion clinics..."

Watching the media tiptoe around this trial is astonishing. The elephant in the room is clear even to the most intransigent liberal. Whether in Gosnell's clinic or in a Planned Parenthood clinic, the end result is the same: a dead, mutilated baby. It's not rocket science. It's an all-too-real horror story, and our President is America's most conspicuous defender of the deadly deed.

For a man who is so fond of singling out helpless victims, whipping up a press conference and manipulating the victims and the emotions of the nation for a purely political end, it's shameful that, on this issue, he opts to fire up the crowds at Planned Parenthood's powwow, as innocent lives are being snuffed out by the millions in a holocaust. I've often said that if the unborn could vote, Obama and his allies would be their biggest, most vocal defenders. But since they are utterly helpless and unable to voice their pain, Obama could simply care less about them. Think about that. Obama casts himself as the defender of the "little guy" and frequently cites the Golden Rule as the guiding principle of his social agenda, and yet he pushes the slaughter of babies. The unborn are of no use whatsoever to Obama, so he's totally okay with their deaths. Could there be anything more revolting, more sickening. Obama needs repentance. Otherwise, the words of Jefferson come to mind:

"I tremble for my country when I consider that God is just, that his justice will not sleep forever."

Get used to stories like this...

From the Associated Press:
A gay teacher who said she was fired by an Ohio Catholic school after her mother's published obituary included the name of her partner is fighting to get her job back. 
Carla Hale, 57, said she was told she was being let go because her relationship is against teachings of the church. 
She plans to file a complaint this week with the city of Columbus, which prohibits firings based on sexual orientation, her attorney said Monday. She already filed a grievance that is now in the hands of a union representing teachers in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus. 
Some current and former students have rallied behind the physical education teacher, staging a protest outside the diocese headquarters and starting an online petition that has collected about 100,000 supporters.

Women 'Priests'... a Continuation

I found more rich photos from the simulated female ordination that took place in Kentucky. Folks, it's just embarrassing, that's all I can say. You have to feel sorry for these gals. Let's do a side-by-side and just let the images speak for themselves.

"Imposition" of the manicured hands...
Well, at least someone knows 'how to make an American quilt'

You know, it is interesting. There is a need on the part of these women to maintain certain outward traditions associated with Catholicism and the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and yet the very clear Tradition/Doctrine of an exclusively male priesthood is totally ignored. Why have the imposition of the hands, the prostration, the (admittedly atrocious) vestments, etc. Why reinvent the wheel only in part? If you're a revolutionary, why pick and choose what you want to hold on to? How do you decide what is good and what is bad? Throw it all out! 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Send in the clowns

Embarrassing. Even apart from the grave moral evil represented here, everything about this picture is awful. Just awful. 

 From NBC News: Kentucky woman ordained as priest by dissident Roman Catholics

Friday, April 26, 2013

Obama is shameless

Speaking today to Planned Parenthood, the shameless President Obama, abortion-advocate-in-chief, claimed that opponents of abortion want to take women's rights back to the 1950s. Let's ask some honest questions about those days and compare them to our own.

- What was the divorce rate in the 1950s, as opposed to today?  
- What was the rate out-of-wedlock births in the 1950s, as opposed to today? 
- What was the percentage of broken families in the U.S. in the 1950s, as opposed to today?
- What were the rape, sexual assault and domestic violence statistics of the 1950s, as opposed to today?  
- What was the strength/reach of the pornography industry in the 1950s, as opposed to today?  
- What was the rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the 1950s, as opposed to today?  
- What were the national suicide statistics, as opposed to today? 

Were the 1950s all that bad?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pope Francis on relationship with Christ

 ... But the Christian identity is not an identity card: Christian identity is belonging to the Church, because all of these belonged to the Church, the Mother Church. Because it is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church. The great Paul VI said: "Wanting to live with Jesus without the Church, following Jesus outside of the Church, loving Jesus without the Church is an absurd dichotomy." And the Mother Church that gives us Jesus gives us our identity that is not only a seal, it is a belonging. Identity means belonging. This belonging to the Church is beautiful. ~Pope Francis
Very profound...I have been impressed with the vigor and frankness behind the Holy Father's addresses. He is not beating around the bush in the least.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

On 'spiritual poverty' and truth

... But there is another form of poverty! It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the "tyranny of relativism", which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples. And that brings me to a second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth. ~Pope Francis

Outrage: Boston terrorist took welfare benefits

From the Boston Herald:
Marathon bombings mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev was living on taxpayer-funded state welfare benefits even as he was delving deep into the world of radical anti-American Islamism, the Herald has learned. 
State officials confirmed last night that Tsarnaev, slain in a raging gun battle with police last Friday, was receiving benefits along with his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, and their 3-year-old daughter. The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services said those benefits ended in 2012 when the couple stopped meeting income eligibility limits. Russell Tsarnaev’s attorney has claimed Katherine — who had converted to Islam — was working up to 80 hours a week as a home health aide while Tsarnaev stayed at home.

Krauthammer: President Obama 'comical', 'embarrassing'

From Politico:
Charles Krauthammer says it’s “comical and certainly embarrassing” that President Barack Obama will not use words such as jihadist and Islamist in reference to the Boston Marathon bombings. 
“The lengths to which he will go to avoid telling us the truth about the enemy is becoming comical and certainly embarrassing,” Krauthammer said Tuesday on Fox News on “The O’Reilly Factor.” “For example, forget about use the word jihadist — he will never use that but he refuses to use the word Islamist, which is used throughout the Muslim world. It’s used by journalists, by authors, on the street, in parliament, in Egypt. It’s used in Lebanon. It’s used everywhere by Muslims.” 
He continued: “And yet Obama won’t touch it because he refuses to use any words that might imply a connection between radical Islam and terrorism, which as anybody who is over the age of nine knows is the single greatest cause of terror in the world today.”

Catholic high school threatened by Muslim

From The Daily Caller:
Police are investigating an anonymous forum poster who praised Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and later made a threat against a Catholic high school in Fairfax, Virginia. 
The online poster goes by the handle “Prophet Muhammad” and has made several disturbing statements on the Fairfax Underground website in the last month. 
On Friday, he posted a threat against Paul VI Catholic High School: 
“Inshallah, Paul VI High School will be the scene of another massacre. Allahu akbar!” “Inshallah” is an Arabic phrase that means “God willing.” 
“Allahu akbar” means “God is the greatest.” Both sayings are commonly associated with the Islamic faith.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What 'comprehensive immigration reform' is really about

Politico featured a story today about the politics behind the immigration debate. I am pretty surprised they came out so bluntly and said what everyone knows to be the true motive behind the Democrats' push for so-called reform:
The immigration proposal pending in Congress would transform the nation’s political landscape for a generation or more — pumping as many as 11 million new Hispanic voters into the electorate a decade from now in ways that, if current trends hold, would produce an electoral bonanza for Democrats and cripple Republican prospects in many states they now win easily
Beneath the philosophical debates about amnesty and border security, there are brass-tacks partisan calculations driving the thinking of lawmakers in both parties over comprehensive immigration reform, which in its current form offers a pathway to citizenship — and full voting rights — for a group of undocumented residents that roughly equals the population of Ohio, the nation’s seventh-largest state.
Hate to sound cynical folks, but securing their electoral victories is all that the Democrats are after. This is why I find the support of the U.S. bishops for this immigration proposal so utterly incomprehensible. Think about it: Immigration reform = amnesty. Amnesty = 11 million more Democratic voters. 11 million more Democratic voters = abortion, gay 'marriage', and moral abomination after moral abomination. The line that Hispanics are conservatives-in-waiting is false. They will vote across the board Democratic. Just look at California.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pope Francis on feminism: 'machismo in skirts'

Pope Francis on feminism:
"A philosophy of constant feminism doesn't give the woman the dignity she deserves. ... It runs the risk of becoming machismo in skirts."
Not bad.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rep. King: End the reign of political correctness

From Politico:
Rep. Peter King is calling for greater law enforcement focus on Muslim communities, arguing that authorities should put aside what is “politically correct” and recognize that America faces major threats from Islamic terrorism. 
“Obviously the main international base, the terrorist threats are coming from the Muslim community,” King (R-N.Y.) told POLITICO on Saturday. "There have been 16 terror plots against New York [since Sept. 11, 2001], all Islamist-based. We’re at war with Islamic terrorism. It’s coming from people within the Muslim community by the terrorists coming from that community, just like the mafia comes from Italian communities.”
This isn't even controversial. At least, it shouldn't be. It's simply a fact. Watch the left go into attack mode...not against the real threat, but against King and those of us who think like him.

America's Selective Abhorrence

Mark Steyn nails it once again as he reviews the grisly week we just put behind us. Here's an excerpt of the piece, appearing in the National Review:
In America, all atrocities are not equal: Minutes after the Senate declined to support so-called gun control in the wake of the Newtown massacre, the president rushed ill-advisedly on air to give a whiny, petulant performance predicated on the proposition that one man’s mass infanticide should call into question the constitutional right to bear arms. Simultaneously, the media remain terrified that another man’s mass infanticide might lead you gullible rubes to question the constitutional right to abortion, so the ongoing Kermit Gosnell trial in Philadelphia has barely made the papers — even though it involves large numbers of fully delivered babies who were decapitated and had their feet chopped off and kept in pickling jars. Which would normally be enough to guarantee a perpetrator front-page coverage for weeks on end. In the most recent testimony, one of the “clinic”’s “nurses” testified that she saw a baby delivered into the toilet, where his little arms and feet flapped around as if trying to swim to safety. Then another “women’s health worker” reached in and, in the procedure’s preferred euphemism, “snipped” the baby’s neck — i.e., severed his spinal column. “Doctor” Gosnell seems likely to prove America’s all-time champion mass murderer. But his victims are ideologically problematic for the media, and so the poor blood-soaked monster will never get his moment in the spotlight.
We have to keep the spotlight on this Gosnell trial, or rather, force/shame the media into covering the ongoing events. It is truly macabre, and it exposes the naked, diabolical ugliness of the abortion machine. It is not surprising that we are not witnessing President Obama presiding at a press conference, deploring the horrors of this so-called doctor's Office of Death. It's what makes Obama's sanctimonious spittle fits of moral outrage over the failure of his precious anti-gun legislation so transparently phony and revolting. While campaigning for the bill's passage a couple of weeks ago, he said something like, "Let's make it a little bit harder for our kids to get gunned down." Okay, not the most presidential expression I've ever heard. By the way, there are few things more maddening to me than listening to liberals celebrate the 'right' to abortion on Monday, and then on Tuesday lecture us from on high about the importance of protecting the children, via some big-government policy, of course.

Mr. President, look at what's going on in Philly. Look at the policies you have supported over the years: abortion, partial-birth abortion, and yes, even infanticide for a baby that survives abortion. Obama is the one with blood on his hands. Just last week during an interview, the reporter brought up the Gosnell trial. Clearly uncomfortable with the subject, Obama cooly refrained from delving into the details of the case, and moved on to the next question. There was no expression of passion, horror, outrage, anger, the likes of which we regularly see when the man is talking about gun-control or some other cherished liberal policy. I'm convinced that deep down, he has a burning sense of guilt over what he's done.

Again, let's keep the media accountable. Every single conservative blogger should be writing about this on their sites. We cannot let the details of this trial be swept under the rug by the liberals and media! They are desperately hoping that they can keep this out of the public's eye, and they are using all their skills to do so. I heard someone on the radio the other day speculate that if what took place at Gosnell's clinic had happened to dogs instead of unborn children, the collective media and liberal outrage would be explosive. So true. So sad.

I'm convinced that large-scale exposure of this scandal could represent a significant turning point in the U.S. and beyond for the fight against abortion.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Saint Bernadette Soubirous

Read more about this beautiful, simple Saint here.

Window made in Innsbruck, Austria, now housed in the Saint Joseph Chapel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Monday, April 15, 2013

'House of Horrors' Gaining (Reluctant) Media Attention

Purely diabolical. There are no words other to describe this. It's so awful that even posting the man's face on my blog is sickening, but word needs to get out.

This Pope Means Business Too

From the Associated Press:
Pope Francis supports crackdown on US nuns 
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican said Monday that Pope Francis supports the Holy See's crackdown on the largest umbrella group of U.S. nuns, dimming hopes that a Jesuit pope whose emphasis on the poor mirrored the nuns' own social outreach would take a different approach than his predecessor
The Vatican last year imposed an overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious after determining the sisters took positions that undermined Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." Investigators praised the nuns' humanitarian work, but accused them of ignoring critical issues, including fighting abortion.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Selfish Massacre, So Easily Stopped

Some people acknowledge that a fetus is a person and has rights, but that abortion is still OK.  They say that women don't usually intend to get pregnant; women do not intend the children they conceive to take up abode in their wombs.  And, because women own their bodies, and their children are mere uninvited parasites, they are perfectly within their rights to kill their children.

On this picture, however, we know, as a society, that every year numerous children must die as a reliable consequence of our actions.  We know that we are having sex when we don't want kids.  We know that our birth control will fail some of the time.  And we know that we will kill the children that we, as a nation, inevitably conceive.  So, as a nation, we are able to predict that every year we will create and kill a certain number of children.  The number is somewhere around 1.3 million.

If we as Americans are expecting to conceive and kill 1.3 milion children every year, then shouldn't we do something to prevent that from happening?  Here is the most straight-forward and effective of solutions: we can refrain from having sex until we are ready to have kids.  Why not refrain?  Is it really worth killing 1.3 million kids just so we can have sex for one year without being troubled with consequences?  Why is that not totally selfish and wrong?  All that we need to do in order to prevent the massacre of a million plus children per year is to be a little less selfish about sex and wait.  We know that people can wait.  It used to be the norm.  Why do so many children have to die so that we can have sex whenever we want?  We, as a nation, could prevent the deaths of so many, we could prevent a holocaust.  And the way is so simple: a little self-control.     

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tucked away in a poll, support for abortion plummets

From NBC News:
In reversal, majority thinks abortion should be illegal. 
At the same time that general support for gay marriage has increased – albeit within the margin of error – so has opposition to abortion. 
According to the survey, a combined 52 percent say that abortion should be illegal either with exceptions or without them, versus a combined 45 percent who say it should be legal either “always” or “most of the time.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chaplain to Posthumously Receive Medal of Honor

Servant of God, Father Emil Kapaun

From the National Catholic Register:
WASHINGTON — Servant of God Father Emil Kapaun, who died in a POW camp during the Korean War, will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously during a ceremony April 11 at the White House. In the rarest of double honors, the heroic Army chaplain’s cause for canonization continues in this nation and in Rome.
The Medal of Honor recognition comes just days short of what would have been Father Kapaun’s 97th birthday and more than 60 years after he died on May 23, 1951, in a prisoner-of-war camp in Pyoktong, North Korea.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Orthodox Patriarch Rips Feminism

From Reuters:
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The head of the resurgent Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, said on Tuesday feminism was a "very dangerous" phenomenon offering an illusion of freedom to women who should focus on their families and children. 
Some three quarters of Russians consider themselves Russian Orthodox and Kirill has fostered increasingly close ties with President Vladimir Putin who has portrayed the church as the guardian of Russia's national values. 
"I find very dangerous this phenomenon, which is called feminism, because feminist organizations proclaim a pseudo-freedom of women that should in the first place be manifested outside marriage and outside the family," Kirill was quoted by Interfax news agency as telling a meeting with an Orthodox women's group. 
"Man turns his sight outward, he should work, make money. While a woman is always focused inwards towards her children, her home. If this exceptionally important role of a woman is destroyed, everything will be destroyed as a consequence - family and, if you wish, the homeland," he said.
I love the Orthodox.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Margaret Thatcher, R.I.P.

Reagan, Thatcher...When I survey the world scene today in search of greatness and serious statesmen, I can only think, "lightweights, lightweights."


Titian's Annunciation

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Pietas romana

The pietas romana, that virtue central to the life of Rome, had at one and the same time a very earthly and a very spiritual meaning. It signified attachment to one's native earth, faithfulness, gratitude, also worship rendered to the gods, to one's parents, to one's native land, and devoted respect for family, for the domestic hearth, and for the shades of one's ancestors. One has some inkling then, of just what this word could mean for the first Christians once they were baptized. The soul, enlightened by the Word, responded sicut naturaliter to the gentleness of the Father as it turned again to the blessing of its own home country in the life of the Triune God. -Excerpt from The Sacred Liturgy, by a Benedictine Monk

"The Bonobo and the Atheist"

Get ready for a real winner of an article. From ABC News:
Do We Need God to be Moral? 
One of the world's leading primatologists believes his decades of research with apes answers a question that has plagued humans since the beginning of time. 
Are we moral because we believe in God, or do we believe in God because we are moral? 
Frans de Waal argues in his latest book that the answer is clearly the latter. The seeds for moral behavior preceded the emergence of our species by millions of years, and the need to codify that behavior so that all would have a clear blueprint for morality led to the creation of religion, he argues. 
Most religious leaders would argue it's the other way around: Our sense of what's moral came from God, and without God there would be no morality. 
But this is a column about science, not religion, so it's worth asking if de Waal's own research supports his provocative conclusions, documented in the newly released book, "The Bonobo and the Atheist."

Saturday, April 06, 2013

'Fixed Steadily on God'

"The experience of fourteen centuries of monastic life inclines one to think that the best way of avoiding sin is found less in the direct effort of turning away from it than in keeping one's gaze fixed steadily on God."  ~From The Sacred Liturgy, written by a Benedictine Monk.

You Can't Kill a Baby

I heard a girl say this today:
You can't kill a baby.  You can't kill.  'Cause if you're gonna say that a fetus is just a blob of tissues, that's all we are as well.  We're just a bigger blob. 
That makes sense.  Why is the "blob of tissue" point relevant?

Pro-Life Gains

From the Associated Press:
A sweeping anti-abortion bill is headed to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. 
The House gave final approval Friday to the measure, which blocks tax breaks for abortion providers and outlaws abortions performed solely because of the baby's sex. 
The measure also declares that life begins "at fertilization," language that abortion opponents call a statement of principle and not an outright ban on abortion, though the bill's opponents are skeptical. 
Brownback is likely to sign the bill into law.
I came across this headline from August: Since 2010, 32 states have restricted abortions

Catholic Group Banned from Catholic University

Bizarre. From The Daily Caller:
Roman Catholic, Jesuit-affiliated Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington has refused to recognize the Knights of Columbus as an official student group because — wait for it — the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic organization. 
Gonzaga administrators notified the students who had sought the school’s official seal of approval last month, reports The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Daily. 
“The Knights of Columbus, by their very nature, is a men’s organization in which only Catholics may participate via membership,” reads a letter written by Sue Weitz, vice president for student life. “These criteria are inconsistent with the policy and practice of student organization recognition at Gonzaga University.”

Friday, April 05, 2013

Judicial Tyranny

From CBS News:
Judge strikes age restrictions for "morning after" pill 
NEW YORK The Food and Drug Administration was ordered to make emergency contraception available to women regardless of age limits. 
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Edward Korman came as the result of a lawsuit brought by reproductive-rights advocates, who had sought to remove age and other restrictions on the so-called "morning after" pill.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Rome. Be Inspired.

Early Church:
 Saint Clement Basilica

 Saint Mary Magdalen


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Pope Francis Praises Role of Women in Church

'Noli me tangere'

At his Wednesday audience today, Pope Francis gave a beautiful explanation of the vital role that women have played since the earliest days of the Church. From the Catholic News Agency:
VATICAN CITY — During his second Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis said that women’s main role in the Church is to communicate God’s love. 
“Women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord, in following him and communicating his face, because the eyes of faith always need the simple and profound look of love,” he said April 3 in St. Peter’s Square. 
“This is beautiful, and this is the mission of women, of mothers and women: to give witness to their children and grandchildren that Christ is risn,” said the Pope. ... 
Pope Francis reminded the crowd that the first witnesses of Christ’s resurrection were women. 
“This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria: The first witnesses of the birth of Jesus are the shepherds, simple and humble people; the first witnesses of the Resurrection are women,” he said.
As though on cue, liberal feminists have already pounced on the pope's comments as not going far enough, yada yada yada...

And the Telegraph had this to say:
Francis has established a much more informal, man-of-the-people style in comparison with his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who is now in retirement in a castle outside Rome as Pope Emeritus. 
But the book shows that the 76-year-old South American Pope is as doctrinally conservative as Benedict. [After their initial enthusiasm, the secular media is slowly beginning to realize this. I knew it wouldn't take long.] 
He staunchly rejects the idea that the Church should allow women to become priests. "Woman has another role, which is reflected in the figure of Mary," he writes in the book.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

On Penance

In the Sacrament of Penance, the simple confession of one's guilt is presented with confidence in God's merciful goodness. It is important to do this without falling into scruples, with the spirit of trust proper to the children of God. In this way confession can become an experience of deliverance, in which the weight of the past is removed from us and we feel rejuvenated by the merit of the grace of God, who each time gives back the youthfulness of the heart. ~Cardinal Ratzinger, commenting on the 2002 motu proprio misericordia Dei

Bishop Sample Defends Facing East

From a 2011 homily: 

Take some time to watch this. It's truly amazing to hear a bishop speak so theologically and eloquently about traditional liturgy!

Incidentally, Archbishop Alexander Sample was installed today as the head of the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon. 

Time for a 'Liturgical Catechesis' Offensive

Read the full pamphlet here.

Pamphlets and bulletin inserts at your parish that specifically focus on proper liturgical catechesis, and all based on the writings of Pope Benedict, you're not dreaming, it's actually happening somewhere. From the good people of the New Liturgical Movement.

Let's see ideas like this one multiply across the nation, and finally realize the liturgical reform begun by Benedict.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Today's Agenda: Francis to Peter

From the Associated Press:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis will spend Monday's Vatican holiday praying at the tomb of Peter, the church's first pontiff, during a visit to the excavated necropolis under St. Peter's Basilica. 
A Vatican statement called the visit private, but promised to release photos and video later in the day. The basilica was built over the location where early Christians would gather in secret, at a time of persecution in ancient Rome, to pray at an unmarked tomb believed to be that of Peter, the apostle Jesus chose to lead his church.