New resources for preparing to welcome the pope

(CNS/Paul Haring)As excitement builds in the run-up to the pope’s April trip to the United States, we’d like to think that we have some of the best insights into who Pope Benedict is, what he’s going to find in his visit to America, and what he’ll likely do at some of his stops.

And now you can read some of those insights on our papal trip page. Our paying clients have had many of our advance stories, photos and graphics for almost two weeks (with more to come) as they plan their preview editions before the visit. But we’ve also posted some of the stories here to help convince you that Catholic News Service is your best source for reliable coverage of the church, especially from our award-winning Rome bureau.

Check back here often because we will be constantly updating this page with the latest developments and with more backgrounders on the trip’s implications. 

On the page, we’re also providing additional insights into the trip by highlighting and linking to stories in Washington’s Catholic Standard and in Catholic New York, the on-the-scene archdiocesan newspapers that plan their own extensive coverage of the trip.

Also, don’t miss what some of our other clients are doing with their own special papal visit pages on their Web sites. For instance:

Our Sunday Visitor also has a new papal visit page. Among its unique features are a place to compose your own prayers for Pope Benedict (also available on Facebook if you’re a member), another page where you can download a free papal prayer card, and a third page where you can order pamphlets for your parish on Pope Benedict and the history of the papacy.

— The National Catholic Register has a new blog on the pope, not just for the U.S. trip but for his visit to Australia this summer for World Youth Day. Called “The World Meets Benedict,” the blog is located at the easy-to-remember

Inside the latest Israeli-Vatican meeting

Archbishop Antonio Franco, center, the Vatican's ambassador to Israel, attends the opening ceremony of the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem last April. (CNS/Reuters)The papal nuncio to Israel, Archbishop Antonio Franco,  has shed more light on the Vatican-Israeli meeting last December, which examined taxation and legal issues for the church in the Holy Land.

In his interview with the online edition of Terra Santa magazine, Archbishop Franco sounded optimistic about reaching an agreement with Israel — someday — but let it be known the church cannot lock the minority Christian community into an untenable position.

He also cautioned that a papal trip to Israel is unlikely before there is some progress on these questions and at least some movement in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Terra Santa, a Italian-based publication of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, is now running an English-language page with translations of some of its articles.

PHOTO: Archbishop Antonio Franco, center, the Vatican’s ambassador to Israel, attends the opening ceremony of the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem last April. (CNS/Reuters)