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By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

Portrait of Pope Leo XIII holding quill pen

This portrait of Pope Leo XIII, pontiff from 1878 to 1903, shows him holding a quill pen. The pope, credited with being the founder of Catholic social teaching, anonymously crafted Latin riddles for a Roman magazine. (CNS photo/Library of Congress)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Going by the pseudonym “X,” Pope Leo XIII anonymously crafted poetic puzzles in Latin for a Roman periodical at the turn of the 19th century.

The pope created lengthy riddles, known as “charades,” in Latin in which readers had to guess a rebus-like answer from two or more words that together formed the syllables of a new word.

Eight of his puzzles were published anonymously in “Vox Urbis,” a Rome newspaper that was printed entirely in Latin between 1898-1913, according to an article in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

A reader who submitted the correct answer to the riddle would receive a book of Latin poetry written by either Pope Leo or another noted Catholic figure.

The identity of the mysterious riddle-maker, however, was soon revealed by a French reporter covering the Vatican for the daily newspaper Le Figaro.

Felix Ziegler published his scoop Jan. 9, 1899, a year after the puzzles started appearing, revealing that “Mr. X” was, in fact, the reigning pope, the Vatican newspaper said July 20.

In the pope’s hometown, Carpineto Romano, which is about 35 miles southeast of Rome, students at the middle school now named for him have published 26 of the pope’s Latin puzzles in a new book titled, “Aenigmata. The Charades of Pope Leo XIII.” Continue Reading »

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By Patricia Zapor Catholic News Service

Woman holds sign as she and family members gather in Oracle, Ariz., in support of immigrants who have entered U.S. illegally

Amelia Martinez of Oracle, Ariz., holds up a sign July 15 as she and members of her family gather in support of migrants in her town. In a scene reminiscent of similar protests in California, about 65 demonstrators gathered near Oracle to protest the arr ival of immigrants who have entered the country illegally. They complained that the federal government’s response to a surge of new arrivals from Central America was putting their communities at risk. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — A Latin America expert for Catholic Relief Services, the head of the bishops’ migration committee and the president of a Catholic college in Michigan were among those urging the government toward humanitarian responses to a surge of children and families crossing the U.S. border from Central America.

Among their recommendations were: fully funding a requested federal appropriation for services to deal with the influx of people; investigating and working to address the root causes of emigration from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala; and creating a program so people may seek permission to come to the United States without having to make the treacherous and illegal journey. Such programs have been successful in Iraq, Vietnam and the former Soviet Union.

In testimony to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs July 16, Richard Jones, the CRS deputy regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said his agency has seen the numbers of unaccompanied youth fleeing Central America double yearly since 2011.

“We have seen the homicide rates grow, forced displacement increase and Mexican and Colombian drug cartels battle over who controls the routes through Central America,” he said in written testimony. “In El Salvador and Honduras, there are more gang members than police.

He gave the example of four boys who were killed and dismembered in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, last month because they refused to be drug couriers. Continue Reading »

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Have you ever wondered why we as Catholics do what we do? Thought, “How can we get together on this mass music when half of the parish loves contemporary stuff and the other half thinks guitars and drums should be barred from the Church?” Or perhaps, you just love the song “Hear I am, Lord” and wish you could meet the composer.

If any of the above pertains to you, then you’ll want to be at the Diocesan Worship and Prayer Conference set for Friday, Aug. 1, and Saturday, Aug. 2, at St. Jude Thaddeus Family Life Center, Beaumont. Although the yearly conference attracts hundreds of liturgists and musicians, it holds pieces of joy and information for every Catholic in Southeast Texas. Continue Reading »

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