National Catholic Register


Vatican Media Watch

Keeping an eye on the news from the Vatican.

BY John Lilly

April 2-8, 2006 Issue | Posted 4/3/06 at 10:00 AM


Vatican Museum Targets Ticket Scalpers

ANSA, March 22 — The director of the Vatican Museums said municipal authorities will take measures to eliminate ticket scalpers, especially with the museums’ upcoming 500th-anniversary celebration, the Italian news service reported.

Francesco Buranelli was speaking at a press conference marking the unveiling of a refurbished Paleo-Christian Museum, which will return into view the famed Aldobrandini wedding room with its Guido Reni frescoes and ancient Roman murals.

Buranelli said that museum authorities would also try to shorten lines. He did not go into details on either point but said the Vatican had been in contact with Rome municipal authorities on the possibility of building a second underground entrance.

Scalpers get to the museum containing the Sistine Chapel at the crack of dawn and re-sell their tickets at inflated prices to tourists way down the line after giving them the impression they might not get in otherwise.

Vatican Explains Removal of Papal Title

ASSOCIATED PRESS, March 22 — The Vatican’s office for relations with other Christians said the removal of the papal title “patriarch of the West” should benefit relations with the Orthodox Church, not hinder them, Associated Press reported.

In the 2006 edition of the Annuario Pontificio, the Vatican’s 2,373-page directory of bishops, Vatican offices and dioceses around the world, the title “patriarch of the West” was left out of the list of titles that Pope Benedict XVI holds. Some Orthodox scholars questioned the motives behind the omission, asking whether it might mean Benedict was signaling a broader, or at least different interpretation, of his role as Pope and the role of patriarchates in the Eastern traditions of Christianity.

The Vatican said that the title was first used in 642 by Pope Theodore I, but that its exact meaning had always been vague and, over time, had become “obsolete and, practically speaking, unusable.”

The statement said, “The renunciation of the title seeks to express a historic and theological reality, and at the same time seeks to be a renunciation of a claim — a renunciation that could be of benefit to ecumenical dialogue.”

Persecution of Armenians Lingers in History

ASIANEWS.COM, March 20 — Pope Benedict said the division among Armenians wrought by Metz yeghèrn (the great evil) at the hands of the Turks during World War I still persists, and it must be overcome, the news service reported.

Meeting with Archbishop Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, Armenian patriarch of Cilicia, the Holy Father said, “The Armenian Church that refers to the patriarchate of Cilicia is certainly a full participant of historical events lived by the Armenian people throughout the centuries and, especially, of the suffering they bore in the name of the Christian faith in the years of the terrible persecution which remains known in history by the sadly significant name of metz yeghèrn (the great evil). How can one not remember, in this regard, the many invitations sent by Leo XIII to Catholics, to go to the rescue of the poverty and suffering of the Armenian peoples?”

The Christian communities of Armenia, which are still divided, recognize St. Gregory the Illuminator as their common father founder. The Pope said, “In recent decades all have resumed a cordial and fruitful dialogue to the end of rediscovering their common roots. I encourage this rediscovered fraternity and collaboration, with the hope that new initiatives for a shared path towards full unity will spring from this.

“And if historical events have seen the fragmentation of the Armenian Church,” he said, “may divine providence allow that one day it will return to being united, with its hierarchy in brotherly internal harmony and in full communion with the Bishop of Rome.”