National Catholic Register


Vatican Media Watch

BY John Lilly

June 25-July 1, 2006 Issue | Posted 6/26/06 at 11:00 AM


Vatican Denounces Spiral of Violence in Holy Land

REUTERS, June 14 — Saying the Holy Land had become “hostage” to those who believe its problems can be solved by force or unilateral action, the Vatican called for peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, Reuters reported.

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian fighter in the West Bank early June 14, hours after a Gaza missile strike on a van carrying militants and rockets killed 11 Palestinians, nine of them civilians.

According to a statement, Pope Benedict was worried about episodes of “increasingly blind violence” between Israelis and Palestinians and urged them to return to negotiations. It said the Pope felt close to the innocent victims in the Holy Land, “which has become hostage to those who delude themselves that they can resolve the region’s increasingly dramatic problems with force or in a unilateral way.”

The Vatican also urged the international community to rapidly approve funds for humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

Africa’s Woes Still Ignored, Says Vatican Paper

INDEPENDENT ONLINE, June 12 — The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said the international community continues to ignore the tragedy that consumes Africa on a daily basis, reported the South African website.

“Every day 800 African children die, simply because their families cannot afford an appointment with a doctor or basic health care. Very little would be needed to save them,” stated a front-page story in the June 12 edition of the newspaper. Under the headline “Africa, the Scandal of Poverty,” the article observed: “It would be enough to fund health expenses, which, although entailing a few coins by Western criteria, weigh like lead on African families’ budgets.

“However, despite the good intentions expressed on several occasions in international conferences, in Africa the scandal of poverty continues to reap innocent victims.”

L’Osservatore Romano quoted a report, “Paying With Their Lives,” published by Save the Children United Kingdom, a branch of the Save the Children International Alliance. The report reveals that the lives of 285,000 children in Africa (almost 800 a day) could be saved every year by meeting basic health expenses.

Paris Square to Be Named After John Paul II

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, June 14 — The Paris city Council decided that the open square in front of the French capital’s famed Notre Dame Cathedral will be renamed after Pope John Paul II, the French news service reported.

The proposal to honor the Polish-born Pope was made by socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who faced stiff opposition from several city councilors. The broad square in the center of Paris will keep its former name, Notre Dame Square, but will have the late Pope’s name added on to it.

The decision circumvented a rule that the city should wait at least five years after the death of a person before naming a building, street, square or other public space after him or her.