Media Watch

Red Hats Discuss White Ball

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Oct. 18 — Rome's two great passions— religion and sport — have been combined in a new program on a Vatican radio station. “Not Just Sports,” which runs Mondays on 105 Live and is rebroadcast nationally, features soccer commentary from members of the College of Cardinals.

The red-hatted sports jocks have included Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, archbishop of Genoa and sometime play-by-play announcer for the soccer team Juventus. Cardinal Angelini complained that too many Italian team members were foreigners, the Associated Press reported.

Explaining the appeal of “Not Just Sports,” show producer Luca Collodi said, “Sports is very popular with the Church. Go to any church parish, and you'll always find a gym, a basketball court, people practicing sports.” The station's program director, Sean-Patrick Lovett, added, “It's the heavenly realm meets the earthly realm.”

The greatest Italian religion-sports controversy is said to be which Roman soccer team the Pope supports. According to Collodi, “Rumors say he had a preference for Lazio.”

Vatican and Jews Assail Holy Land Bigotry

HAARETZ, Oct. 20 — An attack on the Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem by a Jewish religion student was jointly condemned by the Holy See and the chief rabbinate of Israel Oct. 19, the Tel Aviv newspaper reported.

Archbishop Nourhan Manougian was spat at during a procession for the feast of the Holy Cross Oct. 10. A melee broke out, and the patriarch's 17th-century medallion was damaged. Natan Zvi Rosenthal, who claimed to be protesting “idolatry,” was arrested but has not yet been indicted. Spitting attacks on Christian clergy have become frequent in Jerusalem.

Haaretz reported that the joint statement urged “all relevant authorities” to remember the “sacred character of Jerusalem and to prevent overt and immodest actions which offend the sensibilities of religious communities that reside in Jerusalem and hold her dear.”

Albania Honors Mother Teresa

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Oct. 12 — The beatification of Mother Teresa was celebrated in Albania with a national holiday Oct. 19. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun, who spent a lifetime ministering to the poor of Calcutta, was declared “blessed” by Pope John Paul II in 2003, the final step before canonization.

Although of Albanian stock, Mother Teresa was born in Macedonia and did not visit Albania until 1989, when this traditionally Muslim country was oppressed by a savagely anti-religious Communist regime. Albania has since taken Mother Teresa to its heart and acclaimed her as the greatest-ever Albanian.

Tirana, the capital, features the Mother Teresa International Airport. Its primary hospital and an annex at the National Museum have also taken her name.

Pope Blesses New Statue at St. Peter's

ANSA, Oct. 20 — Pope John Paul II honored Saint Teresa de Jesus Ibars Oct. 20 by blessing a statue of her recently placed outside St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.