Media Watch

Jude Law Next as Pope?

THE EVENING STANDARD (London), Sept. 22 — Distinguished British actor Jude Law (Gattaca, AI) is scheduled to appear as Pope John Paul II in an upcoming Italian film, according to London's Evening Standard.

The 32-year-old actor is reportedly in negotiations with the Mediaset group — owned by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi — to play Karol Wotyjla as a young priest in Poland.

The two-part television movie will begin production in early 2004, shooting in and near the Pope's native Krakow.

The Pope Blesses Whom Others Curse

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Sept. 18 — They're often enough the object of curses and abuse, but Pope John Paul II has worn their shoes, and he stands in solidarity with them: the soccer referees of Italy.

Himself a former goalkeeper, the Holy Father blessed the Italian football referees, including top international referee Pierluigi Collina, at his general audience Sept. 17, according to the AP.

John Paul told the referees that the sport should be “inspired by ethical and spiritual values.”

Vatican Reporter Handicaps Cardinals

THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, Sept. 20 — Pope John Paul II has prepared the way for the orderly — and secret — election of his successor, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Before the cardinals gather, the paper reported, the Sistine Chapel will be swept for electronic listening devices. The paper noted that the Pope has also done a great deal to shape the sacred College of Cardinals that will elect the next pope — appointing 104 of the 109 men who will be eligible to vote.

However, that doesn't mean the next pope will be exactly like this one, observed John Allen, Vatican correspondent for CNN and The National Catholic Reporter, quoted by The Plain Dealer.

“We do not get clones of the sitting pope as his successor,” Allen said. “Historians will tell you this is the pendulum dynamic. The Italians … say, ‘You follow a fat pope with a thin one.’”

Allen spoke at a press conference promoting his book, Conclave: The Politics, Personalities and Process of the Next Papal Election. He suggested that many cardinals are looking to the developing world when they (discreetly) consider the ailing John Paul's successor.

The cardinals also understand they need someone who is charismatic, with deep personal holiness and a command of front-burner issues, Allen said.

Allen pointed to four cardinals whose chances he found intriguing: Claudio Hummes of Brazil, Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic, Godfried Danneels of Belgium and Ukrainian Lubomyr Husar.