Media Watch

Keep Feeding Tubes, Pope Tells Conference

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, March 21 — Removal of feeding tubes from people in vegetative states is “immoral,” according to Pope John Paul II, and no judgment on their quality of life could justify what he calls “euthanasia by omission.”

The Holy Father made his comments March 20 to participants at a Vatican conference regarding the ethical dilemmas involving incapacitated patients, the wire service reported. It was organized by the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations and the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Even the medical term used to describe people in a “persistent vegetative state” is degrading to them, the Pope said. No matter how sick a person is, he said, “he is and always will be a man, never becoming a ‘vegetable’ or ‘animal.’”

Giving food and water to patients is natural ordinary and proportional care, John Paul said, not artificial medical intervention.

The Real Definition of a Martyr

AGENZIA GIORNALISTICA ITALIA, March 23 — Thirty-five Catholic missionaries were killed in 2003. They are what the Vatican calls martyrs.

But the word martyr is more often being used to describe Islamic suicide bombers, and the Vatican doesn't want the terrorists to be mixed up with Christian martyrs.

“Martyrdom is mentioned in lay terms. Islamic suicide bombers are called martyrs. But the sahid, the ‘suicide martyr,’ is completely different from the Christian martyr,” according to historian Andrea Riccardi in presenting the book Faith and Martyrdom, promoted by the Congregation for Eastern Churches.

The word martyr is being misused, Riccardi said.

“The Christian martyr doesn't kill himself to kill other people,” he said. “The Christian martyr gives his life to avoid that others be killed, to avoid quitting his faith, to support other believers, for love. … The Christian martyr has its own special role, which doesn't lead to revenge.”

Cardinal Pell Takes Over Titular Church

THE BALLARAT COURIER (Australia), March 21 — Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, took over his titular church in Italy at a Mass on March 20 attended by 36 Australian bishops on their ad limina visit to Rome.

Cardinal Pell, who was made a cardinal last year, received the church as is custom for new cardinals. The parish church, Santa Maria Domenica Mazzarello, on the outskirts of Rome, was built in 1997 and named after the founder of the Salesian Order of Sisters.

Among the guests at the Mass were Cardinal Francis Stafford and Dr. John Herron, Australia's ambassador to the Holy See.

Cardinal: End Deadlock on Anti-Terrorism Treaty

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, March 18 — Cardinal Renato Martino on March 18 called on the United Nations to approve a major anti-terrorism treaty, which has been held up for years.

Cardinal Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said the main cause of the deadlock — a definition of the word terrorism — must end.

“We have to arrive at a definition and a rapid conclusion so that the entire international community can commit itself,” he said, calling terrorism a “horrible sickness of humanity.”