Media Watch

Pope Calls for More Instruction Before Marriage

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, May 22 — More can be done to encourage lasting marriages, according to Pope John Paul II.

“Many today have a clear understanding of the secular nature of marriage,” he said, “which includes the rights and responsibilities modern societies hold as determining factors for a marital contract.” But, he said, according to the Associated Press, some “appear to lack a proper understanding of the intrinsically religious dimension of this covenant.”

The Pope made his remarks May 22 during an audience with bishops from Texas and Oklahoma, in Rome for their once-every-five-year ad limina visit.

“Modern society rarely pays heed to the permanent nature of marriage,” the Holy Father continued. “In fact, the attitude toward marriage found in contemporary culture demands that the Church seek to offer better premarital instruction aimed at forming couples in this vocation.”

Recently, the wire service reported, John Paul has spoken against “attempts to reduce marriage to a mere individual contract” and has called for and end to the approval of homosexual marriages.

John Paul Again Condemns Anti-Semitism

JERUSALEM POST, May 23 — Pope John Paul II repeated the Church's condemnation of anti-Semitism in a May 23 message to Rome's central synagogue, the site of the first papal visit ever to a Jewish synagogue in 1986.

John Paul sent Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian bishops' conference and papal vicar of Rome, and Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to the ceremony. The Pope himself turned down the invitation to attend because he said he didn't want to take away from the “unique and historic” character of his 1986 visit, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“The Church has restated in a clear and definitive way the refusal of anti-Semitism in all its expressions,” the Holy Father said in his statement, read by Cardinal Ruini. “Still, even the dutiful deploration and condemnation of hostilities against the Jewish people, which often characterized histor y, isn't enough. We need to also develop friendship, esteem and brotherly relations” with Jews.

Media Need to Work in Service of Family, Pope Says

ASIANEWS, May 23 — Catholics must call upon Mary and the Holy Spirit and pray for the media to “perform their work according to a genuine apostolic spirit,” Pope John Paul II said May 23, the celebration by the Church of the World Day of Communications.

The theme of the World Day of Communications was “Media in the Family: A Risk and Valuable Resource.”

Speaking to a crowd below his apartment window overlooking St. Peter's Square, John Paul said the media is a valuable educational tool but parents must also take responsibility so “improper and even distorted viewpoints” do not make their way into homes and society, the news service reported.

“The media can bring great harm to families when presenting improper or even distorted views of life, the family, religion and morality,” the Holy Father said. “We must learn how to use them both wisely and prudently.”