Media Watch

Did U.S. Violate International Law With Corpse Pics?

L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO, July 26 — Days after the U.S. government published photos of Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano reminded readers that international law forbids the publication of photos of war casualties.

In a lead article titled “Once Again the Tragic Face of War,” the paper said that regardless of the cruel crimes of which both men have been plausibly accused, the use of the photos is an offense against “the dignity of man.”

The Hussein sons were killed July 22 in Mosul during an attack carried out by the U.S. military.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who had protested against Iraq's use of photos of American prisoners and casualties, defended his decision to release the photos, saying it was necessary to prove that the two men were indeed dead in order to reduce continued guerilla attacks against American troops in Iraq.

Pope Right on Celibacy, Says Advice Columnist

ABS-CBN International, Aug. 1 — The Philippino news service defended Pope John Paul II's stance on celibacy. Citing the Holy Father, the news service's advice columnist, Bob Garon wrote:

“The key to being a good and faithful priest is holiness. Nothing is more important than holiness. If priests were allowed to marry and lacked holiness, they would still fall and scandalize our people. The calling of the priest is to be holy.

“That says it all. He can be a lousy preacher, a poor manager, but if he's holy, he's doing his job. There is absolutely no substitute for holiness. None whatsoever.

“Lastly, we don't make the rules. When you join any organization, you must follow its rules. There's no denying that. If one cannot or will not live by the rules, he should not join. Nobody says you must become a priest.

“It's a call and you don't have to answer the call if you cannot or will not live by the rules that govern that call.”

Pope Peppers Irish With Text Messages

BLOOMBERG NEWS, July 24 — Irish mobile phone users can now get daily text messages straight from Pope John Paul II, Bloomberg news service has reported.

The “Papal Thought of the Day” is now available to Irish subscribers to Vodafone Group Plc, Meteor and MMO2 Plc, each day at noon, for 23 cents per day.

Ciaran Carey, general manager in Ireland of the Italy-based Acotel Group SpA, explained why he instituted the service: “We approached the Vatican and suggested they do this because mobile communications is now very much entrenched in Irish life.”

More than 80% of the overwhelmingly Catholic Irish use cell phones, Bloomberg reported, noting that the Pope “made history on Nov. 22, 2001, when he sent the first papal message via the Internet.”

The daily broadcast includes excerpts from the Holy Father's homilies and talks.