Media Watch

Pope Quells Speculation About Health

BBC, Oct. 5 — Demonstrating a surprising upturn in his health and vigor, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass on Oct. 5 on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica.

In contrast to his feebleness on display in Slovakia in August, the Pope looked “well and alert,” the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Despite the effects of Parkinson's disease, John Paul led a two-and-a-half-hour canonization ceremony for three 19th-century European missionaries who spread the faith in Africa and China.

The British news service said the Holy Father's resurgent health quelled rumors of his impending death that were being floated at the beginning of a month in which he is expected to participate in many events marking his 25th anniversary.

BBC's Rome correspondent, David Willey, said such recent speculation was premature, adding that the Pope intends to send a message to the world about the sanctity and value of the old and sick by persevering despite his suffering.

Vatican: 11 Nations Want Christianity in Constitution

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, Oct. 1 — The Holy See is fighting a last-minute battle to insert some mention of Europe's Christian heritage into the new constitution of the European Union, according to the French news agency.

Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls told Italy's ANSA news agency Oct. 1 that at least 11 EU member states favor including a reference to Christianity. The interview was scheduled for broadcast while EU leaders met in Rome to discuss the draft.

However, Agence France-Presse noted that only four countries — Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain — have made their support for this proposal public. The news service called the issue “one of the most sensitive” of the discussions, which are expected to drag on for months, as small European nations struggle with the larger ones, such as Germany and France, over how much power to grant the central EU government.

Those who oppose the Vatican's position, such as French President Jacques Chirac, have argued that any mention of Christianity would violate principles of “the separation of Church and state that underpin modern-day systems of government in Europe,” Agence France-Presse wrote.

Almost every day throughout September, Catholic World News has noted, L'Osservatore Romano has published somewhere the watchword: “Europe is Christian, or it is not Europe.”

Vatican News in Your Palm-Top

VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE, Sept. 30 — The Holy See Press Office debuted a new electronic system Sept. 30 that let Vatican journalists receive the bulletin of the Holy See Press Office and the Vatican Information Service daily in real time through electronic handheld devices.

Mauro Sentinelli and Roberto Pellegrini of TIM (the Italian Mobile Telephone corporation) demonstrated the service, which is available to users of the Blackberry mobile telephone.