Media Watch

Hungary Offers Help in Meeting With Orthodox

HUNGARIAN NEWS AGENCY, Oct. 10 — Hungarian president Ferenc Madl offered his country's services in mediating the organization of a meeting between Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Alexy II, head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Reacting to the offer, the Pope reaffirmed his resolve to meet the Moscow patriarch, the Hungarian news service reported.

Madl, in Rome to open an exhibition on 1,000 years of Christianity in Hungary, said such a meeting would be “an important message as far as the future of Europe and closer cooperation among the Christian churches of the world are concerned.”

Turkish Paper Claims Pope Prayed for Crusade

TURKISH DAILY NEWS, Oct. 9 — Akit, a newspaper in Turkey, claimed that there was a special prayer in the Vatican for the success of the American and British strikes in Afghanistan, which the newspaper characterized as “the ninth crusade” against Islam. Radical Islamist media outlets in Turkey also hosted anti-American experts, rather than well-known commentators, experts and journalists, to analyze the incident on television, the Turkish News Daily reported.

When President Bush ordered the military strikes, Akit charged, “The Christian world and Israel announced their backing.”

Fides, the Vatican news agency, however, reported that Pope John Paul II and the bishops in the Vatican for the World Synod of Bishops, prayed for peace and for Afghanistan the day after the first strikes.

Pope and Venezuelan President Discuss Terrorism

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Oct. 12 — Pope John Paul II and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez underlined the need to reject the “scourge of terrorism” during a meeting at the Vatican Oct. 12. In a private audience, the Pope and president exchanged opinions on the international situation and the need for “collaboration between peoples,” Associated Press reported, quoting Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

The two also discussed Church issues in the South American country, including laws on education and worship and cooperation between religious and government authorities.

Scottish Students Pipe for Pope

THE SCOTSMAN, Oct. 18 — A group of Edinburgh schoolchildren on a classics trip to Rome had an unexpected side trip — into the Vatican for a private audience with Pope John Paul II. While waiting in St. Peter's Square to hear the Pope's address Oct. 17, four members of Cargilfield School's pipe band began playing their instruments. Vatican officials soon approached the group's leaders and asked if they would be prepared to play for the Pope in private. The four young pipers, 11 and 12 years old, played “Highland Cathedral” and two other pieces, and then all 20 pupils on the trip met the Holy Father personally.