Media Watch

German President Thanks Pope

CATHNEWS.COM, March 8 — German President Johannes Rau during a March 6 meeting gave Pope John Paul II credit for making possible the reunification of Germany, long divided during the Cold War into a democratic and a totalitarian region.

“Germany owes her unity to Poland and to the action of the Pope, without which she would still have a long road to go toward reunification,” Rau said, according to

The German president presented the Pope with a miniature model of the Brandenburg Gate, once the dividing line between the communist and non-communist sectors of Berlin.

John Paul thanked Rau, commenting that German reunification could serve as the model of the integration of the continent. He went on to remind Rau and the audience that the single most powerful force for unity in Europe as a whole is its Christian heritage.

The Pope has lobbied vigorously for official recognition of that heritage in the forthcoming European Union Constitution; President Rau has sought to broker a compromise on the issue, according, taking account of the Church's aspirations.

Pope's Poems Make Best-Seller Lists

INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC NEWS, March 4 — Pope John Paul II's 2003 anthology of autobiographical spiritual poems is selling briskly, according to Independent Catholic News.

More than a million copies of Roman Triptych have been printed in just the last few months, and the poetry volume is now available in 20 languages, including Romanian, Korean and Japanese.

The anthology will soon appear in Dutch, Hungarian, Czech, Basque, Catalan, Russian, Norwegian, Portuguese and Malayalam, the news site reported.

The 2003 book sold more than 600,000 copies in Poland alone. It includes drawings by Michelangelo and two pages printed in the Pope's own handwriting.

Archbishop Foley: Faithful Should Seize the Media

VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE, March 8 — Pope John Paul II's point man for communications, Archbishop John Foley, has urged faithful Catholics to make full use of the many media available for promoting the faith.

Archbishop Foley, president of the Ponti? cal Council for Social Communications, was speaking to the world congress of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, held March 5-7 in Augsburg, Germany.

The archbishop said he did not “think the media are a curse” but that “they can represent a risk” when they fail to enrich the lives of people through offering accurate news and worthy programming.

“Not one television news program in Germany reported on the Holy Father's World Youth Day in Manila several years ago,” he noted, “when 7 million people joined him for Mass in Rizal Park, perhaps the largest gathering in the history of the world.”

Archbishop Foley told the congress that media indifference or hostility to the Church meant that “even in your own nation and in most nations of the developed world, there is a ‘Church in need’ ready for your aid — in your example, in your personal commitment to the Catholic Church and to its entire teaching, in your readiness to cooperate with our Holy Father and with your bishops.”