Media Watch

Vatican Ponders U.N. Membership

THE AUSTRALIAN, July 1—The Holy See, which currently maintains an observer status at the United Nations, is seriously considering applying for full membership, the national daily newspaper The Australian reported, citing a statement by Vatican diplomat Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran.

“We will have to weigh carefully the consequences and the advantages and disadvantages of such a step,” the archbishop told reporters. “We are at the stage of elaborating the project, which is currently being studied by lawyers in the [Vatican] State Secretariat.”

The Holy See is currently represented at the United Nations in New York by its permanent observer, Archbishop Celestino Migliore.

Archbishop Tauran said no decision had yet been made on full U.N. membership.

Hindu Nationalists Denounce Pope's Remarks

TIMES (INDIA) NEWS NETWORK, July 7— In a resolution passed July 6, the Hindu nationalist group RSS called on the Indian government to lodge a protest against Pope John Paul II for alleged interference in Indian affairs, reported India's Times News Service.

According to the resolution, the Pope's call for Christians to spread their faith in India as in every other land constituted an attempt “to infringe on our national ethos and disturb peace.”

RSS called John Paul's statement a “direct challenge” to Indian local “sovereignty” and suggested that force, fraud or bribery were involved in many conversions to Christianity. It asserted that “conversion is not just a change of the form of worship of prayer but subversion of national loyalty.”

The past months have seen ongoing tensions between local Indian officials with ties to extremist nationalist groups and the Holy See, which points to attacks on local Christians and attempts to persecute missionaries as violations of international human-rights agreements India has signed—and by which it is bound—which include the freedom of religion.

Vatican Seeks Agreement With Czech Government

CTK NEWS AGENCY, July 5—According to Prague-based CTK News, the Holy See still awaits an official note from the Czech government clarifying the relations between the Church and the Czech state. The news service cited a July 5 statement by Czech Catholic Bishops' Conference spokesman Daniel Herman.

This past spring, the Czech lower house of parliament, its Chamber of Deputies, refused by a strong majority of votes to ratify the agreement previously signed between the Vatican and Prague.

“The Holy See has expressed its surprise and regret over the rejection of the agreement by the Czech Parliament,” Herman told the news service. “The main question on which it is necessary to agree will be whether the Czech government and the parties supporting it are interested in an agreement with the Holy See.”

The Czech Republic is one of the last post-communist gov-