Media Watch

Voices of the Truly Faithful

CHIESA.COM, Aug. 20 — The new Catholic media outlets that have sprouted in Rome in recent years have something significant in common: their fidelity to the faith.

“They work in the shadow of the dome of St. Peter's, but their target is the entire world,” the Internet news site Chiesa.com reported. “They are extremely faithful to the Pope and the Church. And they're fighting hard against the prevailing culture. ”

According to the news site, the first of the new Catholic media were a radio station, Radio Maria, and a television station, Telepace. Organizations that soon emerged included the Asianews and Zenit news services and a new monthly magazine, Il Timone, which features articles by recently retired Cardinal Giacomo Biffi of Bologna and by Vittorio Messori, author of the 1994 best-selling interview with Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope.

The latest addition is a television news agency called “Rome Reports,” which sells programming in English, Spanish and Portuguese to broadcasters in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“Beginning with antennas that covered just a few kilometers, they have made a lot of progress,” reported Chiesa.com. “Now they go out to the ends of the Earth, and everywhere they transmit the image of a faithful Church, disciplined and fervent, with Pope John Paul II perennially at the heart of everything.”

Clothes Fit For a Pope

BBC, Aug. 21 — Where do Pope John Paul II and other senior Vatican officials go to get their distinctive clerical garb? At Rome's Gammarelli tailor shop.

Passers-by who glance at the display window of the Gammarelli store, located just off the Piazza Minerva in central Rome, will immediately realize this is no ordinary tailor, BBC correspondent Kieran Cooke reported. “No suits or shirts here; rather, they are peaked clerical hats and priestly robes,” he said. “And in one corner, resting on a silk cloth, a solitary zucchetto — the small, white skullcap worn by the Pope.”

Cooke came to the store in search of red socks, which are hard to find elsewhere in Rome but are stocked by Gammarelli as footwear for cardinals.

Said Cooke, “I take two pairs and walk, a little ecclesiastically, out into the Rome sunshine.”

Vatican Wins Concessions on Holy Land Fence

HAARETZ, Aug. 16 — Concerns expressed by the Vatican have led to changes in the route of the controversial wall being constructed by the Israeli government to separate Palestinian and Jewish communities in the Holy Land, the Tel Aviv newspaper reported.

Haaretz cited a letter that Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn., sent in mid-August to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Secretary of State Colin Powell about problems the fence is causing for Christians.

Santorum, who is Catholic, stressed he supported Israel's right to build the fence but highlighted the Vatican's concern that the fence will impede Christian religious activities such as processions to Jerusalem from the tomb of Lazarus on the Mount of Olives.

Israeli officials responded that efforts are being made to take Christians' interests into account, Haaretz said. For example, discussions are under way to create a special gate in the fence near Lazarus' tomb to ensure that processions can pass freely.