Media Watch

Islamic ‘Tolerance’ Questioned by Jesuit Journal

LA CIVILTÁ CATTOLICA, Oct. 18 — The Vatican has long pursued a policy of trying to defuse hostility among followers of different faiths. A recent article in the Jesuit paper La Civiltá Cattolica emphasized the Holy See's view that tolerance must go both ways, pointing out the widespread repression of Christian believers that continues today in Muslim-dominated countries.

The article, by Jesuit Father Giuseppe De Rosa, noted that “in all of its history, Islam has shown a warlike and conquering face” and pointed out that much of the Islamic world today consists of countries that were once Christian — where the local populations were either converted by force or subjugated, humiliated, segregated and heavily taxed for hundreds of years until they shrank to tiny minorities or disappeared.

“Obedience to the precept of the ‘holy war’ explains why the history of Islam is one of unending warfare for the conquest of infidel lands,” Father De Rosa wrote. “… In particular, all of Islamic history is dominated by the idea of the conquest of… Christian lands.”

A Modern Church Rises in Rome

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Oct. 31— Fans of sleek, modern-style churches will now find a place to their liking in Rome, the center of baroque church architecture, The New York Times reported.

The paper noted that a recent building campaign by the Archdiocese of Rome, designed to suit suburbanites who live far from the historic chapels that adorn the holy city, has recently been completed. Its keystone is Dives in Misericordia, also known as the “Jubilee Church,” which was designed by Richard Meier, builder of the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Its most prominent features are three soaring “sails” of white concrete, the paper noted.

The New York-based architect, who is Jewish, had his strikingly modern design approved by Pope John Paul II himself, who wanted the church to stand as a symbol of renewal, according to the paper.

The architect discussed his sources of inspiration: “The central ideas for creating a sacred space have to do with truth and authenticity …” Maier said. “And to express spirituality, the architect has to think of the original material of architecture, space and light.”

Pope Misses All Saints’ Service in Grotto

REUTERS, Nov. 1 — Pope John Paul II decided not to attend an evening prayer service for All Saints’ Day in a grotto underneath St. Peter's Basilica because it was too difficult for him to enter, Reuters reported.

The service invokes prayers for past popes — many of whom are buried in the grotto. However, the specially designed wheeled throne the Holy Father uses to move was unable to enter the grotto, so he decided to miss the service, according to Reuters.

However, the Pope had appeared earlier on the feast day and spoken without interruption to a group of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, asking them to prayer for the dead.

“In particular, I raise my prayer of intercession for those nobody thinks of anymore,” John Paul said, “like the many victims of violence.”

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy