Media Watch

Chile to Donate Copper for Vatican Restoration

REUTERS, March 8 –– Chile has promised to donate an unlimited amount of copper to restore Vatican City in a show of gratitude for the Church's role in “difficult” moments in the country's history, the news service said.

The Church, and Pope John Paul II in particular, are credited by some Chileans with pressuring former dictator Augusto Pinochet to call a plebiscite that eventually ended his bloody 1973-1990 rule and returned the country to democracy.

A Chilean government spokesman said in early March that the Pope had accepted the offer from state-owned copper miner Codelco and six other private companies from Chile, the world's largest copper producer.

“The government and local producers decided to donate as much copper as is necessary for the remodeling of the Vatican … and there has been a very positive response from the holy city,’’ government spokesman Claudio Huepe told reporters.

The metal could be used to restore the roofs of landmark buildings such as St. Peter's Basilica or the Sistine Chapel.

Greek Orthodox Priests Vote to Boycott Pope's Visit

THE LONDON TELEGRAPH, March 15 –– Greek Orthodox priests have voted overwhelmingly to boycott the Pope when he visits Greece during a pilgrimage to retrace the steps of St. Paul, the daily reported.

Their opposition was described in the paper as “border[ing] on hatred” as a result of centuries of schism. The Orthodox Church also resents the Vatican's expansion into former Soviet states where the Eastern churches were traditionally dominant, the Telegraph said.

The Hellenic Clerics' Association, representing rank-and-file Orthodox priests, said no member of the Church should attend functions with the Pope. It called on Archbishop Christodoulos to stay away from the welcoming party at Athens airport or any other reception and said he should refuse any invitation to Rome.

The clerics recently branded the Pope an “arch-heretic” and said churches should ring their bells in a sign of mourning.

Police are preparing for demonstrations by priests during the Pope's visit, which is expected in May. Archbishop Christodoulos has said that “basic rules of politeness” dictate that he must meet the Pope and accept any invitation for a reciprocal visit.