Vatican Media Watch

Mountain Peak to Be Named After Holy Father

BBC NEWS, March 23 — A mountain peak in central Italy will be named after John Paul II, who enjoyed hiking in the area in the past, BBC News reported.

The 7,900-foot peak is in the Gran Sasso, the highest mountain range in the Appennines. The ceremony was due to be held on the Holy Father’s 85th birthday on May 18.

The nature-loving Pope once told pilgrims in St Peter’s Square that in the Bible, mountains “were considered a special place to meet God.”

“We decided on the Gran Sasso because the Pope visited it many times in order to get some rest as well as to pray,” said Msgr. Luigi Casolini, a member of the Abruzzo region committee that launched the initiative.

“This place always had a special place in the Pope’s heart,” he added, explaining in the report that the Appennine Mountains reminded John Paul of his native Poland. “He likes to walk on the paths surrounding the mountains, and therefore a path will also be named in his honor.”

‘In Pectore’ Cardinal Still a Mystery

ASSOCIATED PRESS, April 5 — The identity of a cardinal Pope John Paul II selected in 2003 but never publicly identified is still a mystery, the Vatican said.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the Pope’s spiritual testament, which may include identification of the cardinal, had not yet been read. He promised to reveal the name if it is mentioned in the testament, which was to have been read April 6. The issue could determine the number of cardinals who will vote for John Paul’s successor in the coming days. The number now stands at 117.

When John Paul created new cardinals in 2003, he announced that he was keeping one name in pectore (secret), meaning “in the heart.” This is a formula that has been used when the pope wants to name a cardinal in a country where the Church is oppressed.

Vatican watchers have speculated that the prelate could be from China, where only a state-sanctioned church is recognized.

The report said Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, 65, John Paul’s longtime private secretary who was at his bedside when he died, has also been mentioned as the possible secret cardinal.

Arab TV Provides Coverage on John Paul

JERUSALEM POST, April 6 — Arab television stations launched a media blitz for the death and funeral of Pope Paul John II, giving Mideast viewers hours of live broadcasts from the Vatican and programs on John Paul’s life, the Jerusalem Post reported.

This kind of coverage is rarely seen for the region. The lavish airtime made the Arab world a participant in the giant outpouring of grief that took place in Rome and was aired heavily on pan-Arab stations like Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, which have been increasing their coverage of major events outside the Arab world.

“His death is a great loss not only to the Catholic Church but to the Islamic world,” Sheik Mohammed Seyed Tantawi, the leader of Cairo’s Al-Azhar, one of the world’s top Islamic institutions, said in a statement read over the Egyptian state-run television.

In Qatar, prominent Islamic cleric Sheik Youssef al-Qaradawi described the Pope as “a man of peace.” Quoted on Al-Jazeera, he said, “We pray for God to compensate the Christian nation for his loss.”