Vatican Media Watch

Pope Makes Surprise Appearances

REUTERS, March 9 — Pope John Paul unexpectedly appeared twice at his hospital window March 9 to greet pilgrims who had turned up hoping for a papal blessing, Reuters reported.

The 84-year-old Pope, who is recovering from throat surgery, normally holds a general audience on Wednesdays, but the Vatican has had to cancel the event during his hospitalization. Undeterred, numerous well-wishers arrived at Rome’s Gemelli hospital during the morning and were rewarded when the Holy Father suddenly appeared at his 10th floor window, dressed in a purple gown, and waved firmly to the crowds below.

After less than a minute, he banged his hand down on the arm of his chair, indicating to aides he was seated too low to be seen by most of the people gathered in the hospital car park. He was wheeled back and then he reappeared a short time later, seated higher in the chair. He remained in view for roughly two minutes, waving and making the sign of the cross.

“We came here hoping that he would bless our marriage,” said 21-year-old Darleen Marquez, from Taos, N.M., who was wearing her wedding dress and accompanied by her 22-year-old husband, Christopher, in a tuxedo.

Dozens of children were also in the crowds, singing and chanting, bringing a festive atmosphere to the gathering.

Cardinal Martino and Angola’s President Holds Talks

ALLAFRICA.COM, March 7 — Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican, met with Angola’s President Jose dos Santos to discuss ways to improve education and health, AllAfrica reported.

The 30-minute meeting was held in the Southwest African country’s capital Luanda.

Cardinal Martino described ties between Angola and the Catholic Church as “good.” For this, he explained, there is perfect collaboration in the mentioned areas. He underlined that national reconciliation as one of the main pillars for the consolidation of democracy after 27 years of war that damaged Angola.

Cardinal Martino said in the report, “It is important to overcome all obstacles to unity and build a truly independent nation.”

Vatican Issues Second Appeal for Schiavo’s Life

LIFESITENEWS.COM, March 7 — The head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has reiterated a call, first issued last month, to stop the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration from a disabled Florida woman, a report from said.

In startlingly urgent language, Cardinal Renato Martino March 7 issued an urgent appeal against starving Terri Schiavo.

Cardinal Martino wrote, “She will die a horrible and cruel death. She will not simply die; she will have death inflicted upon her over a number of terrible days even weeks … how is it that this woman, who has done nothing wrong, will suffer a fate which society would never tolerate in the case of a convicted murderer or anyone else convicted of the most horrendous crimes?

“It must stop here and now. The courts, the judges and everyone involved with this must understand that all of the questions involved in the case of Terri Schiavo have not yet been answered,” the statement said. “Society must realize that we can never inflict this sort of death on a human being, on any other creature, without each and every one of us and society as a whole suffering a terrible fate.”