Vatican Media Watch

Process to Beatify John Paul II Begins

ASSOCIATED PRESS, May 30 — The process of beatifying the late Pope John Paul II officially began with an edict inviting testimony from witnesses about his virtues, Associated Press reported.

The edict, which included a call asking anyone with John Paul's manuscripts or other documents to give them to the Vatican, was published two weeks after Pope Benedict XVI announced he was lifting the customary five-year waiting period for the start of the process toward beatification.

The Holy Father announced May 13 that he had decided to put John Paul on a fast track for possible sainthood. While Mother Teresa was put on a similar fast-track, her cause didn't begin until a year after her death, whereas the process began six weeks after John Paul died. During John Paul's April 8 funeral, mourners interrupted the Mass by chanting Santo! Santo! (Saint! Saint!) and carried banners exclaiming Santo Subito! (Sainthood Immediately!).

Pope's Author Rights Go to Vatican Publisher

REUTERS, June 1 — Pope Benedict, who wrote dozens of books before he was elected, has appointed the Vatican's publishing house to look after his author's rights for past and future works, Reuters reported.

A Vatican statement said the decision would not affect contracts that the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger engaged with other publishing houses, including Ignatius Press of San Francisco, before his election in April. It said the Vatican's publishing house, called the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, would oversee existing contracts with other publishers who have already printed Ratzinger's works.

The Pope was head of the Vatican's doctrinal department, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for more than two decades and he wrote many theological works and an autobiography while he held that position.

Holy Father Reaches Out to Orthodox Church

ASSOCIATED PRESS, May 30 — Pope Benedict XVI pledged to work to end Roman Catholicism's 1,000-year-old rift with the Orthodox Church, delivering a message of healing on the first trip of his papacy.

Benedict flew by helicopter to the Adriatic port of Bari, home to the relics of St. Nicholas of Myra, a fourth-century saint popular among both Roman and Orthodox Catholics. The 31/2 -hour trip was Benedict's first outside Rome since being elected.

“I want to repeat my willingness to make it a fundamental commitment to work, with all my energy, toward reconstituting the full and visible unity of Christ's followers,” he said to applause from the estimated 200,000 people at the Mass.

Benedict told worshippers words were not enough, the report stated, and that all Catholics needed to make concrete gestures to reach out to Orthodox Christians.