Vatican Media Watch

Pope Approves Group of Spanish Civil War Martyrs

IRELAND ONLINE, Dec. 20 — Pope Benedict XVI has approved the latest group of martyrs from the Spanish Civil War, adding to the roll call of faithful the Vatican has honored for dying while defending their faith, Ireland Online reported.

Among the group was Antero Mateo Garcia, the father of a family, who died at the age of 61 in 1936. The martyr declaration is part of the Vatican’s sainthood process. In October, seven priests and a nun who were killed during the war were beatified in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Church says that more than 4,000 clergy were killed by the Spanish government or by Republicans, who accused the Church of backing Fascist General Francisco Franco during the conflict.

Benedict: French Riots Were ‘a Message’ From Youth

REUTERS, Dec. 19 — Pope Benedict said that France had to heed the warning from the riots that rocked cities across the country lin November and urged the French to do more to promote racial integration, Reuters reported.

“The internal violence which left its mark on societies can only be condemned; however, it was a message, notably from youth,” the Pope said in an address during an audience with the new French ambassador to the Vatican.

The riots in France’s poor suburbs began after the accidental deaths of two youths apparently fleeing police but grew into protests by youngsters of North African and African origin as well as poor white youths.

France, a predominantly Catholic country with a 5-10% Muslim population, needed to, the Holy Father said, ensure immigrants and their descendents could be part of “a real common culture imbued with fundamental moral and spiritual values.”

Vatican Official Says Torture Is Unacceptable

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Dec. 13 — Pope Benedict XVI’s top official for justice issues said that torture was unacceptable for extracting information that might thwart a terrorist attack, according to Associated Press.

At a news conference about the peace message, Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council on Peace and Justice, said that there was no justification for using torture, which is the “humiliation of the human person, whoever he is.”

“The Church does not allow torture as a means to extract the truth,” Martino said. Terror suspects “sometimes say what the torturers want to hear. ... There are other ways to obtain the truth.”

In analyzing what caused terrorism, the Pope said in the Vatican’s annual review of world conflicts that “consideration should be given not only to its political and social causes, but also to its deeper cultural, religious and ideological motivations.”

Europe Must Take Further Steps to Integration

AGENZIA GIORNALISTICA ITALIA, Dec. 19 — France and other European nations have to make “further steps towards social integration for the sake of the intrinsic dignity of every single person and his/her central role in society”, stated Pope Benedict XVI, according to whom “social peace mainly depends on this.”

Meeting the new French ambassador, Bernard Kessedjin, the Pope reminded of the fact that France was “living a difficult social situation making the deep discontent of many young people visible. This situation seems to be rooted not only in the outskirts of big cities but in all classes of population,” explained the Pope.

He also underlined that “internal violence represents a message launched by young people inviting us to consider their requests and to give an answer to these dramatic social tensions.”