Vatican Media Watch

Holy Sees Urges Dialogue in Iran Crisis

THE UNIVERSE, June 6 — The Vatican is encouraging dialogue as the way to overcome the international crisis sparked by Iran’s nuclear program, the British website reported.

The Holy See expressed its position in a June 3 communiqué, two days after five members of the U.N. Security Council and German representatives agreed to offer Iran a new package of incentives to halt its uranium enrichment program.

“The Holy See supports, as it always does, any initiative aimed at open and constructive dialogue,” stated Joaquín Navarro-Valls, director of the Vatican press office. “The Holy See is firmly convinced that the current difficulties can and must be overcome through diplomatic channels, using all means at the disposal of diplomacy.”

The Vatican considers “especially necessary that, through private contacts, those elements that objectively hinder mutual trust be removed, while never rejecting any sign of good will from the one side or from the other, and having care for the honor and sensitivity of each country. In this way, it will be possible to take steps of mutual rapprochement.”

After 58 years and Six Popes, Papal Bodyguard Retires

ASSOCIATED PRESS, June 3 — After a 58-year career in the Vatican’s security services, Camillo Cibin is retiring as head of the pope’s bodyguards, Associated Press reported.

Vatican Radio hailed the 80-year-old Cibin for a “career of extraordinary responsibilities,” including directing security during the 1962-65 Vatican Council II. Last year, a white-haired Cibin kept pace alongside John Paul II’s vehicle as it carried the Pope on his last journey home to the Vatican from Gemelli hospital, a few miles away. A few weeks later, John Paul died in his papal apartment.

Like the late Pope, Cibin was a world traveler and often was seen running alongside popemobiles to protect the Holy Father during his 104 foreign trips. Cibin also was nearby in 1981 when Mehmet Ali Agca shot John Paul in a failed assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square.

Vatican Radio said, “There was certainly a day, an hour and a minute in his very long service that Camillo Cibin never wanted to have lived through. That May 13, 1981, 5:17 p.m., John Paul II fell, wounded and bleeding, in his popemobile.”

Was Pope Pius XII Really ‘Hitler’s Pope’?

JERUSALEM POST, June 5 — Scattered secular and religious writers took the occasion of Pope Benedict’s visit to the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau to resurrect the question of whether Pope Pius XII was, as a book that smeared him was titled, “Hitler’s Pope,” and a columnist for the Post answered a resounding No.

Dimitri Cavalli recounted the many reports of the wartime Jewish press that had a favorable opinion of Pius. Among them:

“The Vatican radio this week broadcast an outspoken denunciation of German atrocities and persecution in Nazi [occupied] Poland, declaring they affronted the moral conscience of mankind.” — Jewish Advocate, Jan. 26, 1940

No other leader “did more to help the Jews in their hour of greatest tragedy, during the Nazi occupation of Europe, than the late Pope.” — Jewish Post, Nov. 6, 1958

This much is clear, Cavalli concluded, the contemporary Jewish press repeatedly gave Pius XII positive coverage during his papacy. “Hitler’s Pope”? Hardly.