Vatican Media Watch

Pope John Paul II the ‘Pope of Divine Mercy’

ASIANEWS, April 23 — Pope Benedict’s referral to Pope John Paul II as the “Pope of Divine Mercy” sparked applause among the tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Regina Coeli, AsiaNews reported.

In his moving reference, the Holy Father mentioned John Paul II’ Encyclical Dives In Misericordia and his consecration of the shrine in Kraków in 2002 devoted to Divine Mercy.

Thanks to the Polish Pope the traditional Dominica In Albis (Low Sunday or the Octave Day of Easter) became Divine Mercy Sunday, “making the most of the spiritual experience of a humble nun, St. Faustina Kowalska”, canonized by John Paul, the Pope said.

“The mystery of God’s merciful love was at the center of the pontificate of my venerated predecessor,” said Benedict, who added, “Providence decided that he [John Paul II] should die right on the eve of that day in the arms of Divine Mercy.”

Film Advertisement on Church Removed

ANSA, April 24 — Italy’s Interior Ministry removed a huge advertisement for The Da Vinci Code film from the façade of a Rome Church on the heels of complaints from Church authorities, the Italian news service reported.

The enormous poster, featuring a picture of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the upcoming film’s title, was plastered a few weeks ago on the scaffolded façade of the church of St. Pantaleo, located just off a major thoroughfare in Rome’s historic center.
Father Marco Fibbi, a spokesman for Rome’s Vicariate, said the poster was “causing a problem.”

Msgr. Marco Frisina, an official at the vicariato (headquarters of the Rome Diocese), said, “The Da Vinci Code is a clever piece of commercial exploitation. But sticking a huge advert on the facade of a church is a blatant provocation. In front of a church in the historical center! They’ll soon be putting them on the front of the Vicariato.”

Pope’s Auschwitz Visit Takes On Added Meaning

REUTERS, April 24 — Pope Benedict’s visit to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz next month has taken on added significance in the wake of the recent anti-Israel rhetoric from Iran, Reuters reported.

Veteran Israeli statesman Shimon Peres said the visit will be a reminder that the world cannot treat lightly comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

“There were times when Hitler was taken [lightly] and we regretted it later on,” said the former Israeli prime minister, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. He said the Holy Father’s voice must to be heard in international affairs and called on religious leaders to condemn the use of violence.

“To hear the voice of the Pope is extremely important and I told this to the Pope,” said Peres, who visited the Vatican last month. “His call for a clear separation between church and terror could have great importance everywhere.”