Vatican Media Watch

Pope Benedict Reportedly Invited to China

Pope Benedict received an invitation to visit China possibly in September, reported the international news service AKI.

Vatican sources said the Holy Father received the invitation from the organizers of an art exhibition “Leonardo da Vinci at Tienanmen.”

The report said the visit, if it took place, would be a major breakthrough in relations between the Vatican and Beijing, which names its own Catholic bishops without the Church’s approval.

Cardinal Bertone: There’s No Apocalypse Secret

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said those who believe the Church is withholding information of an apocalyptic prediction by Our Lady of Fatima are engaging in pure fantasy, The Australian reported.

The three secrets of Fatima were written down by one of the children, Lucia Dos Santos — who became a Carmelite nun — and sent to the Vatican in a sealed envelope. Two of the secrets — predicting 20th-century world war, totalitarianism and the eventual re-conversion of communist Russia to Christianity — were made public.

Pope John Paul II suggested that the third secret predicted the 1981 attempt on his life. But he failed to satisfy conspiracy theorists, with many accusing the Vatican of disclosing only part of the last Fatima secret. He said, “Everything has been published and correctly interpreted.”

Jesus of Nazareth a Best-Seller

Pope Benedict’s new book, Jesus of Nazareth, released May 15 in English, has sold more than 1 million copies since being released in Italian, German and Polish a month ago, reported USA Today.

“There is a huge interest in transcendent matters which secular reporters tend not to see, but which the market demonstrates,” Father Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, Mich., said. Legionary Father Thomas Williams, dean of theology at Regina Apostolorum University in Rome, added, “The central message of Benedict’s book is that we must meet Jesus as he presents himself, and not whittle him down to meet our own expectations or to jibe with our personal theories.”