Vatican Media Watch

Bishop’s Firing Could Violate Religious Freedom

BBC, March 19 — The Vatican is warning that Argentina’s decision to remove a bishop from his military post could be a violation of religious freedom, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the Church was awaiting official communication from the Argentine government about the decision against Bishop Antonio Baseotto. President Nestor Kirchner March 18 removed Bishop Baseotto from his post, canceling both his salary and government funds for his military diocese.

He took the action after the bishop suggested that Argentine Health Minister Gines Gonzalez should be cast into the sea — a Biblical reference — for his support of abortion.

The report stated Pope John Paul II had appointed Bishop Baseotto to serve in Argentina to minister to members of the military.

Muslims Demand Apology for Crusades

WORLD NET DAILY, March 19 — The world’s highest Sunni Muslim authority has demanded an official apology from the Pope for the Crusades, World Net Daily reported.

Sheikh Fawzi Zafzaf, president of the Interfaith Dialogue Committee of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, said his panel sent the request to the Vatican in February, the Morocco Times reported. The demand arose from Pope John Paul II’s apologies to the Jewish people and his visits to Syria and Egypt a few years ago, Zafzaf said. Al-Azhar is only asking for a similar treatment, he stated.

The Morocco paper said the Vatican’s ambassador to Egypt has declined to comment, saying Al-Azhar’s request is being considered by the Holy See.

Thomas Madden, author of A Concise History of the Crusades, contended the Crusades “were in every way a defensive war. They were the West’s belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world,” he wrote in a National Review column. “While the Arabs were busy in the seventh through the 10th centuries winning an opulent and sophisticated empire, Europe was defending itself against outside invaders and then digging out from the mess they left behind. Only in the 11th century were Europeans able to take much notice of the East. “

Film on John Paul II Airs on Easter Sunday

NBC30.COM, March 22 — The Vatican has released a film about Pope John Paul II’s life that was shown by Italian television on Easter Sunday, the Connecticut TV outlet reported.

Journalists were shown a preview of the film in Rome on March 22. However, a news conference with a Vatican spokesman was canceled.

The film is 54 minutes long and called John Paul II: The Untold Story.

It’s composed of primarily unseen footage shot by the Vatican’s television station.

The film has no narration, and instead uses only sound from the Pope and stirring music.

The report said it does not follow a chronological order, but consists of 10 sequences that focus on different aspects of the Pope’s mission. The Italian network RAI will show the film, which was produced by the Vatican.