Vatican Media Watch

Chinese Youths Visit Pope Benedict

ASIANEWS, Aug. 10 — A delegation of 120 Chinese citizens between 17 and 30 visited Pope Benedict XVI in Paul VI Hall before leaving for World Youth Day, AsiaNews reported.

During the greetings and presentation to the Holy Father, the youths sang an Easter hymn. Only 20 of them were from the People's Republic of China; another 15 come from Hong Kong and at least another 60 from Taiwan. Youths from Japan and Korea were also present at the audience.

Among the youths, there are members of the official church, which is recognized by the government, as well as members of the underground Church, which is in communion with the Holy See. A group of 50 youths from the underground church from northern China reached Cologne yesterday. All have asked for a visa citing only “tourism in Europe.” The youths told AsiaNews that asking for a visa for “religious reasons” risked rejection.

Holy See Calls for Moratorium on Land Mines

CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY, Aug. 8 — Archbishop Silvano Tomasi called for a moratorium on the production and use of hidden weapons, especially antipersonnel mines, according to Catholic News Agency.

During his address at the 11th session of the convention for the prohibition or limitation of the use of some conventional weapons that can produce excessive or indiscriminate traumatic effects, the Holy See's representative noted that the use of certain armaments in numerous conflicts following World War II allow us today “to make objective judgments from the standpoint of humanitarian international law, as well as from a strictly pragmatic point of view, about the consequences of the use of an entire category of arms,” especially antipersonnel mines.

“We cannot help but salute this choice for precaution and responsibility,” he said, adding that the Holy See fully supported the resolution of the European Parliament calling for “an immediate moratorium on the use, accumulation, production and transfer or exportation of mines.”

Archbishop Tomasi said the Holy See supports an international dialogue to create a regulatory body that would over see the use or elimination of these arms. “The moratorium on the use of mines should be prolonged during this entire period of consultation.”

Holy See Donates to Missing Persons Commission

FENA, July 15 — The Holy See donated $5,000 to the International Commission on Missing Persons to support the activities of this institution in resolving the issues of missing persons, according to the Bosnia-Herzegovina news service.

The Holy See has been supporting the organization's activities since 2002, and its total donation to date is estimated at $25,000.

Kathryne Bomberger, executive director of the International Commission on Missing Persons, said the significance of this support is much greater than the actual material value of the donation. It shows the missing persons’ families that the international community still prioritizes the problem of missing persons in former Yugoslavia.

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy