Vatican Media Watch

Vatican Beatifies Mexican Martyrs

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Nov. 21 — In Guadalupe, Mexico, the Vatican beatified 13 Mexican martyrs who died during a Roman Catholic uprising in the late 1920's that was crushed by the Mexican government, Associated Press reported.

Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, arrived from Rome to oversee the ceremony, and Pope Benedict XVI delivered a message by satellite to spectators in a 60,000-seat soccer stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city, 280 miles northwest of Mexico City.

The 1917 constitution that grew out of the Mexican Revolution tightened already tough restrictions on the church, banning public masses and religious garb. The revolutionary limits sparked the Cristero War of 1926-29 in which tens of thousands died fighting the government over religious restrictions.

Among those beatified was Luis Padilla Gómez, who was arrested, tortured and killed by soldiers for his religious work in 1927. Also beatified were Ezequiel Huerta Gutiérrez, Ramón Vargas González, José Sánchez del Río, who was stabbed to death at age 14, and priests José Trinidad Rangel, Andrés Sola Molist and Dario Acosta Zurita.

Pope Benedict Praises Pro-Life Activists

REUTERS, Nov. 16 — Pope Benedict warmly praised pro-life activists as the Italian government was considering deploying them into abortion businesses to try to dissuade women from killing their babies, Reuters reported.

Italy has for weeks been caught up in a national debate over whether to allow the use of an abortion pill, known as RU-486, which blocks the action of the hormone progesterone, needed to sustain a pregnancy.

Speaking Nov. 16 at the end of his weekly general audience to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square, the Pope hailed the work of Movement for Life.

He lauded the group for its “courage” in opposing abortion. He told the group, “You are writing pages of hope for the future of humanity.”

First Vatican Envoy in Yemen Accredited

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, Nov. 21 — Munjed Hashem became the Holy See's first ambassador in the Arab country of Yemen, UPI reported.

Yemen and the Vatican began efforts to build relations a year ago when a Catholic Brotherhood delegation led by papal adviser Prince Carlo De Bourbon made an official visit in line with the late Pope John Paul II's bid to bridge the gap between civilizations.

There are currently two churches in the city of Aden in south Yemen. The government planned to build a third church in Sanaa in response to the late Pope's efforts, but the plan was strongly opposed by some Muslim groups.

A joint official statement stressed “the importance of dialogue between religions, and the need to encourage tolerance and rapprochement between peoples and civilizations to serve international peace and security.”

Cardinal Says Mass Is Not a ‘Performance’

ALLAFRICA.COM, Nov. 18 — Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said, “People don't come to Mass in order to be entertained. They come to Mass to adore God, to thank him, to ask pardon for sins and to ask for other things that they need,” the African news service reported.

In an analysis of the recent Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, Cardinal Arinze said an increasing number of Catholics have “a more Protestant concept of the Eucharist, seeing it mainly as a symbol.”

“Vatican II brought many good things, but everything has not been positive, and the synod recognized that there have been shadows,” Cardinal Arinze acknowledged. “There has been a bit of neglect of the holy Eucharist outside Mass.”

He added that there's “a lot of ignorance, a lot of temptations to showmanship for the priest, who celebrates facing the people. If he is not very disciplined, he will soon become a performer. He may not realize it, but he will be projecting himself rather than projecting Christ.”