Vatican Media Watch

Orthodox Ready to Resume Dialogue With Vatican

REUTERS, June 30 — Orthodox leaders hailed Pope Benedict's commitment to Christian unity, and said they were prepared to resume a theological dialogue that has been stalled for five years, Reuters reported.

“Our Orthodox Church shares fully the same commitment,” said Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamum, a leading Orthodox theologian, in Rome for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

He said their highest-ranking prelate, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, had convinced the Orthodox Churches that follow him to appoint two delegates each to the international mixed religious commission.

“This will allow us to resume our theological dialogue in the near future, concentrating now on crucial ecclesiological issues concerning, in particular, the subject of the primacy” of the pope, he said.

Benedict XVI to Visit Synagogue in Cologne

EXPATICA, July 5 — Pope Benedict XVI will visit the Synagogue of Cologne during a trip to his native Germany in August, Cologne Archbishop Joachim Meisner said on Vatican Radio.

Archbishop Meisner said he was pleased that “a German pope would be coming to visit the Synagogue of Cologne,” the oldest synagogue north of the Alps.

The Vatican has confirmed the Holy Father's August 18-21 trip to Cologne, where he will attend World Youth Day celebrations, but is not expected to publish a detailed itinerary until a few days before the departure date.

Benedict vowed to improve relations with the world's Jews during a meeting at the Vatican last month with international Jewish leaders.

Vatican Teaches Tomorrow's Astronomers

REUTERS, June 29 — Summer school is in session at the Vatican Observatory, Reuters reported, and the students are glad to be there.

Established in 1891 by Pope Leo XIII, the observatory is hosting young, promising scholars for one-month courses at the papal summer palace of Castel Gandolfo.

“The Vatican wants to show its appreciation for science,” said Father Chris Corbally, a soft-spoken Jesuit from Britain who is the observatory's vice-director and dean of its international summer school. “Science is an important value in human life and therefore it is important to the Catholic Church.”

There are two giant telescopes on the roof, each covered with wood and steel domes visible for miles from the palace, built on the ruins of Roman emperor Domitian's residence.

“We have very little history in my country, but here you just breathe the history,” said Sarah Chamberlain, 25, a Ph.D. from Australia. “There are books written in 1667 by some of the people that I have only read about or have been taught about in first year physics. To be in this place is absolutely fantastic. Galileo walks here.”