FROM OUR ROME CORRESPONDENT
IN a front page editorial recently the official Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano criticised the CATHOLIC HERALD for its November 12 report on the International Synod of Bishops.
The Osservatore Romano said that a journalist who "pre
tends to write from Vatican City" had insinuated that the Synod was not democratic "because its composition conditioned the decisions of the majority."
The editorial said that the article, entitled "Disastrous end to chaotic, frustrat
ing Synod," had alleged that no progress was made by the Synod because of the presence of the Cardinals of the Roman Curia and the bishops appointed by the Holy Father. The reporter said that no heads of the Vatican Congregation of bishops chosen by the Pope "could speak in the name of their own bishops in the episcopate. or in the name of the clergy or the Laity . . ."
The French fortnightly magazine Informations Catholiques Internationales received the same sort of criticism.
The Osservatore Romano said that membership of the Synod was composed of 165 elected delegates as opposed to 19 from the Roman Curia and 25 named by the Pope, and asked : "Can one honestly maintain that the stated composition of the Assembly could he harmful to the free development of debate? It was pure fantasy for the CATHOLIC HERALD to pretend to know how the 44 voted."
While admitting that members of the Curia were not elected to the Synod democratically, the Vatican newspaper said that the bishops appointed by the Pope were daily working on important international matters, and were outstanding representatives to the Synod.
Speaking to delegates to a convention on Social Communications, and to staff members of the Catholic daily newspaper L'Avvenire last week, Pope Paul said that Catholic newspapers and journalists should accustom those who receive the news to think and judge for themselves.
"We must accept their readiness to receive, not to abuse it but to help them to be strong, to free their consciences, to help them be themselves," he added. Those working professionally in mass media should he "apostles of vital ideas and of faith, and should have the courage to manifest these ideas and Faith."
Pope Paul also warned against those who seek always to "scoop" or to write sensational things. The criteria that should inspire all working in mass media were love for the cause, passion, enthusiasm, a sense of dignity and the value of the service of words and images, honesty and professional responsibility, which did not contrast with freedom.