Murdoch Groups to Syndicate Newspaper Column By The Pope
NEW YORK (AP) _ Writings and speeches by Pope John Paul II will become a syndicated newspaper column to be distributed weekly by publisher Rupert Murdoch, officials of Murdoch’s News America Syndicate announced Saturday.
The column will present the pope’s views on such issues as world hunger, teen-age sexuality and nuclear disarmament, said a statement issued by News America President Richard Newcombe in Irvine, Calif.
News America and Murdoch’s The Times of London Syndicate, hope to sell the column to hundreds of newspapers worldwide, the announcement said. News America spokeswoman Patricia Minassian said it also was a good assumption that the column would appear in Murdoch’s newspapers in the United States, Australia and England.
The column, ″Observations by Pope John Paul II,″ is scheduled to begin publication this fall.
Arrangements for the column were made by EAV Associates Inc., a New York company that acts as an intermediary between the Vatican and the publishing industry and news media.
Attorney Arthur Klebanoff, the chairman and founder of EAV, said he made the arrangements with Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, president of the Papal Commission on the Family, and Cardinal Alfons Stickler, who oversees the Vatican Library. He said the two bodies would receive part of the royalties from the syndication.
A spokesman for the Vatican, Monsignor Giulio Nicolini, said he knew of no such agreement, but he added that no permission would be needed to use the pope’s public remarks or speeches.
But Klebanoff said he believes the pope is aware of the deal, although he is not expected to take part in turning his writings and speeches into columns. Material will be selected, translated and edited by Alfred Bloch, who translated an early book by Karol Wojtyla, the pope’s given name.
″The pope is a prolific writer,″ Klebanoff said. ″The basic conception of this column is to take the most thought-provoking of his writings, with the ability to edit them, and give them a wide public airing.″
Klebanoff said the column would be devoted to secular issues, including the gap between rich and poor in Latin America, the situation in Eastern Europe, and the difference between nudity and pornography.
Newcombe said there also would be special columns for Christmas and Easter.
″Pope John Paul II is the most loved, respected and controversial person of our time,″ Newcombe said in the statement from News America. ″We are deeply honored to be his representative in syndication.″
In the United States, Murdoch’s newspapers include the New York Post, Chicago Sun-Times, Boston Herald and San Antonio News-Express.