. Editor's note.
Five M.Afr contributed with alacrity to this issue in tribute to John Paul II. We recall his commitment to mission, dialogue and development in Africa. Special thanks to our confreres Michael Fitzgerald, Étienne Renaud, Wolfgang Schonecke, Michel Lelong, and Joseph Vandrisse. From 1974-2002 Fr Vandrisse was the permanent envoy of the 'Figaro' in Rome. He has written an article on 'John Paul II and the Media'. Here are some extracts to open this issue:
In May 1988 on board the plane carrying John Paul II to Latin America, journalists asked him about the importance he attached to the media. He said to us, "The Gospel says, 'What you hear in whispers, proclaim it on the rooftops'. Well, in Bolivia you will see nothing but TV aerials on the roofs. So it is by that means that the Word of God can reach them. I use the media a lot for that reason."
Contrary to what has been bandied about, the media did not make John Paul II. The media event came after his initial acts and primary attitudes. He provoked the media by launching questions on the meaning of life. It is not true that John Paul II sought to monopolise the media. The media were drawn to him. At the end of an interview he gave in Thailand he told us, "The Press try very hard to understand me from the outside whereas it is only possible from the inside." (Le Journal du dimanche, Paris, 14 avril 2005)
Julien Cormier M.Afr
Editor of the Petit Echo