DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     October 23-25, 1998     vol. 9, no. 208

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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FRENCH CONTROVERSY OVER POPE'S IMAGE ON EURO

          VATICAN CITY (CWNews.com) - France's protests that the new currency of the European Union, the Euro, might bear an image of Pope John Paul II has occupied the attention of many Italian newspaper recently. A French newspaper reported Wednesday that Paris would not recognize any Euro coins stamped with the image of the Pope when the currency begins circulating in 2002.

          However, the controversy is poorly framed, according to sources at the Vatican, who said the problem is really an attempt by certain newspapers to draw attention to the "anti-pope" attitude of some French.

          The problem is not the image of the Pope, as such, said the source, but that, first, the image of a living person was used, whatever nation he may be from, and, secondly, that the Holy See did not officially enter into the Euro currency agreement. The Vatican and Italy still maintain an agreement in which the Italian government mints Italian liras for the Vatican, with the image of the Pope distinguishing Vatican City currency from that of Italy. The question is whether the Euro circulated by Italy will also bear the image of the Pope, a question which has not been decided by the Vatican or Italy.

          According to other sources, the question of the introduction of the Euro also arises for the European micro-states such as the Republic of San Marino and the Principality of Monaco, which remains, from the point of view of its financial influence, a "thorn" in the Euro. The Euro will be launched on January 1 in 11 of the EU nations, but will not replace national currencies for three more years.

          In recent days the Italian press has headlined the "anti-pope" attitude of the French. On Thursday, the Corriere della Serra newspaper wrote of the "Francesi impietosi" ("French without mercy"), in an article commenting on a survey published by French publications La Vie and La Monde, which said that 53% of the French want the Holy Father to resign. But the article also underlines that 55% of the French are with the Pope on the question of abortion and that 63% of them recognize the magnitude of this pontificate.


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October 23-25, 1998       volume 9, no. 208
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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