Written by Andy Lam
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Topics: Death, Vatican

Friday, 1 April 2005

image for Vatican Vexed by "Schiavo Show"
Pope John Paul ll inspects the new Web cam

Vatican City - Vatican officials expressed frustration with the relative lack of attention the given the Papal death-watch in light of the ongoing media attention dedicated to the just completed Terri Schiavo death-watch. They expressed hope that Schiavo's death will allow world media attention to return to the dying Pontiff.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls was visibly angry as he addressed the media this morning in Rome. "We all appreciate," explained Navarro-Valls through an interpreter, "that the world loves to watch the prolonged agony and death of a public figure. That is human nature. We also agree that the Schiavo case was very tragic and also had the elements of family drama that made it even more engrossing.

"The fact remains though, that the Pope is the Pope and Terri was, well, frankly, just some random woman. If she had been hit by a bus, who would have even paid attention? I can tell you that no one would have - maybe her family, but all the world? - Never."

During the press conference, Navarro-Valls also announced several steps that the Vatican will be taking to make the Papal death-watch more accessible to the public. These include daily press briefings, a multi-language Web site with updates on the Popes health, a controllable Web cam and a "Papal Death Pool", which will allow people to wager on the specific day, date and time of John Paul's death.

The Pope was excited to hear about the things planned to track his health and even conducted a test session using the Web cam. Though unable to speak, the Pope did express his approval with the new tools by nodding vigorously and giving what was construed as a thumbs-up sign.

"The families of Terri Schiavo used the media so well to maintain interest during her protracted illness," continued Navarro-Valls. "It was a great example of grass-roots marketing and one that we will be studying closely to improve how we can increase interest in the Pope's impending demise. All of us were frustrated, but now we can breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to our own time in the spotlight."

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