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Keeping an eye on the news from around the World.
BY John Lilly
Catholic Protesters Clash With Police in China
REUTERS, Aug. 3 — Nearly 100 members of China’s underground Church
clashed with police in the north of the country in early August, demanding the
release of an arrested bishop and priest, reported Reuters.
About 500 police attacked the group in Zhangbei county
in Hebei province when they demanded the “immediate release” of 82-year-old
Bishop Yao Liang and Father Li Huisheng, the Cardinal Kung Foundation said. It
did not say why they had been arrested.
About 90 Catholics were arrested during the clashes
with the police, during which two men were injured and a pregnant woman had a
miscarriage. A government official reached by telephone said that the Catholics
had caused “chaos” but denied there had been a clash between them and the
Cardinal Criticizes ‘State-Sponsored’ Sectarianism
SCOTSMAN, Aug. 6 — Cardinal Keith O’Brien claimed the British state
promotes “state-sponsored sectarian discrimination” and Scotland remains
afflicted by a “shadowy sectarian culture” that continues to blight many parts
of the country, the Scottish daily reported.
Speaking Aug. 6, the cardinal launched a fresh attack
against the Act of Settlement, the 300–year old law which prevents Roman
Catholics or those who marry Catholics from ascending to the throne of Great
Cardinal O’Brien’s comments come on the seventh
anniversary of the explosive speech by Scots Catholic composer James MacMillan,
who claimed in 1999 that sectarianism remained “Scotland’s shame.” MacMillan
said that while the matter has improved since his lecture, anti-Catholic
feeling still lingers under the surface across the country.
However, Cardinal O’Brien said that until the British
constitution is changed to amend the Act of Settlement, sectarianism will
always thrive. He said: “Our constitution contains legislation that describes
my faith as ‘the popish religion’ and defines me and my co-religionists as
‘papists.’ That this arcanely offensive language enjoys legal sanction is outrageous.
Anyone who seriously believes that introducing legislation aimed at eradicating
sectarian attacks, which are often verbal, while elements of the very lexicon
of hate they seek to abolish remain on our statute books is indulging in
India Has No Plans to Legalize
TIMES OF INDIA, Aug. 1 —
Despite strong demands from different corners in favor of euthanasia, the
Indian government said it had no plans to give it legal status, the India daily
The categorical rejection of mercy killing comes in the
wake of recent demands from people and organizations who have petitioned the
government seeking permission to commit suicide.
Significantly, the government also put a halt to future
speculation, saying that it would not consider any such application. Minister
of State for Law and Justice K. Venkatapathy said, “Government is not
considering giving legal status to euthanasia. To this date, law has not
permitted it and application for the same cannot be entertained.”
BY Jim Cosgrove
Vietnam to Ordain 57 Catholic Priests
PRAVDA, Nov, 21 — The Church in Vietnam plans to ordain 57 priests later this month, the largest number of clergy to be added to the communist country in a single ceremony, as relations between Hanoi and the Vatican continue to thaw, Pravda reported.
The ceremony will be presided over by senior Vatican envoy Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, said Vatican deputy spokesman, Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini. The ceremony was scheduled Nov. 29 at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi.
While predominantly Buddhist, Vietnam has an estimated 6 million Catholics, the second highest number in Southeast Asia after the Philippines. The government recognizes only a handful of officially sanctioned religions or denominations, which has drawn sharp criticism from international human rights organizations and governments.
Like China, Vietnam has no diplomatic ties with the Vatican, and their relations have been strained over Hanoi's insistence on having the final say in most of the Church appointments, a policy the Vatican has staunchly rejected.
Church Crusades Against Moral Decadence
JAKARTA POST, Nov. 16 — The Church is urging a joint movement with other religious communities to develop a new culture needed to fight what it calls prevailing moral deterioration in Indonesia: specifically rampant corruption, violence, and environmental degradation, the Jakarta Post reported.
Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, chairman of the Indonesian Conference of Bishops, said the Catholic community as an integral part of the nation and the state had to shoulder some of the burden, because they had contributed to this moral decadence.
“The Catholic Church has been deeply concerned not only about problems and issues coming to the surface, but also about the root causes of moral deterioration,” Cardinal Darmaatmadja said.
The cardinal Darmaatmadja, who is also the archbishop of Jakarta Archdiocese, said the role the Catholic community would play in building this new culture would be discussed at a synod held November 16-20 in West Java. Some 400 bishops, priests and laymen from 36 dioceses across the country participated at the conference.
“Responding to moral decadence, many have been apathetic and many others have become angry, which has made us vulnerable to acts of fundamentalism,” the cardinal said. “The Catholic Church does not want either, therefore it is trying to help create the new human character and culture.”
School Offers Pregnancy Tests to 11-Year-Olds
DAILY MAIL, Nov. 15 — A family values organization denounced a school's decision to offer pregnancy tests to girls as young as 11 — without telling their parents, the Daily Mail reported.
Simon Viccars, the headmaster of the school, Leon School and Sports College, which has 700 pupils aged between 11 and 19, said, “We have decided to offer pregnancy testing for those young girls who have a need,” he said. “We have not consulted parents on this. We have taken the lead. It has been backed totally by the school's governing body and we have consulted the local health authority.”
Hugh McKinney, chairman of the National Family Campaign, said: “Schools need to be reminded that sexual relations with children under 16 is a criminal offence.”
Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “Children go to school to learn English, maths and science, not to have pregnancy tests. It is sending out the wrong message. Teachers are being turned into social workers and schools into social services departments.”
McKinney added, “Schools should not be in involved in issues likepregnancy testing. This is a subject for medical practitioners and parents to discuss,not for schools to provide.”