German Prosecutors Monitor Madonna’s Act
, Aug. 15 — German authorities kept a watchful eye on Madonna’s concert in Düsseldorf to see if the pop diva should be charged with a crime, reported Associated Press.

The stunt, which has been included from the outset of her worldwide “Confessions” tour, has been criticized as an act of hostility toward the Church. Representatives for the singer, 48, have said the scene is not disrespectful.

Johannes Mocken, a spokesman for prosecutors in Düsseldorf, said that a repeat of the mock crucifixion scene that has drawn fire from religious leaders could be construed as insulting religious beliefs. Madonna, who is known for her theatrical, action-packed shows, wears a crown of fake thorns while performing on a mirrored cross.

Mocken said authorities relied on media reports rather than sending observers to the concert and that the show was probably covered by laws protecting artistic freedoms.

Poles Seek Support to Restore Death Penalty

PORTUGAL NEWS ONLINE, Aug. 12 — A minority party in Poland’s governing coalition is campaigning for a Europe-wide restoration of the death penalty for pedophiles convicted of murdering children, the Portuguese news service reported.

The League of Polish Families said it would be looking for support in its campaign from other European Union Catholic member states such as Portugal, Italy and Spain. Currently, abolition of the death penalty is a condition for membership in the European Union.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski said in a state TV interview that he would be backing the move and urged the European Parliament to do likewise.

Wojciech Wierzejski, the vice president of the League of Polish Families Party, told the Rzeczpospolita newspaper that the party wants “to collect half-a-million signatures of European Union citizens on a petition demanding the death penalty for pedophile murderers of children,” explaining that this would be an exception to the blanket death penalty ban presently in force across the EU’s 25 member states.

Cardinal Exhorts Flock to Go Forth and Multiply

DAIJIWORLD, Aug. 14 — Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil urged the faithful in southern India to have more children to offset the dwindling percentage of Catholics in a region long known as a center of Indian Christianity, the news service reported.

In a letter to Catholics, the cardinal of the southern state of Kerala wrote that members of the community need to “lead a life rooted in Christian values and beliefs.”

Kerala is home to about 31 million, and the percentage of Christians in the state has declined to 19% from 22% between 1991 and 2001, when the last census was conducted. Church leaders attribute the decline to a lower birth rate among Christians when compared with Hindus and Muslims.

The letter said, “There has been a growing feeling that children are a nuisance to pleasurable life. Even those who have the resources do not beget for selfish reasons.”