Cardinal Supports Call for Faith-Based Counseling
ABC ONLINE, Feb. 21 — Australia’s Federal Cabinet will consider increased funding for faith-based pregnancy counseling services on the advice of Health Minister Tony Abbott, the Australian news service reported.
Cardinal George Pell of Australia heartily endorsed the move.
Abbott, a Catholic, recently lost a debate over the availability of the abortion drug RU-486. He indicated he wants to give Church-affiliated groups more funds to counsel women. Cardinal Pell said Catholic agencies would certainly be interested in offering pregnancy counseling services.
The cardinal added, “I don’t exactly know what [Abbott] is proposing, but like nearly 90% of Australian people, I’m happy to go along with whatever ways will, we hope, try to reduce this appalling rate of abortion in Australia.”
Pakistanis Condemn Church Burnings
NEWKERALA.COM, Feb. 20 — An alliance of Pakistan’s minorities condemned attacks on two Catholic churches during a protest over publication of cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed, the Indian news service reported.
Some 400 protestors set ablaze two empty churches Feb. 19 in the city of Sukkur in Sindh province. Police arrested 23 people and accused them of arson, disrupting the peace and damaging property.
All Pakistan Minorities Alliance Chairman Shahbaz Bhatti said that besides the attacks on St. Francis Xavier Church and St. Mary’s Church, the mobs have ransacked pastoral residences, and have destroyed Bibles and other holy books.
“Religious minorities have contributed wholeheartedly in the development and prosperity of the country even ready to sacrifice everything for its integrity,” he said. “The blasphemous act of a newspaper cannot be linked with Christianity or Pakistani Christians.”
Scotland’s Church Looks to Poland for New Priests
GLASGOW DAILY RECORD, Feb. 23 — Bishop Peter Moran of Scotland is on a mission to Poland to attract priests to serve in the Church in Scotland, the Daily Record reported.
The Aberdeen bishop is seeking to make up for the shortfall of Catholic clergy in northeast Scotland and wants to cater to the fast-growing Polish population in Scotland, most of whom are Catholic.
Poles have flooded into Scotland since their country joined the European Union. They can make several times their wages at home. It’s the second such influx. Many Polish servicemen stayed on in Scotland after fighting in the Free Polish Army during World War II.
Bishop Moran met with Cardinal-designate Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow and Pope John Paul II’s former secretary, to ask for his help.
“The percentage of Catholics in the diocese is 3% of the population,” the bishop told Polish radio, but with the arrival of many people from Poland, the Catholic population is increasing rapidly. … I have come to Poland because these Polish Catholics need pastoral care. I also need priests for my own Catholics.”