National Catholic Register


Media Watch

BY Jim Cosgrove

March 25-31, 2001 Issue | Posted 3/25/01 at 1:00 PM


Priest Orchestrates Child-Porn Crackdown

NEWSWEEK, March 19 — Child pornographers beware: Father Fortunator Di Noto is on your trail, the weekly news-magazine reported.

The Sicilian priest happened upon the Internet-aided child pornography racket while teaching a catechism class to young parishioners over the Internet.

Links from a site containing pro-pedophilia messages led Father Di Noto to a shocking — and, thanks to the Internet, fast-growing — world of sexual brutality and exploitation aimed at children as young as three months old.

Four years and thousands of Web searches later Father Di Noto had gathered enough information on child pornography peddlers to lead investigators to an international ring of Russian-based pedophiles. A crackdown there led to a series of others in Europe and is expected to continue shortly in the United States.

Nigerian Bishops Condemn Islamic Law

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, March 12 — Nigeria's bishops have condemned the introduction of strict Islamic law in some northern states, describing it as “irresponsible and unacceptable,” the news service reported.

“Many Nigerians feel that their rights are being infringed upon where the Sharia [Islamic] law has been imposed as the state law,” the bishops said in a joint statement released after a recent weekend conference.

“Because of Sharia, thousands of people have been forced to relocate from their places and work at great cost and loss to themselves. Others suffer in silence because they are too poor to relocate or powerless to seek legal redress,” the statement said.

Ten states in northern Nigeria have adopted or announced plans to introduce the Sharia, which includes punishments for drinking, gambling, prostitution and adultery.

A number of Christians have been flogged in some northern states, having been convicted by Islamic courts of contravening the law.

Reckless Driver Told to Read the Bible

CHINA TIMES, March 12 — An elderly American Christian pastor has decided not to press charges against a Taiwan hit-andrun driver, demanding instead that the driver read the Bible every day, the daily reported.

The 90-year-old Protestant pastor, Al Kowles, has lived in Taiwan for 25 years. He suffered minor injuries last month when a car driven by a man surnamed Yeh hit him on a boulevard in Taipei. Yeh, 36, fled the scene after the accident, but his plate number was taken down by a bystander and he was soon arrested.

Kowles said he would not bring Yeh to court if he promised to repent by reading the Bible for 20 minutes every day. Yeh agreed.

“God has let this happened in order for you to become serious with the things of the Lord,” Kowles told Yeh.

The Times said Yeh would still face criminal charges of endangering the public filed by the Taipei prosecutor's office.