National Catholic Register


World Media Watch

Keeping an eye on the news from around the World.

BY John Lilly

April 23-29, 2006 Issue | Posted 4/24/06 at 10:00 AM


Priest Arrested, Then Expelled From Saudi Arabia

ASIANEWS, April 10 — Father George Joshua of India was expelled from Saudi Arabia for celebrating Mass, the wire service reported.

Saudi religious police arrested Father Joshua, a priest of Kerala, India, April 5, and he remained in custody for four days. Under shari’a (Islamic law), the practice of any religion other than Islam is forbidden in Saudi Arabia. Religious meetings held privately in people’s homes, among friends, are also banned.

AsiaNews reported that Catholic foreigners in the country number at least 1 million: None of them can participate in Mass while they are in Saudi Arabia. Catechism for their children — nearly 100,000 — is also banned.

Papal Envoy Criticizes Anti-Semitic Radio Broadcast

EKKLESIA, April 9 — Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, the papal nuncio to Poland, has written to the bishops’ conference of Poland urging them to reprimand a Catholic radio station that has been accused of making anti-Semitic statements, the British website reported.

According to Independent Catholic News, the station, Radio Maryja, presented a program March 27 that claimed that Jewish people were making an “industry” out of Holocaust reparations. The host, Stanislaw Michalkiewicz, is reported to have accused Jews of “trying to force our government to pay extortion money disguised as ‘compensation payments’” for property lost during and after World War II.

“The Holy See expresses its deep concern about Radio Maryja’s political commitments,” Archbishop Kowalczyk wrote in his subsequent letter to the country’s Catholic bishops. He also urged the bishops to “overcome the difficulties caused by some of the radio’s broadcasts and activities.”

Church Can Thwart Threat to Western Civilization

SPERO NEWS, April 10 — British historian Michael Burleigh said the Church is the one religious institution that can “speak the truth in a time of evil,” and can head off the grave threats facing Western civilization, the news service reported.

Burleigh made his comments in a wide-ranging interview with Inside the Vatican. He said he is hoping for a revival of Christianity in Europe, led by an invigorated papacy.

Burleigh is the author of Earthly Powers (Harper-Collins), published this month in America, the first of a two-volume history of religion and politics, from the French Revolution to the present; the second volume, Sacred Causes, is to appear later this year.

He said the Church’s teachings about the dignity of human life  place the Church in a unique and pivotal position to make a real difference. Despite the recent scandals in the Church, and what he calls a “pathological anti-Catholicism” attempting to exploit them, the time is right for the Church of Rome to act: “No other religious body has the strength, the respect and the authority to influence the world for the better.”