Media Watch

Beijing Bishop's Funeral Restricted to Villagers

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, Jan. 2 — About 300 villagers attended the funeral of Bishop Mattia Pei Shangde of Beijing, who had been persecuted by the communist government for years, the French news agency reported. Authorities prohibited outsiders, including Catholic officials from the capital, from attending the funeral, held in the village of Zhangjiapu in Hebei Province.

Bishop Pei died of kidney failure Christmas Eve at the age of 83. When the communists came to power, he was forced to work in a drug factory, and he spent 10 years in a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution. His appointment as a bishop in 1980 was rejected by Beijing, which named its own bishop.

In April, Bishop Pei was placed under house arrest, and police kept him under surveillance in the hospital.

French Catholics Urged to Give More Euros

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, Dec. 26 — The Church in France is hoping to offset a possible shortfall in Sunday collections by encouraging Catholics to put at least two euros in the basket. Officials fear that Mass-goers will put in only one euro, which looks similar to the 10-franc coin, a typical donation, but only a third of the value.

France and 11 other European nations replaced their currencies with the euro Jan. 1. The new coin is also likely to disrupt donations in Ireland, where it is worth 20% less than the Irish pound, the wire service said.

The Church in France, already cash-strapped because of slumping attendance, also conducted a drive to collect old French francs and other European coins that are being phased out.

Irish Protestant Hospital Supports Embryo Research

THE MIRROR, Dec. 28 — The Adelaide Hospital Society in Dublin, a Protestant hospital, told a government commission that research on embryos up to 14 days old should be permitted, the daily newspaper reported.

The hospital society also supports the screening of embryos for genetic abnormalities. The proposals were submitted to the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction, which is studying possible approaches to regulation of assisted reproduction.

In a statement, the Catholic Communications Office said, “It is of vital importance that embryos are never treated other than as human persons whose inherent worth and dignity are valued and vindicated.”

Hong Kong Bishop Criticizes Government Officials

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, Dec. 23 — Hong Kong's Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun accused advisers and senior officials of the Chinese region's chief executive of trying to please Beijing instead of acting according to their consciences, the Hong Kong daily reported.

The outspoken bishop, in an interview on Radio Television Hong Kong, said officials should not neglect the dignity of the people when making political decisions.

Bishop Zen was reacting to a government decision to bar 187 mainland children from attending local schools while awaiting the results of their right of abode applications. He has appealed to Church-run schools to defy the ban and accept the children. Five have agreed so far.

In the interview, the bishop said he doubted whether Catholics could hold senior government posts without compromising their faith.