Media Watch

New Catholic Web TV Channel Targets Young Italians

PAPABOYS.TV, Jan. 2 — A new online television network has been launched in Italy, created by Catholic youth groups and targeting a youth market, according to a news release from the network,

The Italian-language broadcasts are intended as “an experiment in evangelization” and will feature videos, interviews and eventually entertainment shows. The first broadcast Jan. 1 featured an awards program from the Christmas Village at Rome's Villa Borghese honoring exceptional contemporary Christian music.

In its mission statement, the network cited the Vatican II document on social communications as the inspiration for the project, through which the founders hope to counter the secularizing influence of major media in Italy, where birthrates and rates of churchgoers have been falling since the 1970s.

Cardinal Distinguishes Crucifix From Islamic Scarves

INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC NEWS, Jan. 6 — In France, the secularist government recently banned Islamic head scarves in public schools — for good measure also banning Jewish yarmulkes and crosses worn as jewelry. Now in Germany, concerns over Islamic immigration have led some local authorities to ban head scarves on female students in their public schools.

German President Johannes Rau, keen to avoid the appearance of discrimination, has proposed extending the ban to Jewish and Christian symbols as well. Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz denounced the proposal, insisting that Islamic veils on women were not comparable to the other religious symbols.

Cardinal Lehmann asserted that the Islamic veil was a mark of discrimination against women, while the other religious symbols had not the “slightest trace of political propaganda about them.”

It remains unclear whether the issue will be settled at a national level or by local governments; the Federal Republic of Germany is far more decentralized than neighboring France, where major decisions are customarily made in Paris.

Shakespeare's Church Eaten by Bugs

INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC NEWS, Jan. 6 — The Anglican parish church that witnessed the baptism and burial of William Shakespeare — whom some scholars assert was a crypto-Catholic in Elizabethan England — still stands.

The poet was baptized on April 26, 1564, and buried in the same parish on April 25, 1616. But that church might not stand for long, according to Independent Catholic News, since conservators have discovered both dry rot and death-watch beetles threatening the main trusses of its chancel, which hold the structure up.

The 13th-century parish Holy Trinity, on the banks of the Avon River, is one of the most popular tourist sites in England, where tourism has suffered greatly since Sept. 11, 2001. Major structural elements of Holy Trinity stand in urgent need of repair, according to the Friends of Holy Trinity Church, a group trying to save the building. The group estimates the cost of repairing and restoring the church would be about $275,000.

A trustee of the group reported that repair work on the church's crumbling parapet was nearly complete but that other essential work still needs to be done. The group recently raised approximately $55,000 as a down payment on the work.

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy