Media Watch

Arson Suspected in Church Fire

THE CATHOLIC SUN, Feb. 3—Authorities have ruled that a Jan. 15 church fire on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Sacaton, Ariz., was caused by arson, the Phoenix Catholic weekly reported.

St. Anthony's Church, built in the late 1920s, was a spiritual center for area families for many years. Father John Hall, vicar for Native American Ministry for the Phoenix diocese, told the Sun, “This is very devastating to the community, but the building was not the community.”

The fire demolished the roof of the building as well as its interior. Its adobe walls were left standing. Part of the church's sacristy was also spared, leaving chalices, vestments and altar supplies untouched.

FDA Set to Approve Abortion Pill

THE WASHINGTON TIMES, Feb. 7-13—After a 10-year ban on RU-486, the Food and Drug Administration is expected in the next few months to approve the French abortion pill, the Times reported.

According to the Times Weekly Edition, the FDA never reveals its approval plans for any medications in advance. One FDA official, however, said the agency will soon be taking some action regarding the pill.

An advisory board to the FDA concluded in 1996 that the drug was “safe and effective” and recommended its approval.

American Life League spokesman Steve Sanborn told the Times, “This will certainly make things more difficult for us, since it brings abortion right into the home.”

Vermont Expected to Rule Out Homosexual Marriage

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Feb. 10—Vermont legislators are not likely to recognize homosexual unions in the state's marriage laws, but are expected to extend homosexuals all other benefits enjoyed by married men and women, the Times reported.

According to the Times, a poll of the members of the Judiciary Committee of the Vermont House of Representatives found eight members who spoke in favor of a “civil rights package” that would create the nation's most comprehensive domestic partnership program, while only three favored including same-sex couples in the state's marriage law.

According to the Times, no members favored defying the Vermont Supreme Court's Dec. 20 decision to grant homosexual couples the same treatment as heterosexual spouses in everything from inheritance rights to health insurance benefits.

Media Watch

Black Pentecostals to Visit Vatican

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Feb. 7—Members of the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops will travel to Rome this month to visit the Vatican and possibly meet with the Pope, the Chicago daily reported.

According to the Tribune, the bishops said it is time to recover some of the ancient traditions practiced by the Church. “I think we can learn from each other,” said Larry Trotter of the Sweet Holy Spirit Full Gospel Baptist Church in Chicago said. “We come with a fervor and fire they may be missing, but they come with order and structure we may be missing.”

According to the Tribune, the bishops will attend a three-day seminar at the Pontifical North American College and will attend a general audience and a healing Mass with the Pope. A private audience may follow.

Pope to Seminarians: World Needs ‘Holy Pastors’

L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO, Jan. 26—In a Nov. 29 speech delivered to the faculty and students of the Pontifical Seminary of Umbria, Pope John Paul II spoke of the Church's need for priests who have deep interior lives.

Said the Pope, “The world awaits and asks for holy pastors, endowed with deep priestly spirituality. The effectiveness of pastoral services depends not so much on pastoral organization and methods, but on prayer and the depth of one's interior life. It is only those who grow in a mature relationship with God through personal and community prayer, by meditation on the Word, by participation in the Eucharist, who will then be able to offer themselves freely for the work of evangelization, to use earthly goods with moderation, to be strong and persevering in times of difficulty, to have a heart open to the needs of the poor and the suffering and to respond with humble and joyful docility to the Church's teachings.”