Media Watch

French Bishops Oppose Same-Sex ‘Marriage’

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, May 21 — France's Catholic bishops spoke out against same-sex marriage in a letter published May 21 in two of the country's newspapers responding to an article about a summer “marriage” between two men.

“I must state my disagreement,” wrote Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, president of the Conference of Bishops of France. “Our society could not put the union of a man and women, which can lead to the birth of new human beings, on the same plane as two like beings, which cannot.”

Marriage, Archbishop Ricard added, “assures the renewal of generations … which is not the case of a union between persons of the same sex,” the Associated Press reported.

Noel Mamere, a Green Party lawmaker, has made it public that he plans to perform the country's first homosexual wedding June 5.

Scottish Cardinal: Renew Religious Observances

THE GLASGOW HERALD (Scotland), May 21 — A Scottish cardinal called for a renewal of religious observances in schools of all denominations in a speech May 21 to the general assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien also encouraged members of all Scottish churches to remember their common roots and the fact that they celebrate the same feast days — Christmas, Easter and St. Andrew's Day, the Glasgow Herald reported.

“We must pray at home with our families; we must ensure that relationship to God in prayer is at the root of everything that goes on in our schools, Catholic and nondenominational,” the cardinal said.

The call for more prayer in schools came after the Scottish Executive recommended a move to “broaden” spiritual development, the paper reported, as well as to limit the number of religious assemblies.

South African Bishops Told to Prepare for 2010 World Cup

NEWS24.COM (South Africa), May 24 — South Africa's Catholic newspaper has called on the country's Catholic leaders to be prepared for the 2010 World Cup soccer championship in South Africa.

“The Catholic Church itself has a role to play in 2010,” the Southern Cross stated in an editorial. “As in every World Cup, many of the competing teams and their supporters will come from countries where the Catholic Church is strongly represented.”

“Many players themselves are devoutly Catholic,” it added, “if the pre-match and post-goal blessing ritual is an indicator of devotion.”

The newspaper advised the Church to add extra Masses to handle the influx of Catholics and to hold services in the languages of visiting fans.

Thousands Gather for EU Mass in Austria

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, May 22 — Tens of thousands of Catholics gathered May 21-23 in the Austrian Alps to promote reconciliation among the countries recently united in the European Union.

The events culminated in a Mass led by Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano. Pope John Paul II gave his blessing to the event in German via a video linkup, Agence France-Presse reported.

“We are expressing our faith in the Christian foundations of Europe,” Cardinal Schonborn said at the Mass.

Leaders of Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia and Bosnia also attended the event.

Oscar Wergeland, “Service in a German Village Church,” ca. 1880

This Sunday, I’ll Be Going to Church. Will You Join Me?

“The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.” [CCC 2181]