Media Watch

English Cardinal Says Christianity ‘Almost Vanquished’

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Sept. 6—Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster and leader of Catholics in England and Wales, warned that Christianity's influence over young people in Britain had waned, the wire service reported.

The cardinal told the National Conference of Priests that Christianity “has now almost been vanquished” as a force guiding moral decisions. He said the British were replacing Christianity with a patchwork of music, New Age beliefs, the occult, the free market and the environmental movement.

“When we live in a culture which says, ‘What I have got is what I am,’ we are in big trouble,” he noted. “Whilst I understand that—to some degree—we are all consumers, this is something we all enjoy a bit, it's quite clear that a sole reliance on the market place does in the end actually prevent people from taking their destiny into their own hands.”

Taliban Could Execute Christian Aid Workers

AFGHAN ISLAMIC PRESS, Sept. 5—The chief justice of Afghanistan's Taliban government said that eight Western aid workers could receive the death penalty on charges of converting Afghan Muslims to Christianity, the Pakistan-based news agency reported.

Maulvi Noor Muhammad Saqib said the workers could be punished with “imprisonment, fine, or execution” if they are convicted. A 12-judge Taliban Supreme Court panel is trying the case behind closed doors.

Saqib said there were no plans as yet to allow anyone to view the trial. Saqib also indicated that a representative of the Vatican would not necessarily be let in, unless he were acting as a lawyer for one of the accused. The eight aid workers, two Americans, four Germans and two Australians, are employees of Shelter Now International, a Christian organization based in Germany.

The 16 Afghans to whom the workers were allegedly preaching will be tried separately on an undisclosed date.

Three Western diplomats and parents of two American detainees have been in Kabul for one week to monitor the trial, and have twice met with the workers.

Spanish Catholic Church Criticized for Teacher Firing

DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR, Sept. 4—Left-wing parties, trade unions, local officials and some parents chastised Spain's Catholic Church for firing a religion teacher who married a divorced man in a civil ceremony, the wire service reported.

Some members of the hierarchy pointed out that Resurreccion Galera, 36, would not be an appropriate teacher of religion because she had married against Church teachings. Galera charged, through tears, that her opponents displayed “arrogance and lack of Christian piety.”

In the Gospel, Christ teaches against just such a marriage. Galera's action was a public act of defiance against her bishop.