Media Watch

Demand for London's Religious Schools Increases

LONDON EVENING STANDARD, May 10 — A survey by the London Evening Standard newspaper has shown an increase in the demand for places in Catholic and Church of England primary schools.

In some cases, more than three children are vying for one spot in a school. Overall, the paper reported, 1,275 children are competing for 767 spots for enrollment for the next school year.

Parents need to demonstrate a commitment to their church for their children to become eligible. While some parents have been known to lie or try to bribe their children's way in, the paper noted, experience has shown that some parents begin attending church more regularly than they did before their children went to a parochial school.

Irish Bishop Calls for IRA to Disband

IRELAND ONLINE, May 9 — Armagh archbishop Sean Brady called May 9 for the Irish Republican Army to disband, insisting violence could not be justified.

The archbishop's call came after criticism regarding the British government's handling of security issues with loyalist supporters, the website reported, as well as for a speech in which he was appeared skeptical about changes to the Northern Irish police service, which is mostly Protestant.

“We must dispel any ambivalence in our own community about the presence or actions of nondemocratic and totally unaccountable armed groups in our own community,” Archbishop Brady told BBC Radio. “I'm calling on people to forsake once and for all the armed struggle.”

Chilean Government Legalizes Divorce

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, May 8 — Despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church, the Chilean government on May 7 legalized divorce in that country.

The Church warned the move would be harmful to families, the wire service reported. However, in an indirect reference to Church opposition, President Ricardo Lagos said the government “cannot impose the positions of one sector of our society on all Chileans.”

About 87% of Chileans consider themselves Catholic. Chile was one of the last countries in the Western Hemisphere without a divorce law.

“This is a sad day for the Church and the whole Catholic community,” said Church spokesman Father Pedro Fernandez. “It hurts us, because this law damages the family.”

Image of Virgin Is Not Miraculous, Says Church

REUTERS, May 11 — Though thousands have flocked to see an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appearing on a hospital wall in Ensenada, Mexico, the Church in Mexico has ruled out any divine origin for the shadowy figure.

It appears every night when a light is switched on in the patio of a clinic in the Pacific resort area, the news service reported.

“The Church is quite clear that it is not a miracle but a natural phenomenon that serves to strengthen the faith of the believers,” said a spokeswoman for the Tijuana Diocese in which Ensenada falls.

The image was first reported to hospital authorities April 19. Among those visiting it are those with chronic illnesses, Reuters reported, many of whom say they received miraculous cures.