Media Watch

Ethnic Strife Over Mother Teresa's Origins

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Aug. 6 — Mother Teresa of Calcutta is often thought of as Indian, since she adopted the country as her own many decades ago.

But this soon-to-be beatified nun was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu of Albanian parents in Skopje, Macedonia, in 1910. And herein lies the confusion — which nation can lay claim to her?

The question has erupted into a bitter controversy among Albanians and Macedonians, The New York Times noted, since a statue of her was to be placed in Rome. A tiny inscription on the 9-foot statue by Macedonian artist Tome Serafimovski calls Mother Teresa a “Macedonian daughter.” This has enraged Albanians, particularly those in Macedonia itself, where they form a growing minority that has had military conflicts with the Slav-led government.

One Albanian political party has claimed that this inscription “undermines the Albanian national identity and represents usurpation of Mother Teresa's origin.”

The ongoing dispute has delayed the erection of the monument, which sponsors hope will take place before her expected beatification Oct. 19.

Cardinal Sepe Encourages Mexican Youth

FIDES, Aug. 1 — The Eighth National Congress of Mexican Missionary Youth opened July 31 in Queretaro, Mexico, according to Fides, the Vatican missionary news service.

Young people age 15-30 came from every diocese in the country to study and reflect on the missionary dimension of Pope John Paul II's 2001 apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium).

Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, sent a message calling the meeting “a moment of special grace for the Church in Mexico.” He asked the young people to undertake “an intense program of missionary animation in order to carry the Gospel to all men and women,” particularly those who do not know Christ.

Cardinal Sepe reminded attendees that in Novo Millennio Ineunte, the Holy Father urges them to “the high measure of ordinary Christian life, that is holiness.” The Pope implored them “not to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity.”

Northern Irish Police Must Reveal Affiliations

NORTHERNIRELAND.CO.UK, Aug. 5 —Police officers in Northern Ireland must now reveal their involvement in “secret or cultural” organizations such as the Protestant Orange Order or the Catholic Knights of Columbanus, named after the sixth-century Irish saint, according to new rules issued Aug. 5.

Henceforth, policemen must inform their superiors about such affiliations or face disciplinary measures, according to the news site

The new rule was recommended as part of the peace agreements in Northern Ireland that brought most IRA and Loyalist violence to an end.

“The present state of community divisions in Northern Ireland means that membership of some organizations can be perceived in certain communities as affecting the ability of officers to discharge their duties effectively and impartially,” said Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid, the man responsible for enforcing the new disclosure law.

He predicted that full disclosure should help resolve those uncertainties.