Media Watch

Turn Off Cell Phones, Irish Archbishop Tells Flock

INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC NEWS, June 8 — Archbishop Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, told Catholics at a Mass on June 6 that they should turn off their TVs, stereos and cell phones for one day each week.

If people did that to reflect and pray, he said, “they would notice a significant improvement in their mental, emotional and spiritual well-being,” Independent Catholic News reported.

“There are fundamental changes in Irish society that are hardly for the better,” Archbishop Brady said. “They are worrying signs that our reputation for hospitality and neighborliness is in danger of being reduced to a commercial facade, a mask we wear for the tourists, an essential part of the ‘Irish brand.’”

“We also live in a world of constant noise and incessant rush,” he continued. “Our ears are constantly exposed to the ceaseless chatter of talk radio, the rap and pop of digitized and downloaded music, and the endless melodies of mobile phones as they ring in the street, the car and yes, even in the church.”

Australian Bishop: ‘Two Mums’ Is Too Much for Kids

CATHNEWS.COM, June 13 — A segment on the ABC-TV children's program “Play School” is inappropriate and would be confusing to young children, according to Australian Bishop Christopher Toohey.

“Play School” recently featured a segment depicting a lesbian union in which a young girl went to a park with a pointed reference to her “two mums,” reported.

The segment has also been criticized by Prime Minister John Howard, Opposition Leader Mark Latham, Communications Minister Daryl Williams and Church groups, the website noted.

“Kids need some kind of view of the world consistent with human experience,” said Bishop Toohey, head of the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes and secretary of the Bishops’ Committee for the Family and for Life, “and I would think that the concept of ‘two mums’ would be very difficult for little kids to handle.”

Western Prayers ‘Outsourced’ to Indian Churches

THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 13 — Citing a short supply of Catholic clergy in America, Canada and Europe, many are now sending prayer requests to priests and parishes in India.

In churches in the Kerala state on the southwestern coast, which has the highest concentration of India's Catholics, prayers for local residents are said for a donation of about 90 cents, the New York Times reported. Requests from the United States, however, typically come with donations of $5.

Requests range from prayers for the repose of the soul of a deceased relative to thanksgiving for a favor received to a prayer offering for a newborn.

Critics, however, say they are shocked such requests are being sent offshore, or outsourced, a word normally used for office jobs that migrate to countries with lower wages.

But Father Vincent Kundukulam of St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary in Aluva, near Cochin, said the practice is decades old.

“The Church is not a business enterprise,” he said, “and it is sad and pathetic to connect this practice to outsourcing software work to cheaper labor destinations.”