Media Watch

Resignation Not Tied to Scandals, Bishop Insists

ABS-CBN INTERACTIVE, Dec. 8 — Embattled Auxiliary Bishop Teodoro Buhain of Manila told the Philippines-based news service ABS-CBN his resignation, and the Holy See's acquiescence in it, were unconnected to previous charges of graft and fathering a child out of wedlock.

Bishop Buhain pointed out that the charges against him had never been officially investigated by the Church and that his superior, Cardinal Jaime Sin, former archbishop of Manila, had cleared him of all charges. The bishop said he had asked to resign before the scandals but had agreed to serve until Cardinal Sin's retirement in August 2003.

Bishop Buhain pointed to an Aug. 31 letter from Cardinal Sin certifying he believed Bishop Buhain “is innocent of the charge that he has fathered a child.”

The Filipino bishop noted that the pregnant woman in question had sworn an affidavit in June stating that her child was the result of artificial insemination and said he had also satisfied Cardinal Sin on the financial transactions some had deemed questionable.

Baghdad Archbishop: Troops Must Stay for Now

MISSIONARY NEWS SERVICE, Dec. 5 — Latin-rite archbishop of Baghdad Jean Benjamin Sleiman wants U.S. and coalition troops to remain in Iraq, at least for the time being, until order is restored, the archbishop told Missionary News Service.

In the wake of such a destructive war, which had destroyed the political infrastructure of the once-repressive country, immediate withdrawal “would be a serious demonstration of irresponsibility. Neither the Americans nor the allies should leave the nation: It would mean passing from anarchy to chaos,” he said.

While Archbishop Sleiman also called for U.N. involvement, he warned that the United Nations “alone would be inefficient: The peace contingents must stay.”

Bonfires of the Papacy

CATHNEWS.COM, Dec. 9 — An annual anti-Catholic ritual in Lewes, England, that includes the burning of an effigy of the Pope has ignited protest, the Australian Web site CathNews.com reported.

The ceremonies recall events from the 16th century when Mary I tried to restore the Catholic faith to England at a time when the majority of the population still clung to their ancestral religion. As part of her campaign, she also persecuted Protestants who evangelized, including 17 people burned at the stake in the city of Lewes.

This harsh measure was never forgotten, even amid the much more widespread persecution of Catholics that followed under Elizabeth I. Annual bonfires were lit by Protestants to commemorate the slain — bonfires that took a decidedly nasty twist in 1850, when Blessed Pope Pius IX again began to appoint Catholic bishops in England. In protest, Lewes residents began to burn the Pope in effigy at their annual bonfires.

Now, one Lewes Catholic is asking the government to forbid the papal burning, CathNews.com reported.

“Do I not have the right,” asked Joe O'Keefe, the activist seeking to stop the bonfires, “to walk down an English street without feeling intimidated because of my religion?”