National Media Watch

Diocese Declares Parish-Union Contract Invalid

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Nov. 18 — An internal church court in Brownsville, Texas, found that the first union contract within a U.S. Roman Catholic Church is invalid, reported the AP.

The diocesan tribunal and a panel of three judges from outside the diocese had examined whether Church law recognized a contract signed in 2002 between Holy Spirit Catholic Church in McAllen and the United Farm Workers of America, which was representing lay employees in the parish. The panel held a Collegiate Ecclesiastical Court in June and made its decision Nov. 10.

Employees see the decision as disappointing, saying that the Church does not recognize the rights of workers. Some of the workers hope to take the case to the Supreme Court.

“Basically the judges felt the pastor who made the contract did not have the proper authority or license,” said Msgr. Herberto Diaz, chancellor for the Brownsville Diocese.

Catholic Social Service Agency Limits Services

KENTUCKY POST, Nov. 21 — Catholic Social Services of Northern Kentucky has been criticized for not providing certain services, said the Post.

Catholic Social Services said, for example, that it won't help a client procure an abortion, prescribe or purchase birth control pills, or counsel homosexual couples in strengthening their relationship.

The agency sees its newly defined policy as being consistent with Catholic moral teaching while also serving those in need.

“If anyone has a need, we will serve them, as long as their need is consistent with what the Church believes is a positive, life-giving lifestyle,” said Bill Jones, director of the agency.

Pro-Life Activists Call for Boycott of Fund-Raiser

BOSTON GLOBE, Nov. 20 — According to the Globe, a network of pro-life activists plan to boycott the annual Christmas dinner fund-raiser for Boston's Catholic Charities because the event will honor Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who supports abortion.

“It's unacceptable for [Catholic Charities] to honor someone who stands in the public square and mischaracterizes our faith,” said Carol McKinley, spokeswoman for the pro-life group, Faithful Voice.

McKinley has asked the event's major donors to withdraw their sponsorship of the Dec. 9 benefit. At least one donor has already done so. Faithful Voice also plans to demonstrate outside the dinner.

Evangelicals Welcome Pro-Life Conference Attendees

CBC NEWS, Nov. 18 — A Montreal evangelical church welcomed the Canadian National Pro-Life Conference after St. Joseph's Oratory refused to host the Nov. 17 event — a day before it was to begin — because it had received threats from pro-abortion and homosexual activists, CBC News reported.

La Bible Parle, a French-language evangelical church located about 25 minutes from the oratory, opened its doors to some 300 attendees.

Holy Cross Father Jean-Pierre Aumont, rector of the oratory, reportedly said that he was worried about participants’ safety and possible damage to the oratory.

“This decision to cancel the contract at this last minute is a great capitulation on the part of the Catholic Church in the face of opposition to its pro-life, pro-family teaching,” said Luc Gagnon, president of the pro-life group Campagne Quebec Vie. He described the oratory's actions as “cowardly.”

In 2004, St. Joseph's provided a venue for a teaching session of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the sect Art of Living Foundation.

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy