National Media Watch

Questions About Lobbyist's Political Donations

BOSTON GLOBE, July 13 — Edward Saunders Jr., the new lobbyist for the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts, has come under fire for past political donations, the Globe reported.

According to records on file with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Saunders gave several contributions, amounting to $900 total, to politicians who support abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

Saunders, who now represents the bishops in the state Legislature, told the Globe the donations were made while he was lobbying for credit unions and were simply “the nature of the business.”

Massachusetts Citizens for Life questioned the appointment.

“If there are personal contributions given to lawmakers or political candidates who are not in sync with what the Church teaches,” the group's executive director said, “then doesn't that call into serious question the motives of this individual?”

Fargo Diocese Mandates Natural Family Planning

FARGO HERALD, July 20 — The Diocese of Fargo, N.D., will become one of only two dioceses in the country to require engaged couples to take a course on natural family planning, the Herald reported.

The new policy will go into effect Sept. 8. It requires couples to receive an introduction to Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body and complete a full course on an approved method of natural family planning as part of their marriage-preparation program. The Archdiocese of Denver was the first to implement such a requirement.

“I have seen a great need for this instruction to help couples fully live the sacrament of marriage,” Fargo Bishop Samuel Aquila said. “Young adults are bombarded with negative images of sexuality, with attitudes that demean the marital commitment and with lies about the so-called ‘freedom’ contraception provides. They need to know and they deserve to know the plan that God has for them regarding their sexuality and the conjugal love they will share as husband and wife.”

Cardinal to Same-Sex ‘Parents’: Not So Fast

LOS ANGELES TIMES, July 16 — With Canada's legislative redefinition of marriage as the “lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others,” Canadian Catholic leaders have questioned whether the Church can baptize the children of same-sex couples.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec told a Senate committee hearing as Parliament debated the legalization of same-sex “marriage” that canon law does not allow the “signatures of two fathers or two mothers as parents of an infant.”

“For an infant to be baptized lawfully it is required … that there be a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion,” Canon 868 says. “If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is, in accordance with the provisions of particular law, to be deferred and the parents advised of the reason for this.”

Sunday Is Just Another Day

ARIZONA REPUBLIC, July 17 — Sundays, it seems, are less and less a day for church, family and rest, according to the Republic. Instead, it has become a day for running errands, shopping or work.

According to a 2003 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 33% of full-time workers are on the job on an average weekend.

Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, noted that for many people Sunday is no longer centered on “church and the family dinner.”

Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted recently urged the faithful to “refrain from all shopping and enjoy Sunday as a day of rest, a day of leisure, a day for family, a day for celebrating the Eucharist.”