National Media Watch

Catholic NFL Owner Dies

USA TODAY, Oct. 26 — New York Giants’ owner Wellington Mara, a daily communicant, died of cancer on Oct. 25, reported USA Today. He was 89.

“His priorities were his religion and his family, not the spotlight or money,” said his son Frank Mara, director of promotions for the Giants.

Mara contributed to several Catholic causes. In addition to supporting the Archdiocese of New York, he was also a pro-life advocate. In 1987, he assembled a group of Giants players to produce a pro-life video, “Champions for Life.”

Former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell described Mara, a member of the NFL Hall of Fame, as the “conscience of the league.”

Birth Control Results in Church Membership Decline

ASSOCIATED BAPTIST PRESS, Oct. 19 — Sociologists suggest that the use of birth control accounts for 70% of the decline in mainline Protestant churches, reported Associated Baptist Press.

“The so-called decline of the mainline may ultimately be attributable to its earlier approval of contraception,” the sociologists wrote in Christian Century.

Many religious observers have previously attributed the decline to the growth of what the study terms “conservative churches” (such as Baptist, Assembly of God, or Pentecostal) in response to the impact of liberalism. The researchers studied shifts in church membership between 1900 and 1975 and compared fertility rates between women in those churches with women in Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran and other mainline Protestant churches.

But the study finds that fertility rates are now virtually the same between the two groups and will produce only a 1% decline in mainline membership over the next decade.

Diocese of Lincoln Leads Nation in Priest Ratio

DAILY NEBRASKAN, Oct. 26 — While many dioceses are witnessing declines in priestly ordinations, the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., can boast the highest ratio of priests to Catholics, said the Daily Nebraskan.

According to the 2005 Official Catholic Directory, the Diocese of Lincoln has 121 active diocesan priests serving 89,236 Catholics. That's one priest for every 737 Catholics. Nationally, there is one priest for every 4,723 Catholics.

Father Robert Matya, pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, said, “We do try to act how God wants us to be, and I think that is very appealing to a lot of these young men.”

Mexican Priest Assassinated

10NEWS.COM, Oct. 26 — Hundreds of people turned out Oct. 26 for the funeral of a Mexican priest who was shot and killed in Tijuana in late October, the San Diego television station reported.

The body of Father Luis Velasquez Romero was found dumped in his car Oct. 24. He had been shot six times while his hands were cuffed behind his back.

The Channel 10 report said that by Oct. 26, there no suspects and that Father Velasquez had never mentioned to anyone that he had any enemies or that there were any threats on his life. Catholic News Service said Oct. 26 that the 52-year-old priest was known for his outspoken sermons that often criticized local politicians.

There have been 358 murders in Tijuana this year.