World Media Watch
Bishops Visit Holy Land in Show of Solidarity
AKI, Jan. 12 — Some 30 American and European bishops visited the occupied Palestinian territories and neighboring Jordan Jan. 14-19 in a demonstration of solidarity with the region’s peoples, especially its Christian minority, the international news service Adnkronos International reported.
While in the occupied territories, the bishops met the Palestinian and Israeli authorities, as well as local people, young priests and theology students. They also met with priests, religious and lay people at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem, run by the Legionaries of Christ.
In Jordan, the
bishops for the first time were to meet King Abudullah, to discuss the
situation in Jordan and the various Christian communities there. U.S. and
European bishops have been visiting the Middle East annually since 1998 — a
tradition inspired by the late Pope John Paul II’s pilgrimages to the Holy
Secretary general of the Council of Bishops Conferences, Peter Fleetwood said, “With this visit, the bishops aim to enhance mutual understanding and share the problems of all living in that area, concretely representing the Church for all the populations of the Holy Land, especially our Catholic brethren.”
Carry a Condom or Else, Colombian Town Threatens
REUTERS, Jan. 11 — A western Colombian town has threatened males over age 14 with fines if they fail to carry a condom, Reuters reported.
Young men in the town of Tulia should carry condoms just as they have to carry identification cards, Tulua Councilman William Pena told El Tiempo newspaper.
Those who fail to show a condom would have to pay a small fine or take a three-hour course in AIDS prevention in Tulua, where 14 people died of sexually transmitted diseases last year.
Father Jesus Velasquez said he wouldn’t let the measure pass without a fight, comparing it to “selling guns in the streets.”
He said, “What is required is education and respect for moral and Christian values.”
Church Seeks Exemption From Adoption Laws
THE SUNDAY TIMES, Jan. 15 — The Catholic Church in Scotland is seeking exemption from controversial adoption laws that will allow children to be placed with homosexual couples, the London newspaper reported.
It wants the Scottish Parliament to grant a “conscience clause” giving the Church and other faith-based groups the right to reject applicants to their adoption agencies on the basis of gender. Church figures believe the sanctity of marriage is under threat and claim that the effects on children of being raised by a homosexual couple are not fully understood.
“If the proposals go ahead as they stand, the bishops would certainly expect an exemption for faith-based adoption agencies,” said Galway Bishop John Cunningham, chairman of the national committee for pastoral and social care. “We are disappointed that the executive do not seem to have recognized the unique contribution that a stable married couple can make to the upbringing of children.”
He added, “We also have grave reservations concerning the ability of same-sex couples or unmarried heterosexual couples, however loving they might be, to provide the stability and the role models a married couple can.”
Schismatics See Slow Reconciliation With Rome
REUTERS, Jan. 13 — Talks aimed at reconciling the Roman Catholic Church and the Switzerland-based Society of St. Pius X are progressing, with the Vatican pushing to move faster than the group, Reuters reported.
Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the Society of Saint Pius X, told journalists he was sure that Pope Benedict wanted to end the 17-year split and bring the group back into the mainstream of the Catholic Church. But the society, which has maintained the Latin Mass and rejects much of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), still has some profound differences with Rome that must be worked out before any reunion can take place.
“One feels a desire in Rome to solve the problem as soon as possible,” said Bishop Fellay, 47, successor to the society’s founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. “That is certainly the Pope’s wish.”
He added, “We’re stepping on the brakes. We’re not opposed to that, but we don’t want to take shortcuts that could lead to problems later.”
- January 29-February 4, 2006