World Media Watch

Politician Gunned Down in Church on Christmas

ASIANEWS, Dec. 27 — Joseph Pararajasingham, an ethnic Tamil Member of Parliament and minority rights activist, was killed while attending midnight Mass on Christmas, AsiaNews reported.

Six other people were wounded, including his 71-year-old wife who has sustained serious injuries. The Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) blamed each for the death.

According to the report, Pararajasingham was actively working for “minority rights” as a member of the Tamil National Alliance.

Bishop Kingsley Swampillai, of Trincomalee-Batticaloa, was celebrating Mass when the crime was committed. “The church was full,” Bishop Swampillai said. “Joseph had just received Communion and had sat by his wife when we heard a loud noise followed by shots. He collapsed there and then, bleeding, and was taken to hospital.”

Patriarch Calls for Dismantling of Israel’s Wall

CBC NEWS, Dec. 24 — The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem said Bethlehem has become an “immense prison” since the West Bank barrier was built, CBC News reported.

Archbishop Michel Sabbah made the comments after leading a procession from the city to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ. The pilgrims had to pass through a military checkpoint to enter Bethlehem.

It marked the first Christmas that the town has been cut off from Jerusalem by a newly completed 26-foot-high concrete wall, part of the barrier that Israel has built between itself and the West Bank.

Archbishop Sabbah said the Palestinians should have the right to live freely in their own state, while also stressing that Israelis have the right to be safe.

He said the people wielding power had to realize that they couldn’t rule through violence but only by “winning the hearts of Palestinians and Israelis.”

Cardinal Decries Homosexual Unions in UK

THE TELEGRAPH, Jan. 2 — The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland Jan. 1 attacked “gay weddings” and “quickie” divorces, the London daily reported.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien used his New Year’s Day homily to speak out against the British government’s failure to uphold family values. Speaking at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, the cardinal accused politicians of undermining the family as the most vital building block of society.

The cardinal also attacked plans for changes in the law in Scotland that will make uncontested divorces easier and quicker.

He argued that alternative lifestyles were “undermining values which for generations have been treasured.”

He added, “When our lawmakers condone and endorse trends in society which are ultimately ruinous of family life we are entitled to question their motivation and condemn their behavior.”