World Media Watch

Church Mentors to Stop Abortion

THE AGE, Oct. 2 — The Catholic Church in Australia is intensifying its opposition to abortion and the morning-after pill by encouraging believers to become mentors for women who are considering an abortion, the Australian website reported.

The Church's social arm, Centacare, is calling on Catholics to take steps to end the tragedy of abortion rather than simply telling women that terminations are wrong. Some estimates on the number of abortions carried out in Australia are as high as 80,000 a year.

Project Lisa, inspired by Cardinal George Pell's Pregnancy Counseling and Support Services, will provide practical support for pregnant women, such as driving them to the doctor or taking them shopping.

“We see the abortion rate in Australia as a tragedy,” Bishop Anthony Fisher said. “But we want to be doing more than just saying No to women. We want to be doing something practical to help.”

Thirteen Dead After Student Bus Collides With Truck

ALL HEADINE NEWS, Sept. 30 — Thirteen people were killed after a bus carrying high school students on a pilgrimage to Poland's most sacred Roman Catholic shrine collided with a truck, All Headline News reported.

The bus carrying 12th-grade students from the northeastern city of Bialystok to Czestochowa in southern Poland, collided with a truck and burst into flames. The students were on their way to the shrine of Our Lady at Jasna Gora.

In a Sept. 30 telegram to Archbishop Wojciech Ziemba of Bialystok, the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, said Pope Benedict XVI had been informed of the crash and was “united in grief and prayer” with the families of the victims, who were mostly ages 17 and 18.

The telegram stated, “Their pilgrim trail became, in a dramatic way, the end of their earthly pilgrimage, but trust in the mercy of God bids us to believe it has found its purpose in glory to the eternal Father.”

Bishops Prod President on Death Penalty

MANILA TIMES, Oct. 1 — The Bishops Conference of the Philippines will ask for President Arroyo's support in advocating the abolition of the death penalty and other prison reforms, the Times reported.

Bishop Pedro Arigo, chairman of the bishops’ Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said Oct.1 that the bishops will seek an audience with the president and congressional leaders to discuss and recommend solutions to issues and concerns affecting prisoners, particularly those on death row and juvenile delinquents.

“Once every year, we make it a point to remind all our people to remember our brothers and sisters who languish in our prisons and jails,” Bishop Arigo said. “It is quite easy to forget them as fellow members of human society. After all, to our minds they are derelicts now suffering for their sins or offenses against society, and our laws have seen to it that they pay for their transgressions.”

The bishop added, “Killing people is a rejection of God's call to ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ Human life is inherently precious and those who commit crimes do not give up their human dignity.”

Irish Loyalists ‘Must End All Violence’

BBC NEWS, Oct. 4 — Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain urged Loyalist paramilitaries to end their violence and allow democratic politics to move forward, BBC News reported.

Hain was speaking on a visit to St Louis’ Catholic Primary School in Ballymena, which was targeted by sectarian arsonists in August. He was accompanied by Member of Parliament Ian Paisley.

Violence does not pay and progress will only be made when paramilitaries leave the stage,” Hain said, adding the threat was a “medieval throwback to a past of violence and bigotry.”

Principal Liam Corry said the children were “thrilled” to meet the two politicians. “Mr. Hain expressed his disgust at some of the things that happened at the end of the summer,” he said, “but I think he realized that we're all moving on in these schools and we just want to leave all that behind us.”