World Media Watch

British Politician Attacks Catholic Ban on Monarch

THE GUARDIAN, March 8 — The centuries-old ban on the monarch marrying a Catholic came under renewed attack in the House of Commons, The Guardian reported.

Member of Parliament Edward Leigh, who is Catholic, introduced a 10-minute rule bill to repeal the 300-year-old legislation passed at the time of the Glorious Revolution, which prevents heirs to the throne marrying Catholics.

He said: “Surely in this day and age it is intolerable for the constitution to pick out any minority on grounds of religion. The language of our constitution is itself derogatory. A member of the head of state’s family can marry anybody apart from a Papist.”

The bill has no chance of receiving sufficient parliamentary time to become law, the report said. But it is a measure of cross-party concern that antique legislation such as the Bill of Rights, Act of Settlement and Acts of Union between England and Scotland should include provisions for concerns which have long passed into history except for a small fringe of Protestant fundamentalists.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, said: “A situation could ultimately arise where a future spouse of the head of state has their religious liberties infringed through a prohibition on passing on their faith to their children. Accordingly, it will be measures which abolish all religious restrictions on members of the royal family which will alone remedy this unsatisfactory situation.”

Chinese Parliament Urged to Free Bishops, Priests

ASIANEWS, March 7 — The Catholic-based news agency AsiaNews published a list of 19 bishops and 18 priests who are being held in prison or kept from exercising their ministry by an increasingly anti-Christian Chinese government.

The news service, together with the Holy Spirit Study Center of Hong Kong and various Christian communities and websites in Europe, launched a petition and published the list of bishops and priests March 5 to coincide with the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

Bishop James Su Zhimin of the diocese of Baoding, Hebei, and Auxiliary Bishop Francis An Shuxin, of the diocese of Baoding, have been detained for the longest period — since 1996 and 1997, respectively.

 The report said the petition asking for the priests’ release will be sent to both the National People’s Congress and to the International Olympic Committee. The 2008 games are scheduled to be held in Beijing.

Jealous Priest Spied on Karol Wojtyla

NEWSWEEK, March 14 — A Polish priest sent regular reports on Karol Wojtyla, now Pope John Paul, to the then-communist country’s secret police, Newsweek magazine’s international edition reported.

Father Wladyslaw Kulczycki, who died in 1968, was incensed that the younger Wojtyla was elevated to the rank of bishop and then archbishop while he was passed over. His reports denounced Wojtyla as a lightweight and dismissed his growing popularity. He was an adviser to top Polish Church officials.

Eventually, the secret police caught on that their informer’s envy of Wojtyla was skewing his judgment. But his reports on Wojtyla’s meetings with Krakow intellectuals and activists jeopardized many of the people who developed close ties to the future Pope John Paul II.

The report said Kulczycki was far from alone in betraying his Church and his colleagues. Documents unearthed by the Institute of National Remembrance indicate that about 15% of the Catholic clergy were listed as informers in the 1970s and 1980s. Some may have played a double game, talking to the secret police but not revealing any compromising information. But many, like Kulczycki, had unambiguously sold out.