World Media Watch

Pipe Bomb Found at Irish Primary School

TIMES ONLINE, Oct. 11 — Army bomb disposal experts defused a small improvised bomb near a primary school in Ballymena, the website of the Times of London reported.

The pipe bomb was discovered by school maintenance staff in a hedge at Harryville Primary School shortly after 9 a.m. The school and a number of adjacent houses were evacuated and the device was eventually made safe around 10.30 a.m. The device is the latest in a series of incidents affecting schools in Ballymena. Catholic schools have been attacked amid rising sectarian tensions which have also seen Catholic homes and property attacked in North Antrim.

The school's principal, Leslie Meikle, told BBC News that police later found several other devices and the pupils had been sent home for the rest of the day.

We don't believe that they're targeting the school,” she said. “It's just this back entry where they can drop stuff off.”

Brazilian Cardinal Fears for Catholic Faith

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Oct. 9 — A senior Brazilian cardinal noted the rapid growth of Protestant movements in Latin America and wondered aloud how much longer the continent could be called Roman Catholic, the Associated Press reported.

The comments by Cardinal Claudio Hummes to the Synod of Bishops reflected increasing concern in the church about the competition for souls in Latin America and Africa.

Hummes cited Brazilian government and Church statistics that found that Brazil's Catholics, who represented about 90% of the country's population during the Second Vatican Council, had fallen to 83% in 1991 and 67% today.

Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out on a few occasions about the threats to the Catholic faith posed by Protestant groups, including on the first day of the conclave that elected him Pope.

“We ask ourselves with anxiety: How much longer will Brazil be a Catholic country?” Cardinal Hummes said in the report. “Many indications say the same is true for all of Latin America, and also here we ask ourselves: How long will Latin America be a Catholic continent?”

Catholic Church Funds Stem-Cell Research

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Oct. 6 — The Catholic Church in South Korea said it will donate $9.6 million for research into adult stem cells, which has proven successful in arresting serious illnesses unlike its embryonic counterpart, the Associated Press reported.

The Archdiocese of Seoul will provide the funds to a committee that will support adult stem-cell research, which doesn't include the destruction of human life. Most of the funds will come from Church collections, with the rest raised through donations, said Bishop Yeom Su-jeong, head of the committee.

South Korea has been embroiled in debates over stem-cell research. It is home to one of the leading scientists in the field, Hwang Woo-suk, who has received international renown for extracting stem cells from killed human embryos.

“We plan to devote ourselves to saving human dignity above everything else … and raise awareness of respecting lives,” Bishop Yeom said in the report. “Keeping and saving lives … is the mission of the times that our Church must accomplish in the face of whatever difficulties.”