World Media Watch

British Minister Attacked for Opus Dei Membership

LONDON DAILY MAIL, Jan. 24 — Having confirmed an association with Opus Dei, Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has been subjected to a chorus of anti-Catholic diatribes in the media.

Kelly, a 36-year-old member of Parliament and mother of four, told BBC interviewer David Frost Jan. 23, “People know I am a Catholic and that I take it seriously. I do have spiritual support from Opus Dei, and I think that’s right.” She refused to confirm whether she was one of the organization’s official members, or numerarys, of whom there are 500 in Britain and 80,000 worldwide, saying, “I, along with any other politician, am entitled to a degree of privacy in my private life.”

Since Kelly’s association with Opus Dei has become known, it has been described in British newspapers as “secretive,” “reactionary,” “ultraconservative,” “a cult” and “the stuff of English Catholic nightmares,” while its members have been compared to the Freemasons, traitor and conspirator Guy Fawkes and the Spanish Armada.

South African Cardinal: Condoms Don’t Work

MAIL & GUARDIAN, Jan. 25 — Cardinal Wilfred Napier, archbishop of Durban, has declared that moral, not mechanical, means should be used to combat HIV and AIDS in South Africa.

Cardinal Napier, who is also the head of the South African bishops’ conference, said Jan. 24, “There’s no medical evidence to prove that condoms prevent the transmission of AIDS, and it’s only 70% to 75% effective in preventing pregnancy,” the Mail & Guardian reported. He accused the South African government of facilitating promiscuity: “Government speaks about moral regeneration, but it does not think how the promotion of condoms affects human behavior.”

The only proven method of combating the spread of HIV and AIDS is abstinence, Cardinal Napier pointed out. He commended to South Africa the experience of Uganda, which has experienced a profound drop in its infection rate with a campaign based on the motto “Change your behavior.”

‘Holy Family’ Vandal Explains Actions

LONDON INDEPENDENT, Jan. 25 — The man who attacked the “Holy Family” wax display at Madame Tussauds in London said his religious faith impelled him to make “war against crap,” a British courtroom heard Jan. 24.

Madame Tussauds, the famous wax museum, had presented a controversial nativity scene with tabloid celebrity Victoria Beckham as the Virgin Mary and her husband, soccer star David Beckham, as Joseph.

James Anstice, a 39-year-old law lecturer, pleaded guilty to criminal damage and was given a one-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay 100 pounds ($190) in restitution for his Dec. 12 attack, which resulted in $4,700 in damage.

Anstice denied he was a “nutter” or a “militant Christian” or nursed a grudge against the Beckhams. He explained, “It was the combining of celebrity with religion that I found so offensive. Jesus was born in poverty, and it was an absolutely absurd representation.”