World Media Watch

Pakistani Government Bans Da Vinci Codep>

ASIANEWS, June 5 — The government of Pakistan said The Da Vinci Code “is blasphemous and offends the Christian minority,” and banned its screening, AsiaNews reported.

The government’s decision follows protests by the small Christian community, which makes up 2.5% of the total population. Muslims deny Jesus’ divinity, as does The Da Vinci Code; however, they hold him and the Blessed Mother in very high esteem. At the end of May, the community had called for a “total ban on a work that offends us all, in the name of respect for all religious symbols preached by Islam.”

The film was also banned June 3 in Andhra Pradesh, the seventh Indian state to decide to forbid its release following a statement issued by the Indian censor board. The board left it up to local governments to decide whether to ban the film or not. However, it obliged Sony — the company that produced and is distributing the film — to insert a notice at the beginning of the film to say “the film is a product of fiction without any historical validity.”

Anti-Abortionist Jailed for Photo Protest

NEW ZEALAND HERALD, June 5 — An English anti-abortion protester was jailed for mailing graphic pictures depicting children killed via abortion to a hospital that performs abortions, the Herald reported.

This is the first time jail time has been imposed on an anti-abortion protester since abortions were legalized in Great Britain in 1968. Edward Atkinson, 74, belongs to the pro-life organization UK Life League. His mailings targeted the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. Because of the incidents, the hospital banned Atkinson from all treatment except for life-threatening conditions. He had been on the waiting list for hip-replacement surgery.

The UK Life League recently criticized Diana Vernon, head of a Catholic girls school in Surrey, for providing information on contraception to pupils aged 14 and 15. It also publicized the names of Scottish politicians whom it accused of supporting the “holocaust of legalized terminations.”

James Dowson, president of the organization, said, “We want to put ourselves between the butcher’s knife and the baby.”

Thousands of Pilgrims Make Trek to Uganda

 ALLAFRICA, June 5 — Thousands of Catholics from all over Africa made the trip to Uganda to pray at the Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo and attend the St. Charles Lwanga and Uganda Martyrs Day commemoration events June 3, the African news service reported.

Archbishop Christopher Pierre, papal nuncio to Uganda, and Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala concelebrated the Mass at the shrine. The government of Uganda was represented by Vice President Gilbert Bukenya and Prime Minister Apollo Nsimbabi.

Between 1885 and 1887, 32 Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, were put to death on the orders of King Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda, after they defied his decree to renounce Christianity. The 22 Catholic martyrs were beatified by Pope Benedict XV in 1920 and canonized by Pope Paul VI on Oct. 18, 1964.