World Media Watch

First Bishop of State-Sanctioned Catholic Church Dies

Bishop Dong Guangqing, the first bishop ordained by the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, China’s state-sanctioned church — which is not in communion with the Holy See — died May 12, the Associated Press reported.

Bishop Dong, 90, was bishop of the central city of Wuhan and a former vice president of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which officially permitted Catholic churches in China. Relations with the Holy See have been improving in recent years, but persecution of the Church and its canonically ordained priests and bishops continues.

Irish Court Backs Abortion Travel

The Dublin High Court ruled May 15 that a pregnant woman can go to England to abort her child, reported the Irish Times.

The woman, 17, is 18 weeks pregnant. She took her case to the high court after the Irish Health Executive informed her she was not allowed to abort her child without its consent. The unborn child was diagnosed with anencephaly.

Justice Liam McKechnie ruled that there is no law preventing the woman from leaving the country to receive an abortion. He said the case is not about abortion or the unborn child’s right to live but about the woman’s right to travel.

Abortion is illegal in Ireland except to save the life of the woman, but voters in 1992 amended the Irish constitution to make it legal for women to receive information about foreign abortion services and to travel to England to undergo an abortion.

Mosque Named for Blessed Mother

In an effort to show there’s a common ground between Christians and Muslims, an Australian imam named his house of worship in the sheep country between Melbourne and Geelong the Virgin Mary Mosque, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Let us prove that Christianity and Islam have many things in common,” said the blind Somali named Sheik Isse Musse. “We both revere the Virgin Mary. Second thing is generally Muslims name their schools, their mosques, their streets, everything after men. Let us show there is nothing wrong in naming a mosque after a person like Mary.”

He added, “Some people could not digest it, but I kept explaining: ‘Look, is not the Virgin Mary mentioned in the holy Quran? Isn’t she a very high and pious person?’ Yes. So what’s stopping us giving her name?”

Doctor to Priests: Spread the Word About AIDS

According to a report from the Asian news agency UCAN, Indonesian Dr. Asep Purnama said priests could play a key role in stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS in his country by raising awareness among parishioners.

“I ask priests to give information about HIV/AIDS, because they are spearheads of social change,” Purnama said May 3 at a seminar at San Domingo Minor Seminary in Larantuka.

Cooperation between the Church and society will help people change dangerous, high-risk lifestyles, he said, urging local governments to build a special clinic for blood tests in the districts of East Flores, Ende, Lembata, Manggarai, Nagakeo, Ngada, Sikka and West Manggarai.