World Media Watch

Soccer Matches Canceled Due to Threats

BBC NEWS, Oct. 17 — A Ballymena amateur soccer league canceled two of its games at the weekend because of fears of paramilitaries attending, BBC News reported.

The secretary of the town's Saturday Morning League said police warned him Protestant Ulster Defense Association men planned to go to a game between Harryville Homers and Broadway Celtic. Another match was canceled due to threats from Catholic republicans.

There have been a series of sectarian attacks against both Catholics and Protestants in Ballymena in recent months.

League Secretary Brian Montgomery said, “What I think we have to do now is, either through talking to these people or through intermediaries, to discuss what the position is and how we can get it stopped.”

Government Breaks Up Prayer March

MANILA DAILY TRIBUNE, Oct. 15 — A peaceful protest led by bishops, priests, religious and politicians was blocked and forcibly dispersed by anti-riot police in downtown Manila, the Daily Tribune reported.

Before the march was held, Lito Atienza, mayor of Manila, warned the group from pressing with the march, saying they could face a violent dispersal that could lead to the same bloody incident in 1987, where 17 farmer protesters were killed in a shootout that broke out.

The marchers were protesting the increasingly authoritarian policies being imposed by the Arroyo government. Police barricaded the road leading to the church at Beda College, the marcher's destination and protesters were held back by anti-riot police who used water cannons to disperse the marchers.

Father Robert Reyes said the mere fact that they are preventing the procession to reach its destination only goes to show that the government does not trust even the prelates.

“This is not a rally,” Father Reyes said. “The bishops are here and they say the Rosary. A procession for peace, for enlightenment, it is primarily all the attempts of the government to reimpose some form of martial rule.”

African Catholics Urged to Help Somalis

SUDAN POST, Oct. 17 — Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics from the Horn of Africa to offer aid to those suffering because of violence and instability in Somalia as he visited a seminary for Ethiopians and Eritreans, the Sudan Post reported.

Speaking in English to bishops from Ethiopia and Eritrea making their ad limina visit to Rome, Benedict said political instability in neighboring Somalia made it “almost impossible to live with the dignity that belongs properly to every human person.”

Somalia formed a transitional government in 2004, but the country remains predominantly a mixture of clan fiefdoms with no government to support them.

Noting that Catholics in the area are a small minority, Benedict encouraged what he called “practical ecumenism” among Catholics and other Christian faiths for joint humanitarian endeavors to alleviate the suffering caused by sickness, hunger and war.

Brazil Part of Holy Father's 2007 Itinerary

MEROPRESS, Oct. 16 — Pope Benedict XVI plans to visit Brazil in 2007 to take part in the general meeting of the Latin American Bishops Conference (CELAM), announced Brazilian Catholic Church officials to the South American news agency.

The date of the CELAM conference has not yet been set, but the gathering is expected to take place in late April or early May 2007 in the city of Aparecida, some 167 kilometers northeast of Sao Paulo.

The Holy Father confirmed his attendance at the meeting during an audience with CELAM leaders Oct. 14 at his Vatican residence, reported the Brazilian National Bishops Conference.

Benedict XVI met with Cardinal Francisco Ossa, the archbishop of Santiago, Chile, and president of CELAM, Cardinal Pedro Rubiano, archbishop of Bogota, Colombia, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Buenos Aires’ archbishop.