World Media Watch

Vietnam to Ordain 57 Catholic Priests

PRAVDA, Nov, 21 — The Church in Vietnam plans to ordain 57 priests later this month, the largest number of clergy to be added to the communist country in a single ceremony, as relations between Hanoi and the Vatican continue to thaw, Pravda reported.

The ceremony will be presided over by senior Vatican envoy Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, said Vatican deputy spokesman, Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini. The ceremony was scheduled Nov. 29 at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi.

While predominantly Buddhist, Vietnam has an estimated 6 million Catholics, the second highest number in Southeast Asia after the Philippines. The government recognizes only a handful of officially sanctioned religions or denominations, which has drawn sharp criticism from international human rights organizations and governments.

Like China, Vietnam has no diplomatic ties with the Vatican, and their relations have been strained over Hanoi's insistence on having the final say in most of the Church appointments, a policy the Vatican has staunchly rejected.

Church Crusades Against Moral Decadence

JAKARTA POST, Nov. 16 — The Church is urging a joint movement with other religious communities to develop a new culture needed to fight what it calls prevailing moral deterioration in Indonesia: specifically rampant corruption, violence, and environmental degradation, the Jakarta Post reported.

Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, chairman of the Indonesian Conference of Bishops, said the Catholic community as an integral part of the nation and the state had to shoulder some of the burden, because they had contributed to this moral decadence.

“The Catholic Church has been deeply concerned not only about problems and issues coming to the surface, but also about the root causes of moral deterioration,” Cardinal Darmaatmadja said.

The cardinal Darmaatmadja, who is also the archbishop of Jakarta Archdiocese, said the role the Catholic community would play in building this new culture would be discussed at a synod held November 16-20 in West Java. Some 400 bishops, priests and laymen from 36 dioceses across the country participated at the conference.

“Responding to moral decadence, many have been apathetic and many others have become angry, which has made us vulnerable to acts of fundamentalism,” the cardinal said. “The Catholic Church does not want either, therefore it is trying to help create the new human character and culture.”

School Offers Pregnancy Tests to 11-Year-Olds

DAILY MAIL, Nov. 15 — A family values organization denounced a school's decision to offer pregnancy tests to girls as young as 11 — without telling their parents, the Daily Mail reported.

Simon Viccars, the headmaster of the school, Leon School and Sports College, which has 700 pupils aged between 11 and 19, said, “We have decided to offer pregnancy testing for those young girls who have a need,” he said. “We have not consulted parents on this. We have taken the lead. It has been backed totally by the school's governing body and we have consulted the local health authority.”

Hugh McKinney, chairman of the National Family Campaign, said: “Schools need to be reminded that sexual relations with children under 16 is a criminal offence.”

Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “Children go to school to learn English, maths and science, not to have pregnancy tests. It is sending out the wrong message. Teachers are being turned into social workers and schools into social services departments.”

McKinney added, “Schools should not be in involved in issues likepregnancy testing. This is a subject for medical practitioners and parents to discuss,not for schools to provide.”

Representing the Holy Spirit that descended “like a dove” and hovered over Jesus when he was baptized.

Bishop Burbidge: The Pandemic is Our ‘Pentecost Moment’

This “21st century Pentecost moment” brought on by the pandemic, Bishop Michael Burbidge said, has underscored the need for good communication in the Church across all forms of media, in order to invite people into the fullness of the Gospel.

Representing the Holy Spirit that descended “like a dove” and hovered over Jesus when he was baptized.

Bishop Burbidge: The Pandemic is Our ‘Pentecost Moment’

This “21st century Pentecost moment” brought on by the pandemic, Bishop Michael Burbidge said, has underscored the need for good communication in the Church across all forms of media, in order to invite people into the fullness of the Gospel.