Husband hits back
A BRAZILIAN married priest whose ordination was approved by the Pope said this week that he was annoyed by the publicity his case had attracted. Fr Ivo Schmidt, one of two married men ordained by Cardinal Aloisio Lorscheider of Fortaleza, said that the Vatican had given the go ahead for his ordination three years ago after a local bishop had assured the Holy See that the question of his celibacy would be respected. "Although I live with my wife as I did before in one house, sexual relationships have for a long time been impossible since my wife has been ill for many years," he said. The Pope has urged the two priests to live "as brother and sister" with their wives.
THE foundation stone for the first new Russian Orthodox cathedral to be built in Moscow since the 1917 revolution was laid this week on the site of a cathedral destroyed by Stalin. Patriarch Aleksi led a procession from Si Basil's in Red Square. itself reopened for worship last month, to the place where Kazan cathedral once stood. Funds for the new building are being raised by private donations.
A CATHOLIC nursing home in Australia was threatened with closure this week after it refused to abide by a government order permitting sex outside marriage among the elderly. Peter Staples, the Australian health services minister who proposed the charter of rights for old people in the country's nursing homes, said that the nuns running the institution would lose their public funding if they refused to comply.
THE hierarchy in Spain this week gave vent to its anger over a £3 million campaign to promote the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS, launched by the government in Madrid. The church has accused the secular authorities of "promoting the sexual act" and weakening parental control.
AFTER 52 years in exile the head of the Ukrainian Catholic church, Cardinal Myroslav Lubachivsky, has announced his return home next April. The cardinal said that he welcomed the new religious freedom in the Soviet Union. Laws guaranteeing the right to worship without state interference were passed in September this year.
THE US Bishops' Conference, which meets in Washington next week, wilt be asked to vote on a major pastoral message addressing the nation's drugs crisis. The message, drawn up after consultation with lawyers, recovering addicts and drugabuse experts, says it "seeks to offer a word of compassion and support to those struggling with substance abuse and a call to our church to bring the values of our faith to this urgent crisis”. In order to be released, the message must be approved by two-thirds of the active bishops attending the annual meeting.