EW DELHI—The Bishops' Conference of India launched an initiative to counter discrimination against young girls.
The Church dedicated the nativity feast of Mary. 8 September. to young women. to "remind us how precious to the world and society are the girls born to EIS in the providence of God."
The Church hopes to counter the prejudice against girls in Indian society.
The Bishops' Conference standing committee noted that the "girl child is still rather unpopular in India", in response to the Commission for Women's proposal to dedicate the feast day in honour of unwanted girl children. —(The Calcutta Herald)
BUENOS AIRES—A set of four cassettes with Pope John Paul s
surprise bestseller in Argentina.
The set, released by the Catholic foundation Fides collects 78 catechetical talks in Spanish delivered by the Holy Father at the end of his longer catechesis delivered in Italian during his Wednesday general audiences.
The material, originally released for use in schools, has been bought by people who play the cassettes in their cars and homes.—(CW)V) ILLNOIS—A 41-year-old retarded man convicted of murdering two people in Chicago in 1982 has been granted an stay of execution.
Anthony Porter, who has a reported IQ of Si, was due to be executed on September 23. Catholic leaders had opposed the execution of Porter, saying that "to sanction the death penalty for a person so intellectually retarded" would "be like executing a child" Both Porter's attorney and Cardinal Francis E.George of Chicago have also questioned the condemned man's innocence. saying that there is no evidence tying him to the crime.— (NCR) MONTREAL—Cardinal Jean-Claude Tureotte of Montreal has agreed to allow 30 Chileans seeking refugee status in St. Jean de la Croix Church to stay until an alternative safe house can be found for them.
The men. women and children have been occupying the church since September after three of their compatriots were deported by Canadian authorities.—(NCR) DILI, East Timor—Salesian Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo has been thanked by the Chinese community for ensuring that the anti-Chinese riots that swept through the rest of Indonesia last month did not affect the area.
A spokesman from a delegation of 15 Chinese community leaders said that Belo had helped maintain harmonious inter-ethnic relations, not least through his encouragement of intermarriage between the two groups.
Tam Tim Young, who also met with Belo, thanked him "as the leader of the Catholic majority here for his role in maintaining peace among various ethnic and religious groups in East Timor."— (CNS) MANILA—Aided by the clergy in the country, some 20,000 people marched through the centre of the Filipino capital earlier last month to protest against the proposed Visiting Forces Agreement between the United Staes and the Philippines.
At the rally Congressman Wigberto Tanada warned President Joseph Estrada that approval of the agreement. extending the power of US forces in the country, would constitute "an act of treason". Before joining the protesters, some 400 clergy, religious and seminarians Immaculate Conception Cathedral.
CANBERRA—Australian bishops distanced themselves from a fellow bishop who refused Holy Communion to a founder of the pressure group Ordination of Catholic Women.
Bishop Geoffrey Mayne, the military ordinary for Australia, said that Ann Nugent could not receive the Eucharist when she next visits his Church on the outskirts of Canberra.
Ms Nugent, who has written two pamphlets calling for the ordination of women, was also informed by Bishop Mayne that she could no longer sit on the parish council or read at Mass.
The Bishop said the ban complied with the Pope's recent letter, Ad Tuendam Fidem, which stressed that women can not receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. "To be Catholic we have to accept the totality of the Church's teaching," he said.
The Archbishop of Canberra, Francis Carroll, criticised Bishop Mayne's handling of the situation. "In this case would have sought another way other than denying her communion," he said. Nugent said Bishop Mayne's behaviour was an abuse of clerical power. "It's overkill on his part," she commented.-(The Tablet, CWIV) BEIJING—Chinese Christians urged Tony Blair to raise human rights concerns on his four-day visit to China this week.
The appeal. lead by the human rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), calls on Tony Blair to raise the issue of the repression of China's unregistered Christians with the country's leaders.
CSW's Elisabeth Barther said: "We wholeheartedly hope that on this occasion the Prime Minister will take this opportunity to influence the Chinese authorities to adopt a more realistic and moderate policy on religion and finally allow full religious freedom for people of all beliefs."