In Brief

Source: FSSPX News


France: Christmas is above all a family celebration

 According to an exclusive survey carried out by the CSA institute for La Croix, published on December 23, Christmas appears to be regarded as a family celebration more than a religious one. 69% of French people regard it as “a time to be with the family,” 45% see it as “a celebration for children,” 26% see this day as a religious feast and 18% of the French attend Christmas Mass…

 In spite of everything, Christmas represents a favorite time for most French people: 78% of them claim to be very or fairly attached to this Feast, with regular practicing Catholics in the lead (97%).


Vietnam: Christmas banned by the army

 The Society for Threatened Peoples, based in Göttingen in Germany, reported on December 22 that the Christians in the mountainous regions of central Vietnam had been prevented from attending Christmas celebrations. Religious practice remains subject to arrests and ill treatment by the Vietnamese army.


 Poland: House where John Paul II was born for sale

 On January 2, the agency PA announced that the house where John Paul II was born and lived for the first 18 years of his life was being put on the market. It currently houses a John Paul II museum and belongs to Ron Balamuth, the American heir of the former owners. Miroslaw Kleber, the owner’s lawyer, said: “If the price can be agreed, I think the transaction may take place even in January” with the interested parties, a highly rated Polish society and a private individual. The price could reach a million dollars.


Ireland: Refusing married priests is “a great loss”

 On December 22, 2005, Mgr. William Walsh, bishop of Killaloe, gave an interview to the Dublin Sunday Tribune. “I have known excellent priests who have left the priesthood because they found the challenge of celibacy was impossible for them,” he said. “It is a great loss for the ministry. It seems that every one of us needs love and intimacy in our lives, because without this we live alone and in isolation. Unless it is in a certain way, a gift to others and to God, celibacy has no meaning. If we intend celibacy simply as the abstinence of sexual intimacy, it is negative and without the gift of life.”


Switzerland: 44% divorce rate in 2004 and rising

 In December 2005, the Federal Office of Statistics (OFS) published the “Demographic portrait of Switzerland.” The survey reveals that the divorce rate stands today at 44%, compared with 15% in 1970. In 2004, the 18,000 divorces represented a rise of 6.8% in comparison with 2003. In more than 95% of cases the couples made a mutual request. The majority of divorces occur during the sixth year of marriage. However, a growing number of couples are divorcing after many years together. The couples who break up after more than 30 years of marriage represent 6.3% of cases in 2004, compared with 3% in 1970. In two thirds of cases, custody of the children continues to be given to the mother, in spite of the legal possibility of sharing parental responsibility since 2000.


Holland: Motion by Parliament to ban the burka

 On December 20, the Dutch press agency ANP reported the Parliaments demand to the government to ban the wearing of the burka in public places in the Netherlands. This veil covers everything but the eyes of Muslim women.

 The delegates of the different parties referred to the difficulty of the integration of the women into Dutch society and gave their support to the motion by the delegate Geert Wilders. This follows Rita Verdonk, the Dutch immigration and integration minister, who had requested last October the study of the possibility of banning the burka in certain public places for security reasons. In Belgium, the towns of Ghent and Antwerp have banned the wearing of the burka in public.


Spain: Abortions and illegitimate births increasing

 At the end of December, the Ministry of Health announced that 84,985 abortions were carried out in Spain in 2004 and 79,788 in 2003, compared with 49,367 in 1995, that is an increase of 72% between 1995 and 2004. The report notes that 64% of the women who opted for abortion were unmarried.

 At the same time, the Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE) reported that 25.1% of births were to unmarried mothers in 2004. However, the proportion of unmarried women giving birth is 42.4 % among foreigners compared with 22.3% for Spanish women. Finally, INE revealed that the proportion of Catholic marriages is in sharp decline, with only 63% of marriages celebrated in Church, compared with 80% in 1990.