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International News Archive
May 21 - May 28, 2001

 

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This page contains news for the period May 21 through May 28, 2001.

 

 

<<   May 2001  >>

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Thursday, May 24, 2001

Afghan unwed couple flogged in public

A story released today by Zenit News Agency reports that the fundamentalist Afghanistan Taliban regime today publicly punished an unmarried couple accused of having sex, witnesses told Agence France-Presse.

Fazl Rahman and a woman identified as Nadia were given 100 lashes each at the Kabul sports stadium in front of thousands of spectators, mostly from the ruling Taliban militia, they said.

Taliban officials said a local court found the couple guilty of having sex three months ago. "Adultery is a big sin, which brings about corruption and chaos to the society, according to the Koranic reasons," a Taliban official said.

The Taliban militia, who seized Kabul in 1996, have enforced strict interpretation of Shariah, Islamic law, in the areas they control.

 

Monday, May 21, 2001

Irish Catholic priest bars unwed mother from participating on daughter's first communion

A story published today by the Irish Independent reports that a young unmarried mother claimed yesterday that her parish priest threatened her with excommunication if she went "anyway near the altar" at her daughter's first Holy Communion on Saturday.

Caroline Leen wept as she recalled the moment her parish priest informed her she could not receive communion on her daughter Sarah's big day.

Fr. Pat McCarthy unavailable for comment yesterday gave the young mother of two the stern warning when she went to the parish church to talk to him along with a fellow single mother who faces the ban on Saturday.

"About three or four weeks ago he (Fr McCarthy) went to see a couple to explain they wouldn't be allowed receive communion on Saturday because they were not married, are living together and have a child," explained Caroline.

"The girl was very upset and rang another girl in the same position, who rang me. Two of us went to the church to talk to him after mass. I wanted to know if it would be the same situation for me and he said it would. He said we were not married and were living in sin."

"I told him I received communion all along and wish to receive it on Saturday. He said if I went anyway near the altar I would be excommunicated."

"I wanted to receive the host at the altar with Sarah and he said 'no.' He said he only would allow the child's godparent or grandparent to be at the altar for the first Holy Communion but not us."

A compromise has since been reached that will see first communion recipients arrive at the altar on their own as their parents continue to sit in the congregation. However, the ban on unmarried parents who live together receiving communion at Saturday's celebration remains.

"All I want is to be by Sarah's side and receive communion with her. Surely that's not too much to ask? My only hope now is that she is oblivious to all this on the day."

Caroline's friend and neighbor Linda McCarthy, whose daughter Kim is due to make her first communion in neighboring Lixnaw on Saturday week, has found herself in the same boat after parish priest Fr Richard O'Connor confirmed he will be applying the same catechism ruling.

In a much softer approach on the issue last night, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Kerry stepped back somewhat from the strict line being taken by the two parish priests by stating that in administering pastoral duties, priests must be "sensitive and compassionate."

"The teaching of the Church is that anyone who has a serious sin should not be encouraged to go to communion. But at no time is it suggested that someone should be publicly refused a sacrament." the spokesperson added.

"We encourage that people be treated with the greatest sensitivity and at no time would they be publicly refused holy communion. But in offering people pastoral guidance it is important to stay faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church and that is where problems sometimes arise."


 

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