Holy texts hit mobile phones
ITALY'S LARGEST mobile phone company has begun promoting a programme aimed at devout Catholics, by bringing religious and inspirational messages to their cellular phones, writes Mike Leidig.
The programme, launched by Telecom Italia's mobile phone unit TIM, includes three main services called "Gospel of the Day," "Prayer of the Day" and "Saint of the Day."
The services are being promoted directly to TIM clients and are also being touted as a reason for the faithful to switch to TIM from rival companies. Each message is preceded by four fast beeps from the mobile phone that signal to the user that inspiration is on the way.
Earlier this week, the "Prayer of the Day" message read" "Dear God, help me give freely of myself without expecting anything in return". Clients paid around $0.15 each to receive the prayer. The "Gospel of the Day" service provides a different scripture reading each day: the "Saint of the Day" service identifies one of the patron saints of that day along with a brief description of his or her life and work. "This is a small way for Catholic pilgrims to receive inspiration when it might not be available elsewhere," a TIM spokesman says.
Ukraine extends hand of welcome
UKRAINE'S Byzantine-rite Catholic Church has said it would be delighted to receive the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow as a "guest of great importance", if he goes ahead with his planned visit to the country.
Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Archbishop Major of Lviv of the Ukrainians, said he hoped that the visit, announced in November but postponed because of Patriarch Alexy II's health problems and other commitments, might improve relations between the various confessions in Ukraine.
Cardinal Husar hoped that a visit by the patriarch would help to heal relations among the three branches of Ukrainian Orthodoxy and reinforce "Christian and social peace among peoples" in the country.
Poles defend the right to life
THE SPIRITUAL leader of the Catholic Church in Poland has said that his country should retain the right to remain pro-life.
Cardinal Josef Glemp, Archbishop of Warsaw and Primate of Poland, said the European Union must allow his country to set its own regulations on abortion.
He entered the debate as Poland and other European countries with pro-life laws enter into the EU political partnership with other countries with legal abortion.
He said: "We should very much assist this idea [European integration] but nonetheless have a critical stance as to the manner and the methods."
Cardinal Glemp said recognition of the "separateness" of Poland's position on the issue could be made in the accession treaty for now, but should ultimately be included in the EU's constitution. Ireland has such a safeguard, in the form of Protocol No 17 to the Treaty of Rome, which says community law cannot override the Irish Constitution's prohibition of abortion.