DAILY CATHOLIC for December 18
NEWS & VIEWS
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vol, 8
no. 55

RUSSIAN PATRIARCH OFFERS CRITICISM OF TELEVISION, SEX EDUCATION
      MOSCOW (CWN) - The Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow struck out at television for its moral bankruptcy and at plans to introduce sex education in schools during a Tuesday meeting with parish priests and patriarchate officials.

      Patriarch Aleksey II said Russian television has taken advantage of new freedoms after the fall of Communism to broadcasts increasing levels of morally offensive material -- singling out the NTV network's broadcast of Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" -- while also increasing its attacks on the church. "After decades of persecution, the church is now rising from the ashes," he said. "But we should not deceive ourselves by this new dawn, we should not forget that in this world the church has been, still is and always will be persecuted."

      The patriarch also included criticism of the government's plans to spend millions of dollars on a new sex education program in schools. "In sermons, we should pay attention not only to doctrinal truths but to the fight against drunkenness, smoking, drugs, and other vices ... The orthodox conscience, still less that of a cleric, cannot accept legalizing pornography, prostitution, and the sexual 'education' of schoolchildren," he said. He added the government had raised its allocation for sex education in next year's budget to 240 billion rubles ($40 million) from 40 billion -- "and this at a time when the country is dying of poverty and destitution."

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December 18, 1997       volume 8, no. 55
NEWS & VIEWS



December 1997