DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     September 2, 1998     vol. 9, no. 172

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

BRAZILIAN CONGRESSMAN ACCUSED OF STERILIZING NATIVE WOMEN, WHILE ON THE BEACHES OF BRAZIL CATHOLICS OUTRAGED AT CHRIST IMAGE ON SWIMSUITS. AT THE SAME TIME MISSIONARIES ASK HALT ON RAIN-FOREST DEVELOPMENT IN BRAZIL

          BRASILIA (CWNews.com) - A political scandal ignited in Brazil on Monday after the O Globo newspaper said that a member of the Brazilian Congress sterilized all the women of a native village in exchange for their votes.

          Brazilian authorities are currently investigating Roland Labigne, a doctor and congressman accused by a pro-native organization of the massive sterilization of all the women in a Pataxo tribe, making concrete one of his political campaign offerings. In 1994, Labigne promised native women "a method to avoid pregnancies" in exchange for their votes. The National Foundation for the Natives (FUNAI) denounced Labigne because he allegedly did not tell the Pataxo women that tubal ligations were irreversible. "This is a crime in itself, but particularly so if we take into account that the Pataxo are near extinction," FUNAI said.

          FUNAI investigations will probe the theory of some Pataxo, who claim that Labigne was sponsored by a group of 240 local landowners that want the land the Pataxo control. Labigne became a congressman in 1994, and will finish his term next October. Even while he faces another judicial investigation by the Health Ministry because of other charges involving malpractice in his clinics, he insisted he did nothing against the law.

          In a related story, Brazilian Catholics this week protested the introduction of a new line of swimsuits that feature an image of Christ on the backside of men's swimming trunks.

          Designer David Azulay said the image of Christ's head crowned with thorns on the suits is a homage to the two sides of Rio -- its image as a beach resort as well as its Catholic foundations. But Catholics in the city did not see the juxtaposition as appropriate. "An image of Jesus Christ should be put in a better place. This is way out of line, grotesque and in bad taste," Friar Antonio Santana Rego of the Santo Antonio monastery told one newspaper.

          Some media reports said the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro was investigating legal measures to block the sale of the swimsuits which begins this week with an initial run of 5,000.

          Meanwhile at the Vatican, Italian missionaries working in Brazil have written an open letter to the world's governments and international organizations, calling for the preservation of the Amazon rain forest-- "the world's largest forest"-- as a special project for the Jubilee Year 2000.

          The Italian daily Avvenire today reported that the missionaries were calling for a five-year moratorium on exploitation of the rain forest. They referred to the current use of that forest as "pillage."

          The missionaries have called for "the strictest laws" to protect both flora and fauna in the Amazon region, as well as increased regulation of the existing industries there. The region, they said, should be held "sacrosanct."

          Pope John Paul II has, in the past, issued public calls for respect for the way of life of the Indian tribes living in the rain forest, whose prospects have been endangered by fires during the past year.


Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

September 2, 1998       volume 9, no. 172
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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