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Articles by Category for ‘Vatican’

The Strange Bedfellows of the Anti-Contraception Alliance

Friday, March 28th, 2014

The Strange Bedfellows of the Anti-Contraception Alliance

See: http://prospect.org/article/strange-bedfellows-anti-contraception-alliance

On March 25, lawyers representing the owners of a large purveyor of craft supplies and a much smaller cabinetry business will appear before the Supreme Court in what has become the cornerstone case for opponents of the Affordable Care Act’s “contraception mandate.” Under the mandate, all employers-with the exception of religious organizations like churches-must include free birth control under their insurance plans. Catholic schools, hospitals, and social service agencies immediately raised a ruckus. Dozens of Catholic nonprofits filed lawsuits against the government, arguing that because their tradition forbids them from using birth control, paying for it-even indirectly through insurance-would violate their religious liberty.

The cases that will appear before the highest court deal with a different question: whether the owners of corporations can claim religious liberty exemptions. But there’s a stranger and less remarked-upon twist. The owners of both companies aren’t Catholic at all; one is Mennonite, and the other is evangelical. While Catholic doctrine teaches that birth control undermines God by allowing couples to separate reproduction from sex, Protestants-whether they’re Presbyterian, Episcopalian, or Southern Baptist-have no such theological objection.

Strictly speaking, the Protestant entrepreneurs involved in the upcoming case aren’t trying to get an exemption for all 16 forms of contraception covered under the ACA. They claim-backed up by a growing multitude of pro-life activists-that Plan B and the IUD cause abortion by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Every year, more scientific evidence piles up to support the opposite conclusion: that contraceptives only work before the egg has been fertilized, not after.

See: http://prospect.org/article/strange-bedfellows-anti-contraception-alliance

Pope Francis and the Great Catholic Divide

Friday, March 21st, 2014
Pope Francis and the Great Catholic Divide
Perhaps more than any other pope in modern times, Pope Francis has done much to unify and reinvigorate the Catholic faith, but as he approaches the first anniversary of his ascendancy to the papacy, he still confronts a great divide. As confirmed by a recent international poll of 12,000 Catholics in 12 countries, many Catholics do not embrace the church’s teachings on family planning. Many, in fact, hope that Pope Francis will relax, if not reverse, the church’s longstanding opposition to the use of modern contraceptives.

The poll, which was conducted by Bendixen and Amandi International for Univision, found that support for family planning among Catholics is high, particularly in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. In five of the 12 countries that were surveyed, including the pope’s homeland of Argentina, nine out of 10 Catholics support the use of contraceptives. (The other four countries were Columbia, Brazil, Spain, and France.) In America, the poll found that nearly eight out of 10 Catholics (79 percent) were in opposition to church teachings on contraception.

If nothing else, Pope Francis is prepared to listen to concerns about family planning. Last fall the Vatican announced plans to gather information in preparation for the October 2014 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” The survey instrument, which was disseminated to dioceses around the world, asked Catholics to make known their views with respect to family planning, along with abortion, divorce, gay marriage and other issues affecting modern family life.

Pope Francis faces church divided over doctrine, global poll of Catholics finds

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Pope Francis faces church divided over doctrine, global poll of Catholics finds
See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/pope-francis-faces-church-divided-over-doctrine-global-poll-of-catholics-finds/2014/02/08/e90ecef4-8f89-11e3-b227-12a45d109e03_story.html

Most Catholics worldwide disagree with church teachings on divorce, abortion and contraception and are split on whether women and married men should become priests, according to a large new poll released Sunday and commissioned by the U.S. Spanish-language network Univision. On the topic of gay marriage, two-thirds of Catholics polled agree with church leaders.

Overall, however, the poll of more than 12,000 Catholics in 12 countries reveals a church dramatically divided: Between the developing world in Africa and Asia, which hews closely to doctrine on these issues, and Western countries in Europe, North America and parts of Latin America, which strongly support practices that the church teaches are immoral.

The widespread disagreement with Catholic doctrine on abortion and contraception and the hemispheric chasm lay bare the challenge for Pope Francis’s year-old papacy and the unity it has engendered.

See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/pope-francis-faces-church-divided-over-doctrine-global-poll-of-catholics-finds/2014/02/08/e90ecef4-8f89-11e3-b227-12a45d109e03_story.html

Swift decision on RH law sought in Philippines

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Swift decision on RH law sought
See: http://www.freenewspos.com/news/article/d/319670/today/swift-decision-on-rh-law-sought

Manila, Philippines — Concerned about the country’s ballooning population, lawmakers are asking the Supreme Court to finally decide on the fate of the Reproductive Health (RH) law.

Teddy Brawner Baguilat made the appeal after Commission on Population (PopCom) executive director Juan Antonio Perez III disclosed that the country’s population is set to reach more than 100 million in the third or fourth quarter of 2014.

“For me, before the end of the first half of 2014, the SC should put to finish to this case, so that the policy issue addressed by Congress through the RH law should be put into life, implemented and its desired results be felt by our country. Half a year is ample time to arrive at a very sound and legal decision,” said Tugna.

Baguilat said there is a need for the SC to swiftly decide on the law, which does not only address increasing population growth but also high incidence of HIV infections and maternal deaths.

He said if the SC was able to immediately decide on the legality of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF), it should also “decisively” act on the RH law implementation.

“No more delay. We sink or swim with the SC decision. Not just to curb runaway fertility, but also to combat maternal deaths, teenage pregnancies and HIV infections,” he said.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.freenewspos.com/news/article/d/319670/today/swift-decision-on-rh-law-sought

Justices Are Asked to Reject Nuns’ Challenge to Health Law

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Justices Are Asked to Reject Nuns’ Challenge to Health Law
See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/04/us/politics/obama-administration-urges-court-to-reject-nuns-health-law-challenge.html

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration urged the Supreme Court on Friday to reject a lawsuit filed by the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Roman Catholic nuns challenging requirements for many employers to provide health insurance coverage for birth control or face penalties under the new health care law.

The Justice Department said the requirements did not impose a “substantial burden” on the nuns’ exercise of religion because they could “opt out” of the obligation by certifying that they had religious objections to such coverage.

The Little Sisters “need only self-certify that they are nonprofit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services,” the administration said in a brief filed with the Supreme Court by the solicitor general, Donald B. Verrilli Jr.

In addition, he said, the nuns would need to send a copy of the certification to an entity that administers their health plan, Christian Brothers Services.

On Tuesday night, hours before the contraceptive coverage requirements were to take effect, Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the Obama administration from enforcing them with respect to the nuns and certain other religious groups. The Little Sisters of the Poor operate nursing homes for poor people in the United States and around the world.

In its filing with the court on Friday, the administration said the nuns “have no legal basis to challenge the self-certification requirement or to complain that it involves them in the process of providing contraceptive coverage.”

If the nuns sign the certification required by federal rules, the administration said, neither they nor their health plan nor the entity that manages their health plan will be under any legal obligation to provide coverage of birth control.

“With the stroke of their own pen,” Mr. Verrilli said, the nuns “can secure for themselves the relief they seek from this court.” Accordingly, he said, the court should lift the stay imposed by Justice Sotomayor.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/04/us/politics/obama-administration-urges-court-to-reject-nuns-health-law-challenge.html

At Any Cost: How Catholic Bishops Pushed for a Shutdown-and Even a Default-Over Birth Control

Monday, October 21st, 2013
At Any Cost: How Catholic Bishops Pushed for a Shutdown-and Even a Default-Over Birth Control

by Adele M. Stan, RH Reality Check
October 6, 2013

On the matter of the government shutdown that took effect October 1, it seems the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) would have it both ways: for and against.

The bishops want to be on the record as champions of health care for the masses, food for the hungry, and shelter for the homeless-things the government, when operational, helps to provide. But they’re happy to block access to such services for those in need of them unless Congress agrees to block women of all faiths or none, on the whim of an employer, from receiving prescription birth control as part of the preventive care benefit in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

If that doesn’t work, they wouldn’t mind seeing the global economy brought to its knees for the sake of making the most effective forms of contraception more difficult for women to obtain.

Here might be a fitting place to note that women are barred from leadership in the Roman Catholic Church, an act of discrimination that other Christian denominations long ago abandoned. No cardinal was ever made to interrupt his education for an unplanned pregnancy; no bishop ever endured the pain, blood, and terror of a life-threatening labor. But I digress.

The Bishops and the Tea Party

Late last month, as a legislative impasse incited by Tea Party-allied Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), between the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives brought the government within just days of a shutdown, the bishops weighed in. The House, effectively controlled by the GOP’s Tea Party faction, had already gone one round with the Senate, demanding that a routine continuing resolution (CR)-a means of funding the government in the absence of a budget-include a measure that would revoke funding for implementation of the ACA, a measure the Democratic-controlled Senate predictably rejected.

To read the full article, please click here: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/10/06/at-any-cost-how-catholic-bishops-pushed-for-a-shutdown-and-even-a-default-over-birth-control/

Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control
See: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/world/europe/pope-bluntly-faults-churchs-focus-on-gays-and-abortion.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

Six months into his papacy, Pope Francis sent shock waves through the Roman Catholic church on Thursday with the publication of his remarks that the church had grown “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he had chosen not to talk about those issues despite recriminations from critics.

His surprising comments came in a lengthy interview in which he criticized the church for putting dogma before love, and for prioritizing moral doctrines over serving the poor and marginalized. He articulated his vision of an inclusive church, a “home for all” – which is a striking contrast with his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, the doctrinal defender who envisioned a smaller, purer church.

Francis told the interviewer, a fellow Jesuit: “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.

“We have to find a new balance,” the pope continued, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

To read the full article, please click here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/world/europe/pope-bluntly-faults-churchs-focus-on-gays-and-abortion.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

Population control may be God’s will ?

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Population control may be God’s will
Janice Herr, Las Vegas

See: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/jul/19/population-control-may-be-gods-will/

The Bible says that men (and women) are to be stewards of the Earth, and yet we are becoming locusts who would destroy it. A steward should protect and take care of our planet. Right as the global population is expanding to record levels, along comes reliable contraception, marriage between two of the same sex (who will have few, if any, babies) and safe abortions. I think this is God’s plan.

I tried for years to get pregnant but had a miscarriage at 20 weeks. It was a sad time for me and my husband, but after more years, we finally got our two wonderful daughters.

Most unplanned abortions, called miscarriages, happen in the first three months, and most planned abortions also happen in the first three months. I don’t think God would put a soul into a fertilized egg. There’s no heart or a brain yet, but even if there is a soul at this early stage, God would take it back to heaven. So I don’t understand the religious furor about abortion.

My opinion is that God puts a soul into the baby when it takes the first breath of life. If someone disagrees with this idea, they are able follow their own dictates. Unfortunately, some people are trying to push their own religious ideas onto everyone else and using government to do it.

I have faith that God’s plan will prevail before the Earth is destroyed and pray there are others who agree with me.

Doctoring in a family way

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Doctoring in a family way

A proposed policy change would eliminate reproductive training for GP residents, which would put such care out of reach for many women.

See: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-block-reproductive-rights-20130515,0,5445251.story

Jennifer was one of my first patients as a new doctor, and she came to see me about an unintended pregnancy. A single mom to a rambunctious 5-year-old girl, Jennifer was struggling economically and battling depression. We talked about the options available to her: continuing the pregnancy and preparing to parent another child, offering the baby for adoption or having an abortion. She chose to continue with the pregnancy, and I worked with her over the following months as she struggled with the discomforts of pregnancy, excessive weight gain and the anxiety of having to raise two small children on her own.


Seven months later, I delivered Jennifer’s beautiful baby boy. Six weeks after that, I saw Jennifer, her new baby and her 5-year-old for a joint checkup. We discussed colic, diet and exercise, her daughter’s ADHD and birth control. During Jennifer’s visit, I placed an IUD, a long-acting intrauterine contraceptive device, so that her next pregnancy could be by choice and not by chance.


These are the types of relationships that inspired me to become a family doctor: intergenerational, continuous care for patients of all ages, inclusive of all healthcare needs.


New policies proposed in April by the Residency Review Committee for Family Medicine, or RRC, the group that outlines requirements for physician training programs nationwide, threaten to interfere with that comprehensive care and to decrease reproductive health access for women like Jennifer.


The proposed RRC changes would eliminate the current requirement that family medicine residents learn full-scope reproductive healthcare. Instead, the decision to teach these skills would be up to the discretion of individual residency programs. Family doctors would no longer be required to learn how to prescribe birth control, place intrauterine devices or contraceptive implants, provide options counseling for women with unintended pregnancies or diagnose and manage miscarriages.


To read the full story, please click here: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-block-reproductive-rights-20130515,0,5445251.story

Sex and Earth Day, 2013

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Sex and Earth Day


Watch Free Online Streaming of the Award-WinningEnvironmental Film, Mother: Caring for 7 Billion starting this Earth Day Weekend April 19   

Denver, CO – Even though sex and global warming are rarely discussed in the same sentence, much less in the same film, the long ignored connection was recently explored in the award-winning environmental documentary Mother: Caring for 7 Billion.


In celebration of Earth Day, the filmmakers of Mother announced the Internet release of their “Director’s Cut” that will stream online for free from April 19 until the end of May. To view the free online streaming of Mother go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdEspxlq3bo 


Christophe Fauchere, director and co-producer of Mother stated, “We want Mother to be viewed by as many people as possible for Earth Day because Mother holds up a mirror and shows people a very different way to look at their role on this planet.”


Lisa Hymas, co-founder of Grist.org says “This is not your father’s population documentary… Mother takes a feminist/humanist view as it explores the issues of our exploding numbers.”


The journey to make the film was not always easy. The filmmakers found resistance to the topic by environmental groups who feared alienating their supporters.


However, as writer Sacha Vignieri noted in her Science magazine review of the film, “Our choice to avoid discussion of the population issue… will not make the problems disappear. Christophe Fauchere’s film Mother: Caring for 7 Billion encourages us to reengage, both publicly and personally, with the reality of what our increasing population will bring.”

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