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Voices Online Edition
Advent/Christmas 2002
Volume XVII, No. 4

Other Voices...
News Review of Recent Events

Cardinal assails granting marital status to odd couples -- UK: gay adoption rejected -- Report exposes condom ineffectiveness -- New book questions feminists' motives -- Aussie women's group issues demands -- Priest refuses marriage sacrament to Planned Parenthood employee -- Court rules mother can protect unborn child -- After-abortion mistake may result in lawsuit -- Vatican video-conference on women


Cardinal assails granting marital status to odd couples
VATICAN CITY - Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo warned that trying to bestow credibility on cohabiting and same-sex couples is a "cultural manipulation" that is seriously threatening the survival of the family.

The cardinal, who is president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, cautioned at its October plenary assembly that the family is endangered by a "cultural manipulation that has reached the point of recognizing de facto couples and homosexual couples with the same rights as homes with civil or sacramental marriages".

Cardinal López Trujillo said that "the family is presented today as an obstacle for a woman's fulfillment, assuming that as wife and mother there is discrimination in her integration in society and politics".

At a "most difficult historical time for the survival of the family and of its human reality, the institution of the family continues to be a necessary good and an important truth, the basis and foundation of human coexistence", the cardinal continued.

The Pontifical Council for the Family is preparing a 1,000-page lexicon that includes "90 ambiguous terms used by various parliaments worldwide when they debate and legislate on the topic of the family", the cardinal said.

The initiative is an effort to "enlighten consciences and foster the necessary discernment from the ethical point of view", he concluded.


UK: gay adoption rejected
Conservative members of the British House of Lords joined forces to block plans to allow unmarried, homosexual and lesbian couples to adopt children.

The vote was a victory for those who accused the Government of undermining marriage by seeking to put co-habiting and homosexual couples on the same level as married ones.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair was among those who backed the initial proposal, arguing that it would increase the number of children who could be adopted by "loving and stable families".

Earl Howe, a Tory spokesman, said that maintaining the current position would safeguard the welfare of vulnerable children: "Statistics show clearly that couples who commit themselves to marriage stand the best chance of having a stable and enduring relationship. Unmarried couples and same-sex couples are very much more likely to split up than couples who are married. It would be irresponsible of Parliament to subject children to the risk of further disruption in their lives".

The Anglican Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt, said that to leave the Bill as it stood would be to undermine marriage: "It would be like destroying a precious eco-system on which the security, maturity, well-being and wholesomeness not only of countless individuals but of our society, now and in the future, depends".

Telegraph Group Limited

Report exposes condom ineffectiveness
A new report challenges the argument that using a condom reduces the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases.

The report, released by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, concludes that condoms fail to prevent many dangerous sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Researchers found that condoms must be used 100 percent of the time and used correctly to provide any hope of avoiding STD infection (herpes and HIV are an exception; less than 100 percent condom use can provide some risk reduction). The study also revealed that very few people use condoms 100 percent of the time, and even 100 percent condom use does not eliminate the risk of any STD, including HIV.

Doctor Linda Bussey of the Medical Institute said that teenagers need to know the truth: Even when a condom is used, there is still a 50 percent chance of getting syphilis, gonorrhea or herpes.

It's estimated that there are roughly 15.5 million new sexually transmitted infections each year -- and that number is growing, according to Doctor Joe McIlhaney, a key contributor to the report. "Condoms clearly are not the answer", he said.

Bussey added that STDs have become a "silent" epidemic.

"We've seen the number of sexual partners skyrocket. We've seen the age of onset of sexual activity drop and it's pretty much been tolerated with a wink and a nod", Bussey said.

Focus on the Family

New book questions feminists' motives
A new book reveals that many of the nation's feminist organizations focus more on supporting the Democratic party than on women's issues. The book also asserts that the issues that the organizations initially were designed to address are no longer of great concern to women.

"The feminist groups that have the most influence on Capitol Hill and Wall Street do not represent most American women", wrote author Kimberly Schuld in her book Guide to Feminist Organizations. "They may be savvy in politics and public relations, but they don't know or care about what most women and girls think or the problems they face in their homes, schools and communities".

Terrence Scanlon, president of the Capital Research Center, the nonpartisan philanthropy watchdog group that produced the book said, "It is clear that as the women's movement of old increasingly achieved its aims, the new generation running these feminist organizations have turned away from activism on behalf of legal and political equality to pursue an increasingly partisan agenda in support of the Democratic Party".

The book profiles 35 feminist organizations -- including the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League and the Feminist Majority -- with emphasis on their "desire" and "mission" to influence public policy. Schuld said that although her research revealed that many of these organizations are losing members, their influence is on the rise -- mostly because of the power they wield with the media and with politicians.

"NOW claims to be nonpartisan, but it has publicly urged voters to defeat Republican candidates. In 2000, it attacked Ralph Nader's presidential candidacy, fearing he would take votes from Al Gore", Schuld wrote.

Schuld says her research into feminist groups revealed that liberal philanthropists -- including the Ford Foundation, Warren Buffet and Ted Turner -- "have given millions of dollars in grants" to the groups she studied. She discovered that some, including Planned Parenthood, receive government support as well.

Schuld points out that while Planned Parenthood often criticizes proposals for the government to finance abstinence programs, the organization and its affiliates receive 30 percent of their funding from tax dollars.

The Washington Times

Aussie women's group issues demands
The Commission for Australian Catholic Women (CACW) recently released a list of recommendations based on "the hopes and frustrations with the implementation of the Australian Bishops' Decisions and Proposals for the greater participation of women in the Catholic Church in Australia". Among the recommendations were:

The emphasis given to the meetings out of which these recommendations were born begs the question of why the Australian hierarchy is focused on these issues at a time when recent research shows that less than five percent of 16 to 25-year-old Australian Catholics are practicing.

Cardinal Edward Clancy, former archbishop of Sydney, said that Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus -- a 1999 report on the participation of women in the Catholic Church in Australia - demonstrated that a "silent majority" of practicing Catholics in Australia support Church authority and see no barriers to women's participation in the Church.

Woman and Man was followed in 2000 by the Australian bishops' Social Justice Statement for 2000, which recommended "guidelines concerning the use of inclusive language in the liturgy, prayer, pastoral and social life of the Church". About three percent of Australian Catholics responding to the 1996 Catholic Church Life Survey considered inclusive language an issue to be concerned about.

More information about the CACW can be found on its web site at

AD 2000

Priest refuses marriage sacrament to Planned Parenthood employee
OTTAWA - Canada's Catholic Civil Rights League praised an Alberta priest's decision to refuse a wedding for a woman who works for Planned Parenthood. The league said that it was predictable that Father John Maes of Medicine Hat, Alberta, would be "held up for scorn by the media" for refusing to officiate at the wedding. "One of the strengths and reasons for the growth in the Catholic Church in Canada and throughout the world is the fact that we stand by our principles and are not swayed by the fashions of the moment", said Thomas Langan, league president. "The truth of Catholicism goes deeper than simple selfish needs of the moment," he said.

Celina Ling, a Catholic, and Robert Symmonds, a non-Catholic, were to be married at Saint Patrick's Church in Medicine Hat in September, but Father Maes told them in late August that they could not be married in the church because of Ling's involvement with Planned Parenthood.

"Like all other sacraments, marriage requires repentance for sin prior to valid participation. Father Maes did not refuse this pro-abortion woman marriage because of her beliefs", Langan said. "Rather, he informed her that continued unrepentant involvement with the abortion industry renders her ineligible to receive the sacrament".

"No Catholic can responsibly take a pro-choice stand when the choice in question involves the taking of innocent human life", said Bishop Frederick Henry of Calgary, who supports Maes's decision not to marry the couple.

Planned Parenthood Alberta's executive director, Melanie Anderson, told the Medicine Hat News that Maes's action could result in people boycotting the church.

Ling says she is pro-choice, not pro-abortion, and that she will not quit her job. She also said she would not return to her parish and was not likely to attend any Catholic church in the future.

Father Maes's decision to refuse to marry the couple came after Ling was quoted in the Medicine Hat News in an article linking her to Planned Parenthood.

Catholic News Service

Court rules mother can protect unborn child
A ruling in a Michigan court affirming the human status of the unborn is making abortion advocates nervous.

An expectant mother can protect her unborn child -- using deadly force, if necessary -- the court ruled. The case involved a pregnant woman who stabbed and killed her boyfriend after he punched her in the stomach. Although her life was not threatened, the Michigan Court of Appeals said she should be allowed to argue in court that she acted in defense of her unborn child.

"What the court of appeals in Michigan has said is that these unborn children -- at any stage of development -- are 'other persons', and therefore that this right to defend them applies to the unborn child", said Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee.

Jan LaRue, director of legal policy at Concerned Women for America, said that the ruling illustrates the insanity of current abortion laws: "If the woman hired an abortionist to kill her unborn child, that's acceptable under Roe v. Wade, but here, if she wants to use deadly force because she wants the pregnancy, that will be permitted". LaRue added that the right to life should not hinge on whether a child is "wanted".

The decision, which excludes the act of abortion, is expected to be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Focus on the Family

After-abortion mistake may result in lawsuit
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - A woman who mistakenly saw her aborted baby in a jar is suing the hospital responsible for the mistake.

After taking RU486 (the "morning after" pill) at Glasgow's Stobhill Hospital, Nicola McManus -- the mother of three other children -- "miscarried" and then received a telephone call from her husband. Nurses showed her to a side room to take the call, where she discovered the jar, which was labeled with her name.

"I was mid-conversation and saw it. I told Frank and he tried to comfort me but I wasn't listening any more. I was crying", McManus recounted. "I fell apart. I couldn't believe anyone could be careless enough just to leave it lying there. That image will live with me forever".

Mrs. McManus plans to sue the North Glasgow NHS Trust, claiming the mishandling of the abortion has left her psychologically scarred. She filed a formal complaint and received an apologetic letter from the Trust, which said that the room where she discovered her baby's remains was not ordinarily used by patients.

"Unfortunately, the products of conception from your termination were in a labeled jar ready to be sent to pathology and awaiting collection.... The ward sister apologizes for the obvious distress this has caused you", wrote general manager Mary McGinley.

Mrs. McManus said that although RU486 is designed to make abortions easier, this was not the case for her. She added that Stobhill Hospital offered her no counseling prior to the abortion: "They explained the procedure and got me to sign some forms. But no one actually sat down and asked me if this was what I really wanted to do.... Women need more counseling before abortions, not less.... I will never get over what happened to me".

Scottish Daily Record online edition

Vatican video-conference on women
The Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy has announced that a video-conference on the role of women in the Church has been scheduled to be held October 29.

The announcement said that the video-conference is part of a regular monthly feature held with ten institutions in cities around the world. Topics scheduled for the conference included "Women in Holy Scripture", "Women in the Church" and "Women and the Family". Details of speakers and presentations at the conference were not contained in the report by Zenit News Agency.

The texts of the cardinals, bishops and theologians who will be addressing the conference are to be posted on the web page of the Congregation for the Clergy at, the announcement said.


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