Tag Archives: Catholic Church

Nicaragua Bans All Abortions!

The government of Nicaragua has banned all abortions regardless of how the woman was impregnated or whether or not the pregnancy is a threat to her physical health. Amnesty International discovered that many young girls who have been subjected to sexual violence by family or friends are forced to give birth to children who might be their own brother or cousin. Statistics reveal a record number of pregnant teenagers who committed suicide by consuming poison and about 33 girls died in pregnancy last year. Former radical leader Daniel Ortega who once fought for women rights decided getting elected was more important than adhering to principles of social justice. Once elected he pushed through a blanket ban on termination of any pregnancy.

The lunacy of the ban on abortions includes criminal penalties against doctors and nurses who treat a pregnant woman or girl for illnesses such as HIV or cancer if such treatment could cause injury or lead to the death of the embryo or foetus. As Amnesty International executive deputy secretary general noted: “there is only one way to describe what we have seen in Nicaragua–sheer horror. Children are being compelled to bear children.”

How can any church support such laws and term themselves followers of Jesus Christ?

Is Francisco Franco Finally Dead?

To those alive in the 1930s, the rise to power of dictator Francisco Franco was a death blow to the idea of freedom for the people of Spain. Franco was assisted by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in overthrowing a legally elected government. The ensuing Spanish Civil War was brutal, and atrocities were committed by both sides, but those of Franco far surpassed anything implemented by the Republican government. The Spanish Bishop of Vitoria celebrated a memorial service in which he asked forgiveness for the Catholic Church’s collusion with Franco in murderous events of the civil war. He specifically noted the church remained silent at the death of 14 priests by Franco’s forces, and even refused to give them a funeral. “The silence with which officials of our church surrounded the deaths of these priests is not justifiable nor acceptable for much longer. Such a long silence was not only a wrongful omission, but a lack of truth and an act against justice and charity, for which we ask pardon.”

It has taken over a half century to take notice of the murder of innocent priests, but, at least the Catholic Church is finally coming to grips with its behavior during the Spanish Civil War.

Child Abuse Rampant In Irish Catholic Church!

A new report issued by Ireland’s Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse blasted the Catholic Church for its failure to protect children against systematic beatings and sexual abuse. ” A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from.” The system created to deal with children placed in industrial and reform schools turned out to be one in which those in charge behaved like criminals and those subject to their authority were treated like slaves. According to the report, thousands of boys and girls were raped and exploited by the religious brothers and nuns who theoretically were responsible for their well being.

The Ryan Commission also was critical of the Irish government for failure to supervise these institutions and protect children instead of simply going along with anything proposed by those in charge of the Catholic Church. There were calls for Pope Benedict to hold a special investigation into what happened to children in Ireland.

I have taught at a Catholic College and knew many wonderful nuns and priests. The horror of such stories is that all too often, those who are abusive to children are the ones placed in charge of children. In confronting this horrible story, hopefully, we don’t forget the decent priests and nuns.

Has The Heart Gone Out Of Some Catholic Leaders?

This is not the time nor place to discuss the pros and cons of abortion, but there are occasions when regardless of one’s views on the subject, a spirit of compassion and understanding should prevail. The Catholic Church is now involved in what is for it a disastrous public relations nightmare stemming from the decision of a Brazilian mother to allow her nine year old girl to have an abortion after she became pregnant. The little girl had been raped and doctors believed it was necessary to perform an abortion to save the life of the girl. Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re, who heads the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, said although the girl was raped by her stepfather, her twins had “the right to live and could not be eliminated.” The mother and doctors who performed the abortion have been excommunicated.

The stepfather who raped the girl will not be excommunicated from the church. Archbishop Jose Cardosa Sobrinho, said the man would not be thrown out of the church because although he committed a “heinous crime,” the Church regards that “abortion, the elimination of an innocent life, was more serious.”

Who are these church leaders? Do they realize by taking this stand they are encouraging many to leave the Catholic Church? Isn’t there any possibility of an exception to a rule?

Busty Virgin Mary Models Upsets Church

A prominent Chilean fashion designer sparked an outrage in Chile by dressing up models like the Virgin Mary and allowing some to display their breasts in all their naked prominence. The Catholic Church in Chile is furious over the planned fashion show in which young women will display clothes and breasts. According to Ricardo Oyarzun, he was merely displaying some beautiful women, and some, will have a halo over their head to emphasize their religious virtues. “There is no pornography here, there’s no sex, there are no virgins menstruating or feeling each other up,” just clean wholesome beauty being shown to the world.

Of course, no one has any actual pictures of what the Virgin Mary looked like or whether or not she had ample breasts. Why do people consider beauty to be synonymous with sex? From what accounts indicate there are no sexual acts. Unfortunately, no one can ask the Virgin Mary her views on such body displays.

I would be more impressed if the Chile Catholic Church became outraged at the picture of starving children in Zimbabwe or dead ones in Gaza.

Australian Catholic Church Not Gay To Gays

Australia’s Archbishop John Bathersbury bluntly informed a church in St. Mary’s South Brisbane Parish it would be closed down if it didn’t cease being so friendly to gays and lesbian people. Bishop Power of Brisbane says, “at times there are a lot of people who can be disillusioned, and it is good if there is a place where they can feel at home.” Most who come to the parish have been excluded from their own churches. Bishop Power of Brisbane expressed a sympathetic view of the situation. “I would have a lot of sympathy for a parish which is reaching out to gay people.”

We are living in the 21st century and churches still are debating an issue which by the end of this century will be regarded as something that all people accept as natural.

Abortion Foes Fail In Great Britain

A coordinated attack on British abortion laws failed when Parliament rejected one effort after another to declare abortion a crime. The campaign was pushed by many members of the Catholic Church hierarchy who pleaded for an end to abortion. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, used the debate on human fertilization and embryology as a lever in which to end abortion. “The country as a whole is becoming aware that 200,000 or so abortions a year is not only sad but also somehow very wrong.”

Many Parliamentarians were concerned over the use of a debate on scientific research to quietly push through an abortion limit. The House of Commons rejected attempts to reduce the upper limit of 24 weeks as well as throwing out other attempts at restrictng the right to an abortion. Liberal Democrat MP, Evan Harris, summed up the feelings of most members of Parliament. ‘Parliament has made the right decision, regarding women’s rights to access abortion and taking the advice of the medical world about what the appropriate time limit should be.”

Chilean Supreme Court Rules Against Lesbian Teacher

The Supreme Court of Chile ruled against a lesbian’s right to teach Catholic religion based classes in the school system. A 1983 Education Ministry decreee requires all relligon teachers to possess an aptitutde certificate issued by a religious authority. Sandra Parvez, who has taught religious classes for over 20 years, lost her fight to continue teaching Catholic religious classes after it was discovered that she was a lesbian. Chile’s Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation(MOVILH) denounced the decision “as one of the most violent ever made against a person’s dignity.” it regards the issue as to whether the Catholic Church has the right to decide who teaches classes in Chilean public schools.

Several Chilean legislators complained the Supreme Court was interfering in the right of secular institutions to make decisions without regard to what is thought or believed by the Catholic Church. MOVILH also pointed out single mothers and cohabiting partners are also being prevented from obtaining the certificate issued by the church.

Perhaps, it is time for Chile to take a different road and simply halt the teaching of religion in public schools.

Pope Benedict Angers Jews With Easter Prayer

Jewish groups around the world have sharply condemned Pope Benedict XVI’s new version of a Catholic Good Friday prayer. The Easter holiday which commemorate’s the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has historically often been accompanied in the past by outbreaks of anti-semitism in Christian nations. Last month, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict had revised the so-called “Good Friday Prayer for the Jews” which forms part of the Tridentine Mass, ofen referred to as the Latin Mass. The new version, translated from the Latin now reads: “Let us also pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men.”

It is quite clear that Pope Benedict is no Pope John who at the Second Vatican Council had the Good Friday prayer revised to read: “Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant.”

Many Jews find insulting a prayer by the leader of the Catholic Church which implies they lack true faith and need some sort of guidance from people like him. His insensitivity is amazing. He certainly must be aware that anti-semites historically have used Good Friday to launch attacks on Jews by blaming them for the death of Jesus Christ. Perhaps, it is time for Jews to pray for the soul of Pope Benedict that he may gain awareness of his repsonsibility to spread peace and love.

Gay Rights Challenged In Chile Education Dispute

Chile’s Movement for Homosexual Integration and Freedom(MOVILH) criticized their nation’s Ministry of Education’s handling of the case of Sandra Pavez, a lesbian religion teacher who was denied teacher re-certification by the catholic Church. She lost her teaching credential after Church officials learned Pavez was a lesbian even though she had been teaching religion for 21 years at a public elementary school. A 1983 Ministry of Education decree requires all religion teachers to possess an aptitude certificate issued by a religious authority. The San Miguel Appeals Court ruled against Pavez’s claim that the Church’s refusal violated her constitutional rights.

At a meeting held between MOVILH and Church authorities, the Minister of Education failed to appear and together with the lackluster support given Pavez by government officials, it is apparent they do with to challenge the Catholic Church on such issues. MOVILH notes that recently the Ministry of Education took a strong stand to protect the right of teenage mothers to attend graduation ceremonies, but on an issue of sexual rights there is an unusual silence. Education Ministry official, Maria d la Luz Silva, said the Ministry is still seeking to meet with Pavez and MOVILH before making a decision on the case. MOVILH is using this issue to fight for new legislation that would remove the Catholic Church from deciding who can or cannot teach in public schools.

The United States has been lucky to avoid such confrontations because of our historic separation of church and state. To those who wish to allow religion to enter public schools, this case should come as an awareness of things that are best avoided.