Phoenix Diocese Criticizes Breast Cancer Foundation

Arizona Republic, Nov. 3 — The Diocese of Phoenix has asked a leading breast cancer foundation to discontinue its cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood facilities, reported the Republic.

An editorial written by Catholic Sun editor Rob DeFrancesco and approved by Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted cited a $25,000 grant by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona as money that “frees up Planned Parenthood funds for those other areas opposing life and counter to our Catholic faith.”

The editorial followed complaints the newspaper received after profiling a group of women who were participating in the foundation’s Race for the Cure event.

The Arizona Republic noted that the Komen Foundation has financial connections with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, which is part of Catholic Healthcare West. The newspaper also pointed out that the diocesan newspaper has accepted advertising from a variety of organizations that differ with Church teaching on reproductive matters, including a grocery chain and a theater troupe.

Women Sue Over Birth-Control Patch

Associated Press, Nov. 1 — A group of 40 women have sued the pharmaceutical company Ortho-McNeil, alleging that their birth-control patch caused serious illnesses and at least one death, AP reported.

One lawsuit alleges that 43 women suffered from blood clots and other ailments after using the patch. Another complaint alleges that 25-year-old Kelly Bracken of Elk Ridge, Md., died as a result of severe blood clots in her lungs and legs after she started using the patch. The suits were filed in San Francisco Superior Court.

“This product should not be on the market,” said Shawn Khorrami, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “When you put out a product that gives women more hormones than they need, then you’re increasing their risk of developing those ailments.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Ortho Evra birth-control patch in 2001. Similar lawsuits have been filed by at least 400 other women nationwide. One study found that women who used the patch faced twice the risk of clots than did women on the birth-control pill.

Detroit Church Becomes a Mosque

Detroit News, Oct. 27 — After 83 years, Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Detroit is celebrating its final Mass. The Archdiocese of Detroit sold the church and other buildings, which will become a mosque, said the News.

The sale to the primarily Bangladeshi Islamic Center of North Detroit is indicative of change in the once Polish neighborhood. The Polish population has fallen from 878 in 1990 to 394 in 2000, while the Asian population has increased from 249 to 421 Bangladeshi and 530 Indian residents during the same period.

Our Lady Help of Christians’ congregation has been merged with nearby Transfiguration parish, another Polish Catholic community.

Scholars Share Religious Data

Newhouse News Service, Nov. 7 — More than 500 researchers met in Portland, Ore. to share their findings as part of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association, reported Newhouse.

Among their findings was University of Texas research that showed that chastity pledges have “robust protective effects” on the incidences of premarital sex. A study of married adults who were virgins until their wedding day found that 48% were consistent “pledgers.”

A national survey of Catholic churchgoers found that most were generally satisfied with life in their parishes. Sociologist James Davidson of Purdue University said there were two areas that active Catholics felt could use improvement: adult education and outreach ministry to the community.

Another study found that churches with large numbers of older worshippers were least likely to attract new members. Those that empower lay leaders and care for young people were more than twice as likely to grow.