Bishops Criticize FDA for Contraceptive Move

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. bishops’ pro-life office has criticized the Food and Drug Administration for directing Barr Pharmaceuticals to resubmit its application for over-the-counter marketing of the Plan B “morning-after” pill. The FDA reportedly will soon approve non-prescription sale of the potentially abortion-inducing drug to women aged 18 and older.

“The bishops’ conference continues to oppose making Plan B available without medical supervision, whether to minors or adults,” said Deirdre McQuade, director of planning and information at the Pro-Life Secretariat. “The ‘morning-after’ pill may prevent fertilization, or it may interfere with the implantation of the embryo in her mother’s womb,” McQuade said. “Such interference is best understood not as contraceptive but as a very early abortifacient action.”
McQuade added, “A number of studies have shown that readier access to emergency contraception does not lower unintended pregnancies or abortions. Such access may also lead to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Plan B fails the test of addressing an urgent medical need ... and may expose women to greater harm.”


Strong Winds Level Iowa Church

MARYHILL, Iowa — The day after a storm leveled Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Maryhill, current and former parishioners and members of the community gathered at the site to remember what the church meant to them.

According to authorities, strong winds, not a tornado, flattened the structure. On one corner close to the church, statues of Mary and St. Michael were still standing after the storm. Other statues and grave markers in the cemetery were still intact as well. Father Gene Sitzmann, a retired priest of the Diocese of Sioux City, was in the basement of the rectory, next to the church, during the Aug. 1 storm. He had been pastor at Maryhill Visitation for 36 years and still lives in the rectory.

“It kept developing while I was watching TV,” Father Sitzmann told The Catholic Globe, newspaper of the Sioux City Diocese. “The sounds kept increasing and I heard things banging against the side of the house. I thought it wasn’t hail but things flying around, so I went down to the basement.” When the storm started to subside he came back upstairs. “It was dusk and when I looked out the window the church was not there.”


Struggling John Paul II Cultural Center Appoints Director

DETROIT — Dominican Father Steven Boguslawski, rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit for the past three years, has taken up a new post in Washington as acting director of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center.

He had already been appointed regent of studies for the Dominican House of Studies in Washington before beginning his Aug. 1 position with the cultural center.

The priest, who plans to work both jobs concurrently, said his work at the cultural center will be similar to his duties at Sacred Heart because of the educational component, just on a larger scope.

Father Boguslawski is currently working on a five-year strategic plan for the center, planning to marshal its resources and form strategic relationships to allow it to fulfill its mission.

“I have great hope for the future,” he told The Michigan Catholic, Detroit’s archdiocesan newspaper.

The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, which opened in 2001 on 12 acres near The Catholic University of America, has been experiencing financial difficulties. Because of low attendance rates, center officials earlier this year discontinued the museum activities and shifted the center’s focus to its Intercultural Forum -- a think tank on the philosophy of Pope John Paul II.

Several museum staff positions were also cut. The center’s previous executive director, Msgr. William Kerr, left his position in June.