National Catholic Register


Media Watch

BY Jim Cosgrove

August 18-24, 2002 Issue | Posted 8/18/02 at 2:00 PM


Wrecking Marriages the High-Tech Way

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, Aug. 5 – Perhaps you've seen those pop-up ads on the Internet for “reunion” Web sites that offer to connect people with high-school chums. Such sites also help users get back in touch with childhood sweethearts – which is fueling infidelity and divorce, according to marriage counselors in Great Britain.

The London Daily Telegraph reported that the largest counseling organization in the U.K. said 10% of the couples it served had encountered trouble because of the Internet.

Said a marriage therapist: “It's all too easy. You are at home, you pretend to be working, you find someone on the Internet who used to be an old flame. ... I know of a case where a woman tracked down a former boyfriend, is about to have an affair and her marriage is now rocking around all over the place.”

One counselor, Paul Maitland, told the Telegraph the services are a threat to relationships “where one partner perceives the marriage to be less exciting than it first was. ... The ease with which people can track down others from their past via Web sites is a real cause for concern.”

Brazilian Bishops Report More Rural Violence

FIDES NEWS, July 27 – A recent survey published by the Land Pastoral Commission of the Brazilian Bishops Conference pointed out that violence and oppressive work conditions are engulfing rural communities all over that vast country.

The survey, published with the approval of the Brazilian Institute of Technological Information and Science, said that compared to 2000, the number of murders increased in 2001 by 40%. Even more alarming, according to the bishops, was a 519% increase in the number of slave-workers in 2001 – to 2,416 people, more than half of them in plantations in the south Para region.

The Land Pastoral Commission was formed in 1975 to offer support and assistance to peasants and rural workers, and denounce situations of violence and injustice.

Embryos Cannot Be Destroyed for ‘Spare Parts'

LIFESITE NEWS, Aug. 2 – An English couple, Jayson and Michelle Whitaker, are faced with a medical tragedy they tried to remedy by creating a “designer baby.”

Their 3-year-old son, Charlie, has a rare blood disorder that can be treated if bone marrow is derived from the umbilical cord of a sibling with a perfect genetic match.

Their second child, a daughter, did not provide such a match. Chances of future children offering a match are one in four, so the couple planned to employ in-vitro fertilization to “design” a child whose umbilical cord could be mined for such marrow – creating and discarding as many other embryos as necessary.

However, Great Britain's Fertilization and Embryology Authority denied them permission, according to Lifesite News ( The authority “ruled that embryos can be screened only if there is a risk that they carry a serious genetic disease” and not to determine their suitability as organ or tissue donors for other children. The couple said they were “devastated” by the decision.