National Catholic Register


World Media Watch

Keeping an eye on the news from around the World.

BY John Lilly

November 26-December 2, 2006 Issue | Posted 11/22/06 at 10:00 AM


Church of England Endorses ‘Passive Euthanasia’

BBC NEWS, Nov. 12 — A bishop of the Church of England wrote that “(it may) in some circumstances be right to choose to withhold or withdraw treatment (from a newborn baby), knowing it will possibly, probably, or even certainly result in death,” BBC News reported.

According to the Nov. 12 edition of the British newspaper The Observer, Bishop Tom Butler of Southwark added, “There may be occasions where, for a Christian, compassion will override the ‘rule’ that life should inevitably be preserved. Disproportionate treatment for the sake of prolonging life is an example of this.”

Butler submitted his assertions to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which had been seeking submissions into critical care in fetal and neonatal medicine. The report, looking at the ethical, social and legal issues that may arise when making decisions surrounding treating extremely premature babies, was to have been published by the council Nov. 16.

Earlier this month, Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called for a debate on whether deliberate medical intervention to cause the death of severely disabled newborn babies should be legalized.

South Africa Parliament Okays Same-Sex ‘Marriage’

BREITBART.COM, Nov. 14 — The South African parliament approved new legislation recognizing homosexual “marriage,” a first for a continent where homosexuality is largely taboo, the website reported.

The National Assembly passed the Civil Union Bill, worked out after months of heated public discussion, by a vote of 230-41, despite criticism from both traditionalist marriage supporters and homosexual activists and warnings that it might be unconstitutional. There were three abstentions.

The bill provides for the “voluntary union of two persons, which is solemnized and registered by either a marriage or civil union.” It does not specify whether they are heterosexual or homosexual partnerships. But it also says marriage officers need not perform a ceremony between same-sex couples if doing so would conflict with his or her “conscience, religion and belief.”

The bill had been expected to pass given the overwhelming majority of the ruling African National Congress, despite unease among rank and file lawmakers. It now has to go to the National Council of Provinces, which is expected to be a formality, before being signed into law by President Thabo Mbeki.

Portugal: Law Will Change Only With Voter Approval

INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, Nov. 12 — Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said the country will only ease its abortion laws if Portuguese voters call for such a change in an upcoming referendum, reported the European newspaper.

Portugal is one of Europe’s most pro-life countries, allowing abortion only until the 12th week of pregnancy, and only if a woman has been raped, her health is in danger or the unborn child is malformed.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva was expected to call a referendum by January 2007 to ask voters if they agreed with legalizing abortion for all women until the 10th week of pregnancy. The Socialist-led government, with a majority in parliament, does not need the referendum to pass the bill, but the prime minister insisted public approval was necessary.

“We will only pass this law if the ‘Yes’ gets more votes than the ‘No’,” Socrates said. “We only need one vote, but we need it to do it.” He reaffirmed his party’s support for the bill, and said he personally would vote ‘Yes.’