World Media Watch
Cardinal Defends Health Minister’s Pro-LifeStance
THE AUSTRALIAN, Feb. 15 — Cardinal George Pell of Australia defended Catholic Australian Health Minister Tony Abbott after members of parliament discussed stripping the pro-life politician of his authority regarding the abortion drug RU-486, The Australian reported.
If the rare conscience vote takes place, authority over use of the drug would be given to medical authorities of the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Senators earlier in the month voted in favor of a private bill transferring authority to the government body.
Abbott has consistently held with his Catholic beliefs in this matter,
and has stated his concern over the health risks of the abortion drug. Those
safety concerns could not be “airbrushed out of existence,” Cardinal Pell said,
and anyone voting in favor of increasing its availability was not “pro-life.”
“Already significant numbers of women have died after taking the drug,” he added. RU-486 will increase the danger of women suffering home-alone miscarriages and will further trivialize the destruction of human lives.”
Polish Leader at Vanguard of Europe’s Culture War
CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Feb. 10 — Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his twin brother Jaroslaw are at the forefront of a budding “culture war” in Europe upholding pro-life values against the growing secularism, the Tribune reported.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, older by 45 minutes, heads the Law and Justice party, which won September’s parliamentary elections. But instead of taking the top job as prime minister, Jaroslaw, who prefers to operate in the background, stepped aside in a bid to enhance his younger brother’s chances in the presidential elections the following month. The strategy worked.
Both Kaczynskis have been outspoken critics of permissive abortion laws, laws giving preferential treatment to homosexuals and the failure of the proposed European Union constitution to refer to God or Europe’s Christian roots.
“Contrary to some people’s opinions, I am not a radical conservative myself. I accept change in this world,” the president said. “I accept the right of people to have their own opinions, equal rights of women and changes in social mores. However, that doesn’t mean that we should forsake family values.”
He noted that “Poland is definitely more deeply Catholic than any other Catholic country in Europe” and said that as president, “I will, for sure, defend the fundamental value system in Poland.”
Marriage Course Waiting Lists Growing
IRELAND ON-LINE, Feb. 14 — Accord, the agency for Marriage and Family for the Diocese of Dublin, has seen such an increase in demand for its marriage prep courses that they are booked through July, the website reported.
Hundreds of couples are currently booked for courses, which are held in 11 centers around the Dublin Diocese and waiting lists continue to grow.
The courses are nine hours in duration and held by trained facilitators. As well as marriage preparation, Accord also provides marriage counseling and relationship and sexuality programs in schools.
Mary Quinn, director of marriage education at Accord Dublin, said many foreign nationals working in Ireland were approaching them for courses on their own before returning home to marry their loved ones still residing in Poland, Lithuania, India and elsewhere.
This new phenomenon has also seen Accord staff start looking at ways of helping people with marriage preparation material in their own language.
- February 26-March 4, 2006