New Arizona law awards custody of frozen embryos in favor of birth

July 19, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Phoenix, Ariz., Jul 19, 2018 / 05:20 pm (CNA).- A new Arizona law awards contested custody of frozen embryos to the parent seeking to “develop them to birth.” A Catholic bioethicist told CNA it was a “positive development” in an otherwise unusual ethical situation.

The law, which came into effect July 1, is first of its kind in the United States. It was partly inspired by a custody dispute over frozen embryos. Ruby Torres, a 37 year old woman from Arizona, and her ex-husband John Joseph Terrell created the embryos prior to Torres’ treatment for breast cancer, when she was told she was unlikely to conceive after radiation and chemotherapy. They married shortly thereafter, divorcing three years after she had finished cancer treatments.

Seven embryos were created and remain frozen in storage. Torres told the judge during divorce proceedings that she wanted the embryos,calling them her last chance of having a biological child. Terrell protested, saying he did not want to become a father or be responsible for supporting a child.

Last year, the judge ruled that the embryos should be donated, but not to Torres. She appealed this decision. The law does not apply retroactively to this case or other similar cases.

In other custody disputes, judges have ordered frozen embryos to be either destroyed, remain frozen until an agreement can be made, or donated for use in research purposes. Rarely have they been awarded to a person seeking to actually gestate a child.

Should an embryo be successfully carried tol birth, the Arizona law does not make the unwilling party liable for child support.

Critics of the law say that it “forces” people to become parents against their will. Dr. Ted Furton, director of publications at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, said that this argument is the result of a mentality that considers embryos to be property, not human life.

“As soon as you produce embryos, the man and wife are parents,” Furton told CNA in an interview. “Parenthood doesn’t happen later, it happens at that moment.”

“So, they’re already parents. What they don’t realize when they say ‘I don’t want to be a parent’–it’s too late.”

Furton said that he thought the law’s recognition of an embryo as a human life and not as a form of property was a “very positive development” and a “good sign,” and that he is hopeful these kinds of laws would help people “to better understand that these are indeed human lives, and like every human life, deserve protection.”

[…]

Center for women with crisis pregancies to open in Argentina

July 19, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jul 19, 2018 / 03:29 pm (ACI Prensa).- Priests who work in the slums of Buenos Aires announced Tuesday a “Home of the Motherly Embrace” to care for women in crisis pregnancies.

The initiative, presented at Christ the Worker parish July 17, seeks to respond  to the needs of women who live in the slums and also is a sign of the commitment of the Church to defending the lives of the unborn and their mothers.

Besides lamenting the progress of the abortion bill which passed in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies and is now being debated in the Senate, the priests explained that the Home of the Motherly Embrace will receive teens and young adult women with at-risk pregnancies who are abandoned and who may be tempted to abort, as well as women who have procured abortions.
 
They will be provided nutrition, medical care and checkups, psychological support, and legal and social counseling during the pregnancy and their babies’ first years, until they enter the educational system.

The center will seek to facilitate access to maternity policies and programs, and, if necessary, the process of adoption.

“In a family atmosphere that welcomes, embraces and accompanies (we) will especially seek to encourage and strengthen (the women). The center will also receive and accompany teenage or young adult dads in their growing responsibilities,” the priests said in a statement.

“We choose to take on the  responsibility for these dramatic situations as a community and we’re not uncritically awaiting the establishment of an actual throwaway culture of human beings.”

The priests will carry out their work “there (in the slums) where life goes forward despite the difficulties; and every pregnancy, every girl and every boy, is awaited and welcomed as a gift, with the hope that a future different and better than the existing one awaits him or her.”

The proposal was signed by four bishops, more than 20 priests, and two nuns.

 

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

[…]

Catholic church in UAE to host fatherhood celebration for migrant workers

July 19, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Jul 19, 2018 / 02:47 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A Catholic church in Dubai is hosting a celebration to honor the United Arab Emirates’ migrant workers – many of whom are fathers separated from their homes to provide for their families.   

It is a “day to honor some…fathers who are working here, separated from their families back home,” said Father Lennie Connully, OFM Cap., pastor of St Mary’s Catholic Church.

“They are here struggling for their families. We want to honor them, 500 of them,” he told CNA.

More than 500 men are expected to attend the July 20 event taking place at a labor camp for Khansaheb Investments in Dubai, more than 80 miles northeast of Abu Dhabi.

Organized by Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, the workers will enjoy games, dinner, dance, and gift baskets. The men will be given a combination of food and necessities, including items such as coffee, tea, sugar, detergents, razors, and phone cards. Father Connully said the calling cards will help connect the fathers and their families.

The fathers are “making a big sacrifice in being away from their families just to provide for them. So that is the reason why we thought of them,” he said. “It’s not on a very big scale, but it is something we can give at this moment.”

This is the third annual event that St Mary’s parish will host to provide aid and comfort to the people within the UAE. In 2017, the church celebrated the women who provide cleaning services.

This year, the event coincides with celebrations of the life of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding president of the UAE.

“There can be no better way to commemorate the Year of Zayed – founding father of the UAE – than by honouring lonely fathers on the occasion of International Father’s Day. Shaikh Zayed is a true symbol of humanitarianism. To honour his vision and memory, St. Mary’s Catholic Church has decided to bring fun and entertainment into the lives of more than 500 deserving workers from selected labour accommodations in Dubai,” Fr. Connully said, according to Gulf News.

Dubai has a large migrant-to-citizen ratio, with immigrants making up more than 80 percent of the population and 90 percent of the work force.

Father Connully told CNA that the labor camps, though imperfect, offer these men a chance to be employed.

“A labor accommodation is provided by the company which employs them,” he said. “We cannot say it is ideal, but then the company, of course, is by all means looking for profit with using as little as possible.”

In 2016, numerous reports came out about these labor camp’s low wages, undocumented workers, and poor living conditions. According to Khaleej Times, there are months when workers were not paid and visas where confiscated.

However, Father Connully said the conditions are comparatively good to situations these workers face in their home countries, and the wages are still an opportunity the men may not have otherwise.

“It is comparatively good because they all have single rooms and all that…they have air conditioning and other good[s] compared to” their home countries, he said. “They are able to spare something, send something back home.”

The Asian Migrant Centre found that the largest source of migrant workers in the UAE originate from India. There are also large numbers of guest workers who are Catholic from Africa, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

There are also sizable minorities of Hindus and Buddhists among the guest workers.

The Father’s Day event will serve men of “any religion,” Fr. Connully said. “We have Hindus, Muslims, Christians, all sorts of people from all over the world.”

Because God is the provider, Father Connully said fatherhood plays an important role in the faith and is an honored position.

“In the Christian faith, [fatherhood is] a very, very important role…because we look to God as our Father. He is the provider of all mankind and the Father of the family. In the Christian family, the father has a big role to play and the father has an honored position in every family, especially in the East.”

[…]

Latin American bishops announce day of prayer for Nicaragua

July 19, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Managua, Nicaragua, Jul 19, 2018 / 01:04 pm (ACI Prensa).- The Council of Latin American Bishops has expressed solidarity with the people of Nicaragua and declared Sunday, July 22, a day of prayer for the country.

The bishops of Nicaragua have also called for a day of fasting on July 20, and a month of prayer including adoration, the rosary, fasting, penance and the renewal of baptismal promises.

In a message released July 18, the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean expressed their “closeness and solidarity with the Nicaraguan people and with their pastors, prophets of justice, in the face of the dramatic and painful social and political crisis currently experienced there.”

“In the face of this grave situation, we are called to be the voice of those who have no voice to uphold their rights, to finds ways to dialogue and establish justice and peace, ‘so that in Christ all may have life,’ especially those who feel disconsolate because of the deaths and violence.”

“We encourage you to continue to defend human rights and to be bearers of hope,” the council told the bishops of Nicaragua.

Since April 18, there have been massive demonstrations in Nicaragua against President Daniel Ortega, who has been in power since 2007 and was reelected in 2016 in elections disputed by the opposition. In January 2014, he oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits.

The demonstrations have been put down by police and paramilitaries, with more than 300 deaths.

The Catholic Church has participated as a mediator and witness to national peace talks convened by Ortega. However, Church officials have also faced attacks from groups with ties to the government.

On July 9, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, apostolic nuncio Archbishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, and Bishop Silvio Báez were assaulted during a pastoral visit to Diriamba.

Divine Mercy parish in Managua, where more than 100 students had taken refuge, was also attacked by police and paramilitaries during the night of July 13.

The following day, pro-government mobs attacked the car of Bishop Abelardo Mata of Estelí. The bishop took refuge in a nearby house and was able to return to his diocese only after dark, with the help of Cardinal Brenes, who intervened with the government to send police commissioner Ramon Avellan to guarantee Mata’s physical safety.

The Organization of American States condemned the violence in Nicaragua July 18 and urged Ortega to hold early elections in March 2019 to alleviate the crisis. The bishops of Nicaragua made a similar request last June, but Ortega has ruled this out.

In their July 14 statement, the Nicaraguan Bishops’ Conference denounced “the lack of political will by the government to dialogue” and seek real processes that would lead the country to a true democracy.

Nicaragua’s crisis began after Ortega announced social security and pension reforms. The changes were soon abandoned in the face of widespread, vocal opposition, but protests only intensified after more than 40 protesters were killed by security forces initially.

Anti-government protesters have been attacked by “combined forces” made up of regular police, riot police, paramilitaries, and pro-government vigilantes.

The Nicaraguan government has suggested that protesters are killing their own supporters so as to destabilize Ortega’s administration.

The pension reforms which triggered the unrest were modest, but protests quickly turned to Ortega’s authoritarian bent.

Ortega was a leader in the Sandinista National Liberation Front, which had ousted the Somoza dictatorship in 1979 and fought US-backed right-wing counterrevolutionaries during the 1980s. Ortega was also leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990.

Aid to the Church in Need has launched an online global prayer campaign for Nicaragua, stressing that the nation is facing “its bloodiest crisis since the 80s.”

 

 

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

 

[…]

Australian PM calls for removal of archbishop convicted of not reporting abuse

July 19, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Canberra, Australia, Jul 19, 2018 / 11:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull called Thursday for Pope Francis to dismiss Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, who was convicted in May of failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse disclosed to him in the 1970s.

“As far as Philip Wilson is concerned, he should have resigned, he should have resigned,” Turnbull said July 19, according to The Australian.

“And the time has come for the Pope to sack him. There are many leaders that have called on him to resign, it is clear that he should resign, and I think the time has come now for the ultimate authority in the church to take action and sack him.”

Turnbull was preparing to meet with a group of Australian bishops, and he said they would be “discussing a range of issues.” The Church in Australia is seeking clarity over federal funding for Catholic schools.

Archbishop Wilson, 67, was convicted May 22 of concealing abuse committed by a fellow parish priest in New South Wales in the 1970s. At the time, Wilson had been ordained a priest for only one year.

The victims of the scandal, Peter Creigh and another altar boy who is unnamed for legal reasons, said they both had told Wilson of their abusive experience with Fr. James Fletcher.

The archbishop was sentenced July 3 to a 12-month sentence, which will likely be served as house arrest, but he plans to appeal his conviction.

Archbishop Wilson said that “I am conscious of calls for me to resign and have taken them very seriously. However, at this time, I am entitled to exercise my legal rights and to follow the due process of law. Since that process is not yet complete, I do not intend to resign at this time.”

“However, if I am unsuccessful in my appeal, I will immediately offer my resignation to the Holy See,” he added.

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Gregory O’Kelly of Port Pirie apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, president of the Australian bishops’ conference, said July 5 that “a number of survivors, prominent Australians and other members of the community have publicly called on Archbishop Wilson to resign.”

“Although we have no authority to compel him to do so, a number of Australian bishops have also offered their advice privately,” he said, while adding that “only the Pope can compel a bishop to resign.”

Archbishop Coleridge said the conference has been “closely following” Archbishop Wilson’s case and they respect his decision to appeal, which is “the right of any citizen,” but said that “we also recognize the ongoing pain this has caused survivors, especially those who were abused by Jim Fletcher.”

[…]