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Catholic World News

Opinion Roundup

March 16, 2011

  • Writing for First Things, Wesley J. Smith warns of a new danger on the medical horizon: hospital ethics committees may be given the authority to override the ‘advance directives’ left by a patient, to administer treatment that the patient did not want—or, more likely, withhold care that he requested.
  • On The Catholic Thing, Ashley Samelson McGuire makes the case that Shabaz Bhatti, the slain Pakistani cabinet official, showed “the stuff of saints” by standing up for religious freedom even when he knew that his life was in danger. She cites Bhatti’s own words
    I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ, who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of ‘cross,’ and I follow Him to the cross.
  • Herman Cain, the former head of the Godfather’s Pizza chain who is now a Republican presidential candidate, has lashed out at Planned Parenthood for their policies that encourage abortions for black women. Cain—who is African-American himself—charges that Planned Parenthood has “put these centers in primarily black communities so they could help kill black babies before they came into the world.” Young black women who enter the clinics, he said, are not encouraged to consider abortion, nor to plan parenthood. “There’s not any planning other than to abort the baby.”
  • In South Dakota, pro-life political leaders have taken a new approach to legislation, arguing that the law should protect vulnerable women from the blandishments of abortionists seeking clients. A new proposal would call for a 72-hour waiting period before an abortion, and add a requirement that the woman receive counseling on alternatives so that she can make an informed choice.
  • George Weigel pays tribute to Cardinal William Baum, who has quietly passed Cardinal James Gibbons to become the longest-serving American cardinal in history. Now 84 years old and ailing, the former Archbishop of Washington (and head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, and prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education) was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 1976, when he was not yet 50 years old. To keep things in perspective, there is not a single current member of the College of Cardinals who is under 50—or, for that matter, under 57.
  • Finally, Holman Jenkins of the Wall Street Journal offers some perspective on the media uproar about the prospects for a nuclear disaster following Japan’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. While the danger is real, he observes, it is almost trivial in comparison with the devastation already wreaked on Japan.
    For the things that matter most, though—life and safety—the nuclear battle has been a sideshow. Hundreds were feared dead when entire trains went missing. Whole villages were wiped out with the loss of thousands of inhabitants. So far one worker at one nuclear plant is known to have died in a hydrogen explosion and several others have exhibited symptoms of radiation poisoning.
    Even in terms of environmental damage, Jenkins adds, the radiation leaks to date do not compare with the harm done by the tsunami, in which an “infinity of contaminants—sewage, fuels, lubricants, cleaning solvents--have been scattered across the Earth and into aquifers.”


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