Rome, Italy, May 13, 2004 (CNA) - A spokesman for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is calling on believers to avoid buying products that are produced through the exploitation of children.
At a press conference during the First World Congress on Child Exploitation in Florence, Italy, Archbishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the council, said: “The use of products that are made through the exploitation of enslaved young children is intolerable and therefore immoral for Christians.”
Three hundred children who have worked in such conditions are participating in the Florence gathering.
It is believed that throughout the world 246 million children — one out of every six minors – work. Of these, 179 million work in jobs of an intense physical, moral or mental nature. Between eight and 20 million are victims of slavery or prostitution.
Biloxi, Miss., May 13, 2004 (CNA) - Jacobina Surian Adams was two months pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1962. Doctors advised her that an abortion would improve her chances for a cure, but Adams, a devout Catholic, refused, choosing her child’s life over her own.
Other Catholic women have had to live this difficult situation and make this choice as well. In fact, this Sunday, Pope John Paul II will canonize Italian doctor Gianna Beretta, a mother who chose her unborn baby instead of a cancer treatment. Molla gave birth to her daughter but died of her illness soon after.
Adams’ story turned out differently. She gave birth to her fifth daughter and, after a series of treatments, eventually beat the disease.
Last Thursday, Adams died at age 82. She is survived by her five daughters, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Her decision to have the baby remains a source of pride among her family. Adams’ daughter, Annette, attributes her mother’s decision to her Catholic faith, which she instilled in her children.
Adams’ youngest daughter, Laverne, told the Sun Herald that as they were growing up, the family never missed church and they never went into the car without saying the rosary. Adams is remembered for her faith, kindness and strength.
Mansfield, Pa., May 13, 2004 (CNA) - A mother, whose 14-year-old daughter was allowed to have an abortion without her knowledge or consent, has launched an attack on the system, reported PA News.
The schoolgirl became pregnant last month. After consulting with child health workers at school, she decided to have an abortion.
The mother found out about her daughter’s decision from a passer-by on the street. She spoke with her daughter and brought her daughter’s boyfriend and his mother into the discussion. As a result, the teenager changed her mind but it was too late. She had already taken the first of two pills as part of the abortion process and the damage was irreparable.
The mother is now furious. She has said she understands the nature of the law that protects a young person’s privacy regarding health matters. However, she does not think it is right that a mother is not told about her 14-year-old daughter’s serious health condition or that such a young girl is allowed to abort without a parent’s consent.
She argues that a 14-year-old is still a child, and parents must still be consulted.
Rome, Italy, May 13, 2004 (CNA) - Although many governments throughout the world insist that progress requires the reduction of world population, a government official in Australia is publicly calling on parents to have more children in order to reverse the serious demographic problems the country is facing.
Treasury Minister Peter Costello surprised journalists when he said Australian couples have the duty to give more children to their country and he included in the federal budget a $3000 payment for each family into which a new baby is born after June.
"You go home and do your patriotic duty tonight," said Costello, who is proposing a “family package” of 19.2 million Australian dollars to be distributed over five years.
Costello said the actual number of two children per couple in a country of 20 million inhabitants is not enough and therefore, “"If you can have children it's a good thing to do. You should have one for your husband, one for your wife, and one for your country."
Costello, who has three children, said that in order to “fix the aging demographic, we must raise the average of two” children per couple.
Konigstein, Germany, May 13, 2004 (CNA) - Despite the difficult political and economic situation in Cuba, the Catholic Church in the Caribbean country shows “quite positive tendencies,” said Bishop Emilio Aranguren Echeverria of the Diocese of Cienfuegos.
“More and more children are being baptized, the sacrament of anointing of the sick is being increasingly administered and funeral masses are celebrated more frequently,” said the secretary general of the Cuban Episcopal Conference.
There is also an ever-growing interest in vocations among youth, the prelate explained during his most recent visit to the German head office of the international charity, Aid to the Church in Need. “For this reason, the biggest challenge for the Church is comprehensive formation of priests, religious and laity,” he added.
The bishop also pointed to the “growing poverty” in the island nation. According to the bishop, only 10 percent of the population are able to “make a good living,” 40 percent can “pull through,” 30 percent are needy and 20 percent live in extreme poverty.
Mexico City, Mexico, May 13, 2004 (CNA) - As elections approach in Mexico, the Archbishop of Durango, Hector Gonzalez Martinez, said this week, “Although some think she should stay quiet and silent,” the Church “has the duty to announce the Gospel in all circumstances.”
“Although some don’t like it, the Church cannot remain silent, she has rights and duties and she will continue to fulfill them,” he explained.
The Archbishop called on the candidates of the different political parties to “act with respect and particular faithfulness to the truth,” to ensure voter participation and to work for the true needs of the people.
Addressing those running for state and local government, Archbishop Gonzalez exhorted them to “study the areas which require attention” because “there are many.”
He also mentioned corruption in political life saying the country “belongs to everyone, not just to politicians.”
“We all contribute to the problem of corruption and we all are responsible in some way, because as believers we must bring out faith to all areas of society, and if we have not done so it is a defect on our part. It means our faith, as St. James says, is somewhat slow and inoperative,” he added.