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Archive of March 20, 2008

Former abstinence educator blasts “unsound” teen STD study

Denver, Colo., Mar 20, 2008 (CNA) - The former state director of the Colorado Abstinence Education Program has attacked the media coverage of a recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) study about sexually transmitted diseases in teenage girls as “scientifically flawed, medically inaccurate and politically skewed.”

She also criticized the CDC study itself for following a scientifically unsound model.

In an opinion piece in the March 19 edition of the Rocky Mountain News, Carla Adams, former director of Colorado’s federally-funded abstinence program, wrote that Planned Parenthood, Yahoo News, and “national experts” used the release of a CDC report to “create a propaganda war” blaming abstinence education for the increase in STDs.

The CDC recently released data from a 2004 study suggesting that one in four girls in the United States between the ages of 14 and 19 has a sexually transmitted disease.

“These are not new findings,” Adams said.  “These data are consistent with more than a decade of findings.”

Adams claimed the CDC study was not a “scientifically sound model.”  She said that although the CDC had disallowed some Colorado risk behavior data because the reports did not achieve a minimum of 1,000 randomly selected respondents, “the reported CDC study used a sample size of 838 self-selecting participants and is being reported as a reflection of more than 3.2 million young women nationwide.”

Some anti-abstinence arguments were also flawed, according to Adams.  If condoms effectively combated STD infections, she argued, the increase of condom use nationally should have reduced the rates of STD infection.  “This has not happened,” she said.

“There is no epidemiologically sound evidence to support the assertion that condoms reduce the risk of acquiring these STDs,” Adams said, citing a National Institute of Health meta-analysis.

Adams argued that statistics showed the effectiveness of abstinence education in Colorado.  “Perhaps it is time to stop throwing stones and begin looking at strategic ways to support adolescents in developing skills to delay onset of sexual activity,” Adams said.

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ACN representative: Church in Latin America should motivate faithful to give generously

Miami, Fla., Mar 20, 2008 (CNA) - The director of Latin America for Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Javier Legorreta, said this week trust in God is the basis for economically sustaining the Church and that in her poverty, the Church in Latin America should encourage the faithful “to generously help their Church, diocese or parish.”

In an interview with the blogger Eduardo Mesa, Legoretta explained the work of ACN in Latin America as well as the need of the Church there to be self-sufficient and for people in the region to donate generously.

He noted that 13 years ago, ACN decided to engage in fundraising in Brazil and Chile in order to encourage those countries that have received assistance from the organization to also give back.  He praised efforts by some bishops’ conferences to be more self-sufficient with tithing programs, but he warned that giving must be with the proper motives in order to prevent tithing from becoming something that is “cold and calculated.”

ACN has always trusted in Divine Providence, he went on.  “This system was the tool that the founder of this work (Father Werenfried) always desired: to promise help even before the funds have been raised and thus inform benefactors of where the Church is in need and is suffering,” Legoretta explained.  “There have never been enough benefactors,” he stressed, because the needs of the Church are so great.

He went on to say that help can be given in three ways: by praying for those who suffer, by making benefactors aware of the realities that exist, and by offering financial assistance to meet the immense needs.

Legorreta said the Church in a third world country will always have need of the generosity of those who have more in order to carry out their mission of service.  Likewise, he said, “a rich church is a poor church and a poor church is a rich church.”  “This binomial can help us understand that how dependency can be created, but this dependency can be avoided as long as the principle of subsidiarity is observed and once the bishops little by little teach the faithful to give what the can from their poverty,” he said.

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