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Archive of August 23, 2011

Fertility monitoring software is natural family planning's 'new face'

Denver, Colo., Aug 23, 2011 (CNA) - The developer of new fertility management software says it is becoming the “new face” for natural family planning. It can assist couples in conceiving or in avoiding pregnancy and help Catholics live their faith.

“FertileView strengthens marriages and supports the natural order of God’s plan for marriage,” said Tim Boh, owner of the Colorado-based software developer Novuscor.

Novuscor’s FertileView software collects “very specific” information about ovulation and fertility that allows women to understand “exactly what their bodies are doing” in a way that is “uniquely supporting to the individual,” Boh told CNA in a recent interview. The program helps women and their husbands structure their actions around their “fertility goals.”

Users of many fertility monitoring systems, in his view, feel like they are not engaged.

“They don’t understand what they’re doing,” he said. “We’ve created a process by which people can have immediate feedback about themselves. That’s the part, I think, that people get really excited about.”

The FertileView software handles the interpretation portion of fertility monitoring. Users only need to be trained in fertility observation. They can enter the information into the program and don’t have to use the “stickers and dots” of the standard natural family planning class.

“We can literally train people on our method in 45-50 minutes,” Boh said.

He explained that the algorithm used for FertileView was “completely tested” through user groups. It captures biomedical data for each user and creates an individual cycle program for each woman and, if necessary, for her doctors.

The more she uses FertileView, the more data is compiled about her cycle.

The software pinpoints a woman’s ovulation and predicts the best time to achieve pregnancy, helping to address fertility issues for both women and men.

“FertileView is fantastic for couples struggling with fertility issues,” Boh said.
 
Novuscor did not anticipate the way men would become involved.

“We just started to see how the men enjoyed taking part,” he said. “The men really enjoy charting their spouses’ cycles. Most men don’t understand how a woman’s body works to begin with.”

The software comes at a time of widespread contraceptive use. Despite Catholic teaching that contraceptive use is sinful, Catholics appear to be contracepting at the same rate as non-Catholics.

Although many people are contracepting, Boh said, “they’re not all happy about it either.”

“They just don’t think they have another option. They really do, they just don’t know it.”

Novuscor provides couples with individualized training and complete software support.


Catholic theology can be incorporated into the FertileView training, Boh noted.

Catholics must be open to the fullness of God’s gifts and the possible conception of children, he said. Married love is a means of “sanctifying grace.”

“Keeping our Catholic families stable and healthy is a fundamental means of the Church’s mission to save souls. The Church is here to help support holy and healthy marriages, family life and to help families in any way that the Church can.”

For more information, visit www.FertileView.com

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Catholic doctors’ group launches petition against contraception mandate

San Diego, Calif., Aug 23, 2011 (CNA) - The St. Gianna Physician’s Guild has launched an online petition asking the Obama administration to remove references to contraception and contraception counseling from its new health care guidelines and to provide a conscience clause to protect the religious freedom of Catholics.

“We are going to send a message to the Obama administration that this contraception mandate is wrong, discriminatory and violates the religious rights of Catholics all across America,” said guild president Thomas McKenna.

On Aug. 1, the Department of Health and Human Services adopted new guidelines for women’s health that mandate coverage for surgical sterilization and all FDA-approved prescription contraceptives, including abortifacient drugs like Ella. They also mandate counseling to promote contraception.

The guild’s petition charged that the guidelines are “bad medicine” because they encourage “unhealthy and immoral sexual practices” which will increase demand for more STD treatment and abortion services.

The petition said that the regulation undermines “fundamental principles of the Catholic faith.” It is “discriminatory against Catholic institutions” and violates their freedom of conscience. It is “biased” against health care professionals.

The petition also contended that the regulation is “misleading” because increased access to birth control will increase the need for abortion. It cited the Guttmacher Institute’s finding that over 50 percent of women go to abortion clinics because of failed birth control.

The administration’s announcement for the mandates also announced proposed religious exemptions. However, these applied only to non-profit religious employers whose purpose is “the inculcation of religious values.” To qualify for the exemption, employers must primarily employ persons who share their religious tenets and must primarily serve those who share those beliefs.

“Under the new rule our institutions would be free to act in accord with Catholic teaching on life and procreation only if they were to stop hiring and serving non-Catholics,” Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, chairman of the U.S. bishops' pro-life committee, said Aug. 1.

Notre Dame Law School professor O. Carter Snead told CNA on Aug. 2 that the exemption fails to cover “virtually any” Catholic institution that serves or employs non-Catholics. He said the government mandate could require contraceptive coverage for the health care plans of Catholic universities and Catholic social service agencies.

The San Diego-based St. Gianna’s Physician’s Guild was founded to unite and encourage Catholic physicians and others in the health care profession. It aims to promote and defend Catholic principles and to inspire sanctification in members’ lives.

The guild is named for St. Gianna Beretta Molla, a physician and mother who died in 1962 at the age of 39. She sacrificed her life for that of her unborn daughter when she faced complications caused by a tumor that developed during her pregnancy.

The petition can be found at http://stopthebirthcontrolmandate.org.

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World Youth Day nets $230 million for Madrid

Madrid, Spain, Aug 23, 2011 (CNA/Europa Press) - Arturo Fernandez, the president of Madrid’s House of Commerce said Aug. 22 that hotels, transportation services and businesses in the Spanish capital took in nearly $230 million during World Youth Day.

The director of the Hotel Industry Business Association in Madrid, Juan Jose Blardony, said three million meal tickets were distributed to young people throughout the week, valued at nearly $32 million.
 
Blardony told Europa Press that the discount meal tickets were the result of an agreement between the Federation of Fast Food Restaurants of Madrid and the bishops’ conference.  

Some 2,479 establishments in Madrid accepted the meal tickets, including fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King and many local restaurants.

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Catholics caught in crossfire as Libyan violence continues

Tripoli, Libya, Aug 23, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -

As Libya's conflict rages on between rebel forces and troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, Catholics in the capital city of Tripoli are seeking protection. 

“Currently there are three Franciscan friars barricaded in the convent in Tripoli,” a source told the Vatican-based Fides news on Aug. 23. “No one dares to walk in the street because people are shot on sight, even if it is not clear who shoots who.”

The fighting in Libya has continued for around six months and is being waged by the rebel Transitional Authority—which is being supported by NATO forces—and troops loyal to the country’s longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The rebels began their attack on the capital Aug. 19. 

“Currently, the phone lines are cut and one cannot contact the monks,” the Fides source, who requested anonymity, added. “From the latest communications we were told that on the night between August 21 and 22 there were shootings outside the convent.”

The heaviest conflict, however, has been around the fortified area of Bab al-Azizy, Gadhafi's residence in Tripoli.

“Fighting and gun firing still continue. It is a disaster. We do not know how the situation is evolving because leaving the house means risking one’s life,” the source said.

Meanwhile, the situation of the Catholic community in Benghazi appears to be better, with the Church  continuing to regularly carry out its pastoral activities.

“There have not been particular difficulties encountered in the pastoral ministry with the new authorities. Only in March-April there were problems concerning public order, but now the transition authorities have gradually taken over the situation,” another unnamed source told Fides.

Over the last several months, Catholic priests and religious in the country have been weathering the violence. Many religious sisters work in hospitals and are working overtime with casualties from the conflicts.

In an interview with CNA on Feb. 24, Bishop Sylvester Magro, Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi, said that the principal concern of the Catholic Church “is to be close to the sick and suffering, so our contribution to the events is invaluable because of our closeness to the people.”

He said that the Catholic population shares the fate of “everybody else,” at this point.

Bishop Magro helps oversee the two apostolic vicariates that coordinate Church activities in the western capital of Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi.

To serve the large and varied immigrant communities, Masses are held at least once a week for around 10 different groups divided up by nationality or language.

Masses for Koreans, Indians, Eritreans and Filipinos are interspersed among those given in English, Italian, French, Polish and Arabic. Parish activities are still largely overseen by Franciscan priests. In a number of cities and towns, but in particular in Tripoli and Benghazi, religious communities are also present.

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Biden accused of 'selling out' Chinese with one-child remarks

Washington D.C., Aug 23, 2011 (CNA) -

A leading human rights advocate in the U.S. House of Representatives says Vice President Joe Biden betrayed Chinese women and children by saying he “fully understood” the country's one-child policy and was not “second guessing” it.

“The one child per couple policy is cruel, inhumane and the most egregious systematic attack on women ever,” said Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said on August 23. “For the Vice President to publicly state that he fully understands the one child policy is unconscionable.”

“He and all of us should be defending the women of China from this state-sponsored cruelty of forced abortion and forced sterilization, not supporting and enabling it.”

Vice President Biden made the remarks during his state visit to China, at an August 21 appearance at Chengdu's Sichuan University. He was discussing the United States' dilemma of paying for entitlement programs when the number of retirees exceeds the number of workers, a problem he said China shared.

“But as I was talking to some of your leaders, you share a similar concern here in China,” Biden said.

“Your policy has been one which I fully understand – I’m not second-guessing – of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.”

The Vice President's remarks in Chengdu drew widespread criticism, particularly from pro-life activists and his political opponents.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on August 22 that he was “deeply troubled by the comments ... regarding China’s reprehensible one-child policy, which has resulted in forced sterilizations and coerced abortions and should not be condoned by any American official.”

On August 23, the Daily Caller website reported that it received an e-mail from Biden's spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff, stating that “the Obama Administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization.”

Barkoff said Biden himself “believes such practices are repugnant.” She said his remarks were a way of “arguing against the One Child Policy to a Chinese audience.”

In his response, Rep. Smith pointed out that the Obama administration's record on China and population issues did not support Barkoff's claim of “strong opposition.”

“This Administration has long enabled this cruel policy by its silence and financial support for organizations like UNFPA (the United Nations Population Fund) that support the Chinese government’s brutal program,” Smith argued.

He also stressed the horror that the widespread population control policy has caused.

“If a woman is caught pregnant without explicit government authorization to give birth, she is forced to abort,” Smith said. “Unwed mothers are all compelled to abort. Handicapped unborn children, if discovered, are killed by the state.”

“Ruinous fines ... jail, torture, property confiscation, loss of employment, education opportunities, housing and health care are all weapons aggressively used by the family planning cadres to ensure compliance. No wonder over 500 Chinese women commit suicide each day in China.”

Rep. Smith said President Obama himself had “sold out” Chinese women and children in prior meetings with China's president.

President Obama, he asserted, “didn’t say a word about any of the human rights crimes of Chinese President Hu Jintao when he visited Washington earlier this year; instead he hosted a state dinner for him.”

“Chinese women,” Smith said, “need advocates, not enablers.”

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October 22, 2014

Wednesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

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Lk 12:39-48

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First Reading:: Eph 3: 2-12
Gospel:: Lk 12: 39-48
Gospel:: Lk 12: 39-48

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Lk 12:39-48

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