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Catholic social conference highlights dangers of secularist society

.- Particularly highlighting the recent Terri Schiavo debacle, a recent conference held at Ohio’s Franciscan University of Steubenville, pointed to the dangers of, and ways to fight against, what many are calling an increasingly secular society.

The thirteenth annual gathering of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists (SCSS) brought experts from around the country to the Ohio river valley to discuss some 60 different issues of Catholic-social interest.

The conference focused on issues ranging from parenting, reproductive technologies, divorce and annulment, psychotherapy and a discussion on the societal loss of a sense of sin.

The event also featured a panel discussion featuring theological reflections on the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and took a new look at how to prevent incidents like Terri Schiavo’s recent forced starvation from happening again.

Dr. Stephen Krason, professor of political science at the University, and founder of the SCSS, stressed that Catholics need to pray, act, and be "relentless" in their fight against the "paper tiger" of secular culture.

Deborah Sturm of the National Association of Pro-Life Nurses spoke specifically about the Schiavo incident, and denounced recent enthusiasm over living wills.

Asking whether Schiavo’s death "hints of our descent into tyranny," Sturm told the crowd that the media has falsely convinced the public that living wills can protect them from similar fates. In fact, she said, they could do more harm than good.

"The 'right to die'“, she said, “is moving toward a tyrannical 'duty to die,'…At a time when 'do not resuscitate' is being interpreted as 'do not treat,' other options, such as designating power of attorney to a loved one should be sought.”

"Shred your living wills," she argued.

Stressing the importance of the association and its conference, Dr. Krason noted that Catholic social scientists "bring a Catholic understanding about the human person into their work."

According to organizers, this fact could not be more important--especially today--because, as Northern Illinois University political science professor Dr. Gary D. Glenn put it, "Secularism is, in fact, the new religion"

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