March 6, 2015
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Are kids just as well off with same-sex parents? Maybe not, studies say

Princeton, N.J., March 5 (CNA/EWTN News) .- The idea that children raised in same-sex households fare as well as children of married opposite-sex couples may not withstand scrutiny, according to a recent collection of studies.


Abandonment is the greatest suffering of the elderly, Pope says


Are kids just as well off with same-sex parents? Maybe not, studies say
Cardinal Egan commended to Christ's mercy


Abandonment is the greatest suffering of the elderly, Pope says

VATICAN CITY, March 5 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Pope Francis said Thursday that when it comes to caring for the elderly, palliative care is necessary because it counters a mentality of utility that often leaves elderly persons marginalized and alone.

“Abandonment is the most serious ‘illness’ of the elderly, and also the greatest injustice they can suffer: those who helped us to grow must not be abandoned when they need our help, our love and our tenderness,” the Pope said March 5.

With its emphasis on alleviating the suffering of the sick and accompanying them with tenderness for the duration of their illness, palliative care serves as a crucial support for the elderly, “who, for reasons of age, often receive less attention from curative medicine, and are often abandoned.”

The Pope’s words came in an audience with members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who are gathered in Rome March 5-6 for their annual assembly, which this year reflected on the theme: “Assisting the elderly and palliative care.”

What palliative care offers as a unique and essential element in the medical field is the recognition of “the value of the person,” Francis said.

He noted that many elderly are either “left to die or made to die” due to their physical or social condition, and stressed that all types of medicine have the societal responsibility to bear witness to the honor due not only to elderly persons, but to each and every human being.

All medical knowledge, Francis said, “is truly science, in its most noble sense, only if it finds its place as a help in view of the good of man, a good that is never achieved by going ‘against’ his life and dignity.”

The Pope also emphasized that the criteria governing the actions of doctors must not be limited to medical evidence and efficiency, nor to the rules of heath care systems and economic profit.

“A state cannot think of making a profit with medicine. On the contrary, there is no more important duty for a society than safeguarding the human person.”

Palliative care then, bears witness to the fact that the human person always has value, even when suffering from age and illness, the Pope continued.

The human person, he said, “is a good in and of himself and for others, and is loved by God. For this reason, when life becomes very fragile and the end of earthly existence approaches, we feel the responsibility to assist and accompany the person in the best way.”

Francis then praised the efforts made on the part of those who work in the field of palliative care, and encouraged both professionals and students to specialize in the topic.

Although this type of care is not geared toward saving lives, it centers on the equally important recognition of the value of the human person, he said, and encouraged those working in the field to carry out their tasks with an attitude of service.

“It is this capacity for service to the life and dignity of the sick, even when they are old, that is the measure of the true progress of medicine, and of all society,” the Pope observed, and repeated an appeal made by St. John Paul II to “Respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life!”

However, while palliative care is necessary, it does not remove the need for the family in caring for the elderly, Francis added.

“The elderly, first of all, need the care of family members – whose affection cannot be replaced by the most efficient structures or the most competent and charitable healthcare workers,” he said.

When family members are not able to offer the needed care, or if the illness of their elderly loved one is advanced or terminal, then the “truly human” assistance offered by palliative care is a good option so long as it “supplements and supports” the care already provided by family members, he said.

Pope Francis closed his speech by encouraging those present to continue advancing in their studies and research, so that “the work of the promotion and defense of life might be ever more efficacious and fruitful.”


Are kids just as well off with same-sex parents? Maybe not, studies say

PRINCETON, N.J., March 5 (CNA/EWTN News) .- The idea that children raised in same-sex households fare as well as children of married opposite-sex couples may not withstand scrutiny, according to a recent collection of studies.

Princeton University professor John B. Londregan said that the studies collected in a new book show “that the jury is still very much out on this question.”

“The American Psychological Association has declared that there are no differences in the parenting capacity of same-sex couples as compared with heterosexual married couples,” he told CNA March 3.

However, he explained, “This declaration is based largely on evidence from studies using small ‘convenience samples,’ and it has had a chilling effect on research, while it conveys a misleading message for the public debate.”

“The likely enactment of same-sex marriage by judicial fiat will enlist a segment of the next generation of American children as human guinea pigs in a giant social experiment to see how much same-sex marriage improves parenting outcomes of same sex couples,” he said.

Londregan, who teaches politics and international affairs at Princeton, authored the introduction to the new collection of scholarly papers titled “No Differences? How Children in Same-Sex Households Fare.”

Published by the Princeton, N.J.-based Witherspoon Institute, the studies in the “No Differences?” book indicate some significant statistical differences between children raised by same-sex couples and children raised by married parents.

The children raised in same-sex households resemble those raised by never-married single women, facing “relatively troubled outcomes” like higher rates of drug abuse, unemployment and dropping out of school.

Londregan said that the “relative instability” of same-sex couples compared to married heterosexual parents could be the primary factor in the different outcomes for children.

At the same time, he acknowledged, research into children’s outcomes faces obstacles in that that there are “relatively few” households led by same-sex couples that are raising children. A researcher therefore must survey “a huge number of people” to find enough households to make inferences.

Londregan summarized the “No Differences?” papers in a Feb. 24 essay at the Public Discourse website.

Some of the papers represent original analysis, while others examine the reliability of different studies on family structure with a special focus on same-sex parenting.

One of the papers, by Loren Marks, a family studies professor at Louisiana State University, focused on the American Psychological Association’s justifications for its position, adopted in 2005, that same-sex couples raise children at least as effectively as heterosexual couples.

Marks found that most of the studies on childrearing by same-sex couples rely on “convenience samples” of “very small” sample sizes with one or two dozen same-sex couples raising children and a similar number of heterosexual couples, at most. The sample sizes do not constitute a representative sample and introduce statistical bias into the analysis.

Many of the small studies fail to use a sufficient comparison group of heterosexual parents or compare “educated and affluent lesbian couples to single heterosexual parents,” Londregan said.

Several of the papers examine Stanford sociologist Mark Rosenfeld’s analysis of the 2000 census data which appeared to indicate that children raised by same-sex couples showed no difference in outcomes than those raised by heterosexual married couples.

Rosenfeld had argued that data for children who are adopted or geographically mobile should be excluded on two grounds: because this indicates family instability and because he contends that same-sex couples are more likely to adopt troubled children.

However, this approach neglects the possibility that family instability may be “an important mechanism by which the children of parents in same-sex relationships fare worse than those with married heterosexual parents,” Londregan said.

Another study in the collection finds that same-sex female parents are about twice as likely to break up as heterosexual married parents.

Researcher Douglas Allen, examining data from the 2006 Canadian Census, found that late-adolescent children raised by two women finish high school at about the same rates as those raised by single women, while late-adolescent children raised by two men finish high school at about the same rates as those raised by single men. These are “significant deficits” compared to children raised by a married man and woman.

Allen also found that daughters raised in same-sex male households fare worse than sons – a unique disparity not evident in any other family structure he has studied.

While data sampled from the U.S. Census provides the largest statistical sample, it is limited by access to “relatively few variables” about the well-being of children, Londregan said.

Another paper in the “No Differences?” collection defends the research of University of Texas at Austin sociologist Mark Regnerus as being within accepted standards. A 2012 study by Regnerus contacted over 15,000 young and early-middle-aged adults to ask about their childhoods, including whether at least one of their parents had been involved in a same-sex relationship.

He found “statistically significant” differences in 25 of 40 outcomes between adult children of married opposite-sex parents and adult children of mothers who had a same-sex relationship. The study drew much media attention and criticism from LGBT activists, one of whom filed a misconduct complaint against Regnerus, which his university rejected upon investigation.

Regnerus’ study is included in the Witherspoon Institute book.

Londregan told CNA that the differences between children of same-sex couples and those raised by a mother and a father are “still an open question” depending on the sample size and other conditions a study controls for.

Cardinal Egan commended to Christ's mercy

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y., March 5 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Cardinal Edward Egan, a former Archbishop of New York who shepherded the city in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, died Thursday at the age of 82.

“Join me, please, in thanking God for his life, especially his generous and faithful priesthood,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said March 5. “Pray as well that the powerful mercy of Jesus, in which our cardinal had such trust, has ushered him into heaven.”

Cardinal Dolan said his predecessor passed away after lunch in residence at the Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. His secretary, Father Douglas Crawford, gave him the sacraments. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead due to cardiac arrest.

Cardinal Egan served as Archbishop of New York from 2000 to 2009. His time as New York archbishop included the horrors of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the intense emotion of the rescue efforts.

“It was a time of great tragedy, but also of great heroes,” he told the National Catholic Register in a September 2011 interview.

“New York and the world saw examples of self-sacrifice that I don't think have ever been matched in our time,” he said. “People worked around the clock, with dust and sand from above or below. No one was thinking about themselves. Police officers, firefighters, emergency workers poured themselves out for others. You couldn't help but be inspired by that. We saw heroism and self-sacrifice — expressions of great holiness.”

Cardinal Egan went to a hospital soon after the attacks and then visited Ground Zero at the site of the World Trade Center, trying to comfort victims and encourage relief workers.

The cardinal’s time in New York also witnessed celebrations of the archdiocese’s bicentennial in 2008, a year which also included the pastoral visit of Benedict XVI to the city.

St. John Paul II named him a cardinal in 2001, giving him as his titular church the Basilica of Saints John and Paul on the Caelian Hill.

As archbishop, Cardinal Egan worked to ensure financial reform in one of the largest archdioceses of the United States.

He also established the Catholic Channel on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.

Cardinal Egam was born April 2, 1932 in Oak Park, Ill. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill. He finished his seminary studies at the Pontifical North American College in Vatican City and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1957. He earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and then served in the Chicago archdiocese before returning to Rome to serve as assistant vice-rector and an instructor at the Pontifical North American College.

After earning a doctoral degree in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University, he served as a secretary to Cardinal John Cody of Chicago and later served as chancellor of the Chicago archdiocese. He served on several ecumenical boards and other organizations that addressed social concerns, including racial issues.

From 1971-1985 he served as a judge on the tribunal of the Roman Rota. During this time he also worked for the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship and the Congregation for the Clergy. He was a professor at several Catholic universities in Rome and was among the six canon law experts who reviewed the 1983 Code of Canon Law before its promulgation.

Cardinal Egan was consecrated a bishop in 1985, and appointed an Auxiliary Bishop of New York. He served there until 1988, when he was made Bishop of Bridgeport.

His time in Connecticut included work in organizing Catholic school system and the diocesan health care system, as well as service in the US bishops conference.

Cardinal Egan remained in the Diocese of Bridgeport until his 2000 transfer to the Archdiocese of New York.

He served on the boards of many universities, charities and hospitals. He had leadership roles in many Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, the Knights of Malta, the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, the Society of Catholic Social Scientists and the Black and Indian Mission Office.

Cardinal Dolan expressed his sympathies to Cardinal Egan’s family and to his “spiritual family” in the Archdiocese of New York.

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