c. 2010 Religion News Service
group plans ordination without Vatican’s OK
By Niels Sorrells
BERLIN (RNS) — The controversial Society of St. Pius X (SSPX)
has announced plans to consecrate three priests on June 26 in Germany,
a move one Catholic official has called a “provocation”
that could upend a tentative peace with the Vatican.
The conservative SSPX, which rejects many of the Catholic Church’s
modernizing reforms, has long had a difficult relationship with the
Vatican. A decision to consecrate four bishops against the orders of
Pope John Paul II in 1988 led to the excommunication of all bishops
involved, though the excommunication of four bishops was lifted in 2009.
The Vatican was deeply embarrassed after one of the rehabilitated SSPX
bishops, Richard Williamson, turned out to be a vocal denier of the
Holocaust. The Vatican claimed it did not know of his views when Pope
Benedict XVI lifted his excommunication in a bid to reconcile the group
The ordination ceremony for three deacons from Sweden, the Czech Republic
and Italy was revealed in a circular released by the SSPX on May 31.
The KNA news agency quoted Regensburg Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller,
whose diocese includes the town of Zaitzkofen where the ordination is
set to occur, as saying that the move was a “provocation”
that could damage efforts to reintegrate the group into Catholic Church.
Until the group’s status is clarified, any such ceremonies should
“only be attempted with clear direction and permission from the
pope,” Mueller said.
Study: More teenage girls using the rhythm method
By Ankita Rao
WASHINGTON (RNS) — A new government health survey found that more
teenage girls are using the calendar-based “rhythm method”
of birth control while having sex.
The rhythm method involves avoiding sex on the more fertile days of
the ovulation cycle — a practice sometimes dubbed periodic abstinence.
The report from the centres for Disease Control and Prevention found
that 17 per cent of teenage girls said they had used the rhythm method
in 2006-2008, up from 11 per cent reported in a 2002 survey.
Condoms, withdrawal and birth control pills surpassed the rhythm method
in popular contraception practices, with 79 per cent of teens saying
they used protection during their first encounter.
The figure raised concerns with some teen pregnancy experts.
“Periodic abstinence is like being a little bit pregnant,”
said Elizabeth Schroeder, executive director of Answer, a national sexuality
education organization at Rutgers University.
She said that while the rhythm method could be effective when used in
conjunction with other practices, routine use did not successfully prevent
pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
Attitudes toward teenage pregnancy have also changed, according to the
CDC report. Fewer teenage boys (12 per cent) reported not having sex
to avoid pregnancy, down from 25 per cent in 2002, and nearly two-thirds
(64 per cent) said that it was OK for an unmarried female to have a
baby, up from 50 per cent in 2002.
Teenagers in the survey who had abstained from sex cited “against
religion and morals” as their most common reason — the same
as the 2002 survey response.
Schroeder said the survey made a case for comprehensive sex education,
since abstinence-only education favoured by many religious groups does
not adequately discuss protection methods, or address the needs of teenage
girls in relationships.
“If there’s a choice between having unprotected risky sex
or losing their boyfriend, they chose having unprotected risky sex,”
Head of Turkish bishops conference stabbed to death
By Stephen Brown
GENEVA (RNS/ENInews) The Italian-born president of the Catholic bishops’
conference in Turkey, Bishop Luigi Padovese, was found stabbed to death
in the southern Turkish city of Iskenderun on June 3.
“This is horrible news that left us deeply shocked,” Vatican
spokesperson Rev. Federico Lombardi said Thursday, one day before Pope
Benedict XVI is scheduled to depart on a three-day trip to neighbouring
Lombardi said “political motivations” and “other motivations
linked to socio-political tensions are to be excluded” in determining
why Padovese was killed, according to Vatican Radio.
Christians have often complained of discrimination in Turkey, where
about 99 per cent of the country’s 77 million people are Muslim.
The Catholic Church there has just 32,000 members.
Vatican Radio said Turkish officials confirmed that police were holding
a man of Kurdish origins, named only as “Murat A.,” as a
suspect in the killing of the bishop.
Lombardi said the suspect had been employed as a driver and general
handyman by the bishop.
The Anatolian Agency news service said a man had attacked Padovese in
the garden of his summer house in Karajan, a seaside resort on the outskirts
Padovese, 63, was ordained in 1973, and became a bishop and apostolic
vicar (papal representative) of Anatolia, Turkey, in 2004. He had been
scheduled to travel to Cyprus for a meeting between the pope and Catholic
bishops from the Middle East this weekend.
“Bishop Padovese was a person who gave his entire life to bring
the gospel of love and peace to difficult situations, and therefore
should be written among the witnesses of the gospel,” said Lombardi.
“This fact, coming as it does on the eve of a papal trip to the
Middle East, lends an extraordinary intensity to the pope’s mission
to encourage the Christian communities living in this region, helping
us to profoundly understand the urgent need for the solidarity of the
universal church to support these Christian communities,” Lombardi
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