Vatican Focuses on US Pedophile Priests Despite Worldwide Abuses
The Vatican has called a summit of U.S. cardinals to discuss child sex abuse by members of the clergy. The meeting will focus solely on the pedophilia scandal in the U.S., and media speculate that the Vatican will attempt to create a U.S. national policy for addressing charges of sex abuse. The problem of pedophilia, however, is of greater proportions. Cases of child sex abuse by priests and other clergy members have surfaced in England, Canada, Austria, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Australia, and most recently in Mexico. That the reports of pedophilia are concentrated mostly in western countries, however, should not suggest that pedophilia does not exist in other parts of the world.
In Mexico, for example, a country with the second largest Catholic population, the Church has enormous power to keep pedophilia covered up. In 1997, an independent television station in Mexico began exposing pedophile priests, but immediately after the first report, Catholic businesses began pulling their funding, almost sending the station into bankruptcy and ending the reporting on child sex abuse. This pattern continues among certain Mexican Catholics. Mexican bishop Sergio Obeso commented only days ago that “Dirty laundry is best washed at home.” The Church’s power coupled with the unwillingness of Mexicans to report abuse may hinder efforts to expose pedophilia in that country and perhaps in many others.
According to R. Scott Appleby, Director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at Notre Dame, the pedophilia scandal is “not just a crisis that affects a minority of priests accused of sexual abuse, but which affects the very credibility of the hierarchy.” It remains to be seen, however, if the Vatican will treat pedophilia merely as a problem within the U.S. or as a global one.
Media Resources: Washington Post, 4/17/02; Associated Press, 4/17/02 & 4/16/02; New York Times, 4/16/02
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .