Watching the World
A Doctor’s Confession
◆ According to Dr. William A. Nolen, when he worked in a large New York hospital interns were urged to get blood donors by any means. He said: “On our division, we had an incentive plan—a fifth of liquor and an afternoon off to the intern who brought in the most donors each month. The competition was terrific. . . . We used cajolery, threats; no holds were barred. ‘Your father must have blood immediately,’ one of my co-interns told a large family. ‘If you don’t all donate, we’ll just have to give him dog blood, and that doesn’t always work well.’ Needless to say, the family moved en masse to the blood bank. . . . For a bottle of wine it was usually possible to get a denizen of the Bowery to come donate.”
Chemicals in Foods
◆ It has been estimated that at least 2,000 chemicals are added to foods placed on the market by food processors. Another 1,500 get into foods as a result of processing and packaging. Easy-to-prepare meat dishes, frozen foods and other convenience foods rely heavily on chemical additives, food experts say. The vice-president of General Foods Corporation said: “It’s almost impossible for me to conceive of meeting the demands of a country like ours without food additives.” Critics object to the chemical additives because some additives have been shown to cause damage to the heart, liver and brain in tests on animals. The list of chemicals banned by the Food and Drug Administration because of potential health hazards is steadily growing.
Crisis in Dog Population
◆ The dog population is growing at such a pace in the United States that a crisis is developing in finding food for the animals. It has been estimated that the dogs in just New York city consume a quarter of a million pounds of food a day. At the turn of the century there were approximately one million wild horses in this country. These have been an important source of meat for dog food. Now there are only about 18,000 left. Whales are also used for dog food, creating a further danger to the diminishing supply of whales. Along with the problems arising from a human ‘population explosion’ is now the problem of ‘too many dogs.’
Seminaries in Trouble
◆ Protestant and Catholic seminaries are on a steady decline. Principal reasons appear to be dwindling enrollments and finances. Reporting on this, The Christian Century observed: “Protestant seminaries are drying on the vine and Catholic seminaries are dying on the vine. . . . While economic issues chronically plague educational religious institutions, this year ‘the fiscal crisis,’ ‘the financial crunch’ and ‘the future bleak’ headline the news coming from seminaries.”
Anglican Rock Music
◆ In Perth, Australia, the Anglican Cathedral was filled with 2,500 young people who came to listen to the Cathedral’s first jazz-rock mass. The archbishop called the service magnificent and then observed: “I have nothing but praise for the groups and the composer. For the church to be able to do this means there is still some hope for it.” While the young people went away entertained, can it be said that they had been taught anything about their Creator and Christian principles? How different from the way the Founder of Christianity carried on his ministry!
Consideration for Nonsmokers
◆ In public places such as buses, trains, theaters and restaurants, most smokers have shown no consideration for people who do not smoke. Now Dr. Jesse L. Steinfeld, U.S. Surgeon General, has come out in behalf of nonsmokers who have been forced to breathe air polluted by smokers. He said: “Evidence is accumulating that the non-smoker may have untoward effects from the pollution his smoking neighbor forces upon him. It is high time to ban smoking from all confined public places such as restaurants, theaters, airplanes, trains and buses. It is time that we interpret the Bill of Rights for the non-smoker as well as the smoker.”
A Vietnamese Criticizes Church
◆ In a critical letter to the Pope, Ngo Cong Duc, a Catholic, claimed that the Catholic Church in Vietnam is afraid of peace because it would sweep away the privileges it enjoys. He went on to say: “Indeed, despite the war and widespread poverty, certain religious authorities live like princes.” “The weekly Thang Thien edited by Reverend Phan Van Tham, has revealed that five candidates nominated and backed by Catholics of the Phu-Binh deaconate had to pay the local priests one million piastres.”
Anticancer Drugs Cause Cancer
◆ According to a report that appeared in the Vienna newspaper Arbeiter-Zeitung of November 26, 1970, the cancer research center at Heidelberg, Germany, reported that seven anticancer drugs actually cause cancer. The drugs are supposed to destroy post-cancer operation growths, but experiments with rats showed that they actually caused cancer in the course of time. On the basis of these experiments it was concluded that these drugs will cause cancer to develop twenty to thirty years after treatment. The drugs are Dychloren, Mythomen, Endoxan, Trenimon, Tio Tepta, Metomycin C and Natulan.
Use of Horseradish
◆ According to the Swiss botanist Walter Schoenenberger, horseradish juice can give protection against colds. He claims that it has a destructive effect on bacteria. According to his recommendation, two or three teaspoons of horseradish juice daily can prevent head colds and other catarrhal afflictions.
Concentration Camp Commander Sentenced
◆ From 1942 to 1943 the Nazi extermination camp at Treblinka, Poland, murdered 18,000 Jews a day. The commandant of the camp during this period was Franz Stangl. After the war he escaped to Brazil, where he lived until his arrest and extradition to Germany in 1967. During his trial the President of the Düsseldorf court said that Stangl had silenced his own conscience and ruthlessly carried out orders. Stangl argued that he had only done his duty. The court sentenced him to life imprisonment. This same excuse of carrying out orders was recently used by U.S. soldiers on trial for the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.
Increasing Drug Use
◆ Officials in many countries are becoming alarmed at the rising use of drugs among young people. In the United States more than four students out of ten have tried marijuana. This is eight times more than in 1967. One out of every six has used amphetamines. In Toronto, Canada, the use of amphetamines among young people has experienced a phenomenal rise, according to The Telegram. The director of the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Research Foundation warned that it is creating a “drug skid row” of the young in Toronto. Since 1968 the use of marijuana has tripled. In Australia the problem is also growing. The Minister for Customs said that marijuana is coming into the country soaked in opium so the users will become addicted to opium. He also observed: “I can guarantee that if you have a child entering teens this year that child will be offered dangerous drugs or narcotics of some description before he or she is 18.”
Effects of Marijuana
◆ In the face of a growing use of marijuana, scientists are making intensive studies of its effects on man. Evidence is beginning to appear that it is not as innocent as some people claim. According to Dr. Sidney Cohen, former director of narcotic studies at the National Institutes of Mental Health, marijuana may cause brain injury in some persons. This is indicated by a growing frequency of mental “blackouts.” It also has been found that marijuana users are dangerous drivers, especially at night. The drug prolongs the effect of glaring headlights on their eyes. It was found that they react as erratically as drunken drivers, having a slow reaction time and manifesting poor judgment.
Claim of Infallibility Challenged
◆ Since the Vatican Council of 1870, the Roman Catholic Church has declared the Pope as being infallible when speaking officially on doctrine and morals. The Council was not unanimous in this declaration. That there are Catholics today who also do not accept the claim is evident from a recent book published by Catholic theologian Hans Kung. In the book he argues that neither the Pope nor an ecumenical council can proclaim dogmas that are infallible. He says: “To err is also ecclesiastical—and papal. You cannot identify any church authority directly as a voice of God.”
Successful Venus Probe
◆ On December 15 the Soviet Union landed an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of Venus. Radio signals continued from it for 23 minutes after it landed. This was the first time that scientific data has been received from a man-made craft on the surface of another planet. According to the information received, the temperature on Venus ranges from 847 to 923 degrees above zero Fahrenheit, a temperature that is more than four times the boiling point of water at sea level. The atmospheric pressure on Venus is 90 times that on earth at sea level, and 90 percent of the atmospheric gas is carbon dioxide.
Invasion of Sea Urchins
◆ Sea urchins by the thousands are denuding the sea floor of vegetation off the coast of California. At one time the southern California coast was lined with beds of giant kelp that were a refuge for fish as well as a source of food for them. Many of the beds have been destroyed or damaged by the sea urchins. In the past, sea otters, who feed on sea urchins, were able to keep their numbers under control, but this is no longer possible because fur hunters have destroyed tens of thousands of these otters. Marine biologist Wheeler J. North observed: “It’s a classic example of the far-reaching consequences that can occur when man destroys a species.”
◆ A popular subject for movies in Italy now is the parish priest. One is titled “The Priest’s Wife,” another “The Married Priest” and still another “The Priest’s Lover.” Understandably the Vatican is very upset. Bishop Aldo Gobbi said: “It is very sad and humiliating for us priests that on the screen, in so banal and offensive a way, the ideals which we chose with joy and enthusiasm are demolished, and we are made out to be hypocrites and deceived men.” It is interesting that the people who are making these films and those who are packing out the theaters to see them are mostly Catholics, people who were taught by priests. One movie director, Dino Risi, observed: “The movie [“The Priest’s Wife”] deals with something which is before everyone’s eyes. I did not make it up. Actually, reality may be worse than I showed it.”
Abolition of Capital Punishment
◆ At a meeting of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, held in Ethiopia, a decision was made to call upon the nations of the world to abolish capital punishment. The committee contended that capital punishment violated the “sanctity of life.” How sincerely interested the World Council of Churches is in the sanctity of human life is questionable in view of the fact that on September 3, 1970, it announced that it was allocating $200,000 for groups fighting racism in Africa, which includes guerrilla groups that are fighting in Angola.