Watching the World
Calls for More Discipline
◆ Running counter to the permissive trend in teaching, a former Columbia University professor and now headmaster of a private school calls for more, not less, discipline. Donald Barr placed the blame for today’s crisis in education on “progressive educators” who have argued that the child could teach himself. He stated: “The child who has never been controlled can never control himself. . . . Now we find people letting kids have self-destructive autonomy when they’re younger and then trying to put their foot down when it’s too late.”
Magazines in Trouble
◆ Due to increased costs, including postage rates, many magazines are having severe financial problems. In recent years, mass-circulation magazines such as Look, Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s and others have suspended publication. Others have reduced operations. In late November, Life magazine announced another cut in circulation, this time from 7 million down to 5.5 million by June. In January of 1971 it had already cut its circulation from 8.5 million to 7 million. Many religious publications, too, are going out of business, since interest in them is diminishing and costs are swiftly rising.
UN’s Money Worries
◆ An editorial in the Vancouver Sun carried the headline: “If the UN was a business they’d all be in jail.” It commented: “The UN is bankrupt. As the top financial officers say, if this were a commercial enterprise they would probably be in jail for having dipped into trust funds and other special accounts to meet the monthly payroll and other minimum operating costs.” Secretary-General U Thant declared: “We are literally living from hand to mouth. We have, in fact, reached the stage where our ability even to continue current activities—still less to undertake new or expanded-program initiatives—must be seriously questioned.”
Dollar Drain Continued
◆ The third quarter of 1971, July through September, saw the largest deficit in America’s balance of payments ever. It experienced a loss of more than 12 thousand million dollars to foreign countries, more than twice that of the preceding quarter. Although the nation’s new economic policies put into force in August have slowed the drain, they have not been able to stop it.
Britain’s Jobless Rolls Climb
◆ Britain is now experiencing her worst unemployment problem since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. At the end of November the number out of work had reached nearly one million.
Not as Confident
◆ According to a University of Michigan study, 62 percent of Americans polled in 1964 expressed a high degree of confidence in the federal government. But in 1970 that figure dropped to only 37 percent.
How Many Have It?
◆ Dr. R. D. Catterall of London, regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on sexually transmitted diseases, estimates that in 1970 there were 250 million cases of venereal disease throughout the world. He attributed its rapid spread to today’s sexual permissive attitudes, the immunity that some strains of venereal disease have developed against drug treatment, ignorance among the medical profession and public, and also birth-control pills, which offer no barrier to infection. Such a toll would mean that one out of every fourteen persons in the world is affected.
◆ An article, accompanied by pictures, in West Germany’s Neue Illustrierte Revue spoke of the “new rich cannibals from Duesseldorf.” It said: “With frivolous joking the ‘newly rich’ of Duesseldorf sat down to a gruesome meal by candlelight: ‘What may I offer you? Perhaps a piece of human head?’ Oxblood was served with this. And as dessert the women were served a male sex organ, made of banana and candied fruit; for the gentlemen a pastry in the form of the female genitals.” The head was made of bread dough, eyes of mushrooms, decorated with truffles and surrounded by calf brains. The latest attraction is Swiss chocolate fashioned into the form of a five-month old human fetus, served as dessert.
◆ From a peak of about 80 million admissions to motion picture theaters in 1946, the total dropped to 21 million in 1963, and has fallen below 18 million at last count. The main reason given is the advent of television. The quality of films has also declined, with more movie houses showing films featuring violence and sexual immorality. The president of a theater chain said: “We’re suffering from the most severe lack of quality motion pictures in the last 10 to 15 years.”
Love Must Be Expressed
◆ Child development experts have for some time understood that infants need parental love. They are appreciating more now that such love must be demonstrated, not just felt, reports the journal Bedside Nurse. Soft words of affection, cuddling, and securely but gently holding a baby help to fulfill its emotional and physical needs.
◆ During the late 1940’s and the 1950’s, nuclear-weapons tests spewed millions of tons of radioactive debris into the atmosphere. By the early 1960’s, alarmingly high levels of strontium 90 and cesium 137 were found building up in food and milk. However, in 1963 the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. signed a treaty agreeing not to test nuclear weapons in the atmosphere. Since then, the fallout of radioactive particles has diminished, except for small rises after French and Chinese tests. Britain’s Harwell Laboratories report that the amount of strontium 90 deposited on the earth last year was only one twentieth of the amount that fell in 1963.
Treating Sickle-Cell Anemia
◆ About one out of every 400 black children in the United States is affected with sickle-cell anemia. They are born with the condition. It causes the oxygen-carrying red blood cells to collapse, changing from their normal round shape into one resembling a sickle. These abnormal cells die prematurely, which can lead to fatal anemia. Researchers are experimenting with a new chemical treatment. In test tubes, sodium cyanate has been able to prevent red blood cells from “sickling.” It has yet to be determined whether the treatment will work with humans.
Watch Your Eating Habits
◆ The eating habits of Americans are said to be mainly responsible for more than 600,000 deaths from heart disease, called the country’s number one killer. In testimony before Congressional committees, Dr. Ernest Wynder, president of the American Health Foundation, said: “The rarely observed [heart] disease of 1918 now accounts for more than 50 per cent of the deaths of males over the age of 40 in the United States, and it appears to be affecting a progressively greater number of young people. . . . in truth, an epidemic has struck.” Among other things, the foundation recommended that individuals should eat less and choose what they eat more carefully, especially avoiding fatty foods and sweets, and cutting salt intake.
Cats Under Suspicion
◆ Toxoplasmosis is a parasitical disease thought to infect more than 500 million people throughout the world. In adults who enjoy good health the disease may hardly be noticed. Babies can be more seriously affected. It is passed on to them by their mothers during pregnancy. Scientists have established one source of the infection as eating raw or undercooked meat. But independent investigators in several countries have made another discovery, one which Dr. J. K. Frenkel of the University of Kansas calls “99.44 percent certain.” It is that the common house cat is very likely another source of the infection. The disease seems especially to thrive in the bodies of cats and is passed off in the cat’s feces. Outdoors, in a natural environment, the cat covers his feces, but indoors the owner must dispose of it, which exposes him to the disease. Dr. B. H. Kean of Cornell University advises, especially to pregnant women: ‘Do not eat raw or rare meat and send the cat away until the baby is born.’
Aerosol Sniffing Kills
◆ A sixteen-year-old Illinois girl died as a direct result of sniffing the contents of an aerosol can. The pressured can contained a substance for keeping food from sticking to pans. Inhaling sprays and vapors of various kinds has resulted in injury and death to many, particularly young people seeking ‘kicks.’
Influenza Heads West
◆ Health Ministry sources in Hungary reported sixty-two deaths from influenza by late November. About 30 percent of the work force was idled, and about the same percentage of children stayed out of school. The illness was said to be spreading westward. In Spain between 10 and 15 percent of Madrid’s three million residents were suffering from flu, and nearly every province reported some serious outbreaks.
◆ What was accomplished by the Synod of Roman Catholic Bishops that met in Rome late last year? Time magazine said: “Nothing really has been accomplished, little really changed.” Conservative thinking prevailed. The news magazine also commented: “To a waiting world, the seeming immobility of the hierarchy is inexplicable. Perhaps the real question this autumn is not so much what the bishops have or have not done as whether the Catholics of the world seriously care about what they do at all. Most bishops may still listen to the Pope, but fewer and fewer priests listen to either the Pope or their bishops—and many of the laity are beginning to listen to no one. . . . the mystical body of Christ seems to have suffered a nervous breakdown.”
Catholic Book Sales Down
◆ During the Second Vatican Council, held from 1962 to 1965, there was a surge of interest in books related to church affairs. However, that tide has passed. Interest has waned. One bookseller estimated a drop in sales of about 40 percent in the last five years. Now many publishers are abandoning the publishing of religious books.
Takes Bishops to Task
◆ Retired Church of England vicar Samuel Price stated that there may be kind bishops who make the care of their clergy a main concern, but in forty years’ service in the church he had not come across any “such really Christian men.” He wondered if, instead, “at the moment of consecration, a heart of steel was transplanted.” He mentioned the “growing feeling that bishops and archdeacons have become too much like soulless executives, company directors or angry schoolmasters.”
Strike Hits Parochial Schools
◆ The first major strike against the Roman Catholic Church’s school system in the archdiocese of New York occurred in late November. Unionized lay teachers voted to strike after contract talks failed. Lay teachers now make up a majority of those teaching in parochial schools. Their demands for higher wages hit hard at parochial schools, since hundreds already have closed in recent years because of financial difficulties. According to the archdiocese, in 1958 the bill for lay teachers was $1.5 million. Now it is $20.1 million and rising.
Tasmania’s Troubled Schools
◆ Roman Catholic schools in Tasmania, a large island off the southern coast of Australia, are having financial troubles too. Associate Director of Catholic Education J. M. Williams said that twenty of the forty-eight Catholic schools in Tasmania may be forced to close unless outside aid is forthcoming.