Watching the World
Catholic Bible Preaching
◆ Roman Catholic clergy in the United States, along with some lay people, recently announced what was said to be the first major Catholic assembly ever to focus on preaching the Bible. It is evidently an attempt to cope with the widely discussed crisis of faith afflicting the churches today. Coordinator of the assembly, John Burke, said: “In our church, the problem is that the word of God is not being preached.” Explaining why more Roman Catholics are not attending Mass, he noted that “when they come, they are not given the feeling that they have something to be thankful for.”
◆ The Associated Press reports that nine Protestant denominations suffered a combined decline of 226,750 in their membership. Contributions were claimed to be up by $63 million. But if one figures in the inflationary erosion, a news report noted, total contributions actually fell $47 million.
Olympic Games’ Tragedy
◆ The world looked on in horror at the violence at the recent Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. An editorial of the New York Times pointed to some of the reasons for it: “Perhaps the whole concept of the Olympics needs re-examination. No one can doubt now that the idea of an ‘Olympic peace’ is a mockery. Far from increasing friendship among nations, the games all too often reflect and deepen nationalistic and other animosities. Furthermore, the commercialism that surrounds the games is but thinly veiled.”
◆ Radio station WBBM in Chicago, Illinois, recently broadcast an editorial on Northern Ireland. What were its views as to who is really responsible for the Catholic-Protestant hostilities there? “They say it is not a religious war. It’s merely a coincidence that Protestants are killing Catholics and Catholics are killing Protestants in Northern Ireland. It’s a matter of minority versus majority, say the religious leaders of both sides. But how long can they fool the public? . . . Religion’s hands are blood red in Ireland, just as they were in the Crusades in days long past and in world wars of more recent vintage. To be sure, politics plays a part in the confusion that is Northern Ireland today. But the more reprehensible group of all is the clergy, and let no one tell you differently.”
No “Christmas Vacation”
◆ The use of the expression “Christmas vacation” is to be banned in the public schools of Madison, Wisconsin, it has been announced. “Mid-Winter Recess” will take its place. Further, Christmas, Hanukkah and Easter celebrations, religious pageants and programs, prayers and art projects aimed at producing religious art will all be prohibited. So will the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, nativity scenes and Rudolf the red-nosed Reindeer. Why such a move? It is an effort to establish and maintain complete religious neutrality in all of Madison’s public schools. Also, it is meant to prevent the schools from undermining the beliefs of any child.
Evolution Theory Under Fire
◆ Schoolteachers in British Columbia, Canada, are being urged by a group of prominent Canadian scientists to stop teaching evolution as a fact. A group spokesman declared: “We believe that modern science not only has failed to prove the evolution theory, but in fact has disproved it.” A manifesto to this effect is being mailed to every teacher in the Vancouver area. It demands that children be given full opportunity to hear the creation teaching alternative. They feel that evolution should be taught as a theory and that textbooks teaching it as a fact should be replaced.
Fuel Shortage Ahead
◆ United States gasoline and heating oil supplies, once quite plentiful, are now diminishing faster than expected. Authorities say that there is not much that can be done about it. Perhaps this winter, but almost surely by next summer, people will feel the effects of the shortage. Homes may be cold and many service stations may have no gasoline to pump.
Italy’s Vipers Increasing
◆ Vipers are invading many sections of Italy, a sign that the environmental balance is upset. Even Italy’s 1.7 million licensed hunters are being asked by ecologists to spare birds that prey on poisonous snakes. The number of snakebites has doubled during the last five years. Further, not only are the snakes growing in numbers but they seem to be getting more aggressive. One snake expert said that poisonous snakes that once would strike a man only when he came within four inches, now do so at a “critical minimum distance” of 16 inches.
◆ Dr. Monroe Jacobs, president of the Podiatry Association of the State of New York, warns that “the platform shoe is supremely dangerous.” He holds that “the normal reflex pattern of walking is interrupted by the rigidity of such a thick sole and the shape of the platform, which is not conducive to the normal function of walking.” Also, the open back of many clog shoes gives even greater instability to the foot. And the high heels can easily be caught on a curb or step. The sudden stop is like that of a skiing accident. One popular singer broke two bones in her foot from such a sudden stop. A Manhattan podiatrist reports treating three fractures and four badly torn ligaments directly related to these shoes. But many women prefer style to safety.
Hair Spray Effects
◆ Dr. John M. Gowdy, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration doctor, claims that hair spray may be responsible for lung disorders. He observed that some users have shortness of breath, minor cough and diminished lung capacity. Chest X rays show shadows, suggesting that lacquer from spray evidently collects in the lungs. Beauty operators in one section of the country had lung abnormalities 10 to 20 percent greater than the general population. Dr. Gowdy’s advice to hair-spray users is that they avoid inhaling the spray.
Hazards of Aspirin
◆ Biochemist Dr. K. D. Rainsford points out that aspirin can cause damage to one’s stomach lining possibly resulting in ulcers. This is minimized by dissolving aspirin in water with a small amount of bicarbonate of soda. He also declares that aspirin can damage the fetus of pregnant women, especially if taken during the first few months of pregnancy. Dr. John T. Collins, Jr., at Tripler Army Medical Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, warns about the hazards of aspirin in connection with blood transfusion. A blood donor who has taken aspirin within 24 hours prior to his donation may risk the life of one who receives his blood. Aspirin tends to slow the clotting time of blood. This could prove lethal to persons with clotting problems due to disease or severe hemorrhaging. And the effect of aspirin continues in the blood for up to twenty-three days.
Delusions and Sleeping Pills
◆ Tests by two psychiatrists reveal that scopolamine, an ingredient used in most sleeping pills, can cause paranoid delusions and hallucinations. Usually, massive dosages bring on such reactions. Easily available sedatives with scopolamine are used increasingly in suicide attempts, but the result is often terrible emotional reactions rather than death. Scopolamine also causes persons to forget who and where they are. Further, scopolamine is traded on the illegal drug market as LSD. Persons taking drugs to counteract the effect of what they think is LSD may actually increase the activity of scopolamine.
Saving Poison Victims
◆ Certain first-aid manuals recommend using table salt to induce victims of accidental poisoning to vomit. Now Canadian pediatricians warn that this can be fatal. One teaspoon of salt may cause salt poisoning in a child. Three teaspoons could kill an adult. They recommend a bit of dry mustard, ipecac syrup or loading the victim with liquids and forcing him to gag with his head held below his waist. Additionally, American researchers recently found that activated charcoal is the single most valuable antidote for poisons and overdoses of drugs. In fine powder form it can adsorb ingested kerosene, strychnine, arsenic, barbiturates, aspirin and antidepressants. This allows time for further emergency care to be administered. It is not a substitute for that care nor is it effective against lye, mineral acids, cyanide, alcohol and other caustic alkalis.
Children Need Love
◆ New York pediatrician, Dr. Lytt I. Gardner, speaks of the affliction that kills most children in orphanages as ‘deprivation dwarfism.’ Lack of love, he claims, stunts growth and retards intellectual development. If not caught in time, a child so emotionally injured never catches up mentally and physically. Certain children taken from homes where they were shown no love were cured when the needed attention was given. Thus parental love can affect a child’s health.
◆ Between 1960 and 1970, the number of illegitimate births among youths aged 15 to 19 in Oklahoma shot up 58 percent. Dr. S. DePersio, a director of the Health Department, pointed out that people who do not work in a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office have no idea of the amount of illicit sexual activity now taking place. State health commissioner Dr. LeRoy Carpenter explained: “Bikinis, short shorts and sexually oriented movies, television and advertising are part of our society that stimulate earlier sexual activity.”
VD Still Rising
◆ Venereal disease is reaching such epidemic proportions in Connecticut that authorities consider giving it priority in all health programs. A task force investigating the problem asks that routine blood tests for syphilis be given all admitted to hospitals and clinics, even outpatients. Gonorrhea has been rising at the average rate of 36 percent a year since 1962. Syphilis rose 37 percent last year. The task force reported: “The alarming increase in the incidence of venereal disease in Connecticut, specifically syphilis and gonorrhea, is a direct result of increased sexual promiscuity, ignorance and professional and public apathy.”
Herbal Remedies from China
◆ Dr. E. Grey Dimond, Kansas City cardiologist, predicts that, after acupuncture, herbal remedies will be China’s next medicinal export to the West. He observed that Chinese physicians use herbs effectively in treating heart disease and other ailments. He was impressed by “the tremendous amount of information on the herbs the Chinese use,” adding, “this is not a cult—a lady with tea leaves—they have had 4,000 years of a pragmatic human laboratory.” He reported many patients had Western-style physicians employing both synthesized medicine and botanical remedies. “I have case histories of heart disease with herbal medicines being extremely effective,” he declared.
Science Wars Against Rats
◆ A small town in Oklahoma is the site for a scientific test of rat control. It involves introducing sterile male rats into the rat community there. These male rats seem to compete more vigorously in mating than do normal wild rats. Also, a false pregnancy is produced in the females but no offspring. This keeps a female from mating for at least 17 days.
Improving the Egg
◆ An Australian chicken farmer is trying to help eggs to get a better reputation. Because of high cholesterol, eggs are often shunned by persons following special diets. A medical journal reports that, by having his hens eat only greens and grain, this farmer claims the eggs are larger, have more vitamin E and less saturated fatty acids.