Watching the World
◆ The United States Supreme Court has handed down a decision allowing abortions during the first three months of pregnancy. The vote, 7 to 2, invalidated strict antiabortion laws in 31 states. And a second decision handed down by the court will make necessary the revision of more liberal laws in 15 other states. The states may legislate on abortions from the third to the ninth month of pregnancy. It is said that the ruling may increase abortions to a million or more annually in this country.
Redundant British Churches
◆ The list of churches in Britain considered redundant and offered for sale or to charity grows daily. The reasons for this are rapidly declining church attendance and an acute shortage of clergymen. It has been reported that the former St. John’s church in Edinburgh is now a gambling casino. A Methodist church near Liverpool has been turned into a licensed men’s club. A Fundamentalist church in Cambridge has become a dance center for swinging teen-agers. The Episcopal church where famous author Sir Walter Scott attended now serves as a showroom for toilets and other sanitary fixtures. One large church building in Manchester is currently used as a showroom for foreign cars. Others have been renovated into homes. And one is an electricity substation. Since 1969, the Church of England has declared 154 churches redundant; another 150 are considered candidates for this category. One church official declared that there is a potential of about 3,000.
Clergyman Says ‘Legalize Prostitution’!
◆ Clergyman William T. Warren of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Fairbanks, Alaska, told the Chamber of Commerce board of directors: “I think you should give serious thought to a licensed red-light district.” He said: “I’m not advocating prostitution but it will be handled miserably unless planning is done. . . . Legalizing prostitution is the best means of controlling it.”
Church Decline in France
◆ Though more than 90 percent of France’s population are baptized Roman Catholics, only 25 percent ever attend church. And a recent survey of those who called themselves Catholics revealed that only 75 percent claimed to believe in God. A priest at the church’s headquarters in Paris bemoaned, ‘One thing is obvious, religion is losing ground.’
Church’s Wealth in U.S.
◆ The wealth of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States is an estimated $34 billion, according to one source. However, a journalist who spent six months interviewing church officials says: “Although the American Catholic Church does indeed possess substantial visible riches, it does not have cash.” Ninety percent of the church’s wealth is said to be tied up in real estate. U.S. Catholics contribute an estimated $2 billion annually, but most of the money goes to maintaining 18,000 churches, 13,000 parochial schools, 785 hospitals, 410 homes for aged persons and 240 orphanages. The greatest drain on the church’s coffers is said to come from the rising cost of parochial schools. Further, about $15 million is sent to Rome each year.
Church Members Turned Away
◆ At least 400 persons were turned away one Sunday morning from St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic cathedral in Kaduna, Nigeria. Was it because the church was filled and there was no more room inside? No, they were refused entry because they failed to pay a levy that the church leaders had imposed on them. A barricade of benches outside the cathedral was manned by specially chosen men to keep persons out for failing to contribute to a fund for the ordination of a new bishop. A woman who tried to enter the church was forcibly removed.
U.S. Years of Peace
◆ Since the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, over thirty-two years ago, the United States has had just three years of peace where none of its military forces were in a conflict somewhere in the world. The other twenty-nine years saw U.S. servicemen active in such places as Korea, Congo, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Indochina.
Risks of Fertility Drugs
◆ Before fertility drugs, twins were born once in every eighty live births; triplets once in every 6,400 births, quadruplets once in every 512,000 births and quintuplets once in every 41 million. Fertility drugs have changed these statistics. Multiple births are happening more frequently, with as many as eight babies being born at the same time. But the risks are great. Usually these babies are born prematurely, and, more often than not, dead. This is because a woman’s uterus cannot adequately incubate and nourish that many babies. Dr. Edwin DeCosta, a northwestern University obstetrician and gynecologist, explained: “The uterus becomes overstretched and the patient goes into premature labor and casts the babies off prematurely.”
Male Sterilization Problems
◆ Male sterilization is gaining in popularity as a birth-control method. However, a New York team of researchers recently conducted a series of vasectomy experiments on male rats. Their findings caused them concern about the procedure. They issued a warning that caution should be exercised. Leading experts across the country also agreed that more study of the long-range effects of the operation should be undertaken. Dr. Rudi Ansbacher, chief of family planning in San Antonio, Texas, made investigations at the University of Michigan and disclosed that about 55 percent of men who were vasectomized developed sperm-agglutinating antibodies and 40 percent of them had sperm-immobilizing antibodies occur in their bodies. He said that it is not yet known if such antibodies could lead to disease.
◆ Dr. L. Bogdanovich, in a magazine article, points out that the natural sense of shame in youths should be encouraged to help them control their emotions. The doctor noted that shame is closely associated with chastity and helps to preserve it. Other authorities quoted in the article supported this. Swiss psychiatrist, August Forel, who researched sexual questions, pronounced chastity to be a foundation for real love that is stable, lasting and that brings happiness. Also, Dr. V. M. Bekhterev of the USSR Academy of Sciences once observed that chastity helps to preserve moral and physical health. Psychiatrist A. I. Sikorsky declared: “The practice of sensuality at an early age is near-fatal in its physical and moral consequences. It is fatal for physical health and the shaping of character.” The article stressed that self-control to avoid immorality does not injure health but presents important advantages to young people.
Japan’s Moral Breakdown
◆ The National Police Agency of Japan, in a report on the public morality of that country, showed that there was a shocking breakdown. Sex crimes are increasing everywhere. Among the 4,419 females arrested last year for prostitution were many high-school students. In Kyoto, police broke up a mass sex orgy involving 72 girls and 30 boys, all high-school seniors. Contributing to the decay of morals was the appearance for the first time in 1971 of the “Rentaru Rumu,” or rooms for rent on an hourly basis. They are attracting an increasing number of young people, especially teen-agers.
◆ Many government officials are losing confidence in scientists and their establishments, according to an editorial in Science magazine. Recently, Medical Tribune made the following observations on this matter: “Perhaps in no area is this more visible or more regrettable than in the area of health. We know more than we ever did, granting the huge lacunas in our knowledge. We have more techniques and technology, more drugs and equipment, more knowledge and insight, than ever before in the history of medicine. But the gap between what we can deploy and what we do doesn’t narrow but grows wider.”
◆ In the yellow pages of the Manhattan, New York city, telephone directory there are listed about 6,500 names under “Physician.” According to a survey conducted by the office of the State Attorney General approximately 9 percent of these are unlicensed doctors. The Brooklyn yellow pages contained 13.8 percent who were practicing without authorization.
Drug Problem Hopeless
◆ The United States General Accounting Office reports that out of 10 to 12 tons of heroin coming into the country each year, customs officers seize only 6.5 percent. Heroin traffic is so heavy that government officials admit that it cannot be contained at the borders. The problem is compounded by the fact that heroin has corrupted many law-enforcement agencies and individuals in the United States and in other countries. In New York city, 374 of the employees of the Board of Education, including 103 teachers, were arrested during the past six and a half years because they possessed or sold narcotics.
Iceland’s Newest Volcano
◆ Recently a volcano began belching fire and smoke on the tiny island of Heimaey, seven and a half miles off Iceland’s southern shore. Sulfur fumes filled the air, volcanic ash rained down and smoke rose 10,000 feet into the air. Five thousand islanders fled to safety. Geologists say that volcanoes in the Iceland region have spewed one third to one half of all the lava on the earth for the past 1,100 years.
Who Are the Heaviest Smokers?
◆ Recently the British Tobacco Research Council revealed that Canadians are the highest consumers of tobacco products. On the average, they smoke 3,340 manufactured cigarettes and 410 of the roll-your-own kind a year. Residents of the United States use 3,670. Australians rank third, smoking 3,310 annually.
Employee Dishonesty Costly
◆ The construction industry is suffering severe losses due to employee dishonesty. Thefts last year in New York city alone ran up to $3 million. The district attorney’s office put the figure at $10 million. Much of the theft is carried on by workers. Some are thought to be cooperating with organized crime. A new $27,000 bulldozer was taken from a building site one day and sold the next day for $7,500. A heavy cement buggy chained to a girder on the 15th floor of the World Trade Center disappeared during a lunch hour. A 15-foot-high reel of cable disappeared shortly after delivery. And a 9,000-pound machine was taken from a building site by barge. The British Industrial Magazine reports that employees in England are stealing over $2 million worth of goods a day. Said one factory manager: “Security can entail so much paperwork that you can reach the ridiculous situation of it becoming more expensive to stop the pilfering than to let it continue.”
Dutch Church Divided
◆ Sharp differences are racking the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands. Conservatives and liberals are at odds over the issues of birth control, celibacy, Bible interpretation, and the role of laity and of women in the church. The tensions came to a head at a three-day meeting with a representative of the Vatican. The papal envoy, upon hearing the pope-appointed bishop of Limburg severely criticized because of his way of governing his diocese, stalked out of the conference in anger. He was asked to return to his seat since ‘everyone at the conference was free to express his views.’ He replied: “And I am free to go.”