Wednesday Wrap

Welcome to our Wednesday Wrap, where we provide you with some short takes on interesting and inspiring stories you may have missed.

Royal Commission announces final Catholic Church hearing

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse this week announced the dates for its final public hearings before wrapping up.  Case Study 50 will begin on 6 February and is scheduled to run for three weeks.  It will not look at any particular diocese, religious order or offender, but rather consider the Catholic Church as a whole: its structure and governance, its teachings and its culture.

While a consideration of general institutional factors is important, there will no doubt be much public commentary on specifically “Catholic” issues such as confession, the celibate, male-only Priesthood, the role of the Pope, Canon Law and more.  catholicTalk will provide comprehensive coverage in the lead up to, and during, these important hearings.

Angel’s new face

The Sydney Morning Herald has featured a beautiful story about Angel, a young girl from the Philippines who was born with a craniofacial abnormality which meant she was born quite disfigured.  She was brought to Australia for treatment which was unavailable in the Philippines by the Children First Foundation, an Australian charity founded by Melbourne woman Moira Kelly AO.  Ms Kelly created the foundation on the belief that “excellent medical care is a basic right of every child regardless of where they are born”.

Its Miracle sMiles program brings children from developing countries to Australia for profoundly life-changing, or life-saving surgery that is not available in their country of birth.  The airfares for the child and a family member are paid for by the Children First Foundation.  Accommodation is provided at the Foundation’s farm, and the children can stay there for as long as needed to recuperate.  Medical professionals donate their time and expertise, and the farm is run by volunteers as well.

The foundation’s work affirms and upholds the dignity of each and every human person.  The beautiful story can be read here.

Final resolution to confessional seal case

There has been a final resolution of the confessional seal case in Louisiana.  catholicTalk has covered the case of Father Bayhi previously.  In summary, it was alleged that a 14 year old girl had told Father Bayhi in confession that she was being abused by a 64-year old parishioner, and that Father Bayhi failed to report this to child protection authorities (as is required by law.)  Because of the seal of confession, Father Bayhi argued that he could not discuss the contents of the conversation, or even whether the girl came to confession at all, making it impossible to put on a defence to the claim. 

In August, the Louisiana State Appeals Court ruled the law requiring Father Bayhi to report was unconstitutional because it impinged upon religious freedom.  The Louisiana Supreme Court overturned the ruling on constitutionality last week, but decided in Father Bayhi’s favour anyway, deciding that he fell within an exemption for “confidential communications” made to ministers of religion.

Religious freedom victory in Canada

Another victory for religious freedom occurred in the Canadian province of British Columbia last week, with a court ruling in favour of Trinity Western University.  Trinity Western, a Christian residential college, requires students and staff to adhere to a code of conduct pursuant to which, among other things, they agree to only be sexually active within heterosexual marriage.  Three law societies declined to recognise the law degrees of Trinity Western law graduates on the basis that agreeing to this made them unfit for legal practice.

Last week, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that “a society that does not admit of and accommodate differences cannot be a free and democratic society – one in which its citizens are free to think, to disagree, to debate and to challenge the accepted view without fear of reprisal.”

Trinity Western was also successful in Nova Scotia, but the Ontario Court of Appeal sided with the law societies, and Trinity Western graduates are still banned from practising in that jurisdiction.

Male contraceptive injection highlights anti-woman nature of oral contraceptives

It has been reported that a trial into a male contraceptive injection has been discontinued due to side effects such as depression, muscle pain, mood swings and acne.  While the contraceptive was just as effective as female hormonal contraceptives, it was deemed that the risks to patients outweighed the benefits.

Catholic teaching is clear that no form of artificial contraception is morally licit, but it is interesting that male hormonal contraceptives are being discontinued for causing the same types of side effects which female users experience.  Hopefully, this will lead to a realisation that contraception is not about women’s empowerment, but rather sexual license for men.

Monica Doumit, Catholic Talk contributor

 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016 06:03 Written by 
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in CathTalk blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of all members of that of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.

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