January 10, 2000
volume 11, no. 6
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Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.


    VATICAN ( -- L'Osservatore Romano has condemned the distribution of the "morning-after pill" in French schools.

    On January 6, French authorities authorized the distribution of the Norlevo contraceptive pill in schools. School administrators are now allowed to give the pill to teenage girls, without informing their families. In the January 8 edition (which appeared in print, following the usual publication schedule on the afternoon of January 7), the official Vatican newspaper said the new policy shows "cruel hypocrisy."

    The "morning-after pill," the Vatican paper pointed out, is in fact an abortifacient. "It has the effect of destroying an egg which has already been fertilized, and thus is a human embryo, rather than by preventing conception," L'Osservatore said.

    Although some French authorities have argued that the contraceptive pills would prevent pregnancies, and thus limit the demand for abortion, the Vatican newspaper dismissed that argument. In using the "morning-after pill," the column observed, "the intention to abort is manifest-- for the adolescent and for the public authorities as well."

    The Vatican paper also deplored the fact that the pill will be administered without informing the families of the teenage girls involved. While admitting that some parents may neglect their responsibilities toward their adolescent children, L'Osservatore reasoned that the French policy, "far from helping the family with its educational responsibility, discredits the family in practice."

    The distribution of abortifacient pills also causes serious harm, the newspaper argued, by encouraged "the illusion that the consequences of irresponsible behavior can find easy medical remedies."

    In the same issue, the official Vatican newspaper also sharply criticized a new Belgian government policy which allows for legal registration of non-marital unions.

    The Belgian policy was approved by the country's parliament in November 1998, but only took effect in January 2000.

    L'Osservatore Romano said that the policy represents a move "toward the disintegration of society." The January 8 edition of the newspaper (which appears in the afternoon of the day prior to the cover date) emphasized the fact that the new law recognizes homosexual unions. Thus, L'Osservatore argued, the government policy is a "concession to deviancy," which cannot be justified on ethical or juridical grounds.

    Father Gino Concetti, the moral theologian for the Vatican paper, wrote that the "dangerous and perverse" new policy risks the creation of "a society that is atomized and disintegrating." As disparate interest groups claim their own "subjective rights," he warned, there would be no understanding of the common good, and therefore no path to social equilibrium.


January 10, 2000
volume 10, no. 6

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