DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     September 22, 1999     vol. 10, no. 180

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

GERMAN PAPER: POPE SAYS NO TO ABORTION COUNSELING WHILE IN IRELAND IRISH PRO-LIFERS CALL FOR REFERENDUM ON ABORTION

        BERLIN (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II has told Germany's bishops to extricate the Church completely from a controversial government-administered abortion counseling program, according to a German newspaper on Tuesday.

        The Frankfurter Allgemeine printed what it said was a letter from the Holy Father to Bishop Karl Lehmann of Mainz, president of the German bishops' conference, that said a compromise reached by the country's bishops earlier in the year was insufficient.

        Under German law, a woman wanting an abortion must first receive a certificate that states she has been to a counseling center, one-sixth of which are affiliated with the Catholic Church. Many Catholics objected to the Church's participation in the program as supporting abortion, although some said that the Church must remain in the program to counsel women on the path to abortion.

        In July, the Pope told Germany's bishops that the certificates handed out by Catholic counselors should state that they "cannot be used for legally carrying out abortions." But, most abortion clinics have continued to recognize the documents as legal, rendering the compromise moot.

        Meanwhile, in Dublin, Ireland Pro-life groups in Ireland have called for a referendum on abortion in response to a government report on issues related to abortion.

        The Youth Defense group Justin Barrett said the Green Paper was not specific enough in examining the constitutional and legislative issues surrounding abortion in Ireland, where it is illegal except in rare circumstances. Barrett told a pro-life conference in Dublin last Saturday that his group would push a referendum to outlaw abortion totally in Ireland.

        "If this government thinks they can find a middle ground in limited abortion, they're just plain wrong. There is no such thing as limited abortion," Barrett said.

        Bernadette Smyth, president of the Northern Irish group Precious Life which has protested outside abortion referral clinics, said more action was needed. "In Ireland, north and south, we need to be active. We need to be out there ... we need to be a force to be reckoned with," Smyth said.

        Although abortion is illegal in Ireland, a change in the law in 1993 allowed women to travel to Britain for abortions. In 1998, almost 5,900 Irish women were referred to British abortion clinics, a rise of more than 10 percent.


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.

September 22, 1999       volume 10, no. 180
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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