Suicide Ruling Slammed, Cardinal Not Resigning & more news

Suicide Ruling Slammed, Cardinal Not Resigning & more news

In Today's Edition:
  • Cardinal Law Returns from Meeting with Pope: Will Stay on the Job
  • Assisted Suicide Ruling Criticized by Christian Physicians
  • Religion Generates New Web Traffic
  • Sudan Facing Humanitarian Crisis
  • Other Headlines at a Glance

Cardinal Law Returns from Meeting with Pope: Will Stay on Job ... The Cardinal who stands at the center of the Catholic Church controversy says he has no plans to resign as head of Boston's archdiocese, reports CNN. Instead, Cardinal Bernard Law returned from an unannounced meeting with Pope John Paul II, saying he was "encouraged" in his efforts to provide "the strongest possible leadership in ensuring that no child is ever abused again by a priest of this archdiocese."

According to CNN, Law issued a statement Tuesday after returning from meetings in Rome where his possible resignation was discussed. The trip explains Law's absence from Sunday Mass at Holy Cross Cathedral. In his statement, the Cardinal said he had spent the past few days in Rome "to seek counsel and advice" about the child sex abuse scandal that is affecting the entire U.S. Catholic Church and generating a whirlwind of negative press worldwide.

Law said he intends "to address at length" the way the archdiocese handled child sexual abuse cases "by reviewing the past in as systematic and comprehensive way as possible, so that legitimate questions which have been raised might be answered."

Assisted Suicide Ruling Criticized by Christian Physicians ... The nation's largest faith-based physicians organization maintains that a ruling Wednesday by a federal court assails the ethical foundations of medicine, puts vulnerable patients at risk, and makes doctors reluctant to comfort patients by aggressively prescribing medication for pain. "The U.S. District Court in Oregon today tragically failed to recognize that medicine is the art of healing -- not killing," said Dr. David Stevens, executive director of the 16,000-member Christian Medical Association

Stevens added, "Attorney General John Ashcroft's excellent ruling of Nov. 6, now overturned by the court, would have especially protected terminally ill patients who often battle depression and suicidal thoughts. The Attorney General's ruling also would have enabled doctors to aggressively manage their patients' pain without fear of unreasonable, regulatory scrutiny or penalization."

Oregon's physician-assisted suicide policy contradicts the national Controlled Substances Act, which regulates the use of powerful drugs. The state law has resulted in the death of dozens of people by narcotics overdose. Last November, Attorney General John Ashcroft clarified that any health care professional who violates the Controlled Substances Act would lose the privilege of prescribing federally controlled substances.

Religion Generates New Web Traffic ... According to Jupiter Media Metrix, a company that monitors Internet traffic, the combination of religious holidays and a heavy dose of religion-related news, such as the Catholic priest scandal and conflict in Israel, generated a "sizable jump" in traffic to religion Web sites last month.

A ratings report released yesterday showed that Easter and Passover celebrations led to a 54 percent increase in visits to religion Web sites between February and March. Traffic rose from 4.2 percent to 6.4 percent of the overall online population in the United States.

"While religion sites have grown steadily over the past year, the surge in visitors in March 2002 was quite significant, with traffic to the category double what it was just six months ago," Jupiter Media Metrix analyst Stephen Kim said in a news release.

Sudan Facing Humanitarian Crisis ... The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) reports that a potential humanitarian disaster is brewing in the remote Northeast Upper Nile region of Sudan. Servant's Heart, an American-based mission, informed VOM that recent attacks by the government of Sudan have virtually destroyed the food supplies and seed stock in the region, placing the lives of at least 60,000 Sudanese civilians (many of whom are Christians) in severe jeopardy.

Dennis Bennett, executive director of Servant's Heart said, "If the food and seed is not immediately replaced, the government of Sudan will kill thousands of defenseless civilians in a slow and horrific manner." VOM reports that attacks by the Sudanese government have continued despite an agreement to stop targeting civilian food supplies or hospitals.

The Voice of the Martyrs hopes to partner with Servant's Heart in assisting the people of the Northeast Upper Nile by providing 100 metric tons of grain to the region before the rainy season starts in late May. For information on helping, visit:

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