Referendum on family values - 7 February 2015

Slovakia’s President, Andrej Kiska supported the idea of a referendum on same sex marriages and adoption by homosexual couples. The referendum will take place on 7 February, but the final version of the questions is unknown. This initiative was started by organization called an Alliance for Family, that most probably wants these topics to disappear from the public discussion. The idea was criticized by some constitutionalists and sociologists who believe that rights and freedoms of citizens should not be put to a vote. However, the Constitutional Court has finally decided that the referendum can take place.

Alliance for Family launched a petition calling for a national referendum to affirm four main points:
  • that marriage is defined as a union of one man and one woman;
  • that adoptive parents must be married, to provide the best environment for the children involved;
  • that parents be allowed to opt out their children from school classes dealing in sex education and euthanasia;
  • that same-sex registered partnerships be banned.
The Family Alliance collected more than 420,000 signatures in its petition in support of the referendum before submitting the document to the President’s Office in August. That number surpassed the constitutionally required minimum of 350,000 signatures, but Slovak President Andrej Kiska asked the Constitutional Court to scrutinize the proposed referendum questions because of a provision in the country’s constitution that forbids holding a referendum to change “fundamental rights and liberties.” The Slovak Constitutional Court issued a decision Wednesday to allow a pro-family referendum initiated by the Slovak Alliance for Family to move forward. The Slovak Constitutional Court approved the first three referendum questions, but disallowed the question on same-sex registered partnerships. The referendum will move forward on three of the four proposed constitutional amendments, those being the question of marriage as between one man and one woman, a prohibition of same-sex adoption, and parental opt outs from sexual education.

More information: http://www.alianciazarodinu.sk/preco/
Source /with permission of www.hn.online.sk/:  http://hn.hnonline.sk/slovensko-119/kiska-rozhodol-caka-nas-historicke-referendum-637251

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Just recently, European Commission lunched projects – IMPACT and EURO IMPACT. They bring together important research partners and stakeholders in European palliative and end-of-life care. During an invitational conference, last October 2013, they have launched a declaration with 10 recommendations for policy- and decision makers in order to improve the quality of and access to palliative care in an age-friendly Europe. These recommendations are based on recent scientific insights. The more signatures this declaration receives, the stronger the message to the policy and decision makers will be.

I strongly recommend signing the declaration at http://palliativecare2020.eu/declaration/ and spreading it to your national and international contacts.

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Jasbir T. Singh: Trudeau flunks catechism 101

Jasbir T. Singh: Trudeau flunks catechism 101: After Sunday Mass (May 18th, 2014) I was thrilled to find this document from the Archbishop of Ottawa (below) at the entrance of the Churc...


A new method of creating versatile stem cells from a relatively simple manipulation of existing cells

A new method of creating versatile stem cells from a relatively simple manipulation of existing cells could further reduce the need for any stem-cell research involving human embryos, according to leading ethicists. Although the process has only been tested in mice, two studies published Jan. 29 in the journal Nature detailed research showing success with a process called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, or STAP.  Scientists from Japan's RIKEN research institute and Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston were able to reprogram blood cells from newborn mice by placing them in a low-level acidic bath for 30 minutes. Seven to 9 percent of the cells subjected to such stress returned to a state of pluripotency and were able to grow into other types of cells in the body.

"If this technology proves feasible with human cells, which seems likely, it will offer yet another alternative for obtaining highly flexible stem cells without relying on the destructive use of human embryos," said Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. "This is clearly a positive direction for scientific research."

The Catholic church opposes any research involving the destruction of human embryos to create stem cells. Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, said if the new method were used to create stem cells so versatile that they could form placenta tissue and make human cloning easier, "then we would have serious moral problems with that." But there is no indication so far that the scientists could or would do so, he added. "You could misuse any powerful technology, but the technique itself is not problematic" in terms of Catholic teaching, Doerflinger said. David Prentice, senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council in Washington, said the new STAP process is yet another indication that "there are all these different ways to create stem cells without ever having to endanger a human being." He said adult stem cells -- drawn from living human beings without harming them, as well as from umbilical cord blood or bone marrow -- "are the only stem cells that have ever proven to help a single patient." More than 60,000 patients around the world are receiving treatments for a variety of diseases from adult stem cells, he added. Another type of adult stem cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, is still being used only in animal models, said Prentice, who holds a doctorate in biochemistry and was a founding member of Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics. Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka received the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the iPS technique.

 *More at: http://ncronline.org/news/politics/new-stem-cell-method-offers-another-alternative-embryonic-research

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Made for Each Other...

Does love have anything to do with the human body, with being a man or a woman? Is there anything unique about married love? What is marriage? The answers to these questions can be found in very unique video done by The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage that has launched a new initiative for the protection of marriage. See more at http://www.marriageuniqueforareason.org/sexual-difference-video/.

“Made for Each Other,” the first video of the Marriage: Unique for a Reason series, takes up these and other foundational questions about the meaning of marriage. Marriage is about love, but it’s about a unique love that only a man and a woman as husband and wife can give to each other. In the video, Josh and Carrie talk about why men and women matter for marriage. Their dialogue and interactions illuminate the beauty of sexual difference and complementarity between man and woman as husband and wife. Only through sexual difference can a husband and a wife give themselves completely to one another – so completely that “the two become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). True marital union is not possible without sexual difference.

This is why sexual difference is essential to marriage. Sexual difference is the necessary starting point for understanding why protecting and promoting marriage as the union of one man and one woman isn’t arbitrary or discriminatory. Rather, it’s a matter of justice, truth, love, and real freedom. Only a man and a woman—at every level of their identity: biological, physiological, emotional, social, spiritual—are capable of authentically speaking the language of married love, that is, the language of total self-gift, open to the gift of the other and the gift of life. (Please see the second video “Made for Life,” which explores the topic of marriage and children.)

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Searching of personal identity of biblical man coming to the pluralistic society on the 21st century

We enthusiastically invite you to the Annual International Scientific Conference to be held in Kosice, Slovakia on April 9, 2014 at 2.00 pm! This year’s conference theme is: "Searching of personal identity of biblical man coming to the pluralistic society on the 21st century". We look forward to seeing you in Kosice this year!


European Parliament rejected a report that recommended that EU nations declare abortion to be a human right

I would like to recommend to all my readers the article written by Steven Ertelt, where he focus on "The Estrela report". If you didn't know about such a report then, read this article.

"For the second time in two months, the European Parliament rejected a report that recommended that EU nations declare abortion to be a human right and to make abortion available within all public health systems of member countries. Adoption of the report would have placed more pressure on pro-life nations like Ireland, Poland and Malta to legalize abortion on demand. The proposal was rejected in Strasbourg today and instead an alternative report proposed by the European People’s Party was adopted by 334 to 327 votes.

Responding to the result, Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign said: “Today is International human rights day. It is fitting that a report which sought to attack the most basic human right – the right to life –  was rejected. The Estrela report sought to turn on its head the right to life, ignored the mounting evidence that abortion hurts many women and undermined the concept of conscientious objection for medical practitioners.” “The report states that 20 member nations permit abortion on demand (generally with a gestational limit). Of the seven remaining nations, three have very liberal restrictions regarding abortion while three nations will perform abortions only under more limited circumstances,” says pro-life analyst Nora Sullivan. “The measure the European Parliament is now considering contains no limits regarding gestational age – leaving open the possibility of elective-abortion-until-day-of-birth as a human right. Doubly disturbing are the severe infringement on conscience protections of physicians (specifically gynecologists and anesthesiologists) that are proposed.”

“This measure claims to be a human rights issue yet it fundamentally ignores the human rights of the three key people involved in this tragic act.  It ignores the most basic right, the right to life, of the baby at the center of the whole issue.  It ignores women’s real needs by hiding them behind the iron curtain of abortion rhetoric.  And it ignores the conscience of the doctor, who is being asked to end a human life after spending years training how to preserve it,” Sullivan said. “The European Union should not be asking physicians to suppress their consciences; it should be trying to find its own.”
The previous vote had 351 MEPs voting to send the pro-abortion bill back to committee while 319 voted against the move to zap the legislation. The committee eventually voted the measure back out of committee — leading to today’s vote.

John Smeaton of the British pro-life group SPUC applauded the vote. “The Estrela report represents one of the most concerted recent attempts to get the European Parliament to exceed its competence and try to impose abortion on European Union member-states,” he told LifeNews. “Today’s rejection of the Estrela report proves that peaceful and prayerful grassroots lobbying by pro-lifers can have a real positive impact in the political arena. I wish to thank SPUC’s supporters at home and our colleagues in Europe for saving lives today.” “The “Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”, put forward by Edite Estrela MEP, suggested that abortion is a human right, called for compulsory sex education for all children in and outside of school, and attacked conscientious objection for healthcare professionals,” Smeaton continued. The report asserts that currently, in countries where abortion is legal, it is often rendered unavailable due to physicians’ “abuse of conscientious objection or overly restrictive interpretations of existing limits.” The proposed legislation seeks to require member nations to “regulate and monitor the use of conscientious objection so as to ensure that reproductive health care is guaranteed as an individual’s right, while access to lawful services is ensured and appropriate and affordable referrals systems are in place.”

More at: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/12/10/european-parliament-again-rejects-bill-declaring-abortion-a-human-right/