Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Morning-after pill to be freely available
KFDA decision sparks Catholic protests, mixed reactions among doctorsActivists protest the government's approval of morning-after pills for OTC sale
- June 8, 2012
Public hearings will be held next month, and the new rules are expected to go into effect by the end of the year. Currently, the pills are prescription-only.
The decision came after a year-long reclassification project of all medicines sold in Korea. A total of 212 types will be switched from prescription to over-the-counter, while 273 will become available only by prescription, including birth control pills.
â€śBirth control pills have side effects such as thrombosis and also affect hormone levels,â€ť the KFDA said in a statement. The same is not true of emergency contraception, it said.
Morning-after pills â€“ also known as emergency contraception â€“ act by either delaying or preventing ovulation, blocking fertilization, or keeping a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, according to the Mayo Clinicâ€™s website.
The clinic also notes that recent evidence suggests at least two of the major brand names do not inhibit implantation, but Catholic groups disagree.
â€śEmergency contraception pills are in fact an abortive medicine killing life,â€ť the Korean bishopsâ€™ conference said yesterday.
Earlier this week, the Cheongju diocesan Committee for Life held a protest in front of the KFDA headquarters. After the decision was announced, committee president Father John Lee Jun-yeon said they would cooperate with other religious and civic groups to prepare for hearings.
Medical groups in the country were split. The Korean Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said the pills could encourage â€śirresponsible sex, especially among teenagers,â€ť and argued that the pills should be taken under medical doctorsâ€™ supervision, while the Korean Pharmaceutical Association welcomed the deregulation, saying it would decrease the number of illegal abortions.
According to the government, 342,000 abortions were performed in 2005, but the number dropped to just 169,000 in 2010.
Bishops denounce new birth pill