When it comes to the pro-life movement, few groups have been as active than Roman Catholics. And that makes today's news all the more interesting.
Pope Francis has officially given Catholic priests the indefinite power to forgive women who receive abortions. Historically, the responsibility of absolving the sin of abortion belonged to Catholic bishops, but Francis granted all priests this specific right last December for the "Year of Mercy," which ended on Sunday. Today the Pope addressed the continuation of the abortion pardon in an apostolic letter and explained that while abortion is still a grave sin to the Catholic church mercy will be extended to those who repent.
"I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life," the Pope's letter states.
"In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father."
"May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support, and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.
"I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion." Discuss
As part of a campaign to combat violence against women, city leaders and Christian ministries in Toowoomba, Australia, are working together to eliminate porn from their community entirely. A local church group, City Women Toowoomba, is leading the effort supported by the mayor Paul Antonio.
The campaign addresses porn as a public health disaster that promotes gender-specific stereotypes of dominance and aggression in men.
Up to 300 people, mostly men, attended a rally at a public park last week and pledged, "I won't view porn and I will help create a city free from porn."
A local ABC affiliate spoke with John Minz, chairman of Toowoomba Together, a local organization that raises awareness about domestic violence issues. Minz described porn as a "social cancer," adding, "politicians and police are doing what they can in relation to drugs and alcohol, but who is taking responsibility in relation to pornography? The answer is no one."
Studies show that consuming porn can hardwire pathologies in the human brain in the same way that drug use can, altering the reward center to compulsively desire the dopamine hit that viewing porn can bring.
City Women Chief Executive Letitia Shelton of Toowoomba said that an actual porn-free city "sounds very ambitious and unlikely," but she believes that curbing its negative influences, and shedding light on this issue, to be a worthy cause.
Taking pictures of your next hotel room could be a small step in helping victims of sex trafficking around the world. A new app and website called TraffickCam allows travelers to upload pictures of hotel rooms around the world to a database where the photos are matched against a police database.
“You just enter your hotel room, and your room number. You take four pictures, and you submit them to the website,” Washington University Researcher and TraffickCam developer Abby Stylianou said at a Human Trafficking Town Hall. “And then those become part of the pipeline that law enforcement can use to track down where the victims are being trafficked.”
“Right now there are pictures posted every day. Hundreds of pictures, in every city around the United States, posted online, that show victims of trafficking, in hotel rooms posed on beds,” she said.
The idea came about from police asking for help to identify a hotel room where a person was trafficked—someone was able to identify the room from the photo.
So, the next time you check in to a hotel room, take some photos of the hotel room and upload them after you update your Snap story.
The app is free and available for iOS and Android devices. Discuss