Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/17/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

How the Catholic Church Responds in Love to a Still Worrying High Number of Pregnant Teens

"The church's response is total charity. We do everything to convince a teen they have other options than abortion.  We as a church respond to the pregnancy with love."

Michael Six displays Bethlehem Catholic High School's handiwork.

Michael Six displays Bethlehem Catholic High School's handiwork.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/17/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: teen pregnancy, Catholic, homes for unwed mothers, love, charity


FOUNTAIN HILL,PA (Catholic Online) - According to an April 2012 data brief released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth rates for American teens have reached historic lows for all ages and ethnic groups.

The Data indicates that the U.S. teen birth rate declined nine percent from 2009 to 2010, reaching an historic low at 34.3 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19; the rate dropped 44 percent from 1991 through 2010.

Fewer babies were born to teenagers in 2010 than in any year since 1946.

We just might want to place the celebration on hold.

The decline still leaves the United States with having one of the highest teen pregnancy rates of all industrialized countries.

There is much ambiguity regarding the cause of the decline in teen birth rates. Abortion as a possible cause for the decrease cannot be ignored.

According to the Guttmacher Institute which is the "research arm" of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States, eighteen percent of U.S. women obtaining abortions are teenagers; those aged 15-17 obtain six percent of all abortions, teens aged 18-19 obtain 11 percent, and teens younger than age 15 obtain 0.4 percent.

Of course, trusting the statistics offered by a front organization for Planned Parenthood is dangerous. However, even if these statistics are accurate, they do not and cannot ever justify the taking of the life of any innocent child in the first home of the whole human race -- their mother's womb.  

Studies on teen contraception use are ambiguous at best. There is much debate in some circles, especially those which favor contraception and abortion, concerning the effectiveness of abstinence-only pregnancy prevention. They often fail to consider that such programs, if they are any good, also present a view of the dignity of human sexuality, sexual expression and marriage.   

Catholic doctrine teaches that abstinence is the only appropriate behavior for unmarried couples. Most Catholic high schools promote abstinence in a variety of ways including offering abstinence speakers, such as Pam Stenzel.  

As reported in a February 2, 2007 "Catholic Online" article, Stenzel warned teens that,  "Sex involves not just body parts, but also one's heart and soul," Stenzel said. "This entails finding the right person who is willing to make a lifelong promise of love."

So what happens if teens fail in attempts to be abstinent and gets pregnant?

"We teach abstinence, but once a teen gets pregnant, it is no longer a moral issue," said the Rev. Scott Ardinger, M.Div., M.A., S.T.L., Pastor, Incarnation of Our Lord Parish, Bethlehem, PA.

"The church's response is total charity. We do everything to convince a teen they have other options than abortion.  We as a church respond to the pregnancy with love."

That love can be experienced in many ways.

For decades, probably centuries, the Catholic Church has provided refuges for unmarried pregnant women. 

Sister Clarice Vresk, of Bethlehem, PA, was in charge of one of those homes in Hoboken. NJ.  Now one of the Good Counsel Homes, co-founded by the Rev. Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR and Christopher Bell, it had been St. Francis Home for Unwed Mothers, when Sister Clarice was there.

"Having homes such as the Good Counsel ones available for pregnant women helps the girls choose life for their unborn children," said Sister Clarice.

"While I was working at the St. Francis Home, I was happy to drive one young mother and her infant from the hospital to our home. I knew that the baby would be blessed with extra love during his first months of development."

Some teenagers are becoming part of the Church's response to teen pregnancy.

"As soon as I found out there was a Pro Life Club, I knew I would join," said Cassidy Flynn, a freshman at Bethlehem Catholic High School, Bethlehem, PA.

The club has sponsored one of the rooms at the newly-opened Mary's Shelter, Cay Galgon Center, a home for unwed mothers, located in the former convent at St. Simon and Jude Parish, Bethlehem.

The group designed, selected colors, picked out furniture and accessories, and then painted the room.

Cassidy feels especially passionate about pro-life causes.  She is the big sister to Delaney, 13, and Bailey, 11.  Bailey has Down Syndrome and Cassidy is painfully aware that most parents on finding out their unborn child has Down Syndrome, choose to kill their baby.

A tour of the newly-renovated Bethlehem home showed a residence bouncing with the love of all those involved in providing a nurturing alternative to abortion.

The Bethlehem shelter is one of three homes, two Mary's Shelters, and one Mary's Home. The other shelter and home are located in Reading, PA.

"Michael Six, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, is careful to point out that Mary's shelter is an independent organization, not affiliated formally with the Catholic Church.

The fact that it is located in a former convent with the vast majority of volunteers being Catholic, speaks loudly of a real, though not official, connection to Catholicism.

"The response has been tremendous," said Six.  Each of the rooms available to a mother and her child has been sponsored by pro-life groups.  There is visible evidence of the participation.

Six can't keep from sharing his warm smile as he opens door after door of renovated rooms ready to welcome pregnant women.

He proudly displayed the room that Cassidy's Pro Life Club decorated.  "They even painted the bands around the ceiling lights and the inside of the medicine cabinet!"

One Boy Scout troop took on the monumental task of organizing the numerous donations the shelter has received.

There is a huge emphasis on education at the shelters. Many of the girls in the program have no experience with life or parenting skills. 

Popular television shows like "Teen Mom" and  "16 and Pregnant" have certainly brought the phenomenon of teen pregnancy to the forefront. Viewers are invited into the soap opera-like lives of teen moms. The effect of these shows on teen pregnancies is yet to be determined. Just watching a smattering of episodes of "Teen Mom" showed much drama and little substance.

One 64-year-old Easton, Pennsylvania woman, who chose not to be identified, had a more realistic view of teen pregnancy.  She was 15 when she got pregnant

"I just about finished tenth grade," she said.

"Are you kidding me!" she said when asked whether she was scorned by a society less accepting of teen pregnancy.

"I lost my friends and my freedom but abortion was not an option I would even consider."

She married the baby's father and both committed to giving the baby the best life they could.   

"My mom didn't have that talk with me! She said when discussing abstinence.  Her mom did support her though in her decision to marry and keep the baby.

For more information, see www.Marysshelter.org



.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Living Faith

'Nothing can separate me from the love of God': The first American Ebola patient shares his profound realization on deathbed Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

He was the first American who contracted the deadly Ebola virus - fearful and sick, Dr. Kent Brantly came to realize something important for Christians and their relationship with God. Amid the pain and moments of uncertainty, from being diagnosed positive with ... continue reading


J. Matt Barber: The Meaning of Life

Image of Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law.

By J. Matt Barber

So this was rock bottom. The day, which yet again wore into night with fast food and old Bonanza reruns, would end like all the rest. Where were my car keys? As I searched in preparation for another trip to the liquor store, I made my way to my bedroom and opened ... continue reading


'There is no hope, no life, no hope for an end': 'Donor fatigue' setting in among those helping Christians in Middle East fleeing ISIS Watch

Image of Refugees now realize that they will be unable to return to their homes in Iraq or Syria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With no end in sight, "donor fatigue" is setting in for those trying to help Middle Eastern Christians fleeing ISIS. There appears to be no solutions, only increasing refugees and more need. The refugees' situation is only getting worse. Refugees now realize ... continue reading


Giant cross at veteran memorial to stay standing with game-changing agreement made Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Legal battle over the issue of a giant cross standing over a veterans' memorial has been a long and tedious fight, but an agreement may now put it all to rest, keeping the monument on the land. Atheists and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have filed legal ... continue reading


A MIRACLE? Virgin Mary painting caught on tape moving lips along with the Lord's Prayer (VIDEO) Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The lips on a painted image of the Virgin Mary, on display at the St. Charbels Church in New South Wales, Australia, were reportedly witnessed moving along with the reading of the Lord's Prayer. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The video featuring the Virgin ... continue reading


Many accuse Pope Francis of socialist, even communist leanings - is he? Watch

Image of The gift of a

By CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis' recent trip to Latin America has rekindled questions about whether he endorses socialism, or even communism. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The gift of a "communist crucifix" from Bolivia's president Evo Morales and uncertainty over the Pope's response ... continue reading


Schedule released for Pope Francis' Jubilee of Mercy Watch

Image of Twelve prominent events, each with the participation of Pope Francis, have been scheduled in Rome for the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy.

By CNA/EWTN News

Twelve prominent events, each with the participation of Pope Francis, have been scheduled in Rome for the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy, and CNA was able to glance at details of their programs. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The twelve big events of the Jubilee of ... continue reading


Bible verse discovered on ancient Hebrew scroll unearthed near the Dead Sea Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A burned scroll, speculated to have existed for 1,500 years, was unearthed in 1970 near the Dead Sea, but scientists only now have deciphered the content of the delicate ancient parchment. They were shocked to find the most ancient Hebrew scroll contained a part of the ... continue reading


Why does Pope Francis mention the devil so often? Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Throughout 2013, during Pope Francis' pontificate, he frequently spoke about the Devil. The Argentine bishop of Rome reminded the cardinals who elected him during his first major address; "Let us never yield to pessimism, to that bitterness that the devil offers us ... continue reading


Online stalwart Father Robert Barron named auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles Watch

Image of Known for his online videos, which tackle everything from the saints, to the

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

Known for his online videos, which tackle everything from the saints, to the "new atheism," to the latest blockbuster film, Fr. Robert Barron will have a new responsibility: auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, one of the cultural capitals of the world. Los ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5-9, 28
7 Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13
6 Yahweh acts with uprightness, with justice to all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:35-43
35 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 28th, 2015 Image

St. Innocent I
July 28: Innocent was born at Albano, Italy. He became Pope, succeeding ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter