North Korea open to priests
CATHOLIC priests may be sent to communist North Korea for the first time.
The possibility was discussed with officials of the North Korean Roman Catholic Patriotic Association, according to Fr Joseph Chung Kwang-Woong, who led a delegation from the Seoul Archdiocese in July.
Fr Chung discussed the question of a permanent presence of South Korean priests in North Korea, for three months at a time, on a visitor's permit.
Earlier, Fr Chung presided over the opening and blessing ceremony of the Nampoo noodle factory, donated by Seoul Catholics.
Fr Chung said: "Children in baby-care units, schools, hospitals and the sick, pregnant women, and the elderly will be the first beneficiaries."
North Korea has suffered a famine for six years, the result of floods. drought and unsuccessful agricultural policies. International observers say at least two million people, about nine per cent of the population, have died as a direct result.
HIV woman seeks IVF child
Tim CHURCH in Australia has condemned fertility specialists who are seeking tohelp an HIVpositive woman to give birth.
The unidentified woman wants to conceive a child using in vitro fertilisation to avoid the risk of infecting her partner by having sex without artificial contraception.
A committee at the Monash IVF centre in the southern city of Melbourne is examining the woman's case. Monash IVF medical director, Prof Gab Kovacs, said the centre was considering helping the woman because new research had shown
that with the use of anti-HIV drugs, the risk of the woman passing the infection to her child would drop from about 25 per cent to less than two per cent.
The Church said the move ignored the best interests of any child that is produced.
"There are reports from some medical researchers to suggest that even through IVF with the best possible screening there is still a risk to the child medically," said Dr Warwick Neville, research fellow of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference.
"1 think that reinforces the concerns of the bishops' conference that nearly always in NF matters the interests of the child are relegated to little more than an afterthought."