Dispatches > In Brief

In Brief

"In Brief" Continued...

Issue: "GOP: No room for error," Oct. 19, 2002

Objectively disordered

The Church of England isn't the only body facing critical questions about homosexuality in the clergy. The Vatican is circulating for review a draft document containing directives against the admission of homosexuals to seminary and the priesthood, the Catholic News Service reported. The document's position is based in part on what the revised Catholic catechism says: Homosexual orientation is "objectively disordered."

Vatican scholars and officials have quietly debated for years whether to exclude homosexuals from the priesthood, but with no consensus. The issue is receiving new and more urgent attention in the aftermath of U.S. clergy sex-abuse cases, most of which involved homosexual acts.

Officials say there is no deadline for publication, but when the finalized paper is published it will be in the form of directives or norms to be applied throughout the church. | Edward E. Plowman

Tainted donations

Because of one undetected organ donor with hepatitis C, one person is dead and five others are ill. Transplant doctors did not spot the disease in time and gave the man's tissue and organs to over three dozen people in 14 states.

The infected man died two years ago after a hemorrhage inside his skull. Doctors tested him for hepatitis C but didn't detect the infection. The problem is with the test, which looks for antibodies that fight infection. These appear from six to eight weeks after infection, which means a sick person can still test negative within that window.

"This was the classic window case," Mike Seely, executive director of the Portland-based Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank (which tested the man), told The Oregonian newspaper. With no reason to suspect a problem, doctors transplanted kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, veins, tendons, skin, bone, and corneas into 40 other people. This summer, a patient who received a knee ligament tested positive for hepatitis C. Soon the Oregon Health Division was contacting doctors, so they could warn the remaining recipients. None of the people involved has been publicly identified. Health officials point out that cases like this are very rare.

Hepatitis C kills around 10,000 Americans annually. It attacks the liver and typically spreads via sexual intercourse, dirty needles, and accidental punctures by medical workers. It is the primary reason liver transplants are necessary.

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