Germany Launches Pro-life Consultation Centers on Internet

Caritas´ New Service for Expectant Mothers

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BERLIN, APRIL 11, 2002 ( Caritas-Germany launched a new consultation service on Internet directed at expectant mothers, especially those in difficulties.

The initiative was announced last Friday at a press conference by Cardinal Karl Lehmann, president of the German bishops´ conference, who described it as an «important point of the Catholic Church´s network of offers of help and assistance.»

According to Cardinal Lehmann, bishop of Mainz, this type of service hopes to «captivate the ease with which young people use electronic media.»

Hellmut Puschmann, president of Caritas-Germany, explained that the service has a Web page from which one can access directly a private chat with one of the six consultants of the Speyer Diocese who work in the project.

Live question-and-answer periods will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Mondays, and from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. At other times, questions may be sent by electronic mail; answers will be given within 24 hours, organizers say.

A Caritas study revealed that since 1999, when the Catholic Church ceased to participate in the system of state consultation centers for pregnant women wishing to abort, «the number of women who go to consultation centers had decreased.»

However, «problems related to pregnancies and birth have become more numerous and complex,» Cardinal Lehmann said. He explained that since the needs have increased, the Church has «increased and extended» its activities in this area, creating «a real network at the service of life» with communities and charitable organizations.

Support of families, including beyond the period of pregnancy and birth, is a central concern of Caritas, and «one of the principal tasks with which other numerous services are connected,» Puschmann emphasized.

The objective of these aid and consultation services is «to foster a more intense general awareness of the need to care for children and families in our society,» he added.

The service may be consulted at

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