By Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

NEW YORK, February 24 (C-Fam) The UN bureaucracy is once again trying to fast track the adoption of hundreds of statistical indicators to measure progress on the UN development goals, without giving time for the UN’s political organs to review them.

The UN Statistical Commission may adopt a global set of indicators, that among other disputed measurements included social acceptance of homosexuality, access to abortion for adolescent girls without parental consent, and the availability of comprehensive sexuality education, to assess progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

After failing last year, the UN bureaucracy is trying once more to ram the indicators through approval with just two weeks to go before the Commission decides and without as much as a single negotiating session.

The Commission—made up of technical experts who only come to UN headquarters once a year and are unfamiliar with UN negotiations—declined to adopt the indicators last year after UN delegates who spent the last five years painstakingly negotiating the new UN development goals stopped them.

The understanding was that adoption was not possible by the Commission in the first place because the General Assembly agreement establishing the Sustainable Development Goals tasked the Commission to “agree” on the indicators rather than “adopt” them. The goals are supposed to be agreed upon by the highest and most representative political UN organs, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.

Stefano Gennarini, J.D. writes for C-Fam. This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-Fam (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute ( This article appears with permission.”

By Marianna Orlandi, Ph.D

NEW YORK, February 24 (C-Fam) The EU Parliament recently announced its “priorities” for the next Commission on the Status of Women are “universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.” The EU document implies that limiting access to abortion is an infringement of women’s rights.

The EU recommendation invites the EU Council to “counter the impact of the gag rule,” a term abortion advocates have used to denigrate the Reagan-era policy which ensures that U.S. taxpayer only funds groups that promise not to promote or perform abortions. The text was drafted by the Committee on Women’s Rights (FEMM). FEMM’s rapporteurs described the policy as forms of “sexism and Trumpism,” and said somebody “in the Oval Office” “wants us to … stop repeating the claim “Our bodies – our rights.”

Similarly, Canada’s Minister on Status of Women, Maryam Monsef, said denying access to abortion is a form of violence against women. “We’re committed to making sure that women and girls have that choice, because otherwise, this is a form of gender-based violence,” Monsef said. Canada’s Prime Minister already announced that his approach to international aid includes abortion.

The European Parliament has urged policy makers to counter the Mexico City Policy by replacing funds lost by the Trump’s reenactment of the policy “using both national as well as EU development funding.”

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Marianna Orlandi, Ph.D writes for C-Fam. This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-Fam (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute ( This article appears with permission.”

40 Lenten Ideas to Get More Out of the Season

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

Lent is supposed to be a season of a successful journey through the desert of penance to a new land and a new, deeper, intimacy with God. But often, we find ourselves going back to the same old pathways of past Lents and end up getting nowhere. My aim here is to put into your hands some new Lenten ideas to help you approach the season in a new way so Lent can become for you the experience of lasting change that it is intended to be.

This, of course, is not an exhaustive list of Lenten ideas. But it’s a start! Many of the resources mentioned here are available from The Crossroads Initiative. For more help in understanding the season of Lent and putting these ideas and other tips into practice, get my book Forty Days, Forty Ways: A New Look at Lent.

1. Sometime shortly before Lent or on the first day or two of the season, take 30 minutes to pray. Ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance, look over this list of ideas, and make a few practical Lenten resolutions. You can start with just one idea. But don’t start with more than three ideas! Be careful. If you try to implement too many ideas at once, you may not succeed in anything! If you need to get up early or stay up late to get the 30 minutes of quiet, do it! Turn off your phone and computer. Don’t put it off and don’t allow interruptions.

2. Daily, make a plan to get up earlier than anyone else in your house and spend your first 15 minutes of the day thanking God for the gift of life and offering your day to Him.

3. Get to daily Mass during Lent.

Continue reading the commentary for the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time. (Feb. 26)

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