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Germany

When A Modern Young Man Opts For ‘Poverty, Celibacy And Obedience’

Bernd Ruffing, 38, lives with a large group of people, but they’re all men, and they’re all old. His mother is appalled by the situation. But the soon-to-be monk is sure he’s doing the right thing in the right place.

Roman Catholic monks in Prague (FaceMePLS)
Roman Catholic monks in Prague (FaceMePLS)
Miriam Hollstein

SANKT WENDEL - A few Sundays from now, Bernd Ruffing will step up to the altar. He'll be wearing a suit, and he will promise to be faithful. But the 38-year-old won't be promising this to a woman: his pledge will be to God. For eight years, this Catholic has been living in a religious order. In a few weeks, he will have completed his training – and that's when the ceremony will take place, at which Ruffing will take his eternal vows as monk and missionary and thus commit himself to a life of celibacy, poverty and obedience.

A wide street leads to the premises of the missionary society in Sankt Wendel, in the German state of Saarland. On a hill, several buildings are grouped around a brick church. Towards the back of the complex is a school. The complex is home to 96 brothers belonging to the Society of the Divine Word. Their average age is 78. Bernd Ruffing is the youngest among them.

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Society

End Of Roe v. Wade, The World Is Watching

As the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion rights, many fear an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S. But in other countries, the global fight for sexual and reproductive rights is going in different directions.

"Don't abort my right" At 2019 pro-choice march In Toulouse, France.

Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via ZUMA
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank and Sophia Constantino

PARIS — Nearly 50 years after it ensured the right to abortion to Americans, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case, meaning that millions of women in the U.S. may lose their constitutional right to abortion.

The groundbreaking decision is likely to set off a range of restrictions on abortion access in multiple states in the U.S., half of which are expected to implement new bans on the procedure. Thirteen have already passed "trigger laws" that will automatically make abortion illegal.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the ruling "a tragic error" and urged individual states to enact laws to allow the procedure.

In a country divided on such a polarizing topic, the decision is likely to cause major shifts in American law and undoubtedly spark outrage among the country’s pro-choice groups. Yet the impact of such a momentous shift, like others in the United States, is also likely to reverberate around the world — and perhaps, eventually, back again in the 50 States.

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