Catholics & the 2004 Presidential Election - Collected Readings & Resources

Saturday, June 12, 2004

We must lift the barriers that stand in the way of science and push the boundaries of medical exploration 

Posted by Jeff Miller at 6:45 PM

Senator John Kerry wasted no time to subvert and use the death of President Reagan to start hawking stem-cell research. In his weekly radio address:

Yesterday, we said goodbye to President Ronald Reagan.

For his children and his friends, and most of all, for his courageous wife Nancy, this painful goodbye began almost ten years ago, with the diagnosis of a disease that took Ronald Reagan away before it took his life.

There is a moment after you get the call from a doctor that you or a loved one must face a disease like Alzheimer's where you decide that it can't mean the end - that you won't let it. So in our own way, we become researchers and scientists. We become advocates and friends, and we reach for a cure that cannot - that must not - be too far away.
Some call this denial. But I'm sure that Nancy Reagan - the wife of an eternal optimist - calls it hope.

She told the world that Alzheimer's had taken her own husband to a distant place, and then she stood up to help find a breakthrough that someday will spare other husbands, wives, children and parents from the same kind of heartache.

Millions share this hope, and it is because of their commitment that stem cell research has brought us closer to finding ways to treat Alzheimer's and many other diseases.

In a recent article by a stem-cell researcher we heard the opposite.

"I think the chance of doing repairs to Alzheimer's brains by putting in stem cells is small," said stem cell researcher Michael Shelanski, co-director of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, echoing many other experts. "I personally think we're going to get other therapies for Alzheimer's a lot sooner."

Today, more than 100 million Americans have illnesses that one day could be cured or treated with stem-cell therapy. Stem cells could replace damaged heart cells or cells destroyed by cancer, offering a new lease on life to those suffering from diseases that once came with a certain death sentence. Stem cells have the power to slow the loss of a grandmother's memory, calm the hand of an uncle with Parkinson's, save a child from a lifetime of daily insulin shots, or permanently lift a best friend from his wheelchair.

Chances are that you love someone with such a disease. You may be that someone. So what can we do to make sure that doctors and scientists keep learning, keep discovering, and keep researching stem cells so that the incredible potential for discovery becomes a reality in people's lives?

We must lift the barriers that stand in the way of science and push the boundaries of medical exploration so that researchers can find the cures that are there, if only they are allowed to look. We can do this while providing strict ethical oversight.

His whole radio address is deeply dishonest. Not one time does he make the necessary distinction between embryonic and adult stem- cells. There are zero barriers for working with adult stem-cells. Researches are not prohibited in any way by using the more promising research into adult stem-cells. Currently there is only a federal ban on scientists from doing research on embryonic stem-cells other then those lines that already exist. Unfortunately there are hardly any limits on research on embryonic stem-cells by private researchers. The barriers he wants lifted are the ones currently protecting human life. He uses the words "allowed to look" and reality translates that to embryo farms where humans are experimented on and die in the process of "looking."

We must make the funding of stem cell research a priority in our universities and our medical community. And we must secure more funding for it at agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Above all, we must look to the future not with fear, but with the hope and the faith that advances in medicine will advance our best values. America has always been a land of discovery - of distant horizons and unconquered frontiers. But progress has always brought with it ethical concerns that this time we have gone too far. Believe it or not, there was a time when some questioned the morality of heart transplants. Not too long ago, we heard the same kind of arguments against the biotechnology research that now saves stroke victims and those with leukemia.

To compare heart transplants to the use of embryonic stem-cells is a ridiculous example. Sure some people initially had problems with the idea of organ transplants, but the Catholic Church has no problem with transplants in most circumstances. The only problem arises when organs are harvested prior to a person dying. Because of the short time-period some organs can be used doctors are tempted to remove organs prior to death. For embryonic stem-cells they take live human embryos and then destroy (murder) them when they remove the stem-cells. This is the moral equivalent of harvesting organs from healthy children. There is no difference between raising children for the purposes of an organ harvest and taking human embryos and harvesting them for stem-cells. Unfortunately this is what we have come to expect from John "My faith is important to me" Kerry.

I know there are ethical issues, but people of goodwill and good sense can resolve them. For I also know the fear that most Americans feel at some point - the fear of a diagnosis that may take our life or sentence us to a diminished life.

This is part of modern alchemist word-smithing. Transform the word morality to ethics and before long you can easily dismiss any qualms.

In the past few years, I have seen cancer and stroke take my own parents. Last year, because of the remarkable medical advances we have made, I was cured of prostate cancer. Now everywhere I go in America, people come up to me and tell me about their struggle with illness or the bravery of family members who faces it. They share their worries, but they also believe that this is a country of the future, a can-do country.

The medical discoveries that come from stem cell are crucial next steps in humanity's uphill climb. And part of this nation's greatness lies in the fact that we have led the world in great medical discoveries, with our breakthroughs and our beliefs going hand-in-hand.

If we pursue the limitless potential of our science - and trust that we can use it wisely - we will save millions of lives and earn the gratitude of future generations.

Except the generation of lives offered on the altars of unrestrained science. It is hard to find gratitude at the sharp end of a scalpel coming to kill you.

That John Kerry takes this position unfortunately does not put him in the minority. Recently a letter signed by 56 or 57 senators (reporting varied) asked President Bush to ease stem-cell research restrictions. We have come to expect the abortion-as-sacrament political party to ignore life at conception. Senators Trent Lott , Orrin G. Hatch, Kay Bailey Hutchison and 10 other Republicans also signed this letter. This is consistent for Hatch but previously pro-life Senators like Trent Lott and Kay Bailey Hutchison and other should be ashamed of themselves.

Update: Mark Shea has an editorial in the Dallas Morning News on using Reagan's death to advance embryonic stem-cell research.

Ongoing commentary by the editors of CatholicKerryWatch

Sen. John Kerry stands with Kate Michelman (right) President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Since 1995, Michelman's group has given Kerry a 100% rating for his voting record to defend abortion.


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Contributing Editors:

Oswald Sobrino of
Catholic Analysis

Earl E. Appleby of
Times Against Humanity

Jeff Miller of
The Curt Jester

Ad Limina Apostolorum

Christopher Blosser of
Against The Grain

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Kerry's Critics


Ad Limina Apostolorum
The Black Republican
The Blog From The Core
Catholics for Bush [Blog]
Catholic Light
Defensor Fidei (Jimmy Akin)
Domenico Bettinelli, Jr.
The Galvin Opinion
Just Being Frank
Laudem Gloriae
Let's Try Freedom
Mark Shea
[The Meandering Mind of a Seminarian]
The Mighty Barrister
Open Book
Thrown Back
TriCoastal Commission


Catholics Against Kerry
De Fide
Kerry Wrong For Catholics
Priests For Life

News Resources

Google News
Mallon's Media Watch
New York Times
Yahoo News

Kerry Communion Watch @

The Candidates on Abortion: Where do they stand?




National Catholic Reporter
National Catholic Register
The Hill
Crisis Magazine
National Review
Weekly Standard

Related Documents & Articles

Worthiness To Recieve Communion: General Principles
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Evangelium Vitae
Pope John Paul II

Worthy to Receive the Lamb: Catholics in Political Life and the Reception of Holy Communion, from Archbishop Donoghue (Atlanta, GA), Bishop Baker (Charleston, SC) and Bishop Jugis (Charlotte, NC).
August 4, 2004

Catholics in Political Life U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. June 7, 2004.

Catholic Politicians and Bishops. By Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis. America June 21-28, 2004.

A Time For Honesty, Pastoral Statement by The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark. May 5, 2004.

Why Communion Could Be Denied to Anti-Life Legislators. Interview with Father Thomas Williams, dean of the School of Theology of the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

Why Don't Catholic Politicians Practice What the Catholic Church Preaches?, by Judie Brown. Washington Dispatch April 19, 2004.

How to tell a Duck from a Fox: Thinking with the Church as we look toward November, by Archbishop Chaput. Denver Catholic Register April 14, 2004.

On the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility, a Pastoral Letter by La Crosse Bishop Raymond L. Burke.

Blood On Their Hands: Exposing Pro-abortion Catholic Politicians, by Mark Stricherz. Crisis May 2003.

The Failure of Catholic Political Leadership, by Robert P. George & William E. Saunders. Crisis 18, No. 4 (April 2000).

Denying Holy Communion: A Case History, by Bishop Emeritus Rene Henry Gracida. [PDF Format].

Ten questions regarding the denial of the Eucharist, by Barbara Kralis.

Recommmended Reading

John Kerry, Abortion and the Catholic Church

Irreconcilable Differences", by Matthew Mehan. NRO Sept. 16, 2004.

John Courtney Murray and the 'Liberal Catholic' Justification of Abortion Investigative report by Christopher Blosser. August 30, 2004.

"Please answer the question, Senator Kerry", The Mighty Barrister. August 2, 2004.

You wouldn't even ask. Fr. Pavone (Priests for Life). July 2004.

Kerry isn't making abortion stand clear, by Raymond J. Keating. Newsday July 27, 2004.

Senator Kerry May Be Human . . . But is He a Person?, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 23, 2004.

Kerry's Catholic Problem, by Brent Bozell. July 7, 2004.

The Body Politic and the Body of Christ: Candidates, Communion and the Catholic Church. Debate btw/ Thomas J. Reese, S.J. and George Weigel. June 23, 2004.

The Kerry challenge, by George Weigel. May 5, 2004.

Rites and Wrongs: Why John Kerry should not take communion, by Philip F. Lawler. Wall Street Journal April 30, 2004.

John Kerry's Catholic Problem", by Cal Thomas. April 26, 2004.

Kerry Distorting Catholic Doctrine. interviews George Weigel. April 16, 2004.

"Personally Opposed, But…" Five Pro-Abortion Dodges, by Todd M. Aglialoro. Crisis April 1, 2004.

On Embryonic Stem-Cell Research

Reagan vs. Reagan and The Stem-Cell Cover-Up, Catholic Kerry Watch, August 14, 2004.

Senator Kerry dismisses religious convictions as "ideology"  Catholic Kerry Watch. August 9, 2004.

Ron Reagan & Functionalism, Revisited, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 29, 2004.

Out of Touch, by Michael Fumento. Refuting Kerry's claims on the use of embryonic stem cells. Citizen Magazine August 2004.

Stem Cell Defection, by Ramesh Ponnuru. National Review August 16, 2004.

Stem Cell Research: Fact Sheets, Letters to Congress and Articles from the USCCB.

On Voting, "Proportionality" and Cardinal Ratzinger's Memorandum

What Ratzinger Said, by James Akin. Sept. 9, 2004.

Bishops Refute Flawed Theology (of Andrew Greeley) Barbara Kralis. August 22, 2004.

Thoughts on Proportionality, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 12, 2004.

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