Cardinal Sean of Boston (he's a member of the Capuchin order) has his own weblog. He was in Washington for the March for Life - he says he's gone virtually every year since 1974 - and wrote extensivley about this year's March. Both about the events the prior two days of the March, and the March itself. There's also lots of nice pictures. Very worth reading the whole weblog entry.
The witness of having many thousands of Catholics and a big percentage of the leadership of the Catholic Church together on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I think, is a very important testimony to the fact that this issue is at the center of Catholic social teaching. You can talk about economic justice, racial equality, women’s rights and many other issues that are important. But if we don’t allow a person to be born, then they’re never going to have the opportunity to enjoy all of those other rights that we also defend. So there’s something very basic and very central about this teaching, and for that reason the Church must continue to be a voice for the culture of life.
With seemingly a record-breaking crowd in Washington, and an excellent turnout from the Hudson Valley area, it's clear that the prolife movement has not been fazed by a few election losses in November.
The Washington Post gave a pretty good report on the March. BUT on page A10.
The NY Times gave desultory and brief coverage. (It will only be available to read for free online this week.) AND on page A17.
Here is Lifenews.com coverage
Michelle Malkin's website had a great overhead picture of the Rally on the Mall proceeding the March. (Michelle was not too impressed with the Washington Post coverage, even though we thought it was OK.) She thoughtfully compared the kind of coverage Cindy Sheehan gets, with the coverage of tens of thousands of people turning out at the March.
Amy Welborn's weblog with several postings and comments on the March is here:
We believe eleven buses travelled from the Westchester-Putnam-Rockland counties area, with two of them sponsored by the Hudson Valley Coalition for Life. HVCL had 85 bus riders, about 70% of whom were students.
Here are some pictures:
Brigid Faranda gave a radio interview at the rest stop on the way to Washington. The show was the Dave and Sue Konig Catholic Family Program on Sirius radio.
Patty Richards with two students from St Theresa's school in Briarcliff Manor
Rich Fuerst and Sister Lucy Vasile of the Sisters of Life
These students from Bishop Byrne High School in Memphis Tennessee had a 14 hour bus ride to get to the March
Long time activist Laurie Hurley came down from Vermont and travelled on the Hudson Valley buses to Washington.
This was taken by a ten year old, who was struck by the (irony of the) word "Liberty" on the quarter.
The March -
Up Constitution Ave.
and past the Russell Senate building, before the Marchers turn right onto First St., to reach the Supreme Court. It took 75 minutes for the Marchers to all pass the Russell building. This picture was taken an hour after the front of the March passed the building and the participants are jammed shoulder to shoulder in the street.
Near the Supreme Court
Digna and her two sons Stephen and Manuel in front of the Supreme Court. They are from Croton.
"Liberty and Justice for All"
Here are the four teenagers who spoke on one of the buses on the return trip. They all did a great job of briefly talking about their impressions from the day.
Edwin - ninth grade from Sleepy Hollow
Caroline from St. Ann's School eighth grade in Ossining.
Manuel, high school junior, from Croton
Kelly, ninth grader from Sleepy Hollow. She expressed her admiration for woman who spoke out about regreting their abortions.
The Rally for Life - held in White Plains for those who are unable to make the trip to Washington for the annual March for Life on January 22nd - got some coverage in the Westchester Journal News. There was also television coverage by two of the local TV stations.
The Rally for Life drew about 25 people, spread out over the 12 noon to 1 PM time frame.
WHITE PLAINS - Protesters hit downtown streets yesterday on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion.
About a dozen people carried anti-abortion placards near Mamaroneck Avenue and Maple Street, steps away from an abortion clinic. The protesters said they wanted to add their voices to those of protesters from Westchester and Rockland counties who traveled to Washington yesterday for the March for Life demonstration.
"We also need a local presence to demonstrate local support for unborn babies," said Yonkers resident Thomas Byrne, 59, chairman of the Westchester County Right to Life Party.
Satuerday's 3rd annual Walk for Life eclipsed last year's number of 15,000. Interestingly, it passes through pro-abortion Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's District.
About 20,000 pro-life people participated in the annual Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco, a location most people don't think of as a place for a large pro-life event. Last year, more than 15,000 families, friends and students attended the 'walk' to celebrate women and to celebrate life
It is very unusual for the Times to run prolife opinions, but here is one that is relatively prolife, published yesterday. You need to register to get onto the Times website (it's free and easy) and the article is only available for free online for one week.
Below the link is a long excerpt:
All of this leaves us confused over just what the debate is about. It is, to begin with, not about stem cell research, any more than an argument about the lethal extraction of livers from Chinese political prisoners would be a debate about organ transplantation. There are ethical and unethical ways to transplant organs, and there are ethical and unethical ways to conduct stem cell research. The question is to which category a particular technique — the destruction of living embryos for their cells — belongs. ...
... But that does not mean the stem cell debate is about when human life begins. It is a simple and uncontroversial biological fact that a human life begins when an embryo is created. That embryo is human, and it is alive; its human life will last until its death, whether that comes days after conception or many decades later surrounded by children and grandchildren.
But the biological fact that a human life begins at conception does not by itself settle the ethical debate. The human embryo is a human organism, but is this being — microscopically small, with no self-awareness and little resemblance to us — a person, with a right to life?
Many advocates of federal financing for embryo-destructive research begin from a negative answer to that question. They argue that the human embryo is just too small, too unlike us in appearance, or too lacking in consciousness or sensitivity to pain or other critical mental capacity to be granted a place in the human family. But surely America has learned the hard way not to assign human worth by appearances. And surely we would not deny those who have lost some mental faculties the right to be regarded with respect and protected from harm. Why should we deny it to those whose faculties are still developing?
At its heart, then, when the biology and politics have been stipulated away, the stem cell debate is not about when human life begins but about whether every human life is equal. The circumstances of the embryo outside the body of a mother put that question in perhaps the most exaggerated form imaginable, but they do not change the question.
America’s birth charter, the Declaration of Independence, asserts a positive answer to the question, and in lieu of an argument offers another assertion: that our equality is self-evident. But it is not. Indeed, the evidence of nature sometimes makes it very hard to believe that all human beings are equal. It takes a profound moral case to defend the proposition that the youngest and the oldest, the weakest and the strongest, all of us, simply by virtue of our common humanity, are in some basic and inalienable way equals.
Our faith in that essential liberal proposition is under attack by our own humanitarian impulses in the stem cell debate, and it will be under further attack as biotechnology progresses. But the stem cell debate, our first real test, should also be the easiest. We do not, at least in this instance, face a choice between science and the liberal society. We face the challenge of championing both.
President Bush’s stem cell policy seeks to meet that challenge. It encourages scientists to pursue the cells they seek without destroying life. Scientific advances in the past two years have suggested that this can be done: that “pluripotent” cells could be developed without harming human embryos; that stem cell science and ethics can be reconciled. But some members of Congress nonetheless insist on a policy that sets the two at odds.
If we cannot pass this first and simplest test of our devotion to human equality and dignity in the age of biotechnology, we will have little chance of meeting the far more difficult challenges to come. Biomedical science can offer us tremendous benefits, but only if we make sure they do not come at the cost of our highest ideals.
Yuval Levin, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center
Fr. Norman Weslin is the founder of the Mary Weslin Homes for Pregnant, Unwed Mothers.
He is also the founder of the non-violent direct action rescue group, The Lambs of Christ. As such, he was on the "ten most wanted (hated)" list of the National Organization of Women (NOW), back in the late 80's and early 90's. He was listed, along with people like Joan Andrews.
After the last two posts detailing American Catholic Bishops with no backbones, it was good to see the following in the December 2006 "Mary Weslin Homes... " newsletter.
FURTHER UPDATE ON FATHER WESLIN'S COURT TRIAL
You may remember that Fr. Norman Weslin was arrested in April at the Bellevue, Nebraska abortion mill for entering the clinic, getting on his knees and saying the rosary for the babies that were scheduled to die in the killing center there that day. His purpose was to try to stop the killing of a human person not yet born. The hearing was held in November and the Judge ordered a transcript of the hearing for further study. Not trial date has been set yet by the Federal Judge. Please pray that the outcome of his trial is pleasing to Jesus.
Since Father is appearing before a Federal Judge, it's almost certain that he is being prosecuted under the Federal FACE law (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances). First time offenders can receive a sentence of up to one year in jail and a $100,000 fine.
Here's the quote appearing on the front page of the "Mary Weslin Homes..." newsletter:
Just as God became man at the miraculous moment of Christ's conception in the Virgin Mary... Every human life begins at conception and is a sacred and miraculous gift from God. -- From bishops' Pastoral Plan for ProLife Activities
Please pray for Father Norman. We will pass along any additional information we receive.
Here is a synopsis of the position of some of the American Catholic Bishops.
The new Archbishop of Washington is, in this respect, following in the footsteps of his predecessor. In 2004, as the US Bishops were discussing the matter of Communion for pro-abortion politicians, Pelosi told the media that she would continue to take Holy Communion despite her pro-abortion position. She went so far as to misrepresent the Catholic faith as supporting her pro-abortion stance. "I believe that my position on choice is one that is consistent with my Catholic upbringing, which said that every person has a free will and has the responsibility to live their lives in a way that they would have to account for in the end," she said.
Responding in the media, Cardinal McCarrick who was heading up the bishops' task force on the communion question, said, "I have not gotten to the stage where I'm comfortable in denying the Eucharist." In fact, Cardinal McCarrick has been on something of a campaign to conceal Rome's insistence that pro-abortion politicians be denied Holy Communion. (see coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/oct/06102310.html )
McCarrick has even spoken of Pelosi in his retirement. In comments to the Catholic News Service last week, Cardinal McCarrick said he considered Pelosi, "a very thoughtful and committed defender of human rights." (see coverage: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0700087.htm )
Commented Fr. Euteneuer, "I don't have words for that."
Here is our prior post on the matter. LifeNet: Nancy Pelosi and the Catholic Church
The new Speaker of the House says she's a Catholic, attends Mass, receives communion, etc. She has always been outspokenly pro-abortion, pro- embryo research, etc. These have been major issues for her - part of the way she defines herself. She has been ardent in her promotion of abortion.
Here is a long web posting and discussion on Amy Welborn's website Open Book, on the response of Church leaders, specifically Archbishop Wuerl.
UPDATE: Here is another posting - LifeNet: More on Pelosi, politicians, Bishops ...
We got a pretty balanced article in the Journal News today, even though the reporter got the stats he was given a little skewed. It was on the first page of the second section. However the Journal News still uses the term "anti-abortion" rather than pro-life or right to life. Of course that's an improvement on their editorial commentary, where we are "anti-choice."
Nevertheless, good free publicity, listing phone contacts for the March!
A yearly anti-abortion march in Washington this month will get a strong turnout from the Lower Hudson Valley, local organizers say.
At least 14 churches in the region are organizing buses for the 34th annual March for Life on Jan. 22. Anti-abortion advocates from throughout the country will descend on the Capitol that day to lobby lawmakers on embryonic stem-cell research, abortion and euthanasia.
"An Unreal Debate" hit the link to see the whole article.
This week offers a perfect snapshot of the sorry state of the embryonic-stem-cell-research debate. On Monday, the newspapers were full of headlines about a new scientific paper showing that stem cells derived from amniotic fluid appear to have many of the same capabilities as embryonic stem cells, but without the ethical pitfalls of embryo destruction. But on Thursday, the House of Representatives plans to take up once again a bill that would overturn President Bush’s stem-cell-research-funding policy, and have the government use taxpayer money to encourage the destruction of embryos for their cells.
That disconnect mirrors the larger detachment of the political push for embryonic-stem-cell funding from the actual facts on the ground. Again and again, advocates for relaxing the ethical standards on funding make assertions and arguments with no basis in fact. Again and again they refuse to acknowledge the increasing evidence that genuine alternatives to embryo-destructive research may be possible.
Here's an article from the Washington Post on the potential of amniotic stem cells -
The cells, shed by the developing fetus and easily retrieved during routine prenatal testing, are easier to maintain in laboratory dishes than embryonic stem cells -- the highly versatile cells that come from destroyed human embryos and are at the center of a heated congressional debate that will resume this week.
Moreover, because the cells are a genetic match to the developing fetus, tissues grown from them in the laboratory will not be rejected if they are used to treat birth defects in that newborn, researchers said. Alternatively, the cells could be frozen, providing a personalized tissue bank for use later in life.
The new cells are adding credence to an emerging consensus among experts that the popular distinction between embryonic and "adult" stem cells -- those isolated from adult bone marrow and other organs -- is artificial.
January 3, 2007
RELIGION SCARES THE NEW REPUBLIC
The cover story of the January 1 edition of The New Republic is an article by Damon Linker titled “A Mormon in the White House.” In today’s Wall Street Journal, there is an op-ed about the execution of Saddam Hussein by Marty Peretz, editor-in-chief of The New Republic. Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on both pieces today:
“Damon Linker doesn’t want Mitt Romney to be president, and that’s because Romney is purportedly pro-life and opposed to gay marriage. Moreover, Romney’s religion, Mormonism, has too many certitudes for Linker to swallow. This is not surprising given Linker’s nervousness about Roman Catholicism: his recent attempt to undermine the credibility of Father Richard John Neuhaus—all because Neuhaus understands his religion to be the one, true faith—is now on display with his latest hit job. Most Americans agree to disagree about matters religious, but this is obviously virgin territory for Linker; he would rather cast aspersions.
“Peretz disagrees with a Vatican official, Cardinal Renato Martino, who objected to the execution of Saddam. That’s fine, but what is troubling is his substitution of derision for reason. He derides Martino’s comment that we must protect life from ‘conception until natural death,’ saying, ‘are we supposed to imagine that Saddam is an innocent unborn fetus in his mother’s womb?’ Which makes me wonder: Will Peretz join the Right to Life March later this month? He then asks, ‘Does Cardinal Martino have no conception of the dimension of the tyrant’s crimes?’ To which it must be asked: Does Peretz have no conception of what a principled position entails? He further labels Martino’s remarks ‘pabulum,’ noting his 16 years working at the U.N. ‘Sixteen years,’ Peretz says, ‘poor man, no wonder, he’s a little overwrought and also disingenuous.’ Poor Marty—he’s been at The New Republic twice as long as Martino’s stint at the U.N. Maybe this accounts for his funk?
“The New Republic is scared to death about religion, save, of course, for religion lite. This latest twin shot shows how unnerved it has become. Ironically, for a magazine worried about certitude, it speaks with the most infallible voice this side of the academy.”
Eliot Spitzer lays out his vision for New York. Here's the complete document, sent courtesy of Kathleen Gallegher of the NY Catholic Conference. His vision includes NY State funded stem cell research (has to include embryo experimentation!) and possibly proposing a NY State constitutional right to abortion.
"We will include a stem cell and innovation fund - led by Lieutenant governor David Paterson - to be presented to the voters for approval.
The fund will provide long term investment, overseen by industry experts, for stem cell innovations and other types of applied research that will lead to direct commercial application. This investment will repay itself many times over in increased jobs, economic activity, and improved health."
"One New York means a state that protects a woman's right to control her own reproductive health. That is why we must ensure that our state laws protect that right, should the federal courts compromise it."
Here is a wonderful editorial in the Evangelical magazine, Christianity Today, weaving together illicit research on embroyos with other life - especially end of life - issues. We include an excerpt, but urge you to read the entire article. And pass it along to your pastor!
Sherwin Nuland, a surgeon and author of How We Die, peppers his book with warnings of the hubris of scientists. "The fantasy of controlling nature lies at the very basis of modern science. … The ultimate aim of the scientist is not only knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but knowledge with the aim of overcoming that in our environment which he views as hostile. None of the acts of nature (or Nature) is more hostile than death."
Nuland says medical science will never find the Fountain of Youth. "Every triumph over some major pathology, no matter how ringing the victory, is only a reprieve from the inevitable end."
Perhaps our culture clings so tenaciously to the hope of extended youthfulness and lasting life because we have shoved death from view. "All the things that once prepared us for death—regular experience with illness and death, public grief and mourning, a culture and philosophy of death, interaction with the elderly, as well as the visibility of our own aging—are virtually gone from our lives," writes Virginia Morris in Talking About Death. "Instead, we are tempted daily by that perfect apple, by promises of youth and immortality."
The apple that's currently tempting our society is the half-million frozen human embryos created in fertility clinics. Our culture so clings to life that it is prepared to legislate taking of life at its earliest stages in order to graft it on at the end.
This is a ZENIT new release
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2007 (Zenit.org).- In the wake of the execution of former Iraqi dictator Sadaam Hussein, the Vatican reaffirmed its condemnation of the death penalty.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, made that comment Saturday, the day Hussein was executed by hanging at a former military intelligence headquarters in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah.
"A capital execution is always tragic news," he said, "reasons for sadness, even if it is about a person who has been guilty of grave crimes."
Father Lombardi added: "To kill the guilty one is not the way to rebuild justice and to reconcile society. The risk also exists that, on the contrary, the spirit of vengeance will be fueled and new violence be sown.
"In this dark time of the life of the Iraqi people one cannot but hope that all those responsible will make every effort so that in a dramatic situation channels of reconciliation and peace will finally be opened."