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“Catholic Culture” Reports
According to the United Nations, the world community saw the birth of its seven billionth member this month. While some may hesitate to see this birth as nothing more than fearful evidence of the myth of overpopulation, we are happy to join the celebrations that welcome this child to its earthly home! As one new mother in Nigeria said, “Where there is life, there is hope.”
With every new life there is joy, as well as the reminder that this new child is born into a community where interdependent rights and responsibilities are crucial for the thriving of each of its members. May we never forget that we are “our brother’s keeper”, but may we always see this as a priviledge not a burden!
“The nation’s Catholics bishops are supporting legislation in Congress that would close the gaps in protecting conscience rights for religious employers that don’t want to pay for abortion drugs or birth control under the Obamacare law.
“In a new letter to members of Congress, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the head of the pro-life office of the Catholic bishops, told lawmakers to support a bill (H.R. 1179, S. 1467) that will close gaps in protection of conscience rights in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. The measure would, in light of the threat to conscience rights posed by a new mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services, correct some of the problems with the law.”
Read the full article here.
Some of the world’s leading scholars across a variety of relevant disciplines are visiting the University of Notre Dame for a week-long “Workshop on Adult and Non-embryonic Stem Cell Research,” being held on campus through July 2.
“The initiative seeks to demonstrate that respect for the equal dignity of every human being – from conception to natural death – and a commitment to excellence and rigor in research are both integral and complementary goods necessary to pursuing the proper ends of biomedical science,” said Carter Snead, professor of law and one of the workshop leaders.
In conjunction with the workshop, an afternoon lecture series, “Alternate Visions of Stem Cell Research: Scientific, Ethical, Legal & Theological Dimensions” is open to the public at 4 p.m. each day in the Patrick F. McCartan Courtroom in the Eck Hall of Law. A list of topics is available here.
Snead and Emeritus Professor Phillip Sloan of Notre Dame’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Program of Liberal Studies are leading the workshop and hosting the week’s public events, which are part of a University-wide effort to develop a center for high-level interdisciplinary work on the various dimensions of human developmental biology.
A complete schedule of speakers and events is available here.
As the premier American Catholic research university, Notre Dame is ideally suited for this work with strong departments in biology, engineering, law, theology, philosophy, and the history and philosophy of science, as well as scholars in each component with expertise in all aspects of stem cell research.
The Catholic Church is teaming up with a biotech firm that is engaging in adult stem cell research — helping prove its contention that it is supportive of stem cell research without destroying human life.
The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture has announced steps forward in their partnership designed to advance adult stem cell research with NeoStem, an international biopharmaceutical company.
In a press conference at the Vatican, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Dr. Robin L. Smith, Chairman and CEO of NeoStem, and Reverend Tomasz Trafny, Head of the Science and Faith Department at the Pontifical Council for Culture, provided further details on both their ongoing partnership and on a groundbreaking event the international Vatican conference on adult stem cells which is scheduled for November 9 – 11, 2011 at the Vatican.
Last fall, Notre Dame watched as Dean of Science, Gregory Crawford, biked across America with his wife, Renate Crawford, to raise awareness of research on Nieman-Pick Type C Disease. The awareness campaign was known as “Desert to Dome: Riding for the Lives of Children.” In January, another member of the ND family, Jeff Grabosky, ND ’05, started a 3,500 mile trek of running across U.S.A. Grabosky is expected to finish his cross-continental tomorrow when he arrives in New York City.
Like Dean Crawford, Grabosky is running for lives. He is running for all of our lives, the lives of children, the lives of all those in the world. However, he is not trying to raise money for any particular campaign or foundation. Inspired by his faith-filled upbringing as well as his mother’s (who died of cancer in 2006) practice of praying while on her daily runs, Grabosky is running across America using the time to pray.
“I have run for charity, raised money for breast cancer research and leukemia and other causes. When I thought about what I would be running for when I decided to run across the United States, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to be an example to others, to inspire others to bring their worries and concerns to God in prayer. So I decided to take prayer intentions and would pray individually for each intention as I ran mile after mile after mile.”
Reflecting on his faith-filled, pro-life upbringing and the impact of his mother’s death, “Even when my mom was suffering, she found the strength to pray for and take action for life…On my runs I often pray for the unborn, those who have no voice. I recently became an uncle for the first time and seeing my little niece brings the kind of joy that penetrates my heart and soul, into spaces I didn’t even know existed. She was once, not long ago, a tiny unborn baby and I pray for all those who are like she was, but never got the chance to live,” Grabosky says.
Read more about Jeff Grabosky’s journey at www.jeffrunsamerica.com.
As most readers know, the University of Notre Dame is located in the town of South Bend, Indiana. As of yesterday evening, it was official that Indiana has de-funded Planned
Parenthood. Governor Mitch Daniels signed into a law a bill that prevents any future taxpayer money from going Planned Parenthood.
In light of the federal debate on-going about the de-funding of Planned Parenthood, Governor Daniels signing of this bill makes Indiana the first state in the nation to remove Planned Parenthood’s federal funding. In addition to revoking federal funding of Planned Parenthood, the bill also bans all abortions passed twenty weeks of gestation. In late April, Governor Daniels stated his intent to sign House Bill 1210 when the time came that it came to his desk, citing a 2:1 bipartisian support for the bill from the state’s congress and “the support of an overwhelming majority of Hoosiers.”
In answer to Planned Parenthood’s criticisms of the bill, which they say will prevent citizens from receiving the “livesaving care offered by Planned Parenthood centers,” Governor Daniels said that he can confirm after a “careful review of access to all services across the state” that “all non-abortion services, whether family planning or basic women’s health, will remain readily available in every one of our 92 counties.”
Emphasizing that the new law is not discriminating against an particular group, Daniels said that “[a]ny organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortion.”
Abortion has become such a pervasive form of birth control that the nation is seeing worker and population shortages that are already beginning to take an economic toll. The nation’s Duma is considering legislation to address the propblem.
Lawmakers in the lower house of the Russian parliament are working on legislation that they hope will cut the more than one million officially counted abortions taking place annually in the nation.
“The bill aims to create the conditions for a pregnant woman to opt for giving birth. We have public support but does the ruling party hear us?” Yelena Mizulina, head of the State Duma committee for family, women, and children told the Ria Novosti news outlet.
Read the rest of the article here.
These legislative moves come a little more than a year after Russia’s health minister suggested cutting abortions in an attempt to slow underpopulation.
This past week, a U.N. panel on the topic of “Secure Human Development: Marriage, Family, Community, “ was hosted by the Permanent Mission of the Holy and the Missions of Honduras and Malta. Discussing the issues of population and development, there arose starke disagreement between the views of developed and developing countries on the subject of family planning and fertility. The disagreement highlighted the differences of priorities between nations. While representatives of developing countries argued against the propogation of family planning services, saying ”How do we get our fertility rate to rise? We were told we need to reduce our fertility – now we have an aging population” which slows the country’s development, a representative from the U.S. reprimanded the Vatican for the lack of a “comprehensive” approach to development in its rejection of abortion and contraceptive family planning practices.
Discussions at this week’s panel bring to light many of the congruities in the approach taken by the U.N. and other developed countries towards “assisting” still-developing countries. “So much attention is given to family planning thta it drains resources away from what the desperate needs are,” says Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.
Read the whole story here.
For more information on the U.N. panel, see the following:
On Friday, April 9th, Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., delivered an address to a very crowded McKenna Auditorium. Students, faculty and staff of the University Notre Dame as well as many others from the surrounding tri-state area (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan) filled the Auditorium to hear the Denver archbishop speak on “Politics and the Devil: Being Catholic in an Age of Unbelief.” A transcript of the talk is available on The Public Discourse. We hope that you will take the time to read Archbishop’s address, it is well worth your time!