Friday, October 27, 2006
Stem Cell Research and Catholic Moral Law
With 10 days to go until Election Day, the big brouhaha is revolving around the topic of Stem Cell research.
By now we've all seen the Michael J. Fox commercial, and if you're in New Jersey you may have heard the radio commercial with the angelic voice of a little girl who says that she has Juvenile Diabetes. She says that if you vote for a particular Garden State Congressman who opposes embryonic stem cell research, she will never be cured (the subliminal message being that it will be all YOUR fault!). As Rush Limbaugh has been defending himself on his radio show since this kerfuffle began, he's been giving pretty dare-I-say "Catholic" perspectives on the morality of the destruction of human embryos for medical experimentation, the amazing success stories of treatments using adult stem cells and stem cells obtained from the umbilical cord blood of newborns, and the unrealistic promises being made to people, telling them a cure will be available next week (or at least the week after the elections).
A great site for Catholics to learn what is being talked about is the website for the National Catholic Bioethics Center. Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk is the Director of Education at the NCBC; he recently gave a talk in my diocese revolving around the "Top 10 Myths Surrounding the Stem Cell Debate." The NCBC website gives you great resources to find out what is being proposed by the supporters of embryonic stem cell research and cloning, and Church's position on them. Young Fogeys, YFs2B (aka seminarians), and even Old Fogeys will find great materials to use in their parishes: reproducible bulletin inserts, pamphlets for the racks in the back of church, and a DVD of Fr. Tadeusz giving the "10 Myths" talk (I used it at my own adult education class and it got excellent reviews in making the topic understandable).