Sunday, May 31, 2009

"We are in mourning."

An email from our friend, the Reverend Walter Hoye:

"The Issues4Life Foundation denounces the murder of Dr. George Tiller!

The murder of Dr. George Tiller is reprehensible! There is nothing "Pro-Life" or "Christian" about murder and the hatred that fuels it.

We are in mourning."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Notre Dame Is "Confused"

ZENIT spoke with Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima, Peru about recent scandals in the Church.  He was asked what he thought of this month's turmoil over the decision by Notre Dame University to bestow an honorary doctorate on the U.S. president, despite Barack Obama's staunch support of abortion rights and other anti-life issues.

The cardinal answered that Catholic identity is not a decision of a particular university or a rector or education official, but rather is something given by the Church itself.
He explained: "What cannot be done and what is not done in any institution is to say 'this automobile is a Toyota,' if the Toyota manufacturer does not put his brand on it.

"I think there is a need for a little more clarity and authority. Clarity from those who are responsible for being able to say: 'If you don't want to be Catholic, then don't be.' But what we can't do is sell a ruined product.

 To think that parents and their kids go to a university that has the title of 'Catholic' and then it turns out that it teaches what is contrary to the faith. This is a confusion or an abuse. I think the Church has the duty to call things by their name."

Cardinal Cipriani said it seems a "provocation to give Catholic homage to a president who in the first 100 days has boosted abortion, gay marriage, investigations with embryonic cells, and an entire anti-life agenda. It does not seem to me that he is the most adequate person to receive recognition from the University of Notre Dame, which, by the way, has been greatly confused for some years now." ROME, MAY 29, 2009 (

Friday, May 29, 2009

President Obama's Supreme Court Pick

Those who believe the chief qualification for a Supreme Court justice is an unswerving commitment to strictly interpret the Constitution are alarmed by President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Obama has praised Judge Sotomayor for her "empathy," and she has stated: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

But here is what then-Senator Obama said in 2004: "There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America--there is the United States of America." If you're confused by this sudden swerve, so are we.(Focus on the Family)

Third TLM to be Celebrated in the Archdiocese of San Francisco

A friend sends us this news:

"After more than six months of preparation, organization, planning and seeking authorization from the Archdiocese, we have finally received permission to hold a Traditional Latin Mass at Mater Dolorosa on June 7, 2009 (Sunday) at 6:30 PM and every first Sunday of the month thereafter."

Because some may have forgotten or never attended a TLM, the organizers have thoughtfully provided help:

"On May 30, Saturday, we will be conducting a two hour orientation classon 'THE RUBRICS OF THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS' which will be conducted by Fr. William Young. The class starts at 10:00 AM at the Mater Dolorosa hall."

"Finally, please invite your friends, family, parents, grandparents, children and young people especially."

Contact info for Mater Dolorosa is here:

Mater Dolorosa Catholic Parish
307 Willow Avenue,
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Tel: (650) 583-4131

That makes three TLM's now being celebrated in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Information about the other two, at Holy Rosary Chapel in San Rafael and at St. Francis of Assisi in East Palo Alto can be found here. Those locations are in the far north and south of the Archdiocese, respectively, so having a TLM a little more centrally located is nice.

"The truths of our faith are not open to debate"

From Stella Borealis via Fr. Z:

The wonderful Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, His Excellency John Nienstadt, has this response to a letter from Brian McNeil, organizer of the "Rainbow Sash Alliance" a group of homosexual activists who attempt to disrupt Pentecost Sunday Masses in the Twin Cities. As Father Z. writes:

"Adherents of Rainbow Sash publicly protest the Church’s teaching on homosexuality by making a public display of themselves during the time of Holy Communion during a Mass for Pentecost at the Cathedral of the Archdiocese. In other words, they seek to receive Communion while protesting the Church’s teachings."

Here is His Excellency's letter:

Dear Brian,

I write to acknowledge your letter of May 10, 2009, alerting me to the fact that you and some fellow protesters will be wearing rainbow sashes at the noon Mass on Pentecost in the Cathedral of St. Paul. I ask yo to refrain from such a public act of dissent, especially as it so clearly shows disrespect and irreverence for the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Anyone wearing a “rainbow sash” will not be permitted to receive Holy Communion, since their dissent is a sign that they have publicly broken communion with the Church’s teaching. I also ask that those not wearing the sashes refrain from sharing the Holy Eucharist with those who do. Such an action is unbecoming the dignity of the sacrament.

With regard to the dialogue you request, it would first be essential that you state clearly that you hold with the conviction all that the Church teaches on matters of human sexuality. If you do not believe, then there cannot be dialogue, but only debate. The truths of our faith are not open to debate.

Again, I hope you will see how disruptive your planned protest will be for those who will gather on Pentecost to pray. I ask you to refrain from being the cause of such disruption.

Sincerely your in Christ,

The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good Advice from a Muslim, Bad Advice from Professor Kmiec

"The survival of the Western family is a question of immediate Muslim concern, and we must offer our views until the time comes when our friends and neighbours, their doctrines broken on the anvil of reality, are humbled enough to listen." -British Muslim cleric Abdal-Hakim Murad, "The Fall of the Family."

Meanwhile, from the Catholic News Agency:

"Kmiec proposes end of legally recognized marriage

Washington D.C., May 28, 2009.- Doug Kmiec, a prominent Catholic who backed Barack Obama’s presidential bid, has endorsed replacing marriage with a neutral 'civil license,' a proposal law professor Robert P. George called a 'terrible idea' that would make the government neglect a vital social institution

Speaking to, Pepperdine University law professor Doug Kmiec said that although his solution to disputes over the definition of marriage might be 'awkward,' it would 'untie the state from this problem' by creating a new terminology that would apply to everyone, homosexual or not. 'Call it a ‘civil license’,' he said...."

Professor Kmiec sees the definition of marriage as a "problem" to be solved, rather than as a reality to be accepted. By doing so he elevates the non-definition of same-sex "marriage" to equal standing with the reality-based definition of marriage: a union of one man and one woman. But the battle over marriage is not about solving a problem, it's about waging a war. As Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland says: "There are two ideas of marriage on the table. They are mutually exclusive. Only one will be left standing." By giving equal standing to reality and non-reality, Professor Kmiec has already surrendered.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Obama Picks Ambassador to Vatican

He's a professor named Miguel H. Díaz.

According to his page on the "Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good" website, he is "an expert on the Catholic Church," whatever that means.

A little more concretely, he is one of :

"26 Catholic activists, scholars and theologians who signed a statement publicly supporting President Barack Obama’s selection of pro-abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services ."

On August 14, 2008 Professor Diaz characterized "Senator Obama's example" as a "building a policy of inclusion." For Diaz, a legislator's making it legal to simply allow injured infants to die does not violate "a politics of inclusion."

No wonder he is Obama's choice.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Reverend Walter Hoye: "This is a moral issue; it’s not a political issue"

Our friend and hero the Reverend Walter Hoye is on the front page of this month's Oakland Catholic Voice.


"Anti-abortion minister urges action by African Americans

By Gerald Korson
Voice correspondent

After having served 18 days in prison, the Rev. Walter Hoye is a free man and will remain so — as long as he doesn’t come within eight feet of anyone who is about to enter an Oakland abortion clinic.

The Rev. Walter Hoye, who was convicted of violating Oakland’s ‘bubble law’ and served 18 days in prison, is particularly concerned about the high number of abortions among African American women.

That hasn’t stopped the 52-year-old minister from returning to the public sidewalk outside the Family Planning Specialists Medical Group building near Jack London Square, the site of his arrest last May that resulted in his incarceration at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin earlier this year...

Unlike most black Americans, Hoye said he was “horribly disappointed” and “heartbroken” about the election last November of Barack Obama, who openly supports pro-choice positions and legislation, as the nation’s first African-American president. Most blacks “put their Bible down when it came to that election” and voted on the basis of the color of his skin, Hoye said.

Nevertheless, he places responsibility for the abortion issue squarely on the shoulders of Christians.“This is a moral issue; it’s not a political issue. It’s not in the White House; it’s in the church house,” said Hoye. “Until we stand up as Christians and look at it as a moral issue, we’re not going to be effective in taking a stand against abortion....

In the final days of his prison stay, Hoye had a “special visitor” in Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, who at the time had been appointed but not yet installed as bishop of Oakland. They enjoyed a long visit together, shouting to each other through the thick glass of the visitation booths because the phones didn’t work.

“Getting a visit from him did my heart so much good,” Hoye said. “I am in love with the Catholic Church, I’m in love with this bishop. We had a tremendous visit.”

Bishop Cordileone told The Catholic Voice afterward that Hoye told him about “his high respect for the Catholic Church because we have been defending the sanctity of life all these years, and he even apologized for Protestants being late in the game.”

God Bless Walter--and the Diocese of Oakland for highlighting his work!

h/t Ed Hopfner, photo courtesy Jose Luis Aguirre.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Proposition 8 UPHELD!

The California Supreme Court ruling is in. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

"(05-26) 10:05 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- BULLETIN: The California Supreme Court upheld Prop. 8 by a 6-1 vote but ruled that the same sex marriages performed last year can stand."

More details as they come in. But the enemies of marriage are certain to take the issue back to the ballot box, so we need to be prepared.

There’s a new web site,, to reach out to young people and bring them into contact with Pope Benedict XVIThe new site would be directly linked to Facebook from which users will be able to send pictures of the Pontiff and excerpts from his discourses to their friends.

Pope Benedict XVI's call to young people to use the Internet to evangelize “is that in order to be able to enter into a fruitful, rich dialogue characterized by respect and friendship, we wanted to use the digital world, that is, the instrument most friendly to young people, through which they encounter each other daily and often without meeting each other in person.”

Monday, May 25, 2009

"Marked for Death on our Dime"

From today's California Catholic Daily:

"'This is a big deal'

Planned Parenthood launches drive to stop funding cuts as California’s budget crisis reaches disastrous proportions, pro-lifers see massive deficit as rare chance to defund abortion giant.

Now that California voters have overwhelmingly rejected a package of budget measures and the state faces a more than $20 billion deficit, Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state are sending out urgent email alerts to their supporters pleading with them to contact the legislature to prevent any reduction in the millions of taxpayer money Planned Parenthood receives each year."

How many millions?

In the state of California, Planned Parenthood operates 108 abortion clinics. They are administered through 9 regional organizations. Our San Francisco area Planned Parenthood abortion business is called Planned Parenthood Golden Gate. Their revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007 was $22,345,629--40% of which comes from state funds and 16% from Medi-Cal reimbursements. That's $12,513,552 of your tax dollars--for just one of the nine regional organizations. What's left over, after killing babies, is used for such things as this (h/t Dawn Patrol):

But Planned Parenthood Golden Gate are pikers compared to other districts:

Planned Parenthood Shasta-Diablo, which "serves" Contra Costa, the North Bay Counties, and the northeast corner of the state, had total revenue in FY 2007 of $23, 410,201, of which $17,369, 836 (74%) comes from you, the taxpayer.

Planned Parenthood Monte Mar, which "serves" the Central Valley and Sierras had total revenue in FY 2008 of $70,438,113. At least 63% of that ($44,364,146) comes from you, the taxpayer.

Back to the California Catholic Daily story:

"Two days after the special election, Planned Parenthood affiliates in California began sending emails to their supporters imploring them to contact their legislators immediately. 'We need your immediate help because the Governor is attempting to solve the state's budget crisis by cutting family planning,' wrote Darrah D. Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of San Diego & Riverside Counties in one such email message. 'We are at a crisis point,' Johnson’s message continued. 'It is critical that your elected officials hear from you today and tomorrow in as many ways as possible!'

“While most companies struggle to survive in the current state of our economy, recent annual reports show that business has never been better for Planned Parenthood and profits have never been so high,” wrote Gingi Edmonds, a 23-year-old pro-life activist from Hanford, in a May 21 email message sent to readers of her blog, Gingi Edmonds ProLife Opinion. “In a press release last weekend, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards admitted that clinics like Mar Monte, California have seen as much as a 21 percent jump in the number of women they perform abortions on in a weekly basis.”

'Well guess what pro-lifers?' says Edmonds in response. “There are a lot more of us than there are of them, according to four recent national polls. We need to call our elected officials in California RIGHT NOW and demand these long overdue budget cuts that will stop the funding of this abortion giant, and potentially save 73,000+ lives that are currently marked for death on our dime.”

To find your legislator if you wish to send a message on the subject, Click Here.

To contact Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160
Mail: Office of the Governor, State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA 95814
To email the governor,
Click Here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Crossroads 2009: Walking Across the Country for LIfe

This weekend, at all the Masses at Sants Peter and Paul, we were visited by volunteers from “Crossroads,” an organization of young people who walk across the entire country in witness to the Culture of Life. (Crossroads volunteers also visited us in 2007--there is a picture on the sidebar of two of them with Father Malloy.)

They spoke to the parishioners about their mission. These two fine young people with Fr. Armand Oliveri are Josh Spears, a graduate of St. Francis of Steubenville, and Bridget Kaehler, who attends Wyoming Catholic College:

Starting tomorrow, May 25, Josh and Bridget will be part of a group of 8-12 people marching the "central" route (from San Francisco to DC). They will arrive in Washington DC on August 13 or 14, in time for a big pro-life rally at the Capitol on August 15. We hope Josh and Bridget will send us pictures and stories from their trek across the USA--we'll post them here.

Today is the feast of Mary Help of Christians, Patroness of the Salesians. May Mary Help of Christians guide their steps!

To learn more about these amazing young people, or to contribute (they need donations!), please go to:

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Novena for Marriage

As pretty much everyone knows by now, this Tuesday, May 26, the California Supreme Court will issue their ruling on the voters' right to define traditional marriage in the State Constitution.

Our friend Bill May at Catholics for the Common Good sends us this Novena to the Holy Spirit for marriage, to be prayed daily through Pentecost:

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, and Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pray for the Supreme Court Justices,
Pray for our opponents,
Pray for us.

Bill also tells us:

ProtectMarriage advocates will gather in Fresno on Sunday, May 31 at 6 p.m. I have been invited to speak at the rally as well as Wyn DeLano, a dynamic CCG County Co-Chair from Palisades Charter High School, in Los Angeles County. For details visit the rally website at

Saturday, May 23, 2009

USF Commencement II: "She represents the best of what this great University is all about"

At today's USF Commencement for the Graduate Students in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Management the speaker was San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.

USF President Stephen Privett greeting Ms. Kamala Harris.

She was introduced by Jeffrey S. Brand, the Dean of USF Law School, who, addressing the graduates, faculty, and families, said:

"She represents the best of what this great University is all about."

As we've pointed out, Ms. Harris is a tireless campaigner for same-sex "marriage," who has characterized Proposition 8 as an expression of “prejudice” and “hate.”

Photo courtesy Rick Gerharter, Bay Area Reporter.

She's referring to 53% of the population of California, the Holy Father, every Catholic Bishop in California, and certainly some (hopefully a lot) of today's graduates. But Dean Brand says:

"She represents the best of what this great University is all about."

A reminder: on November 7, 2008, at the USF Law School PILF Fundraiser, Dean Brand honored Shannon Minter and Therese Stewart, the attorneys who argued (and won) the "Marriages" case before the California Supreme Court. Here he is presenting an award to Minter:

Photo courtesy Stephen Hew, USF.

And to Stewart:

Photo courtesy Stephen Hew, USF.

From USF's story about the event:

"The evening's highlight was the award ceremony for Minter and Stewart, who Dean Jeffrey Brand and PILF Co-Chairs Jeff Kaloustian 3L and Freeman exalted as people that make a difference"

So it's easy to see why Dean Brand thinks that Kamala Harris "...represents the best of what this great University is all about."

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Adult Stem-Cell UPDATE

Our friend Don Margolis has lots of new information about adult stem-cell treatments.

Check out this excellent video from "The Texas Alliance for Life." It's about a man whose heart (damaged by a heart attack) was totally healed using adult stem-cells. The Texas Alliance For Life is promoting a couple of bills in the Texas State Legslature to establish a consortium to further adult stem-cell research, which (unlike embryonic stem-cell research) is morally sound and actually produces results. One of the things I had not known was that when Californians gave $3billion+ to Proposition 71, a stated goal of the ESCR backers was to produce just one treatment within 10 years. This, while adult stem-cells are treating and curing people just about weekly if not daily.

USF Commencement: See, We Told You So

Back on May 3 we posted about the 2009 Commencement exercises at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco. We mentioned that Commencement honorees/speakers included South African Bishop Kevin Dowling (who publicly supports condom use) and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris (who supports same-sex "marriage.")

Referring to the Bishop's invitation, we quoted this statement from the "Catholics for Choice" website:

“Bishop Dowling, in an interview about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in South Africa said, 'Abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in a marriage is beyond the realm of possibility here. The issue is to protect life. That must be our fundamental goal.' Drawing attention to the especially difficult plight of women in the traditionally male-dominated societies of his diocese he continued, 'My passion is for the women. I'm in that corner.' About the African people, he says, 'They must use condoms,' maintaining his stance despite the Vatican’s continued opposition to such a policy”. Emphasis added.

We then asked:

"Dare we say that Bishop Dowling is being honored because of this position, not in spite of it?"

Well, at yesterday's exercise Bishop Dowling was introduced to the graduates, faculty, and families by Lilian Dube, Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University. And, lo and behold, she quite directly referred to his statement on condom use, and commended him for his "courageous stance."

For video of the commencement exercise go here. Select the "Friday, May 22, 9:00 AM" link. Professor Dube's commends the Bishop's "courageous stance" at about 26:30 into the video.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Oregon Children Face Indoctrination, British Churches Face Takeover

From Carl Olsen at Ignatius Insight:

"Children between the ages of 4 and 10 are being "educated" about "diversity" and "tolerance" in the form of an exhibit that includes a photo and description of a "trans-gendered" person. Some parents are confused and upset, and wonder why their first-grader isn't being taught how to spell and why their third-grader still cannot read but knows being "queer" is a beautiful and natural thing. School officials insist it has nothing to do with sex, but is about "respect," and lecture the confused parents through media interviews about the need for children to learn "acceptance." The thinly veiled suggestion is that if parents don't go along with said approach, they are likely homophobic and intolerant. Surprise!"

Meanwhile, in England, forget indoctrination, it's a simple takeover:

"Law 'will force churches to employ gay staff'"

"Religious groups are to be forced to accept homosexual youth workers, secretaries and other staff, even if their faith holds same-sex relationships to be sinful...

Religious leaders had hoped to lobby for exemptions to the Equality Bill but Maria Eagle, the deputy equalities minister, has now indicated that it will cover almost all church employees.

'The circumstances in which religious institutions can practice anything less than full equality are few and far between,' she told delegates at the Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia, & Human Rights conference in London....

A Government Equalities Office spokesman said: 'The Equality Bill will not force a church to accept someone as a priest regardless of their sexual orientation or gender.

Churches, synagogues, mosques and others will continue to have the freedom to choose who they employ in jobs which promote their religion. But where they provide services to the public they will have to treat everyone fairly.'"

The full article is at the Telegraph UK.

h/t New Oxford Review

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Alameda Parents Stand Against Indoctrination

From a May 16 article in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Uproar in Alameda over lessons about gays"

"Alameda school officials had high hopes the new elementary school curriculum would teach respect and help reduce bullying related to gay and lesbian individuals and families.

So they created lesson plans that talked about teasing and explained the different definitions of family - even throwing in the true story of Roy and Silo, two same-sex penguins in New York.

That's when the firestorm hit."

Under the guise of reducing bullying, the true agenda is the ongoing war against the family. Alameda parents quickly realized this:

"Much of the curriculum deals with what it means to be a family..."

To see what this means, browse the lesson plans for K-5 students, which are posted on the Alameda Unified School District website.

One example: the"required book" for first graders is "Who's in a Family?" by Robert Skutch. The editorial review from the School Library Journal describes the book:

"Kindergarten-Grade 2--Simple declarative statements move readers from one family configuration to the next, from single children to single parents to same-sex couples."

Lesson plans for other grades include: second grade: "And Tango Makes Three"; third grade: "Becoming an Ally." The fifth grade lesson includes a description of 10 famous homosexual/"transgendered" persons.

According to the Chronicle's article "hundreds of parents" attended a meeting on Tuesday, May 12 to make their voices heard. The crowd was so large that the school district scheduled a second meeting on Monday, May 18. Today's California Catholic Daily covered the follow-up meeting:

"Concerned parents began arriving well over an hour before the meeting started, hoping that, unlike last week's meeting, they would be able to find a seat. Moving the meeting to the much larger venue accommodated the hundreds of Alameda citizens passionate about this controversial proposal.

The only speakers allowed during the carryover meeting were citizens who had attended last week's meeting but were turned away by the fire marshal due to the enormous crowd. The meeting lasted five hours, during which citizens addressed the school board about their concerns over teaching the homosexuality-promoting school course. Over 90% of the speakers were in opposition to the curriculum.

Every one of the speakers was courteous and presented well-reasoned, articulate opposition. However, proponents of the curriculum didn't practice what they preach. Hecklers repeatedly booed and hissed when parents and students rose to express their opposition. During her presentation, one young lady was charged by a man angry that he was not permitted to address the audience about his support for the gay schoolwork. Other men in the audience had to defend her from the attacker and forcibly remove him...

The few speakers in favor of the curriculum repeatedly stated that the proposed course is 'just a start' and 'the first step' in teaching equality in classrooms. Only a handful of these supporters addressed bullying; instead they pleaded with the board to implement the curriculum to teach other children about their homosexual families. Some even told the board that no parental opt-out should be allowed because the children of the curriculum opponents needed the instruction even more." (emphasis added)

We've covered the indoctrination programs already being implemented in the San Francisco Unified School District here and here.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I am a Catholic, but...

The mark of a good Catholic university is success at turning out model Christians who are good citizens, says Cardinal Francis Arinze,  in a commencement address he delivered at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire.

Cardinal Arinze contended that a Catholic institution of higher learning should teach its students "to appreciate that moral rules of right and wrong apply also to science, technology, politics, trade and commerce, and indeed to all human endeavors."
"In the complicated world of today, where all kinds of ideas are struggling for the right of citizenship, a university student needs a clear and viable orientation on the relationship between religion and life," he continued. "The Catholic college or university is ideally positioned to help him see the light and equip himself for a significant contribution in society."

"But what does it profit us if a student is an intellectual giant but a moral baby," he asked, "if he or she can shoot out mathematical or historical facts like a computer but is unfortunately a problem for the parents, corrosive acid among companions in the college, a drug addict and sexual pervert, a disgrace to the school, a waste-pipe in the place of work and 'Case No. 23' for the criminal police? It is clear that intellectual development is not enough."

The former
Vatican official acknowledged that defending morality can bring difficult consequences. "A person who holds that certain actions, like direct abortion, are always objectively wrong, is regarded as 'judgmental,' or as imposing his views on others," he said.

"If a Catholic college or university answers to its vocation then it will be educating, forming and releasing into society model citizens who will be a credit to their families, their college, the Church and the state," the cardinal stated. "It will prepare for us members of Congress or the Senate who will not say 'I am a Catholic, but ...' but rather those who will say 'I am a Catholic, and therefore ...' (
MANASSAS, Virginia, MAY 19, 2009 (

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Archbishop Chaput on Notre Dame: "No Excuse"

The Archbishop of Denver's statement:

May 18, 2009

Archbishop Chaput on Notre Dame and the issues that remain

"I have found that even among those who did not go to Notre Dame, even among those who do not share the Catholic faith, there is a special expectation, a special hope, for what Notre Dame can accomplish in the world." ~ Reverend John Jenkins, C.S.C., May 17, 2009

Most graduation speeches are a mix of piety and optimism designed to ease students smoothly into real life. The best have humor. Some genuinely inspire. But only a rare few manage to be pious, optimistic, evasive, sad and damaging all at the same time. Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president, is a man of substantial intellect and ability. This makes his introductory comments to President Obama’s Notre Dame commencement speech on May 17 all the more embarrassing.

Let’s remember that the debate over President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame was never about whether he is a good or bad man. The president is clearly a sincere and able man. By his own words, religion has had a major influence in his life. We owe him the respect Scripture calls us to show all public officials. We have a duty to pray for his wisdom and for the success of his service to the common good -- insofar as it is guided by right moral reasoning.

We also have the duty to oppose him when he’s wrong on foundational issues like abortion, embryonic stem cell research and similar matters. And we also have the duty to avoid prostituting our Catholic identity by appeals to phony dialogue that mask an abdication of our moral witness. Notre Dame did not merely invite the president to speak at its commencement. It also conferred an unnecessary and unearned honorary law degree on a man committed to upholding one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in our nation’s history: Roe v. Wade.

In doing so, Notre Dame ignored the U.S. bishops’ guidance in their 2004 statement, Catholics in Political Life. It ignored the concerns of Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, Notre Dame’s 2009 Laetare Medal honoree – who, unlike the president, certainly did deserve her award, but finally declined it in frustration with the university’s action. It ignored appeals from the university’s local bishop, the president of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference, more than 70 other bishops, many thousands of Notre Dame alumni and hundreds of thousands of other American Catholics. Even here in Colorado, I’ve heard from too many to count.

There was no excuse – none, except intellectual vanity – for the university to persist in its course. And Father Jenkins compounded a bad original decision with evasive and disingenuous explanations to subsequently justify it.

These are hard words, but they’re deserved precisely because of Father Jenkins’ own remarks on May 17: Until now, American Catholics have indeed had “a special expectation, a special hope for what Notre Dame can accomplish in the world.” For many faithful Catholics – and not just a “small but vocal group” described with such inexcusable disdain and ignorance in journals like Time magazine -- that changed Sunday.

The May 17 events do have some fitting irony, though. Almost exactly 25 years ago, Notre Dame provided the forum for Gov. Mario Cuomo to outline the “Catholic” case for “pro-choice” public service. At the time, Cuomo’s speech was hailed in the media as a masterpiece of American Catholic legal and moral reasoning. In retrospect, it’s clearly adroit. It’s also, just as clearly, an illogical and intellectually shabby exercise in the manufacture of excuses. Father Jenkins’ explanations, and President Obama’s honorary degree, are a fitting national bookend to a quarter century of softening Catholic witness in Catholic higher education. Together, they’ve given the next generation of Catholic leadership all the excuses they need to baptize their personal conveniences and ignore what it really demands to be “Catholic” in the public square.

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George has suggested that Notre Dame “didn’t understand” what it means to be Catholic before these events began. He's correct, and Notre Dame is hardly alone in its institutional confusion. That's the heart of the matter. Notre Dame’s leadership has done a real disservice to the Church, and now seeks to ride out the criticism by treating it as an expression of fringe anger. But the damage remains, and Notre Dame’s critics are right. The most vital thing faithful Catholics can do now is to insist – by their words, actions and financial support – that institutions claiming to be “Catholic” actually live the faith with courage and consistency. If that happens, Notre Dame’s failure may yet do some unintended good.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Stones for Bread"--A School for Scandal

Professor McInerny comments on Notre Dame's disgraceful honoring of Barack Obama over at "The Catholic Thing" this morning:

"How did it come about that so many Catholics have such a mushy notion of what it means to be a Catholic? The teaching of the faith since the close of Vatican II in 1965 has been scandalously inadequate. In many cases it has been the deliberate substituting of stones for bread. It began with waffling on contraception when theologians, real or self-proclaimed, impudently rejected Humanae Vitae, one of the great encyclicals of modern times. The scandal of the encyclical was that it placed Catholics on one side of a line and the zeitgeist on the other. Yet dissent from it was allowed to flourish. Moral theology went into steep decline and the official body of Catholic theologians issued Human Sexual Morality in which doubt was cast on the long tradition of teaching on pre-marital and extra-marital sex, abortion, masturbation, homosexuality, divorce – a systematic dismantling of Catholic moral teaching...

...And so it was that on Sunday at Notre Dame faithful Catholics were regarded as dissenters."

Those covering the commencement have reported that when protestors objected to Obama's presence (an objection also made by the local ordinary, Bishop D'Arcy) they were drowned out by chants of "Yes, we can!" Faced with a choice between faithfulness to Catholic teaching and whatever it is that President Obama represents, the chanting Notre Dame graduates chose the latter. That is after at least four years of study at an ostensibly "Catholic" university. A school for scandal.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"It's certainly the place for the bishop to be here"

Those are the words of Bishop John D'Arcy, the shepherd of Notre Dame, who joined students today in protesting the University's disgraceful honoring of Barack Obama. From the News-Sentinel:

"SOUTH BEND — Fort Wayne.

South Bend Diocese Bishop John M. D'Arcy helped to rally support against today's commencement speech at Notre Dame by President Barack Obama after saying he would boycott the appearance. However, D'Arcy had a change of heart, briefly speaking this afternoon before about 2,500 people protesting abortion and Obama, who supports abortion rights.

D'Arcy said he changed his mind because anti-abortion Notre Dame undergraduates inspired him Saturday night.

"It is certainly the place for the bishop to be here," D'Arcy said to applause. "John D'Arcy's not important, but the office of bishop is very important and it must always be like Pope John Paul II to stand up for life all the time, everywhere without exception."

God Bless the good bishop! He presents quite a contrast to the weasel words coming out of Notre Dame.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Socialism 101

Why President Obama’s socialist aspirations are doomed to failure:

"An economics professor at a USA college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had once failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism.  All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.  The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.  

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.  The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.  

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that. " (courtesy Noel Debruton)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fr. Cameron Ayers Takes Leave of Absence from Jesuits

From the May 10, 2009 bulletin of St. Agnes Church in San Francisco:

"Dear Friends, It must have been quite a shock to many of you when Father Cameron announced his intention to take a leave of absence from the Jesuits so that he could discern his own personal vocation...."

The bulletin message is written by the acting Pastor of St. Agnes, Fr. Raymond Allender, SJ.

"A Shepherd's Voice" has had occasion to comment in the past about certain actions of Fr. Ayers:

leading his parish in San Francisco's 2006 "Gay Pride" parade;

• hosting the "Alienated Catholics" seminar at St. Agnes (video link);

donating to the "No on Proposition 8" campaign, at a time when all the Bishops of California were calling on their flocks to not only vote for Proposition 8, but to volunteer and contribute financially to its passing.

Seen in this light, Fr. Ayers' felt need to "discern his own personal vocation" makes sense to us.

We join the parishioners of St. Agnes in prayer.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

More Notre Dame: Disgraced and Dishonored

From Diane at Te Deum Laudamus:

"This is probably one of the most exceptional things I have ever seen: Notre Dame has an 80 year old priest arrested on it's campus as he sings Immaculate Mary. There is something ironic that the most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States is welcome on the grounds of a Catholic university under the guise of "dialogue" while an 80 year old priest is arrested for protesting it."

She has video of the arrest as well.

As Bishop Trautman of Erie, PA said:

"The Golden Dome of Notre Dame, the long revered symbol of a Catholic university,
will be disgraced and dishonored on this coming May 17th, the commencement day of the

They are disgraced and dishonored already.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Excellent News--New Pro-Life Poll Numbers

From the Gallup Polling organization:

"More Americans “Pro-Life” Than “Pro-Choice” for First Time
Also, fewer think abortion should be legal “under any circumstances

PRINCETON, NJ -- A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" on the issue of abortion and 42% "pro-choice." This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.

The new results, obtained from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey, represent a significant shift from a year ago, when 50% were pro-choice and 44% pro-life. Prior to now, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, in both August 2001 and May 2002.

The May 2009 survey documents comparable changes in public views about the legality of abortion. In answer to a question providing three options for the extent to which abortion should be legal, about as many Americans now say the procedure should be illegal in all circumstances (23%) as say it should be legal under any circumstances (22%). This contrasts with the last four years, when Gallup found a strong tilt of public attitudes in favor of unrestricted abortion."

Shame, Notre Dame!

As Notre Dame honors President OBama with a doctorate this Sunday, the Christian Community of San Diego has organized a huge rally supporting Pro-Life and protesting the decisions of the president.


 "The Pew Research Poll indicates that one of the largest shifts in public opinion has taken place since Barack Obama has opened the floodgates of abortion in January,” said Dr. Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church, and a bestselling author and media commentator. “The public is shifting significantly pro-life, with as much as an eight percentage point change in a remarkably short time. While the pro-life cause has lost in the courts, lost in the halls of Congress, and lost in the White House, the American conscience is recognizing abortion for what it is: murder. And a public outcry is mounting. President Obama's honorary doctorate from Notre Dame this Sunday is a mockery of the founders of that prestigious university and the Catholic faith it represents. We join with many in noting this moment of deception and shame." (California Catholic Daily)


Three cheers for the Christian Community of San Diego! Shame on Notre Dame!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is it Politics?

Catholics who object to pro-abortion President Barack Obama's being honored at Notre Dame are being accused of partisan politics.

This is nonsense.

Abortion is not a political issue. Politics is the argument we have about how we live together. It presupposes a respect for innocent life. Respect for the right to life is a pre-political issue: it makes politics possible. Arguing for legalized abortion is no more a politics than sweeping all the pieces off the chessboard is chess.

While a number of Catholic thinkers have responded to this accusation, the accusation itself is instructive, particularly when it comes from other Catholics.

I remember well back in 2007 when objections were made to the (Jesuit) University of San Fancisco because of their inviting pro-abortion Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi to be their Commencement Speaker. One of the responses to these objections, in the Catholic San Francisco newspaper, was from a local priest. Fr. Stephen Privett, the President of USF, thought so highly of this response that he cited it on the USF webpage:

"Fr. Kenneth Weare, a pastor in the San Francisco Archdiocese, made a pointed observation in Catholic San Francisco, noting that Pelosi 'is by far much more in line with the greater body of Catholic moral teaching than [President] Bush ever was.'”

I found Fr. Weare's response extraordinary then, and I find it extraordinary now. What possible relevance does the comparison have? Bush was not invited to USF, Pelosi was. Bush is not a Catholic, Pelosi maintains she is. Is there a quality that Bush and Pelosi share, that would allow for the comparison? Only one: they are both professional politicians. The comparison only has any relevance if one is motivated by partisan politics. The idea that there might be an overriding Catholic standard needing to be met (by whomever is speaking at a Catholic University) never occurs to Fathers Privett or Weare--or Fr. Jenkins.

So I think the question of political partisanship is valid and needs to be asked, but it should be asked of those who indeed do put politics ahead of Catholic teaching.

UPDATE: George Weigel writes on the same subject.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Carrie Prejean Retains "Miss California" Title

And sticks by her guns!

From the Associated Press:

"She talked about getting thousands of letters and e-mails from people supporting her and said, about the marriage question, that Hilton had asked her a 'politically charged question with a hidden personal agenda.'

'I stated my honest belief,' she said.

Good for her.

Bishop Finn, Archbishop Naumann Join Protest at Planned Parenthood

God Bless the good Bishops!

From "The Catholic Key":

"Kansas City - St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn and Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann joined 700 area Catholics in praying the Rosary outside Planned Parenthood's abortion facility in Overland Park, May 9.

The third annual peaceful Mothers Day rosary attracted twice as many participants as last year. Bishop Finn and Archbishop Naumann took turns leading the 20 decades of the Rosary."

There are nice pictures, too. If a couple of bishops come, it's no surprise you'll get twice the number as the previous year!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

USF Update "It would be simplistic..."

The abandonment by the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco of its Catholic heritage has forced even the mainstream media to take notice.

From today's San Francisco Chronicle:

"The University of San Francisco has canceled its master's in theology program, provoking a bitter disagreement about what it means for the future of the university.

Some faculty, alumni and students connected to the program say the university is losing the graduate degree most closely linked with its Jesuit Catholic mission. They say the closure is the culmination of a series of actions eroding the institution's Catholic identity.

Yes, it is.

But USF President Stephen Privett, a Jesuit priest for 38 years, said such broad statements misconstrue the nature of the university as it tries to engage with a rapidly changing world. "It would be simplistic to reduce the Catholic character to any single program," Privett said in an interview.....

Several former and current faculty in the department of theology and religious studies worry that the greater damage may be to USF's identity as a Catholic institution, which they say has been diminished over the past decade.

Yes, it has.

The university requires that undergraduates take only one course in religious studies. That means that a single course about Buddhism, for example, might be the full exposure a student may get at USF, San Francisco's premier Catholic educational institution. Department supporters say this means USF has the weakest religious studies requirement of any of the 28 Jesuit universities and colleges in the nation.

"If we require only one course at the undergraduate level, and we're canceling the M.A. program, what does that say about our Catholic identity?" asked the Rev. Dan Kendall, a professor in the department for 30 years.

It says the "Catholic identity" is just about non-existent, Father.

But Fr. Privett is not worried:

"Privett says the opponents are misguided. Since he came to the university nine years ago, Privett said he's added an undergraduate minor in Catholic studies and opened the Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought. "

That Fr. Privett chose to single out the Lane Center is instructive. Here is a sample of "Lane Center" events (reading backwards) over the past three years. Follow any of the links for full documentation.

March 9, 2009: The Lane Center hosted ex-priest (and, according to the Cardinal Newman Society, same-sex "married) Professor James Nickoloff: “'Intrinsically Disordered': The Role of the Despised in Establishing the Holiness of the Church. A community conversation exploring gay marriage and Catholic identity in light of Proposition 8. Sponsored with the USF LGBTQ Caucus.”

June 15, 2008: The Lane Center (in conjunction with "Voice of the Faithful Northern California) hosted ex-priest Paul Lakeland at a seminar entitled "How the Laity Can save the Church? Lakeland is best known for his support of Connecticut's recent attempt to have lay persons take over the governance of the Catholic Church.

June 13, 2008: The Lane Center hosts Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, depite Archbishop George Niederauer's orders that he not speak at Catholic institutions in the Archdiocese.

October 30, 2008: On October 30, USF's Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought hosted professor and abortion advocate Sylvia Marcos. Marcos believes in working to make abortion legal in countries where it is illegal.

March 10, 2008: The Lane Center sponsors a screening of "For the Bible Tells Me So"--film challenging church teaching on homosexuality.

October 20, 2007: Julia Dowd, Associate Director of the Lane Center (and other USF Faculty) attends "OutThere" conference at De Paul University

May 23, 2007: The Lane Center hosts "Religion and Sexuality: What's the Connection" activists planning session. Guest speakers included the Rev. Ignacio Castuera, President of the Clergy Network of Planned Parenthood and the Rev. Lisa Sargeant, Chaplain of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate.

March 29, 2006: The Lane Center sponsors the "Alienated Catholics: Establishing the Groundwork for Dialog" seminar at S. Agnes parish.

February 12, 2006: The Lane Center sponsors the "Is it Ethical to Be Catholic? Queer Perspectives." seminar at Most Holy Redeemer parish.

That is what Fr. Privett cites as an example of "Catholic" education.

But we must respectfully point out that our last three Archbishops have been publicly silent about all of this.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Friday, May 8, 2009

New Catholic Vote/Grassroots Film Video

Check it out!

Archbishop Burke at Prayer Breakfast

The National Catholic Prayer Breakfast is going on right now. Archbishop Raymond Burke and Justice Antonin Scalia will be there.

Jack Smith at "The Catholic Key" reports that Tom Hoopes at the National Catholic Register will be liveblogging from the event. Archbishop Burke is already at work:

Hoopes - “What should the Church do about Notre Dame?” I asked Archbishop Raymond Burke last night. His answer:

AB Burke - “What it should do is have Notre Dame come clean. Is it Catholic or isn’t it? A Catholic institution, a Catholic university, cannot give honors to someone who is a promoter of things that are opposed to the most fundamental beliefs of Catholics, and so that’s what needs to happen.”


UPDATE: Jack Smith has posted His Excellency's full address at "The Catholic Key."

A sample:

"The path of violation of the most fundamental human rights and of the integrity of marriage and the family which our nation is traveling is not accidental," he said. "

As Catholics, we cannot fail to notice with the greatest sadness the number of our fellow Catholics who cooperate fully to the advancement of a national agenda which is anti-life and anti-family."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Vanity and Compromise"

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver spoke at the American Bible Society in New York today. As usual His Excellency was excellent, and his message cuts uncomfortably close to home.

From the Catholic News Agency:

Archbishop Chaput: Media culture and compromise undermining Christian life

"Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput exhorted Catholics to follow the example of St. Paul by understanding their own times and being “possessed by the God of Truth.” Stressing the need to recognize the impact mass media has on thought and action, he warned that Catholics are losing the habits on which they have traditionally relied because of “vanity and compromise....”

"The habit of 'vanity and compromise' is what is at work in the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Obama at commencement, the archbishop remarked. Though 'a sincere and able man,' the president’s views on life issues 'run directly against Catholic belief.”
“And a Catholic institution should not honor that kind of behavior,' he said.

While human sinfulness is always present, the archbishop said, 'What’s new about our current moment is that too many Christians have made peace with that sinfulness, baptized it with the language of personal conscience, and stopped trying to convert anybody -- including themselves.'"

Emphasis added.

What a good shepherd!

Catholic Priest Believes Conscience Fears "Overblown"

From today's San Francisco Chronicle:

"'Conscience' shield vital, many caregivers say."

"Kim McAllister, a Bay Area nurse for 31 years, knows she can recuse herself from a medical procedure with which she has a moral conflict.

If a patient wants an abortion or if McAllister sees an end-of-life decision she might question, she can discreetly find another nurse who would help the patient in the way the patient seeks.
But, like many Catholics, evangelicals and others, McAllister now worries that an Obama administration proposal to repeal 'conscience' protections for health care workers will imperil her rights....

Not everyone is so concerned, however:

The fallout has provoked uproar among religious conservatives, some of whom believe that Obama's proposal threatens their very right to be medical providers. It is provoking anxious discussions among many Catholic doctors and nurses, said the Rev. Gerald Coleman, vice president of corporate ethics at the Daughters of Charity Health System, which runs Seton Medical Center in Daly City, O'Connor Hospital in San Jose and St. Louise Hospital in Gilroy. Coleman sits on the ethics committees of all of his system's hospitals, and he believes some of the concern is overblown.

'What I think is far-fetched is if people say Obama is simply going to erase conscience clauses,' Coleman said. 'That's simply not true.'"

Well, I'm sure that's very comforting for those Doctors and Nurses on the firing line. Of course, Fr. Coleman will not be with there with them.

But anything Fr. Coleman says should be taken with a sizable chunk of salt.

Fr. Coleman was one of the two moral theologians whose opinions were used to justify the disastrous partnership bewtween Catholic Charities of San Francisco and Family Builders by Adoption that was crafted back in 2006--a partnership which resulted in Catholic Charities staffing and funding an organization that was required by contract to INCREASING the number of childresn put in homosexual households. Needless to say, this generated outrage across the Catholic world, and as of June, 2009, the Archdiocese will belatedly bring this arrangement to an end.

George Neumayr of the Catholic Word Report covered this at the time in "A Distinction Without A Difference."

So, while our Bishops (including Archbishop Niederauer) are urging Catholics to contact the Department of Health and Human Services and express their support for conscience protection, Fr. Coleman says: no sweat, everything's fine, there's nothing to worry about.

But that's what he said about Catholic Charities partnering with "the gayest (adoption) agency in the country," too.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bishop Blair Bans Gay Activist Workshop

Courage and common sense.

The Toledo Blade reports (h/t New Oxford Review):

"Bishop Leonard Blair, recently picked by the Vatican to investigate the doctrines of a major U.S. nuns' organization, has banned a workshop on gay and lesbian ministry scheduled to start today at the Sisters of St. Francis campus in Tiffin.

The three-day workshop was offered by New Ways Ministry, a Maryland-based organization that describes itself as "a gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics."

Sally Oberski, director of communications for the Toledo diocese, said Bishop Blair sent a letter to Sister Jacquelyn Doepker, head of the religious order, asking her to cancel the workshop.

In his letter, the bishop said "the positions of New Ways Ministry are not at all in accord with the guidelines for pastoral care which the bishops of the United States issued in 2006 regarding 'Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination.' Nor does New Ways Ministry present the full, authentic teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality."

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways' executive director, said he was "very disappointed" by the bishop's decision and believes there is a "misconception" about both points cited in the letter.

"We've been around for 32 years," he said. "Our programs, especially like the one we were going to have in Tiffin, are designed to help people who are working in Catholic institutions. We are not trying to subvert the church but to build on a positive tradition of welcoming lesbian and gay people that is in the church's teaching and pastoral practice."

Mr. DeBernardo is not telling the truth.

On August 4, 2008, our California Catholic Bishops had issued their statement on Proposition 8, which concluded:

"And finally, we strongly encourage Catholics to provide both the financial support and the volunteer efforts needed for the passage of Proposition 8. "

On September 25, 2008, New Ways Ministry issued the following press release:

"Catholic Voters Urged to Protect Same-Sex Marriage Laws
Statement of Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry"

The very first sentence read:

"New Ways Ministry urges all Catholic voters to oppose any electoral measures which attempt to ban same-sex marriage laws."

It's hard to find a clearer case of subversion than that.

We blogged about "New Ways Ministry" back on February 16, 2009, on the occasion of Father Richard Rohr's hosting of a seminar at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco. Among other things we noted that Fr. Rohr:

"...will be the Facilitator of a 'retreat for former male religious and resigned priests who are gay' to be held in Marriotsville, Maryland. The event is listed on the 'Gay Catholic Forum' a clearinghouse for all things anti-Catholic, as far as homosexuality is concerned. (The site also feature homilies by USF's Executive Director of University Ministry, Fr. Donal Godfrey.)

Even that might not necessarily be objectionable, except for the fact that the retreat is being sponsored by
New Ways Ministry. New Ways Ministry is pretty well known; still, a look at their 'Next Steps: Developing Lesbian/Gay Ministry' action plan is helpful.

'This weekend of prayer, presentations, dialogue, and planning is designed to assist those seeking ways to include lesbian/gay people and issues in their home parishes, schools, or other ministerial settings.'

'Include' lesbian/gay people? All they have to do is come to Mass and confession, like everybody else. What New Ways Ministry wants is for the Church to change it's teaching on homosexualitry. If they are sponsoring a retreat, you can pretty much be sure that is its final end."

Bishop Blair is absolutely correct in banning New Ways Ministry. We commend him for his wise and prudent action.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Will the FDA Kill Adult Stem Cell Medicine?

That's the title of a story in H+ Magazine, by Jeff Morris, AAMG and Stephen Coles, Md, Ph. D. The authors are interviewing Dr. Christopher J. Centeno, whose specialty is orthpedics. Dr. Centeno has been using adult stem-cells to treat his patients for over four years. The article begins:

"Within the next five years, it's quite possible that physicians will come into routine possession of a remarkable set of tools — a brand new way of dealing with the frailty and disabilities of aging. The tool kit is autologous stem cells derived from the patients themselves, amplified in culture, and infused back into the patient according to a precise protocol. It would be such a leap from today's medical diagnostics and treatments; it could only be called revolutionary.

The purpose of employing autologous cells is to prevent rejection of histo-incompatible cells by the patient's immune system. But it's also possible that these new therapies could slip from our grasp, at least in the US. If we're not careful, these therapies could become the exclusive domain of the pharmaceutical industry, as regulated by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This could push the availability of this tool kit 15 to 20 years into the future. The opportunity-cost in terms of morbidity and mortality could be catastrophic....

The story then tells a little about Dr. Centeno:

Prior to becoming involved in stem-cell research, Dr. Centeno was already an international expert and specialist in musculoskeletal, spinal, and neurologic injury. Having trained at the Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Medical Center, and the Institute for Rehabilitation Research, he is an M.D. who is double-boarded in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as well as Pain Medicine. Dr. Centano has seen the results that are achievable in an orthopedic context. 'We've done this for four years for patients with orthopedic conditions. So, as a test case, we know it can work safely and effectively.'”

What's the danger? The FDA wants to classify your own stem-cells as a drug. We blogged on this back on March 26, 2009. The story continues:

"To Dr. Centeno, it is inconceivable that a person’s own cells could be classified as a drug — but that's exactly what the FDA wants to do. “The FDA is working to protect the interests of Big Pharma,” he says. 'If we wanted to insert some kind of new genes into these cells, we might all agree that could be a drug — a new entity. But what we're doing is simply culturing a person’s own cells. Most of the cells are bone-marrow derived; you can get them from synovial fluid in the knee or from other locations....'

The stakes for the pharmaceutical industry are obviously also high. 'You’re talking about replacing $60 billion in drug- and device-care with $6 billion in stem-cell care,' Dr. Centeno observes. The end result will either be individual physicians owning and controlling labs, or, says Dr. Centeno, 'It will all be controlled by Big Pharma, and innovation will move at a snail’s pace.'”

Dr. Centeno heads an organization created to define guidelines and standards for American adult-stem cell treatmet called The American Stem Cell Therapy Association (ASCTA). Their website is here.

h/t Instapundit.

Let's pray "The Science President" instructs his FDA not to get in the way of REAL science!


In other great adult stem-cell news, our friend Don Margolis has a story about a lady who has been treated with her own adult stem-cells for COPD (serious lung disease). The lady had been a smoker, and had been on oxygen 24/7 until being treated last December. She is now totally off oxygen. Pray God this sucess continues!