We have met the enemy...

By Leila Marie Lawler (articles ) | Feb 10, 2005

So maybe we here at CWNews.com are the enemy. Maybe Rod Dreher, of the Dallas Morning News, is the enemy. Maybe only a very few clergy are involved in the scandal but the rest are manly and brave, the Church is in great shape, it’s springtime in the faith, and we’re just suffering from some kind of delusion brought on by an icy cynicism combined with a starry, cock-eyed trust in the anti-Catholic media.

I bet we could be brought back to reality, though. Suppose that the bishops could get hold of an issue and just speak with great moral clarity in time to do something about it. That would show us!

How about stem cell research? Could the bishops help us out with that? There are basically two kinds of research possible using embryonic stem cells. You can take cells from embryos already created at fertility clinics and use them (a foregone conclusion), or you can produce embryos solely for the sake of their cells. In either case you must destroy the embryo, a human being, to make use of its cells.

Today the New York Times reports that Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts will oppose efforts by the state legislature to promote embryonic stem cell research of the second kind.

Romney’s wife suffers from multiple sclerosis-- which, the article points out, made some people think that he would support any measure to find a cure. However, he stands on principle, saying that “he objected to therapeutic cloning because ‘creation for the purpose of destruction is wrong.’” (He doesn’t oppose the use of stem cells from fertility clinics.)

The Times detects a whiff of politics in the offing, attributing Romney’s clear position to his ambitions on the national level. And perhaps this is so. Yet it’s not absolutely impossible to imagine that a man might draw the line in the moral dust and refuse to step over it, right?

Romney will lose anyway, the Times article tells us; the stem-cell industry will escape restraints even with “the sizable number of conservative Democrats in this heavily Roman Catholic state.” In other words, not even the "conservative" Democrats of Massachusetts are expected to mount any opposition to the deliberate destruction of human embryos.

That's a kind a feeble nod our way, isn't it? For practical purposes "in this heavily Roman Catholic state," Church opposition doesn’t mean a thing.

Other than the Mormon governor, there's been no word from any leader, much less from the Catholic clergy. No, there’s nothing about it on the bishops’ web site. Archbishop Sean O’Malley hasn’t mentioned it. Maybe the archbishop doesn't wish to appear partisan, now that the governor has taken a stand. But then he could have piped up in early January, when Senate President Robert E. Travaglini proposed the legislation.

I guess we are the enemy of that.

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  • Posted by: - Feb. 12, 2005 3:27 PM ET USA

    Kelly, maybe the antecedent of my pronoun "it" wasn't clear to you, but the Archbishop has taken no notice of this particular bill, promoted mainly by Catholic legislators, which will remove the last flimsy barrier to outright cannibalism in Massachusetts. Somehow I don't think that a document produced in 2001 and a mention of stem cell research at Faneuil Hall at the Assembly for Life (Jan 22) is going to rally all those Catholic Democrats we hear so much about in the Times. At the moment it is at least difficult for researchers to proceed with producing embryos for harvest. As of the passage of this bill, such a process will officially be big business in Massachusetts. Far from patting myself on the back, I am in near despair that our bishops cannot rally to a true cause until it is completely lost, and then only to make a mockery of their position. See, for example, Bishop Reilly's testamony before the State House on marriage -- http://www.macathconf.org/03-Bp%20Reilly%20Statement%20to%20Judiciary%2010-23FINAL.pdf

  • Posted by: - Feb. 11, 2005 9:08 PM ET USA

    "Archbishop Sean O’Malley hasn’t mentioned it. " No kidding? Then I guess what I've read -- since 2001 -- has been fiction? The reams of stuff frankly condemning stem cell research festooning he parishes of this Archdiocese is all in my imagination? With all due respect to Rod and CWNews.com, may I ask you to mind your shoulders? Too much back-patting tends to lead to dislocation. ;-)

  • Posted by: - Feb. 11, 2005 5:00 PM ET USA

    "Church opposition doesn’t mean a thing" because far too many Catholic Democrats have fashioned a new god for themselves called the Democratic Party, and installed it in place of Yahweh. More than one has listed what's important to them, and being Catholic is lucky to place third. So if the Party supports cannibalism (which is what embryo stem cell research really is) or any other degeneration into perversity, so will they, and even become apostles of the practice.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2005 7:49 PM ET USA

    Ah, but there has been word from a leader -- the oft-described devout Catholic Thomas Finneran, former Mass House Speaker and now president of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. Headlines last November noted his dramatic reversal from opposing to supporting embryonic stem cell research. New job, new outlook. "Finneran has said his opposition originated not from his beliefs as a pro-life Catholic, but from lack of information." Ouch. Do we even have feet left to shoot?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2005 3:50 PM ET USA

    the culture of death vs the culture of life,I'm happy to be the enemy,look at the weapons we have ,Truth,Justice,Zeal,the word and courage,they'll pput up a good fight ,but we will win

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2005 3:42 PM ET USA

    I don't know what you expect from Archbishop Sean O’Malley. After all he is busy "downsizing" the Church that has been assigned to him. I love the MBA lingo. But he could get there just by ignoring the Church. And if you are actively pursuing "downsizing" what need or time is there for teaching, governing, or sanctifyingf? Earlier Bishops focused on building the Church as well as churches, the modernists focus on cashing out the assets. I guess it helps to have Harvard in your backyard.