Led by their bishops, about 1,500 Catholics rallied at the Statehouse in Trenton yesterday to urge political leaders and the voters who elect them to uphold "the sanctity of life" by opposing abortion and embryonic stem cell research.
The "Witness for Life" Mass and rally marked the first time all five of New Jersey’s Roman Catholic dioceses had jointly demonstrated to urge voters to cast their ballots for leaders who uphold church teaching that life must be protected from the moment of conception until natural death. Trenton Bishop John M. Smith called it "historic."
"It is a nonpolitical rally. It is a rally for life," Newark Archbishop John J. Myers said.
Neither Camden Bishop Joseph Galante, who gave the sermon at a 10 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, nor any of the speakers at the noontime rally that followed at the Statehouse mentioned either President Bush or Democratic challenger John Kerry.
But the day’s overall message — that upholding the sanctity of life is more important than any other issue facing the electorate — was one that plainly favored Bush, a Methodist, over Kerry, only the third Catholic in the nation’s history to run for president on a major party ticket.
The president sharply curtailed embryonic stem cell research and has said he wants to promote a "culture of life." Kerry supports the right to an abortion, calling it a choice "between a woman, God and her doctor," and charged that Bush "turned his back on science" by limiting stem cell research.
Galante told worshipers at the cathedral that "each and every human life is precious, precious, from the first moment of conception until natural death."
"Before any other right can be protected, the right to be must be protected above all," the Rev. Michael Manning, coordinator of Respect Life Ministries for the Diocese of Trenton, told the crowd at the Statehouse.
Newark Auxiliary Bishop Charles McDonnell, in leading the demonstrators in the Pledge of Allegiance, amended it to end: "with liberty and justice for all, born and unborn." [Source]
I think we need to be careful how we word our arguments. I am not opposed to licit ESC research. I would, however, rather see the market drive the research so that the successes of ASCs are not trivialized. If liberals want ESC research so badly, one can’t help but wonder why they aren’t setting up a system to save the cord blood from childbirth?
Can’t we have a culture of life AND ESC research and the benefits thereof? The answer, of course, is yes, we can.
But then one has to look into the inherent problems with ESCs–that they are not easily directed into becoming the desired tissue. ASCs being further delineated are actually easier to direct. They are finding ASCs in more places and greater numbers than previously thought possible. Because they are derived from the patient himself, there is no problem with rejection, and ASCs don’t appear to be tumorigenic as the ESCs are.
There may well be worthy results from licit ESC research, but right now the 20 year track record is with ASC research. There are currently NO ESC therapies. As for funding, some should be given to ESC, but until a proven methodology and therapy can be proven and replicated, most of the funding should go to ASC research.
However, in my opinion, blanket statements about being against ESC research should be avoided as they tend to paint us as fundamentalists, rather than moral Catholics who want what is best for ALL of us, even (especially?) the vulnerable, silent, and handicapped.
In Christ’s peace and joy,
Robin L. in TX
I can think of no possilbe moral ESCR since the destruction of an embryo is always involved. This is not a “fundamentalist” opinion but a fundamental fact that life begins at conception.
Using cord blood to get stem cells would not as far as I know be classed as embryonic stem-cells since the stem-cells come from a source past embryonic. This method is morally licity as are most that don’t require the destruction of life.
Kerry says that abortion is “a choice between a woman, God and her doctor?” How did God get into this equation?
Thanks for setting me straight on the cord blood cells being ASC. If I had really thought it through, I would have realized it.
In God’s peace and joy,