Bulletin (February 20, 2005)

A big thank you to all those who made pledges last weekend! I know that many of you took your pledge envelopes home and will be returning them this weekend. This week we have begun the Home Visitation phase of our Capital Campaign. Our goal is to reach every parishioner with this opportunity to participate in the future of Holy Family Parish. As you know, this project is vital for our survival and for our ability to continue our mission as a parish. The fundraising will continue until we have reached our goal. This coming week I will be meeting with leaders of our parish Hispanic and Vietnamese communities to discuss their further participation in the Campaign. I ask your prayers for the success of this Campaign, that we might achieve our goal of Building a Better Parish.

An essential part of our mission as a parish is to witness to the dignity of each human being. Our Respect Life Committee is in the process of forming a satellite for Birthright here in Holy Family Parish. Birthright itself is covering the expenses of telephone, pregnancy tests, etc.; but they need volunteers from Holy Family who would be willing to receive training and serve as counselors. If you are interested in helping, please contact Gary Samaniego through our parish office at 767-6220.

Two of the biggest and most important issues facing our state today involve human cloning and embryonic stem cell research. Wesley J. Smith will be discussing these issues on Wed, Feb 23rd. The talk is co-sponsored by Aquinas Books, Emerald Heights Academy and The Discovery Institute. Scare headlines about the first human clones appear in our newspapers. Biotech companies brag about manufacturing human embryos as "products" for use in medical treatments. Wesley J. Smith provides us with a guide to the brave new world that is no longer a figment of our imagination but a reality just around the corner of our lives. Smith unravels the mystery of stem cells and shows what is at stake in the controversy over using stem cells for research. He describes the emerging science of human cloning – the most radical technology in history – and shows how it moves forward inexorably against the moral consensus of the world. . "At stake," he warns, "is whether science will continue to serve society, or instead dominate it."

This event will be held on Wednesday, February 23, at 6:30 at the Emerald Heights Academy. Cost for the event is $10 and includes a private reception with the speaker, hors d'oeuvres, beverages and book signing. This event is co-sponsored by Aquinas Catholic Books. To register, please contact Rachel Krauskopf, 206-292-0401 ext. 153.

The Washington State Legislature is considering a bill regarding human cloning. It is important for us to understand what is at stake. The following is from an article by Wesley J. Smith:

Let's call it "stealth human-cloning legalization." It's easy to do: First, write a proposed law that you claim outlaws human cloning. But then, engage in a little slight of hand here, some redefining of a few crucial terms there, and viola! — Your supposed cloning ban actually authorizes human cloning, implantation, and gestation through the ninth month.

That is what New Jersey legislators did when they passed and then Governor James McGreevey signed S-1909 last year, a law that was sold to the public as outlawing human cloning but which actually permits the creation of cloned human life, and its implantation and gestation up to and including the very moment prior to the emergence of the cloned baby from the birth canal.

Other state legislators have tried the same shell game without success, specifically in Texas, Delaware, Maryland, and Illinois. And now Washington joins the infamous list with Senate Bill 5594, a thoroughly disingenuous piece of legislation that purports to outlaw the cloning of human beings, but by manipulating language and redefining terms, actually permits human cloning and gestation of the resulting cloned embryos through the ninth month.

Before we begin to blow away the smoke and shatter the mirrors of S-5594, let's recap exactly what cloning is. There are now two ways to create new mammalian life, including humans. The first is that great old standard, "sexual" reproduction, in which sperm meets egg. The second way to reproduce is a strictly human invention — known as "asexual" reproduction — or more commonly, cloning.

The primary cloning technique is called "somatic cell nuclear transfer" (SCNT). This is the technology used to create Dolly the sheep. SCNT is easy to describe, albeit hard to accomplish. In the case of asexually creating a human, the biotechnologist removes the nucleus from a mature human egg (an oocyte). The nucleus of a body cell from the DNA donor is removed, and put into the place formerly occupied by the egg's nucleus. The genetically modified egg now has 46 chromosomes, the full human compliment. Meanwhile, the ability of the mature egg to transform and begin embryonic development remains fully potent.

A little shot of electricity comes next, and if all goes well, a new human cloned embryo comes into being and begins to develop in the same way as a sexually created embryo. At that point — and this is important to understand — there is no more cloning to be done since a new human organism now exists.

The only question remaining is what to do with it. If the cloned human organism is to be experimented upon and destroyed, the process is often called "therapeutic cloning." If it is to be brought to birth, the process is usually called "reproductive cloning." But it is important to understand these are not different types of cloning. They are different uses for the cloned human lives created via cloning.

Keeping these biotechnological facts firmly in mind, let's return to Washington's disingenuous S-5594. The bill purports to promote stem-cell research, while outlawing the cloning of a human being. Thus, the legislation provides:

“While stem-cell research holds enormous potential for treating or even curing some diseases, the cloning of a human being is morally and ethically unacceptable...Any attempt to clone a human being is in direct conflict with the public policies of this state.”

If the authors of this bill really meant what they appear to have written, their legislation would ban all human cloning, since as we have seen, biologically, a new human organism, that is, a new human being, comes into existence with the completion of SCNT. But the legislation is sneaky. It defines the term "cloning of a human being" inaccurately. Instead of referring to the act of asexual reproduction, the bill instead redefines cloning of a human being to mean:

"Cloning of a human being" means asexual reproduction by implanting or attempting to implant the product of nuclear transplantation [e.g., an embryo] into a uterus or substitute for a uterus with the purpose of producing a human being.

This is junk biology since implanting isn't the act of asexual reproduction: SCNT cloning is. Or to put it the other way around, cloning, not implantation, is what produces a new and distinct human organism.

Muchas gracias a todos que han hecho su “promesa” en la Campaña Capital. Todavía hay muchas personas en la comunidad que no han hecho su compromiso. Esta semana hemos comenzado las visitas a casas. Si Vd. tiene su compromiso, se puede ponerlo en la colecta este domingo. El día jueves, Carlos Proaño estará con nosotros para una reunión con lideres de diferentes grupos apostólicos para hablar de cómo podemos enfocar mejor nuestra participación en la Campaña.

Les invito a participar en la Caminata a la Catedral, el 12 de marzo. Saldremos de nuestro templo a las 7 p.m. Samwise también estará con nosotros. Como se puede ver de la foto, él espera su participación.