One Culture the National Geographic Fears Investigating

(July 2005 Cover Article on Stem Cells)

The cover article of the July 2005 National Geographic focused on stem cells – their potential and the surrounding controversy. As you might expect, the author (Rick Weiss) took great care to get the science correct. However, he did not exercise similar care in reporting the Catholic position. Although he interviewed a wide range of people, he did not quote a single person in defense of Catholic teaching. Instead he cited a Catholic who dissents from that teaching, “If a therapy can help people, it’s not the role of the church or government to ban it.” (Whoopee!) This is like reporting on the Amish way of life by interviewing an Amish person who has chosen to live in Philadelphia.

Like many articles, rather than refer to Catholic teaching, they speak about “the Vatican,” which according to Weiss has “deemed embryonic research” to be a “gravely immoral act.” The immoral act, of course, is not the research itself but the destruction of tiny humans which the research entails.

Note to Rick Weiss: There are many Catholic scientists who can accurately articulate Church teaching on this subject, not to mention priests like Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus. Or even better, interview priest scientist Rev. Dr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D.. I sometimes get the impression that there is only one culture the National Geographic fears investigating – Catholics who take Church teaching seriously.


What Are Stem Cells?

Why the Controversy?

Master, Not Product of Technology (Transcript of Pope's Statement to President Bush, July 23, 2001)

Sample Letter to President

Earlier Version of Homily (Before the above revision)

Spanish Version

From Archives (16th Sunday, Year C):

2004: Five-Legged Dogs
2001: Hospitality – First Principle of the Moral Law (Biblical Reflection on Stem Cell Research)
1998: The Better Part

Bulletin (Ordination of Armando Perez; Seattle Times on Stem Cell Research)


Erickson V. Bartell Drugs

Abortion and Pro-Choice

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Other Homilies

Report on Earthquake Relief

Seattle Columnist Joel Connelly Responds to Anti-Catholic Stereotyping: "On issues from AIDS to stem cell research, Catholic teaching and 'the Vatican' get described as medieval obstacles to 21st century progress. Archbishop Alex Brunett is wondering whose agenda and what purpose is being served."

Germaine Greer on Birth Control

Human Cloning: A Catholic Perspective (How the Unthinkable Became Inevitable)

On the Nature of the Embryo by D. McManaman

Homily mentioning Dr. Hood

Good Friday Service for Life vs. Dr. Leroy Hood's Support of Cloning & Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Letter to Dr. Leroy Hood

From Bishop Wuerl:

While stem cell research may not be at the top of the list of concerns that many of us face in our day-to-day life, it is nonetheless of such significance that we all need to understand fully its realities as well as its consequences. Decisions made now could establish a principle that asserts and endorses that we are free to use the drastic means of taking another human life, if we deem that the end result justifies that dire action. To concede that the end – even if it is potential relief to long-standing illnesses and injuries – justifies the means is to send our children and grandchildren headlong down a slippery slope on a moral toboggan with neither a steering bar or brakes.

And from Peter Singer (a Yale professor who wants to lead us further down the slippery slope):

The dispute is no longer about whether it is justifiable to end an infant's life if it won't be worth living but whether that end may be brought about by active means, or only by the withdrawal of treatment.