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Archive for June, 2010

The following is a letter from Bill Donohue of the Catholic League regarding a protest outside of the Empire State Building on August 26, the 100th birthday of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Owner Anthony Malkin is a craven and cowardly revisionist who refuses to honor the woman who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Medal of Freedom–the two highest civilian honors bestowed by the United States. Come dressed in blue and white, the colors of Mother’s order.

I’ve written twice before about the war against Mother Teresa here and here.
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June 2010

Dear Friend,

As president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, I have witnessed many assaults on Catholic sensibilities. But of all the indignities that Catholics have had to endure – movies, plays, songs, artistic exhibitions, books, articles, newspaper cartoons, classroom diatribes, television shows, lawsuits, obscene street fairs, music videos, and the like – nothing has insulted Catholics more than to see Mother Teresa dissed by the owner of the Empire State Building; a request to honor her on the 100th anniversary of her birthday, August 26, was denied without explanation!

The Empire State Building frequently beams into the sky the colors associated with all kinds of persons, organizations and events. From Mariah Carey to the Simpsons, and from NASCAR drivers to the Ninja Turtles, tribute is offered by way of the tower’s lights on a regular basis. But not for Mother Teresa – she doesn’t qualify.

Lit to Honor Mao's Chinese Communist Revolution (77 Million Murdered Under Mao)

Indeed, the Empire State Building’s owner, Anthony Malkin, honored the genocidal regime of Communist China, even though 77 million innocent men, women and children were murdered under Mao Zedong. So you can see why I was stunned when I learned that my request to honor Mother Teresa was denied; I asked that the tower lights shine blue and white, the colors of the Missionaries of Charity, on her birthday. By contrast, the U.S. Postal Service is honoring her with a commemorative stamp.

When I made my request in writing on February 2, I was told by two women from the Empire State Building that my application looked fine; they said they would get back to me in a few months. Then on May 5, I was faxed an unsigned letter denying my request. I quickly contacted Malkin, but he never replied to my letter. In fact, he has steadfastly refused to speak to the media.

After being pummeled with bad publicity, Malkin said they have a policy barring an honor to any religious person or group. But that is a lie. In the past, they have honored John Cardinal O’Connor, Pope John Paul II, the Salvation Army, the Salesian Sisters and Rev. Martin Luther King. And they further lied when they said this “policy” – which was just made up out of thin air – was in place when I applied. I have a copy of the application and it says no such thing. Moreover, no one ever indicated there was any problem with my application. It looked like a slam dunk.

On August 26, there will be a demonstration in the street outside the Empire State Building. There are many costs associated with this event, ranging from ads in newspapers, mailings, renting a stage, etc. In addition to your prayers, we need both your participation at the rally and your contributions.

Mother Teresa deserves better. Just as important, Catholics do not deserve to be treated like second-class citizens by snobby elites who think they can stick their middle finger in our faces. The time to support Mother Teresa is now.

Bill Donohue
President
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
450 Seventh Avenue
New York, New York 10123

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If anyone is inclined to support Breast Cancer Research, may I respectfully suggest that Karen Malec’s organization can get a much greater bang for the buck by getting the word out about PREVENTION. This is the message that the media will never divulge. This newsletter and related article are a must read.

Dear Friends:

The Daily Mail (London, England) published a very thoughtful article on the Sri Lankan study last week that found women with abortions more than triple their breast cancer risk. A link to the article is provided below.

Even though the Sri Lankan study, De Silva et al. 2010, was a small study of 100 breast cancer cases and 203 controls (health women), Professor Joel Brind (Baruch College, City University of New York) argues:

“It’s still a good study, just not quite as powerful. I would emphasize that it is typical of studies that have come out early in countries where breast cancer and abortion are not yet that common, like studies in the 1980’s in China, Japan, Australia and even the US: RR’s (relative risks) between 2 and 4, where the baseline lifetime incidence is closer to 2% rather than 10%. Once abortion is very common, the link is more like 1.1-1.5–relatively lower, but still impacting a similarly large number of women.”

In other words, in countries where abortion and breast cancer are still uncommon, scientists are able to detect that women with abortions multiply their breast cancer risk between two and four times. The fact that the study was conducted in a country where abortion and breast cancer are both uncommon is one of the strengths of the Sri Lankan study.

Once abortion and breast cancer become common, it becomes more challenging for scientists to detect large risk increases because it is harder to find a satisfactory control group of women who have never been exposed to abortion. In countries where abortion and breast cancer are common, scientists report lower relative risks, i.e. women with abortions multiply their risk of the disease by 1.1 to 1.5 times.

Please send us a donation today so we can help women in two African nations whose religious leaders have requested our literature and a video. Your assistance is urgently needed during the summer months.

Be sure to read the story in the Daily Mail below.

“Abortion ‘Triples Breast Cancer Risk': Fourth Study Finds Terminations Linked to Disease”

Sincerely,
Karen Malec
Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer

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My article in today’s Headline Bistro.

If there is one potential social-scientific study that cries out to be performed, it is the measure of the Culture of Death’s activities in a nation as a function of Christian belief and practice. In formulating a hypothesis for such a study, it would seem the anecdotal evidence suggests that as faith and its related activities decreases, there is a proportional increase in the activities of the Culture of Death.

This shouldn’t come as any great surprise. Rejection of our fundamental identity and great dignity, which is inherent in Christian anthropology, leaves the human little more than a sentient animal on the taxonomic tree in any biology classroom.

By way of example, the Netherlands appears to be a bellwether. Religion overall has declined there throughout the twentieth century. While several studies give varying percentages, the most reliable indicate 61% of the population has no religious affiliation, with that number climbing to 69% for those under 35 years of age. In that period of decline, legalized prostitution, abortion, homosexual marriage and euthanasia have been adopted and taken deep root. Far from a grab bag of licentious issues, these issues share an organic unity in purpose and function.

They are the foundations of an anti-Christian “civilization.”

As Saint Augustine teaches us, heterosexual, sacramental marriage is meant to be an earthly icon into the inner life of the Blessed Trinity, where the radical and reciprocal self-donation between the Father and Son in Love generates the Holy Spirit of God. The completeness of this Love forms the oneness between the three persons in the Godhead. So it is supposed to be between spouses in God’s design. The two become “one flesh” both literally and metaphorically, whose radical self-donation produces new life, which is both a product of that love and the object of that love.

Artificial contraception represents a fundamental rejection of complete self-donation, and has taken millions one long step toward abortion when the contraception fails. Prostitution builds on the use of contraception and further distorts conjugal appetites and expression by making sex and the body of the prostitute a mere commodity, as opposed to the priceless treasures that they are.

Homosexual marriage builds on all of the above by accepting their prerequisite ideologies and then removing the opposite sex from the equation.

Enter the perversion of science.

Having rejected God’s wise design for His creation, children have come to be regarded as a right of possession, rather than a blessing issuing forth from sacramental mutual submission. The mentality of rights demands further distortions of the created order through scientific machinations such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and surrogate motherhood. In the latter, a child may rightly claim up to five parents: sperm donor, egg donor, gestational mother, and adoptive parents.

Finally, having entirely redefined the parameters of marriage, family, conjugal expression and life’s beginning, the last area of radical autonomy is over life’s ending.

In the Netherlands, this began with the Dr. Jack Kevorkian model of physician-assisted suicide for patients in end-stage terminal illness, driven by fear of unimaginable pain and suffering. It rapidly degenerated into a system where the fear of suffering in those terminally ill, but not yet in end-stage, was sufficient to merit the consent of two physicians. Now, physicians routinely sign the death order, without the patient’s knowledge or consent, if the physicians believe the patient is “suffering.” This process now encompasses the mentally ill. Such cases of “involuntary euthanasia” number approximately 550 per year.

It’s cold-blooded murder, and it’s spreading across a European continent increasing marked by atheism, agnosticism and hedonism. On May 17, the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that in Belgium, cases of euthanasia were up 40% in 2009 over the previous year, and in one region of the country 30% of cases were performed without the patient’s knowledge or consent.

It is noteworthy that Catholicism represents 75% of Belgian religious affiliation, and that Sunday Mass attendance has steadily declined from 42.9% in 1967, to 22% in 1985, to 11.2% in 1998, to 7% in 2006. After weekly Mass attendance dipped below 25%, the following were adopted in rapid succession: abortion, 1990; euthanasia, 2002; gay marriage, 2003.

Last week the Federal Court of Justice of Germany legalized euthanasia.

According to Gallup, here in the U.S., Catholic Mass attendance has steadily declined from 75% in 1955, to 55% in 1973, to tie with the Protestants at 45% in 2008. The narrow margins between pro-choice/pro-life voters, pro-gay marriage/traditional marriage are reflected in those attendance data.

There is reason for hope in all of this. We are without a doubt in a period of great disintegration. So was the world of Saints Peter and Paul, whose solemnity we celebrate today. Rather than curse the darkness around them, these men rejoiced in their sufferings, and saw the world about them as a harvest waiting for workers to bring in the sheaves. They looked upon the pagans as utterly bereft and boldly proclaimed their dignity and true worth. We must do the same.

Catholicism has become the fodder for comedians who ceaselessly riff on our faith as being nothing more than a compendium of rules to be obeyed mindlessly. Our most persuasive arguments will not be intellectual apologias of dogma and canon law, which seem parched and lifeless to the parched and lifeless. Rather, our evangelization must target people’s hearts, address the issues of isolation, meaninglessness and despair that drive people to contraception, abortion, euthanasia, and the rejection of sacramental marriage. We must appeal to the fruits of faith and not its rules. People buy the rules only when they desire the fruits that follow.

The letters of Peter and Paul and the Acts of the Apostles form the template that these two extraordinary men have laid down for us to follow. Their feast is a perfect day to rededicate ourselves to a new evangelization of a world desperately seeking meaning in all the wrong places.

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In the 1997 movie Amistad about the true story of African slaves who mutinied on the slave ship carrying them to America, President John Quincy Adams delivers a stemwinder to the United Sates Supreme Court on behalf of the slaves:

“James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington… John Adams. We’ve long resisted asking you for guidance. Perhaps we have feared in doing so, we might acknowledge that our individuality, which we so, so revere, is not entirely our own. Perhaps we’ve feared an… an appeal to you might be taken for weakness. But, we’ve come to understand, finally, that this is not so. We understand now, we’ve been made to understand, and to embrace the understanding… that who we are IS who we were. We desperately need your strength and wisdom to triumph over our fears, our prejudices, ourselves. Give us the courage to do what is right. And if it means civil war? Then let it come. And when it does, may it be, finally, the last battle of the American Revolution.”

We fought that Civil War not long after Adams spoke those words, a war finally precipitated by the same Supreme Court in the infamous Dred Scott decision, a war that ended the national tragedy that was slavery.

That same Supreme Court went on to enshrine in law the segregation laws of the South in Plessy v. Ferguson, enshrine eugenic sterilization of the developmentally disabled under Buck v. Bell, enshrine concentration camps for Japanese-American citizens during WWII in Koramatsu v. United States, and finally enshrined abortion in Roe v. Wade.

Again and again the injustice of this Court has poisoned the body politic and torn this nation asunder. Again and again people have marched, and clashed, and spilled one another’s blood in senseless fratricide.

Justice has always prevailed, but never before the effusion of much blood. So it is with abortion.

In New York State, a bill may come to vote before next Friday’s recess of the legislature, the so-called “Reproductive Health & Privacy Protection Act”
(“RHAPP”) would:

• Promote late-term abortions of fully-formed infants
• Authorize non-physicians to perform abortions
• Lift the current age restriction on over-the-counter sales of the “morning-
after pill”
• Thwart any efforts to involve parents in the abortion decisions of their
children

In addition, it could:

• Compel hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, to allow abortion
• Compel schools and charitable agencies to facilitate abortion

More from the New York State Catholic Conference Here.

It is clear that we are in the midst of a civil war over abortion, which is only the tip of the spear for the Culture of Death. It has deadened moral sensibilities with its language of radical autonomy. The radical nature of this autonomy has crept into how we view the elderly, infirm and handicapped–as encumbrances to be dispatched if they threaten our ability to realize our ‘potential’.

Such potency has always been rooted in the communal soil of family and church. The fruits of what we ‘do’ have always redounded to the benefit of the family and community. Now however, the self is viewed as answerable only to itself. Family and community are no longer one’s primary means of self-definition so much as a utilitarian means toward a narcissistic end. This is what we have been enshrining as law for five decades. This is the face of the newest civil war, one which has claimed over 52 million human lives. Compare that to a little over 600,000 lives lost in the American Civil War.

The enemies of life have doubled down with such sweeping legislation as is pending in New York. We must meet them on the legislative battle-field and make our politicians hear our voices and fear our wrath at the voting booth more than they fear the opposition’s.

John Quincy Adams appealed to the character and wisdom of the founders, one of whom, John Adams, was his father. We too appeal to the wisdom of our founders, and our forbears in the abolitionist movement. We must present such a positive and noble lineage to our legislators and ask that they too join this lineage which celebrates the authentic freedom of the human person at its very root: The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The latter two are not possible without the first.

In the decades to come, our posterity too will look back and join in Adams’ words:

“We understand now, we’ve been made to understand, and to embrace the understanding… that who we are IS who we were.”

We have before us today the power and ability to determine for our posterity who we were.

We should choose courageously and wisely.

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Jesus Healing the Man Born Blind

Referencing his miracles in John 14, Jesus told his Apostles, “Greater works than these will you do.”

And do it is today with adult stem cell therapy. What once required the laying on of hands in so many areas is now routine medical treatment. I suspect that this protocol will become very routine in the next five years. Here is a link to a recent news report of doctors treating the blind with their own stem cells to restore sight. The article is wonderfully written and needs no further explanation here.

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There are moments in life when God opens yet another door to yet another room filled with His treasures, treasures to be used for our personal enrichment and to be shared with the world. This past week was one of those moments.

Through my FaceBook community I saw a notice for a newly formed group of Catholic Writers of Long Island and a workshop. Eager to escape the dimension of the internet and the luminiferous ether for some face time with fellow Catholic writers sans computer screen, I contacted the president, Lisa Mladinich. In our subsequent communications, I was invited to attend the organizational meeting of the group this past Wednesday.

The fifteen or so people in attendance were quite an impressive group: an RN getting into bioethics, catechists, columnists, editors, bloggers, high school and college students. Begun in prayer, the meeting was very instrumental in bringing together several people who’ve known one another only through their writing, and who seek fellowship beyond the virtual dimension.

Lisa and Conference Chairperson Peggy Clores have founded a remarkable group of Catholic writers, many who are pro-life authors, and produced a first-ever Catholic writers conference this past Saturday that was notable for its speakers, crisp and vibrant programming, liturgical grounding with Mass and Rosary, three networking sessions, and the presence of Ann Lewis, President of the Catholic Writers Guild, and keynote speaker Rick Hinshaw, Editor of The Long Island Catholic.

The day was held at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, LI (Diocese of Rockville Center). This is a group for Catholic writers in the NY area to connect with and fellowship. Next year’s conference will doubtless exceed the already 120+ in attendance this year.

Much more to come about this extraordinary group of people. For now, here is a three minute video of the day produced by the TV show Currents

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Coming Home has been recognized by Awarding the Web “a grass-roots group that works with sponsor sites to recognize quality blogs & bloggers in various categories,” and awarded a 2010 Top Pediatrics Blog Award in the Medical Category for its advocacy on behalf of the unborn, and for presenting the truth regarding sex education among children.

The other winners in this category are listed here .

Many thanks to the folks at Awarding the Web and their sponsor organizations for this recognition of the inherent dignity of the youngest pediatric patients, and our collective efforts on their behalf. Such recognition also highlights the shifting momentum in the pro-life direction.

Many thanks to the several people who have given me invaluable guidance and shaped Coming Home with their great wisdom and gentle humor.

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Illustration: Lisa Nolan

In preparation of next week’s discussion on the abortion/breast cancer link, and other sequellae, this two-part series is reprinted.

“At the heart of science lies discovery which involves a change in worldview. Discovery in science is possible only in societies which accord their citizens the freedom to pursue the truth where it may lead and which therefore have respect for different paths to that truth.”

-John Polanyi, Canadian Nobel Laureate (Chemistry);
Commencement Address, McGill University,
Montreal, Canada, June 1990

If you haven’t read Part I of this series, it’s worthwhile, as it sets the table regarding the issue of scientific orthodoxies. The two main areas of scientific contention arising from the post-abortive experience are:

1. Post-abortion syndrome.
2. Increased risk of breast cancer.

We’ve been dealing with the breast cancer link for a few weeks. For now, we need to turn our attention to post-abortion syndrome. Is it real, or artifact? It’s a valid scientific question, and pro-lifers should not shrink from the rigors of the scientific method in analyzing just what signs and symptoms constitute this syndrome and the extent to which post-abortive women are affected by it. Further, there should be a collaborative research project designed by pro-life and pro-choice scientists, rigorously designed and executed, whose data and conclusions could not be legitimately open to partisan sniping from either side.

But what if the data suggest that post-abortion syndrome is real? Would the anonymous peer reviewers, to whom a potential article would be submitted, kill the project with endless sniping and suggestions for alteration-as happens in real life? As was discussed in Part I, scientists have their established orthodoxies and don’t let go so easily. The fields of psychology, sociology, biology, and medicine are well-populated by pro-choice proponents who have much invested in the current pro-choice orthodoxies. It’s doubtful that such a proposed study would make it past peer reviewers and the editorial boards of the more mainline journals.

The matter of funding is another nightmare altogether. Still, It’s worth the try.

In the coming weeks, I’ll have guest-posters who run post-abortive counseling and healing ministries describing post-abortive syndrome as they understand it. But is it real and do we need science to pronounce on it to make it legitimate?

The answers are yes, and no, respectively.

I don’t mean to suggest that science isn’t necessary. Quite the contrary. However, science discovers truth, it doesn’t create truth. As seen in Part I, science often blinds itself to truth until it is no longer capable of doing so. Currently, we are in the denial stage.

The beauty of science is that we often observe what we believe to be a phenomenon, and then set out to ascertain just what it is we are seeing. Often, we are afraid or unwilling to entertain someone else’s hypothesis because it contradicts our own, and the work we are trying to do based on our world view.

That’s why I lead off with that beautiful quote from Prof. John Polanyi, which is worth a great deal of serious contemplation. How willing or open are the pro-choicer’s to make a change in their worldview if the emerging data continue to point in the direction of abortion as an experience that hurts women? This would challenge the very mechanism employed by modern feminism to advance its own cause-the liberation of women from motherhood and its demands through birth control and abortion. The suggestion by so many of feminism’s founders that motherhood prevents women from being all that they can be is at once a statement of women at war with their very biological and ontological identity, and a bold-faced lie.

To say the least, it is belied by the body of literature showing that latch-key children have higher rates of substance abuse and juvenile delinquency, and that home schooled children score higher in the aggregate on standardized exams than their traditional counterparts. These mothers must know something that the feminists do not. That isn’t to say that women who choose career over children and family are any less accomplished than their domestic sisters.

The three women who have had the greatest influence on my life and development as a Catholic and as a scientist all poured their lives into nurturing students. One took a vow to live her life as a single lay woman in service to the Church. The other two were on my dissertation committee in graduate school and were mentors extraordinaire. I owe these three women a great deal. Much of who I am is because of them, because they had the time to offer, and the generosity to extend themselves. It’s not necessary for women to become mothers in order to have fulfilling lives. Nor is it necessary for mothers to eschew family to have fulfilling lives.

Then there are women such as my wife who combine both career and motherhood.

The more strident feminists are not so given to equanimity and belittle their domestic sisters, and the agony of those whose abortions torture their souls. Unfortunately, the post-abortive literature must gain the approval of these same feminists in order to make it into mainstream professional journals.

It will happen one day. For now, pro-life professionals must continue to adhere to the highest standards of scientific record keeping and data reporting. The timbers supporting the Culture of Death are beginning to creak under the strain.

They’ll yield in due season.

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In preparation of next week’s discussion on the abortion/breast cancer link, this two-part series is reprinted.
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Discovery

“At the heart of science lies discovery which involves a change in worldview. Discovery in science is possible only in societies which accord their citizens the freedom to pursue the truth where it may lead and which therefore have respect for different paths to that truth.”

-John Polanyi, Canadian Nobel Laureate (Chemistry);
Commencement Address, McGill University,
Montreal, Canada, June 1990

In two perfect sentences, Polanyi throws abundant light on the difficulties surrounding scholarship that support the realities of the Culture of Life. There seems to be scientific data that supports both sides. How can this be? It depends on one’s understanding of how science is done, and the scientific culture in which it is done.

For most, their last formal encounter with science took place in high school, or a course in college, where the Scientific Method was taught as the only acceptable standard for discerning truth in the scientific community. As is the case with so many disciplines, that’s what one learns on the front end. For the workaday truth, one needs to stick around awhile.

The scientific community is made up of humans, not machines. We’re just as given to petty (and not-so-petty) jealousies, lust for power and glory, lust for fame and fortune as anyone else. We’re just as given to back-biting and back-stabbing as anyone else. We’re just as given to distorting the truth to fit our pre-conceived ideas as anyone else.

That’s a problem, a very big problem for a community whose training and skills make us best suited for distilling and discerning nature’s secrets.

It’s why we have codes of ethics. As the President’s Council on Bioethics said (quoted a few posts down):

“we are unable to imagine ourselves as people who could take a morally disastrous next step. We are neither wise enough nor good enough to live without clear limits.”

Still, even amongst the most ethical scientists, schools of thought on a given topic emerge and orthodoxies arise. People have much riding on those orthodoxies: grant money, publishable papers (which get more grant money), tenure, promotion, esteem, chairmanships on national boards and committees, etc. Such lucre clouds the objectivity of some of the most ethical amongst us, and often unwittingly gives rise to soft tyranny.

The history of science is fraught with tragic figures who challenged the prevailing orthodoxies of their day and were ostracized, dying broken and in obscurity only to be vindicated in death. One such figure is Dr. Ignaz Semmelweiss, whose name should be spoken reverently by all pro-lifers. From the Semmelweis Society International

“Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (July 1, 1818 – August 13, 1865), also Ignác Semmelweis (born Semmelweis Ignác Fülöp), was a Hungarian physician called the “saviour of mothers” who discovered, by 1847, that the incidence of puerperal fever, also known as childbed fever could be drastically cut by use of hand washing standards in obstetrical clinics.

“While employed as assistant to the professor of the maternity clinic at the Vienna General Hospital in Austria in 1847, Semmelweis introduced hand washing with chlorinated lime solutions for interns who had performed autopsies. This immediately reduced the incidence of fatal puerperal fever from about 10 percent (range 5–30 percent) to about 1–2 percent. At the time, diseases were attributed to many different and unrelated causes. Each case was considered unique, just like a human person is unique.

Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis

“”Semmelweis’ hypothesis, that there was only one cause, that all that mattered was cleanliness, was extreme at the time, and was largely ignored, rejected or ridiculed. He was dismissed from the hospital and harassed by the medical community in Vienna, which eventually forced him to move to Budapest.

“Semmelweis was outraged by the indifference of the medical profession and began writing open and increasingly angry letters to prominent European obstetricians, at times denouncing them as irresponsible murderers. His contemporaries, including his wife, believed he was losing his mind and he was in 1865 committed to an asylum (mental institution). Semmelweis died there only 14 days later, possibly after being severely beaten by guards.

“Semmelweis’ practice only earned widespread acceptance years after his death, when Louis Pasteur developed the germ theory of disease which offered a theoretical explanation for Semmelweis’ findings. Semmelweis is considered a pioneer of antiseptic procedures.”

Had his peers not been wedded to their pet hypotheses and been open to new ideas and hard data, how many women and children might have been saved? How much sooner might the germ theory of disease been established? We now know that Puerperal Fever is a type of ‘strep’ infection, caused by Streptococcus pyogenes.

Ideas have consequences, as does their rejection. In Part II, we’ll consider the specific application of the current rejection of Post-abortion Syndrome in the face of mounting data to the contrary.

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The slow posting here at Coming Home in recent weeks has much to do with my keeping apace with developments in the abortion/breast cancer (ABC) literature, as well as developments in adult stem cell therapies. There will be announcements made next week about ABC developments, at which time I’ll be free to post several pieces.

This much may be said. Dr. Louise Brinton of the National Cancer Institute has been playing a dangerous game of duplicity in publishing studies linking abortion with breast cancer and doing so with 95% confidence intervals, while disseminating statements to the public denying the very links she has published. However, researchers in other countries do not depend on NCI grant money, and are not intimidated into silence. Much peer-reviewed literature has come out earlier this year to strengthen the causal relationship between abortion and breast cancer, and Dr. Brinton will have to eventually explain her duplicitousness.

More on Dr. Brinton next week.

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Catherine Palmer, a columnist with us at Ethika Politika, the blog for the Center for Morality in Public Life, has written a masterpiece. I’m happy to share it here.

Hurling Abortion Across the Room

by Catherine Palmer

While consensus does not prove anything in its own right (how many times have our mothers told us, “What is right is not always popular; what is popular is not always right”?), I think it is at least worth learning what consensus is, especially when it comes to contemporary moral issues. The latest poll from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey, conducted May 3-6, 2010, makes American public opinion clear on at least one issue: abortion. It’s unpopular.

When asked whether they perceive abortion to be morally acceptable or morally wrong, poll takers weren’t too torn; they responded in disapproval of the procedure by a 50-38 percent margin—hardly the pro-choice majority that is often assumed to exist due to abortion’s legal status and widespread application in the U.S.

So abortion is unpopular. Most people don’t like it. Or wouldn’t choose it themselves. Or think there are better alternatives. Or all of the above. But the problem is this: while abortion is unpopular, it is not unthinkable. While it is seen as a tragedy, it is not seen as a crime. While it is grappled with considerably, tossed back and forth between one’s hands as he inspects it from multiple angles, he does not ultimately see it for what it is and hurl it across the room; he rather sets it down gently and walks away, deeming it tricky and intimidating and weighty and not wanting to examine it any longer.

But abortion has always been that way, hasn’t it? Out of sight, out of mind? If I don’t think about it unless I absolutely have to, don’t talk about it unless someone else brings it up, don’t see it because it happens behind clinic walls, and don’t hear about it because it is not a pretty topic, then maybe it will just go away. Maybe I will only have to make up my mind when a Gallup poll asks me my opinion. Perhaps I will just admit that I’m against it on this anonymous survey and then never say a word about it to others. After all, I don’t want to offend anyone. I don’t want to push my beliefs on someone else. I don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable.

Being pro-life has become private and passive. Indeed it is just that: a being, not a doing. It is something we believe and do not proclaim, think and do not effectuate. We are too fearful.

If the 50% of Americans who oppose abortion would all lift it high over their shoulders and hurl it across the room as far and as hard as they could, essentially proclaiming and effectuating their reasonable stance on the issue, then public opinion just might change public policy.

Until then, consensus really does mean nothing.

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Fatherhood at Church

To all of our Priests and Bishops, you men who are our spiritual fathers, Happy Father’s Day!

This is for You.

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Fatherhood at Home

Of all the images of fatherhood, none has ever moved me so much as this statue in front of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebeneezer Baptist Church. An African man holding his child aloft, invoking his ancestors. The great transmission of life and love. While a dedication of the new child, it also captures the threshold moment in the life of the man, when he calls down the wisdom of the ancestors in aiding his ability to form the next generation.

It is an awesome responsibility.

It calls forth greater selflessness and self-sacrifice, the responsibility of being a walking parable for the rest of one’s life.

The ‘dedication’, for all fathers, is not just the consecration of the child to a biological lineage. It is to the virtues, the character and spirit of all who have passed before. Such consecration can only take root to the extent that the father internalizes those virtues, making them part of the living matrix of his being.

I have been astonished at how my children, when they were toddlers and a little older, would imitate my behaviors, parrot my expressions. That spoke volumes to me about how much I am a model for their behavior.

I too invoke my ancestors’ virtues, as well as the broader communion of saints. I reach for their wisdom, their examples of sacrificial love, of forbearance, of faith and fidelity. I ask God only for wisdom, not wealth or material goods. I ask for His divine protection over Regina and the children. I try to remember Carly Simon’s lyric, “These are the good old days,” and try to make them so.

Ultimately the ‘dedication’ isn’t so much a singular infant ceremony, as it is a daily consecration of the father’s self to the collective ancestral virtues. It is the daily working at refining authentic masculinity through hard work, sacrificial love, submission to God, and rejoicing in the lives of our wives and children.

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This blog is a good friend of Karen Malec and her organization. It is a pleasure to publish her newsletters for the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer.

Dear Friends:

On June 11, 2010, a Canadian television station aired interviews with four experts on the subjects of the abortion-breast cancer link, the pill-breast cancer link, Alfred Kinsey’s “research” on human sexuality, and euthanasia.

Michael Coren interviewed the following experts on his show: Angela Lanfranchi, MD, FACS, Chris Kahlenborn, MD (the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer’s medical expert), Dr. Judith Reisman and Dr. Margaret Somerville.

You can watch the show here:
http://ctstv.com/ontario/player.php?ctsvidID=17715&show=Michael%20Coren%20Show

Sincerely,
Karen Malec
Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer

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My column in today’s Headline Bistro

Princeton University philosopher Peter Singer, who famously advocates the ethical right of parents to kill their newborn children for any reason, recently has written an article in The New York Times proposing a mass self-extinction of humanity through collective sterilization. (Read it here).

Citing the increasingly discredited global warming/climate change movement, Singer postulates an environmental future filled with senseless suffering for future generations. He then postulates that it is unethical to inflict such suffering on persons not yet born, with the only ethically acceptable solution being nonexistence.

That has been the end-point of the Culture of Death all along. This cultic competitor of Christianity distorts human freedom by enlarging it to the point where the order of creation, both physical and spiritual, is eclipsed. In other words, arrogating to the self the power and authority in determining life and death, while simultaneously rejecting faith in God and a created order beyond that which we can immediately see. Such radicalized autonomy clouds the very human reason necessary to discover that order of creation, creating the implosion that is narcissistic nihilism.

Pan-Gnosticism and animism are the grotesque spiritual distortions remaining, as evidenced by the comments after Singer’s article, affirming a healthy, healing benefit to the earth that would result from humanity’s extinction. It is the return to offering human sacrifice to the gods of nature.

Singer’s latest screed is the final surrender of an intellect bereft of hope or love. It is the logical end toward which the Culture of Death has been lurching ever since the early twentieth century’s eugenics movement and World War II. Singer’s full-throated nihilist roar that it is better to have never existed than to exist and suffer is reflective of a life that has never learned suffering’s role in teaching love.

The greatest of all paradoxes has been the ascendance of this loveless Culture of Death at precisely the moment in humanity when science and technology have been putting to flight humanity’s greatest scourges: famine and disease.

Beginning with the Germ Theory of Disease in the 1870s and the antiseptic/hygienic practices that have followed, the discovery of antibiotics beginning in the 1920s, the explosion of vaccine development since the 1950s, surgery and cancer therapies, we have far exceeded all of the prior hopes and dreams of humanity.

Smallpox, responsible for almost 500 million deaths in the twentieth century alone, has been eradicated from the earth. Not a single case for over thirty years. The same antibiotics in a matter of months cure tuberculosis and leprosy. Polio has been brought closer and closer to eradication by aggressive vaccination.

Advances in genetic engineering of crops and agricultural technology have boosted food production to unprecedented levels. So great has the technology been that our greatest problems are the health issues resulting from the consumption of an overabundance of inexpensive food.

If life is not worth living in this time for fear of suffering, when humans have never had it better, then logically Singer must admit that we never should have existed at all. This assiduous avoidance of suffering is the very heart of neurotic disorder.

Having turned the order of creation on its head through radicalized autonomy, hope also suffers mightily, along with love. There is blindness in Singer from staring into this eclipse, which cannot let him see the progress of the last one hundred years. Nor can he see how utterly impoverished he looks in the eyes of most in the scientific community. Indeed, we are very different people.

The process of becoming a scientist is one that selects for a high degree of optimism. In order to become a Ph.D. one must make a discovery that adds a substantial body of information to one’s chosen field. It is an arduous journey that is neither undertaken nor completed by the faint of heart. From the outset, and through the periodic data droughts, one is sustained by both the example of the mentor and the certain belief that for all our knowledge, we know very little of the world. An abundance of discovery awaits the patient, persistent, prepared mind.

There is simply no room in science for the defeatist, the nihilist. Such a one has no vision, no hope, no soul; the three indispensible qualities of the scientist.

The world has never been advanced so much as a millimeter by nihilists such as Singer. Civilization has been advanced by the theologians, the vitalist philosophers, the scientists, the industrialists, the artists, the poets, and the great mass of humanity who have simply, unremarkably embraced life and shaped it, each in their own small way.

In his monumental play Our Town, Thornton Wilder took a look at life and concluded differently than Singer. The main character Emily Webb dies in childbirth, and being a restless spirit newly arrived in the town cemetery is permitted to see her life objectively by returning to an ordinary day. The stage manager takes her back to her twelfth birthday. The fullness, the bustle and beauty of daily life, a beauty we fail to capture along the way, proves more than Emily can bear.

Emily: Oh, Mama, look at me one minute as though you really saw me. Mama! Fourteen years have gone by! I’m dead! You’re a grandmother, Mama… Wally’s dead, too, Mama! His appendix burst on a camping trip to Crawford Notch. We felt just terrible about it – don’t you remember? But, just for a moment now we’re all together- Mama, just for a moment let’s be happy- Let’s look at one another!

I can’t! I can’t go on! It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed! Take me back – up the hill – to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look! Goodbye! Goodbye world! Goodbye, Grover’s Corners-Mama and Papa. Goodbye to clocks ticking-and my butternut tree!-and Mama’s sunflowers- and food and coffee- and new ironed dresses and hot baths-and sleeping and waking up! Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you! Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it – every, every minute?

Stage Manager: (Quietly) No – Saints and poets maybe –they do some.

Emily: I’m ready to go back.

Moving beyond Singer, even beyond Wilder, we know that this good earth, this good life with all of its joys, sorrows and suffering, have been given to us by God to teach us love and its demands. It has been given to us in order to ready us for “what eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,”

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