The following is a post I made on FaceBook earlier today. It speaks for itself.

I’m sure the following will cause many to unfriend me. So be it.

No, Trump didn’t mention abortion. Do I wish that he had? I’m at the stage in life where I think it doesn’t matter. All the other Republicans mention abortion and most do nothing once they get into office. Reagan was willing to go to bat for a Constitutional Amendment that included a rape clause. This split the pro-life community so badly that Reagan walked away. At least 40 million humans would be with us today had such an amendment passed, and in the intervening years we could have been working to save the rest not covered in the initial amendment.

There is such a thing as making an idol of one’s conscience and blinding oneself to the wealth of good that can be done, all because one cannot get 100% of what their conscience demanded. Rather than see the 99 babies saved, if they can’t have 100, they’ll stand on conscience and reject the offer of the lives of the 99.

That’s not fidelity.

That’s idolatry.

Even Lincoln knew he couldn’t get everything he wanted for slaves in one Amendment, so he settled for abolishing slavery in the 13th Amendment, realizing that citizenship would have to wait for a later day. It came with the 14th Amendment.

In this election, either Trump or Clinton will be elected. We are called to limit evil and promote as much good as we can. After the past 8 years, there is little doubt what a Clinton Presidency will mean. The Democrats decided to elect a Messiah eight years ago, and it was a disaster. Now conservative intellectuals are making the same mistake in rejecting Trump and sitting it out.
We elect humans, with all of their frailties, not angels or saints. Trump wouldn’t have been my first, fifth, or tenth choice. But Trump at his worst is orders of magnitude better than Clinton at her best.

We are also not electing a king. We need to elect people to Congress who will actually use the system of checks and balances at their disposal to rein in whomever gets elected. So, to those who make the perfect the enemy of the good, I say that’s the litmus test for turning conscience into an idol.

Let the unfriending begin

Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor

FILE -In this Oct. 1, 2010 file photo provided by the Supreme Court shows, from left, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Justice Elena Kagan in the Justices’ Conference Room prior to Justice Kagan’s Investiture Ceremony at the court in Washington. (AP Photo/Steve Petteway, Supreme Court, File)


If ever there were a law that so embodied the original argument in favor of abortion, it was the Texas law struck down today by the U.S. Supreme Court. If ever there were a mockery of all that the early proponents of abortion held dear, it was made by the united votes of the three women on the highest court in the land. Abortions, if made legal, were supposed to have been brought out of the back alley. Women would have practitioners who were physicians in good standing. They would have clean, sanitary clinics that abided by the public health standards required in all other surgical procedures.

That never happened.

Most Ob/Gyn’s regarded abortion practitioners as the lowest form of membership in their honorable profession, and hospitals by-and-large prohibited the practice, keeping the slaughter of babies beyond the purview of their services. A majority of abortionists have been washouts from other branches of medicine, whose operations came nowhere near the minimal standards required of  ambulatory surgical centers established in other fields of medicine. Not only are the minimal public health standards not required, but the minimal standards for STD testing and treatment have not been part of standard operating procedure.

Surgical procedures such as abortion, or even the insertion of an IUD can take a bacterium like Chlamydia and spread it to the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes, setting up pelvic inflammatory disease, sterility, and chronic pelvic pain. Though some clinics now claim to do testing with the new rapid diagnostic tests, many do not, and almost none ever have before rapid testing was developed. That flies in the face of standards of care in other gynecologic surgery performed in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. With abortion, a woman can walk in off the street and be on her way in hours.

All too often, cases like Kermit Gosnell’s house of horrors are only a matter of degree, but not of kind. A “clinic” that does not test for Chlamydia, HPV, HIV and other STD’s, with treatment prior to surgery isn’t much of a clinic at all. It is even less so when the physician is neither an Ob/Gyn in good standing, or even an Ob/Gyn at all; let alone one with admitting privileges at a local hospital. Add to that recent laws in states like California that allow nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to perform surgical abortions and one wonders, whatever became of the drive to imbue abortion with all of the medical standards and safeguards women deserve?

The answer to that question, and the key to today’s decision reside in the arguments between the justices over the effects of the Texas law. Since the passage of the law, half of Texas’ 41 abortion clinics closed, unable to meet the demands of maintaining a safe facility including having physicians with admitting privileges at local hospitals.

“Undue Burden” is the catch-phrase of the day.

If permitted to stand, the fear was that the law would force the closure of ten more clinics, leaving an area of Texas the size of California without abortion services. Allow that to sink in for a moment.

If abortion clinics in Texas were required to have physicians competent enough to have admitting privileges, and run surgical clinics held to the same standards as all other ambulatory surgical centers, a land mass the size of California would have no abortion providers. If that doesn’t define “back-alley,” then what does?

Today, all three women on the court said, in effect, that the back alley is better than nothing at all.

Today, all three women on the court passed the opportunity to fight for the vision of “reproductive freedom” espoused in 1973.

Today, all three women on the court demonstrated that the lust for killing babies outweighs the safety of the women driven to such acts of desperation.

Today, not one of the three women on the court said that we can do better, that women deserve better.

It was another blow against women today, an act of betrayal by the women on the highest court in the land, who more than anyone else ought to be using their perch to demand real justice, real care, and authentic dignity for women.

As chemical abortions take deeper root, and as hospitals increasingly absorb the lucrative business from the closing of local clinics, the issue of the Texas law will shrink in importance; but the abandonment of women by all three women on the highest court in the land will live and grow in infamy. It will be seen by future generations for what it truly is.

The real War on Women.



Two radically different strains of Americans emerged over the weekend in response to the Cincinnati Zoo killing a gorilla in order to save the life of a four year-old boy who tumbled into his enclosure. After viewing videos of the gorilla dragging the boy haplessly through the water at great speed, and climbing with the child, some people cannot imagine why a decision to kill the animal was made. Others cannot fathom where the first group comes from.

It all depends on one’s definition of endangered animal.

There were two in that enclosure.

Enter the debate over which endangered animal gets priority. If one goes strictly according to the numbers, then the life of the child was expendable. Many outraged animal rights activists commented on the seven billion people on the planet and the disappearing gorilla population. In their perspective, zoological justice needed to be balanced on the back of a toddler. To the rest of the world, such a perspective is utterly unfathomable. In truth, both sides find the other’s repellent. But the Cincinnati Zoo episode is merely a looking glass into the broader anthropological meltdown that has been underway for the better part of a century.

Enter Jesus.

The Catholic Church has a 2,000 year history of refining an authentic anthropology based upon God’s revelation to us regarding who and what we are in the created order. St. Paul tells us in the first chapter of his letter to the Colossians:

13He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 
14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 
15He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; 
16for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. 
17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 
18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.
19For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, 
20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 
21And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 
22he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, 
23 provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

They key to understanding here is the observation by Paul that, “In Him, all things hold together.”

Every stunning departure from the moral norms that have governed decent human behavior can be traced to errors in Christian anthropology, and to a rejection of Christ’s sovereignty over our lives. When we collectively look in the mirror, what is it that we see? What is it that we are not seeing, and why?

Consider the breathtaking devaluation of human dignity through the eugenics movement, two world wars, communism/socialism, unrestrained capitalism, segregation, global abortions since 1960 passing the 2 BILLION mark, contraception, sterilization, surrogate motherhood, IVF, cloning of human/animal chimeras, euthanasia and physicians committing outright murder, the LGBT agenda that now is pressing for no distinctions between men and women, and on and on…

There is nothing sudden about the radical anthropological disintegration all about us. It has been a century in the making. St. Paul was right. In Him all things hold together, but the opposite is also necessarily true.

Apart from Him, all things disintegrate.

Our dignity comes from God Himself, which is why it isn’t enough to merely be, “spiritual,” as is the fashion. One must be religious and faithful to a body of moral teaching because our human dignity needs to be safeguarded, and those safeguards make behavioral demands on us, often in the realm of personal sacrifice. It was this mess that Pope John Paul II saw clearly and set out to address in what would become one of the most incredible canons ever contributed by a single individual in the Church. In his first Encyclical, Redemptor Hominis, John Paul addresses humanity’s self-perception issue, and offers the remedy to the distorted self-understanding in one paragraph:

Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer “fully reveals man to himself”. If we may use the expression, this is the human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption. In this dimension man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly “expressed” and, in a way, is newly created. He is newly created! “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”64. The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly-and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being-he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must “appropriate” and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself. How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he “gained so great a Redeemer”65, and if God “gave his only Son “in order that man “should not perish but have eternal life”66.


So there is the remedy for a broken world. Christ the Redeemer fully reveals man to himself.

So many among us look in the mirror each day and see a visage of something far less human, or wondrous, or noble, or lovable than what actually stands before the mirror. This weekend the dignity of a human child was judged to be less than that of an adult gorilla, and by so many people that it became a national debate on the very weekend meant to honor the sacrifices made by humans for other humans.

It’s what happens when Christian faith, and its attendant anthropology, is chased from the public square. The civilization that held together in Christ disintegrates. It is past time for the Christian churches of this nation to reassert our primacy of place in the public square, and to bring the good news to those who look in the mirror with shame.

Civilization hangs in the balance.



About ten years ago Regina and I were going through a stretch of pretty rough road together, and all the hidden fault lines in our marriage were exposed. My best friend who had been one of the priests on the altar at our wedding heard my confession one day and said, “Gerry, for your penance, I’m going to ask you to fast for Regina.” I didn’t immediately appreciate that the fasting was as much for my benefit as it was for hers, but I learned something about authentic masculinity from that penance. I learned a whole new depth of what men are called to do for their wives, for their children.

We are called to be like Jesus, emptying ourselves for them, sacrificing, and even laying down our lives for them if necessary.

In light of that, we Catholic men, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and all other men, find ourselves in a nation where a politically powerful minority, the LGBT community, has declared war on our women and our daughters. Under the guise of appeasing a few seriously deluded men playing dress-up in women’s clothes, they are pressing for laws around the nation that open access to any restroom by any person claiming to identify with the sex of the persons for whom that restroom was built, regardless of one’s biological sex.

Here in New York City the madness has peaked. From CBS news:

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order on Monday that guarantees people access to single-sex facilities consistent with their gender identity at city facilities, including offices, pools and recreation centers, without the need to show identification or any other proof of gender. The move comes amid a continuing national debate over anti-discrimination laws.

“Access to bathrooms and other single-sex facilities is a fundamental human right that should not be restricted or denied to any individual,” de Blasio said. “Every New Yorker should feel safe in our city — and this starts with our city’s buildings.”

A more accurate translation would be that every transgender should feel safe, according to our mayor. Certainly our women and daughters don’t factor in. New York City has several public pools  with large, open-space locker rooms for changing. What do women do with their daughters when a man strips off his bathing suit and reveals his biological difference? My daughters have never seen male anatomy, but if they were to work at one of those pools as lifeguards they would most certainly be exposed to men (most of whom are not transgender but your garden variety perverts) who may now legally walk right through the door, and flash women with no questions asked, and no laws broken. In any other venue, said male would be arrested and charged with a variety of crimes, including sex crimes against children. But thanks to Mayor deBlasio, all that is gone in New York City facilities.

Has anyone heard the men of New York howl in rage, protesting the Mayor? Me neither, and I live here.

While the LGBT gang and their accomplices on the left resculpt the American landscape, heterosexuals and people of faith who disagree with them are brushed aside like cobwebs. Bakers and wedding photographers have been financially ruined, others have saved their livelihoods by attending court-ordered sensitivity training. And now women and girls need to just shut up and sit down. Fundamental human rights are dictated by a tiny minority who shake down politicians and big business by threats of shaming in order to get their support.

The real shame, though, is the tepid response to these bathroom laws by men and women, but most especially by men, and that includes the clergy. It is beyond shameful. It is a disgrace. And so it is with the Catholic bloggers and writers who have bigger fish to fry than to address the enslavement upon us by a vicious and twisted minority and their minions.

Target, America’s second-largest retailer announced last week that they are enacting a bathroom policy akin to New York City’s. PayPal decided to punish North Carolina by withdrawing employment opportunity there when the state passed legislation preserving the dignity of all persons by preserving the longstanding code of decency regarding restroom use.

Here are two perfect opportunities for Americans to boycott and drive these businesses to their knees, sending a clear signal that we will not tolerate our women and children being treated in this way. To date, there is an internet boycott petition against Target with a scant 650,000 signers, in a nation of 320,000,000.

Notable Catholic authors have been silent, and some even asking what the big deal is, even in the face of a growing list of cases around the country of men posing in women’s clothes entering ladies’ rooms and filming them while masturbating in adjacent stalls.

Silence from our married men, our clergy, and our Catholic commentators has mostly been the response.

At dinner one night with Reggie LittleJohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, I asked her why the Chinese government feels the need to regulate birth, even in the face of a worker shortage that is hurting their economy. She replied that if the government can control your body, your marital relations, your dignity, it can control any part of your life that it wants to.

THIS is what the big deal is regarding the bathroom laws. The government in several states has demonstrated that it can control freedom of religious practice by penalizing the exercise of conscience regarding participation in gay weddings. The government has demonstrated that it can mandate the Catholic Church to purchase insurance policies that pay for contraceptives and abortion. Now the government in several states is demonstrating that the modesty and decency of men and women, boys and girls, means nothing and can be legislated away into oblivion.

The gay agenda is being used as the Trojan Horse to impose a totalitarianism that flies in the face of our Constitution, and our emasculated men barely raise a croak in response.

I learned a great deal from fasting for Regina. If I could fast for her, I could fight for her, for us, for our young family. It would be a great thing if all men fasted for their women and children. A lesser effort would be to boycott those businesses who assault their women’s dignity. If American men can’t even inconvenience themselves that much, then we deserve to be enslaved.

If we cannot fight for our mothers, our wives, our sweethearts,  our daughters, then there is nothing left worth fighting for.

They are the crowning glory of God’s creation.


When Jesus asked his Apostles, “Who do men say that I am?” He got some interesting replies. When He asked who the Apostles thought He was, only Peter nailed the right answer. I have often thought about Judas in that moment. What was Judas thinking?

When Peter nailed the correct answer, Jesus made it clear that the Father was the one who slipped him the correct response. From that moment on, the Apostles all knew who Jesus said that He was.

The Christ. The Son of the Living God.

Judas was there for it all: The raising of people from the dead, the healing of the sick, walking on water, the loaves and fishes. He saw it all. He even went out on the missionary mission and preached and worked wonders in the name of Jesus. How, then, could he have betrayed Jesus? What was he thinking?

Did he think that Jesus didn’t know what he was up to? Did he think that Jesus would escape certain death as He had in the past when the people of His home town wanted to throw Him from a cliff? Was Judas trying to scam a few pieces of silver? Or did Judas have the blackest heart in the history of the world?

When Jesus begged from the cross for the Father to forgive His executioners, for they knew not what they were doing, did that cover Judas, who saw it all, who walked with Jesus, who was chosen?

It is ominous that Jesus said at the Last Supper, “…but woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed. It were better for him, if that man had not been born.”

But that did not stop Saint Teresa of Avila from praying that Judas might be saved. Perhaps Teresa was on to something.

It seems from the Gospel narratives that the Apostles didn’t grasp the crucifixion right away, nor the resurrection. Peter stood somewhat befuddled in the empty tomb. Then there was the bewilderment by the two on the Road to Emmaus, and Jesus’ gentle admonishment at how slow they were to understand all that the prophets had foretold. Even then, they only recognized Him in the Eucharist, in the breaking of the bread.

So, what exactly is Judas’ villainy in all of this? What did he know, and did he really grasp what it was that he was doing?

I ask because I reflect on my own sins, the ones that have been every bit as responsible for putting Jesus on that cross as Judas was: The sins that were committed with sufficient reflection and full consent of the will. The mortal sins. Are these not a betrayal too, of the baptismal vows, of the past firm purposes of amendment, of graces received and squandered?

When we stood during Sunday’s Gospel and chanted the part of the crowd, “Crucify Him,” it was more than a parish play. It is in fact what all of our sins have screamed aloud.

I think Teresa saw this when she looked at her own past sinfulness. That’s why she could pray for the salvation of Judas. In truth, I have never been entirely comfortable with Judas as the villain of the story in Holy Week. I see a weak and tragic man. But then I see 10 other Apostles as weak and tragic as they headed for the tall grass as Jesus was executed. Only John remained. And I see my own weaknesses, my own sins that nailed Jesus to the cross.

To despise Judas for what he did is to make a distinction that is at once invidious and dangerous. Only Mary can make that distinction without it being invidious, because Mary is the only human (apart from her son who was both human and divine) who didn’t sin. It is dangerous to despise Judas, because such judgement takes one’s eye off of one’s own sinfulness and the need for Jesus’ sacrificial death to redeem those sins.

Perhaps we really don’t fully know what it is we do, even with sufficient reflection and full consent of the will. Perhaps Judas didn’t fully know either. Perhaps when he hanged himself from the torment and shame, when his body fell and split open, perhaps such an ignominious ending for an Apostle was punishment enough. Certainly Caiaphas and Pilate showed no such remorse.

Whatever Judas’ fate, it is enough this week to ask Jesus’ mercy and forgiveness for my own betrayals, and to follow Teresa’s example and offer up a prayer for the salvation of Judas. It is the Fatima prayer, is it not?

“O, my Jesus! Forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy Mercy!”




In the wake of Pope Francis’ proposing contraception as a means of preventing microcephaly in the Zika virus epidemic, much is being made of his linking the modern day dilemma to the plight of nuns being raped in the Congo more than 55 years ago, and Pope Paul VI allegedly permitting the nuns to take contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. Of course, Francis missed some whopper pandemics ongoing globally as he held out contraceptives to the hispanics in his backyard, a matter I blogged on extensively over the weekend.

Canon lawyer Ed Peters addresses the high probability that Paul VI never issued such permission. His article is worth the read.

Assuming that Paul VI, or any other pope/bishop gave such permission in the 1960’s, we are in possession of hard medical data, and subsequent teaching from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) that would prevent any Pope from ever issuing such permission again.

To be clear, Humanae Vitae in 1968 put into succinct expression the constant 2,000 year teaching of the Church. It may be argued that this teaching applies to married couples and the marriage act that is frustrated and perverted by artificial contraception, and not to victims of rape who do not have an obligation to allow for the possibility of the transmission of life by the rapist. Only a monster would maintain that the Congo nuns needed to let nature take its course. So in the 1960’s when the pill was new, it seemed pretty obvious that its use in this circumstance would not be morally problematic.

That was then.

In the more than half-century since, we have learned quite a bit about the pill’s mechanisms of action. Different pills have different mechanisms. Broadly speaking, not all ovulation is prevented by the pill, and the uterine lining is thinned, making it generally inhospitable for a new embryo seeking implantation upon arrival from the Fallopian tube.

That spells abortion.

Progestin-only contraceptives increase by up to six-fold the incidence of ectopic pregnancy which is almost always lethal for the baby, and often lethal for the mother in the third world environs where Zika and other mosquito-transmitted endemic diseases lurk.

Then, there is the 2009 Dolle, et al. study on the effects of contraceptives on the rates of the most deadly form of breast cancer, Triple Negative breast cancer. In the study the age of first use of the pill was analyzed with stunning results on the rates of premenopausal Triple Negative breast cancer before the age of 45.

If a woman started the pill above the age of 22, her risk factor increased 250%

If a woman started the pill between ages 18-22, her risk factor increased 270%

If a woman started the pill below age 18, her risk factor increased 540%

So today we know that the pill causes breast cancer, ectopic pregnancy, and even the product inserts claim it may act as an abortifacient. It may well have induced cancer in all of those nulliparous women who as such are at increased risk of breast cancer. Add to that the 1974 CDF document, Declaration on Procured Abortion, and the following statement from paragraph 13:

“From a moral point of view this is certain: even if a doubt existed concerning whether the fruit of conception is already a human person, it is objectively a grave sin to dare to risk murder.”

Perhaps Paul VI permitted nuns to use oral contraceptives, which in no way for women religious is an offense against the marital act, as rape is a violent criminal act. But in light of what is now known, such a decision could never be made today for consecrated women being targeted for rape. It especially could never be made for married women in regions of endemic disease, not without eviscerating the 2,000 year teaching contained within Humanae Vitae.

True, your humble blogger is a medical microbiologist and not a moral theologian. But he was extensively educated in ethics and moral theology in undergraduate seminary studies and graduate seminary studies. The moral principles are clear. The epidemiology literature even moreso. The Church has various scientific pontifical commissions for advising the Holy Father and the Curia. It would be a good idea if Francis picked up the phone and had a few consultations with his commission members.

The Congo episode has been overtaken by the truth of God’s creation as revealed by science. That doesn’t increase tensions. Rather, it harmonizes medical science and the principles of moral theology on this matter.

Francis spoke very badly on this issue. While I share his concern for the poor, it is the poor who will suffer the most when International Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International swoop down on these women, with Francis’ words on their lips. He needs to come up to speed on issues he finds distasteful or distracting from his primary agenda. But the plight of the poor at the hands of these international parasites is just as pressing as hunger and all the rest.




Even the dimmest wit in the Society of Jesus can make his thoughts plainly understood. So it must be that Pope Francis knew what he was saying when he broke with 2,000 years of sacred Tradition and magisterial teaching this week when he alluded to Paul VI permitting nuns being raped in Africa to use contraception to avoid pregnancy, and used that as the moral grounds on which to permit the use of contraception in the midst of the Zika virus outbreak. In his own words, as reported by the Associated Press:

Abortion is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil at its root, no? It’s a human evil. On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one (Zika), such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.

So, avoiding pregnancy amidst the Zika outbreak is not an absolute evil? Enter proportionalism.

To be clear, he linked the use of contraceptives then to the situation he is addressing now.

Before proceeding with the moral nightmare this introduces, it is best to consider some infectious disease epidemiology and how Francis’ proportionalism betrays not only his duty to uphold all that his predecessors have taught, but also betrays a stunning ignorance of infectious diseases compounded by hemispheric blinders.

It has been reported that only 4% of Brazil’s current microcephaly cases are attributable to Zika. 17 out of 404 as of last week. And for that a Pope is willing to flush Humanae Vitae. Pia de Solenni did a masterful job at outlining the epidemiology of this outbreak, and the reader is advised to get it all here.

With Zika affecting the hemisphere from which this pope comes, and with which he has exclusively focussed his priestly life, Francis is missing some more pressing global numbers in maternal infectious disease and resulting rates of infant mobidity and mortality. There is so much more fertile ground for justifying contraception. Consider HIV/AIDS and some statistics from WHO.

Globally there are 36.9 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Of these, 2.6 million are children who contracted the virus from their mothers in utero, or through breastfeeding. Without any treatment, roughly 30-40% of pregnancies result in vertical transmission (mother to child) of HIV. With antiretroviral monotherapy, these rates can be cut in half. With combination antiretroviral therapy, the rates are cut to 2%.

So consider if 10 million women with HIV all get pregnant, and if they all have access to combination antiretroviral therapy, there would still be 200,000 babies born with HIV. Is the new teaching from the First Class Chair of Peter aboard the papal plane sufficiently broad to suggest a duty by HIV positive women to not reproduce?

Then there is the even broader health concern of global malaria. Roughly 50% of the world’s population are exposed to malaria, especially in Africa. According to WHO:

Malaria infection during pregnancy is a significant public health problem with substantial risks for the pregnant woman, her fetus, and the newborn child. Malaria-associated maternal illness and low birth weight is mostly the result of Plasmodium falciparum infection and occurs predominantly in Africa.

And in the WHO 2015 Fact Sheet on malaria:

According to the latest estimates from WHO, there were 214 million new cases of malaria worldwide in 2015 (range 149–303 million). The African Region accounted for most global cases of malaria (88%), followed by the South-East Asia Region (10%) and the Eastern Mediterranean Region (2%).

In 2015, there were an estimated 438 000 malaria deaths (range 236 000–635 000) worldwide. Most of these deaths occurred in the African Region (90%), followed by the South-East Asia Region (7%) and the Eastern Mediterranean Region (2%)…

Children under five are particularly susceptible to malaria illness, infection and death. In 2015, malaria killed an estimated 306 000 under-fives globally, including 292 000 children in the African Region. Between 2000 and 2015, the mortality rate among children under five fell by 65% worldwide and by 71% in Africa.

In the document, WHO goes on to discuss treatment and the issues of malaria in pregnancy:

Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are highly effective against P. falciparum, the most prevalent and lethal malaria parasite affecting humans. Globally, the number of ACT treatment courses procured from manufacturers increased from 11 million in 2005 to 337 million in 2014. The African Region accounted for most (98%) manufacturer deliveries of ACTs in 2014.

Malaria infection during pregnancy carries substantial risks for the mother, her fetus and the newborn child. In Africa, the proportion of women who receive intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) for malaria has been increasing over time, but levels remain below national targets. In 2014, an estimated 15 million of the 28 million pregnant women at risk of malaria did not receive a single dose of IPTp.

To their credit, and unlike Francis, there is no mention of preventing the transmission of life as a solution to endemic disease.

Were time to permit, one could detail all of the tropical diseases, among others, and the effects on fetuses and neonates. 1/3 of the world’s population is infected with TB. Cholera strikes millions, etc…

Is the prevention of life itself in a disease outbreak with 4% infant morbidity really the best Pope Francis can do? Where is his exhortation for governments to come to grips with the fact that all of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring hysteria about DDT has been disproven by science over the past 50 years? Where is the exhortation to curb the mosquito populations spreading so many horrendous diseases? Where is the voice of a pope to his environmentalist friends to meet him half way and abandon their anti-human life agenda?

For all of his stated love of the poor, Francis has invited International Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes to a blood meal on the very poor whose dignity he portends to uphold. By invoking Paul VI and the Congo episode with artificial contraception, he ignored NFP and the volumes written by his predecessors.

To permit artificial contraception for Zika is to have sold the family farm, to permit it for all developing nations where endemic disease is present.

Public health doesn’t involve nonexistence. Public health concerns itself with preventing and curing disease. It is clear that the Holy Father doesn’t grasp this essential truth that I learned in training as a medical microbiologist. Public Health officers cannot morally and ethically resort to killing patients or preventing human reproduction as a legitimate means of addressing crises.

The same holds true for popes.

Francis should stick to matters concerning his Holy Office, and in all humility allow himself to be guided by the unchanging wisdom of 2,000 years of magisterial teaching.

He. Is. Peter.

He should start behaving as such.

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