I must say I was pretty surprised to see I was in the paper today - being that I only submitted this late yesterday. Nevertheless, it was a topic that was on my heart and I really needed to speak out about it, especially to other Christians. So far the newspaper's website is buzzing with fundamentalist and evangelical protestants protesting Catholicism while the liberals protest Christianity. It simply reminds me of Chesterton's saying: "When one says you're too short and another says your're too tall it usually means that the first person is too tall and the second too short while you're right were you should be."
Anyway, here it is:
Some media outlets have described the debate on embryonic stem cell research in purely religious terms. Needless to say, it is true that those with strong religious convictions are most likely to speak out against the killing of human life. At its core, embryonic stem cell research is the artificial creation and consequent dismemberment of innocent human beings for the sake of scientific progress. That last sentence should be evidence enough that the issue is not merely a religious one.
Nevertheless, I am very disappointed with the number of Christian leaders who support such research. As a Catholic, I do adhere to the teachings of the Church. This is in part due to her authority. That authority, however, is not an authority to invent teachings or morals but rather an authority to faithfully hand on what Jesus instructed.
When Jesus commanded us to clothe the naked and feed the poor (Matthew 25), the Catholic Church went into the slums, pulled people from the gutters, cleaned them, fed them, clothed them – and in many cases, even died for them. The Church built hospitals and schools that served local communities for decades. When Jesus condemned divorce (Matthew 5), the Church cannot but hold to his words. When Jesus said to eat his flesh and drink his blood (John 6), the Church must continue to teach that holy Communion is substantially his body and blood.
And now with the life issues, when Jesus commanded us to let the children come to him and offered a “Millstone-of-the-Month” award to those who harm them (Matthew 18-19), the Catholic Church does not, nor any Christian worthy of the name, have the right to condone their destruction. During the Cold War, Bishop Fulton Sheen said that Communist Russia was the cross without Christ and America was Christ without the cross. I challenge Christian leaders not to run from Christ and his cross of truth, but rather embrace them for they alone shall set us free.