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Life

Official decries passage of ‘misguided’ stem-cell bill
Jan 12 2007
WASHINGTON (CNS) – A pro-life official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops criticized House passage Jan. 11 of a bill that would expand federal funding of stem-cell research that involves the destruction of human embryos, but expressed confidence that an expected presidential veto of the “misguided and unethical legislation” would stand. Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of the bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, said in a statement that the 253-174 vote indicated that there were not enough votes to override the veto that President George W. Bush has promised.

SGA officers more than figureheads
Jan 11 2007
When Jessica Butler of Hamilton was elected freshman class president at Towson Catholic High School last November, she didn’t realize how much work was involved. As the 14-year-old freshman thought about her demanding high school studies and sports events, on top of the planning sessions, constituent service time and Student Government Association meetings, she said the workload can seem overwhelming. “Most people don’t appreciate how much time and energy goes into being in student government,” Jessica said. “I know I didn’t beforehand.”

Bishops reject embryonic stem-cell bill
Jan 11 2007
WASHINGTON (CNS) – The U.S. bishops have urged the House of Representatives to reject an embryonic stem-cell bill that would fund research that involves the destruction of human embryos. Instead, they said, Congress should support research that would use available stem cells from adult tissues, cord blood, amniotic fluid and placentas. In a letter dated Jan. 9 and released Jan. 10, Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urged House members to “consider the fundamental moral line” they would cross if they approved legislation on embryonic stem-cell research scheduled for a vote Jan. 11.

Boston cardinal calls abuse ‘dark truth’ in church
Jan 10 2007
BOSTON (CNS) – In a column marking the fifth anniversary of the crisis over clergy sexual abuse of children, Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley said that scandal was a “dark and unremitting truth” that had to be confronted. Cardinal O’Malley’s comments appeared Jan. 7 as an opinion piece in the Boston Globe, the daily newspaper whose unrelenting expose of child sex abuse by priests in the Boston Archdiocese turned the secret of such abuse into a national crisis five years ago.

New alternative to embryo use
Jan 09 2007
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The recent announcement by scientists at Wake Forest and Harvard universities that the amniotic fluid surrounding a child in the womb can be the source of medically useful stem cells is just the latest in a series of studies showing the research value of the byproducts of live birth, according to the deputy director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. Richard M. Doerflinger told Catholic News Service Jan. 8 that various studies have shown that the placenta, cord blood, the umbilical cord itself and other byproducts of birth “may all contain very versatile stem cells, with many of the advantages of embryonic stem cells without the practical disadvantages or moral problems.”

MCC lauds N.J. death penalty recommendation
Jan 08 2007
Praising the recommendation by a New Jersey panel to abolish the death penalty in favor of life imprisonment without parole in New Jersey, Richard J. Dowling, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference, said it could serve as a “model” for Maryland. The New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission, created in 2005, submitted its findings Jan. 2 to Gov. Jon S. Corzine. In their report commission members said they did not find compelling evidence in support of capital punishment and also found that it costs taxpayers more than it does to incarcerate prisoners for life.

Vatican says execution not way to justice
Jan 02 2007
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Executing someone guilty of a crime "is not the way to restore justice and reconcile society," the Vatican spokesman said after Saddam Hussein was hanged Dec. 30. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said, "A capital execution is always tragic news, a motive for sadness, even when it involves a person found guilty of serious crimes." In a formal statement issued shortly after Saddam's death was announced, Father Lombardi said, "The position of the Catholic Church against the death penalty has been reaffirmed many times." The death penalty not only will not restore justice in Iraq, but also can "increase the spirit of vengeance and sow new violence," he said.

Jesuit priest among Newsweek's people to watch
Dec 28 2006
NEW YORK (CNS) -- Newsweek magazine has named Jesuit Father John P. Foley, president of the national Cristo Rey Network of Catholic high schools, among "the people to watch in the year ahead." Two other religious figures -- Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Muslim professor Ingrid Mattson -- also made the magazine's gallery of 20 figures to keep an eye on in 2007 in various fields, from politics to sports, religion to entertainment, and education to business.

Sister Jeannine Gramick honored as Mother Teresa laureate
Dec 23 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (CNS) -- Loretto Sister Jeannine Gramick has been honored as a laureate of the 2006 Mother Teresa Awards, sponsored by the St. Bernadette Institute of Sacred Art in Albuquerque. The award, presented in November in Los Angeles, acknowledges Sister Jeannine's "role as American human rights activist, ministering to Catholic gays and lesbians," according to a news release.

Parishioners make CD for Gabriel Network
Dec 17 2006
When the Angel Gabriel brought news of an “unexpected pregnancy” to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the young woman responded with a humble “yes” to bringing a new life into the world. In “Welcome the Child,” a newly released Christmas CD that features the music of area parishes, the decision of modern-day women to choose life is celebrated in song.

Armless guitarist strums message of hope
Jan 24 2006
Tony Melendez calls it the kiss that changed his life.