Current Articles of Interest

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Where were these voices before the election?

Ever since President Obama used his executive power to reverse President George W. Bush's restrictions on federally funded embryonic stem cell research, there has been a flurry of column writing and general tongue clucking from the most unlikely places, places that were silent on the moral problem of embryonic stem cell research when President Obama was campaigning and promising to do exactly what he did this week. Clearly everyone knew this was coming. Certainly the Catholic Church was out there trying to warn people about the inherent moral dilemma that comes with exchanging one life for another. We cannot use a human life -- or create human life -- to save or cure another. A civilized world just doesn't work that way. And yet, Obama's supporters, even many conservatives who are otherwise pro-life, remained silent or split hairs in an effort to have it both ways.

Now, suddenly, some of those people are starting to tell the truth about embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). Unfortunately, it's too late. We needed those voice before the election. Voices like Charles Krauthammer, who was paralyzed during a 1972 diving accident and differed with President Bush on the use of 'leftover' IFV embryos . Today, in a Washington Post column, he asserts that President Obama has "left open the creation of cloned -- and noncloned sperm-and-egg-derived -- human embryos solely for the purpose of dismemberment and use for parts." Saying that he is not religious and does not believe "personhood is conferred at conception," he went on to say, however, that a human embryo is not the equivalent of a "hangnail" and that lines must be drawn -- by the likes of President Obama -- given the "well-recorded human propensity for evil even in the pursuit of good."  (Full story at OSV Daily Take)

Renegade Australian priest takes legal action against archdiocese


Father Peter Kennedy is seeking an injunction to prevent the Archdiocese of Brisbane from carrying out its decree removing him as pastor of St. Mary’s Parish. Archdiocesan officials had indicated earlier this week that they planned their own legal action to dislodge the recalcitrant pastor.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Illegitimacy on the rise: out-of-wedlock births hit 40% in US


The number of illegitimate births in the US continues to rise, with the latest federal statistics showing that 40% of all births in 2007 took place out of wedlock. Figures from the Centers for Disease Control showed that teen pregnancy also increased in 2007-- the last year for which full statistics were available. But teenagers were not responsible for the rise in out-of-wedlock births; more than 75% of the mothers giving birth to illegitimate children were at least 20 years old.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Cardinal George Meets With President, Gives Message on Conscience

from Catholic Online

Zenit News Agency (

People understand what really happens in an abortion and in related procedures -- a living member of the human family is killed -- that’s what it’s all about. 
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Zenit) - The president of the U.S. bishops' conference met with President Barack Obama on Tuesday for a private, half-hour dialogue.

The bishops' conference issued a statement reporting the meeting at the White House in which "Cardinal [Francis] George and President Obama discussed the Catholic Church in the United States and its relation to the new administration."

It noted that at the conclusion of the conversation, "Cardinal George expressed his gratitude for the meeting and his hopes that it will foster fruitful dialogue for the sake of the common good."

The White House also issued a press release stating that the president and the cardinal "discussed a wide range of issues, including important opportunities for the government and the Catholic Church to continue their long-standing partnership to tackle some of the nation's most pressing challenges."

It added, "The president thanked Cardinal George for his leadership and for the contributions of the Catholic Church in America and around the world."

Cardinal's message

Although the discussion between the prelate and the president was private, it took place the day after Cardinal George issued a public message through the Internet urging Catholics to appeal to the Obama administration to retain regulations governing conscience protection for health care workers.

A communiqué from the bishops' conference reported the release of a video on their Web site, as well as on Youtube, in which Cardinal George responds to the government's threat to revoke the regulations that keep health care workers from being forced to provide services that violate their consciences.

Cardinal George explained in his message: "On […] Feb. 27, the Obama administration placed on a federal Web site the news that it intends to remove a conscience protection rule for the Department of Health and Human Services.

"That rule is one part of the range of legal protections for health care workers -- for doctors, nurses and others -- who have objections in conscience to being involved in abortion and other killing procedures that are against how they live their faith in God."

He expressed "deep concern" that this action "on the government’s part would be the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism."

Religious freedom

He asserted that "respect for personal conscience and freedom of religion as such ensures our basic freedom from government oppression," and "no government should come between an individual person and God."

The cardinal pointed out that citizens are allowed to claim conscientious objection to war or having to administer the death penalty. Why then, he asked, "shouldn’t our government and our legal system permit conscientious objection to a morally bad action, the killing of babies in their mother’s womb?"

He added, "People understand what really happens in an abortion and in related procedures -- a living member of the human family is killed -- that’s what it’s all about -- and no one should be forced by the government to act as though he or she were blind to this reality."

Cardinal George concluded by exhorting the people to inform the government "that you want conscience protections to remain strongly in place," especially for people "who provide the health care services so necessary for a good society."

Bishop Morlino Sacks Dissident Feminist Pastoral Associate, Elicits Rage from Liberal Community


By Kathleen Gilbert

MADISON, Wisconsin, March 18, 2009 ( - Bishop Morlino, who has come under fire in the past for proclaiming Catholic Church teaching on life and family, is again facing the ire of liberal Catholics.  This time, the Madison bishop is facing protests for sacking a pastoral associate who advocates dissident liberation and feminist theology.

Ruth Kolpack, who has served as pastoral associate at St. Thomas parish since 1995, was dismissed by the bishop on Thursday after she refused to recant a 2003 Master's degree thesis extolling the use of female pronouns in describing God, and questioning obedience to Church hierarchy.

"I'm concerned about women, about young girls, who grow up in a patriarchal, male-dominated society. What does it do to their self-esteem?" said Kolpack in defense of her thesis after the firing.

Prior to her dismissal, the bishop told Kolpack she could agree to denounce her thesis, make a profession of faith, and take an oath of loyalty in order to keep her post at St. Thomas. She said she would agree to the last two conditions, but would not denounce the thesis.  Call to Action, a dissident Catholic group backing Kolpack, stated in a news release that such a move would be "not true to her work" and "risk her reputation as a scholar and academician."

While unwilling to get into details, the bishop told protesters that the thesis wasn't the only issue, as he had found her overall teaching mentality "troublesome" as well.  Kolpack participated in diocesan educational programs.

Brent M. King, director of communications of the Diocese of Madison , explained in response to a National Catholic Reporter query that church personnel "must uphold the faith and morals of the church ... through what they publicly teach and claim to believe, what they associate themselves with, and by their actions."

Call to Action, America's leading dissident Catholic group and famed for its rejection of the Church's teaching on life and family, reportedly urged its constituents to write to the Papal Nuncio to condemn Morlino.  On Saturday, a group of about 45 people holding placards in protest of the firing awaited Bishop Morlino, who invited the heckling crowd to discuss the matter later that day.   

The latest battle markes a long-standing feud between Bishop Morlino, who has earned a reputation for outspokenness on orthodox Catholic teaching, and a group of liberal Catholic laypeople and clergy in Madison. 

For example, in 2006, after becoming aware of certain priests contradicting Church teaching on life and family issues, Morlino instructed all the pastors in the diocese to play a recording of the bishop's message condemning same-sex "marriage," embryonic stem-cell research, and the death penalty in the U.S.  The move reportedly had some priests in the diocese "furious at what they see as a threat." 

In a 2007 confrontation with the bishop instigated by Call to Action members, prominent Catholic commentator Fr. John Zuhlsdorf noted that the attack was "probably coming mostly from pro-abortion Catholics."

On the recent spat, Thomas Peters of the popular American Papist blog observed that while the bishop expressed a willingness to discuss the matter, "The reaction of these Madison dissenters, however, is to blow up and plan mass protests. ...  which makes me think that this is all they really wanted to do in the first place."

America's Faltering Faith

By Ken Connor
Americans appear to be losing faith in God and in our cultural institutions. Is the loss of confidence in one related to a loss of confidence in the other? The answer is unequivocally yes.

How we view God inevitably determines how we view our fellow man. And how we view our fellow man, in turn, determines how we treat him. Created in God’s image or creature of chance? The answer makes a difference because what we believe determines how we behave

Historically, most Americans have believed that God exists and that He created mankind in his image. They, therefore, concluded that human beings were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights and, as the "image bearer of God," people were entitled to be treated with a measure of dignity and respect.

Those shared beliefs produced shared cultural norms which, in turn, contributed to stability and order in our society.

America’s Founders recognized the important role that a shared belief in God contributed to the stability of our society.

(Full story at

Who's 'Hitler' now?

from American Thinker

President Obama's crack about his bowling acumen being worthy of the Special Olympics has raised a few hackles. Normally I'd say "lighten up," but this time some examination is in order.

George W. Bush was called "Hitler" virtually every day, with no real basis for the accusation other than that liberals said so -- and liberals are like, really smart, so it must have been true.

But Obama's comment, for me anyway, means that we're just a few weeks into the new administration and the new president is already more worthy of a Hitler comparison than Bush ever was.

Obama's Special Olympics comment may have been merely a clumsy attempt at self-deprecating humor. But the likelihood exists that it was a sneak peek at the heart and mind of The One who has a philosophy that cannot work unless human beings are gauged based upon their usefulness to the state -- and for any leader attempting to construct those kinds of underpinnings, the helpless and handicapped are as undesirable as governors who won't accept stimulus money.

Obama the politician is smart enough to know he never should have said that, but Obama the Grand Visionary of Exemplary Communities obviously isn't. That Obama is vehemently pro-abortion, even during late term up to and including the moment of natural birth, is Hitleresque in its design as well, and tends to take away any humor of his Special Olympics joke.

The first truly horrific thing Hitler did -- long before the German invasion of Poland -- was to issue orders to "clean up" and purify his society. The handicapped and the helpless were among the first targets, and it all started with a little, perhaps even seemingly innocuous, statement -- except it was in the form of writings in Mein Kampf instead of regrettable wise-cracks on The Tonight Show.

David Nicholls wrote in his book, Adolph Hitler: A Biographical Companion, that Hitler created "Hereditary Health Courts" as well as "A Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring." In other words, Sarah Palin would have been forced to give up her son instead of what ended up happening to her in 21st century America, which was to give birth to the child while getting bashed by some for not killing her own baby in the name of societal perfection. Heaven forbid a "mentally handicapped" person should ever be allowed to grow up and prove that he or she is smarter than a liberal.

The Hitler/Obama similarities cease, however, when we take into account that Hitler, as Nicholls wrote, called for the sterilization of "asocials" in the belief that the state could not afford to have beggars and vagrants reproduce. Obama would never do this -- after all, somebody's got to attend his town hall meetings.

Basing a system of government on an individuals "worth to society" is a most frightening slope to begin to slide down -- be those individuals the innocent unborn or the mentally challenged. "Jokes" about the latter are all the more disturbing coming from this president when we consider his position on abortion. The same mental handicaps Special Olympics competitors have would, only years earlier when these same people were in their mothers' wombs, have been considered legal justification for their slaughter. This is one reason why Obama's joke was anything but funny to so many people, and the real reason it was so offensive to parents of those with special needs.

We must be very careful though, because once that "usefulness to society" ball gets rolling, it's only a matter of time before another leader comes along who deems bad bowlers as unnecessary to the state.

Of course, Obama didn't call for the euthanasia of the disabled and mentally handicapped (once they're already born, that is) -- all he did was make what for now seems to be a clumsy, off-the-cuff crack. But as much as I want to chastise the president's critics in this situation for being too thin-skinned and knocking Obama over the head with the very PC we should loathe, I can't help but ask this question: Are we witnessing Obama not only taking the "Hitler" torch from Bush, but adding a speck of merit to the flame?

If some Special Olympians weren't much better bowlers than Obama, I'd answer "yes" to that.

Doug Powers is a columnist and author from Michigan. He can be reached via his blog at