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November 10, 2005 Edition

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This week:
Breaking News (front page): Deacon John Baxter of Platteville dies (posted 11/15)
Cloning ban: Governor vetoes bill
Moral theology: Learning about reason, truth
Nominate someone for "Profiles from the pew"
News Briefs

News Briefs:
Perpetual Adoration volunteers sought

MADISON -- More people are being sought to participate in the new 24-hour a day Eucharistic Adoration being started at Holy Redeemer Church in downtown Madison.

"Although we have already by the grace of God been able to cover all 168 weekly hours with at least one adorer, to make the program more secure, we now wish to add many more adorers so that all hours are covered by at least two adorers," explained Richard Blaney, one of the organizers of Perpetual Adoration at Holy Redeemer.

Blaney said people who are already involved in Eucharistic Adoration at their parish should not abandon their existing program.

"However, many persons who already are adoring Our Lord are making the special sacrifice of enrolling in this Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration program in addition to keeping their regular hours in their parish church," he said.

For more information on enrolling in the Holy Redeemer program, call either Eleanor Crosswait at 608-837-5649 or Richard Blaney at 608-271-6539.

Schoenstatt hosts retreat on Eucharist

MADISON -- A retreat will be held at Schoenstatt Heights, 5901 Cottage Grove Rd., on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19 and 20.

The theme will be "Living the Eucharist in Daily Life." Retreat master is Fr. Gerold Langsch, a Schoenstatt Father. The retreat will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will include presentations by Father Langsch, private prayer, Confession, Adoration, and Mass.

Cost is $30 (includes meals) plus an offering for the retreat master. Limited rooms (double occupancy) are available for an additional $15 per person. For reservations, call Irene at 608-222-4655.

Infant and child CPR

MADISON -- "Family and Friends: Infant and Child CPR Course," for individuals wanting training in infant and child CPR for personal reasons, will be offered by Dean/St. Marys Health Works.

Courses will be offered at St. Marys Hospital, 707 S. Mills St., Madison, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9; Wednesday, Nov. 16; Monday, Nov. 28; Monday, Dec. 12; and Wednesday, Dec. 21. It will also be offered at Dean West Clinic, 752 N. High Point Rd., Madison, on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

The course includes information on pediatric emergencies and injury prevention. No prior CPR experience is required. Course fee is $25. Pre-registration is required by calling 608-824-4400 or 1-800-368-5596.

AED course scheduled

MADISON -- "Heartsaver: AED (Automated External Defibrillation) Course" for individuals who would like training for job or personal reasons will be offered Tuesday, Nov. 15, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Dean West Clinic, 752 N. High Point Rd., Madison.

Course fee is $39. Pre-registration is required by calling 824-4400 or 1-800-368-5596.

Mothers of Preschoolers

STOUGHTON -- St. Ann's MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) At Night will meet Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. in the church gathering area. "Women's Health" will be presented by Karen LaValley, physician assistant, and Dr. Meetul Shah, family practice physician. The annual "Make It, Bake It, or Grow It" silent auction will be held.

There is a $2 fee per meeting and scholarships are available. Call Laura Trotter at 608-877-8968.

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Cloning ban:
Governor vetoes bill

MADISON -- Governor Jim Doyle vetoed legislation November 3 that would have banned human cloning in Wisconsin.

The governor said Assembly Bill 499 (AB 499) would have criminalized some of the most promising stem-cell research that could cure diseases.

Advocates of the bill, however, say that it would have prevented the destruction of human beings in the course of scientific research and what Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan, in a letter to the Catholic governor that urged him to take a moral stand on the issue, called "the reprehensible practice of cloning human beings."

"While the governor's action today had been anticipated, we are nevertheless deeply disappointed," said John Huebscher, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, in a statement issued after Doyle vetoed the bill. "His vision for Wisconsin's dominance in the field of biotechnology is accompanied by blinders that obscure a basic fact - affirmed by the majority in the state legislature and the majority of Wisconsin citizens - that human cloning is fundamentally wrong."

Authored by Rep. Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake) and Sen. Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan), AB 499 prohibits reproductive cloning and somatic cell nuclear transfer, also known as therapeutic cloning. This involves removing the nucleus of an unfertilized egg cell and replacing it with material from the nucleus of an adult "somatic cell" (a skin, heart, or nerve cell, for example), stimulating it to divide, and then removing stem cells from the resulting embryo.

The bill's backers say the state must set ethical boundaries on human cloning and research, but also say the bill still avoided prohibiting all embryonic stem cell research.

"The public should know what the comprehensive human cloning ban would do and not do," said Matt Sande, director of legislative affairs for Pro-Life Wisconsin, in a press release. "The bill would not hinder medical research in Wisconsin by obstructing stem cell research, despite the governor's claims to the contrary.

"Assembly Bill 499 allows animal cloning, tissue cloning, molecular DNA cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and adult stem cell research - an ethical and effective alternative. How is this seen as stifling research? Just what research does the governor have in mind?"

Doyle explained his veto in an interview with the Capital Times by saying that the ban would have had a chilling effect on stem cell research in the state.

"I believe Wisconsin ought to be a leader in finding the cures for illnesses that were long thought to be incurable," he said. "The thought that we would shut that research down is just unacceptable to me."

But the veto leaves the door open for unlimited human cloning in Wisconsin, according to Susan Armacost, legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life. "Wisconsin now beckons to scientists that the welcome mat is rolled out for the pursuit of human cloning for any purpose in Wisconsin," she stated in a news release.

"With no prohibition in place, scientists are free to pursue cloning of living human embryos which can be destroyed at the embryonic stage or developed in an artificial womb or uterus to a stage equivalent to the time of birth. The potential for fetal farming - mining human beings for organs and body parts - is alive and well in Wisconsin."

Huebscher said that although the law will not prevent human cloning, "we hope the consciences of individual researchers will. All citizens should continue to encourage them to pursue research techniques that are worthy of the noble ends they seek," he said.

Terry Devitt, a spokesman for research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said no Wisconsin researchers are conducting therapeutic cloning now, and there are no plans to do so in the near future, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

The State Assembly approved the bill with a vote of 59-38 and the State Senate with a vote of 21-12; both margins are short of the two-thirds majority needed in both houses to override the governor's veto.

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Moral theology:
Learning about reason, truth

MCFARLAND -- "We don't make people do what our faith teaches - we invite people to do what reason indicates," said Bishop Robert C. Morlino as he addressed a large crowd gathered October 30 at Christ the King Parish here about moral theology in the post-modern world.

The bishop discussed theories "that have captivated the world since the enlightenment," five strains of thought that cause difficulty in moral thought. These theories, the bishop said, all converge on one central conviction, something that Catholics cannot accept: that there is no truth.

Post-modern theories

The first theory the bishop discussed was historicism, which means that everything we say and do is historically conditioned to the point where there is no truth. An example of this thought, he said, is that wheat bread and grape wine is historically conditioned - but if we were really open, we could use beer and pizza on a college campus, because it is more broad and up-to-date.

The second problematic theory, he said, is scientism, which means that the only truth to be taken seriously is that which can be verified or falsified on the basis of observable evidence. "Scientism is all about highly confirmed theories," said Bishop Morlino. "The most highly confirmed theory can frequently give way to a more highly confirmed theory.

"Scientific truth is never anchored in absolute truth," he said. "Scientific truth pictures how things go in the physical world. There's a higher truth than that. The truth about the whole world can only be seen from outside the world."

The third theory is subjectivism, which says, "You have your truth, and I have mine; you respect me, and I'll respect you," Bishop Morlino said. "There's a fallacy in that.

"I respect any opinion you might have? Not necessarily," he said. "If you are in error, I owe it to you, out of respect, to invite you to correct it."

These three theories, he said, say that there is no truth. And that, in itself, is untrue: "If the statement there is no truth at all is true, then at least there's one truth," he said. "And there you are - stuck."

Pragmatism - the idea that the truth is to be found in the polls - is the next problematic theory, said the bishop. This implies that the truth is whatever people think at the moment. The media can control this, taking a large event and digesting it into a "five-minute sound bite at the most," he said.

"It's an outright assault on the fullness of the truth," he said.

The fifth theory he discussed was nihilism, or deconstructionism, which says that not only is there no truth, but there is no meaning. The theory says no one can truly know what another person knows, so words are meaningless, he said. It is "the end of the line in terms of the defeat of truth."

Bad news for the truth

All of these theories are "bad news for the truth; they basically say there is no truth," the bishop said. "That causes us a profound problem, because Jesus Christ said, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.' He didn't say . . . 'I am one truth among others.'"

When post-modernity, post-enlightenment philosophy teaches us that there is no truth, the bishop said, it teaches us that the mind does not discover truth, but rather creates it. And this causes a mind-body split: the mind is in charge, and the body is a thing, the property of the mind.

So this implies that a woman has a right over her own body, he said, just as she would have rights over her home. "We can do anything the mind can justify with the body," he said.

This also causes problems with our concept of marriage, the bishop said. Marriage is a good in itself, but the mind, he said, "says marriage is a means to pleasure, a means to happiness. If it ceases to bring me the happiness that I expect of it, we just get out of it, we just divorce."

The creator decided that marriage is a sacred place where he would bring new life into the world, he said: "It takes two people in their intimacy to bring new life into the world."

Cheapening marriage

Many people ask why the church is so preoccupied with sex, Bishop Morlino said. "It's not the church. The church is not putting sex on the television, in the magazines, and in everyone's minds 24 hours a day," he said. "That's not what the church is doing: our culture is doing it.

"If the culture cheapens that sacred space and turns it against the purposes for which the creator intended it, no one should ever be surprised that the church has something to say," said the bishop.

"No one should ever tell the church, 'Butt out of that,'" he said. "I won't stand for that - and neither should you."

Right to human origin

"Human beings have a right to human origin," the bishop said in his final point. "The human being is never a thing. The body is not a thing. We can't make babies in a lab. We can't give scientists the power to manipulate human beings in a lab," he said.

This is not Catholic teaching, he said, but rather a teaching of reason - something anyone could come to by reason. "We're not going to make a law that people have to believe that there's a Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," he said. "We're inviting the world to follow the law of reason about the existence of God, the dignity of the human person, and the meaning of marriage; that's all in reason," he said. "And the law should teach people what reason indicates."

After his talk, the bishop answered questions about topics including in vitro fertilization and seeing children as a gift and not a right, the role of women in the church, and his appointment to the Board of Visitors for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

The bishop's talk was part of a collaborative adult formation series with Christ the King Parish, St. Ann Parish in Stoughton, and Holy Mother of Consolation Parish in Oregon.

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