It is interesting to me to note the ripples that Pope Benedict's remarks with regard to Islam have generated.
It is taken for granted that Islam, as an authentically Abrahamic religion, is a religion of peace, and that most adherents to Islam are fine and decent people, who are committed to peace - the Arabic word for peace is actually incorporated into the name of this particular religion Islam.
However, there are some who claim to be adherents to authentic Islam, who are violent jihadists. Their approach to religion is focused on hate rather than on peace, and in fact in seeking to kill those whom they hate some would even sacrifice their own babies or young children, proving that their hatred for others is stronger than their love for their own offspring. This climate of hate is the foundation of the climate of the violence of terrorism that we see in our world.
Spike in violence in U.S. schools
It is terribly distressing for all of us to see another spike in the violence occurring in schools in our United States. There has been a pattern of violence for several years but the recent spike, even striking close to home in the nearby town of Cazenovia, certainly serves to catch our attention.
Young people in the United States, as Pope John Paul the Great stated repeatedly, have always been tempted to escape from their responsibilities - escape into the abuse of alcohol, escape into drugs, escape into sexual pleasure, and escape into violence. It is alarming that violence, even to the point of killing, is becoming the more preferred path for this escape. John Paul the Great told us also so beautifully that all of us, especially our young people, should commit themselves to love, which is the opposite of escape.
Pope Benedict has told us in his first encyclical, God is Love, that all authentic human love begins with God's initiative not with ours. Love then consists in this: not that we have loved God, but that He has loved us. He has loved us even unto the death of His only Son on the cross. The path to rejection of violence and killing and terrorism, all forms of escape from our authentic human responsibilities, is clearly the path of love which begins with God.
Rosary is Christ-centered prayer
October is the month of the Holy Rosary. The Rosary calls us to contemplate the mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ - it is very Christ-centered and it is very biblical in its roots. It is a simple prayer that can lead one to the highest levels of contemplation, as our Blessed Mother teaches us about her Son, as only she can.
The Rosary can become a wonderful instrument of God's grace so that we might know the love of God, Who has loved us first. It is only by knowing this love that all of us, especially our young people, can learn to reject the option of escape, especially escape into violence. It seems that the option of love, which begins with knowing that God has loved us first, is more important than ever, if our culture is to be purified from the various avenues of escape, especially that of violence.
During this month of October, and throughout the year let all of us turn to Jesus Christ, through Mary, as we pray the Rosary so that we may know God's love and reject the various forms of escapism.
Thank you for reading this and God bless you and yours each day. Praise be Jesus Christ!
Stem cell research
Dear Brothers and Sisters, All in the Lord,
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the issue of stem cells. The news media, political candidates, and scientists constantly speak on the subject, but without getting to the true core of the issue.
Stem cell research has two main parts: adult stem cell research and embryonic stem cell research. There is a real and vital difference between the two. When you read or hear about stem cell research, I urge you to always ask yourself, is this embryonic or adult stem cell research being discussed?
None of you reading this will be surprised to learn that each of us began our life's journey with the union of a sperm and an egg. Each of us began as one cell, created from two parents contributing unique qualities to us. Quickly, we began a journey into the safety of our mother's womb and quickly, we began to grow, first two cells, then four then eight - yet each of us uniquely human.
What embryonic stem cell research does, is destroy a human life in this early stage. We, in this early stage, are so full of the gift of life and so full of creative ability and potential, even from this smallest of beginnings.
It is this creativity that embryonic stem cell scientists seek to harness to their own ends. By taking cells from a developing human being - and killing that person in the process - scientists have been able to grow embryonic stem cells. To fund their research, they have promised future cures of various diseases. But how many diseases have been cured? Or even helped? Not one!
It is morally wrong to take the life of one human being to possibly bring a future benefit to others. Our history has many examples of such unethical actions, such as experimentation on prisoners, the horrors of the holocaust, and now the killing and using the tissue of unborn children. The end never justifies the means.
Now, looking at adult stem cell research where cells are obtained by willing donors from umbilical cord blood, from fat cells, from nasal tissue and other areas, there are no ethical problems. In adult stem cell research, no harm is done to the donor.
The real surprise though, is that 72 therapies have been shown to be helpful to people using adult stem cell research. Compare that to zero for embryonic stem cells that use morally reprehensible means. Then ask yourself, where should we be putting our tax money? Where should we be putting our research dollars?
Again, I ask you to use your common sense to unmask the confusion surrounding stem cell research. As you read, discuss, and exchange ideas with your family and friends, keep in mind that embryonic stem cell research kills humans for the possible benefit of others, while adult stem cell research has proven helpful and kills no one.
Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino
Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
Offices: Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Road, Madison
Mailing address: P.O. Box 44985, Madison, WI 53744-4985
Phone: 608-821-3070 Fax: 608-821-3071 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org