STEM CELL RESEARCH: There has been marvelous success using stem cells to treat illnesses such as cancer, Parkinsons Disease and spinal injuries among others. The successes are the result of using stem cells harvested from adult human stem cells (from fat cells, skin cells, etc), and from the placenta and umbilical cord blood of newborns. There has been a public trend to push for the use of embryonic stem cells, but as researchers have still produced no cures using embryonic stem cells, their use falls more out of favor. Using embryonic stem cells always destroys the embryo and for this reason, the Church opposes their use. The Church favors the use of adult stem cells and supports the discovery of Induced Pluripotent Cells (IPS) which are formed from adult skin cells but tend to behave as embryonic stem cells. The Church teaches that human embryos are human beings afforded rights and dignity and that sacrificing one life for another is never an option.
CLONING: Human cloning is a way of producing a genetic twin of an organism without sexual reproduction. Results from poll after poll indicate there is significant opposition to cloning. There is a two-fold interest in cloning from researchers. One is for human/animal hybrid cloning and the other for the creation of embryos to use as research material. While there is a small element in the scientific world that aspires to clone a human, most scientists and ethicists agree that at this time attempts at human cloning with the intention to bring to live birth would be unethical. Human cloning fails to respect human dignity. Human life begins at creation and scientifically creating duplicates of God’s unique creatures does not respect our individual dignity.
The Church’s position on capital punishment has evolved from traditionally supporting the state’s right to end the life of a criminal in order to protect greater society, to only using capital punishment if there are no other means to protect society.
EUTHANASIA & PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDE
Direct euthanasia is the putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick or dying persons. Physician-assisted suicide is the action of a physician either directly or by prescribing drugs specifically meant to end life. The Church teaches that while we are not obligated to use all available medical procedures in every set of circumstances, we are responsible as stewards of life to never directly intend to cause one’s own death, or the death of an innocent victim, by action or omission. Experiencing one’s own suffering or the suffering of a loved one tempts people to see active intervention as an answer. It is important for people to make critical decisions regarding end-of-life care. The New York State Catholic Conference has designed a Health Care Proxy that conforms to NYS law. The Proxy will name an agent to speak on your behalf should the need arise. When selecting an agent to serve as a Health Care Proxy it is important to select someone who shares similar moral values, religious beliefs and wishes. A Health Care Proxy must be signed, dated, and witnessed. The NYSCC Health Care Proxy form is available through the Syracuse Diocese Respect Life Office or online at: www.nyscatholic.org or from the National Catholic Bioethics Center at: www.ncbcenter.org.
Domestic violence is the most common, but least recognized form of violence in our society. Ruth Ministry was developed by the Syracuse Catholic Diocese to respond to domestic violence using our parish infrastructure. The Church plays a vital role in responding to domestic violence, because survivors often turn to parish staffs for information and guidance. Ruth Ministry is designed to prepare parishes to respond with compassion, knowledge and insight to ensure the physical safety and spiritual well-being of those abused. For more information, please contact Lisa Hall at 315-470-1418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
THEOLOGY OF THE BODY
Respect Life Ministry is pleased to offer studies in Pope John Paul II’s, “Theology of the Body”. Theology of the Body is a beautiful study in what it means to be human, the love God created you for, and how God desires each one of us to live in communion with Him – and one another – forever.
The DVD studies are an integral part of building a “culture of life” where each of us has a responsibility to uphold and respect the dignity of the other while coming to realize the freedom God has for us. DVD programs are available for many stages in life:
TOB for Teens teaches us about God’s love and the reasons for living a chaste life. It also teaches the beauty of reconciliation with God if you haven’t lived in a chaste way. The series can be used as a part of teen faith formation, in parish youth groups, or in Catholic high schools. It is a 12 DVD curriculum, complete with Leader guides, Student guides, Parent guides, etc.
The Gift – Your Call to Greatness is a one hour overview of the Theology of the Body. The session is geared to adults and is a great starter for parish bible study groups, Respect Life groups, etc.
An Intro for TOB for Adults is an 8 part DVD series delving into what it means to be human, how God created us, God’s plan for us, and male/female relationships. Excellent for adult faith formation, bible studies, etc.
Into the Heart for Adults is a 12 part DVD series which goes even deeper into the Theology of the Body. Intro to Theology of the Body is a prerequisite.
God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled marriage is a 6 part DVD series that discusses God’s plan for marriage, what the “I do” means, sexual honesty before and within marriage, and some practical benefits of natural family planning. This series is an excellent supplement to a marriage prep or marriage enrichment day in your parish.
All DVD courses have been provided to each of the 5 Diocesan Resource Centers courtesy of the Respect Life Office. They can be loaned free of charge from the Resource Centers.
The Respect Life Office is also available to meet with you or parish representatives to discuss how any or all of these series could be implemented at your parish/school. Please contact Lisa Hall or Sharon Flanagan to make an appointment for more information.