Friday, March 30, 2007

Feast days of the week Holy Week 1-7 April, A.D. 2007 (1962 liturgical calendar).

Holy Week

"Extract from the General Decree of November 16, 1955, which restored the Liturgy of Holy Week:

'Of the weeks in the Church's year Holy Week is truly singular for the fullness, majesty, and devotion of the ceremonies. From apostolic times special care had been taken to celebrate the central mysteries of our Redemption, and in the course of time three days - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday - came to be set apart for the liturgical memory of Christ crucified, Christ buried, Christ risen. A little later was added a fourth day, of solemn ritual remembrance of the institution of the most Holy Eucharist. A further addition was made on the previous Sunday, to celebrate the triumphant entry into His holy city of Christ our Lord, Messias and King.

Originally these rites were performed at the hour of day at which had occurred the scenes liturgically represented. Thus the Mass on Thursday was celebrated, as the Last Supper had been, in the evening; the liturgical action of the Friday took place, as had taken place the climax of our Lord's Passion, in the afternoon; and late on the Saturday evening began the solemn vigil that ended early the first day of the week of the Resurrection.

In the middle ages various causes conspired to bring them forward earlier and earlier into the day, so that eventually they became morning functions, impairing the earlier harmony given in the Gospel narratives. This disharmony was most glaring on Saturday, which became liturgically the day of the Resurrection instead of that day's eve, and, liturgically again, from a day of darkest mourning became a day of light and gladness.

In the days of faith these three days, the Sacred Triduum, were days of obligation, and the faithful, freed from servile work, were able to take their part in the morning celebrations in great numbers. By the seventeenth century social and religious conditions had altered so greatly that in 1642 the Sacred Triduum was removed from the days of obligation and the three days became officially what they had long been in practice: ordinary workdays. The beautiful solemn liturgy of Holy Week had by this time become unknown to and unappreciated by all save the clergy and a handful of the faithful. A partial remedy was sought by introducing extra-liturgical devotions each evening (Holy Hour, Three Hours, Mater Dolorosa sermon, Stations of the Cross); but these lack much of the great dignity and sacramental power and efficacy of liturgical celebrations.

To bring an end to this serious loss liturgists, parish clergy, and Bishops in every part of the world have long begged the Holy See to restore the liturgical actions of the Sacred Triduum to their proper hours in the evening. This was a serious undertaking, calling for much thought and consultation. In 1951 the Easter Vigil liturgy was restored to late evening by the way of experiment, and in 1953 the Apostolic Constitution 'Christus Dominus' permitted Mass to be said and Communion to be received in the evening on certain days in the year. From every country the Holy See received reports of greatly increased attendance and fervour. A Commission was appointed to investigate further and propose definite action, and the Sacred Congregation of Rites concurred with the action proposed. The Restored Ordo for Holy Week was published in November 1955. The following prescriptions are noteworthy:

1. The Restored Ordo for Holy Week affects all the faithful of the Roman Rite, but not those who follow other Latin Rites.

2. It takes effect from March 25, 1956.

3. Sunday in Holy Week is officially named: 'Second Sunday in Passiontide, or Palm Sunday'.

4. Matins and Lauds for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, if sung in common, are to be said in the morning, not the previous evening.

5. On Thursday and Friday Vespers are omitted, since the liturgical functions of the two days replace them, Compline is chanted in choir after the function.

6. On Holy Saturday the Vigil celebration replaces both Vespers and Compline.

7. The Mass of the Last Supper should not begin earlier than 5 p.m. or later than 8 p.m.

8. Friday's liturgical action should begin after noon, preferably about 3 p.m., but the Diocesan Bishop may permit it to begin later, but not later than 6 p.m.

9. The Paschal Vigil should ideally be celebrated after sunset on Saturday evening.

Not only have the times been radically altered, but the ceremonies themselves have been modified. This is mainly be way of shortening and simplification: and the intention isa to make the main ideas of each function stand out more clearly. For the most parts these changes are not innovations. They are mainly a return to an older form, more in line with what was known in the days of St. Wilfrid and St. Bede.

The desire of the Holy See in all this is that the Holy Week Liturgy should be celebrated everywhere with the greatest solemnity possible, and that the people should in some way take and active share.'"

Sunday, 1 April, 2007
Second Sunday of Passiontide (Palm Sunday) (I)
"Extract from the General Decree restoring Holy Week:

'Let the faithful be invited to take part in the Procession of the Palms in greater numbers, thus rendering Christ the King public witness of their love and gratitude.’

The Second Sunday in Passiontide would be in any case a great and holy day as it commemorates the last triumph of Our Lord Jesus Christ on earth and opens Holy Week. On this day, the Church celebrates the triumphant entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem; when the multitude, going before and following after Him, cut off the branches from the trees and strewed them in His way, shouting: ‘Hosanna (glory and praise) to the Son of David. Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.’ It is in commemoration of this triumph that palms are blessed and borne in solemn procession.

In fact, this Palm Sunday triumph of Our Lord only led to His death. But we know that this death was not a failure. It was through His Passion and Death that he conquered the world and entered into His Kingdom. ‘I, if I be lifted up … will draw all thing to myself’ (John 12:32). So the Church asks the faithful to join in the triumphal Procession today as an act of homage and gratitude to Christ our King. This triumphal beginning to Holy Week is full of meaning. Although the purple Mass vestments and the Gospel of the Passion remind us that the Cross lies ahead, we already know that this is the means of victory. So the church asks us to begin Holy Week by joyfully and publicly acknowledging Christ the King.

The principal ceremonies of the day are the Blessing of the Palms, the Procession, and the Mass with the reading of the Passion. The Blessing of the Palms used to follow a ritual similar to that of the Mass, - having an Epistle, a Gospel, a Preface, and a Sanctus. The Epistle referred to the murmuring of the Israelites in the desert, and their sighing for the flesh-pots of Egypt. The Gospel was the same as now, describing the triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The prayers which followed the Sanctus, asked God to ‘bless the branches of palm … so that whoever receives them may find protection of soul and body … that into whatever place they shall be brought, those there may obtain His blessing; that the devout faithful may understand the mystical meaning of the ceremony, that is, that the palms represent triumph over the prince of death … and therefore the use of them declares both the greatness of the victory and the richness of God’s mercy.’

Here we clearly have the remains of the early usage of having two Masses on this day: one for the Blessing of the Palms, the other after the Procession. The prayers of the Blessing, the Antiphons sung during the Procession, and the hymn Gloria laus, make this one of the most impressive ceremonies of the liturgical year."
Gospel (Procession of the Palms): Matt 21:1-9.
Epistle (Mass): Philippians 2:5-22.
Gospel (First Mass): Matt 26:36-75; 27:1-66.
Gospel (Later Masses): Matt: 27:45-52.
Gospel (Last Gospel, Masses without Blessing of Palms): Matt 21:1-9.

Monday, 2 April, 2007
Monday in Holy Week (I)
Day of Fast (Traditional)
Lesson: Isaias 50:5-10.
Gospel: John 12:1-9.

St. Francis of Paula, Confessor (III)
“He founded the Order of Minims, whose name shows that they wished to be accounted the least in the household of God. Summoned to France, he died there in A.D. 1508.”
Epistle: Philippians 3:7-12.
Gospel: Luke 9:1-6.

Tuesday, 3 April, 2007
Tuesday in Holy Week (I)
Day of fast (Traditional)
Lesson: Jeremias 11:18-20.
Gospel: Mark 14:32-72; 15:1-46.

Wednesday, 4 April, 2007
Wednesday in Holy Week (I)
Day of fast (Traditional)
Lesson: Isaias 62:11; 63:1-7.
Lesson: Isaias 53:1-12.
Gospel: Luke 22:39-71; 23:1-53.

St. Isidore, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church (III)
“St. Isidore succeeded his brother as Archbishop of Seville. He was a master of ecclesiastical learning in Spain and a great Doctor of the Church. He died A.D. 636.”
Epistle: II Timothy 4:1-8.
Gospel: Matt 5:13-19.

Thursday, 5 April, 2007
Day of fast (Traditional)
“From the General Decree of November 16, 1955 restoring the Liturgy of Holy Week (Maxima Redemptionis):

‘Let the faithful be taught about the love with which Christ our Lord ‘on the day before He suffered’ instituted the sacred and holy Eucharist, sacrifice and Sacrament, the perpetual memorial of His Passion, to be offered day by day through the ministry of His priests. Let the faithful be invited to render due adoration after the end of the Mass to the most holy Sacrament. Finally, wherever to illustrate the Lord’s commandment of brotherly love the Washing of the Feet is carried out according to the restored rubrics, let the faithful be taught the deep significance of this holy rite, and let them spend this day in works of Christian charity.’

The Mass today, which by order of Pope Pius XII should not begin before 5 p.m. or after 8 p.m., specially commemorates the Institution of the Blessed Eucharist at the Last Supper, and the Ordination of the Apostles, and is, therefore, a Mass of joy and thanksgiving. Hence the Church lays aside for the moment the penitential purple, and assumes festive white vestments; the Altar is decorated; the Gloria is said. During the Gloria the bells are rung, and from that time until the Easter Vigil they remain silent.

At pontifical Mass the oils are blessed for Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Extreme Unction and the consecration of altars and churches.

On this day an extra Ciborium is consecrated for the ‘Mass’ of the Presanctified (hence the name) on Good Friday. After the Mass this Ciborium is borne in solemn Procession, during which the Pange Lingua is sung, to the Altar of Repose.

The derivation of the word Maundy reminds us of the ceremony of washing the feet, called Mandatum, from the first words of the Antiphon: Mandatum novum do vobis
(John 13:34). The Mandatum takes place on this day because our Lord washed the feet of His Apostles before the Institution of the Holy Eucharist from which this feast (in Latin Feria Quinta in Coena Domini) derives its most characteristic features. The Epistle, Gospel, Secret, Communicantes (special form), the Postcommunion, the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass, and the placing of the Ciborum of Hosts consecrated during the Mass in a tabernacle at the ‘Altar of Repose’ where It is to remain until the following day, are all intended to commemorate the institution of this Divine Sacrament. This day was the only Feast of the Blessed Sacrament up to the time when a special and very solemn Feast was instituted on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Private Masses are forbidden on this day. There is a general Communion at the Solemn Mass in which the priest takes part, to commemorate the custom of ancient times, when in cathedral churches the holy Sacrifice was offered by the Bishop, surrounded by his priests. Another ancient rite of this day is the Blessing of the Holy Oils and the reconciliation of public penitents. The only trace of the reconciliation of the penitents in our present Roman Missal is the Collect of the Mass ‘Deus a quo’ which is very ancient. In the early Middle Ages, when these ceremonies were observed, three Masses were celebrated on this day: (1) in memory of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, (2) for the Blessing of the Holy Oils, and (3) for the reconciliation of public penitents. The second of these Masses is celebrated by the Bishop before noon in his Cathedral Church surrounded by his clergy.

After the evening Mass the Altar is stripped in order to show that the holy Sacrifice is interrupted and will not be offered again until Holy Saturday is ending.”

The Mass of the Chrism
“During this Mass the Bishop blesses the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick, and perfects the Chrism by mixing blessed oil of olives with the blessed balsam…”
Epistle: James 5:13-16.
Gospel: Mark 6:7-13.

The Mass of the Last Supper.
Epistle: I Paul 11:20-32.
Gospel: John 13:1-15.

St. Vincent Ferrer, Confessor (III)
“A famous Dominican who gave lustre to the Church by his preaching and miracles. He converted thousands of sinners and heretics. He died A.D. 1419.”
Lesson: Ecclesiasticus 31:8-11.
Gospel: Luke 12:35-40.

Friday, 6 April, 2007
Day of fast (Obligatory)
“Extract from the General Decree restoring the Liturgy of Holy Week:

‘Let the faithful be led to understand properly today’s special liturgical act, in which the Passion of our Lord is solemnly chanted: prayers offered for the needs of the whole Church and the human race: the Holy Cross, monument of our Redemption, is adored most devoutly by clergy and faithful, the whole family of Christ: finally, as for hundreds of years was the practice, all who wish and are duly prepared go forward to receive Communion, with this as their chief intention, that by devoutly receiving the Body of the lord (which He delivered this day for all men) they may enjoy richer fruits of that Redemption. Let the priests urge the faithful to make this sacred day one of loving recollection, neither should they forget the law of abstinence and fasting.’

The instruction given by Pope Pius XII stipulates that Good Friday’s solemn liturgy take place after noon; the best time would be three o’clock. The same Pope revives the old practice of all receiving Communion this day as a necessary part of the liturgical function. This consists of four main divisions, each of which has its own historical interest, the whole forming a dramatic representation of the Sacred passion.

I,II. The first two parts consist of reading from Scripture and a prayer, followed by St. John’s story of the Passion, and concluded by a long series of prayers for the various intentions. In this part we have preserved the form of the earliest Christian prayer-meeting, a service which was derived from the Jewish Synagogue. To this service of Scriptural readings the celebration of the Eucharist was afterwards joined to form the one solemn act of worship now called the ‘Mass’. The Mass still preserves these distinct divisions: the first from the beginning to the Offertory, in which the Introit and Gloria are included; the second from the Offertory to the Communion. The first division is called the Mass of the Catechumens, (for the Catechumens were not permitted to remain for the celebration of the Eucharist); the second the Mass of the Faithful.

III. The third part consists of the unveiling and adoration of the Cross. This ceremony was originally connected with the relic of the true Cross, and had its origin in Jerusalem. A veiled Crucifix is gradually exposed to view, and three times at the words Venite adoremus the faithful kneel in adoration of the Cross.

IV. The fourth part, the Communion of the Priest and people, completes what used to be known as the Mass of the Presacntified. Today’s liturgy clearly does not constitute a Mass, for there is no Consecration; all who communicate receive sacred particles consecrated at the Mass of the previous day. This form of ‘Mass’ is familiar in the Greek rite.

The service opens with a Mass of the Catechumens in what is perhaps its oldest and simplest form. It has neither Introit, Gloria, nor Credo, but consists merely of two lessons, followed each by a Tract, also taken from the Prophets. The Gospel is the story of the Passion according to St. John. This is followed by the most ancient form of intercession. The Priest (formerly the Deacon) makes a solemn appeal to the faithful, telling for whom each prayer is to be offered: for the Church, the Pope, the Bishops, Priests, etc., the Jews, pagans, heretics, prisoners, etc. The Flectamus genua is said and all kneel down to pray until the Subdeacon bids them to rise. Then the Celebrant turns to God, Almighty and Eternal, and formulates the prayer in the name of all. This was the oldest form of Collect or public prayer.

The Adoration of the Cross, which follows the Collect, is a rite by itself. The veneration of the Cross is very old and found expression most naturally on Good Friday. The ceremony observed in the fourth century, in the Church of Golgotha, differs little from that carried out at the present day, in the church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem (where the most precious relics of the Passion are preserved) and in all our Catholic churches. The antiphons and repositories which are sung during the adoration of the Cross, are called Improperia or Reproaches. They form one of the most tragic features of this Friday service, which is a real drama and suggested the mediaeval Passion-plays.

The Adoration of the Cross is followed by a short service. The ciborium containing the sacred Hosts consecrated the day before is brought in silence with the simplest of ceremonial from the Altar of Repose. Preparation for Communion itself is followed at once by three prayers of thanksgiving. These end the day’s solemn functions.”
Lesson: Exodus 12:1-11.
Gospel: John 18:1-40; 19:1-42.

Pater noster, qui es in coelis:
Santificetur nomen tuum.
Adveniat regnum tuum.
Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in coelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum quotidianum do nobis hodie:
Et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
Sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.
Et ne nos inducas in tentotianem:
Sed libera nos a malo.

Saturday, 7 April 2007
Day of fast (Traditional)
“Holy Saturday is liturgically a day of deepest mourning, a day which the Church spends at our Lord’s sepulcher, meditating on His Sacred Passion and Death. There is no Mass; the sacred altar is bare.

The Solemn Easter Vigil service, for which Pope Pius XII gave permission in 1951 and made obligatory in 1956 (not to be confused with a Holy Day of Obligation – TPC), is intended to show liturgically how life and grace flow to us from the death of our Lord; the Light of the World is exhibited under the symbol of the Paschal Candle, dispelling the night of sin by the light of grace; the Exultet – the Easter Proclamation – is the song that heralds Easter, singing of the brightness of the holy night of Resurrection; the Lessons taken from the ancient prophecies tell of God’s wonderful dealings with His people under the Old Covenant, faint types of the glorious happenings that were to come to pass under the New; the waters for Baptism are blessed – those waters in which those who have been buried along with Christ, die to sin and with him rise and walk in newness of life; this grace he has won for us, and in Baptism bestowed on us; by renewal of our baptismal promises we publicly announce our purpose to show forth this newness in our daily lives; and finally the Church Triumphant is called on to intercede for us, and the Mass of the resurrection begins.

The hour for beginning this solemn service should be selected so that the Mass of the Resurrection may begin about midnight; but the Bishop of the Diocese may judge it better for special reasons to begin earlier; nevertheless, this earlier start should be later than twilight, and on no account before sunset.”

Lessons from the Prophecies
“These four lessons from the Old Testament prepare us for what is to come. The first is the story of Creation, and the prayer at the end reminds us how God, who created us at the beginning, has more wonderfully redeemed us. The second is the story of the Exodus from Egypt, followed by the singing of Moses’ canticle of triumph after crossing the Red Sea. The prayer tells us how these wonderful events are even more wonderfully repeated now by our deliverance from the slavery of sin through the Water of Baptism. The third is one of the great prophecies of Isaias. It tells how God is going to create a new, spiritual people – His Catholic Church, and is followed by Isaias’s song about God’s favourite vineyard, His Chosen People. The prayer reminds us that we are the vineyard, cared for by God’s own hands. In the last lesson, Moses, the leader of God’s people in the Old Testament, reminds them that they must now keep the Law He has given them: and this is repeated in the Song of Moses which follows. We, too, must keep the New law of Christ, a law no longer of fear but of joy (Rom 8:15).”
The First Lesson: Gen 1:1-31; 2:1-2.
The Second Lesson: Exodus 14:24-31; 15:1.
The Third Lesson: Isaias 4:2-6.
The Fourth Lesson: Deuteronomy 31:22-30.

The First Solemn Mass of Easter Sunday
Epistle: Colossians 3:1-4.
Gospel: Matt 28:1-7.

[1] Remarks are abstracted from The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, from Editio Typica of the Roman Missal and Breviary, 1962
(Baronius Press Limited, London, 2004, in conjunction with the Fraternal Society of St. Peter,

Human Technology Manufacturing Platforms Part II. How close is close: Levels of Cooperation.

In June 2005, the Pontifical Academy for Life, an arm of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, released a letter entitled, "Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared From Cells Derived From Human Foetuses."[1] The study was generated in response to a letter from the Executive Director of Children of God for Life, Mrs. Debra Vinnedge (cited above) and it's purpose was "to clarify the liceity of vaccinating children with vaccines prepared using cell lines derived from aborted human fetuses."[2] The study "regarded in particular" Mrs. Vinnedge's question concerning "the right of parents of these children to oppose such a vaccination when made at school, mandated by law."[3] Although the document is specifically addressed to the pediatric vaccination question, it's conclusion would certainly apply to others under "moral coercion" to use these vaccines, such as food industry workers for whom Hepatitis A vaccination is a condition of employment.

Before answering the question, the document first developed the notion that there are various forms of "cooperation" with evil. For those who, like myself, are theologically naive, we'll review them, too. The first fundamental distinction is between formal and material cooperation. In formal cooperation, one shares the intent of committing the evil. In other words, one agrees with the evil act. Thus, whether the person was the abortionist who actually aborted the baby forty years ago who's cells became WI-38, or simply a contemporary parent who's child is to be immunized with VARIVAX but also agrees with the abortion, perhaps believing they were justified because "something good came out of them," such formal cooperation is never licit. It's important to understand that this is true regardless of the closeness of the involvement: the parent who approves of the abortions shares, as much as the abortionist, in the illicit nature of the act.

In material cooperation, one shares the act, but not the intent. In other words, one is somehow associated with the act, but disagrees with the intent. Like formal cooperation, material cooperation has different levels of "closeness" (as illustrated briefly above) but we'll confine the rest of this discussion to material cooperation. Material cooperation may be either immediate or mediate. In immediate cooperation, one cooperates directly in the act. In mediate cooperation, one doesn't participate directly, but performs some indirect function, such as providing instruments or products which support the occurrence of the act. Cooperation can also be divided into proximate (either spatially, temporally, or conceptually) or remote.

Immediate material cooperation is always proximate. It has to be proximate, because one is directly participating in the act. When the evil is a grave matter, such as participation in abortion, immediate material cooperation is always illicit.[4] Thus, in the abortions performed decades ago in developing the WI-38 and RA 27/3 lines one would conclude that the participation of the Wistar and Merck researchers who collaborated with the Swedish abortionists at the Karolinska Institute to procure the tissue were immoral because they were proximate, regardless of whether they "personally agreed" with the abortions or not. Indeed, the document specifically addresses this type of cooperation, drawing attention to those involved in "the preparation, distribution and marketing of vaccines produced as a result of the use of biological material whose origin is connected with cells coming from foetuses voluntarily aborted," concluding that such activity is, "as a matter of principle, morally illicit." [5]

Mediate material cooperation may be proximate or remote. Since the nature of the cooperation is not direct but indirect, it may be somewhat distant in terms of time, space or circumstance.

A further distinction is drawn between active (positive) cooperation with evil, and negative (passive) cooperation. The distinction here is between doing something involved with the act, versus sitting back and allowing it to happen, when one has a definite moral duty to impede the evil in question, and this is summarized in the axiom, "evil thrives when good men do nothing." Passive cooperation, like active cooperation, can be formal or material, immediate or mediate, proximate or remote.

So how does all this apply to the vaccine question? The Vatican paper identified three categories of people in this matter: (1) those who make the vaccine, (2) those who market and distribute them, and (3) those who use them. We've already touched on the first two categories; these activities the document condemned as morally illicit "as a matter of principle," because "...preparation, distribution, and marketing... could contribute in encouraging the performance of other voluntary abortions, with the purpose of the production of such vaccines."[6] This is precisely what we see happening now, and my final section in this paper will be devoted to showing that this is so. To finish up with the document, however, it then goes on to note that within the production - distribution - marketing chain, there are varying levels of responsibility. However, the note is also made that the cooperation is "more intense" on the part of those authorities, for example medical councils that recommend, or government agencies that implement, the use of these vaccines.

The document then takes up the final category of people, those who use the vaccines. The parents who use the vaccines, as well as the physicians who administer them, assuming they are not in formal cooperation with the abortion (i.e., they don't agree with it), "carry out a form of very remote mediate material cooperation... in the performance of the original act of abortion.[7] The same sentence also notes that those same parents are in mediate material cooperation regarding the marketing of cell lines coming from abortion, and immediate material cooperation regarding the marketing of vaccines coming from the cell lines coming from the abortions.

The document continues, " this situation, the aspect of passive cooperation is that which stands out most. It is up to the faithful... to oppose, even by making an objection of conscience, the ever more widespread attacks against life... From this point of view, the use of vaccines whose production is connected with procured abortion constitutes at least a mediate remote passive material cooperation to the abortion, and an immediate passive material cooperation with regard to their marketing."[8] "Therefore," the paper continues, "... fathers of families... should oppose by all means... the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives."

Regarding those vaccines which have no alternatives (in the United States, this would include the rubella vaccine and the varicella vaccine), the paper notes that "it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health." If there are significant risks, the paper continues, they may be used on a "temporary basis." "The moral reason is that the duty to avoid passive material cooperation is not obligatory if there is grave inconvenience."[9]

In conclusion, the Vatican paper condemns the production, marketing, and distribution of the vaccines. It also condemns those public policy officials who implement their use. It supports those parents who make "an objection of conscience," up to and including abstention from use (" is right to abstain from using these vaccines") assuming it can be done without "significant risk." However, it doesn't condemn those parents who vaccinate, given the level of moral coercion which exists.

Before leaving this section I'll make a couple of observations on some phrases used in the document. "Therefore, ... fathers of families... should oppose by all means... the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives." Note is made here of the use of the word "yet." In addition, I note the use of the phrase, "temporary basis" as in, these vaccines may be used on a temporary basis if the risk of not using them is grave and there are no licit alternatives. Although not specifically stated, it seems to me that, in choosing this sort of wording, the authors are writing under the assumption that the use of human cell lines is dying out, and that these vaccines will soon be replaced with something less "morally tainted." As we shall see, nothing could be further from the truth.

Next week: Human technology manufacturing platforms.

[1] “Moral reflections on vaccines prepared from cells derived from human aborted human foetuses.” Letter dated 9 June 2005. The entire text is available at multiple sites including the National Catholic Bioethics Center "News and Events" section ( and Children of God for Life website op cit.
[2] ibid, cover letter to Debra Vinnedge, paragraph one.
[3] ibid.
[4] ibid, pg. 5.
[5] ibid.
[6] ibid.
[7] ibid, emphasis in the original.
[8] ibid, emphasis in the original.
[9] ibid, pg.6. Emphasis in the original.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Human Technology Manufacturing Platforms Part I. The Paediatric Vaccination Question.

After some thought, I have decided to reproduce an essay I published last fall in the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly here. There is a little risk in this, because it will also be a chapter in my book, and one can only reproduce the same material so many times. But I think this is an important topic, even more important than the embryonic stem cell problem because, unlike stem cells (whose applications are, at this point, science fiction) this is upon us now. Also, this is a long essay, well over 7000 words, and the internet just isn't a great medium for long writings (I don't like reading things more than 1000 words or so on a computer screen; gives me a headache). So, like the stem cell series (which has not been published elsewhere, but is forming the basis of the stem cell chapter in the book) I will break it up into bite sized chunks over the next several weeks. We'll see how it goes, so here goes: Human Technology Manufacturing Platforms, Part I (of VII or so parts).

The topic of vaccines manufactured using cell lines which have their origin in aborted babies has received a fair amount of attention in the Catholic press, and the topic again became prominent with the publication of a Vatican letter on the topic in July, 2005. This essay will review the vaccination issue for the uninitiated, and go through the Vatican letter in some detail. However, up until now the discussion has largely been confined to a handful of vaccines used in routine pediatric vaccination programs, and so the moral issues have been largely confined to parents of vaccination - age children. I believe that the issue is poised to move out of this relatively circumscribed arena to affect virtually everyone, and quite soon. This is because numerous new vaccines using illicit human cell lines as culture media, including new vaccines against influenza A and B, and the avian flu vaccine, are well into the development phase, and in some cases already entering clinical trials. These are vaccines which are, or will be, widely distributed. In addition, numerous other types of medical therapies, such as monoclonal antibody cancer therapies manufactured on these lines, are in development. But we will begin by discussing vaccines, and given the occasionally contentious nature of the topic of vaccination, I need to make perfectly and explicitly clear a couple of items right up front. First, I absolutely acknowledge the usefulness, in general, of vaccination and mass vaccination programs. After sanitation, mass vaccination has done more to improve the overall health and well being of individuals and of populations than any other single measure, and it would be profoundly unwise to jettison something which has worked so well. Second, I don't contest the authority of a government, in principle, to require mass vaccinations under certain circumstances.[1] Finally, I am not going to discuss vaccine safety. Vaccine safety is a profoundly important issue since, in a population - wide program, even rare events turn into large numbers: a tiny fraction of a huge number is a big number. Every effort should be made to monitor, ensure, and improve vaccine safety, and if questions regarding a vaccine or a component of a vaccine come up, they should be rigorously investigated. But I am not addressing vaccine safety here. In general, the vaccine is far, far safer than the disease it is attempting to prevent.[2] To repeat: the first point of this paper is to review the issue of the moral status of parents who use vaccines manufactured with cell cultures derived from aborted babies. The second point is that, since the number of vaccines derived from the cell cultures of aborted babies is on the threshold of expanding exponentially, this issue will no longer be confined to a relatively small group of parents agonizing over whether, in vaccinating their children, they are cooperating with evil. Rather, the issue will apply to vast segments of the population and, possibly, virtually everyone. And, the third point is that other therapies which could even eclipse the vaccines in number and importance are in the works. Central to all of these points is the issue of moral coercion of conscience[3]. In other words, persons whose well formed Catholic consciences indicate that using these vaccines could represent cooperation with evil are nevertheless required against their will to use the products. But first, a review of the facts.

The pediatric vaccination question.
In the United States, two vaccines in the routine pediatric immunization schedule utilize human diploid cell cultures in their manufacturing process. They are the vaccine against rubella (German measles), and the vaccine against varicella (chickenpox). The first vaccine, rubella, is usually given as a component of the combined measles/mumps/rubella vaccine M-M-R II (Merck.), and the rubella vaccine component uses a live, attenuated rubella virus strain designated RA 27/3, grown in the human diploid cell line WI-38.[4] The rubella vaccine is also available as a single injection from the same manufacturer under the trade name MERUVAX, and also uses the WI-38 cell line.[5] The measles and mumps vaccine components in the combination M-M-R II vaccines are grown in chick embryo cultures, and therefore don't present a moral problem. The second major vaccine is a vaccine against varicella, VARIVAX (Merck). Introduced in 1995, it uses both the WI-38 and MRC-5 human cell lines.[6] A new combination vaccine comprised of M-M-R II and a beefed up version of VARIVAX, trade name ProQuad (Merck) was licensed by the FDA 6 September 2005.[7]

In addition to the rubella and varicella vaccines, there are other vaccines which, though not part of the pediatric series, are in routine use and do use "tainted" cell lines. The vaccines against Hepatitis A, known as HAVRIX (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals)[8] and VAQTA (Merck),[9] both utilize the MRC-5 human diploid fibroblast cell line to culture their Hepatitis A viral strain; the viral particles are then inactivated and suspended for injection. While Hepatitis A is not part of the routine pediatric series, it is required frequently for people who work in the food handling and other industries. HAVRIX is also offered in combination with the Hepatitis B vaccine, trade name TWINRIX (GlaxoSmithKline).[10] The Hepatitis B vaccine component does not rely on viral culture; it uses recombinant DNA technology. For rabies, there are two vaccines licensed and marketed in the U.S., RabAvert (Chiron) which uses chicken fibroblast cell lines for culture media,[11] and IMOVAX (Aventis Pasteur), which uses the MRC-5 human cell line.[12]

The moral problem is this: the WI-38 and MRC-5 human diploid cell lines used for viral culture, as well as the RA 27/3 rubella viral strain used in the rubella vaccine, are derived from babies aborted decades ago. Although a detailed and well annotated history of the abortions related to the development of these lines are available in Debra L. Vinnedge's document, "Aborted Fetal Cell Lines and the Catholic Family," available at the Children of God for Life website, I will give a brief synopsis here.[13] In the early 1960's, researchers at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, and the Merck Research Institute collaborated with physicians at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, in attempts to develop human cell lines for, among other things, vaccine viral culture media. The researchers were specifically looking for parents with no medical problems either in themselves or (presumably) their unborn child, but who wanted to abort the baby for "social reasons"; the social reason usually given was, "too many children". The abortions were, of course, in Sweden, as abortion at that time was illegal in the U.S. It took the researchers 37 attempts - representing 20 Swedish abortions - to develop a cell line that grew; this successful line was designated Wistar Insitute 38: WI-38. In addition to a viable cell culture line, the researchers needed a strain of the rubella virus which had been demonstrated to cross the placenta and successfully infect an unborn child. A word on the reason for rubella immunization is in order here. The purpose of childhood rubella vaccination is not to protect the child, as German measles is a mild illness in children, and, as with chickenpox in children, natural infection confers lifelong immunity. The reason rubella is a public health issue is because if a pregnant mother who is unimmunized (either via natural infection or vaccination) is exposed to a child with active rubella, she will get the illness, and it can be passed to her unborn child. "Congenital Rubella Syndrome" (CRS), the constellation of defects associated with congenital German measles infection, can be mild, but it can also be devastatingly severe. CRS of some level of severity results from up to 85% of maternal infections that occur during the very early first trimester, but drops dramatically by the 8th week of gestation; if the mother is infected after the 20th week, the incidence of CRS is zero.[14] The reason for vaccinating children against rubella is not to protect the child, but to prevent the transmission of the disease from an infected child to an unimmunized, pregnant mother and from there, possibly, to her unborn child where it could cause CRS. Since not all maternal rubella infections result in CRS, a rubella strain which had been demonstrated to cross the placenta and successfully infect an unborn child was necessary. During a rubella outbreak in Pennsylvania in 1964, pregnant mothers who had no immunity to rubella underwent abortions for fear of CRS. Organs from 26 of these aborted babies were cultured for rubella; only with the 27th aborted fetus was the virus successfully grown. This strain was then successfully cultured in WI-38, and designated RA 27/3, for Rubella Abortus number 27, 3rd tissue explant. As noted above, it is the RA 27/3 rubella strain, grown in WI-38 human diploid cell culture, which is used in the Merck product. Vinnedge estimates that no fewer than 47 elective abortions were involved in the development of the MERUVAX vaccine: 19 from the failed WI cell lines, one for the WI-38 line itself, plus the 27 to culture the virus. A few years later, the Medical Research Council of England used similar techniques to develop the MRC-5 human diploid cell line from lung tissue of an aborted fetus.

Next week: Levels of cooperation and the Vatican document.

[1] This is not to say that any vaccine that a government wants to initiate should not be viewed with scrutiny. There was much debate within the medical community concerning the usefulness of the H. flu vaccine, and the varicella vaccine, and the debate continues to this day. But, in principle, it is not reasonable to contest the right of a government to require a vaccination program.
[2] Again, with regard to specific vaccines, such as varicella, this is debatable. But it is also a medical and public health question, not a moral one.
[3] The phrase "moral coercion of conscience" is not mine; it exists in the concluding paragraph of the pontifical document, “Moral reflections on vaccines prepared from cells derived from human aborted human foetuses.” referenced below (Endnote #37)
[4] Package insert, M-M-R II, Merck & Co., 1999. Available at Institute for Vaccine Safety, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe St. Room W5041, Baltimore, MD 21205;
[5] Package insert, MERUVAX, Merck & Co., 1999. Institute for Vaccine Safety.
[6] Package insert, VARIVAX, Merck & Co., 2001. Institute for Vaccine Safety.
[7] "Notice to Readers: Licensure of a Combined Live Attenuated Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella Vaccine." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports Vol. 54, #47, 2 Dec 2005.
[8]"HAVRIX Prescribing Information," GlaxoSmithKline, 2005. Institute for Vaccine Safety.
[9] Package insert, VAQTA, Merck & Co., 2005. Institute for Vaccine Safety.
[10] "TWINRIX Prescribing Information," GlaxoSmithKline, 2003. Institute for Vaccine Safety.
[11] Package insert, RabAvert, Chiron Corporation, 2002. Institute for Vaccine Safety.
[12] Package insert, IMOVAX, Aventis Pasteur, 1991. Institute for Vaccine Safety.
[13] Vinnedge, D.L. “Aborted Fetal Cell Lines and the Catholic Family: A Moral and Historical Perspective.”Children of God for Life, Dec. 2004,
[14] Maxcy-Rosenau-Last Public Health and Preventive Medicine 14th Ed. Wallace, R.B. (Ed.) Appleton & Lange, 1998. See “Rubella,” pg. 95ff.

Feast days of the week 25-31 March, A.D. 2007 (1962 liturgical calendar).


Sunday, 25 March, 2007
Passion Sunday (I)
"If he who is of God hears the word of God, and he who is not of God cannot hear His words, then let each one ask himself: 'Do I take the words of God to heart?' (St. Gregory the Great, Hom. 18)
From this day until Maundy Thursday, in Masses of the Season the Ps. Judica me... is omitted on Sundays and Ferias, as also the Gloria Patri at the Introit and Lavabo; but on Feasts they are said as usual."
Epistle: Hebrews 9:11-15.
Gospel: John 8:46-59.

Monday, 26 March, 2007
The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I)
“This is the great Festival of the Incarnation, commemorating the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to Our Lady that the Divine Son of God, the Word, would take human nature upon Him in her virginal womb. Its date is determined by that of Christmas Day, and as the day which marked the beginning of the Christian dispensation it was for many centuries regarded as the first day of the civil year.
On this day the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, uniting for evermore our human nature to the Divine nature. The Mystery of the Incarnation brings vividly before us the boundless condescension and humility of God the Son in stooping to our condition in order to be our Savior. Equally it proclaims the glory and greatness of Mary, who was chosen to give the divine Word human flesh and human birth, and so to co-operate with God in the restoration of mankind. Hence, her most glorious title of 'Mother of God', which explains all her glories, her sanctity, and her honour.”
Lesson: Isaias 7:10-15.
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38.

Monday in Passion Week (III)
Day of fast (traditional)
Lesson: Jonas 3:1-10.
Gospel: John 7:32-39.

Tuesday, 27March, 2007
Tuesday in Passion Week
Day of fast (traditional)
Lesson: Daniel 14:27-42.
Gospel: John 7:1-13.

St. John Damascene, Confessor, Doctor of the Church
"Filled with divine knowledge, he wrote his works against the iconoclasts in defense of holy images. His right hand, cut off, was miraculously restored. He died A.D. 754."
Lesson: Wisdom 10:10-14.
Gospel: Luke 6:6-11.

Wednesday, 28 March, 2007
Wednesday in Passion Week (III)
Day of fast (traditional)
Lesson: Leviticus 19:1,2,11-19.
Gospel: John 10:22-38.

St. John of Capistran, Confessor (III)
“This Franciscan preached a crusade which delivered Europe from the Mohammedans in the fifteenth century. He died in A.D. 1456.”
Lesson: Wisdom 10:10-14.
Gospel: Luke 9:1-6.

Thursday, 29 March, 2007
Thursday in Passion Week (III)
Day of fast (traditional)
Lesson: Daniel 3:25, 34-45.
Gospel: Luke 7:35-50.

Friday, 30 March, 2007
Friday in Passion Week (III)
Day of fast (Obligatory)
Lesson: Jeremias 17:13-18.
Gospel: John 11:47-54.

Commemoration of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
"The Church commemorates by two Feasts the martyrdom suffered by Our Lady in union with the Passion of Her Son. The first Feast especially commemorates the Compassion of Mary; the second, kept on September 15, the devotion to the Seven Sorrows."
Lesson: Judith 13:22,23-25.
Gospel: John 19:25-27.

Saturday, 31 March 2007
Saturday in Passion Week (III)
Day of fast (traditional)
Lesson: Jeremias 18:18-23.
Gospel: John 12:10-36.

[1] Remarks are abstracted from The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, from Editio Typica of the Roman Missal and Breviary, 1962
(Baronius Press Limited, London, 2004, in conjunction with the Fraternal Society of St. Peter,

Friday, March 16, 2007

On contraception.

"Any use of the marriage act, in the exercise of which it is designedly deprived of its natural power of procreating life, infringes on the law of God and of nature, and those who have committed any such act are stained with the guilt of serious sin."
(Pius XI, Casti connubii, 1930)[1]

A dear friend brought to my attention a document released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on November 14th, 2006. Entitled, "Married Love and the Gift of Life", it says this: "...contraception is objectively immoral."[2] This is pretty unambiguous, as befits a settled Church teaching. Unfortunately, this clarity is buried in emasculating verbiage such as a description of contraception as "...impoverished, even sad...". This is true, of course, it is sad. But it's more than just sad; it's an act which can land a soul in Hell. Or, so says the Church. Here are a few historical things our Bishops didn't mention in their letter.

Onanism, a somewhat archaic word for coitus interruptus specifically, but also for masturbation and contraception generally, is taken from the story of Onan, found in Genesis (Gen. 38:7-10). Onan, you may recall, was condemned to death by God for engaging in, well, onanism. The second century Didache[3] clearly proscribes contraception, and considers both contraception and abortion to be the equivalent of murder.[4] At about the same time, St. Clement of Alexander wrote, " tends toward sexual relations by it's very nature...(however) To indulge in intercourse without intending children is to outrage nature, whom we should take as our instructor."[5] St. John Chrysostom wrote in the fourth century, and he lacked a sense of nuance.[6] "Indeed, (contraception) is something worse than murder and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents it's formation. What then? Do you condemn a gift from God, and fight with His law? What is a curse (here St. John is referring to infertility and stillbirth) do you seek as though it were a blessing? Do you make the anteroom of birth the anteroom of slaughter?"[7] It's also worth noting at this point that even from the earliest days, Church teachers made no distinction between abortion and contraception; they considered the two actions tightly interrelated, and crimes of equivalent gravity. St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.) wrote extensively against the practice of contraception, noting that "intercourse with one's legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked whenever the conception of offspring is prevented." This led to the Augustinian dictum, "...the procreation of children is itself the primary, natural, legitimate purpose of marriage." [8] St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 A.D.) observed, "Nor, in fact, should it be deemed a slight sin for a man to arrange for the emission of semen apart from the proper purpose of generating and bringing up children... Hence, after the sin of homicide whereby a human nature already in existence is destroyed, this type of sin appears to take the next place, for by it the generation of human nature is impeded."[9] It's interesting that St. Thomas isn't letting the man off the hook regarding this contraception business; another disappointment for those who claim that the Church is somehow "anti-woman." Pope Sixtus, in the late 1500's, condemned simultaneously contraception and abortion.[10] The Holy Office under Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) handed down several decisions condemning contraception, noting that the wrongness of contraception is a wrong against human nature. That is, it is not a "situational" wrong, but is a universal wrong against the nature of man, as is abortion and infanticide.[11] The Catechism of the Council of Trent[12] lists two main reasons as to why a man and woman should be married. The first is simply "companionship".[13] The second is this: "Desire of family."

"Not so much," continues the Catechism, "with a view to leave heirs to inherit our property and fortune, as to bring up children in the true faith an in the service of God... the Angel, when informing Tobias of the means of repelling the violent assaults of the evil demon, says: ...'Thou shalt take the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayest obtain a blessing in children."[14]

Children, the Catholic Church teaches, are a blessing from God. They are not a curse, neither are they are not an impediment. "It was also for this reason," the Catechism continues, "that God instituted marriage from the beginning; and therefore married persons who, to prevent conception or to procure abortion, have recourse to medicine are guilty of a most heinous crime - nothing less wicked than conspiracy to commit murder."[15] This indicates just how seriously the Church takes this issue: thwarting conception is thwarting the will of God.
Pope Pius XI's 1930 Encyclical Casti connubii is clear and succinct, that's why I put it up at the header. The most famous recent document, however, is Pope Paul VI's 1968 Encyclical Humanae Vitae.

"Similarly excluded is every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in it's accomplishment, or in the development of it's natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible."[16]

In 1995, 70% of all U.S. Catholic women of childbearing age used some form of contraception. Since 64% of all women, regardless of faith, use contraception, the proportion of Catholic women who contracept is actually slightly higher than women at large.[17] Do they not know? Have they not heard? Contraception is an intrinsic evil.[18] That means it is a sin against God, a grave matter which, if done with full knowledge and consent of the will, might - dare I say it - land a soul in Hell for all eternity. It's a good thing our Bishops are getting the word out.

This essay was first posted on Introibo ad Altare Dei on 16 November 2006.
[1] Denzinger ‘The Sources of Catholic Dogma’, para. #2240. 1955 translation by R.J. Deferrari of Henry Denzinger’s Enchiridion Symbolorum, 30th Ed. Reissued by Loreto Publications, Fitzwilliam, NH, Hereafter referred to as DNZ.
[2] "Married Love and the Gift of Life." Issued by USCCB, 14 Nov 2006. See "New Titiles" at
[3] W. A. Jurgens, Faith of Our Fathers Vol. 1 The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, WI, 1970. Section 1, The Didache. Hereafter referred to as FoF
[4] W. E. May Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. 2000 pg 143-145. I used these pages heavily in developing this section. Hereafter referred to as CB.
[5] The Catholic Catechism: A contemporary Catechism of the Teachings of the Catholic Church J.A. Hardon, S.J. Image Books Doubleday NY, NY. 1981. Pg. 368. Hereafter referred to as TCC.
[6] The 33 Doctors of the Church Fr. Christopher Rengers, O.F.M. TAN Books and Publishers Inc. Rockford, IL 2000 See Ch. 9, "St. John Chrysostom". Hereafter referred to as DoC
[7] CB, pgs. 143-144. My emphasis.
[8] TCC, pg. 369.
[9] CB, pg. 144. My emphasis.
[10] ibid
[11] ibid, pg. 371.
[12] Catechism of the Council of Trent issued by order of Pope Pius V, 1566. English translation of 1923 by J. A. McHugh, O.P. and C. J. Callan, O.P. Republished by Roman Catholic Books, Fort Collins, CO. Hereafter referred to as CCoT.
[13] ibid, pg.
[14] ibid, pg.
[15] ibid, pg.
[16] TCC, pg. 373
[17] Data from the National Center for Health Statistics, published in Fehring, R. and Schlidt, A.M. "Trends in Contraceptive Use Among Catholics in the United States: 1988-1995" The Linacre Quarterly - Journal of the Catholic Medical Association Vol.68 No. 2, May 2001. Pp. 170-185.
[18] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd. Ed. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, U.S. Catholic Conference, Washington, DC, 1992. Para. #2370.

An Abridgement of Christian Doctrine.

I came across this in the front of my Missal. I thought it a handy summary for those who are, like me, new to the Faith.

The Ten Commandments of God[1]
I AM the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange Gods before Me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their children unto the third and fourth generation of those that hate Me; and showing mercy unto thousands of those that love Me and keep My commandments.
2. Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the Name of the Lord his God in vain.
3. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labour, and shalt do all thy works; but on the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; thou shalt do no work on it, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy beast, nor the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth and the sea, and all the things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day, therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.
4. Honour thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long-lived upon the land which the Lord Thy God will give thee.
5. Thou shalt not kill.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7. Thou shalt not steal.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, nor his servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is his.

The Six Precepts of the Church

1. To hear Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation.
2. To fast and abstain on the days commanded.
3. To confess our sins at least once a year.
4. To receive the Blessed Eucharist at Easter or within the time appointed.
5. To contribute to the support of our Pastors.
6. Not to solemnize marriage at the forbidden times; nor to marry persons within the forbidden degrees of kindred, nor otherwise prohibited by the Church, nor secretly.

The Seven Sacraments

Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, Holy Matrimony.

The Three Theological Virtues

Faith, Hope and Charity.

The Four Cardinal Virtues

Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance.

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and the Fear of the Lord.

The Twelve Fruits of the Holy Ghost

Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Longanimity, Goodness, Benignity, Mildness, Fidelity, Modesty, Continence and Chastity.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy

To give counsel to the doubtful.
To instruct the ignorant.
To admonish sinners.
To comfort the afflicted.
To forgive offenses.
To bear patiently the troublesome.
To pray for the living and the dead.

The Corporal Works of Mercy

To feed the hungry.
To give drink to the thirsty.
To clothe the naked.
To shelter the needy.
To visit the sick.
To visit the imprisoned.
To bury the dead.

The Eight Beatitudes

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2. Blessed are the meek; for they shall possess the land.
3. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.
4. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice; for they shall be filled.
5. Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.
6. Blessed are the clean of heart; for they shall see God.
7. Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.
8. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Seven Deadly Sins

Pride. Covetousness. Lust. Anger. Gluttony. Envy. Sloth.

Contrary Virtues

Humility. Liberality. Chastity. Meekness. Temperance. Brotherly Love. Diligence.

Sins Against the Holy Ghost

Presumption upon God's mercy. Despair. Impugning the known truth. Envy of another's spiritual good. Obstinacy in sin. Final impenitence.

Sins Crying to Heaven for Vengeance

Wilful murder. The sin of Sodom. Oppression of the poor. Defrauding labourers of their wages.

Nine Ways of Being Accessory to Another's Sin

By counsel. By command. By consent. By provocation. By praise or flattery. By concealment. By partaking. By silence. By defense of the ill done.

Three Eminently Good Works.

Alms-deeds, or works of mercy. Prayer and Fasting.

Three Evangelical Counsels

Voluntary Poverty, Chastity and Obedience.

Subjects for Daily Meditation

Remember, Christian soul, that thou hast this day, and every day of thy life:

God to glorify, Heaven to gain,
Jesus to imitate, Eternity to prepare for,
The Angels and Saints to invoke, Time to profit by.
Neighbors to edify,
A soul to save, The world to despise,
A body to mortify, Devils to combat,
Sins to expiate, Passions to subdue,
Virtues to acquire, Death perhaps to suffer,
Hell to avoid, Judgment to undergo.

Among the truths which faith teaches us, there are several which all ought to know and believe, viz., the existence of one God; the Mystery of the Holy Trinity; the Mystery of the Redemption of mankind by the Incarnation and death of Jesus Christ, and the future state of reward and punishment.
These are things which every Catholic is bound to know, by the express command of either God or the Church. These things are:

1. The three most ordinary Christian prayers, viz., the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Apostle's Creed; and also, at least in substance. 2. The Commandments of God; 3. The Precepts of the Church; 4. The Doctrine of the Sacraments, and especially these three, which are necessary to every one, viz., Baptism, Penance, and the Holy Eucharist; 5. The duties and obligations of one's state of life. It is a mortal sin for a Christian to be ignorant of these things, if it be through his own wilfulness or neglect.

[1]Remarks are abstracted from The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, from Editio Typica of the Roman Missal and Breviary, 1962 Pps. 31-34.
(Baronius Press Limited, London, 2004, in conjunction with the Fraternal Society of St. Peter,

Feast days of the week 18 - 24 March, A.D. 2007 (1962 liturgical calendar).


Sunday, 18 March, 2007
Fourth Sunday of Lent (I)
"Laetare, Rejoice” says the Introit. Laetare Sunday offers us a break in the midst of the Lenten observance. We are soon to rise again with Jesus through confession and Easter Communion."
Epistle: Gal 4:22-31.
Gospel: John 6:1-15.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church. (III)
“When he was a simple priest, St. Cyril used to instruct the Catechumens during Lent. He is still renowned for these admirable homilies, full of divine wisdom, precious documents for Catholic theology. The Arians exiled him twice. He died in A.D. 386.”
Lesson: Ecclesiasticus 39:6-14.
Gospel: Matt 10:23-28.

Monday, 19 March, 2007
St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Confessor (I)
“To be convinced how much the intercession of St. Joseph prevails with Jesus Christ, we have only to consider these words of the Evangelist: And He was subject to them. The Son of God employed thirty years assiduously obeying Joseph and Mary! It was sufficient for Joseph, by the least word or sign, to show that he wished Him to do anything; Jesus immediately obeyed. This humble obedience of Jesus teaches us that the dignity of Joseph is above that of all the other Saints, except that of the Queen of Saints. Let us hear what St. Teresa says of the confidence which all should place in the protection of St. Joseph: ‘To the other Saints,’ she says, ‘it appears that the Lord may have granted power to succour us on particular occasions; but to this Saint, as experience proves, He has granted power to help us on all occasions. Our Lord would teach us that, as He was pleased to be subject to Joseph upon the earth, so He is pleased to grant whatever this Saint asks for in heaven. Others whom I have recommended to have recourse to Joseph, have known this from experience. I never knew any one who was particularly devout to him, that did not continually advance more and more in virtue. For the love of God, let him who believes not this make his own trial. And I do not know how any one can think of the Queen of Angels, at the time when she laboured so much in the infancy and childhood of Jesus, and not return thanks to Joseph for the assistance which he rendered both to the Mother and to the Son.’ We should be particularly devout to Saint Joseph, that he may obtain for us a happy death.”
Lesson: Ecclesiasticus 45:1-6.
Gospel: Matt 1:18-21.

Monday of the Fourth Week in Lent (III)
Day of fast (traditional)
Lesson: III Kings 3:16-28.
Gospel: John 2:13-25.

Tuesday, 20 March, 2007
Tuesday of the Third Week in Lent (III)
Day of fast (traditional)
Lesson: Exodus 32:7-14.
Gospel: John 7:14-31.

Wednesday, 21 March, 2007
Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent (III)
Day of fast (traditional)
Lesson: Isaias 1:16-19.
Gospel: John 9:1-38.

St. Benedict, Abbot (III)
“Sent to Rome for his studies, he gave up both them and his career in the world, and retired to the solitude of Subiaco. He founded there twelve monasteries, among them Monte Cassino, and wrote the Holy Rule which bears his name. He is revered as the Founder of the Benedictine Order, and Co-Patron Saint of Europe. He died A.D. 543.”
Lesson: Ecclesiasticus 45:1-6.
Gospel: Matt 19:27-29.

Thursday, 22 March, 2007
Thursday of the Fourth Week in Lent (III)
Day of fast (traditional)
Lesson: IV Kings 4:25-38.
Gospel: Luke 7:11-16.

Friday, 23 March, 2007
Friday of the Fourth Week in Lent (III)
Day of fast (Obligatory)
Lesson: III Kings 17:17-24.
Gospel: John 11:1-45.

Saturday, 24 March 2007
Saturday of the Fourth Week in Lent (III)
Day of fast (traditional)
Lesson: Isaias 49:8-15.
Gospel: John 8:12-20.

St. Gabriel, Archangel (III)
"St. Gabriel was chosen by God to announce to Mary that she was to be the Mother of Christ."
Lesson: Daniel 9:21-26.
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38.

[i]Remarks are abstracted from The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, from Editio Typica of the Roman Missal and Breviary, 1962
(Baronius Press Limited, London, 2004, in conjunction with the Fraternal Society of St. Peter,

Friday, March 09, 2007

Stem Cells Part X: Wrap up.

An enduring myth of the media goes like this: "President Bush's ban on stem cell research has crippled this lifesaving medical research, and made the U.S. noncompetitive." Or some such. What is the truth of the matter?

In August, 2001, President Bush gave an address on stem cells[1] in which he noted that there were already in existence some 60 human embryonic stem cell (hES cell) lines, and that "we should allow federal funds to be used for research on these existing cell lines..." The media spin began the next morning, when the Washington Post huffed that his statement was "the most restrictive use of federal money the administration could have permitted short of a ban."[2] This was technically true, but misleading, for the Bush administration was the first to specifically authorize any federal dollars for hES cell research.[3] Since 2001, taxpayers have spent over $122 million on hES cell research,[4] with $20 million in 2002, ramping up to $40 million for 2005, with estimates of $37 million in 2007.[5] And, even without using federal dollars, private money was able to finance the first human clone in the U.S. in November of that same year, 2001.[6]

Worldwide, 414 hES cell lines have been developed in 20 countries.[7] Seventy one are registered in the NIH Stem Cell Registry, with 22 available for research; these lines represent, more or less, the "original" lines funded by the federal government. In addition, at least another 144 U.S. cell lines have been developed using private money.[8] By the end of 2005, there had been 315 research papers published in the world scientific literature. One hundred twenty five of these originated in the U.S., the largest fraction of any country by a factor of three. Over half of these U.S. papers received federal money. The next closest contender was Israel (42 papers), followed by the UK (30) and Korea (27).[9] On a side note, the number of papers written about stem cells - their ethics, their legality, and whatnot - "far exceeds" the number of actual research papers[10]. The point is that the contention, "the Bush ban impedes hES cell research" is simply not true.

Conversely, there is a factor which does impede hES cell research and send it overseas: patents. As we saw in Stem Cells Part IV, Dr. James Thompson and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin published the first report on growth of stem cells in 1998.[11] In 2001, his group, acting through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), patented the process.[12] That means U.S. researchers must obtain a license, and pay a royalty to WARF, to do work on stem cells, which is "stifling industrial research and investment" and "diverting taxpayer dollars meant for research to pay for licensing fees."[13] Since only the U.S. recognizes the WARF patents, it also means much work, and dollars, go overseas. Although these restrictions have recently been eased somewhat, it doesn't "go far enough."[14] A second major patent was issued in 2004 to Geron Corporation for their process of growing hES cells feeder-free.[15] These two patents - WARF and Geron - "dominate most of the anticipated commercial use of hES cells in the U.S."[16] So, in the end, human embryonic stem cell research, if its being impeded at all, is being impeded by plain old greed, not by the "Bush ban".

In the Introduction to this series, I said that what we as a society decide about human embryonic stem cell research will have a greater impact on the civilization our children inherit than even the Griswold v. Connecticut contraception decision, and the Roe v. Wade abortion decision, had on the society we have inherited. Before going any further, let me be clear on what hES cell research is not about: It isn't about cures for diseases. I do not think any "cures" will come from hES cell research. Even if they were, that wouldn't make it moral, because the "cures" would entail the murder of living human beings. But I believe that it will prove too technologically difficult to direct the growth of the cells, but even if it does become possible, replacing damaged tissues won't correct the underlying problems that led to the damage in the first place. If the steering is worn out, continually replacing the front tires won't fix the old heap. Likewise with stem cells, and I'm by no means the first person to make note of this problem.[17] Although I don't believe that stem cells as such will pan out, I do think that they will represent a way station in the development of other human-based medical technology. I think that somatic cell nuclear transfer - cloning - will be perfected, and the cloned embryos will be grown to cloned fetuses, and these fetuses will then be farmed for their organs and tissues. The primary technological hurdle here is developing an artificial womb/incubator. Cloning will be used to develop human/animal chimeras and hybrids of all sorts which will have multitudinous uses in medical research and development. Finally, cloned embryos will have uses as human technology manufacturing platforms, flexible systems which can be used to develop any number of biotherapies. We are already seeing this in the human cell lines developed from aborted babies which are used to manufacture vaccines and biotherapies. There will be more of this in the near future, much more. So, I think therapeutic cloning and its derivatives have a bright future.

But that's not where the real money is. I believe the real growth area will be in recreational cloning: the manufacture of creatures for human pleasure. Unthinkable? Fifty years ago, two men getting married was unthinkable. We have already crossed the threshold and entered a bright new world: the era of humanity unrestrained, a civilization without God, the realm of the perfect technological barbarian. Welcome to the future.

[1] President Discusses Stem Cell Research. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House 9 Aug 2001 Available at
[2] Bush Backs Partial Stem Cell Funding., 10 August 2001, Available at
[3] Fact Sheet: President Bush's Stem Cell Research Policy. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House 19 July 2006. Available at
[4] From 2003-2006 Bush Administration - $122 Million to Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research LifeSite 7 Feb 2007
[5] Estimates of Funding for Various Diseases, Conditions, & Research Areas. National Institutes of Health, 5 Feb 2007. Available at
[6] First Human Embryos are Cloned in the U.S. 26 November 2001, available at
[7] Guhr A, Kurtz A, et al. Current state of human embryonic stem cell research: an overview of cell lines and their use in experimental work. Stem Cells 2006; 24:2187-2191.
[8] ibid, pg. 2187
[9] ibid, Figure 2
[10] ibid, pg. 2189.
[11] Thomson, JA et al Embryonic Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Blastocysts. Science 282:1145-1147, November 6, 1998.
[12] U.S. Patent Office patent #6,200,806, issued 13 March 2001, to JA Thompson for Primate Embryonic Stem Cells.
[13] Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights & Public Patent Foundation Request for Reexamination of U.S. Patent No. 6,200,806. Available at
See also Public Patent Foundation,

[14] Wisconsin Group Eases Stem Cell Patent Restrictions After FTCR-PUBPAT Legal Challenge. Public Patent Foundation
[15] Bodnar, AG et al, inventors; Geron Corporation, assignee. Methods and materials for the growth of primate-derived primordial stem cells in feeder-free cultures. U.S. Patent No. 8,800,480. 2004 Cited in "Regenerative Medicine 2006", National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services Entire report downloadable in pdf format at See ref. 3, Chapter 5.
[16] Regenerative Medicine, ibid, pg. 54.
[17] Bobbert M. Ethical questions concerning research on human embryos, embryonic stem cells and chimeras. Biotechnology Journal 2006, 1:1352-1369. See in particular the discussion on pg. 1357.