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Priests for Life Welcomes Bishops' Statement on Embryonic Stem Cell Research


Priests for Life



June 16, 2008

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, who was present for the meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Orlando from June 11-14, welcomed the statement that the bishops approved during that meeting, reiterating the Church’s teaching on embryonic stem cell research and the moral principles related to it.

The statement is very clear. It does not dwell upon the scientific nuances of the issue, but rather assists the reader to focus on the core of the moral issues involved. The statement is not marked by condemnation, but rather by explanation. It is not a rejection of research or of those who stand to benefit from research, but rather a call to pursue the well being of those very individuals by preserving the moral standards that protect their dignity and that of the rest of us.

The statement reminds us that there is great medical promise in therapy with “adult stem cells,” which “can be obtained without harm to the donor and without any ethical problem.”

On the other hand, if human lives are destroyed for what some argue is the greater good of curing disease, this argument undermines the dignity of the very people for whom it tries to advocate. “The same ethic that justifies taking some lives to help the patient with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease today can be used to sacrifice that very patient tomorrow, if his or her survival is viewed as disadvantaging other human beings.”

Addressing the doubt some have as to whether embryos really are human, the statement reminds us, “Just as each of us was once an adolescent, a child, a newborn infant, and a child in the womb, each of us was once an embryo.”

And for those who acknowledge the humanity of the embryo but not its claim to protection, the bishops warn, “If fundamental rights such as the right to life are based on abilities or qualities that can appear or disappear, grow or diminish, and be greater or lesser in different human beings, then there are no inherent human rights, no true human equality, only privileges for the strong.

The bottom line is that human beings can never be considered a means to an end or a mere object of research. The moral boundary of human activity in every sphere can be summarized by saying that people are not things. Every human being is a human person, and a person is never a product. From pornography to abortion, from economic oppression to unjustified warfare, from the Holocaust to the destruction of embryos, the violation of the same principle can be seen. The only appropriate response to the human person is love.

The Church in no way opposes research or the progress of medical science. Indeed, this statement is an affirmation of that fact, because by reaffirming where the bright moral lines are that research must never cross, the Church encourages researchers to work harder to discover alternatives that provide the benefits we all seek while preserving the moral foundation that provides the rationale for seeking those benefits in the first place. And those alternatives are coming to light – a fact which can help even those who justify the destruction of embryos to realize that there is no reason to take that path.

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9/3/2012 1:36:20 AM
Dear Father Pavone,

When you come to New Mexico for your meeting, I hope you would consider a serious problem that allows the killing of babies since everyone else seems more interested in the business and politics of pro-life than actually saving lives.

As a former State Senator now running as an Independent, I have been embroiled in a controversy with Right to Life that has far-reaching implications beyond this election.

NMRTL changed its questionnaire this year by not including a question to candidates about our position on embryonic stem cells so that it would be able to recommend my opponent John Ryan in its endorsement process even though he was the prime sponsor of the Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill for four years, with it passing the State Senate, but being stopped in the House through the courageous efforts of our Catholic Speaker of the House Ben Lujan. Unfortunately Speaker Lujan is not returning and this bill will most likely pass and become law, if Ryan is there to reintroduce it.

I decided to run against Ryan because of some Catholics concern of his anti-life stand on this legislation and because of the political assaults on our Christian faith and the Catholic Church in particular. I think I have been able to provide a strong effective voice defending our Faith and the issues of our concern, but it’s difficult not having the ability to differentiate myself from my opponent on the pro-life issue. He is now using that NMRTL recommendation to convince pro-life Republicans who were my supporters to support him because I am no longer a Republican and he is campaigning with RTL Executive Director Dauneen Dolce at his side.

NMRTL has also endorsed me, but has threatened to remove my endorsement if I complain about their failure to include the question about embryonic stem cells and it’s political decision to recommend Ryan. National Right to Life let me know in writing to” shut up” or they would take away my endorsement. And as a former President of Right to Life, who fought the early battles when people would picket my restaurant to try to put me out of business because of my defense of Life, and have Right to Choose organizations such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL spend a lot of money and provide many volunteers to campaign against me when I ran for the State Senate, that threat is clearly an affront to all of us who fight for Life.

Legislators in other states I contacted have been sent a RTL questionnaire that contains the Embryonic Stem Cell question, proving that the NMRTL specifically didn’t include that question to protect Ryan even though I pointed out that embryonic stem cell research was gong on at UNM just awaiting some government funding.

I entered this race without resources and as an Independent knew that I would not receive much support from Republicans, and that Ryan’s powerful Republican Pro-choice friend Jay McCleskey, had declared that he would defeat me at any cost. But being that District 10 is 90% of my old District and 10% Ryan’s, I thought that everything else being equal, I had a good chance of winning especially if the pro-life community united behind my campaign as they have done in the past. But that has all changed since RTL has become a political wing of the Republican Party. So while the President of National Right to Life can proclaim that they are endorsing Romney because Obama is in favor of “killing human embryos, ” they can at the same time recommend Ryan, a candidate who actually sponsors that legislation, running against a candidate who is a pro-Life activist and was President of Right to Life.

I need some help to correct this wrong and sinful action. I need the help of my Church. This is not an issue of my candidacy or the politics of religion. If we truly believe that life begins at conception, this is an issue of the killing of babies for profit, unrelated to the curing of any disease or condition that we can use adult stem cells to accomplish. This is clearly good versus evil. And evil wins when good people with good intentions stand by and do nothing. God knows we weren’t created to make a profit.

Please understand I have to find a solution to this problem since it involves the issues of life that I and others have fought for all these years I am proud that our Church seems to have take a more proactive stand on a national level, and I would hope that we can stand up to those who use our beliefs for their personal gain.

Thanks for your consideration, and I hope to hear from you. May God bless you,
Senator Joe Carraro
(505) 898-9369


Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 •