Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George was in Springfield, IL, last Wednesday in person, lobbying Gov. Rod Blagojevich and lawmakers to reject a pending proposal that would encourage embryonic stem-cell research in Illinois.
George Fights Stem Cell Bill
Cardinal George told legislators that this and similar projects are opposed by the Catholic Church for moral reasons and that they are an abuse of taxpayers money. He said creating and then destroying human embryos for scientific reasons should never be done with public money, but added that even private funding should not be used for such immoral purposes.
While his opponents said he was diplomatic in his request, they indicate that they have no intention of changing their minds. The tax would come from elective cosmetic surgery performed in Illinois.
George pointed out that all of the medical breakthroughs have come from the use of adult stem cells and umbilical cord cells, anyway, and that is not an immoral use of stem cells.
The proposal passed a House committee 10-3 and is awaiting further consideration. Michael Madigan is the chief co-sponsor of the bill. Our hat is off to the Cardinal for his efforts.
Benedict Modifies Beatification Ceremony
In one of his first changes from John Paul II’s traditions, Pope Benedict XVI will allow persons who are elevated to “blessed” to have a Cardinal stand in for the Pope, and will also have the ceremonies carried on inside St. Peters Basilica instead of in St. Peter’s Square.
Pope Benedict says that this was the ordinary way of beatification and canonization before Pope Paul VI and John Paul II. During his 26-year pontificate, Pope John Paul II beatified 1,338 and canonized 284, more than all his predecessors during the past five centuries combined.
Elshtain Defends Bible Study
Jean Bethke Elshtain in a Chicago Tribune commentary reports that 98 percent of high school English teachers believe that public school students need to know the Bible. Yet only 8 percent of public schools teach even an elective course on the Bible.
Elshtain points out that from the beginning of schools in America nearly 400 years ago and until recently, the Bible was an essential part of school education. For many years and in many places it was the only textbook. The first printed reader for school children was “The New England Primer” in the 1600’s and drew heavily on the Bible and even the McGuffey Readers, popular in the 19th Century, drew heavily on the Bible.
Without a knowledge of the Bible and its many stories, education in incomplete and literacy in America has had a dramatic turn for the worse since the U. S. Supreme Court ruled out morning reading of the Bible and religious and devotional exercises in Public Schools in 1963. Yet, where courses on the Bible and basic Christian belief is taught the classes are packed because young people want to know the stories of the Bible and what they mean.
Great political leaders of the past referred to the Bible constantly, and some even do today, yet there is a woeful lack of understanding of the subject of religion by young people. Elshtain believes our culture depends on the Bible and we cannot even know our own culture without a basic knowledge of this Book. She is a professor at the University of Chicago.
According to a growing body of evidence from the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center, people who go to church at least one a week enjoy better than average health and lower rates of illness, including depression.
The study, reported in the Wall Street Journal, has plenty of naysayers, but evidence is still mounting in favor of church goers being healthier than those who do not attend religious services. The article as presented in Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times is entitled, “Forget an apple a day: Going to church may keep the doctor away.”