Health-Care: Still Hope in Reconciliation

12/24/2009 Comment

The health-care reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate this morning “violates the long-standing federal policy against the use of federal funds for elective abortions and health plans that include such abortions,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops maintains.

The bill violates “a policy upheld in all health programs covered by the Hyde Amendment as well as in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program—and now in the House-passed ‘Affordable Health Care for America Act,’” the bishops said.

In the legislation, “federal funds will help subsidize, and in some cases a federal agency will facilitate and promote, health plans that...READ MORE

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Senate Votes for Abortion Compromise

12/22/2009 Comment

The second of three votes prior to the final passage in the Senate of the health-care reform act came this morning, and this vote was to pass Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid manager’s amendment containing the compromise language on abortion funding.

The Senate is now in the midst of 30 hours of debate that will continue until Wednesday afternoon, when senators will vote on cloture to end debate. A final vote on the bill is set for Dec. 24 at 8 a.m.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposes the bill with the Reid compromise, which allows the federal government to subsidize private insurance plans that cover abortion on demand.

Meanwhile, in the House of Represenatives, a pro-life...READ MORE

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Pius XII’s New Status Draws Criticism and Praise

12/22/2009 Comments (1)

Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to proclaim Pope Pius XII as “venerable” surprised and delighted many who have been campaigning to clear the wartime Pope’s name, but provoked predictable protests among some Jewish leaders.

Although an increasing number of Jewish and Catholic historians say there is plenty of well-documented evidence to suggest Pius was one of the Second World War’s greatest heroes, critics still accuse him of being “silent” and doing nothing to save Jews during the war.

Benedict XVI issued a decree Dec. 19 attesting to the “heroic virtue” of Eugenio Pacelli, pope from 1939 to 1958, giving him the title of “Venerable.” Now a panel of medical experts and...READ MORE

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Health-Care Weekend Roundup

12/21/2009 Comment

Here are links to stories detailing the events of this past weekend regarding health-care reform. Saturday morning, Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson said he would support the bill, with a compromise on abortion funding worked out with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Pro-Life groups say the compromise is a far cry from the Stupak-Pitts Amendment in the House version of the bill and actually, in the words of National Right to Life, “creates some new abortion-related problems.”

Nelson was the last vote Reid needed to get the 60 votes to end debate. This morning, shortly after 1 a.m., the Senate took the first of three procedural votes to move the massive bill toward a final vote, set for...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, healthcare, senate

Bishops Oppose Casey Amendment

12/18/2009 Comment

The U.S. bishops conference has come out against Sen. Bob Casey’s compromise amendment that is an attempt to win over Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Nelson, whose own pro-life amendment to Sen. Harry Reid’s health-care bill was defeated, has withheld his support for the bill unless it’s amended to reflect Hyde Amendment restrictions on federal funding of abortion.

Politics Daily reports that the final version of the Casey amendment has yet to be released. But, Casey’s office on Friday circulated summary language, which includes:

—Conscience protections identical to those in the House bill that pro-life groups backed;

—Elimination of a requirement that at least one plan in each...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, bishops, conscience, healthcare, politics, sen. ben nelson, sen. robert casey, senate

Pope Encourages New Legionary Priests

Congregation Announces the Apostolic Visitation to Be Completed in March

12/18/2009 Comment

After weekly general audience yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged a group of 59 recently ordained priests of the Legion of Christ to live up to their vocation.

“I want to remind you,” he said, “on the occasion of the Year for Priests, to learn from John Mary Vianney the love of Christ and his generous service to the Church — that you always give totally, fully and joyously, never forgetting the Lord’s predilection for your lives.”

The new priests attended the audience with a throng of family, friends, fellow priests and members of the Legion’s apostolate movement Regnum Christi.

The Legion also announced that the apostolic visitation into the congregation will be...READ MORE

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12/17/2009 Comment

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must think of Sen. Ben Nelson as a party pooper.

Pro-life advocates might start looking at Nelson sort of like the student who stood in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Nelson may be the last vote Reid needs to get a vote through on health-care reform.

He’s holding out. The Nebraska senator told a Nebraska radio station this afternoon that new language proposed to reach a compromise on abortion funding is not good enough.

Nelson and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah had proposed an amendment recently that was similar to the Stupak Amendment in the House, prohibiting federal funding of abortion under the health-care reform unless the...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, ben nelson, bishops, healthcare, obama, senate

Another Adult Stem-Cell Advance

12/17/2009 Comment

Heart Disease Can Be Treated With Patients’ Own Cells

A recent study from Northwestern University in Chicago has shown that transplanting adult stem cells into the heart muscle of subjects with severe angina — chest pain due to blocked arteries — lessens pain and improves the ability to walk.

Subjects’ own purified stem cells (CD34+ cells) were injected into their hearts to foster growth of small blood vessels that make up the microcirculation of the heart; the loss of this circulation, researchers believe, contributes to the pain of chronic, severe angina.

This study is the first to show that a person’s own stem cells can be used to treat their heart disease, said Dr. Douglas...READ MORE

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