Protecting Life

Facts of Life

Ethical, lifesaving stem-cell treatment has been in the news (see related story on page B7).

"The doctor who helped transplant a windpipe grown from a child’s own stem cells said the procedure supports Catholic moral teaching while at the same time helping to ‘revolutionize medicine,’" Catholic News Agency reported last month.

"On April 9, 2 1/2-year-old Hannah Warren underwent an intensive nine-hour surgery to install an artificial windpipe grown from her own bone marrow to correct a birth defect that left her unable to breathe, eat, swallow or speak on her own.

"Rather than using embryonic stem cells, Dr. Mark Holterman of Children’s Hospital of Illinois — part of OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria — said the experimental procedure upholds the hospital’s mission of providing for the sick with the ‘greatest care and love’ while also respecting Church teaching on the sanctity of human life."

"Because Hannah’s procedure uses her own cells, it reduces any risk of donor rejection and upholds Catholic doctrine, which is essential to the hospital’s mission," Holterman said. "We prayed a lot on the correctness of proceeding with the risk and expense. I believed we answered [God’s] call with obedience."

Protecting children in general was the message of Cardinal Timothy Dolan recently.

"Our lives are at their best when centered not upon ourselves but upon babies!" said Cardinal Dolan as he accepted an award for protecting religious liberty in April (his speech is available at

"The human project is all about babies! A man and woman are made for babies!"

Culture, he said, is "simply humanity’s best effort to protect the baby, the mother, the father … to embrace, nurture, protect the baby, the mom, the dad, and to see that this precious infant has the embrace of a community to grow ‘in age and wisdom’ until — guess what? — that baby is an adult, can tenderly and faithfully love a spouse, then have his/her own baby, and the sacred cycle begins again."

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy