30 aprile 2009

Transnational Supporter of Abortion Advances to Top U.S. Legal Job

Transnational Supporter of Abortion Advances to Top U.S. Legal Job

By Austin Ruse

(WASHINGTON, DC – C-FAM) It was clear from the opening moments of the Senate hearings for the proposed new top legal advisor at the United States (US) State Department that widespread criticism of the nominee had struck a nerve. Rather than a love feast for a liberal hero, the committee seemed to be, in the words of one observer, in a “defensive crouch.”

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry immediately denied charges that former Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh wants to subordinate the US Constitution to foreign legal sources. To chuckles all around, Kerry said to Koh, “And you don’t want to do away with Mother’s Day, do you?” This referred to criticism from social conservatives that Koh supports US ratification of a United Nations (UN) treaty whose monitoring committee criticized Mother’s Day as promoting a negative cultural stereotype.

With the exception of a few Republicans, each member of the Committee felt it necessary to rebut criticism of Koh that has been building in the conservative media and blogosphere.

In his voluminous writings, Koh has vigorously supported a legal theory known as “transnationalism.” This theory holds that federal judges and Supreme Court justices should use foreign legal sources like European Court of Human Rights opinions to interpret the US Constitution and determine US law. In the hearing, Koh distanced himself from his own writings, saying he was only interested in “knowing” foreign law and mocked those who felt that American lawyers should not “know” foreign law.

A broad-ranging “sovereignty coalition” has formed in opposition to the Koh nomination, and a letter from the coalition to the Senate is expected any day. The group represents a broad range of center-right concerns over national security, economic, social, foreign, and constitutional policy.

Troubling to social conservatives is Koh’s support of UN regimes forming -- and sometimes coercing – the social policy of sovereign states. Koh, for instance, supports US ratification of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Koh seems unaware or indifferent to the threat posed by the UN committee that monitors CEDAW compliance. In 2002 testimony before the Senate, Koh testified that CEDAW was “abortion neutral,” when in fact the CEDAW committee had read abortion into the treaty through its “health” provisions. Moreover, he seemed at that time to be unaware or indifferent to the CEDAW committee directing states parties that they had to legalize abortion.

In written testimony provided to the committee, Koh denied there was a customary international legal norm on the death penalty. Given that there is greater international uniformity on the death penalty than on abortion, it would follow that Koh would also deny such a norm exists for abortion. However, given the way that Koh dodged and weaved before the committee and at times seemed to deny his own writings, one cannot be sure he would follow his own logic.

It is expected Koh will be voted out of committee but that there will be a floor fight over his confirmation.

Obama/Clinton Position on Family Planning and Abortion Violates Cairo Agreement

Obama/Clinton Position on Family Planning and Abortion Violates Cairo Agreement

By Samantha Singson

(NEW YORK – C-FAM) Last week at a United States (US) House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that there was a new administration in place with different values, beliefs and global agenda. Nothing illustrated this rupture with previous US policy more than her admission that the Obama administration interprets the term “reproductive health” to include abortion.

In response to a question from Congressman Christopher Smith (R-NJ) on whether her definition of the phrases “reproductive health,” “reproductive services,” and “reproductive rights” includes abortion, Secretary Clinton stated that, “We [the current US administration] happen to think that family planning is an important part of women’s health and reproductive health includes access to abortion that I believe should be safe, legal and rare.”

Clinton’s linkage of family planning with abortion is not just a severe break with the previous administration; it is a clear violation of the Cairo Program for Action, which her husband’s government helped to negotiate in 1994. The Cairo document explicitly states in two places that abortion should in no case “be promoted as a method of family planning.”

Secretary Clinton’s statement of the current administration’s position is in stark contrast to previous US policy. Over the last eight years at the United Nations (UN), the US delegation made dozens of interventions underscoring that there is no international consensus on abortion. Up until the week prior to Barack Obama’s election, the US delegation at the UN stated that “sexual and reproductive health does not include abortion or constitute support, endorsement, or promotion of abortion or the use of abortifacients” and that “none of these references can be interpreted to constitute support, endorsement, for promotion of abortion.”

At the UN, nations regularly engage in heated debates over “reproductive health” language. When the term was introduced at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, states only agreed to its inclusion in the non-binding outcome document with the understanding that it could not be used to create any new right to abortion. More than 13 states also made explicit reservations to ensure that none of the terms related to reproductive health would be defined to include abortion.

To date, no international consensus on the precise meaning of the term “reproductive health” exists. At the Commission for Population and Development meeting earlier this month, several countries made explanations of position reiterating that there is no international consensus on the term “reproductive health” and that abortion should not be included as part of its definition.

The term “reproductive health” is currently the focus of legislation in a number of countries like the Philippines and contained in various declarations and proposals at the Organization of American States, the African Union and the UN. As the Philippines’ Constitution explicitly protects unborn life, its usage in national legislation excludes any abortion linkage.

For years, pro-life UN lobbyists have urged countries to issue strong interpretive statements to protect their laws on abortion.

29 aprile 2009

The Infamous Ben June Incident

On this date, Leo Swineheart…” continues with… “The Infamous Ben June Incident”
~ Baron Von Winder

The date was, April 11, 2003, exactly 2 years, and 7 months ago. The suspects were the usual: Eddy “The Legend” Futch, Squanto A.K.A. “Albert E. Pigeous” and Leo “The Party Pervert” Swineheart. This was a night that young Swineheart would remember in infamy for the rest of his life. The other players who had a supporting role in this debacle were Hamburger Bliss, Windy A.K.A. “The Wiley Wheel”, Zeefis “He Cheats” Aphelius and the legendary Eddie “Amino Acids” Odell. “T.O. Viddler”, who claimed to have no foreknowledge of the incident under examination, may have been the mastermind behind the night’s events, though this has yet to be proven and is only mere speculation.

The night started out harmless enough, as is usually the case when something monumental is about to occur. The three juvenile lads, Futch, Pigeous and Swineheart were in Baltimore for the weekend, staying at the home of The Wheel, Bliss and Aphelius. All were is good spirits, enjoying each others company until the keen eye of the “The Legend” spotted a bottle of Ouzo, a Greek liquor. T.O. Viddler decided to retire for the night, and was talking to Bliss, The Wheel and Aphelius in the upper room, leaving Eddy Futch, young Pigeous and the susceptible Leo Swineheart all alone with the bottle of Ouzo. An hour passed as Viddler shared his words of wisdom with the older boys, while the younger sort indulged themselves with booze and revelry. By the time The Wheel, Aphelius and Bliss had rejoined the insufferable youngsters, the effects of their festivities were in full effect. Said Swineheart in an obnoxious voice: “Bob!! Who is that Bob!?! Awe yeah Bob!!”

The six companions made their way over to the WAWA house, a destination of ill-repute particularly notorious for corrupting young souls in the prime of their youth. Along the way, the mild-mannered Swine was getting noticeably bolder, with “The Legend” and crew egging him on all the more. His voice was amplified and gestures gregarious as he beleaguered passersby, in a most jolly way, of course. Upon entering the WAWA House, there were a plethora of buxom beauties to behold. One can only imagine what was going through young Leo’s mind as “Dr. Leo Swineheart prepared to operate.” Witnesses described seeing a certain Mr. Swineheart cornering unsuspecting young ladies and flashing mischievous grins, turning on the charm, if you will, and laying it on thick.

But this behavior was not enough, no, #64 had not had his fill. Swineheart, borrowing a page out of Zeefis’ childhood playbook, who, in his more formative years claimed that he wanted to be a doctor so he could “squeeze girls’ deez’s”, did just that! He crossed the line, and he liked it! These antics went on for a good 20 minutes; Swine was utilizing the “hit & run” technique to perfection, until that fateful moment…

The shameless Swineheart eyed up his next victim, a particularly voluptuous rump. His delusionary mind was clouded by visions of grandeur as he… moved… in… for… the… kill… He waited for the opportune time and struck! The satisfaction was short lived however! Much to his chagrin, the young beauty’s boyfriend witnessed the whole episode and, in outrage lashed out at the confused Swineheart, who by now was in disarray. Stunned that his antics had been exposed, Leo turned and ran for shelter, with five frat boys hot on his embarrassed quakin’. He found refuge in a bathroom and frantically tried to close the door as angry fists rained down on him through the half-opened doorway. A mediator, we shall refer to him as “The Glitch”, eventually calmed down Ben June, the maligned boyfriend of the young women Swineheart had assaulted. After some threatening remarks and a black eye, Swineheart was allowed to go free.

Meantime, The Wheel was wondering where his volatile companion had wondered off to; all of the crew was accounted for except Mr. Swineheart. After a thorough search of the premises, The Wheel found the Swine, dazed and confused on the top floor, blinking profusely and babbling to himself. Ben June’s coward ass was nowhere to be found, so the two compadres made their way downstairs to the room of Eddie “Amino Acids” Odell, where Swineheart explained the whole exploit in detail to his five companions and the much celebrated Odell. At that point, the magnanimous Odellios, stormed to his feet as all 330 pounds exclaimed in a high-pitched voice: “Nobody hits Leo Swineheart and gets away with it!! NOBODY !!!” At that exact moment, someone offered the livid “Amino Acids” a Yoohoo. He calmed down immediately, feigned deny, then retorted: “Well, if you’re offering.” He then started babbling about how he was entitled to the Yoohoo, but nobody was paying much attention by that point.

Squanto was sitting in the corner soaking up every detail with glee.

After some time, the six friends left the WAWA house, laughing about the nights events and eventually made it back to the place where it all began. To give Leo credit, he immediately went up to T.O. Viddler’s room and heaped copious apologies on the old man who was laughing hysterically because he had never seen Leo in such a state of debacle. T.O. appropriately nicknamed Swineheart the “Party Pervert” which was received with another side-splitting round of laughter. It was then confirmed that Swineheart had inadvertently stepped in dog chid, which was the perfect ending for the night. This leaves us with just one question: which was worse, the smell in the room or Leo “The Party Pervert” Swineheart’ behavior, you decide…

28 aprile 2009

Glendon turns down ND's Laetare Medal

Cites Obama honor as reason for refusal

By Catherine Harmon

In a letter addressed to University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins, former U.S. Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon declined the prestigious Laetare Medal, which she was set to receive during the university’s commencement ceremony on May 17.

In her letter, which was dated April 27, Glendon cites Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Barack Obama as 2009 commencement speaker as her reason for turning down the award.

“I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree,” Glendon said in her letter. “This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions ‘should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles’ and that such persons ‘should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.’”

Glendon also expressed displeasure that the university appeared to believe awarding her the Laetare Medal “would somehow balance the event,” referencing the “talking points” distributed to the Notre Dame Board of Trustees in response to criticism of the Obama invitation.

“A commencement…is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families,” Glendon said. “It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision…to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.”

Glendon stated that she intended to release the letter to the press, but that she would not make any further public comment at present. Glendon is a member of the editorial board of First Things, and she posted her letter on the magazine’s blog.

In response to Glendon's letter, Jenkins issued a brief statement via the university's Office of News and Information: “We are, of course, disappointed that Professor Glendon has made this decision. It is our intention to award the Laetare Medal to another deserving recipient, and we will make that announcement as soon as possible.”

Since Notre Dame announced on March 20 that Obama would be the speaker at their 2009 commencement and would receive an honorary degree, Catholic communities across the country—as well as many of their bishops—have voiced their opposition, citing the president’s virulently pro-abortion views and actions. An online petition to Jenkins was quickly drafted and touted across the Internet on Catholic blogs and websites; the petition has been signed by more than 300,000 individuals.

Glendon, the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University, was U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 2007 to 2009. Named president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences by Pope John Paul II in 2004, she has also served on the U.S. President’s Council on Bioethics and was head of the Holy See’s delegation to the U.N. Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1995. She is a world-renowned scholar of law, philosophy, and political theory.

The Laetare Medal was established at Notre Dame in 1883. It is awarded every year to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity,” according to the university’s website. Among the past recipients of the Laetare Medal—which Notre Dame considers its most prestigious award—are President John F. Kennedy, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, Dorothy Day, and novelist Walker Percy.

Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.
Link to original article.

23 aprile 2009

UNICEF Calls for Legal Abortion in Dominican Republic

By Piero A. Tozzi, J.D. and Paola Ocejo

(NEW YORK – C-FAM) Despite direct intervention by a top United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) official, the Dominican Republic appears poised to adopt a new constitution that protects human life “from conception until death.”

While Dominican lawmakers were debating the merits of such a provision and the nation’s penal prohibition of abortion, Nils Kastberg, UNICEF’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, interjected himself, calling on Dominican legislators to consider liberalizing abortion so women would not be forced into “unsafe procedures.” He also suggested they would be “hypocrites” unconcerned with the nation’s higher than average teen birth rate. Kastberg made his unusual statements while visiting the capital of Santo Domingo at the end of March.

Rather than bowing to external pressure from UNICEF and pro-abortion non-governmental organizations, this week members of the bicameral constitutional assembly voted 167-32 to approve the proposed charter, including Article 30, which states, “The right to life is inviolable from conception to death.” Another article would define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Pro-lifers are considering the constitutional reform to be a fait accompli, though a second reading followed by formal promulgation by the President is also required. Support crossed party lines, with the opposition Partido Revolucionario Dominicano and Partido Reformista Social Cristiano and most members of the President’s Partido de la Liberación Dominicana declaring their support for the right-to-life provision.

The meddling by Kastberg, a Swedish national, also brought to mind another pro-abortion Latin American intervention by UNICEF and other United Nations agencies. When Nicaragua strengthened legislation protecting the unborn in 2006, UNICEF joined agencies like the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Development Fund in signing a letter to the head of the Nicaraguan National Assembly that asserted – incorrectly – that the legislation violated rights contained in various international documents such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, or CEDAW.

In addition, four Scandinavian countries, Holland and Canada signed the letter, with Sweden reportedly cutting over $20 million in foreign aid to Nicaragua as a result of the legislative reform, and Finland threatening to link continued aid to changes in Nicaragua’s abortion law.

Despite its image as a benign agency dedicated to assisting children in the developing world, in recent years UNICEF has supported liberalized abortion. According to Douglas Sylva, a senior fellow of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) [publisher of the Friday Fax] and the author of a White Paper on the agency, UNICEF is “an opportunistic advocate of abortion rights.” One longtime UNICEF watcher told the Friday Fax, “Where does UNICEF get the authority to interfere in the constitutional decisions of a sovereign state?”

When formally adopted, the Dominican Republic will join other Latin American nations whose constitutions explicitly protect unborn life, including Chile, Paraguay, and Guatemala. In addition, at least 10 Mexican states have amended their state constitutions to protect life from the moment of conception, including most recently, the Pacific coast state of Nayarit. The pro-life constitutional revisions in Mexico and the Dominican Republic signal popular reaffirmation of pro-life principles throughout the region.

13 aprile 2009

Archbishop Myers on Obama at Notre Dame

Statement of The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, On Notre Dame University’s Decision to Host and Honor President Obama at its Commencement Ceremony

It pained me to hear that one of the symbols of Catholic education in our nation, Notre Dame University, had extended an invitation to President Obama to speak at its commencement.

Not all people believe what the Church teaches, and in our society today we sometimes must work on issues of importance with people who do not agree with us on the primacy of the sanctity and dignity of life -- a moral issue on which there can be no compromise.

When we extend honors to people who do not share our respect and reverence for life in all stages, and give them a prominent stage in our parishes, schools and other institutions, we unfortunately create the perception that we endorse their public positions on these issues. We cannot justify such actions, and the Bishops have stated so clearly and strongly.

If the president of Notre Dame University truly wishes to show that his institution is rooted in Catholic teaching and tradition and committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he must underscore this message at commencement plainly and clearly, and invite everyone to embrace an immutable and all-inclusive reverence for life.

Source: The Archdiocese of Newark

he Truth of the Resurrection

The Truth of the Resurrection | Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger | From Introduction to Christianity

To the Christian, faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is an expression of certainty that the saying that seems to be only a beautiful dream is in fact true: "Love is strong as death" (Song 8:6). In the Old Testament this sentence comes in the middle of praises of the power of eros. But this by no means signifies that we can simply push it aside as a lyrical exaggeration. The boundless demands of eros", its apparent exaggerations and extravagance, do in reality give expression to a basic problem, indeed the" basic problem of human existence, insofar as they reflect the nature and intrinsic paradox of love: love demands infinity, indestructibility; indeed, it is, so to speak, a call for infinity. But it is also a fact that this cry of love's cannot be satisfied, that it demands infinity but cannot grant it; that it claims eternity but in fact is included in the world of death, in its loneliness and its power of destruction. Only from this angle can one understand what "resurrection" means. It is" the greater strength of love in face of death.

At the same time it is proof of what only immortality can create: being in the other who still stands when I have fallen apart. Man is a being who himself does not live forever but is necessarily delivered up to death. For him, since he has no continuance in himself, survival, from a purely human point of view, can only become possible through his continuing to exist in another. The statements of Scripture about the connection between sin and death are to he understood from this angle. For it now becomes clear that man's attempt "to be like God", his striving for autonomy, through which he wishes to stand on his own feet alone, means his death, for he just cannot stand on his own. If man--and this is the real nature of sin--nevertheless refuses to recognize his own limits and tries to be completely self-sufficient, then precisely by adopting this attitude he delivers himself up to death.

Of course man does understand that his life alone does not endure and that he must therefore strive to exist in others, so as to remain through them and in them in the land of the living. Two ways in particular have been tried. First, living on in one's own children: that is why in primitive peoples failure to marry and childlessness are regarded as the most terrible curse; they mean hopeless destruction, final death. Conversely, the largest possible number of children offers at the same time the greatest possible chance of survival, hope of immortality, and thus the most genuine blessing that man can expect. Another way discloses itself when man discovers that in his children he only continues to exist in a very unreal way; he wants more of himself to remain. So he takes refuge in the idea of fame, which should make him really immortal if be lives on through all ages in the memory of others. But this second attempt of man's to obtain immortality for himself by existing in others fails just as badly as the first: what remains is not the self but only its echo, a mere shadow. So self-made immortality is really only a Hades, a sheol": more nonbeing than being. The inadequacy of both ways lies partly in the fact that the other person who holds my being after my death cannot carry this being itself but only its echo; and even more in the fact that even time other person to whom I have, so to speak, entrusted my continuance will not last--he, too, will perish.

This leads us to the next step. We have seen so far that man has no permanence in himself. And consequently can only continue to exist in another but that his existence in another is only shadowy and once again not final, because this other must perish, too. If this is so, then only one could truly give lasting stability: he who is, who does not come into existence and pass away again but abides in the midst of transience: the God of the living, who does not hold just the shadow and echo of my being, whose ideas are not just copies of reality. I myself am his thought, which establishes me more securely, so to speak, than I am in myself; his thought is not the posthumous shadow but the original source and strength of my being. In him I can stand as more than a shadow; in him I am truly closer to myself than I should be if I just tried to stay by myself.

Before we return from here to the Resurrection, let us try to see the same thing once again from a somewhat different side. We can start again from the dictum about love and death and say: Only where someone values love more highly than life, that is, only where someone is ready to put life second to love, for the sake of love, can love be stronger and more than death. If it is to be more than death, it must first be more than mere life. But if it could be this, not just in intention but in reality, then that would mean at the same time that the power of love had risen superior to the power of the merely biological and taken it into its service. To use Teilhard de Chardin's terminology; where that took place, the decisive complexity or "complexification" would have occurred; bios, too, would be encompassed by and incorporated in the power of love. It would cross the boundary--death--and create unity where death divides. If the power of love for another were so strong somewhere that it could keep alive not just his memory, the shadow of his "I", but that person himself, then a new stage in life would have been reached. This would mean that the realm of biological evolutions and mutations had been left behind and the leap made to a quite different plane, on which love was no longer subject to bios but made use of it. Such a final stage of "mutation" and "evolution" would itself no longer be a biological stage; it would signify the end of the sovereignty of bios, which is at the same time the sovereignty of death; it would open up the realm that the Greek Bible calls zoe, that is, definitive life, which has left behind the rule of death. The last stage of evolution needed by the world to reach its goal would then no longer be achieved within the realm of biology but by the spirit, by freedom, by love. It would no longer be evolution but decision and gift in one.

But what has all this to do, it may be asked, with faith in the Resurrection of Jesus? Well, we previously considered the question of the possible immortality of man from two sides, which now turn out to be aspects of one and. the same state of affairs. We said that, as man has no permanence in himself, his survival could. only be brought about by his living on in another. And we said, from the point of view of this "other", that only the love that takes up the beloved in itself, into its own being, could make possible this existence in the other. These two complementary aspects are mirrored again, so it seems to me, in the two New Testament ways of describing the Resurrection of the Lord: "Jesus has risen" and "God (the Father) has awakened Jesus." The two formulas meet in the fact that Jesus' total love for men, which leads him to the Cross, is perfected in totally passing beyond to the Father and therein becomes stronger than death, because in this it is at the same time total "being held" by him.

From this a further step results. We can now say that love always establishes some kind of immortality; even in its prehuman stage, it points, in the form of preservation of the species, in this direction. Indeed, this founding of immortality is not something incidental to love, not one thing that it does among others, but what really gives it its specific character. This principle can be reversed; it then signifies that immortality always" proceeds from love, never out of the autarchy of that which is sufficient to itself. We may even be bold enough to assert that this principle, properly understood, also applies even to God as he is seen by the Christian faith. God, too, is absolute permanence, as opposed to everything transitory, for the reason that he is the relation of three Persons to one another, their incorporation in the "for one another" of love, act-substance of the love that is absolute and therefore completely "relative", living only "in relation to". As we said earlier, it is not autarchy, which knows no one but itself, that is divine; what is revolutionary about the Christian view of the world and of God, we found, as opposed to those of antiquity, is that it learns to understand the "absolute" as absolute "relatedness", as relatio subsistens.

To return to our argument, love is the foundation of immortality, and immortality proceeds from love alone. This statement to which we have now worked our way also means that he who has love for all has established immortality for all. That is precisely the meaning of the biblical statement that his Resurrection is our life. The--to us--curious reasoning of St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians now becomes comprehensible: if he has risen, then we have, too, for then love is stronger than death; if he has not risen, then we have not either, for then the situation is still that death has the last word, nothing else (cf. I Cor 15:16f.). Since this is a statement of central importance, let us spell it out once again in a different way: Either love is stronger than death, or it is not. If it has become so in him, then it became so precisely as love for others. This also means, it is true, that our own love, left to itself, is not sufficient to overcome death; taken in itself it would have to remain an unanswered cry. It means that only his love, coinciding with God's own power of life and love, can be the foundation of our immortality. Nevertheless, it still remains true that the mode of our immortality will depend on our mode of loving. We shall have to return to this in the section on the Last Judgment.

A further point emerges from this discussion. Given the foregoing considerations, it goes without saying that the life of him who has risen from the dead is not once again bios, the biological form of our mortal life within history; it is zoe, new, different, definitive life; life that has stepped beyond the mortal realm of bios and history, a realm that has here been surpassed by a greater power. And in fact the Resurrection narratives of the New Testament allow us to see clearly that the life of the Risen One lies, not within the historical bios, but beyond and above it. It is also true, of course, that this new life begot itself in history and had to do so, because after all it is there for history, and the Christian message is basically nothing else than the transmission of the testimony that love has managed to break through death here and thus has transformed fundamentally the situation of all of us. Once we have realized this, it is no longer difficult to find the right kind of hermeneutics for the difficult business of expounding the biblical Resurrection narratives, that is, to acquire a clear understanding of the sense in which they must properly be understood. Obviously we cannot attempt here a detailed discussion of the questions involved, which today present themselves in a more difficult form than ever before; especially as historical and--for the most part inadequately pondered--philosophical statements are becoming more and more inextricably intertwined, and exegesis itself quite often produces its own philosophy, which is intended to appear to the layman as a supremely refined distillation of the biblical evidence. Many points of detail will here always remain open to discussion, but it is possible to recognize a fundamental dividing line between explanation that remains explanation and arbitrary adaptations [to contemporary ways of thinking].

First of all, it is quite clear that after his Resurrection Christ did not go back to his previous earthly life, as we are told the young man of Nain and Lazarus did. He rose again to definitive life, which is no longer governed by chemical and biological laws and therefore stands outside the possibility of death, in the eternity conferred by love. That is why the encounters with him are "appearances"; that is why he with whom people had sat at table two days earlier is not recognized by his best friends and, even when recognized, remains foreign: only where he grants vision is he seen; only when he opens men's eyes and makes their hearts open up can the countenance of the eternal love that conquers death become recognizable in our mortal world, and, in that love, the new, different world, the world of him who is to come. That is also why it is so difficult, indeed absolutely impossible, for the Gospels to describe the encounter with the risen Christ; that is why they can only stammer when they speak of these meetings and seem to provide contradictory descriptions of them. In reality they are surprisingly unanimous in the dialectic of their statements, in the simultaneity of touching and not touching, or recognizing and not recognizing, of complete identity between the crucified and the risen Christ and complete transformation. People recognize the Lord and yet do not recognize him again; people touch him, and yet he is untouchable; he is the same and yet quite different. As we have said, the dialectic is always the same; it is only the stylistic means by which it is expressed that changes.

For example, let us examine a little more closely from this point of view the Emmaus story, which we have already touched upon briefly. At first sight it looks as if we are confronted here with a completely earthly and material notion of resurrection; as if nothing remains of the mysterious and indescribable elements to be found in the Pauline accounts. It looks as if the tendency to detailed depiction, to the concreteness of legend, supported by the apologist's desire for something tangible, had completely won the upper hand and fetched the risen Lord right back into earthly history. But this impression is soon contradicted by his mysterious appearance and his no less mysterious disappearance. The notion is contradicted even more by the fact that here, too, he remains unrecognizable to the accustomed eye. He cannot be firmly grasped as he could be in the time of his earthly life; he is discovered only in the realm of faith; he sets the hearts of the two travelers aflame by his interpretation of the Scriptures and by breaking bread he opens their eyes. This is a reference to the two basic elements in early Christian worship, which consisted of the liturgy of the word (the reading and expounding of Scripture) and the eucharistic breaking of bread. In this way the evangelist makes it clear that the encounter with the risen Christ lies on a quite new plane; he tries to describe the indescribable in terms of the liturgical facts. He thereby provides both a theology of the Resurrection and a theology of the liturgy: one encounters the risen Christ in the word and in the sacrament; worship is the way in which he becomes touchable to us and, recognizable as the living Christ. And conversely, the liturgy is based on the mystery of Easter; it is to he understood as the Lords approach to us. In it he becomes our traveling companion, sets our dull hearts aflame, and opens our sealed eyes. He still walks with us, still finds us worried and downhearted, and still has the power to make us see.

Of course, all this is only half the story; to stop at this alone would mean falsifying the evidence of the New Testament. Experience of the risen Christ is something other than a meeting with a man from within our history, and it must certainly not be traced back to conversations at table and recollections that would have finally crystallized in the idea that he still lived and went about his business. Such an interpretation reduces what happened to the purely human level and robs it of its specific quality. The Resurrection narratives are something other and more than disguised liturgical scenes: they make visible the founding event on which all Christian liturgy rests. They testify to an approach that did not rise from the hearts of the disciples but came to them from outside, convinced them despite their doubts and made them certain that the Lord had truly risen. He who lay in the grave is no longer there; he--really he himself--lives. He who had been transposed into the other world of God showed himself powerful enough to make it palpably clear that he himself stood in their presence again, that in him the power of love had really proved itself stronger than the power of death.

Only by taking this just as seriously as what we said first does one remain faithful to the witness borne by the New Testament; only thus, too, is its seriousness in world history preserved. The comfortable attempt to spare oneself the belief in the mystery of God's mighty actions in this world and yet at the same time to have the satisfaction of remaining on the foundation of the biblical message leads nowhere; it measures up neither to the honesty of reason nor to the claims of faith. One cannot have both the Christian faith and "religion within the bounds of pure reason"; a choice is unavoidable. He who believes will see more and more clearly, it is true, how rational it is to have faith in the love that has conquered death.

Notre Dame, Obama and the Catholic Brand

How Honoring the President Could Weaken the Catholic Voice

By Helen M. Alvaré

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Supporters of Notre Dame University's decision to honor Barack Obama at its commencement employ elevated and even aspirational language in their attempt to characterize the meaning of the event. They invoke the language of "engagement" and "common ground" and "dialogue." But no matter their intentions or even their hopes, the very contents and structures of their argumentation ultimately denigrate the Catholic "brand" of speaking in the public square.

This "brand" involves relying upon empirically supportable assertions and rational argumentation, and respecting one's listeners. But the arguments deployed by supporters of Notre Dame's decision do not exhibit these qualities. If Catholics are persuaded to adopt or accept them, our "brand" will be diluted and the Church will be a less effective advocate on all issues and in every arena where it operates. This should concern all Catholics who toil in public arenas -- before legal bodies, academic critics, the media, or the public generally -- no matter what issues are on the table.

Cast in their best light, the arguments made by supporters of Notre Dame's decision to offer Barack Obama an honorary Doctor of Laws degree are as follows (most are drawn from the interview given by Notre Dame's president, Father John Jenkins, to the campus newspaper): first, Notre Dame commencements have regularly been visited by presidents of both political parties. This obviously confers prestige upon Notre Dame in the eyes of some. As Father Jenkins expresses it, the president "honors" the university by his willingness to come to campus. Also, according to Father Jenkins, the president deserves to be honored because he is an "inspiring leader" who is addressing our nation's present challenges with "intelligence, courage and honesty." He also deserves to be honored as the first African American president who, by his race and his words, merits the title of "healer" of historic racial wounds.

Finally, according to Father Jenkins, it is precisely "because" Notre Dame "care[s] so much about the "critical issue of the protection of life" that "we invited" President Obama. Honoring him could be the "basis of an engagement" with Obama, a "catalyst for dialogue," and the occasion of future opportunities "to persuade" him or, if not to persuade, at least to show respect for" and "listen to" Obama. Conversely, Jenkins seems to claim that failing to invite and honor people like Barack Obama would be to "shun" them. This would harm efforts at persuasion.

There is another argument one could make in favor of inviting President Obama to the Notre Dame campus, which is likely in the minds of some Catholics, and is likely more persuasive than those arguments put forward by Father Jenkins. It might even do a better job of preserving the Catholic Church's reputation for speaking truthfully about controvertible matters in a pluralistic environment. It is this: President Obama talks often about things that the Catholic Church has long cared about: more widely available health care, the end of nuclear threats, a cleaner environment, and more help for the working poor. It is not surprising that some people, Catholics included, who have long toiled on these issues, should be happy to hear a U.S. president take up these causes as his own, even if there is no guarantee that any of his particular approaches will work. But such an argument is still not up to the task of justifying the bestowal of an honor upon President Obama. This is because there has never been a U.S. president -- or any nationally known politician for that matter -- whose personal opinions and actions regarding unborn and newborn life have been so literally "inhumane," so remorseless and even so irrational. To persons already holding the pro-life view, there is little need to rehearse these opinions and actions, but others will want to know to what I am referring here. An abbreviated summary will have to do.

During his time in the Illinois legislature, Barack Obama acted personally to ensure that that legislature would not pass a law banning the killing of disabled newborn children, born alive following botched abortions. In connection with his tenure as a U.S. Senator, he distributed fundraising circulars to raise money on the grounds of his support for continuing the practice of partial-birth abortions (a technique involving partially delivering live infants outside the bodies of their mothers, save for their heads, which are then stabbed and suctioned, before being fully delivered, now dead). As a candidate for president, he promised that one of his first legislative acts would be the passage of a law (the Freedom of Choice Act) to remove all existing regulations from the practice of abortion in the United States. On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and as against the tens of thousands of pro-life marchers gathered in the January cold of Washington, D.C., he issued a public statement supporting the decision that overturned every state's decision to shield the unborn from being killed. He later issued several executive orders releasing hundreds of millions of federal dollars for abortion groups operating overseas, and for researchers killing human embryos. In the context of the latter order, he both excoriated defenders of embryonic life as ideological and political versus "scientific," and claimed the mantle of morality, and scientific purity for himself. He also claimed support for his decision based upon a national "consensus" and his "faith," but failed to give evidence of the former claim, or to confront the facial irrationality of the latter claim. Despite excoriating his opponents as anti-scientific, he himself refused to acknowledge the scientific data confirming the humanity of the embryo, or the emerging scientific consensus that adult stem cells offer a superior therapeutic and moral alternative to embryonic stem cells. President Obama furthermore is readying the federal government to strip conscience protections from doctors and hospitals morally opposed to performing abortions. And he has literally filled the White House and powerful federal agencies with lawyers from the nation's foremost extremist abortion-advocacy groups, the groups that have bitterly opposed every effort of the Catholic Church, both here and overseas, to protect the lives of the unborn and their mothers from abortion.

Believe it or not, the list actually goes on. But enough has been said to help even those who might initially defend Obama's appearance at Notre Dame to understand its significance. As indicated above, however, I am not criticizing Notre Dame, or Father Jenkins' remarks in particular, simply for failing to comprehend the enormity of the threat President Obama poses to respect for vulnerable human life. I am not simply lamenting Notre Dame's willingness to trample upon the sensibilities of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Catholics who have worked nearly four decades in support of human life, or even the willingness to exacerbate a kind of "class divide" between actively pro-life Catholics and the intellectual class of Catholics who attend and run prestigious universities. I am, most of all, writing to caution those who, speaking as Catholics, would deploy irrational and condescending arguments in the public square on any issue. For the stature of Catholics in the public square is fragile at best, despite the brilliance of our best-known public intellectuals such as Professor Robbie George of Princeton or Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard. Our stances on sexual morality, on respect for life, and on marriage, are increasingly out of favor with elites. The effects of the sex-abuse crisis in the Church linger. Our enormous contributions in the health care, charitable and educational arenas are underreported. If we are to continue to be welcomed at the table where public policies are debated and crafted, we cannot appear to have "descended" below our usual "brand" of argumentation. Reason and truth make up this brand.

But the arguments deployed by defenders of Obama's visit to Notre Dame betray the brand. Commencement ceremonies and the granting of honorary doctorates are not occasions for persuasion, dialogue and engagement on controvertible issues, as Father Jenkins claims. Having received honorary doctorates at several universities (and even though I am infinitely lower on the food chain than the President of the United States) I can tell you that they are nothing but occasions for fulsome praise, protocol and pleasant conversation. The "message" received by all -- the one honored and all of the onlookers -- is that the honoree somehow embodies the values of the institution granting the degree, and the aspirations of the graduates. This is common knowledge.

As for Father Jenkins' statement that Notre Dame honors Obama precisely "because" Notre Dame cares so much about "the critical issue of the protection of life" -- this statement hardly merits commentary. It is worthy of a desperate politician or an advertising agency, but not a Catholic institution that cares to represent itself to listeners as reliably truthful and rational. The message actually sent by Notre Dame's honoring President Obama, is that the decision makers at Notre Dame -- and perhaps the many Catholics they represent -- do not believe that the right of vulnerable persons not to be killed is as important an issue as centuries of Catholic teaching have made it out to be. The further message is that Catholic sources are willing to use irrational and condescending argumentation, if that's what it takes to preserve our own interests or to prevent "embarrassment" in a difficult situation.

All Catholics who wish to be welcomed into public debates on any issue in the future -- not just abortion -- ought to be dismayed at how Notre Dame's attempted justification of the Obama invitation has denigrated our reputation, our "brand" for speaking truthfully and rationally, even to power.

* * *

Helen Alvaré is a senior fellow in law for the Culture of Life Foundation, and an associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia. In 2008, Benedict XVI named Professor Alvaré a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Tolkien's Dark Lord at the UN

Hobbit Alliance Brings Triumph of Hope

By Elizabeth Lev

ROME, APRIL 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- It was an epic tale of triumph worthy of J.R.R. Tolkien. The events at the U.N. Population and Development Commission last week could have been taken straight out of his great trilogy "The Lord of the Rings."

Last week, representatives from 47 countries gathered in New York for the annual meeting of the commission on population and development of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. In view of a world population projected to hit 9 billion in 2050, the commission reviews and assesses the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development approved by the United Nations in 1994.

Behind the optimistic façade of concern for the welfare of a burgeoning population, a darker, most sinister agenda loomed. A new language was insinuating itself amid the hopeful statements of the earlier U.N. documents.

The main agenda item was "sexual and reproductive health and rights" -- the terminology under which many NGOs and U.N. committees promote abortion -- and the codification of a language that would open the door to an array of demands by homosexual activists.

Like the one ring forged by Sauron in the depths of Mount Doom, this term revealed the master plan: "One Ring to rule them all" and to bring them into darkness. Changing the word 'ring' to 'agency,' the specter of the Dark Lord could be replaced by Planned Parenthood, one of the most active NGOs at the meeting.

A prescient few saw the impending menace. Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, noted that "one cannot help but get the impression that populations are seen as the hindrance to greater social and economic development." The prelate also warned that the commission "is giving priority to population control and getting the poor to accept these arrangements rather than primarily focusing upon its commitments to addressing education, basic health care, access to water, sanitation and employment."

But the armies of darkness were strong and seemed invincible. China, Great Britain, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Spain and Germany could be expected to promote this language. The United States, under a new administration in thrall to the culture of death, would use all of its might to advance the reign of Planned Parenthood. All seemed lost.

These international giants, the leaders in economy, development and technology, were certain that no obstacle remained to their plan.

In the statement made by Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, the plan was revealed. She invoked the world financial crisis, and the subsequent difficulty in sustaining programs to improve the health and education of the world's poor. “The financial crisis was threatening to wipe out this hard-won progress."

But her solution was to ensure that "greater attention is paid to population issues and more resources are devoted to women's empowerment and reproductive health, including maternal health care and family planning."

Translating this to the common tongue, her proposal is to teach women that childbearing is dangerous and oppressive; therefore abortion is healthy and liberating. Even the Evil Lord of Mordor never tried to pass off his agenda of death and enslavement of the human race as something "positive" and "empowering."

Obaid then reminded the commission that the Cairo conference had agreed that "every person has the right to sexual and reproductive health," and exhorted the commission "to keep the promise to ensure universal access to reproductive health by 2015."

The great nations nodded and applauded, much like the ring wraiths whose will had long been bound to that of their wicked overlord. The culture of life braced itself to take another loss among the many it had already suffered.

Then help came from an unexpected quarter. Iran took the floor and protested that the "right to sexual and reproductive health" could not be substituted with "sexual and reproductive health and rights."

The Iranian delegate pointed out that this phrase had never been included in any negotiated U.N. document before and urged the commission to revert to previously agreed upon and carefully negotiated language from the original 1994 Program of Action, which is understood not to create any right to abortion.

Immediately four Catholic countries -- Ireland, Peru, Chile and Poland -- picked up Iran's call to strike the wording. It was an unusual alliance, not unlike the dwarves and elves overcoming their differences to fight the common enemy.

Although the Christian community and Iran find themselves opposed on many issues, it was a heartening vision to see the diverse nations cooperating in defense of alliance and dialogue through the culture of life.

But as in Tolkien's great adventure of the fellowship of the nine, it was the smallest of all that saved the day. Like the four indomitable hobbits of Tolkien's epic, the Holy See (a tiny 104-acre state), Comoros (which I had to look up on Googlemaps -- it's in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar) Santa Lucia and Malta all joined the fellowship to break the stranglehold of the forces of evil.

These four hobbit-like states, whose collective national products probably don't equal the operating budget for Planned Parenthood, spoke loudly and convincingly. Malta decried the consistent attempts by the commission to expand "reproductive health" to include abortion.

The delegate from Santa Lucia saw to the heart of the proposed wording and stressed that her delegation understood that this provision did not threaten the right of health care providers to refuse to perform or be complicit in abortions as a matter of conscience.

As Galadrial said to the wavering Frodo, "even the smallest person can change the course of the future."

At the last moment at the close of the meeting, the ring of power was thrown back into the fires of Mount Doom from whence it came. "Sexual and reproductive health and rights" was struck from the text.

In these days of imminent conscience coercion, massive government funding of abortion and other gloomy signs on the horizon, this little fellowship at the United Nations demonstrated what Tolkien's characters whisper during the darkest hours and Pope Benedict XVI exclaims from nation to nation: "There is still hope."

02 aprile 2009

Notre Dame Students Organize Prayer Rally Protest

Holy Cross Superior Makes Pro-Life Appeal to Obama

By Genevieve Pollock

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, APRIL 1, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A coalition of student groups at the University of Notre Dame will hold a prayer rally to protest the school's choice to honor President Barack Obama at this year's commencement.

The rally, to take place on Palm Sunday, is sponsored by Notre Dame Response, a coalition that formed to speak out against the Catholic university's decision to invite the U.S. president to give its commencement speech, and to receive an honorary law degree.

In a press statement released Tuesday, the coalition noted its hope "that through this prayerful and public demonstration on Palm Sunday, the university community will be respectfully reminded to celebrate its Catholic character and to defend those non-negotiable principles for which Notre Dame stands, including an overarching recognition of the inherent dignity and value of all human life.

The event will include an address on the role of Catholic institutions in the abortion debate, praying of the rosary and an offering of flowers at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

The coalition reiterated its commitment to "acts of witness that will be characterized by respect, prayerfulness, outspoken fidelity to the Church, and true concern for the good of our university."


Stephen Wallace, president of the St. Thomas More Society, a law school student group and part of the coalition, told ZENIT that the university's choice of commencement speaker is "deeply and bitterly disappointing."

The law student described Notre Dame as a whole, a "serious Catholic institution" in which "the sacraments are a vital and ever-present part of campus life."

Wallace explained that the school's decision to honor Obama "sends conflicting messages to the faithful and encourages dissent against the rightful authority of the bishops, who as a body have spoken clearly on this matter."

"Those are wounds against the Church that are heavy to bear," he added.

In an editorial article published Tuesday in the Notre Dame student newspaper, law professor Charles Rice denounced the university's leadership as "reckless" for making the invitation to the pro-abortion president.

Our leaders, he asserted, "have committed, in perception but also in fact, the name and prestige of Notre Dame to the side that is hostile to the imperatives of faith and reason affirmed by the Catholic Church."

The professor continued: "Our leaders act in what they think is the best interest of Notre Dame. But that is no excuse. The invitation should be withdrawn. It implies no personal animosity to suggest that Father Jenkins and the other fellows and trustees responsible for this fiasco should resign or be removed."

He suggested responding to this situation with an appeal "to a higher authority," by "peaceful prayer" during the commencement ceremonies, "to make reparation and to petition Notre Dame, Our Lady, for Notre Dame, our university."

Superior appeal

In a letter dated March 22, publicly released this week, the superior general of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the founding order of the university, wrote to Obama with a pro-life appeal.

Father Hugh Cleary told the president, "I have been deluged with angry e-mails regarding Notre Dame's decision to invite you to campus for the honors you are to receive."

He noted his inability to influence these decisions, given the legal alienation of the congregation from the university, and the primary role of the boards of fellows and trustees.

However, in his role as superior of the school's president, the priest asked the president "to rethink, through prayerful wrestling with your own conscience, your stated positions on the vital 'life issues' of our day, particularly in regard to abortion, embryonic forms of stem cell research and your position on the Freedom of Choice Act before Congress."

"It is clear," he noted, "that your positions on some of the fundamental 'life issues' of our nation can neither be supported by the mission and ministry of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the University of Notre Dame nor the faithful Catholic community."

Father Cleary stated: "Mr. President, may I be so audacious as to suggest that you have made a mistake in your position supporting abortion rights as the law of the land.

"May I suggest, with all humility for I am far from perfect, that you give your conscience a fresh opportunity to be formed anew in a holy awe and reverence before human life in every form at every stage -- from conception to natural death. For we are all the Children of God."

He appealed to Obama to take the Catholic views and principles seriously, and to "stand up for the truth of life, walk through that door and take us, as a nation, with you."

Law student Wallace concluded: "This isn't about academic freedom or judging the president by Catholic standards or anything like that. This is about what a Catholic university has chosen to say, and in this case it has chosen to speak falsely.

"Those who know and love this institution, as I do, and who understand how important it is will take this as a call to renew their efforts to conform that which is lacking at Notre Dame more completely to God's Will for it."

01 aprile 2009

The Notre Dame Commencement

By James V. Schall, S.J.

Several folks have already asked me my opinion on President Barack Obama’s being invited to give the Commencement Address at Notre Dame. I have been a fan of the Fighting Irish since boyhood. I have good friends there. I expect the place to lead, without my having to worry whether they are going in the right direction, though I do worry.

My first reaction to the news was, however, that I could only laugh. “How perfectly perfect,” I thought. It could not have been a better forum for the president to pursue what are, to me, his infamous “projects.” In the present climate, no act could make the South Bend school more visible than it already is, except perhaps, dare I say, a winning season on the turf?

But was Schall surprised by the invitation? Was it just a question of what Catholic school got there first? Was Schall disappointed? Not surprised, really. This is the logic of political proportionalism carried out in public. It is all done in the noble name of the greater good. What might have surprised me, I think, would have been if the president was seeking an invitation, but Notre Dame refused. I would be disappointed if the initiative came from Notre Dame. I prefer to remain in ignorance.

But one does wonder, who invited whom? Did the president’s shrewd men approach Notre Dame, or vice versa? Was the local bishop informed? It is too early yet to see what all, some, or none of the bishops will say, though this should not be long. The Pope is in Africa, but again we wonder if Rome is watching or cares much. But the president knows that the Pope did send him early congratulations on his election, so does Notre Dame.

I must say, though, that I have to give the president much credit for cleverness, whoever invited whom. I cannot think of a single act—one so simple, so innocent, so effective—that serves to do exactly what he needs to have done, namely, plunge an arrow into the heart of Catholicism’s opposition to him, what there is of it. I shake my head in admiration. From now on, all he has to say is: “But, my dear fellow, I was invited to Notre Dame.” Everyone will understand his point.

The issue of commencements at Catholic schools has been in the hopper and unresolved for years. I wrote a piece on it myself a couple of years ago on Ignatius Insight. The controversy will always be over the same issues: “Why do you want to honor this person?” “What does the honoree stand for?” “What does this selection reveal about the institution that does the inviting?” “What lesson do the graduating students learn from it about their souls and their institution?” “Just what is honor anyhow?”

But this invitation concerns a sitting president, right? Notre Dame rightly prides itself as the place where presidents speak, numbers of them have done so before. It is “academic freedom” at its best or its fuzziest, take your choice. There probably will not be a caveat in the program that tells the listeners that the university is “personally opposed.”

Will any Notre Dame students transfer to other colleges because of it? Will any prospective students change their mind about coming there in the fall? Where would they go? No doubt whatever internal controversy over the invitation there was has already been hashed out. No college president just “invites” someone without some consultation. We know several Notre Dame faculty members are Obama supporters. One suspects President Obama received the majority of eligible faculty and student votes in the November election, as he did in most other Catholic higher educational institutions.

So the president should feel comfortable that he is coming to friendly, genteel soil. And this commencement will deservedly receive world-wide coverage. The president will look very relaxed there. He will give an eloquent talk on something like “social justice” that will make Rerum Novarum seem out-of-date, though he will no doubt mention it, by name, along with the Redeemer, Aquinas, Mother Teresa, and Knute Rockne.

The president, or his writers, knows his audience. Many of them are, after all, like himself, from Chicago, the heart of Notre Dame alumni, the heart of this administration. The teleprompter will work perfectly. All will be well. I do not expect to be further surprised, just a little disappointed, perhaps.

James V. Schall, S.J. is professor of government at Georgetown University.
Source: CatholicWorldReport.com

Do We Really Need Gardasil To Protect Teen Girls?

The vaaccine is unnecessary, it's dangerous, and it's disabling and killing young women.
February 10, 2009
I’m usually not the kind of person to say “I told you so.” But in this case, I’m more than happy to make an exception.

Two years ago, I wrote an article called “A Virus that Causes Cancer?” In it, I discussed the then-new vaccine Gardasil, which helps protect women against the HPV virus, a sexually transmitted organism that can lead to cervical cancer. Several states were in the process of mandating the vaccine -- for girls as young as 11 – under intense pressure from Merck’s lobbying efforts. I pointed out that early sign were not good, with a high number of reported side effects including fainting, loss of vision and seizures. More important, I noted that there had been absolutely no studies on the long-term safety of the vaccine. Given the highly preventable nature of HPV-related cervical cancer, I thought it was senseless – downright dumb – to expose young girls to these kinds of risks.

I received a lot of feedback from that article. Some thanked me. Others re-posted and re-published it in other sources. But many, many people wrote to argue with me. Girls are going to have sex no matter what we do. We need to protect them. What kind of freakish 1950’s era time warp do I live in? One doctor wrote an impassioned letter defending her practice of vaccinating her young female patients with Gardasil. She wrote about the critical importance of Gardasil in protecting our young women’s futures – and acknowledged almost as an aside that yes, there are still questions about the long-term safety of the vaccine.

That was then. Let’s fast forward two years.

I was flipping around the TV channels the other night, and for some reason I stopped on the CBS Evening News. (Must’ve been the Holy Spirit, because I’m generally not a big network news fan.) And soon I was watching a feature story entitled “New Worries About Gardasil Safety.” The piece started with a very sweet-looking young girl. Gabby Swank, who got the vaccine because “we felt almost pressured by the commercials.” Afterward, she got sicker and sicker, eventually suffering seizures, strokes and severe heart problems. She is now too sick to even attend school. Next we went to a heartsick mother, Emily Tarsell, whose daughter Chris wasn’t as “lucky” as Gabby. Chris died after receiving the vaccine.

Chris is not alone. 29 deaths have been reported from the Gardasil vaccine. Twenty nine deaths. It almost makes me cry just to write it. Twenty nine young women’s lives have been cut short, all because a drug manufacturer convinced them that a vaccine would “protect” them.

And among the living, the carnage continues. A recent study by the National Vaccine Information Center compared Gardasil side effects to another vaccine given to patients in the same age group. Gardasil led to 3 times (that’s 300%) more emergency room visits, 5 times (500%) more fatalities, and 30 times (3000%) more side effects. And these are not just minor side effects. We’re talking strokes, heart episodes, lupus, paralysis. Young girls seem to be winding up permanently disabled. If you want to see for yourself, just google “Gardasil video” to see young girl after young girl who has had to give up sports, social life and even attending school because of Gardasil-induced health problems.

In the mean time Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil, is standing by their product. Last July, when 15 young women had died from the vaccine, Merck said it believed that “no safety issue related to the vaccine has been identified.” No statement to the contrary has been issued by Merck as of this writing, and their Gardasil web site continues to encourage young women – and their parents – to avail themselves of the vaccine. And, incredibly, Merck is now petitioning the FDA to be allowed to inject boys with the vaccine, because they may be carriers of the virus.

All of this makes me really, really mad. This is about putting profits (in Merck’s case) and ideology (in the case of many of Gardasil’s advocates) over the lives and health of young, innocent women (and, if Merck gets their way, men).

It would be one thing if we were vaccinating against some uncurable deadly plague that was wiping out an entire generation. Then maybe the benefits would outweigh the risks. But neither HPV nor HPV-related cancers are The Plague. The virus is sexually transmitted, so abstinence and marriage to an uninfected partner offers 100% protection. But we don’t even need to tread into the treacherous waters of the “kids are going to do it anyway” debate to acknowledge that HPV-related deaths are extremely preventable.

We have pap smears, which detect HPV-related warts and pre-cancerous changes to the cervix. It is because of our friend the pap smear that cervical cancer deaths declined 74% between 1955 and 1992 - - the same time period wherein the rate of unmarried sexual activity was rising dramatically. Those cervical cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society, continue to decline at a rate of about 4% a year.

We don’t need Gardasil to prevent cervical cancer. Gardasil is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to an out and out pharmaceutical hoax foisted on American women under the guise of “public health.” It is dangerous, and only exists on the market today as a testament to corporate greed and the “profits over people” mentality.

Please, do not allow yourself or your daughters to be injected with the Gardasil vaccine. Tell others the same. Spread the word.

Young lives may depend on it.

Source: Mary Beth Bonacci, RealLove.net