With Good Reason
October 14, 2010
Researchers create artificial human ovary
By Father Thomas Berg

A recent study published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics described the scientific manufacture of an artificial human ovary which in turn produced a viable human egg.  Begun from real human ovarian tissue and grown on a prefab laboratory matrix, the artificial ovary was hailed as a major breakthrough.  As the authors observed, the experiment is proof of principle that an artificial ovary "can be created with self-assembled human theca and granulosa cell micro tissues,"...

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September 08, 2010
A Legal Bombshell Hits Stem Cell Science
By Father Thomas Berg

On August 23, Chief federal Judge Royce C. Lamberth of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Obama administration's guidelines for funding embryonic stem-cell research (which went into effect on July 7, 2009) violate federal law. He then placed a temporary injunction on any further funding.  On Tuesday August 31, the administration filed a motion to stay that decision while a case challenging the funding policy makes its way through the courts.

Lamberth took up...

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June 15, 2010
Have Stem Cells Become Passé?
By Father Thomas Berg

I last wrote an update on stem cell research in December.  On that occasion I explained that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had announced the approval of thirteen new lines of human embryonic stem cells for use in NIH-funded research under the new NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research published in July of 2009.   

What has been happening in stem cell science over the past six months to a year?

For the better part of the past two years, scientific attention has focused on...

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May 18, 2010
Illegal Immigration and Catholic Social Teaching
By Father Thomas Berg

Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed the Arizona Immigration Bill (SB 1070) on April 23. The Catholic bishops of Arizona and an interfaith network of Arizona religious leaders responded with an emotionally charged statement accusing the governor of sacrificing "political courage for political expediency" and suggesting the law is an affront to human dignity and runs afoul of the basic moral precept directing us to welcome the stranger.  

I must admit I have been taken aback at how many Catholic...

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April 20, 2010
The Difference God Makes
By Father Thomas Berg

Last week I initiated some reflections on evangelization based on Francis Cardinal George's new book The Difference God Makes.

As I noted, the seminal point of the entire book is that all human persons - and in a particularly transcendent way, the baptized - are beings in relation. We simply cannot hope to invite others to the communion - communio - that is the Church if they are unable to grasp how, from the moment of their own conception, they exist in a radical relatedness to a world...

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April 13, 2010
How are Christians to Engage the Culture?
By Father Thomas Berg

Whether it is opposing Obamacare provisions for federally funded abortions, fighting to curb embryo-destructive research, protecting women from biomedical research that would exploit them for their eggs, or struggling to reawaken consciences to the evils of abortion, in vitro fertilization, and contraception: these are touchstone instances in which committed pro-life Catholics engage the "culture of death."

Perhaps we have not thought enough about how we are to engage that culture. A new book...

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The faceoff a couple of weeks ago between the Catholic Healthcare Association and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops over the senate healthcare bill underscored the reality of deep-seated disagreements and confusion over Catholic teaching on key moral issues.  Of the many we could list, perhaps no other has been so under-taught and consequently misunderstood than the Church's stance on in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The Catholic Church teaches that IVF is morally illicit...

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March 30, 2010
The Long Ascent to Calvary
By Father Thomas Berg

At Holy Week, the Church throughout the world, rosery through liturgy and personal meditation, accompanies Christ on the long, arduous road to Calvary. Last week, for all those whose lives have been scarred directly or indirectly by the crime of clergy sexual abuse, that road became even more onerous.

A front page story in the New York Times last Monday presented an account of a group of men who were sexually abused as children by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy at a school for the deaf in...

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March 23, 2010
Healthcare, Human Life and America
By Father Thomas Berg

Like millions of Americans, I watched the healthcare legislation drama unfold from last summer to its catastrophic climax Sunday night. The 219 to 212 House vote approving the Senate health bill was, for this country, a before-and-after moment of epic proportion and as such it will be remembered.

What—for the umpteenth time—was wrong with the Senate bill?

Where does one begin? Most Americans will see their insurance premiums rise dramatically; it will have a devastating effect on the...

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March 16, 2010
Why I Didn't Give Up Facebook for Lent
By Father Thomas Berg

I would like to dedicate this column to all my Facebook friends.

They are probably not aware that a year ago, I wrote a pretty nasty column about Facebook, explaining that I had not given it up for Lent (a trendy Lenten sacrifice at the time in certain Catholic circles) because I was not a Facebook user.

Well, allow me to come clean and announce to the world that today I am a user, and a happy one at that. Outside of one or two upleasant surprises (a 'friend' who became obnoxious, and a...

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