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With Good Reason
January 26, 2010
Catholic Teaching on Assisted Nutrition and Hydration
By Father Thomas Berg

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs) offer authoritative moral guidance to Catholic healthcare facilities on several difficult moral matters.  Last November, the USCCB revised these directives on the issue of providing patients -- particularly those diagnosed as being in a "persistent vegetative state" (PVS) -- with assisted nutrition and hydration (ANH). In the wake of the revision, there has been some ...

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January 19, 2010
Haiti
By Father Thomas Berg

Haiti.

Prior to January 12, 2010, the name automatically evoked images of immense poverty, exploitation, political corruption, and social unrest.

It will now forever suggest the notion of catastrophic disaster, ominously ranked among the worst earthquakes in recent history: the Sichuan, China quake of 2008 that killed 70,000; the Kashmir quake of 2005 that left 90,000 dead, and the Indian Ocean quake of 2004 the killed 230,000 people.  Haiti was still recovering from the deadly hurricanes that...



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January 12, 2010
What's Wrong With Us?
By Father Thomas Berg

"When does a civilization become incompetent?" mused recently Bret Stephens, the "Global View" columnist for the Wall Street Journal:

I've been mulling the question in a number of contexts over the last year... But the question came to me again in Brussels on Sunday as I watched my children -- ages six, four, and four months -- get patted down before boarding our U.S.-bound flight. The larger-than-allowed bottle of cough syrup in my carry-on, however, somehow escaped our screener's...

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January 05, 2010
Challenging Totalitarianism in 2010
By Father Thomas Berg

Hopefully over the Christmas weekend we were all aware that, while we took advantage of the political and religious freedoms we enjoy in the West, in other parts of the world, some persons were paying the ultimate price in a struggle for those freedoms. 

In China, the communist government, ignoring the protests of a dozen nations, sentenced 53-year-old literary critic Liu Xiaobo to 11 years in prison. His crime?  Peacefully agitating for democracy.  In Iran, thousands of agitators for...

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December 15, 2009
My Christmas Prayer List for 2009
By Father Thomas Berg

I found myself in a Starbucks in Fishkill, New York last Wednesday afternoon. As I sipped my vanilla latte and overheard pieces of conversation and chitchat of patrons sitting nearby, I could not help being struck once again by the way our culture trivializes Christmas.  What always gets to me is that reduction of what Christians consider to be the pivotal event of human history - the birth of God made man- to little more than mind numbingly repetitive background music.

"Oh come let us adore...

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December 08, 2009
NIH Approves Lines of Human Embryonic Stem Cells
By Father Thomas Berg

Last Wednesday, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the approval of the first 13 human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines for use in NIH-funded research under the new NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research published on July 7, 2009.  The NIH is, of course, the great financial umbilical cord supplying U.S. tax-payer dollars to fund the vast majority of biomedical research in our country. I explored the details of those guidelines in a previous column.

Let me extrapolate the...

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December 01, 2009
Death Panels?
By Father Thomas Berg

Earl Blumenauer is a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /Oregon. He took credit recently in the New York Times for authoring the now infamous end-of-life provisions which, in varying forms, are still alive in both House and Senate healthcare reform bills.  Most notorious among these was the 'death panels' provision as coined by Governor Sarah Palin.  

While over the top, the term 'death panel'...

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November 24, 2009
Thanksgiving 2009 and the End of the Decade
By Father Thomas Berg

Next Thanksgiving will find us, please God, at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. Our present celebration this Thursday finds us at the close of the peculiarly enumerated decade of the '00s.  Not surprisingly, the New York Times' David Segal recently invited readers to get a head start on one of America's favorite intellectual fetishes: "name that decade."

"You know the rules," wrote Segal: "coin a pithy, reductive phrase that somehow encapsulates the multitude of...

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November 17, 2009
Of Bishops, Healthcare and the Stupak Amendment
By Father Thomas Berg

 

I must have missed it.

Apparently, late on the evening of Saturday November 7, as the U.S. House of Representatives was about to vote on the healthcare reform bill (H.R.3962), several Catholic bishops and a cardinal or two strong armed their way into the House chamber and forced a majority of the members (including 64 Democrats) to vote for an amendment (the Stupak-Pitts amendment) which would prevent the healthcare bill from opening new avenues for the federal funding of abortions.

Yes,...



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November 10, 2009
Fruits of the Same Tree
By Father Thomas Berg

Scientists can now make human eggs and sperm, no men or women needed. 

Let me repeat that:  as reported recently in the journal Nature, researchers at Stanford University have successfully produced human sperm and eggs from embryonic stem cells. This should come as no surprise since sperm and eggs are specific kinds cells, and human embryonic stem cells have the capacity to give rise to all cell types in the human body.  In fact, researchers have been working hard to make this happen for the...

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