With Good Reason

December 21, 2010
Final column — at least for a while
By Father Thomas Berg

I penned my first 'With Good Reason' column a bit over four years ago in November of 2006. At the time, my hope was to make a solid contribution toward curbing our cultural malaise which is, in myriad ways, so adverse to reasoned consideration of our beliefs, policies and behaviors. Such a culture-as I suggested at the time-cannot sustain for long a thriving and well-ordered democratic way of life.

And so it is, in that deeper-than-usual nostalgia and spirit of reflection which envelopes...

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November 16, 2010
Knowing right from wrong
By Father Thomas Berg

American culture is happily awash of late with appeals to human reason.

Case in point is a new book by ultra anti-religionist Sam Harris. Although the fundamental thesis of The Moral Landscape -- that "science should one day be able to make very precise claims about which of our behaviors...are morally good" -- is quite a stretch even by secular standards, Harris nonetheless does a couple of remarkable things for a leading public atheist.

First he insists that a knowledge of right and...



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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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