From Cardinal Seán’s blog

On March 7 “we had Mass at St. Mary’s Parish in Dedham for the launch of the 2009 Catholic Appeal. Before the Mass... I met with the Life Teen youth at St. Mary’s, as well as some young adults who have moved beyond Life Teen and are now at college, but still return for the retreats that the parish organizes for them, the “alumni” of the Life Teen program.” Pilot photo/George Martell

I’d like to begin this week’s post by addressing a couple of recent developments:

Earlier this week President Obama signed an executive order reversing a ban on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research.

The continuing debate on stem cell research is of great importance to the Catholic community.

Like everyone, we are anxious to further the cause of science and hope that new discoveries will lead to cures for diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease and the other terrible physical maladies that afflict so many people.

At the same time, we believe that human life is so sacred and that we must always seek the ethical and moral way to carry out these scientific experiments and research. Human life is too precious to be reduced to a commodity or a remedy.

I do not doubt the sincerity of those who favor embryonic stem cell research, but I wish that they would understand that our opposition is not based on superstition or narrow-mindedness, but rather on a profound regard for the sacredness of human life. When we disregard that sacredness and neglect to respect human life it can lead to, not only a devaluation of life itself, but a diminishment of our humanity.

Also, on Thursday, the Holy Father issued a letter to the world’s bishops concerning his lifting of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre.

We are all very happy to see that the Holy Father has written such a powerful statement concerning his actions. As the Holy Father points out, the irony is that his action was, on one hand, motivated by reconciliation, but on the other hand it jeopardized our reconciliation with the Jewish community. Certainly, this was unintentional.

I was particularly struck by the part of the letter where the Holy Father says:

“The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects.”

Certainly, this situation we face with stem-cell research could be included in the results of that “dimming of the light that comes from God” in our American society.

And finally, one of the many benefits of this blog is that it allows me to provide updates and information to the Catholic community and all our readers. At this time I wish to share with you a statement about the recent developments concerning Caritas Christi and the Commonwealth Family Health Plan:

‘‘While I appreciate the opportunity given to Caritas Christi to serve the poor through this agreement, I wish to reaffirm that this agreement can only be realized if the moral obligations for Catholic hospitals as articulated in the Ethical and Religious Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are fulfilled at all times and in all cases. In order to assure me that this agreement will provide for the integrity of the Catholic identity and practices of Caritas Christi Health Care System, I have asked the National Catholic Bioethics Center to review the agreement and to assure me that it is faithful to Catholic principles.”

Also on this week’s blog:

Symposium on Adolescent Catechesis.

Meeting with the Catholic high school principals.

Attending Rev. Daniel Kennedy Memorial Scholarship Dinner.

Visiting Immaculate Conception Parish in Marlborough.

Attending a fundraising event for the Campaign for Catholic Schools.

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