The “ice bucket challenge” has taken the internet by storm over the past several weeks, and participants have raised over $22 million dollars to combat ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a rare neurodegenerative condition that has no cure. But some anti-abortion groups are instructing their members to stop participating.

Abortion opponents are raising concerns over the fact that the ALS Association may use the flood of recent donations to help fund embryonic stem cell research, which is often part of the search for new therapies. Catholics and conservative evangelicals contend that using embryonic stem cells in research is comparable to abortion because the cells end up being destroyed.

This was a huge culture war issue during the Bush administration, but has largely faded into the background in recent years now that it doesn’t fall as clearly across party lines. Still, though, the GOP took an official stance against embryonic stem cells in the party’s 2012 platform, and scientists warned that a Mitt Romney win could end up rolling back important innovation in new treatments for diseases.

Even if Republican lawmakers aren’t as outspoken against embryonic stem cells anymore, right-wing abortion opponents remain vocal on the issue. As Religion News Services reports, two blog posts on Patheos last week first suggested that the ice bucket challenge might not be pro-life. Soon, other groups started weighing in. “It’s such a shame that the ALS Association…chooses to support research that thrives from experimenting on and killing tiny, innocent human beings,” Lila Rose, the president of Live Action, said in a statement on Wednesday.

A Roman Catholic diocese in Ohio took it a step further, releasing a letter encouraging the 113 Catholic schools in its jurisdiction to “immediately cease” any plans to raise funds for the ALS Association. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is asking people to donate to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, which supports “research that is pro-life driven,” instead. “We appreciate the compassion that has caused so many people to engage in this,” Dan Andriacco, the spokesman for the Archdiocese, said. “But it’s a well established moral principle that a good end is not enough. The means to that ends must be morally licit.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has not yet issued any similar directives on a larger scale, telling the Associated Press that the Cincinnati diocese’s actions are considered to be “a local matter.”

In response to a inquiry about the growing controversy, a spokesperson for the ALS Association provided a statement to ThinkProgress clarifying that the organization primarily funds adult stem cell research. “Currently, The Association is funding one study using embryonic stem cells (ESC), and the stem cell line was established many years ago under ethical guidelines set by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS),” the statement explains. “This research is funded by one specific donor, who is committed to this area of research. In fact, donors may stipulate that their funds not be invested in this study or any stem cell project.”

Other experts in the field agree that, despite the recent concerns, ALS research does not necessarily require the use of embryonic stem cells.

“Embryonic stem cells certainly always bring up ethical and political issues for all research, not just for ALS,” Dr. Steve Perrin, the CEO of the ALS Therapy Development Institute, which does not conduct embryonic stem cell research, told ThinkProgress. “But the bottom line, specifically for ALS, is that there’s no real reason for organizations to be funding that type of research anymore with the advent of new advances in technology.”

Most researchers agree that adult stem cells — located in the adult brain and spinal cord — can’t totally replace the need for embryonic stem cells. But scientists are largely optimistic about other recent discoveries in this area. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, or regular adult cells that can be genetically altered to change their form, may be able to bolster research efforts without the need for using as many embryonic stem cells. And some researchers are working on developing a way to make embryonic stem cells without using an actual embryo.

Perrin also pointed out that the money being raised by the ice bucket challenge isn’t earmarked for any particular studies yet, so it’s not necessarily dedicated to research involving embryos. “A clear plan on how to disperse the funds to ongoing research projects is the biggest outstanding question,” he said.

Outside of stem cells, the anti-abortion community has recently been accused of staying silent on other current issues in the news that may relate to their issue space. In a piece published at the Nation this week, Michelle Goldberg pointed out that abortion opponents haven’t spoken out on the use of tear gas against protesters in Ferguson, despite the fact that those chemicals are scientifically considered to be “abortifacients” because they’ve been proven to harm fetuses and induce miscarriages.

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health 

Evangelii Gaudium #247: “We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked.”
— 

This is explicit heresy. A heresy that was also privately taught by then Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI (see his books and Dominus Iesus) and first privately taught by John Paul II in the mid 1980’s. And it is due to this heresy that their dealing with the Jews, which are numerous and sinful, that have caused scandal to us all. But Pope Francis has put us in a bind! Now it is in an official papal document and it is explicit heresy. It puts into question his Pontificate. I must now ask myself, though I have no answer yet, is Pope Francis really the Pope? Is he now an Anti-Pope?

Now the confusion, I think, lies in the word “revoked.” The first meaning that pops into my head is “withdrawn" or "to take back." For example, if you are caught driving drunk you will have your license "revoked." But any dictionary will also say it means "to make void,” “to reverse," "to annul," or to "to officially cancel the power or effect." Obviously, God can never take back or withdraw His promises. But His promises can be rejected, as they were and are still. Making null and void the Old Covenant is exactly what Christ explicitly stated several times and at the Last Supper and explicitly did at His Passion. And, before I show you a short list of quotes to prove Francis wrong I am happy to say that even the Robber Council of Vatican II says: "His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant."  

On Facebook I have already been accused of reading too much into it or simply not being charitable when I say that Pope Francis echoes Vatican II and his Conciliar predecessors. Recall what then Cardinal Ratzinger taught in Dominus Iesus:

God’s grace, which is the grace of Jesus Christ according to our faith, is available to all. Therefore, the Church believes that Judaism, i.e. the faithful response of the Jewish people to God’s irrevocable covenant, is salvific for them, because God is faithful to his promises.

There is that word: “irrevocable." I truly believe that he believes this to be fact. He believes, as did JPII and so does Francis, that the Jews of today, who obstinately reject Christ and violently combat against His Divine Catholic Church (see the ADL, UCLA, SPLC, B’nai B’rith, Freemasonry and Communism) can be saved outside the Catholic Church. Some of the below quotes will prove, infallibly, otherwise.  

Judaism, in any of its forms, is not salvific today. If you believe that then you are a heretic and excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

Now this document from the CDF was released in 2000. In August 2002, the USCCB held a inter-faith conference with the perfidious Jews and that resulted in the document called “Reflections on Covenant and Mission.” In its preface it stated the following:

A deepening Catholic appreciation of the eternal covenant between God and his Jewish people, together with a recognition of a divinely given mission to Jews to witness to God’s faithful love, lead to the conclusion that campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church.

This is false and a sinful command. According to this I cannot create the “Confraternity for the conversion of the Jews.” What an admirable apostolate! But the American heirarchy and the Vatican would never approve of it. And it speaks falsely of the Old Covenant as “eternal” and that they too, along side of us, have a unique mission to witness to God’s faithful love, which “must not be curtailed by seeking the conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity." (Reflections) You may try to read it differently and accuse me of a false interpretation but the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults once stated (for it was later retracted by the USCCB after Robert Sungenis wrote a 12 page letter to the USCCB) “the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them" HERESY.

The Reflection document was later clarified but not enough to rectify the false teachings and implications. In fact, it did nothing but keep its heresy. They never once repudiated its sinful command nor has the Vatican, under Benedict or Francis, repudiated it. I assume then that they support it and I can tell that they do by their words and deeds.

This is only a tiny fraction of the dots one can connect to see the larger picture here. The Conciliar Church teaches heresy and Francis himself has placed that same heresy explicitly in a papal document. This causes me to question if the seat is empty or not.

Below I offer you some quotes from Councils and saints to PROVE to all you all that the Jews must be converted TODAY. Make every effort to convert every last one of them so that they many not fall into Hell.   

"In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.” - 1st Corinthians 11:25

"For this is the chalice of My blood, of the new and eternal testament: the mystery of faith: which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins.” - Consecration of Chalice Prayer (TLM)

“..for the perfidious Jews: that Our Lord and God may lift the covering off their hearts, so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ Our Lord.” - Traditional Good Friday Prayer for the Jews

It [The Holy Roman Church] firmly believes, professes and teaches that the legal prescriptions of the old Testament or the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, holy sacrifices and sacraments, because they were instituted to signify something in the future, although they were adequate for the divine cult of that age, once our lord Jesus Christ who was signified by them had come, came to an end and the sacraments of the new Testament had their beginning.” - Council of Florence

The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatic  can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her…” - Council of Florence [there are only 3 ways, 4 if you are one of the Jews converted at the End of Time, to be joined with the Church: 1) Baptism of Water 2) Baptism of Desire 3) Baptism of Blood. Invincible Ignorance is not a means of Salvation but those in it can get to Heaven.]

Doesn’t the Church every day triumph more fully over the Jews in convicting or converting them than if once and for all she destroyed them with the edge of the sword: Surely it is not in vain that the Church has established the universal prayer which is offered up for the faithless Jews from the rising of the sun to its setting, that the Lord God may remove the veil from their hearts, that they may be rescued from their darkness into the light of truth. For unless it hoped that those who do not believe would believe, it would obviously be futile and empty to pray for them.” - St. Bernard of Clairvaux (quoted in A Quo Primum)

"By the death of our Redeemer, the New Testament took the place of the Old Law which had been abolished; then the Law of Christ together with its mysteries, enactments, institutions, and sacred rites was ratified for the whole world in the blood of Jesus Christ. For, while our Divine Savior was preaching in a restricted area - He was not sent but to the sheep that were lost of the House of Israel - the Law and the Gospel were together in force; but on the gibbet of His death Jesus made void the Law with its decrees fastened the handwriting of the Old Testament to the Cross, establishing the New Testament in His blood shed for the whole human race. “To such an extent, then,” says St. Leo the Great, speaking of the Cross of our Lord, “was there effected a transfer from the Law to the Gospel,from the Synagogue to the Church, from the many sacrifices to one Victim, that, as Our Lord expired, that mystical veil which shut off the innermost part of the temple and its sacred secret was rent violently from top to bottom.” Pope Pius XII, in the encyclical Mystici corporis (1943)

"The Jews knew that Christ was the son of David. And even now they hope for His Coming. It is hidden from them that He has come, but it is hidden because they willed it so. For, not acknowledging Him on the cross, the knowledge of Him reigning in glory should not be theirs … Why are the Jews hoping for what has already come, and not fearful for what is to come? For Our Lord Jesus Christ … referred Himself as “the Stone” (Matthew xxi.44), that whoever stumbles upon it shall be bruised; but upon whom it shall fall, it will grind to powder … Lying on the ground, it shakes whoever falls over it; coming from on high, it crushes the proud. The Jews have already been shaken by their previous stumble. What awaits them is to be crushed by His Coming." ~ St. Augustine

But at any rate the Jews say that they, too, adore God. God forbid that I say that. No Jew adores God! Who says so? The Son of God says so. For He said, ‘If you were to know My Father, you would also know Me. But you neither know Me nor do you know My Father.' Could I produce a witness more trustworthy than the Son of God?” - St. John Chrysostom

The faithlessness of the Synagogue is an insult to the Savior. Therefore, He chose the barque of Peter and deserted the boat of Moses; that is, He rejected the faithless Synagogue and adopted the believing Church … Of these two ships, one is left at the shore, idle and empty; the other, loaded filled, is launched into the deep. For the Synagogue is left idle on the beach. Because of its own fault, it has lost Christ along with the warnings of the prophets. But the freighted Church is taken out into the deep, because it received the Lord together with the teaching of the Apostles. The Synagogue, I say, remains on the land, held fast as it were to earthly things. The Church is called forth to the deep, as though to search into the profound mysteries of Heaven.” ~ St. Ambrose

Go, so that cured by Christian faith, you may not die in Jewish unfaith, but may live forever with Jesus Christ Our Lord. ~ St. Peter Chrysologus

So clearly was the transition then made from the Synagogue to the Church that, when the Lord gave up His soul, the veil of the Temple was rent in two. ~ Pope St. Leo the Great

Therefore, the Jewish system is destroyed, for it was only a shadow; but that of the Church is firmly established, for it is built on the Rock, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. ~ St. Athanasius

 Since His spouse, the Synagogue, refused to receive Him, Christ answered: “This is a harlot!” And He gave her a bill of divorce, as we read in Isaias (50:1): “Thus says the Lord: Behold, you are sold for your iniquities; and for your evil deeds have I put your mother away. Because I came and there was not a man; I called and there was no one who would hear.” And so the Jews, the sons of the harlot, were repudiated. ~ St. Vincent Ferrer

We are told by the Apostle that when the time is ripe all Israel shall be saved. But those who die beforehand will remain in death. ~ St. Bernard of Clairvaux

“You [Bl. Pope Eugene III] also have obligations toward unbelievers, whether Jew, Greek, or Gentile” - St. Bernard of Clairvaux

I knew in my faith that the Jews were accursed and condemned without end, except those who were converted. ~ Bl. Juliana of Norwich

"Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of that race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may It now descend upon them, a laver of redemption and of life.” -Consecration of Human Race to Christ the King.

"Take heed to yourselves and be not like some piling up sins and saying that the covenant is theirs as well as ours. It is ours, but they lost it completely just after Moses received it - Epistle of Barnabas 4:6-7 [not a completely orthodox letter but equally telling]

I offer you links to various articles on this same topic

CFN: Common Mission and “Significant Silence”

More from Benedict on the Jews

TIA: Is the Catholic Church becoming a Branch of the Synagogue?

TIA: The Deicide and the Council

TIA: Benedict’s New Book Contradicts Church Teaching on Jews

Robert Sungenis and the Jews

We wish to clarify what this debate is—and is not—about. This is not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the Church’s hand and with the Church’s funds. This is not about the religious freedom of Catholics only, but also of those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block. This is not about the Bishops’ somehow “banning contraception,” when the U.S. Supreme Court took that issue off the table two generations ago. Indeed, this is not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything; it is instead about the federal government forcing the Church—consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions—to act against Church teachings. This is not a matter of opposition to universal health care, which has been a concern of the Bishops’ Conference since 1919, virtually at its founding. This is not a fight we want or asked for, but one forced upon us by government on its own timing. Finally, this is not a Republican or Democratic, a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American issue.
—  USCCB Administrative Committee

Our Conference is focused on several current and fundamental problems, some involving opposition to intrinsic evils and others raising serious moral questions:

• Continuing destruction of unborn children through abortion and other threats to the lives and dignity of others who are vulnerable, sick, or unwanted;

• Renewed efforts to force Catholic ministries—in health care, education, and social services—to violate their consciences or stop serving those in need;

• Intensifying efforts to redefine marriage and enact measures which undermine marriage as the permanent, faithful, and fruitful union of one man and one woman and a fundamental moral and social institution essential to the common good;

• An economic crisis which has devastated lives and livelihoods, increasing national and global unemployment, poverty, and hunger; increasing deficits and debt and the duty to respond in ways which protect those who are poor and vulnerable as well as future generations;

• The failure to repair a broken immigration system with comprehensive measures that promote true respect for law, protect the human rights and dignity of immigrants and refugees, recognize their contributions to our nation, keep families together, and advance the common good;

• Wars, terror, and violence which raise serious moral questions on the use of force and its human and moral costs in a dangerous world, particularly the absence of justice, security, and peace in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East.

In this coming election and beyond, we urge leaders and all Catholics to share the message of faithful citizenship and to use this document in forming their own consciences, so we can act together to promote and protect human life and dignity, marriage and family, justice and peace in service to the common good. This kind of political responsibility is a requirement of our faith and our duty as citizens.

—  United States Bishops

alwaysabeautifullife asked:

Hi Father! Would it be considered immoral for a pregnant woman to refuse treatment that is "life saving" because she is worried about chemicals of the medicine harming the baby, even when medical research states it is safe for the unborn baby?

Hello,

In my opinion, we should take care of our bodies, and provide them with the “ordinary medical care” that can help us stay healthy, or recuperate health once we are sick.

http://fatherangel.tumblr.com/post/28583933624/end-of-life-decisions

http://www.usccb.org/about/doctrine/ethical-and-religious-directives/

I am not sure about this, but I believe that in many states parents are not allowed to withhold modern, medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, when professional medical opinion says it falls under the heading of “ordinary medical attention.”

On the other hand, adults and even mature minors who require “extraordinary care” may make the decision to refuse further treatments. This is because extraordinary medical care is riskier. It is far more expensive. It is often very painful and requires hospitalization.

At the end of our cost-benefit analysis, a reasonable person may conclude that the extraordinary medical treatment will provide no lasting benefit and the patient will still die, or the patient will be compromised drastically on their quality of life situation.

Even if a woman was not pregnant, in my opinion, she would still have the right to refuse chemotherapy that she believed it was experimental, was life saving but harmful to her mental capacities, and was therefore “extraordinary” means of treatment.

However, if she is pregnant, it is understandable that might refuse chemo based merely on the possibility of the chemo killing or maiming her child in utero. Since she has been told that her chemo is life saving and at the same time poses no danger to her child, then she perhaps has less moral justification for refusing this treatment.

But can we accuse the woman of sin for refusing treatment that could save her? We have to give a wide swath of concessions to a mother who is protecting her child, whether preborn or born already. It is the most basic instinct of nature, for a parent to protect their offspring at any and all costs. If I were advising her, I would ask her to at least hear multiple opinions so that we could do our best to save her and her baby. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Following enactment of ACA, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has not joined in efforts to repeal the law in its entirety, and we do not do so today. The decision of the Supreme Court neither diminishes the moral imperative to ensure decent health care for all, nor eliminates the need to correct the fundamental flaws described above.We therefore continue to urge Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, legislation to fix those flaws.
—  USCCB
Why the USCCB's "Religious Freedom" Argument Is a Lie

Written by Bridgette Dunlap for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

The recent Huffington Post article by Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops tells us quite a bit about the veracity of the USCCB’s claims that religious freedom is under attack in the United States.

Sister Walsh portrays Catholic institutions as just wanting to be able to give away services as acts of charity without government interference. But the truth is Catholic institutions (or those who claim to speak for them) are demanding they be able to participate in the market without having to adhere to the same standards as anyone else selling products or services, and to do it with government funding to boot.  

The idea that some religious organizations should not have to meet the general standard has been widely accepted, but Sister Walsh finds the resulting exemption to the contraceptive coverage mandate, “miserly.” As the USCCB has told us repeatedly, the issue isn’t contraception, but religious freedom. The problem, they claim, is just that too few Catholic-affiliated institutions are exempt from the HHS regulation.

As Bishop William Lori, of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty put it to Congress:

This is not a matter of whether contraception may be prohibited by the government.  This is not even a matter of whether contraception may be supported by the government. Instead, it is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs.

Now, there is a first-grader in plaid somewhere inside of me who hesitates to say this, but:  this is a big lie. I know this is a lie because I read the USCCB’s Statement on Religious Freedom.

Read the rest here.

Through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops we have testified before the U.S. Congress for change in our immigration laws and for legislation that respects family unity and provides an orderly and reasonable process for unauthorized persons to attain citizenship. The new law should include a program for worker visas that respects the immigrants’ human rights, provides for their basic needs and ensures that they enter our country and work in a safe and orderly manner. We will also continue to advocate on behalf of global economic justice, so that our brothers and sisters can find employment opportunities in their countries of origin that offer a living wage, and allow them to live with dignity. Immigrants are a revitalizing force for our country. The lack of a just, humane and effective reform of immigration laws negatively affects the common good of the entire United States.
—  The Hispanic/Latino Bishops of the United States
USCCB Responds To Inaccurate Statement Of Fact On HHS Mandate Made During Vice Presidential Debate

October 12, 2012

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement, October 12. Full text follows:

Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

"With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact."

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.

For more details, please see USCCB’s regulatory comments filed on May 15 regarding the proposed “accommodation”: www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/rulemaking/upload/comments-on-advance-notice-of-proposed-rulemaking-on-preventive-services-12-05-15.pdf