Local Matters – June 1st, 2019
Mary Ann Harold speaks with Fr Tad Director of Education at National Catholic Bioethics Center, PA
Thank you for listening to WQPH 89.3 FM Shirley-Fitchberg, Queen of Perpetual Help and welcome to another edition of the WQPH’s Local Matters this week on Local Matters we discuss a very important topic. It is a special broadcast featuring of Father Ted Michalczyk and he’s the Director of Education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia and he discuss is important issues such as stem cell research and abortion. This is an interview dated back from 2009. No phone calls, please.
Hello. This is we re in Harold. We had today with father Ray Laboom, the spiritual director at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception here in Washington DC. Father Ray could you pray a prayer for the pro life movement with us sure?
Together, we say.
Our lady of Guadalupe interception on behalf of those whose lives are threatened be they in the room of their mother on the bed of infirmity or in the latter years of their life, may our prayers also be coupled with peaceful action, which witnesses who goodness and dignity of all human life so that our firmness of purpose may give coverage to those who are fearful and bring light to those a blinded by sin. Encourage those who will be involved in the March for life help them to work closely with God, and to give voice to the pride of the oppressed in order to remind our nation of its commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people overage. Another God present artist your son and ask him to let us with the under life.
He’s with the Saint Joseph Prayer Senecal and David Wilson do your Eternal Life Radio. I think is to combat the secular press and the media and I want to quote Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
In these times of evil. Christianity has not failed. But we have failed to be Christian.
The tragedy is not so much that men live without God, but they deny the very existence of God and I was asked to invoke Saint Jude, my patron Saint, to intercede for us and for Eternal Life Radio. Saint Jude Glorious Apostle Faithful Servant and friend of Jesus. The church invokes universally as the patron Saint of hopeless cases, pray force who are so helpless and without the help of our Saints and the blessed mother, interceding for us that finally we may receive the consolation of Heaven and all their necessities. Did Tribulations and sufferings, particularly in that we may bless God with the elect throughout eternity. Amen.
Some of us are leaving Connie to go to the March for life and we want to wish God speech. All those who are traveling. We ask your prayers for the safety of all those going to demonstrate I civil right to protect the rights of the unborn citizens. But Hello and welcome everybody to our very special program today. Connie what’s as special guest father, Ted from Philadelphia, PA is joining us on a line we hope?
That you will be listening, so intently to what Father Tad has to offer an economy went tell everybody a little bit about father. Chad he writes and speaks widely on bioethics and medical athletics, focusing on moral issues, especially those raised by stem cell research. He trained as a neuroscientist at Yale and he actually did Laboratory Research at Harvard University and he currently writes a monthly column on bioethics that’s carried by newspapers in the United States and Canada. He’s done numerous media commentaries including appearances on CNN International, ABC World News tonight, NBC Nightly News–so we really would like to give him a very strong Boston welcome Connie.
Thank you very much a pleasure to be with you.
That’s great well. Thank you for joining us today. Father Tad we’re wondering would you like to open with a prayer?
I would be happy to, thank you in the Holy Spirit?
Almighty God as we reflect on the great gift of life that we have been given.
We ask for your blessing upon that life and appan our own resolution to safeguard and protected throughout our great land.
We ask you to enlighten consciences to the truth that you teach those truths that we know that set us free.
And we ask all this through Christ. Our Lord Amen. The name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit Amen. By that ad with so happy that you could join us and would you please tell us a little bit about yourself? I was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Fall River MA and I first did 3 years of pastoral work in a parish on the Cape.
And after that, I joined the National Catholic Bioethics Center based in Philadelphia. We used to be in Boston. We used to be called the Pope John the 23rd center. But we have since then expanded in size and change locations. And now we work out of Philadelphia. So I’ve been living in Philadelphia for nearly 5 years working for the center and I serve as the director of Education. So my work is focused on educational.
Outreach I spend a lot of time traveling around the country and actually around the world speaking on issues like stem cell research. Human cloning in-vitro fertilization assisted reproductive technologies.
Also end of life issues questions of tube feeding nutrition and hydration for patients who are in a vegetative state questions like that. So I spent a good deal of time on those topics and I also run a certification program, which is program in bioethics to help people who sit on Ethics Committees of Catholic hospitals to kind of get up to speed on what the church teaches.
Regarding medical ethics and bioethics.
And I also do a certain amount of work in preparing for a conference that we host every 2 years in Dallas, TX which we invite all of the Catholic Bishops of the US Mexico and Canada to come too. We usually get close to 200 bishops who come and it’s an opportunity for our center to update the bishops on some of the most recent developments.
In medical ethics and that typically happens in February, so those are some of the areas that I’m involved in a bit of my background. I was trained as a neuroscientist. I got a doctorate from Yale and did postdoctoral work at Harvard and so that scientific background has kind of dovetailed very directly with the work in ethics that I’m intensely involved in now. We are very grateful. You can take time. Out of your busy schedule to join us here and we hope you can do it.
In the future because there’s such a wide gamut material that you just mentioned that I’m sure everyone has questions about today. Father Tad for those who are not familiar? What is bioethics and how does this impact our lives is Catholics?
Well, bioethics, you might say is a branch of ethics in the sense that you use the same kinds of general ethical principles that you would use in discerning right from wrong?
And you apply them to a particular sphere or a particular domain and that domain is Madison and medical research so in those in that particular domain. There are questions that are you might say specific to the area.
And they raised their own difficulties in terms of properly applying these general ethical principles. So I mean? What are some of these ethical principles? Were talking about? I mean it be things like recognizing that we should never directly take the life.
Of another human that that is something that is always an unjust proposal, so once you recognize that as a general principle. Then the question becomes OK? What who fits into that class? What do we mean by human being and of course. This is something that has been very much debated in our own history with certain tragic outcomes at times. We know for example, that during the past. World War that individuals who belonged to the Jews.
War considered not to be human persons within certain societies and therefore they were treated differently, not treated as humans. And so the question becomes who is a member of the human family and bioethics, then works within that question recognizing you know a good bioethics will recognize that from our very humble beginnings as a human embryo all the way to our very advanced end.
As an elderly person that all such humans are deserving of complete and unconditional protection, so bioethics deals with those kinds of questions and as you might imagine that immediately draws in on issues like stem cell research on questions about making human beings in laboratory. Glassware, which is what in vitro fertilization does it’s called it’s the test tube baby proposal.
And the realization that there are serious violations that occur whenever we create other human beings as products to be manipulated in a laboratory rather than in the marital embrace so these are some of the types of questions that bioethics would deal with, and also it would deal with me with a wide range of other issues. Further, along the life spectrum issues dealing for example, with Oregon.
Hence plantation issues dealing with end of life scenarios.
What would be required? What our duties to people who are very sick at the end of life and how do you decide when a particular intervention a particular medical treatment will be required or not? How do you know when you’re trying to decide for your grand father, who is dying of some serious disease. How much you have to do and when you can stop providing it so those are the kinds of questions that bioethics.
And medical ethics deal with on a day by day basis.
Well, father. What is some of the most important areas of concern that we should discuss today?
I know at Time is limited, but perhaps you could bring out the most important ones well. I think some of those areas that we just mentioned certainly would would qualify in terms of the question that you raise.
I think that the area certainly in general of protection of life before birth. This is a huge area. The realization that we have had a long history of discussion and debate over the issue of abortion be. I would say one of the key areas in other words, the recognition that we must avoid in any kind of a civilized society.
All forms of direct attack on human beings whether they are in the womb or not doesn’t make any difference that the fundamental issue is that again. They are members of the human family brothers and sisters to you and me, and we have certain very, very serious obligations to protect them and perhaps even more especially so because of the fact that they are vulnerable that they are weak and that they are unable to defend themselves so it becomes our duty to step in and speak on their behalf. So I would say that’s one of the larger areas that deserves an merits our attention in the realm of bioethics. I think stem cell research is another area that needs to be more properly understood in our society. There’s a lot of misinformation and misdirection that is occurring around this issue.
Many people believe for example, that the Catholic Church is opposed to stem cell research. An the fact of the matter is that the Catholic Church supports most forms of stem cell research. There’s only a very, very narrow piece of the pie that the church opposes and that is the kind of stem cell research that requires the direct and intentional destruction of human embryos in order to.
Get ahold of stem cells for research that kind of stem cell research is of course, always immoral and can never be turned into a morally acceptable enterprise since it depends on the destruction of younger humans by older and more wealthy humans, so that kind of research is always immoral. But other forms of stem cell research like.
Adult stem cell research where you use stem cells from our own bodies would be morally acceptable you can use stem cells from umbilical cords you can get them from placentas the after birth and from many other sources as well. There are even some new tricks now where scientists can take a plain old skin cell.
Put some gene s inside it and convert it into a stem cell directly.
Again, without destroying any human embryos and that new technology is called reprogramming and again does not raise any fundamental moral objections. So these are areas just to kind of give you a a sampling or a taste where huge ethical issues are at play. And it’s so important within our society that people become better informed around these topics and you know this is this is a very important point to understand that many people, I think most people in our country, even those who are in principle, pro-abortion, most of them would agree that it’s a good thing to try to reduce the number of abortions in our country.
I mean, it seems like a kind of common sense insight about that. The bishops have written and sent their feelings about all of this.
Can you comment on this especially about their concerns for life well?
Yes, the bishops had a meeting one of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, meeting that was held on November 10 through 12. And at that meeting there was a significant amount of discussion. And there was a statement that was issued by Cardinal George, who is the president of the conference of bishops and.
And he was he was very articulate in pointing out as well. That that whenever there is an abortion that this involves an act of killing an act of taking the life of another human and that this is something that that our society simply cannot coexist with that. This is the kind of thing that threatens the very fabric of a society like ours, which claims to be a just society or striving to become.
A just society that if we really believe in the importance of that. We can’t permit for laws that involve this kind of direct attack.
Our special guest is Father Tad the whole trick, Director of Education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. So far, but I I know how proud we add to all be Catholic with so proud of the work that you are doing with your bioethics center there.
Well, we always have the strong option of more prayer, father. Prayer is very important we have a lot of listeners who love to pray.
Yes, I think that the spiritual side of this is an absolutely critical one to acknowledge as you are doing Connie in the sense that ultimately these kinds of battles are not simply between flesh and blood but involve principalities and powers. This is a battle that deals with the most basic questions and ideologies and it effects questions ultimately of our own Salvation. And, of achieving eternal life with God, so we do need prayer desperately and we need to be petitioning storming heaven around these key issues because in a sense if our society doesn’t get this right if we don’t sort out this abortion question, if we don’t sort out.
The protection of human life. Soon we may go down a path from which there will be no exit and that’s a fearful thought but I mean, great societies in the past when they have committed this error. Those societies have collapsed and we have to hope that our society is not on a path in that direction. Everybody tends to look simply at financial markets and gross national product as the kind of indicator, but
The real indicators of the moral fabric of the society and if the society is energetically going down the wrong path that is the surest indicator that the future will be will be laden with trouble.
So prayer is a key way because it ultimately there has to be a conversion of heart here in our society. And those who are promoting abortion on demand must come to see the evil of what they’re doing? What is really driving all of this, though file that ad I can understand what is driving this whole destruction of families?
Of society what is it? Well, I don’t know if there’s a simple answer. I think there are a number of factors?
The destruction of human life now has become a big business. There is a lot of money that exchanges hands when you can charge seven hundred $800 for a single abortion and in the course of a day a single physician could carry out you know 10 or 20 of these then you know that already represents an enormous sum of money and as soon as money gets involved ethics tends to be downplayed if not.
Outright ignored that’s one of the dangers of money that you know the Lord warns us about that. We can’t serve. Both God and Mammon and yet so many try to serve both or just to serve Mammon.
So that’s one one consideration, I think there are other issues here as well that we live in a society that has made another major error, which is the error of promoting contraception when you innocence twist. The whole meaning of marital sexuality and turn it into a sterile transaction between partners between husband and wife.
Then the issue becomes well if it’s OK to do that to engage in sterile sex. We have to have a back up. We have to have Plan B because if there should be a pregnancy well. We’ve got to be able to prevent that ultimate outcome, so abortion is a backup for contraception in our society and it’s very interesting. If you look at the statistics on abortion in our society, the number of women who have repeat.
Abortions is a staggering some women have 3 four or more abortions and you ask yourself, OK after they had that first abortion does that mean they know they didn’t understand what happens how you become pregnant and so on, and you would save yourself. In a society that promotes contraception like ours. Does they would take measures not to get pregnant a second, third or 4th time.
But we see that that doesn’t happen that in their minds. Abortion is simply a backup form of contraception and you know why bother too much. It’s just part of the same thing? Why bother too much with contraception so in other words are mistake is to have initially encouraged people in our world to go down the path of contraception in marriage and outside of marriage and we no longer see what the intrinsic designs of human sexuality.
Our four it has become a recreational activity and when you then allow it to take on that kind of improper direction. Then you have to defend all these other aspects like abortion on demand to be sure that people can continue to practice the central disorder that they are engaging in so I think those are some of the reasons it’s you know, there are also bigger issues here as we mentioned earlier, the battle between principalities and powers that are going on here and anytime that the evil one can convince us to directly take another human’s life, that’s a major victory for him and a major loss for us, that we damage ourselves every time we sin and I think we don’t realize that so often these things are spoken of in rights language, and so on and so forth, we don’t realize we are becoming less human every time we choose to commit a sin like abortion, we’re becoming less sensitive to the great goods that God has given us; the gift of life itself and the gift of our fellow brothers and sisters. So those, I think, are some of the reasons that are at play. And I think there are others as well.
So much food for thought and we would love to talk to you in another time, father, chat about the other issues of stem cell research and end of life issues. That’s very big. I don’t know the answers to a lot of those things you brought up and Connie, we just very grateful for your time and we had hoped to have some live call in questions, which we will take when we close with you father and could we ask you to pray for us in our apostolate here would be happy to do that and you know, I thank you for your apostolate in the media because the media is the main battleground for so many of these these ideas that we have to defend and safeguard.
So the would you tell our listeners how they can get a copy of your DVD’s and various articles?
Yes, we have a website at the National Catholic Bioethics Center and I’ll mention the website but let me just mention first if you put in 2 words into Google. The 2 words would be “Catholic Bioethics”. We are the 1st result that comes up on a Google search of Catholic Bioethics. And on our website. You can find all the materials that you mentioned including a DVD that I have prepared and some of my past newspaper columns are they’re all available on a wide array of these topics. If you want the website itself directly. I’ll just mention it right now, it is www.ncbcenter.org.
That’s beautiful. Thank you father. Now could we close our formal session with a prayer, father?
Yes, I’d be happy to simply extend a simple blessing. Thank you after we say. Perhaps the Hail Mary together.
Wonderful Hail Mary full of Grace. the Lord is with thee blessed northpower among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary mother of God pray fast sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen and of the son and of the Holy Spirit Amen.
Thank you for listening to another edition of WQPH’s Local Matters. We hope you enjoyed the broadcast and hope you have a blessed week.–>