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Word format: Year A 30th Sunday
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Paralysed man walks again
Did you know the Catholic Church had a role in the revolutionary operation which allowed a paralysed man to walk again? The paralysed man, Darek Fidyka from Poland, had had his spinal cord completely severed in a stabbing injury. In 2012, Alan Mackay Sim, director of the Adult Stem Cell Research Centre at Griffith University extracted olfactory ensheathing cells, thought to be derived from stem cells, from a [different] patient’s nose and injected them into his spinal cord, establishing the safety of the procedure.
Brisbane ear, nose and throat specialist Chris Perry, who extracted the stem cells in the trial, said Professor Mackay-Sim’s work with adult stem cells had been a vital element in the international collaboration. He said the Catholic Church, under George Pell, had donated $50,000 to the research to encourage alternatives to embryonic stem cells. “Unlike embryonic stem cells, which can trigger tumours in some cases, adult stem cells grow in a controlled fashion after they are injected,” Dr Perry said.
As you know, embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of tiny humans (known as blastocysts at this stage of life, but don’t be fooled – they’re still unique human individuals). The Catholic Church has long spoken out against this exploitation of the helpless and sought to encourage research in adult stem cells instead. Numerous advances have been made in the field of adult stem cell technologies, including the regrowing of a woman’s trachea and the growth of a retina for potential transplant.
In fact, the Church regularly offers $100,000 grants for adult stem cell research – Parkinson’s disease (2003), regeneration of skin after severe burns (2005), treatment of stroke victims (2007), regeneration of normal blood function for cancer sufferers (2009) and improving the success of tissue transplantation (2011).
Australian Christian Lobby Conference
Please pray for the Australian Christian Lobby which this week holds its annual conference in Canberra. It has come under renewed attack over recent weeks. When I read Lyle’s article, I was somewhat bemused that some individuals think the Church is full of hate!
Prayer: Almighty God, we pray that through the work of the ACL, the truth about the beauty of genuine marriage – faithful and fruitful – will be upheld in Australia. We pray that all politicians present will be able to see that
- there is no biological complementarity in same-sex relationships
- children have a right to live with their biological mother and father and not be treated as commodities for other people’s self-centred fulfilment
We pray, however, that all statements will be issued with due respect for people of differing views and uphold these statements from the Catechism:
- The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator’s generosity and fecundity: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”121 All human generations proceed from this union. (2335)
- [Homosexual persons] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. (2358)
- Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (2359)