Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/3/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Hannah's hope shows that miracles still happen and reveals Catholic compassion.

Hannah once lived in the first home of the human race, the womb of her mother. She will soon go home with her Mom, Young-Mi, and her Dad, Darryl and live in a new home. Her story needs to be told in its fullness. Contrary to what some within the main stream media falsely claim the Catholic Church is leading the way on Ethical Stem Cell Research.

Hannah Warren and her Dad

Hannah Warren and her Dad


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

5/3/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Hannah Warren, stem cells, embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells, regenerative medicine, Children's Hospital of Illinois, St. Francis Medical Center, Sisters of St Francis, Deacon Keith Fournier

PEORIA, ILL. (Catholic Online) - Hannah Warren is 2 ˝ years old. She has a smile which is stealing hearts all over the world. She was born without a windpipe. The medical term is tracheal agenesis. It is a rare but usually fatal abnormality.

Hannah has lived in a neonatal intensive care unit of a hospital in South Korea unable to breather on her own. She received medical/mechanical help. She had to receive all of her nourishment and water through a tube because she was unable to swallow or eat on her own. However, she sure could smile. In fact, she communicated love to all who encountered her.

Her mother Young-Mi, and father Darryl, obviously love her dearly. In their efforts to help their little girl they read of a procedure which used stem cells from an adult to grow a new windpipe. They wondered whether it would work with Hannah. They worried that, even if it would, they did not have the funds such a procedure would require. 

This compelling story is set forth in its most accurate and beautiful rendition here. Fortunately, it is making the rounds in many media sources. Sadly, the whole story is not being told in many media reports. What is left out is the role of Catholic compassion.

Some accounts in the main stream media exclude the fact that the miraculous medical procedure which regenerated a windpipe from Hannah's own stem cells - and then successfully attached it surgically - was done at the Children's Hospital of Illinois and involved the Sisters of St Francis, prayer, gospel compassion, the St. Francis Medical Center and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.

I encourage my readers to also read  Hannah's full Story - From Seoul to Peoria This beautiful little girl will soon speak her first words. She will share a meal with her parents in the years ahead and eat her first birthday cake. Two extraordinary Doctors, Dr. Mark Holterman and Dr. Paolo Macchiarini made history in the growing field of regenerative medicine, and a Catholic religious community of sisters was involved in promoting the compassion.

Dr. Macchiarini, the lead surgeon in the nine hour operation told the Press,  "The most amazing thing, which for a little girl is a miracle, is that this transplant has not only saved her life, but it will eventually enable her to eat, drink and swallow, even talk, just like any other normal child. She will go from being a virtual prisoner in a hospital bed to running around and playing with her sister and enjoying a normal life, which is a beautiful thing."

The Children's Hospital of Illinois is associated with the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, As a Catholic Institution, the medical center is committed to the ethical, life affirming, use of stem cells. It rejects the use of embryonic stem cells because their extraction is deadly and always destroys embryonic persons. The stem cells used to help construct a windpipe for Hannah came from her own bone marrow.

Here is what needs to be reported widely. Hannah's story is an example of the leadership which the Catholic Church is taking in ethical stem cell research and regenerative medicine. It is an example of Catholic compassion for many reasons. Not only was it promoted by an institution of the Catholic Church, the institution also covered the costs.

Last month, a conference took place which was cosponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture, STOQ International, NeoStem and the Stem for Life Foundation. The conference was entitled Regenerative medicine: A Fundamental Shift in Science and Culture and you can read about it here.

It brought together medical researchers, politicians, Church leaders, scholars, scientists and students to educate the world and promote ongoing work in the use of "adult" stem cells and regenerative medicine. Here is an excellent description of adult stem cells

Though Hannah is a child, the use of her own stem cells is an example of adult stem cell use and shows the promise of regenerative medicine. The Pontifical Council has been involved in a multi-year and multi-million dollar partnership with NeoStem, Inc. to promote research involving this kind of Stem Cell research.

However, the Catholic Church unequivocally opposes human embryonic stem cell research.

Why? The answer is simple, such research is always deadly. Extracting stem cells from a human embryo takes a human life. The human embryo is a living member of the human species who, like every one of us, is always in development.

Every human being possesses an equal moral dignity and has a fundamental Right to Life. This is true no matter what age or stage of our development, degree of dependence upon others (we are all dependent upon others) or the opinion of others as to our "worth". We are not products, we are persons.

The Vatican expressed it this way in 2008, "the use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person." (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Dignitas Personae on Certain Bioethical Questions).

Human embryonic stem cell research has produced no substantial, lasting medically verifiable results. More importantly, it is always deadly for the human embryonic person. To the contrary, adult stem cell research harms no-one and has borne very promising results. Hannah is only the most recent example. 

How many news reports have you read over the yearswhich claim that the Catholic Church is against "stem cell research"? It is time to hear the truth. The Catholic Church is NOT against all stem cell research. The Catholic Church supports and promotes ethical and stem cell research.

The Catholic Church opposes EMBRYONIC stem cell research. Human embryonic stem cell research is always deadly. A human embryo is not distinct in kind from a human being, but a human being at an early stage of development. Extracting their stem cells is a form of embryonic execution.

In 1987 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Holy See issued an outstanding instruction entitled "Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation". Among the many questions answered was, "What Respect is due to the human embryo, taking into account his nature and identity?"

The answer: "The human being must be respected - as a person - from the very first instant of his (her) existence."  In 2008 the same Vatican Congregation issued an instruction entitled the "Dignity of the Human Person: On Certain Bioethical Questions" 

The Congregation reminds us that science must be placed at the service of the human person, the family and the common good. Any use of new technologies must respect that the human body is never an "it" - but an "I" - some-one who must never be treated as an object:

"The body of a human being, from the very first stages of its existence, can never be reduced merely to a group of cells. The embryonic human body develops progressively according to a well defined program with its proper finality, as is apparent in the birth of every baby."

This defense of the dignity of all human life begins with these words, "The dignity of a person must be recognized in every human being from conception to natural death. This fundamental principle expresses a great "yes" to human life and must be at the center of ethical reflection on biomedical research, which has an ever greater importance in today's world."

The old "Catholic Church is against science" lie is  perpetuated by those who do not like the Catholic Church's uncompromising defense of the dignity of all human life, at every age and stage. The Catholic Church not only supports but promotes ethical stem cell research. Little Hannah is a living example of the beautiful fruit of Catholic compassion.

Every one of us is in development at every moment of our human existence. In fact we might more accurately be described as what I would call "human becomings" rather than human beings. The "me" who is now 58 years old is the same me who was once 26 years old, or six years old, or six days old, or in the womb, or an embryo.

At the very moment of conception this unique "me" came into human existence as a human person, a human being. We all know this to be true. No stage of our human life and development is less worthy of respect than another, including our time as a human embryonic person. 

Human embryology and developmental biology affirm that a human embryo is not distinct in kind from a human being, but a human being at an early stage of development. Even prior to implantation, a human embryo is a unique living human being with the genetic constitution and epigenetic primordial that continues to develop throughout his or her life.

The Catholic Church will never change her teaching on the dignity of every human person, including what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith called "embryonic persons", and for good reason. There can be no debate about this fact; we were all once human embryos. We all lived in the first home of the whole human race, our mother's womb.

Hannah Warren once lived in the first home of the human race, the womb of her mother. She will soon go home with her Mom, Young-Mi, and her Dad, Darryl and live in a new home. Her story needs to be told in its fullness.

Contrary to what some within the main stream media falsely claim the Catholic Church is leading the way on Ethical Stem Cell Research. Hannah's hope shows that miracles still happen and reveals Catholic compassion.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More U.S.

MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: Days-old baby girl buried alive pulled to safety in California Watch

Image of Following the child's muffled cries, police eventually found the girl in a crevice along the biking path. Wrapped in a blanket, covered with a layer of rocks and rubble, the girl was cold - but alive.


While much still needs to be learned - authorities here in Compton, California are gratified to learn that miracles still happen. A days-old baby girl, estimated to be only two to three days old, has been pulled to safety from a riverbed after a passerby heard ... continue reading

Who Needs Advent? I do! Watch

Image of The candle is a symbol of Advent because it is a symbol of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, who is always coming to those with the eyes of living faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Jesus Christ is not just a memory to the Christian with living faith. He is alive in our midst and living His Life in and through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. The redemptive mission of the Lord Jesus continues until He returns. As Christians, we ... continue reading

BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big and so powerful, you won't believe this MASSIVE SHOCKING fact about it! Watch

Image of Obama is the titular head of the world's most nefarious terrorist organization, a title he may have inherited from his predecessor, and that will be passed to his successor.


If you were asked, what is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in human history, how would you answer? Global warming? Vaccines? The Moon Landing? Entire religions?  (Not that we agree with these). But what would you say? In a moment, we're going to offer an answer ... continue reading

'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for best deals Watch

Image of Sales for pricey items such as electronic devices erupt into violence on


Everyone has had their turkey leftovers from the previous day's Thanksgiving Feast - and now it's out the door to the nearest "big box" store in a mad scavenger hunt called "Black Friday," where shoppers trample each other for the best deals then can get just before ... continue reading

President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in Thanksgiving address Watch

Image of The president then went on to say that, all Americans must open their neighborhoods, their homes, and hearts to Syrian refugees.


United States President Barack Obama called on Americans to welcome Syrian refugees this Thanksgiving season, who - like the pilgrims that set sail on the Mayflower, were likewise fleeing persecution in their native land. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart Watch

Image of Around tables throughout America, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gather with mothers and fathers, Grandpas and Grandmas, extended family, neighbors and friends to thank God and one another. And then, we feast; not only on the food, but even more importantly, on the gift of the love which informs all family relationships and true friendships, the real source of lasting joy, the love of the God who gave us life and liberty.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Happy Thanksgiving Day. May it be a day for love and gratitude. No matter how difficult the challenges we face as a Nation, we have much to be grateful for. As we give thanks, we will find the strength we need to love even more fully. As we practice regularly ... continue reading

New ISIS video taunts United States to 'bring it on' Watch

Image of While the video is pumping up Islamist State, the fact of the matter is is the group is suffering heavy losses on the ground form allied bombardment, especially since Russia began bombing the group


A new video from the Islamic State is highlighting the high number of U.S. soldiers who commit suicide, in effect to tell the world's last remaining superpower to "bring it on." U.S. President Barack Obama has since dismissed ISIS as "a bunch of killers with ... continue reading

Horrific outrage erupts over proposed mosque in Virginia after Paris attacks Watch

Image of The Muslim community in Fredericksburg, Virginia has received support from the local Christian and Jewish clergy.


"Nobody wants your evil cult," declared a man at a zoning meeting in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was lobbing his invective at several American Muslims there over a proposed mosque to be built there. "Every one of you are terrorists. I don't care what you say. ... continue reading

The revealing truth behind the traditional presidential Thanksgiving turkey pardon Watch

Image of President Ronald Reagan was the first U.S. president to use the word


President Obama will pardon two turkeys - named Tom One and Tom Two - from a turkey farm in Modesto California on Thanksgiving Eve as part of an annual presidential tradition. Obama will make a few jokes with his family and then pardon the turkeys to live out ... continue reading

'Domestic terrorism': 5 People shot during Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis Watch

Image of Despite a shooting at a Minneapolis Black Lives Matter protest, the group plans to return to the precinct to continue their protests.


Protesters were standing outside the 4th Precinct in Minneapolis for Black Lives Matter in the case of 24-year-old Jamar Clark when gunshots rang out. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -Five protesters were shot outside the police station Tuesday afternoon as one ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • St. Andrew: Saint of the Day for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • GRAPHIC IMAGES: Islamic extremist shown being BLOWN UP while making ...
  • Daily Readings for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • CRYBABY KILLER: Islamist State fighter breaks down in tears after ...
  • MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: Days-old baby girl buried alive pulled to safety ...
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 10:9-18
9 that if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 4:18-22
18 As he was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 30th, 2015 Image

St. Andrew
November 30: Andrew, like his brother Simon Peter, was a ... Read More