Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/3/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/3/2013 (1 year 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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More U.S.

Could terrorists attempt to attack the White House with a drone? Crash sparks debate over future use of drones in war Watch

Image of A small, four propeller drone, crashed on the White House lawn, spurring a discussion on whether drones may be used by terrorist groups in the future.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A two-foot-long, four propeller drone crashed onto the White House grounds yesterday, raising troubling questions that drones could be utilized by terrorists or other potential murderers to attack the White House or other U.S. government institutions that have ... continue reading


The Thrill of the Chaste: Matt C. Abbott Interviews Dawn Eden Watch

Image of Dawn Eden, author of the highly-acclaimed My Peace I Give You and the Catholic edition of The Thrill of the Chaste

By Matt C. Abbott

Being a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, and receiving Jesus' own Body and Blood in the Eucharist, has given me a deeper understanding of the meaning of being embodied. I see more clearly how chastity enables one to love fully in each relationship, in the ... continue reading


GOP teams up with Israeli prime minister to forcefully override Obama's Iran policy Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

House Speaker John Boehner is seeking to enlist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to support a congressional plan to override President Obama's Iran policy on March 3. Boehner hopes to bring Netanyahu to a joint session of the House and Senate. Boehner ... continue reading


The Prophetic Connection Between the March for Life and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is no accident that the March for Life always falls within the National Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is prophetic.We have been thrown together in a common defense of life in a western culture which has lost its moral compass. Our Marching together ... continue reading


Early Christian Deacon and Martyr Vincent Calls Us to Heroic Christian Witness in a Hostile Culture Watch

Image of Vincent was born in the Third Century in Huesca, Spain and born again to eternal life only four days into the fourth century. He lived in Saragossa where he served the holy Bishop Valerius as a Deacon.He was one of the scores of Christians who suffered brutal persecution under the evil Roman emperor named Diocletian. Diocletian is associated with the last of the ten persecutions of the nascent undivided Christian Church of the first millennium of our history.  Like many early deacons of the undivided Church such as Stephen, Lawrence and Ephrem, the hagiography which has been passed down through the Church records his holiness of life and heroic virtue. He lived the way he died, as a sign of the power of the Gospel and the truth of the presence of the Risen Jesus Christ in our midst.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Deacon Vincent was a man like us who encountered the same Risen Lord Jesus whom we have encountered. He struggled with the choices which always accompany living the Christian life in the midst of a culture which has squeezed God and His truth out of the ... continue reading


Caught in the act: Telephone scammers get comeuppance from plucky woman Watch

Image of Becoming pro-active, Rachel Fitzsimmons decided to take action in an effort to spread awareness so that others do not fall for the swindle.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Telephone solicitors threatening phony legal action are the bane of many people's existence. They typically prey upon "old-timers" who still have landlines in their homes and are home in the evenings. Rachel Fitzsimmons, of Denver, Colorado received such a call ... continue reading


Is Israel beholden to Obama? Should the president be able to hold the American people hostage via threat of veto? Republicans and Israeli prime minister say no! Watch

Image of Benjamin Netanyahu is set to speak before a joint session of Congress on March 3 about keeping nuclear capabilities out of the hands of Iran.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On March 3, Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu will speak before the a joint session of the U.S. Congress, a move which is as much a show of support for Israel from the Republican dominated legislature as it is a rebuff of President Obama. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Upset over private donations, Liberal protestors barged in on the Supreme Court Watch

Image of Members of 99rise during a protest.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the Supreme Court opened on January 21, a rare disturbance broke out which caused seven protesters to be removed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chief Justice John Roberts was about to announce the day's opinions when a protester stood up and began shouted: "We ... continue reading


The First Right is the Right to Life. It is Time to End Legal Abortion on Demand Watch

Image of The great human rights movement of our age is the struggle to restore to the Civil and positive law the legal recognition of the fundamental Human Right to Life. It is already a fundamental human right, and one which can never be taken away. This Right to Life is the foundation of all other rights. It is the first solidarity issue. The child in the womb is our innocent neighbor. It is wrong to kill any innocent neighbor. We know this and we have perpetuated the lie for too long.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

No one with integrity any longer argues that the little girl or little boy killed through procured abortion is not a human being. When the abortion occurs through miscarriage we properly enter into the mourning of the mother over the loss of the one we call - her ... continue reading


Archbishop José H. Gomez: OneLife LA and 9 Days for Life Watch

Image of Archbishop Gomez - In granting a legal right for some people to take the lives of others, the Supreme Court in effect decided that human rights are granted by government - not by God. That gives the government the final say - not only in defining what is right and wrong, but also in deciding who gets to live and who does not. There are many injustices in our society, but the most fundamental is the one our society rarely acknowledges - the routine taking of innocent human life every day through abortion.

By Archbishop José H. Gomez

Roe v. Wade continues to shape American consciousness and public life. At the political level, from debates in state legislatures to federal questions about health insurance, our country is clearly still divided over whether to allow abortion and what limits ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:1-10
1 So, since the Law contains no more than a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 40:2, 4, 7-8, 10, 11
2 He pulled me up from the seething chasm, from the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:31-35
31 Now his mother and his brothers arrived and, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 27th, 2015 Image

St. Angela Merici
January 27: When she was 56, Angela Merici said "No" to the Pope. She was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter