Michigan Catholic Conference
A monumental statewide education program that includes over 500,000 Catholic homes and nearly 800 parishes has been launched by the state’s diocesan bishops in Michigan. The Michigan Catholic Conference’s efforts are directed at communicating the Church’s teaching on human life as it relates to adult and embryonic stem cell research.
Paul A. Long, who is the Conference’s Vice President for Public Policy, said that the central messages of the internal education program focuses on the church’s support for adult stem cell research. And their opposition towards embryonic stem cell research is based on the fact it compromises their message.
“Medical science, along with people from different faith and political backgrounds, has recognized that human cloning and the destruction of living embryos for research purposes may not be the most promising way to move forward with stem cell research. Yet because of the great deal of attention given to unproven embryo destructive research, partly through misinformation and even deceit, necessary funding for and the promotion of adult stem cell research have been nearly non-existent. Many people are unaware that adult stem cells are located throughout the human body and are providing treatments, even cures, without harming the donor person,” said Long.
Every registered Catholic home in the state has been sent a 12-minute DVD and a brochure that all emphasize the Church’s support for adult stem cell research along with a letter signed jointly by the state’s diocesan bishops. The materials align with the Conference’s internal education program which has been themed, “The Science of Stem Cells: Finding Cures and Protecting Life.”
According to the bishops’ letter:
“Catholics have the right and duty to assist all who are suffering, and medical science, through adult stem cell research and its proven track record of success, has opened a door of hope. We urge you and your family to spend a few moments reviewing the enclosed material and learning more about the ways by which we can find cures and protect life.”
On Respect Life Sunday, which is October 7th, every parish in the state has been encouraged by its diocesan bishop to address the issue of stem cell research. Sample bulletin announcements, a question and answer document, in addition to the aforementioned brochure and DVD have been distributed to each parish courtesy of the Conference. Also distributed to parishes across the state, were the Conference’s FOCUS essay. Approximately 250,000 copies of the document which addresses the public policy of stem cell research have been distributed.
Educational materials have also been distributed to fraternal organizations, charity agencies, schools, universities, and Catholic hospitals.
Patients who have made significant advances following adult stem cell therapies while defying their medical diagnoses testify to the power of adult stem cell therapy on the DVD that is included with the mailing to Catholic homes.
The DVD features two prominent scientists urging public support for adult stem cell research, includes an interview with a nurse and bioethicist who addresses the effects of egg extraction and human cloning on women, and dissects the scientific differences between adult and embryonic stem cell research.
Conditions such as sickle cell anemia, Parkinson’s disease, lymphoma, numerous forms of cancer, Type-1 diabetes and many other conditions are currently being treated thanks to adult stem cell research. The list of conditions numbers over 70.
A full list of conditions which benefit from adult stem cell research can be found at StemCellResearch.org
Since adult stem cells are derived from various locations throughout the human body such as, dental pulp, bone marrow, fat tissues, amniotic fluid, and umbilical cord blood, there is no harm to the donor when adult stem cell research is conducted.
In order to extract its stem cells, the destruction of human embryos is necessary to conduct embryonic stem cell research. This is the reason the Catholic Church is opposed to the science. Embryonic stem cell research also involves cloning in some cases. However, most important to those interested in stem cell research should be the fact that embryonic stem cell research has never produced a single treatment or cure.
Michigan’s Catholic diocesan bishops are: His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida, Archbishop of Detroit; Most Reverend Patrick R. Cooney, Bishop of Gaylord; Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley, Bishop of Grand Rapids; Most Reverend James A. Murray, Bishop of Kalamazoo; Most Reverend Carl F. Mengeling, Bishop of Lansing; Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample, Bishop of Marquette; and Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Bishop of Saginaw.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.