Human Dignity

The strict attitude of the Catholic Church in condemning the practice of birth control acts as setback to many, and especially to intelligent non-Catholics. The official declaration- of Protestant sects have been so bewildering and contradictory in this matter that Protestants in general get no sense of direction whatever from these sources. Propaganda for birth control has been clever, subtle, and insidiously effective in creating an attitude of ''scientific superiority" among those who oppose the view of the Catholic Church. Now non-Catholics readily I assume that there is nothing to be gained in the search for truth from such a "backward" and "medieval" institution. All claims of the Catholic Church are dismissed out of hand because of the fostered attitude that the Church is "out of touch with reality."
Some people work simply and solely in order to gain money. Is there anything that divides men more than money does?

In the World, - World in the sense in which Our Lord and St. John use the word money is actually the god: for money H desired not only for the sake of comfort but also for the sake of POWER. Worldly comfort and worldly position, that is what many people want money for.

If you work ONLY in order to gain money you will be working to feed your own selfishness and pride which means working for the destruction of human society.

The employer who aims only at gaining money can see no problems except those to do with money; economic problems are the ONLY ones: he can no longer see the question of the HUMAN PERSON enter into the matter. He organises his business to 'increase his profits'. He does not see that his way of organising his work may ruin the health of his workers and destroy their intellectual and moral faculties.
If a woman aching and at death's door from the tortures of an incurable cancer may be eased out of life by her doctor at the request of her husband, why may not any man or woman afflicted with physical or mental agony call upon a doctor for a death drug? And that he or she has many years of living agony ahead is all the more reason for applying the dosage. The life here and now is all that counts. God, judgment and eternity are given no mention in this modern so-called "mercy killing".

"Mercy killing" ignores completely what follows. Death is so restful, so peaceful after the tumult of pain! It expresses the long silence and rest that follow the hard "catches" of suffering. So in the view of people who do not believe in God, or in God's dominion over life and death, "mercy killing" may be conceded to anyone who wants to end a tortured life, personally or through the ministrations of a physician. To people, however, who believe in God and in God's government of life, "mercy killing" is rebellion against God. The "mercy killers" are killing mercy in that one supreme moment when every one of us will need mercy most.

The Malayan Catholic Newsletter, August 13, 1950. page 7
WE REFER to the article Catholic Medical Forum Voices Concern On Human Embryo Research (CN, Aug 20).

The objective of this forum was for interested Catholics, especially doctors and other health care professionals, to come together and discuss the ethics of human embryo research and how we as Catholics should respond to this issue in the light of the rich teachings of our Church.

It was reported that “some participants proposed acceptance of human embryo research so long as the objective of the research is to save more human lives”.

This statement was followed by a quotation from Donum Vitae explicitly denouncing experimentation on living human embryos or foetuses.

This might have given the wrong impression that some of our Catholic doctors present at the forum were not faithful to the teachings of the Church Magisterium.

None of the participants at the forum supported experimentation on living human embryos or foetuses. There was, however, an animated discussion on whether it would be morally permissible to use the bodies of dead embryos and foetuses.
THE Government’s drive to enthrone the life sciences as the fourth pillar of Singapore’s manufacturing sector has been welcomed by Catholic medical professionals. However they are concerned about some aspects of the issue.

One of their concerns is on human embryo research, the highlight of a forum organised by the Catholic Medical Guild (CMG) on July 28 at Mount Alvernia Hospital.

Catholic doctors explained to about a dozen medical practitioners and other members of the Catholic community what human embryo research entailed, and put forth their religious position on the ethical issues concerned.

Dr Chan Yeow, a CMG member, explained how stem cells are obtained, either from human embryos or adult stem cells. He said human embryos had to be destroyed when they were barely one week old.

“Although much attention is focused on embryo research nowadays, it is not without problems, such as tissue rejection, not to mention the numerous ethical questions involved,” Dr Chan said.

In view of this, many researchers are now finding alternative sources like adult stem cells. “This is a promising field, where research has shown that adult stem cells can also differentiate into the desired cell lines,” Dr Chan said.


A recent Straits Times article reported on how scientists here are growing fertilised human embryos to treat ailments. Fr James Yeo, a lecturer in Fundamental Moral Theology at the seminary, gives the Church's view on this and other related issues.

FETAL tissue transplant has generated great interest and excitement in the medical community. Some even compared what fetal tissue transplant is for medicine with what superconductivity is for physics.

I want to begin by examining why fetal cells or fetal parts are used and the sources for these fetal cells. The issue of abortion and the complicity for those involved in fetal parts transplant will also be examined. In fact, the issue of abortion permeates the whole of the fetal tissue transplant issue as we shall see.

And now there is the possibility of producing fetal cells or embryonic cells in-vitro or producing embryos or fetuses genetically so that fetal or embryonic cells can be obtained from these.

I want also to examine the question of consent for the use of the embryonic cells and who really has the authority over the embryonic cells and tissues. In each of these subissues, I will present the position of the Catholic Church. I will end with some guidelines for fetal or embryonic cell or tissue transplant.
If anyone truly believes in the sanctity of life, it must be extended to even the embryonic stem-cells in the lab dish.If anyone truly believes in the sanctity of life, it must be extended to even the embryonic stem-cells in the lab dish.
WE ALL love success stories, especially in certain hospital wards where sad stories reign and hope seems absent. But is life similar to a car in which one can change body parts so as to make it continue to chug on and on?

Like some macabre tale by Stephen King or Michael Crichton, some cells are thrown into a lab dish for a while and later transformed into a disembodied organ.

Despite a government ban in some countries, research on embryo tissues continues. Scientists hope to use cells like these to cure diseases ranging from diabetes and Parkinson’s to heart/organ transplants.

Known scientifically as stem-cells, they have the greatest potential for medical miracles because they can work as an alternative to organ transplants given their ability to replace diseased ones.

However human embryonic stem cells uses embryos left over from fertility attempts. To anyone, anything that requires the destruction of human embryos - no matter what the reason - should be abhorrent.

Life begins long before he/she is born. If anyone truly believes in the sanctity of life, it must be extended to even the cells in the lab dish.

The life of each human being begins from the moment of fertilization. All other debates on whether the new life in the womb is a human being only goes to show the great irresponsibility of Man who finds reasons to negate the obvious for the sole purpose of silencing his conscience.

How quickly we disregard the life that grows within the mother simply because we cannot see the child.

IT WAS a solemn family affair at the Novena Church on Aug 24 when parents brought their children to pray the rosary asking Our Lady’s help to end embryo research.

The half-hour prayer session, organised by the Catholic Medical Guild Of Singapore, was the culmination of a nine-day novena to ask Mary to intercede so that “embryonic stem-cell research be banned in Singapore and throughout the world”.

The special novena prayer was circulated via e-mail and raised considerable interest both locally and worldwide.

As members of the CMG led each decade of the rosary, the some 400-strong crowd, which also included nuns, prayed along solemnly and fervently.

THE Catholic Medical Guild (CMG), moral theologian Fr Bernard Teo and some religious leaders have voiced concern about human embryonic research being done here in Singapore to produce stem-cells for commercial purposes.

On Aug 16, the Straits Times reported that six cell lines, which produce stem-cells indefinitely, are “owned” by a Singapore-backed Australian company, ES Cell International. The company, which plans to grow stem-cells in bulk, gives them free to research centres on condition that it gets to commercialise the research first.

The cell lines were taken from “excess” embryos taken during in vitro fertilisation procedures done at the National University Hospital.

A later report quoted Prof Lee Eng Hin, NUS medical faculty dean, describing the work of growing the stem-cells as involving “a lot of trial and error”.

Dr John Lee, co-chairman of the Archdiocesan Bioethics Committee and CMG member, commented: “In the process of experimentation, thousands of embryos may have been sacrificed. But even if one embryo was sacrificed to create one cell line that can treat a million people, the principle is still wrong. You cannot kill someone so you can save others.”
declares the Senate of Priests and Archbishop Yong in pastoral letter

SINGAPORE - The Senate of Priests, together with Archbishop Gregory Yong, recently issued a three-page pastoral letter reiterating the Pope's encyclical on human legislation and the teachings of the Catholic Church, in view of the proposed bill on the Advance Medical Directive.

Entitled Respect for Human Life, the letter was read out at Mass in all the parishes on the weekend of Oct 15, as requested by Archbishop Gregory Yong.

In it, the Senate of Priests declared that "it is from God that human life derives its sanctity and dignity." This dignity is inviolable and its value does not depend on any condition.

It went on to quote the Pope's Gospel of Life encyclical, which stated that "nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a foetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person or one suffering from an incurable disease or a person who is dying."
'Church teaching on contraception often wrongly understood'

USING artificial contraception is a sign of "moral degradation", the pope said recently. Defending the Church's ban on artificial birth control, he said contraception "deformed" married love.

The pope was speaking to Italian natural family planning instructors at the Vatican. He said the Church would continue to propose a combination of selfcontrol and natural methods when couples have good reason to limit family size.
Catholic school withdraws from vaccination programme

LONDON, ENGLAND - A leading Catholic high school has withdrawn from a nationwide vaccination programme because part of the vaccine was derived 30 years ago from the tissue of an aborted foetus. But a national health care ethics centre has told the British bishops that Catholic parents should feel free to choose whether their children take part in the measles-rubella national vaccination campaign.

The high school, Ampleforth College, North Yorkshire, announced in mid-October that it would not allow its students — all boys — to receive the rubella vaccine. A statement by Benedictine Father Leo Chamberlain, Ampleforth headmaster, said that "an absolute respect for human life requires the condemnation of direct abortion and a refusal to benefit from the products of an evil action."

"Alternative forms of vaccination against measles, which is the main object of the present campaign, are available, and we will seek to make an alternative available," said Father Chamberlain.

He urged drug companies to produce a vaccine from cultures that were universally acceptable. "We believe that now is the time to ensure that the products of abortion are never again used for medical Purposes," he said.
WHEN the Pope confronted the sensitive issue of birth control in India, the second most populous nation on earth, he did not cite Church teaching.

Instead, he quoted from the works of Mahatma Gandhi, the late Hindu philosopher and activist who is known as the "father of the country" in India.

"Moral results can only be produced by moral restraints," the Pope said, quoting Gandhi's writings.
"This, ... is the Church's profound conviction," the Pope said at a Mass for families in Bombay's Shivaji Park, where 20,000 people gathered.
POPE John Paul II said abortion was "one of the most dramatic problems of our age" which, combined with declining births and an aging of the population, threatens the very future of some nations.

The Pope spoke in St Peter's Square Feb 5 to several thousand banner-waving Italians, who had marched through Rome to celebrate the Italian Right to Life Day. His remarks came during renewed debate over the practice of abortion in Italy, where Catholic leaders are pushing for a more strict application of the existing law in order to limit the number of abortions.
Vatican issues moral guidelines for health-care workers (Nov 23, 1994)

Health workers have a "grave moral duty" to refuse to cooperate with laws that allow abortion, it said. Moreover, the document pointed out that modern methods of abortion include the use of drugs or other means that interfere with the implantation of the fertilised egg. The doctor who is aware of this and prescribes such drugs "cooperates in abortive action," it said. It said health care workers have particular obligations regarding aborted foetuses. If still living, the foetus should be baptized when possible, it said. When the foetus has died, it should be treated with respect and, if possible, given a decent burial.

Jan 8, 1995, VATICAN CITY - In a document outlining moral guidelines for health care workers, the Vatican called on doctors and nurses to refuse to go along with laws that allow abortion. Health care personnel "are obligated to raise objections of conscience" to such laws and make clear their "civil but firm refusal," said the 122-page document. Titled, "Charter for Health Care Workers," the text was prepared by the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers and released at the Vatican Nov 23.
The strict attitude of the Catholic Church in condemning the practice of birth control acts as setback to many. and especially to intelligent non-Catholics. The official declaratiom: of Protestant sects have been so bewildering and contradictory in this matter that Protestants in general get no sense of direction whatever from these sources. Propaganda for birth control has been clever, subtle, and insidiously effective in creating an attitude of "scientific superiority" among those who oppose the view of the Catholic Church. Now non-Catholics readily assume that there is nothing to be gained in the search for truth from such a "backward" and "medieval" institution. All claims of the Catholic Church are dismissed out of hand because of the fostered attitude that the Church is "out of touch with reality."

Propaganda for birth control has studiously avoided the basic moral principles involved, while concentrating almost exclusively on the social, economic and health aspects of the problem of child bearing. Hence the shrewdly contrived programme of "planned parenthood."
Singapore City is overpopulated. The high birth rate continues. There is the brutal fact; a headache and a nightmare for the economists who have to plan for tomorrow! We absolutely agree with them in feeling the urgency and knowing the need to LOOK FOR a solution of so vital a problem; but when it comes to SUGGESTING one then the agreement ends. The question is the same but the answers proposed are very different.

The word ECONOMIST means originally 'housekeeper', the person who plans the food and means of living of the household. If in this there is ignoring of the Divine Law, then all the planning and building is vain. God is the author and cause of Nature.
"Fatherhood itself is the Lord's gift, the fruitful womb is a reward that comes from Him." (Psalm 126 v. 3). What God does He does well, for He is the Supreme Wisdom.
London. A CHARGE that at London meetings where women assemble from church tea parties to political meetings, touts solicit cases for illegal operations at prices from 3s.6d. up was made by Dr. W. J. O'Donovan in the course of a debate at the Oxford Union.

The university's famous debating society discussed a motion deploring "the present attitude of the Ministry of Health and local authorities toward the provision of birth control information and facilities by the State."