Category Archives: Pro Life

Natural moral guarantees respect for the entire created order, including the human person, Pope tells Pontifical Academy of Life

On February 14, 2010, the Holy Father spoke to the Pontifical Academy for Life. All but the introductory paragraph is noted here

The issues that
revolve around the theme of bioethics allow us to confirm how much these
underlying questions in the first place pose the “anthropological
question.” As I state in my last encyclical letter, Caritas in Veritate:
“A particularly crucial battleground in today’s cultural struggle between
the absolutism of technology and human moral responsibility is the field of
bioethics, where the very possibility of integral human development is
radically called into question. In this most delicate and critical area, the
fundamental question asserts itself force-fully: is man the product of his own
labors or does he depend on God?
Scientific discoveries in this field and the
possibilities of technological intervention seem so advanced as to force a
choice between two types of reasoning: reason open to transcendence or reason
closed within immanence” (no. 74).

Before such questions, which touch in
such a decisive manner human life in its perennial tension between immanence
and transcendence, and which have great relevance for the culture of future
generations, it is necessary to create a holistic pedagogical project that
permits us to confront these issues in a positive, balanced and constructive
, above all in the relationship between faith and reason. The questions
of bioethics often place the reminder of the dignity of the person in the
foreground. This dignity is a fundamental principle that the faith in Jesus
Christ crucified and risen has always defended
, above all when it is ignored in
regard to the humblest and most vulnerable persons: God loves every human being
in a unique and profound way. Bioethics, like every discipline, needs a
reminder able to guarantee a consistent understanding of ethical questions
that, inevitably, emerge before possible interpretive conflicts
. In such a
space a normative recall to the natural moral law presents itself. The
recognition of human dignity, in fact, as an inalienable right first finds its
basis in that law not written by human hand but inscribed by God the Creator in
the heart of man
. Every juridical order is called to recognize this right as
inviolable and every single person must respect and promote it (cf. Catechism
of the Catholic Church
, 1954-1960).

Without the foundational principle of human
dignity it would be difficult to find a source for the rights of the person and
the impossible to arrive at an ethical judgment if the face of the conquests of
science that intervene directly in human life. It is thus necessary to repeat
with firmness that an understanding of human dignity does not depend on
scientific progress, the gradual formation of human life or facile pietism
before exceptional situations. When respect for the dignity of the person is
invoked it is fundamental that it be complete, total and with no strings
attached, except for those of understanding oneself to be before a human life.
Of course, there is development in human life and the horizon of the
investigation of science and bioethics is open, but it must be reaffirmed that
when it is a matter of areas relating to the human being, scientists can never
think that what they have is only inanimate matter capable of manipulation in
their hands
. Indeed, from the very first moment, the life of man is
characterized as “human life” and therefore always a bearer —
everywhere and despite everything — of its own dignity (cf. Congregation for
the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Dignitas Personae on Certain Bioethical
, 5). Without this understanding, we would always be in danger of an
instrumental use of science with the inevitable consequence of easily ceding to
the arbitrary, to discrimination and to the strongest economic

Joining bioethics and natural moral law permits the best confirmation
of the necessary and unavoidable reminder of the dignity that human life
intrinsically possesses from its first instant to its natural end
. But in the
contemporary context, while a just reminder about the rights that guarantee
dignity to the person is emerging with ever greater insistence, one notes that
such rights are not always recognized in the natural development of human life
and in the stages of its greatest fragility. A similar contradiction makes
evident the task to be assumed in different spheres of society and culture to
ensure that human life always be seen as the inalienable subject of rights and
never as an object subjugated to the will of the strongest.

History has shown
us how dangerous and deleterious a state can be that proceeds to legislate on
questions that touch the person and society while pretending itself to be the
source and principle of ethics. Without universal principles that permit a
common denominator for the whole of humanity the danger of a relativistic drift
at the legislative level is not at all something should be underestimated (cf.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1959). The natural moral law, strong in its
universal character, allows us to avert such a danger and above all offers to
the legislator the guarantee for an authentic respect of both the person and the
entire created order. It is the catalyzing source of consensus among persons of
different cultures and religions and allows them to transcend their differences
since it affirms the existence of an order impressed in nature by the Creator
and recognized as an instance of true rational ethical judgment to pursue good
and avoid evil
. The natural moral law “belongs to the great heritage of
human wisdom. Revelation, with its light, has contributed to further purifying
and developing it” (John Paul II, Address to the Plenary Assembly of the
Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, February 6, 2004).

members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, in the present context your task
appears more and more delicate and difficult, but the growing sensitivity in
regard to human life is an encouragement to continue, with ever greater spirit
and courage, in this important service to life and the education of future
generations in the evangelical values. I hope that all of you will continue to
study and research so that the work of promoting and defending life be ever
more effective and fruitful. I accompany you with the apostolic blessing, which
I gladly extend to those who share this daily task with you.

Family Life Conference –March 27, 2010

2010 Family Life Conference.jpg

Directing Donations to help the Haitian Relief

Three very worthy aid organizations are helping the Haitian people: The Association of Volunteers in International Service (AVSI), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Order of Malta. Monies collected get to those in need!


Many of us will want to help those who are suffering in Haiti – firstly with prayer and secondly with material support.  However, getting the material support to those who need it most is going to be very difficult given the severity of the disaster.  Moreover spurious organizations will most likely spring up and so we, as good stewards of God’s gifts, must be careful about who we send our donations too.  


1. AVSI.jpgAVSI is an international charitable organization started by Communion and Liberation because I know my donation will reach those who need it.  AVSI has been present in Haiti since 1999 working in the agriculture, food security, education and social sectors in neighborhoods around Port au Prince as well as in Les Cayes in the south.  On the occasion of previous emergencies, flooding in 2004 and 2008, AVSI implemented emergency relief operations with international donors.

Any donations to assist AVSI’s emergency program in Haiti can be received by AVSI-USA, it is tax deductible, and will be channeled to AVSI in Haiti.


Information about AVSI and their appeal for Haiti can be found here.


Checks can be made payable to “AVSI-USA” with “Haiti Emergency” in the memo and  sent to AVSI-USA: 529 14th Street NW, Suite 994, Washington, DC 20045.


2. CRS.jpgTremendous work is being done by Catholic Relief Services in Haiti all the time. Please consider giving a tax-deductible contribution to CRS to help them in this endeavor. The Archbishop of New Yorkm, Timothy Dolan, recommends support of CRS.


You can give directly through the CRS Web site here or by typing into your Web browser. Or call 1-800-736-3467.


Order of Malta.jpg3. The Order of Malta-American Association supports three major missions in Haiti. Each of these missions is in desperate need of funds to provide emergency relief and medical assistance and to buy food for starving children, mothers and fathers, and elderly Haitians. The Haitian  people depend upon us for help during this crisis and for the foreseeable future.


The three missions in Haiti associated with the American Association include:

      • Haitian Health Foundation
      • Hôpital Sacré Coeur – Crudem
      • Hope for Haiti

      The Haitian Health Foundation has the facilities and the expertise to manufacture food which will be desperately needed. Hope for Haiti is organizing airlifts and busloads of critical food and medical supplies. Hôpital Sacré Coeur will be a triage connected to Operation Hope. These three Malta organizations are trusted stewards of your generosity.

    • Each of these organizations will guarantee that 100% of the monies will go toward emergency relief for those in need and tax deductible. To donate to the Order of Malta visit here.


      Since I can personally vouch for them, I am sending a donations to AVSI and to the Order of Malta.



      Gianna –The Catholic Healthcare Center for Women

      My eyes were opened the other day at the Natural Family Planning seminar for clergy we had at Saint Joseph Seminary especially with the introduction of a new center for women’s health in midtown Manhattan. The Gianna Center is an incredible development –even a gift of the Holy Spirit– for the Church not only in New York, the Tri-State area but indeed for the entire United States. In fact, the brand new center is due to be launched on November 23, 2009 two blocks from Grand Central Station.

      Gianna Healthcare for Women logo.jpg

      Looking at the Gianna Center you will find a wholistic (comprehensive) approach to women’s healthcare. Their approach in working with issues of reproduction is to intensely pay attention to a woman’s cycle to correct problems without suppressing or destroying the ability to naturally conceive a child. The medical approach here is to work for high effectiveness that respects the dignity of person, adhering to Christ and the Church, and giving a healthy alternative to IVF (which is against all these things).
      Gianna will provide a full spectrum of obstetrics and family practice medicine. It will also be a center for medical ethics that is faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Likewise, it will teach the methods of Natural Family Planning and NaProTechnology.
      The Gianna Center is the convergence in medicine of faith and reason. It brings together the heart of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ today: God loves us so much that He wants us to be in relationship with Him through His Son in the Holy Spirit living in happiness. In speaking of the heart I am not indicating the subjective feelings of the person that may be as variable as there are people in the world. But what I am suggesting here is that the heart is the locus of our affection for reality as it is presented to us and not as what we want it to be. Another words, we need to deal with the God-given reality that we have in front of us, it is the condition of our happiness desired for us by God. Dealing with reality in this way is the same way we have to deal with the size of the foot we have at the end of our leg: we can’t alter its size because it is given. The reality in this case is the cooperating with God in bringing human life into this world as God has intended it to happen.
      Hence, putting (keeping?) faith and reason together was the work of Pope John Paul II and it is the current work of Pope Benedict XVI. It is the daily work of the members of groups like Communion & Liberation and Opus Dei aiming as Luigi Giussani said in the Religious Sense, toward “the sense of responsibility toward destiny.” AND in my opinion the work of the Gianna Center brings together faith and reason because it has the affection for human reality as it is presented to the world because it is God-given.

      Gianna founders.jpg

      The Gianna Center is the brainchild of Joan Nolan and Dr. Anne Mielnik. Of course, no project worthy of mention is done in a vacuum. It’s ably assisted by Dr. Kyle Beiter, Jamey Johnston and Jena McFadden and co-funded by Saint Vincent’s Hospital and the John Paul II Center.
      Contact information
      15 East 40th Street, Suite 101
      New York, NY 10016 USA

      NFP (Natural Family Planning): formation for a fertile life

      Saint Joseph Seminary – Dunwoodie was the setting today for a clergy seminar on Natural Family Planning (NFP) sponsored by the Archdiocese of New York Family & Respect Life Offices, The Couple to Couple League International and with the generosity of others as well. Some 40 clergy types (priests, deacons and seminarians) attended. It was a blessing to have Dr Theresa Notare, Dr Kyle Beiter, Richard & Vicki Braun, Dr. Jack Burnham, Fr John Higgins, Andrew & Tracey Pappalrdo, and Erik & Anne Tozzi as presenters.

      So what did I learn today?
      YOU can control YOUR reproductive health care sensibly and morally without spending tons of money and selling your values. The point of the day was to introduce us to the most wholistic, safe form of family planning that there is today. This approach is pro-life, pro-woman, pro-faith, and pro-humanity. NFP is totally Catholic. It shows that it’s possible for a husband and wife to communicate and to collaborate with each other on all facets of life, especially the facet of sex and reproduction.

      Read more ...

      About the author

      Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
      coat of arms



      Humanities Blog Directory