Friday, September 12, 2008

Good Medicine vs Politics

The Star-Ledger (New Jersey) has recently been running biased politically charged articles from the Los Angeles Times challenging the integrity of all American Catholics and of all American medical professionals. Both articles are examples of the tyranny of relativism.

The first article "Hard to conceive now of IVF alarm" (1 August 2008) glorifies in-vitro fertilization as a great moral and medical advance while roundly ignoring the grave ethical questions and accusing "the Vatican" of a lack of wisdom and compassion in its consistent condemnation of the medically and morally objectionable procedure for "making babies." First of all, the author, Professor Gregory Pence, a teacher of bioethics at the University of Alabama medical school, betrays his very profession by promoting "baby making." Laboratories should not "create" or "produce" human beings because of the inherent violation of the fundamental rights of each of those tiny human beings so "made." Each person has a right to come into existence by "conception" in the act of love: to come directly from the conjugal act. Any violation of that right is an attack on the person and on the distinctive act of marriage.


IVF is wrong because:

1. The proper context for procreation of human life is the marital act. To "produce" babies any other way is to violate the innate rights of both parents and conceptus.

2. The manipulation and systematic destruction and freezing of embryos (human persons!) is criminal violence in every regard violating the fifth commandment: "thou shalt not kill." We ought not kill or manipulate human persons at any stage of life (especially at their inception, their most defenseless stage) not even with the noble intention of bringing forth a life. Every person is precious and none is undesirable or less desirable! The descrimination and natural selection and biological and social manipulation and extermination essential to the IVF process are barbaric.

3. The accepted perverted method of acquiring the sperm through masturbation is categorically condemned by God, betraying a complete disregard for the holiness of the human body and it is a direct violation of the exclusivity of marital fidelity. (cf. Genesis 38:8)

4. NaPro Technology addresses the underlying health issues. This is the only real medical model to date to evaluate, diagnose and treat fertility illness (i.e. infertility). It has no moral objections because it is sound medicine, and, because it is sound medicine it has a much higher success rate than the artificial fertility techniques.

5. One last point is that much of the present day infertility is due to bad medicine in the form of abortion, chemical contraception, sterilization, all of which have the direct aim of destroying that which is healthy.

With this last point I refute the second article "Health care shouldn't bow to religion" (8 September 2008, reprint also from the Los Angeles Times) saying that we need religion to know how to define "health" and "care" or else human persons are at the whim of popular opinion. No, the laws guiding the medical establishment should be firmly based on what is truly good for each and every human person, without bending even to the unjust laws of any nation which should legislate the destruction or mutilation or poisoning of our offspring or our women healty wombs. Just recall the recent series of apologies by several state governers for the forced sterilizations of the last century in USA. No doctor can be required to destroy that which is healthy.

Indeed, we must say more. Most medical professionals have begun their carreers vowing to promote healing and never to use their profession for harm (not even by referal), as found in the still prevelant Hippocratic Oath for doctors and the Pledge of Florence Nightingale for nurses.

"I swear by Apollo Physician, by Asclepius, by Health, by Panacea, and by all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses...I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrongdoing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly, I will not give to a woman a pessary (pill) to cause abortion. But I will keep pure and holy both my life and my art." (From Hippocratic Oath)

"I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious or mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug." (From the Nightingale Pledge)

Both are thoroughly religious and categorical in their freedom from any external pressure in understanding and exercising this service of healing.


By way of conclusion we must defend the Church and true religion in the face of these unjust attacks on basic human decency in medicine. The first article says "The Vatican perversely persists in condemning IVF..." I should like to defend the Vatican position in the name of every decent citizen in America, especially all medical professionals and all Catholics. Is the Vatican perverse in her upholding the law of God and in her consistent defense of the sanctity of all human life including it's sanctity in its conception (notice the passive noun, not a human creation but an awesome reception), and the sanctity and inviolability of marital love? Or, is it not rather the present prevailing and increasingly dictatorial prevailing moral perversion that condemns the Church without considering or even presenting the very sound and consistent philosophical, scientific and moral arguments on which her teaching is based. To challenge the politically correct or even the technologically possible on moral grounds is not perverse but rather the necessary check on perversion. To blindly condemn the well founded and very reasonable moral stance of the most venerable human rights institution the world has ever known--the Catholic Church (the inventor of the hospital and of the university)--is the height of perversity and a thinly disguised attempt to defend every form of sexual and reproductive perversion and inhumanity.

And finally, a man like Gregory Pence, 33 years teaching bioethics at the medical school of the University of Alabama in Birmingham ignorantly spouting such bigoted anti-Catholicism in his blind defense of the brave new world in which might is right ("if it is technologically possible than it is OK" mentality;); and a man like Richard Sloan, professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center with his "if we can then we may, if we may than we must" mentality that "science" is the only truth; are both indicative of the moral climate in our Universities and in our propaganda media (e.g. The Los Angeles Times and The Star Ledger), publishing in largely Catholic areas of our nation. I must say the boldness of this anti-Catholic and tyranical pro-anarchy in medicine lobby betrays a negligence on the part of Catholics (especially of the American Catholic hierarchy and university educators) to understand, promote and defend their noble religious convictions, none of which ever contradict but rather encourage legitimate science and technological progress, authentically promoting the common good in defense of the rights and dignity of true marriage, holy marital love, the family, and the proper conception and procreation children. Professor Sloan thinks doctors should be directed to kill and should have a professional obligation to do so (with euthanasia and abortion and Plan B): so politics determines medicine in his view; any claim of right and wrong, according to him, would be irrelevant. He clearly shows that medical schools sorely need religion to rediscover the purpose of medicine: to heal and never harm!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Seminary and University Latin

Here I provide the regulations for the proper implementation of Blessed Pope John XXIII’s Apostolic Constitution Veterum sapientia of 22 February 1962 mandating the preservation and promotion of and instruction in the Latin language in all Catholic seminaries and universities. These norms from Sacrum latinae linguae depositum were produced at the express request of the Pope in Veterum sapientia and he approved their publication exactly two months after on 22 April 1962 by the Congregation of Seminaries and University Studies. The Congregation sets out a nine year outline of study which should be normative for use in all Catholic schools (adapting the texts as necessary but without lessening the total quantity of material). And in a concluding appendix there is an outline of selections of the Fathers of the Church to be studied in Latin for each of the areas of theology studies. Here is my translation of the nine year outline and later I give the theology outline in Latin.

In light of Pope Benedict XVI's Wednesday Audiences on the Fathers of the Church and his constant concern for the rediscovery of the Latin and Greek classics I hope that our seminaries and universities (faculty and students) might use this foundational outline as set out by the Vatican for our proper formation in the faith.

SACRUM LATINAE LINGUAE DEPOSITUM, Sacra Congregatio de Seminariis et Studiorum Universitatibus, xxii mensis Aprilis, anno MCMLXII

Chapter III On the common way to study Latin
Article III Authors to be presented in the study of the Latin language in the humanities departments.
Paragraph 3: These Authors and this amount are to be tied to each year:

1st year: first, elegant and complete phrases excerpted from the Authors; certain proverbs and sayings are to be memorized; the second part of the year certain excerpts may be taken from the Old and New Testaments (like the creation of the world, the narrative of the seven Macchabean brothers, the parable of the prodigal son, etc.), at least 100 verses, of which some should be committed to memory; perhaps some short fables of Phaedrus or very brief Ciceronian letters may be added;

2nd year: at least 10 Phaedrus fables, one or two lives from Nepos, around 20 Ciceronian letters, some of the shorter Latin dialogues (from Erasmus, Vives, Jacobus Pontanus, etc);

3rd year: at least one of Caesar’s works, certain Cicero letters, 300 verses of Ovid,
a few hymns of the Roman Breviary, certain chapters of the Roman Catechism (Catechismus ad Parochos);

4th year: 3 selections (short poems) of Virgil, 5 elegies from Tibrollus and Propertius, at least one work from Livy, a few Cicero letters, and a few chapters from the Roman Catechism;

5th year: a few of the Cicero orations, 30 chapters of Sallust, book one of the Aeneid, and another from Georgias; some chapters from the Roman Catechism;

6th year: some philosophical work of Cicero (e.g. De Amicitia, De Senectute, ex Tusculanis, etc.); 10 carmina from Horace, 5 from Catullus, book one of the Annals or monographs of Tacitus; some chapters of the Roman Catechism;

7th year: Horace’s Ars Poetica; some comedy of Plautus or Terentius; excerpts from Lucretius (at least 300 verses); some book from the De Officiis of Cicero or the rhetoric of Cicero or Quintilian;

8th - 9th years: besides any outstanding material from the above program which remain to be interpreted (requiring more time), or which must be explained out of the proper place of study, add certain selections from the letters of Pliny and Seneca; excerpts from the Christian Latin Writers and the Fathers of the Church (Minucius, Lactantius, Ambrose, Augustine, etc.); from the Documents of the Roman Pontiffs; from the best of the more recent Latin Writers.



Appendix II (The Main works of the Fathers of the Church to be studied in the Course of Christian Latin for a profound and accurate knowledge of and sense of the Catholic faith under each of the areas of theology.)
I. Theologia Fundamentalis

ATHENAGORAS, Supplicatio pro Christianis.
S. IUSTIANUS Martyr, Apologiae.
EPISTOLA ad Diognetum (praesertim cc. 5-6).
TERTULLIANUS, Apologeticus; De praescriptione haereticorum; De Idololatria.
S. CYPRIANUS, De catholicae Ecclesiae unitate (praesertim cap. IV); Epistolae (praesertim ad Cornelium Papam).
LACTANTIUS, Divinae Institutiones.
S. AUGUSTINUS, De doctrina christiana (Lib. II-III: De exegesi biblica); De vera religione; De utilitate credendi; De consensus Evangelistarum; De symbolo ad catechumenos.
S. LEO MAGNUS, Epistolae.
VINCENTIUS LERINENSIS, Commonitorium.


II. Theologia Dogmatica

1. De Deo Uno et Trino.

MINUCIUS FELIX, Octavius, cap. 14-38.
TERTULLIANUS, Adversus Praxean.
NOVATIANUS, De Trinitate.
S. HILARIUS Pict., De Trinitate (praesertim libri II-III).
S. BASILIUS, Tractatus de Spiritus Sancto.
S. AMBROSIUS, De fide, ad Gratianum; De Spiritu Sancto.
S. AUGUSTINUS, De Trinitate (preaesertim lib. V).
S. GREGORIUS NAZIANZ., Sermones.
S. Io. CHRYSOSTOMUS, De incomprehensibilitate Dei.
S. GREGORIUS NYSSENUS, De Trinitate, ad Eustathium (agit praesertim de divinitate Spiritus Sancti).


2. De Deo Creante et Elevante.

S. GREGORIUS NYSSENUS, Liber de hominis opificio.
S. AMBROSIUS, Hexaemeron; De Paradiso.
S HIERONYMUS, Dialogus adversus Pelagianos.
S AUGUSTINUS, De Genesi contra Manichaeos; De Genesi ad litteram; De gratia Christi et de peccato originali.


3. De Verbo Incarnato

S. IGNATIUS ANTIOCH., Epist. ad Ephes., ad Smyrn.
TERTULLIANUS, De carne Christi.
S. AMBROSIUS, De Incarnationis Dominicae sacramento.
S. ATHANASIUS, De Incarnatione Verbi.
S. GREGORIUS NYSSENUS, Oratio magna catechetica (cap. 10-32).
S. AUGUSTINUS, Contra sermonem Arianorum; In Ioannis Evangelium tractatus.
CASSIANUS, De Incarnatione Christi contra Nestorium.
S. GREGORIUS MAGNUS, Homiliae in Evangelia.
S. HIERONYMUS, Adversus helvidium de perpetua virginitate B. Mariae, Epistolae.
S. LEO MAGNUS, Sermones.


4. De gratia et virtutibus.

S. HIERONYMUS, Epistolae.
S. AUGUSTINUS, De libero arbitrio; De fide rerum quae non videntur; De natura et gratia; De gratia Christi et de peccato originali. De gratia et libero arbitrio; De dono perseverantiae; Enchiridion ad Laurentium sive de fide, spe et caritate.
S. PROSPER AQUITANUS, De gratia Dei et libero arbitrio liber contra Collatorem.
S. FULGENTIUS, De fide ad Petrum liber.


5. De Sacramentis.

TERTULLIANUS, De Baptismo; De Paenitentia.
S. CYPRIANUS, De lapsis.
S. CYRILLUS JEROSOL., Catecheses.
S. AMBROSIUS, De Paenitentia; De Sacramentis, De Mysteriis.
S. AUGUSTINUS, De Baptismo.
S. IO. CHRYSOSTOMUS, Catecheses ad illuminandos; De Sacerdotio.


6. De Novissimis.

TERTULLIANUS, De carnis resurrectione; De anima.
S. CYPRIANUS, De mortalitate.
LACTANTIUS, Divinae Institutiones (liber VII).
S. AMBROSIUS, De bono mortis; De Iacob et vita beata.
S. AUGUSTINUS, De cura pro mortuis gerenda; De praedestinatione sanctorum; De dono perseverantiae; De Civitate Dei (lib. XXII, de caelesti beatitudine).


III. Theologia Moralis et Pastoralis

CLEMENS ALEXANDRINUS, Paedagogus.
S. AMBROSIUS, De officiis; De Virginibus.
S. AUGUSTINUS, Contra mendacium; De continentia; De bono coniugali; De moribus; Enchiridion (cap. LXIV-LXX, de peccatis). De catechizandis rudibus; Sermones; Confessiones.
S. GREGORIUS M., Moralia in Job; Liber Regulae pastoralis.
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