The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for January 21st, 2007

President Bush Proclaims National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2007

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 21, 2007

From LifeSiteNews.com
President Bush Proclaims National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2007
President Bush Proclaims National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2007

Full text of proclamation follows:

America was founded on the principle that we are all endowed by our Creator with the right to life and that every individual has dignity and worth. National Sanctity of Human Life Day helps foster a culture of life and reinforces our commitment to building a compassionate society that respects the value of every human being.

Among the most basic duties of Government is to defend the unalienable right to life, and my Administration is committed to protecting our society’s most vulnerable members. We are vigorously promoting parental notification laws, adoption, abstinence education, crisis pregnancy programs, and the vital work of faith-based groups. Through the “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002,” the “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003,” and the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004,” we are helping to make our country a more hopeful place.

One of our society’s challenges today is to harness the power of science to ease human suffering without sanctioning practices that violate the dignity of human life. With the right policies, we can continue to achieve scientific progress while living up to our ethical and moral responsibilities.

National Sanctity of Human Life Day serves as a reminder that we must value human life in all forms, not just those considered healthy, wanted, or convenient. Together, we can work toward a day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Sunday, January 21, 2007, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.

GEORGE W. BUSH

Posted in Abortion/Pro Life | Leave a Comment »

Clowning with stem cells

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 21, 2007

Here is an excerpt from a great article by Maureen L. Condic. It can be found in its entirety on the FIRST THINGS website.
FIRST THINGS: A Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life
What We Know About Embryonic Stem Cells
by Maureen L. Condic

Back at the beginning of 2002, there was considerable optimism regarding the promise that embryonic stem cells were said to hold for millions of people suffering from fatal or debilitating medical conditions. Stem cells derived from human embryos, it was claimed, provided the best hope for relief of human suffering. Despite the profound ethical concerns regarding the use of human embryos for medical and scientific research, many Americans embraced this promise and the seemingly miraculous hope it offered.

The challenges facing embryonic stem cells were formidable. First, there was the concern that the cells and their derived tissue would be rejected by the patient’s immune system, requiring the patient to undergo lifelong immune suppression. The three proposed solutions to this incompatibility problem (generating large banks of stem cell lines, cloning human embryos to provide a source of cells that perfectly match the patient, or genetically engineering stem cells to reduce immune rejection) were either socially, scientifically, or morally problematic (or all three). Second, there was the serious problem that embryonic stem cells form tumors when transplanted to adult tissues, and the tumorogenic capability of these cells is difficult, if not impossible, to control. Finally, there was the disturbing fact that science had thus far provided essentially no convincing evidence that embryonic stem cells could be reliably differentiated into normal adult cell types, as well as the disturbing possibility that overcoming this barrier would prove a difficult scientific endeavor.

Despite these concerns, many continued to regard embryonic stem cells with hope, believing that further research would overcome these difficulties and harness the power of embryonic stem cells for the benefit of mankind. Such optimists asserted that it was simply a matter of investing sufficient time, money, and research. [You can continue reading by clicking here. And then check out and bookmark their awesome blog ON THE SQUARE]

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SUMMA THEOLOGICA Ques. 1, art. 2

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 21, 2007

Objection 1: It seems that sacred doctrine is not a science. For every science proceeds from self-evident principles. But sacred doctrine proceeds from articles of faith which are not self-evident, since their truth is not admitted by all: “For all men have not faith” (see 2 Thessalonians 3:2). Therefore sacred doctrine is not a science.

As is often the case in the Summa, the first sentence or two of the first objection gives a clue to what St Thomas’ response will be. In reading the first sentence you can often assume that St Thomas’ response will be the exact opposite of the statement. In the present case, St Thomas will show that sacred doctrine is a science; and that it does proceed from self-evident principles..

Objection 2: Further, no science deals with individual facts. But this sacred science treats of individual facts, such as the deeds of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and such like. Therefore sacred doctrine is not a science.

As St Thomas will show in his reply to objection 2, the “individual facts” are secondary.

On the contrary, Augustine says (On the Trinity 14, 1) “to this science alone belongs that whereby saving faith is begotten, nourished, protected and strengthened.” But this can be said of no science except sacred doctrine. Therefore sacred doctrine is a science.

As is usual, St Thomas begins his response by invoking an authority to contradict the objections. The science he is talking about is sacred doctrine, for what other science leads to saving faith?

I answer that, Sacred doctrine is a science. We must bear in mind that there are two kinds of sciences. There are some which proceed from a principle known by the natural light of intelligence, such as arithmetic and geometry and the like. There are some which proceed from principles known by the light of a higher science: thus the science of perspective proceeds from principles established by geometry, and music from principles established by arithmetic. So it is that sacred doctrine is a science because it proceeds from principles established by the light of a higher science, namely, the science of God and the blessed. Hence, just as the musician accepts on authority the principles taught him by the mathematician, so sacred science is established on principles revealed by God

Objection 1 failed to take acount of the fact that “There are some (sciences) which proceed from principles known by the light of a higher science.” The higher science (knowledge) it failed to take account of was the science (knowledge) of God.

the science of God and the blessed. The blessed are those who enjoy the batific vision of God. They do not posses the science (knowledge) of God in their own right: “…(the blessed) already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment – and this since the Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into heaven – have been, are and will be in heaven, in the heavenly Kingdom and celestial paradise with Christ, joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and do see the divine essence with an intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature…” (See the Catechism of the Cahtolic Church 1023).

Reply to Objection 1: The principles of any science are either in themselves self-evident, or reducible to the conclusions of a higher science; and such, as we have said, are the principles of sacred doctrine.
Reply to Objection 2: Individual facts are treated of in sacred doctrine, not because it is concerned with them principally, but they are introduced rather both as examples to be followed in our lives (as in moral sciences) and in order to establish the authority of those men through whom the divine revelation, on which this sacred scripture or doctrine is based, has come down to us.

For more on article 2 see Alfred J. Freddoso’s commentary.

Posted in ST THOMAS AND THE SUMMA | Leave a Comment »

BOOKS: Past, Present, Future

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 21, 2007

Books I’ve recently read:

1) THE MEN AND MESSAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT by Peter Ellis. I read the original edition. The work was updated in the 1980’s.

2) THE GOSPEL OF MARK by John R. Donahue,S.J. and Daniel J. Harrington,S.J. a somewhat technical volume in the SACRA PAGINA series.

3) THE BEGINNING OF THE GOSPEL by Eugene LaVerdiere. A two volume (non-technical) commentary on the Gospel of Mark.

4) DIALOGUE OF COMFORT AGAINST TRIBULATION by Saint Thomas More. Excellent! Written as he awaited execution in the Tower of London. The now archaic wording of the original edition was updated by Monica Stevens who managed to retain the “flavor” of the original. This may make it a bit difficult for some readers, but it is well worth reading. It is available online.

Books I’m Currently Reading:

1) JOHN PAUL II & ST. THOMAS AQUINAS edited by Michael Dauphinais & Matthew Levering. A collection of essays examining the saint’s influence on the late Holy Father.

2) ST. THOMAS AQUINAS’ COMMENTARY ON COLOSSIANS translated by Fabian Larcher, OP. Aquinas was first and foremost a Biblical scholar, and, according to one modern scholar, his commentaries on the Bible have stood the test of time very well. The work can be read online.

Books I Hope To Read in the Future:

1) IMAGES OF HOPE by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI). Meditations on major feasts which were originally talks delivered on Bavarian radio.

2) VALUES IN A TIME OF UPHEAVAL by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI).

3) SUMMA THEOLOGICA by St. Thomas Aquinas. I’ve been working my way slowly thru it, but since you’re never really done reading it, I’ve decided to include it here.

4) SUMMA CONTRA GENTILES by St. Thomas Aquinas. See under # 3.

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