The Word Among Us

July 2005 Issue


There is a reason why the church is so concerned with embryos and stem cells, with birth control and birth technologies. It is not that the church is obsessed with sex. Rather, the church speaks of the beginnings of life because only with the eyes of faith can anyone see what is really going on! And this is what's going on: God is behind the conception of every human being, of every single embryo. Only with the eyes of faith can we grasp that every life has its origins in God, not in chemical reactions and not in technological advances. It is true that none of us was present when the world was made. But in the moment of conception, human parents are right there when God says once again, "Let us make a person in our own image" (Genesis 1:26). More »

It has been ten years since Pope John Paul II issued his encyclical letter The Gospel of Life. Perhaps now, when life issues seem to be more prominent than ever, it is a good time to fan the flame of this landmark document. Born on the Feast of the Annunciation, this encyclical proclaims that the heart of Jesus' message is the gospel of life:  "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). So brilliant is the pope's letter that no summary can do it full justice. More »

Though it doesn't even use the term stem cell, Pope John Paul II's encyclical, The Gospel of Life, while it is challenging reading, should be required for anyone who wants to think and pray through the issues raised by stem cell research. Why? Because the truth about life in its earliest stages can never be understood until we listen to what the Author of Life has to say about it. More »

Special Feature

The first time I met Isaac in our little village of Turalei, in southern Sudan, I could tell he had a mind of his own. The other kids were laughing at the puppet I had pulled out of my pocket, but he stood back as if sizing me up. Like many of Sudan's young people, who have grown up during the longest-running civil war in Africa, Isaac is only too familiar with guns, bombs, and fighting. But maybe he had never seen a white person before. More »

What makes a man give up worldly pleasures and ambitions for a life of heroic virtue and self-denial? For Charles de Foucauld, the French priest and missionary who was beatified this year on Pentecost Sunday, it was the realization that he was loved by God, whose very existence he had doubted. More »

The doorbell rang, and I hurried to answer. I was expecting my parish priest, who was coming in response to my request for the Anointing of the Sick and the Eucharist. When I opened the door, I saw that he had not come alone. I soon found myself wondering about the visitor he had brought. Who is this woman? Her smile filling the room, she extended her hand and introduced herself as Marie Lovett. More »