Homily On Stem Cell Research
Father Anthony Mellace 

(delivered at the Immaculate Conception Parish In Maua, SP on July 17, 2004)

      My dear friends, I am very happy to be here with you today, in this beautiful church dedicated to our Lady. What is the title of your patroness? (all answer: the Immaculate Conception) Why isn't she called "Immaculate Mary" instead of "Immaculate Conception"? (no one responds)

       I will tell you the reason: By "Immaculate Conception", we wish to honor the very first moment of the existence of Mary as a human person and the fact that she was created without the stain of original sin. There are only two "Immaculate Conceptions": Jesus and Mary. Mary was conceived on December 8th, and born nine months later on Sept. 8th. Jesus was born on December 25th, but was conceived nine months prior to this on March 25th, on the feast of the Annunciation, in Mary's womb, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The rest of us are "maculately conceived" with the effects of original sin. Mary was not a piece of the body of her parents Joachim and Anna. The moment that the sperm of Joachim united to the egg of Anna, there came into existence a new person, with her own distinct soul and body, which is Mary. She possessed, at this moment of conception, all the rights inherent to any human being or one of us, especially the precious right to life.

       Nowadays, doctors do not like the term "conception". They prefer to use the words "embryo", "fetus" or "stem cell". Shall we go along with them and change our terminology in regards to Mary? Shall we now refer to her as the "Immaculate embryo", the "Immaculate fetus" or the "Immaculate stem cell?"
(everyone answers with a firm "no")
Now, whether you refer to a human person in his first moments of conception and life as an embryo, fetus or stem cell, he is always a human person! We must never lose sight of nor forget this extemely important fact. He is not a glob of  tissues that you wish to do anything you please with. His right to life must be respected.
Is there a mother in this church who has more than one child?
(a young lady raised her hand and said she had five)
Tell me, Mrs, would you kill one of your five children to save the life of another of your sons or daughters?
(everyone, including her, responded with a vehement and intense "no")
Well, you see, that is what is happening in this country. The medical profession, the socialist party and the most corrupt and powerful TV company are carrying on a vigorous campaign to legalize the death of conceived human babies in order to use their bodies to cure others. Do you agree with this? Do you want your country to suffer the chastisements that God said He would send to those who approve of abortion in any shape, way or form?
(everyone unaninimously said "no")
We are never allowed to use an evil mean in order to realize a good. We cannot kill a human being, no matter what stage of his development, in order to save someone else's life.
        A female doctor told me that she does not believe that life begins at conception (though at an international congress of geneticists, all agreed that the full number of chromosomes present in the fertilized egg possessed the characteristics sufficient to define the existence of an independent human being). This woman doctor told me that, for her, human life began when the brain was functioning. I responded: so you are not a human person when you are sleeping, therefore, I can chop up your body and donate the organs. In a moment of temporary forgetfulness or amnesia, I too, am not a human person. The mentally retarded or the demented elderly are not human beings either. Let us get rid of the feast of the Immaculate Conception because Mary does not exist, and put in its place, the feast of the Immaculate brain wave (and God knows when to determine that).
      Another doctor told me that he would practice stem cell research only with human lives conceived in "vitro". I told him: whether you create a human life in a glass, plate or frying pan, it is always a human life and possesses sacred rights! The Church not only condemns sex outside of marriage, but also the creation of life outside of marriage. We are not plants and animals, but human beings with psychological, emotional and spiritual needs. If you expose a child without the loving presence of its mother, it literally dies for lack of affection. A child created outside the womb of its mother will turn into an emotional zombie. We are psychologically dependent on others for our existence and development.
     A third doctor said that at conception, you cannot see a heart, eye, hair, brain or leg in the fertilized egg. What did Jesus say in today's Gospel? "The mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds, yet it contains within it the leaves, stems, shoots, branches, of a large and beautiful tree where the birds come to find repose." It is  all there, hidden from our sight and in great potency. In the fertilized egg, which is a distinct human being, are the characteristics and elements of a person that will soon be manifested to the world.
     The other day, at the supermarket, the cashier asked me if I wanted to donate some money to help in the research and cure for cancer. I said "no". I said that he himself could do better by not working in a supermarket that helps to spread cancer by the sale of white sugar, white flour and half the things there possessed of chemicals that cause cancer. It is better to prevent the disease with a natural diet and changed life style than to have recourse to extreme and immoral means to cure the sick. It is much more efficacious and worth the while to work on the preventive side than to patch up hopeless holes.  

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