Holy Toledo

Bishop Leonard P. Blair. Dear Friend in Chirst, There are just too many theoretical dangers in attempts to alleviate human suffering. Best not to bother yourself about it.

The Bishop of Toledo has sent a letter to his friends in Christ, as well as the Catholic schools under his control, advising them to stop donating money to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for research into breast cancer. In case you are wondering, the bishop was Leonard Blair and the Toledo in question is in Ohio, much as this story sounds like it’s about a bishop out of Don Quixote.

The Most Reverend (he tells us that himself in the closing to his letter) uses the scholastic thinking that made the medieval chuch such an oppressor of the innocent and scourge of the helpless. Reason one: although he and his fellow Ohio bishops scurried themselves about to see if the Susan G. Komen Foundation used stem cell tissues in their research, they found no evidence of it. Nevertheless (and this makes their effort in trying to find out whether the foundation was actually using stem cells a fool’s errand), nothing prevents the foundation in the future from using fetal stem cells. The possibility that this might happen is enough to endanger the mortal souls of believers who thought they might be contributing to the elimination of a disease. Being able to see thus murkily into the future is enough to justify preventing Catholics (some of whom might someday contract breast cancer) from contributing to a cure. I’m not quite sure how Catholic authoritarian pronouncements are supposed to sqaure with scripture, but it seems that this elevates the gift of (unsure) prophesy over the gift of charity. (Cf. I Corintians 13.)

Reason two: the foundation gives money to Planned Parenthood for the benefit of breast cancer victims. Now as the bishop notes, Planned Parenthood is the largest provided of abortions in America. Therefore any money that might end up in their hands is a gift to the devil, even if the money was not to be used for abortion. Likewise, I guess, giving money to any public hospital in America might endanger you mortal soul.

But the bishop has a heart. The school children can continue collecting money, which should be directed to a Catholic charity, the Mercy Cancer Centers. Now these hospitals don’t do the research supported by the Foundation, but the Bishop wasn’t exactly looking to help cure cancer. That’s not the Church’s business. The Church is there to tell you what not to do. If you get cancer, that’s your own business.

You have to wonder what possible use there could be for such a person as the Most Reverend Leonard Blair in Paradise. Perhaps it is because there will be none that he was given such a small soul.


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