Ohio Catholic Bishops Oppose "Race for the Cure!"

by Maureen Fiedler

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When I read this story, all I could say was, “you’ve got to be kidding!” The Catholic Bishops of Ohio have just issued a letter instructing Catholics not to support the “Race for the Cure” sponsored annually by the Susan G. Komen Foundation. That foundation is the largest group funding breast cancer research in the United States.

The reason? The bishops say that the Komen Foundation does not explicitly oppose the use of embryonic stem cells in research, a practice which the hierarchy condemns. It’s not that Komen actually funds research using embryonic stem cells. The bishops say explicitly that they have no evidence of that. Rather, the bishops say they oppose Komen because of the possibility that they might fund such research… because they have not said they won’t. Huh?

With this convoluted reasoning, the Ohio bishops would deny support for research seeking a cure for one of the diseases deadliest afflicting women in the United States! Even if someone opposed embryonic stem cell research (and most Catholics do not), this is as flimsy a case as you can make.

Does this mean that any group worthy of Catholic support must sign a statement agreeing with the hierarchy’s positions on a whole range of issues, even if they don’t deal with those issues directly in their work?

The bishops also object to the fact that the Komen Foundation contributes to Planned Parenthood (undoubtedly for work related to breast cancer). But Planned Parenthood does abortions, so any connection at all is condemned. Forget the fact that Planned Parenthood does thousands of breast cancer screenings every day, mainly for low income women.

In place of the Komen Foundation, the Ohio Bishops suggest supporting Mercy Cancer Centers. Ironically, Mercy Cancer Centers have entered a team in the 2011 “Race for the Cure” of the Komen Foundation!

I may join them. I need to get back to running, so I just might enter the Race for the Cure this year. It’ll be good for my health and the health of the nation. And it’s the best response to the Ohio Bishops I can think of.

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