PODCAST: Bishop Warns Against Using Vaccines That Make Use of Cells From Aborted Babies (BCNN1 11.20.20)

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According to Los Angeles Times, Citing ethical concerns about the use of fetal cells in vaccine development, Bishop Joseph Brennan of the Diocese of Fresno is urging Catholics not to “jump on the COVID-19 vaccine bandwagon.” In a video shared by the diocese this week, Brennan said that some of the researchers racing to produce a coronavirus vaccine have made use of cells derived from an aborted fetus, and perhaps other “morally objectionable” materials. “I try to maintain a joyful spirit, so I don’t like to rain on anyone’s parade,” Brennan said. “But I’m going to rain on a parade today: the vaccine parade.” In his message, Brennan said the use of fetal cells at any stage of a vaccine’s development means Catholics cannot avail themselves of its scientific results. “I won’t be able to take a vaccine, brothers and sisters, and I encourage you not to, if it was developed with material from stem cells that were derived from a baby that was aborted, or material that was cast off from artificial insemination of a human embryo,” he said. “That’s morally unacceptable for us.” That mention of artificial insemination appears to be a reference to in vitro fertilization, an assisted reproduction technique that creates human embryos in a lab dish. Some couples that were left with excess embryos have donated them to scientists, who used them to make human embryonic stem cells. Brennan said he is not opposed to vaccines in general, and noted that he has received vaccines for the flu and pneumonia, but said he is specifically opposed to vaccines derived from babies “whose lives were taken.” He cited the Pfizer vaccine by name, which — along with another vaccine from Moderna — has been roundly celebrated as a breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus. Brennan did not explain why he singled out Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for criticism. There is no indication that it was developed using either fetal cells or human embryonic stem cells. “Not a single stage has had it,” Pfizer spokeswoman Jerica Pitts said Thursday.

According to EUR Web, Bobby Brown Jr. was reportedly experiencing flu-like symptoms before his death, but he had not tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). The UK Mirror reports that Brown Jr. told his friends that he was ill and predicted he may die just hours before he passed away on Tuesday. Karey Graves, a friend of the late singer, told DailyMail.com that Bobby Jr. had been suffering from a heart condition since childhood, and that “he was sick” but refused to seek medical help “because he has a phobia of hospitals.” Graves claims Bobby Jr. “knew something was going to happen.” She believes he may have been battling coronavirus “or maybe another illness that didn’t make it easy for his pre-existing heart condition.” She added that it was “so weird” that Bobby Jr. had reached out to her prior to his death as they “weren’t on good terms.” During their chat, he apparently professed his love for Graves and “wished we could be together,” he told her. Graves described Bobby Jr as sounding “congested” and she heard him “cough intensely.” Bobby Jr. was dating Anna Reed at the time of his death and she paid tribute to him on Twitter on Thursday, writing,”The heavens gained an angel but I lost my soul mate.” The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to PEOPLE on Wednesday that Brown Jr. had been found dead in his home in Los Angeles. The cause of death remains unknown.

According to the Daily Mail, MasterChef Junior’s Ben Watkins died on Monday at 14 from cancer at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital, his family said. Watkins was diagnosed in July with Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma, as his relatives said that doctors told them that only five other people in the world had the rare ailment, which impacts soft tissue. “Our Ben home went home to be with his mother Monday afternoon after a year-and-a-half long battle with cancer,” his maternal grandmother Donna Edwards and uncle Anthony Edwards said in a statement. “After losing both of his parents in September 2017, we have marveled at Ben’s strength, courage and love for life. He never, ever complained. Ben was and will be the strongest person we know. When Ben’s rare illness was shared with the world, he was so heartened by the outpouring of love he received from every quarter of the globe – especially in his hometown of Gary, Indiana.” The family continued: “We cannot thank this community enough for holding our family up in prayer and for all that you’ve done. Ben suffered more than his share of his 14 years on earth but we take solace in that suffering is finally over and in that, in the end, Ben knew he was loved by so many.” Gordon Ramsay took to Twitter Tuesday to pay tribute to the former MasterChef Junior contestant, saying, “We lost a Master of the @MasterChefJrFOX kitchen today,’ he said. ‘Ben you were an incredibly talented home cook and even stronger young man. Your young life had so many tough turns but you always persevered. Sending all the love to Ben Watkins’ family with this terrible loss.”

According to Daily Mail, Tyler Perry has had a booming month, winning the People’s Choice Award for People’s Champion over the weekend, and now being named WSJ. Magazine’s Entertainment Innovator of the Year. Gracing the cover of the magazine’s November Innovator’s Issue, the 51-year-old Hollywood powerhouse – writer, director, producer and studio head – continues to solidify his empire while opening up about the past year’s hardships. ‘Even after everything that’s going on in the world—the pandemic and the racial inequality and police brutality—I have to remain hopeful. It lives in me.’ With a net worth of $1 Billion dollars and an undeniable reputation as a prolific businessman and all around good natured human being, Perry is the true embodiment of the American dream. Speaking to WSJ. Magazine about his endless resume of accomplishments that include 14 tv series, 22 movies and $2B in revenue through Tyler Perry Studios, the magnitude of both his success and hardships as a Black man is not lost on him. Touching on the fraught nature of the country and his unwavering spirit he continues, ‘You have to understand where I come from and what I’ve gone through. I’ve had to have hope,’ he says. Pushing forward by means of necessity, Perry aims to inspire by urging ‘hope’ while speaking candidly about the plight of Black people. ‘Here’s what you have to understand, I work with a lot of Black and brown people. So when you say ‘weighing heavily,’ this is our daily lives.’ He continues, ‘But we have to find a way to keep going and find the strength to fight another day. Hope grows inside of people like me, and it’s very, very hard to kill, because from childhood we were always hoping just for something great.’

According to USA Today, What can a Black person expect living in the U.S.? That’s the central question Ta-Nehisi Coates answers in his book, “Between the World and Me,” published in 2015 – a question spun forward in an HBO film (Saturday, 8 EST/PST), adapted from a stage production of Coates’ work that features Mahershala Ali and Angela Bassett. The movie, like the book, is structured as an open letter to Coates’ adolescent son Samori about what to expect as a Black person living in the U.S., and the words still ring true in 2020 in the face of institutional racism and police brutality. The 2018 stage adaptation premiered at the Apollo Theater in New York, and his since been performed in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., with a rotating cast of actors. More performances were scheduled until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, says director Kamilah Forbes. Like the stage adaptation, the film features a series of actors reading Coates’ words. “I related to everything he said, so I wanted to find a way in: How do we take a body of voices that embody one man’s voice?” Forbes says. Audiences will recognize other actors like Jharrel Jerome, Phylicia Rashad, Mj Rodriguez, Kendrick Sampson, Yara Shahidi, Courtney B. Vance and Susan Kelechi Watson, as well as activists Angela Davis and Alicia Garza. Another big-name reader? Oprah Winfrey. “It was such an honor just to have her on the project and have her voice.” Forbes says. The film also includes documentary footage from the actors’ home lives, archival video and animation.

According to Associated Press, Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson has suffered a torn right Achilles tendon and is expected to miss the upcoming season, the team said Thursday. The team said in a tweet that an MRI performed in Los Angeles had confirmed the injury. Thompson was injured during a pickup game in Southern California on Wednesday. General manager Bob Myers had said athletic trainers would head to Southern California to accompany Thompson as he got his test. The injury could be a severe blow for the Warriors, who finished worst in the NBA last season as they struggled without Thompson and at times without Stephen Curry, who was nursing a broken left hand that sidelined him for more than four months. Thompson didn’t play at all during the coronavirus-shortened season as he worked back from surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee. He suffered that injury in the deciding Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. Myers said Thompson’s injury had Golden State considering altering its draft decisions Wednesday night but the Warriors stuck with their plan to select Memphis center James Wiseman with the No. 2 overall selection.

According to the ESPN, Five months later than originally scheduled, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Anthony Edwards with the first pick of the 2020 NBA draft on Wednesday night. The Golden State Warriors took center James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick, and guard LaMelo Ball followed as the third pick to the Charlotte Hornets. Edwards, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound guard from Atlanta who spent his lone collegiate season at Georgia, joins a young Timberwolves core led by star center Karl-Anthony Towns and point guard D’Angelo Russell. Edwards led all Division I freshmen with 19.1 points per game and was the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year. Edwards joins Markelle Fultz as the only players in the lottery era to go No. 1 overall coming from a program with a record of .500 or worse in his final college season, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. The Bulldogs went 16-16, including 5-13 in the SEC. Edwards said on ESPN shortly after being selected, “It is an indescribable feeling. My family is emotional. I feel like when I get off of here, I am going to be emotional. I am just blessed beyond measure to be in this situation.”

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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!