Yesterday the Pope followed up his condoms revelation with a more predictable point, one that emphasizes existing Catholic teaching and seems, at least linguistically, appropriate to the start of Advent:  protect “nascent life.”  From what?  “Selfishness and the willful darkening of conscience.” The plea is not only to end abortion (appealing to national and international evangelical groups, allied with the Catholic Church against abortion since the 70s) but also stem cell research, per the Cleveland Catholic Diocese:

We pray to end abortion; we pray for the embryos stored at fertility clinics; and we pray for those newly created human persons in research clinics whose fate is destruction.

While anti-abortion gains during the midterms were a bust, a Mississippi judge has recently given the go-ahead to a “Personhood Initiative” for the ballot next year, despite the fact that there’s only one abortion clinic in the state.  Meanwhile, the debate over the use of embryonic stem cells recently received attention in George W. Bush’s memoir.  Opponents of embryonic stem cell research have rigorously advocated using adult stem cells instead, claiming that doing so spares the destruction of “nascent life.”

You can read the Pope’s prayer here and homily here.