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Ruthless Sympathy
May 29, 2015

 

What is happening in our country when killing is preferable—and acceptable—to selfless love for the suffering? Too many instances lately shine a light on the depravity of this behavior and on our ever-declining treatment of our fellow human beings whom we call “expendable.”

For example, a 7-year-old Massachusetts child is nearly killed and her dad, who tried to take her life by poisoning her with drain cleaner, says he is not guilty of a crime. The little girl was seriously ill and her father argued he was only trying to relieve her of her suffering. 

In New York, efforts are underway to facilitate starvation of patients who are unable to speak for themselves. An online article by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition states: “Senate Bill 4794 would grant an agent decision-making authority to dehydrate a patient even when the patient’s wishes are not known and cannot be determined.” In other words, if this bill passes and is signed into law, it will be legal to kill by dehydration. Rather than keeping a patient comfortable, death will be caused sooner rather than later.

In California, the California Medical Association has decided that it will “drop opposition to what has long been known as ‘physician-assisted suicide.’” This change in policy “reflects a change in patient and doctor attitudes about assisted-death and acknowledgment that there are times when palliative care is not enough to make the terminally ill comfortable.”

In the ever-growing trend toward packaging imposed death as a “choice,” the panoply of selections seems endless. Everything from terminal sedation to denial of food to more overt methods like that employed by the Massachusetts dad can be thought of as ideal options if you want to relieve yourself or someone you love from lingering too long in the hospital, hospice, or at home.

Nancy Valko, RN, provides a word of explanation for the novice in this struggle to defend the lives of the ill from those who want to end life rather than affirm it. She states that terminal sedation is “the deliberate ‘termination of awareness’ for ‘relief of intractable pain when specific pain-relieving protocols or interventions are ineffective’ and/or ‘relief of intractable emotional or spiritual anguish (existential suffering, psychological distress, emotional exhaustion).’ (Emphasis added) An essential component of TS is also the withdrawal of all treatment, including even food and water, so that death occurs as soon as possible.”

Andy Ho also wrote about terminal sedation, telling readers: 

What could be kinder than helping the dying “go gentle into that good night”? Yet, from its name, one would not have known that what ends life is not the sedation but the fact that fluids are concurrently and totally discontinued for the unconscious patient. Such dehydration leads inevitably to death within one or two weeks, even for healthy persons. By contrast, starvation alone, where fluids are not restricted, takes weeks or even months to bring on death. So it is dehydration that kills the patient—unless the disease takes him first. 

While some may find it astounding that the pro-choice-to-die movement is gaining ground, I for one do not. Many years ago the United States of America’s collective conscience lost its will to live when it went along with a 7-man majority on the United States Supreme Court ruling that a human being—a preborn child—was not a person, thus opening the door to abortion-on-demand. Ever since that time the will to kill has been in abundance, but always disguised with some softer, more palatable name such as pro-choice or human rights or compassion in dying. Today the words are the same as the outcomes—dead people.

The father in the Massachusetts case mentioned earlier is not an isolated story. Many fathers have gone before him, including Nancy Cruzan’s father Joe and Christine Busalacchi’s father Pete. In both cases the fathers of these young women felt strongly that living was too much of a burden for their daughters to bear. Sadly, Nancy’s father ultimately committed suicide—a tragic end to a story that began with a desire to prematurely end a life rather than devote oneself to caring for that human being until death.

Where society goes from here we do not know, but we do understand fully that where ruthless sympathy prevails, human beings are in peril. 

Defend life, speak out for the vulnerable, teach the ignorant, and pray for those promoting ruthless sympathy.

 

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And Now a Word about Justice
May 26, 2015

 

We have been hearing a lot about the erosion of protection of religious freedom lately. It seems that the Democratic party is unusually vocal on this subject.

Today, more than ever, far too many of us are often pressed to leave God out of the picture when acting in defense of life and truth in a public way. This situation prompts me to consider the virtue of justice and what it has to do with the current challenges confronted by Christians.

According to Catholic teaching, justice is the virtue that enables us to assume our responsibilities and to give others their due. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. ‘You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.’”

The just man will boldly defend equality for all persons, born and preborn. The just man—whether Catholic, Protestant, Jew, or no particular religious persuasion—knows that we have the right and the duty to press on until justice for all is truly a matter of practice rather than a platitude. 

But in America today the just man is finding it more and more difficult to function in a way that is consistent with the virtue of justice. Why is this so?

It is clear that Americans are losing their religion. It is as though man’s sense of God is lost. St. John Paul II warned years ago that “when the sense of God is lost, there is also a tendency to lose the sense of man, of his dignity and his life; in turn, the systematic violation of the moral law, especially in the serious matter of respect for human life and its dignity, produces a kind of progressive darkening of the capacity to discern God’s living and saving presence.”

Consider these profound words in the context of current headlines. We have a president of the United States who uses a platform at the “Catholic” Georgetown University to suggest that churches should not be focusing on “divisive issues” like protecting life and preserving marriage when these churches engage politically. We also have the attitude of Democrat Hillary Clinton, would-be 2016 presidential hopeful, who opines that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” so that abortion and other reproductive health services are supported in law and in society.

In other words, those who believe in God and in His laws are stumbling blocks to the ideologues who not only want to publicly decry religious freedom if it does not suit their agenda, but actually entertain the idea that Church teaching must change! The question one has to ask is simple: If Church teaching does not change, what sort of punishment should we expect?

If this isn’t America unhinged, then I do not know what it is! This nation, founded “under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” is in big trouble.

Defending truth and life is not a debatable obligation for the just man. In fact, it is an honor to be called by God to serve in this way. So as the pro-death zealots increase their cries for silence in matters of faith, truth, and justice, it is up to folks like us to sing a little louder, pray a little louder, and never back down from the challenges ahead.

We must stand with God in the public square no matter what the cost.

Justice can only be served when God is central to our efforts, not relegated to the closet.

 

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CRS Smells Like Rotten Eggs
May 22, 2015

 

Carolyn Woo is the first woman to be president of Catholic Relief Services and the second lay person to do so. CRS has been in existence since 1943. During World War II, “the Roman Catholic bishops of the United States established CRS to help war-torn Europe and its refugees recover from this great conflict.” While the history of CRS goes on to say that “even today, 70 years later, our mission continues to focus on the poor overseas, using the gospel of Jesus Christ as our mandate,” something is not ringing quite true.

RottenDuring a recent interview, Woo noted that, while there have been accusations that CRS is involved in programs where birth control and abortion services are made available, this is not the case. She said that the role of CRS, in associating with groups that do provide such services, is to be the voice of the Catholic Church and its teachings on the role of natural family planning as an alternative to contraception.

However, research into this question indicates that quite the opposite is the case. In one particular report, research into family planning services in Madagascar found: “As an ‘implementing health partner’ with USAID, CRS must ensure the provision of contraception and abortifacients to Malagasy citizens in its communes. Population Research Institute investigators have confirmed that the distribution of contraceptives and abortifacients by CRS health workers within their communes to be a systemic problem in Madagascar.”

Isolated incident? Not at all. As research done within our own organization has revealed, “86 percent of CRS’ grants to domestic groups in 2012 went to groups that promote contraceptives, in addition to, in some cases, other evils such as abortion, the abortifacient ‘morning-after pill,’ and homosexuality. In 2013, the Catholic aid organization gave a $2.7 million grant to Population Services International, which markets a ‘Safe Abort Kit’ in developing countries.”

Further, the Lepanto Institute has analyzed the problematic nature of CRS’ involvement with programs that are contradictory to Catholic teaching and that are anything but true to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And then there’s the problem of the homosexual senior CRS official Rick Estridge, vice president of overseas finance. Mr. Estridge married his homosexual partner in Maryland in April 2013. Woo said in her interview, when asked about the “civil gay marriage,” that CRS is “working through this.” She asserted that gay marriage is a “very complex issue.”

Various Catholic voices, including that of Pope Benedict XVI, have reiterated the teachings of the Church on the question of homosexuality. In truth, there is really nothing at all complex about whether or not a Catholic can endorse, support, or be involved in a “gay marriage.” In addition, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reiterated Church teaching: “As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.”

Homosexuality is the issue; it should have been the single focus of Woo’s comments, and her position should have been consonant with Catholic teaching. To wit, homosexuality is a grave moral disorder. Contrary to Woo’s comments, there is nothing complex about this at all.

So why is it that Woo obfuscates? Clearly she has chosen to be the servant of the gospel of tolerance rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ—and that is the problem.

This situation smells like rotten eggs to me. 

But I have every reason to hope, pray, and act in the manner Christ expects of each of us. He is the answer, and this problem is ultimately in God’s hands, for as we know and believe, God’s will is the hope of every believing human being.

ACTION: Pray for the misguided and learn the truth.

Questions of Conscience
May 19, 2015

From California to Wisconsin to Illinois and beyond, the consciences of believing Catholics are being challenged by politics and the medical profession with, seemingly, no relief in sight. Let’s examine what’s happening in these places.

The California state senate just passed a law that would literally wipe out all conscience protections for parents who do not want their children to be injected with contaminated vaccines containing fetal cells. In a compromise move, the authors of the bill did agree to “‘grandfather in’ many public and private school students whose parents have claimed personal belief exemptions. That would mean that more than 13,000 children who have had no vaccinations by first grade won’t have to get their shots until they enter seventh grade.”

Notice that the caveat may—and probably will—require even these students to eventually be vaccinated. So much for religious freedom to stand on principle and be protected by law!

Responding to this arrogant power grab by California politicians, Children of God for Life pinpointed the problem. It reports that Senator Richard Pan, a pediatrician, addressed the need for the legislation to his fellow politicians but misrepresented the facts. Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God for Life, writes that the senator “should certainly know that there are aborted fetal cell components, DNA and proteins present in several other vaccines and medicines, notably Hepatitis-A, MMRII, Varicella, ProQuad, Pentacel, Zostavax and some Rabies.” She continued, “Pan also failed to acknowledge that there were over 80 elective abortions involved with the rubella vaccine alone and that the pharmaceutical industry continues to use both existing and new aborted fetal cells for ongoing research and development of future vaccines.”

Apparently sticking to the facts is not part of the political process in California.

Add to this the fact that the California Catholic Conference has chosen not to take a position on the bill, and one can see clearly which road will be taken. Parental rights will take a serious blow if this bill passes into law as the Catholic bishops look on.

In the state of Wisconsin there are persistent questions being raised by pro-life folks about the staff privileges of well-known abortionists at a Catholic hospital in La Crosse. While there have been repeated requests for an explanation to be provided by the state’s Catholic conference, as well as the National Catholic Bioethics Center, it seems that only crickets are answering the pleas of faithful Catholics. The most recent communications with the NCBC were shared with me by one of the Wisconsin pro-lifers who wrote of her frustration over a situation that continues to fester with no apparent relief in sight. We wonder how it can be that an abortionist who is on the staff of a Catholic hospital can refer patients to others to kill their babies without fear of reprimand at any level. 

Scandalous seems to be too polite a word.

And lastly, in Illinois, the struggle over conscience rights and faithful Christians has taken a different turn. Or has it? We learned recently that a “battle is under way over conscience rights and health care in the Illinois Legislature that has pro-life groups on one side, the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood on the other, and the Illinois Catholic Conference standing neutral on the sidelines.” The debate centers on SB 1564, amending the Health Care Right of Conscience Act. Catholic doctors are concerned and have organized meetings to discuss the dangers of SB 1564, a bill that “would require pregnancy center workers to violate their core mission by referring women for abortions or distributing information on where to obtain abortions.” 

One wonders how in the world the bishops could be neutral!

It is crystal clear to me that bishops who play politics with conscience rights, the lives of preborn babies, and the health and well-being of expectant mothers have lost their way. Shepherds are not supposed to lead their flock TOWARD the wolves. They are supposed to lead them AWAY from danger.

Act today to get informed and stop the madness:

Pray and fast for your bishop, your priests, and the entire body of Catholic bishops, including Pope Francis. 

Learn the facts about childhood vaccines and your rights as parents. 

Learn the facts about abortion and what you can do to be part of the solution. 

Read the letter from Children of God for Life that clearly defines Church teaching on moral conscience. 

 

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Does that Baby Feel Pain?
May 15, 2015

Many people are all aflutter about the news that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, also known as H.R.36, is now on the Congressional calendar and—by the time you read this—will have been voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives.

There has been immense publicity about the bill, with one writer commenting, “The legislation would establish a national limit on abortion at 20 weeks after conception—five months into pregnancy—which is the gestational age at which infants can of feel pain (sic) and survive long-term if born prematurely.” 

ShamAs usual, the abortion cartel is up in arms. Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, says, “This is an unconstitutional ban, and this is something we expect to defeat. . . . The people of this country believe Congress should be focused on making people’s lives better, and they shouldn’t be involved in making personal medical decisions for women and their doctors.”

But something about this bill simply does not smell right to those of us who believe that the word “ban” means totally forbidden. H.R. 36 states: “There is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, if not earlier.” So a baby who is 19 weeks gestational age or younger—and who can feel the pain of the abortion being committed against him—will not be protected by this bill. Perhaps supporters of this bill believe this is the best they can do, but the authors should have been more sensitive to all of the medical facts available to them about the preborn child and his pain level.

Pro-lifers have known since the days of Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s Silent Scream video that there is evidence that a preborn baby as young as 12 weeks gestational age will move away from the deadly instrument invading his territory with the intent to kill him.

So, the bill does not protect all babies who feel pain—just some of them. This is just one problem with the alleged pro-life bill. There are others. The bill focuses on restricting abortions committed at 20 weeks gestation or later. However, the bill contains language that allows the commission of abortion on babies 20 weeks of age or older if “in reasonable medical judgment, the abortion is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, but not including psychological or emotional conditions.” Further, this bill permits abortion of “viable” babies if they are created through criminal rape or incest.

So, the bill does not even protect all preborn children after 20 weeks—just some of them.

The bill is a sham, pure and simple. By writing these words I will make no friends in the pro-life movement; but my task, in fact my duty, is to share the facts and allow people to think for themselves about the crucial question: What does it mean to be pro-life in 2015? Have we become so desperate for a political feather in our collective cap that we are willing to stoop to the same sort of deceptive tactics as our foes?

Has politics taken over our ethics, our principles, and our fundraising? Millions of faithful grassroots pro-lifers across the country are being deceived into believing that a bill that only protects some babies some of the time is to be celebrated as a pro-life victory. Everyone is rushing to get “the best we can do” without understanding the impact those actions will have on the pro-life young people who are just entering this battle. With all the celebration, the only message these young people receive is that it’s okay to let certain babies die.

The positions of the politically-oriented pro-life groups on H.R.36 would be much more plausible if the message they were giving to their supporters was to tell Congress to pass H.R.36 this week and then, next week, pass H.R.816 declaring that “that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in . . . each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.” But they NEVER talk about that bill.

It concerns me greatly as one of the leaders in this struggle for the past 40-plus years that we have lost our way. In that context, I am reminded about the words Christ spoke to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Thinking about each of the “least” of these, I am compelled to ask those who are aggressively pushing this pain-capable bill: Does God feel pain when a child He created is killed if his daddy is a criminal rapist? What about if he were conceived in an act of incest? How about if his mom is ill and he is perceived as the unjust aggressor? Does God feel pain if His preborn child is 12 weeks old, 12 days old, or 12 seconds old?

Abortion affects everyone. Dr. Bernard Nathanson showed that the child in the womb silently screamed and tried desperately to get away just before his life was terminated. Will we sit silently while our nation suffers? Will we watch as the lives of mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings are crushed because some consider murder a “choice”? We must change the hearts and the mindsets of people today. We must make them understand the pain. We cannot live in silence.

Abortion kills. Abortion hurts. Period.

Take action!

PRAY for a genuine end to all abortion from creation onward. No preborn child should be left behind!

Now that the bill has passed the House, we encourage you to write to your senators, using facts from this commentary, and explain that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is flawed and at this time is not being defined as a pro-life bill by American Life League.

In addition, write to your members of Congress and point out that, now that H.R.36 has passed, it is time to put H.R.816 on the agenda and move it forward for a vote.