Cardinal Dolan, Holy Father Congratulate Obama, Stand Firm On Life, Liberty and Marriage

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Pope Benedict XVI both sent letters of congratulations to President Obama today.

I found it personally heartening when I read that along with congratulations and assurances of the bishops’ continued prayers for the President,  Cardinal Dolan also made a statement for the United States Bishops:

“We will continue to stand in defense of life, marriage and our first, most cherished liberty, religious freedom.”

Thank you Cardinal Dolan. I needed to read that.

I am going to re-blog the entire CNA article below. For other great articles like it, check out CNA.

Pope, Cardinal Dolan urge Obama to respect life and religious freedom
By Michelle Bauman

Washington D.C., Nov 7, 2012 / 10:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic leaders are calling on President Barack Obama to respect the fundamental American principles of life and religious liberty after he won a second term in office.

“We will continue to stand in defense of life, marriage, and our first, most cherished liberty, religious freedom,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In a letter congratulating Obama on his re-election, Cardinal Dolan noted the “great responsibility” with which the American people have entrusted the president and assured him of the prayers of the U.S. bishops.

“In particular, we pray that you will exercise your office to pursue the common good, especially in care of the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn, the poor, and the immigrant,” the cardinal said.

“We pray, too, that you will help restore a sense of civility to the public order, so our public conversations may be imbued with respect and charity toward everyone,” he added.

Cardinal Dolan’s commitment to defending life, marriage and religious liberty was echoed by other Catholic groups following Obama’s Nov. 6 win at the polls.

The U.S. bishops have clashed with the Obama administration over religious liberty issues in recent months.

At the center of the conflict is a new federal mandate that requires employers – including religious hospitals, schools, and charitable agencies – to offer health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

Bishops from every diocese in the U.S. have spoken out against the mandate, warning that it poses a serious threat to religious freedom. More than 100 plaintiffs, including numerous Catholic dioceses, universities and charitable organizations, have filed lawsuits challenging the mandate.

The importance of religious freedom was also emphasized in Pope Benedict XVI’s message to Obama.

In the letter, which was sent through the apostolic nunciature in Washington, D.C., the Pope offered best wishes to Obama and promised prayers for the president in the coming years.

The pontiff also said he hopes that the American founding ideals of freedom and justice may hold a prominent place in the nation’s future.

Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See press office, noted that “the U.S. president has an immense responsibility, not only in his own country but also towards the rest of the world, given the role the U.S.A. plays at an international level.”

“For this reason we hope that President Obama will respond to his fellow citizens’ expectations,” he said, “serving law and justice for the good and development of all people, and respecting essential human and spiritual values while promoting a culture of life and religious freedom.”

How Does It Feel to Vote for the President of the United States?

I voted. Did you? 

Were there long lines? Did you have any problems with the other votes on the ballot? Are you satisfied with the choices we had, or would you like something (as in someone) better next time around?

Let’s share our voting experiences in the comments section. Maybe we can inspire some someone somewhere who is thinking about not voting to go cast that ballot.

Today we are electing the next President of the United States of America.

That’s a pretty big deal.

The Meaning of Marriage and Sexual Difference

Same sex marriage is one of the lightning rod issues of our day. The Catholic Church has stood firm in its 2000 year commitment to marriage as a sacrament between one man and one woman. This costly fidelity has focused the rage and hatred of fair number of people on the Church and on all Catholics.

Since people in a number of states will be voting on same-sex marriage today, I’ve decided to post the discussion about it that I found on the USCCB website.

Please read it prayerfully.

The Meaning of Marriage & Sexual Difference

Marriage: What’s a good starting point?
To understand what marriage is, the best place to start is with the human person. After all, marriage is a unique relationship between two specific persons, one man and one woman. We must ask, “What does it mean to be a human person, as a man or as a woman?” First, men and women are created in the image of God (see Gen 1:27). This means that they have great dignity and worth. Also, since “God is love,” (1 Jn 4:8) each person – created in God’s image – finds his or her fulfillment by loving others. Second, men and women are body-persons. The body – male or female – is an essential part of being human. Gender is not an afterthought or a mere social construct. The body shapes what it means to love as a human person. To sum up, when we think about marriage, we must think about who the human person is – created with great dignity, and called to love as a body-person, male or female.

Where does marriage come from?
“God himself is the author of marriage” (GS, no. 48). When God created human persons in his own image, as male and female, he placed in their hearts the desire, and the task, to love – to give themselves totally to another person. Marriage is one of two ways someone can make a total self-gift (the other is virginity, devoting oneself entirely to God) (see FC, no. 11). Marriage is not something thought up by human society or by any religion – rather, it springs from who the human person is, as male and female, and society and religion affirm and reinforce it. The truth of marriage is therefore accessible to everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. Both faith and reason speak to the true meaning of marriage.

What is marriage?
Marriage is the lifelong partnership of mutual and exclusive fidelity between a man and a woman ordered by its very nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children (see CCC, no. 1601; CIC, can. 1055.1; GS, no. 48). The bond of marriage is indissoluble – that is, it lasts “until death do us part.” At the heart of married love is the total gift of self that husband and wife freely offer to each other. Because of their sexual difference, husband and wife can truly become “one flesh” and can give to each other “the reality of children, who are a living reflection of their love” (FC, no. 14).

Marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman is a sacrament. This means that the bond between husband and wife is a visible sign of the sacrificial love of Christ for his Church. As a sacrament, marriage gives spouses the grace they need to love each other generously, in imitation of Christ.

Why can’t marriage be “redefined” to include two men or two women?
The word “marriage” isn’t simply a label that can be attached to different types of relationships. Instead, “marriage” reflects a deep reality – the reality of the unique, fruitful, lifelong union that is only possible between a man and a woman. Just as oxygen and hydrogen are essential to water, sexual difference is essential to marriage. The attempt to “redefine” marriage to include two persons of the same sex denies the reality of what marriage is. It is as impossible as trying to “redefine” water to include oxygen and nitrogen.

What is sexual difference?
Sexual difference is the difference of man to woman and woman to man. It affects a person at every level of his or her existence: genetically, biologically, emotionally, psychologically, and socially. Sexual difference is an irreducible difference. It is unlike any other difference we experience, because it – and only it – allows for the total personal union between husband and wife that is at the heart of marriage. The difference between men and women is for the sake of their union with each other. It is what makes spousal union possible.

Isn’t marriage just about love and commitment between two people?
Of course love and commitment are important for marriage – as they are for many relationships. But marriage is unique because the commitment it calls for is better described as communion, where “the two become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). Only a man and a woman in marriage can become a “one flesh” communion. The unity of husband and wife is so intimate that from it can come a “third,” the child – a new life to be welcomed and raised in love. No other relationship, no matter how loving or committed, can have this unique form of commitment – communion – that exists in marriage, between a husband and a wife.

Why does a person’s gender matter for marriage?
Gender matters for marriage because the body matters for love. My body is not simply “the shape of my skin.” Instead, my identity as a person (my “I”) is inseparable from the reality of my body – I am a body-person. As John Paul II said, the body reveals the person. It is a deeply personal reality, not just a biological fact (see TOB, sec. 9.4). The body is “taken up” into every human action, including the most important task of all: loving. Loving as a human person means loving as a man or as a woman. Marriage, the “primary form” of human love (GS, no. 12), necessarily involves the reality of men and women as body-persons. Marriage is intrinsically opposite-sex. To “write off” the body, and gender, as unimportant to marriage means treating the body as inconsequential or, at best, as an object or tool to be used according to one’s pleasure, instead of as an essential – and beautiful – aspect of being human and loving as a human person. Such a write-off would ignore the very essence of what marriage is.

How is the love between a husband and a wife irreducibly unique?
The love between a husband and a wife involves a free, total, and faithful mutual gift of self that not only expresses love, but also opens the spouses to receive the gift of a child. No other human interaction on earth is like this. This is why sexual intimacy is reserved for married love – marriage is the only context wherein sex between a man and a woman can speak the true language of self-gift. On the other hand, sexual behavior between two men or two women can never arrive at the oneness experienced between husband and wife, nor can these acts be life-giving. In fact, it is impossible for two persons of the same sex to make a total gift of self to each other as a husband and a wife do, bodily and personally. For this reason, such sexual behavior is harmful and always wrong, as it is incapable of authentically expressing conjugal love – love which by its nature includes the capacity to give oneself fully to the other and to receive the other precisely as gift in a total communion of mind, body and spirit. Therefore, no relationship between two persons of the same sex can ever be held up as equal or analogous to the relationship between husband and wife.
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What is complementarity?
“Complementarity” refers to the unique – and fruitful – relationship between men and women. Both men and women are created in the image of God. Both have great dignity and worth. But equality does not mean “sameness”: a man is not a woman, and a woman is not a man. Instead, “male and female are distinct bodily ways of being human, of being open to God and to one another” (LL, p. 10). Because men and women are “complementary,” they bring different gifts to a relationship. In marriage, the complementarity of husband and wife is expressed very clearly in the act of conjugal love, having children, and fathering and mothering –actions that call for the collaboration – and unique gifts – of husband and wife.
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Why does the Catholic Church care so much about marriage?
The Catholic Church cares about marriage because marriage is a fundamental good in itself and foundational to human existence and flourishing.
Following the example of Jesus, the Church cares about the whole person, and all people. Marriage (or the lack thereof) affects everyone. Today, people all over the world are suffering because of the breakdown of the family – divorce, out-of-wedlock childbearing, and so on. Marriage is never just a “private” issue; it has public significance and public consequences. One only has to think of the connection between fatherless families and young men in jail to know that this is true. In addition, the proposal to “redefine” marriage to include two men or two women is really a proposal to “redefine” the human person, causing a forgetfulness of what it means to be a man or a woman. This is a basic injustice to men and women, children, and fathers and mothers. Marriage is truly one of the most important social justice issues of our time.

Where can I learn more about marriage?
Please visit www.marriageuniqueforareason.org for videos and companion guides on the promotion and protection of marriage. For a list of relevant Church documents on marriage, click here. For more information on strengthening marriage, visit foryourmarriage.org.

The Catholic Vote and Following Christ.

One in four American voters is Catholic. That makes us an important block of votes.

The Church has consistently been nuanced and honest in its teaching about elections and civic responsibility. Despite pressure from more-Catholic-than-the-Popes on one side and holier-than-Christs on the other, the Church has refused to repudiate any part of the Gospels of Christ.

Social Justice Catholics and Pro Life Catholics are both right in advocating for their causes. They are both wrong, grievously so, in claiming that it is holy to ignore the plain call of Christ to support life AND social justice, not one or the other. These ridiculous assertions are nothing more than attempts at self-justification and dishonest claims of righteousness vis a vis their political opponents.

Those who claim that Jesus loves the poor and supports killing innocent people are liars. Those who claim that Jesus opposes killing the unborn but supports corporatism and the economic enslavement of whole populations are liars. They are both trying to re-create Jesus in their own image. They are demanding that the Lord follow them, rather than following Him.

One message of Public Catholic is that we should follow Jesus Christ, not the phony christs of public manipulation.

The easiest way to do that is to follow the teachings of the Church. Our great Church suffers the slings and arrows of both sides of this political divide and steadfastly continues to call us to the totality of the Gospels and the true holiness of following Christ. The Church asks us to choose Christ, and Him alone in the face of partisan pressures.

I am proud of my Church. I am proud of our bishops. I support them absolutely in their fight for religious freedom, to save the family, protect the sanctity of human life and work for a human-being-supporting economy. Unlike a lot of Catholics, I have already taken my turn at trying to decide for myself what is right and wrong. I laid waste my own conscience in the process.

I urge everyone to follow the Church, stand with Jesus and to lean not on your own understanding with these great moral issues. I know from experience that being your own god only leads to regret.

One downside of a Church that teaches the whole Gospel rather than a cherry-picked version of the gospels that has been trimmed to fit a partisan pattern is that the Church does not give us a cooking-recipe set of instructions on how to vote. Even though we follow Christ, believe His Church and try to adhere to her teachings, we still have to think for ourselves.

God gave us minds as well as souls and it our responsibility before God to use them for the elevation of humankind. That’s a tough bogie when we are confronted with candidates who each have such deep, deep flaws. I have felt all along that what we have is a choice between bad and worse.

I originally thought that I would not vote in the presidential election. I planned to confine my choices to further down the ballot and leave the boxes unchecked beside both these two men. But I had a dream the night before I voted, a dream so compelling that I wonder if it wasn’t more than just a dream. Then, when I had the ballot in one hand and the pen in the other, I knew that I would vote for one of the two men on the presidential ballot. The Holy Spirit touched me, and I knew.

It’s happened to me before, these unbidden moments of clarity that I knew were from the Holy Spirit. But the other times it was votes I cast as an elected representative. This is the first time it has ever happened with my private vote as an American citizen.

Based on my own experience, I am asking each of you to pray before you vote. Give your vote to God. Then, do your best to pick the bad instead of worse when you have that ballot in your hand. I believe that God will guide you.

Ted Kennedy’s Widow Comes Out Against Euthanasia in Massachusetts

This op-ed piece from Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Senator Edward Kennedy, is from the Cape Cod Times.

Question 2 Insults Ted Kennedy’s Memory

By ColumnCredit
VICTORIA REGGIE KENNEDY
October 27, 2012
There is nothing more personal or private than the end of a family member’s life, and I totally respect the view that everyone else should just get out of the way. I wish we could leave it that way. Unfortunatelyh, Question 2, the so-called “Death with Dignity” initiative, forces that issue into the public square and places the government squarely in the middle of a private family matter. I do not judge nor intend to preach to others about decisions they make at the end of life, but I believe we’re all entitled to know the facts about the law we’re being asked to enact.

Here’s the truth. The language of the proposed law is not about bringing family together to make end of life decisions; it’s intended to exclude family members from the actual decision-making process to guard against patients’ being pressured to end their lives prematurely. It’s not about doctors administering drugs such as morphine to ease patients’ suffering; it’s about the oral ingestion of up to 100 capsules without requirement or expectation that a doctor be present. It’s not about giving choice and self-determination to patients with degenerative diseases like ALS or Alzheimer’s; those patients are unlikely to qualify under the statute. It’s not, in my judgment, about death with dignity at all.

My late husband Sen. Edward Kennedy called quality, affordable health care for all the cause of his life. Question 2 turns his vision of health care for all on its head by asking us to endorse patient suicide — not patient care — as our public policy for dealing with pain and the financial burdens of care at the end of life. We’re better than that. We should expand palliative care, pain management, nursing care and hospice, not trade the dignity and life of a human being for the bottom line.

Most of us wish for a good and happy death, with as little pain as possible, surrounded by loved ones, perhaps with a doctor and/or clergyman at our bedside. But under Question 2, what you get instead is a prescription for up to 100 capsules, dispensed by a pharmacist, taken without medical supervision, followed by death, perhaps alone. That seems harsh and extreme to me.

Question 2 is supposed to apply to those with a life expectancy of six months or less. But even doctors admit that’s unknowable. When my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, he was told that he had only two to four months to live, that he’d never go back to the U.S. Senate, that he should get his affairs in order, kiss his wife, love his family and get ready to die.

But that prognosis was wrong. Teddy lived 15 more productive months. During that time, he cast a key vote in the Senate that protected payments to doctors under Medicare; made a speech at the Democratic Convention; saw the candidate he supported elected president of the United States and even attended his inauguration; received an honorary degree; chaired confirmation hearings in the Senate; worked on the reform of health care; threw out the first pitch on opening day for the Red Sox; introduced the president when he signed the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act; sailed his boat; and finished his memoir “True Compass,” while also getting his affairs in order, kissing his wife, loving his family and preparing for the end of life.

Because that first dire prediction of life expectancy was wrong, I have 15 months of cherished memories — memories of family dinners and songfests with our children and grandchildren; memories of laughter and, yes, tears; memories of life that neither I nor my husband would have traded for anything in the world.

When the end finally did come — natural death with dignity — my husband was home, attended by his doctor, surrounded by family and our priest.

I know we were blessed. I am fully aware that not everyone will have the same experience we did. But if Question 2 passes I can’t help but feel we’re sending the message that they’re not even entitled to a chance. A chance to have more time with their loved ones. A chance to have more dinners and sing more songs. A chance for more kisses and more love. A chance to be surrounded by family or clergy or a doctor when the end does come. That seems cruel to me. And lonely. And sad.

My husband used to paraphrase H.L. Mencken: for every complex problem, there’s a simple easy answer. And it’s wrong.

That’s how I feel in this case. And that’s why I’m going to vote no on Question 2.

Victoria Reggie Kennedy is an attorney, health care advocate and widow of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Tomorrow is Election Day and We Have Already Won

Tomorrow is election day. 

Let me say that again. Tomorrow is election day.

We’ve said that our freedom to vote is bought with blood so many times that it’s become a cliche. What we haven’t said is that this simple act of voting is also power. There’s a reason why all these candidates have been driving us crazy with ads, polls and debates for the past year.

We have the power. We can pick who we want to lead this great country. We get to choose.

We don’t have to explain, justify, or even reveal our choices when we vote. It is our power and we can use it however we wish.

Tomorrow is election day.

We have before us a choice between two men for president, a number of people who want to serve in the United States Senate, several governors, many state legislators, sheriffs, county commissioners, judges, court clerks, and, of course, the entire United States House of Representatives. Pretty much the entirety of American electoral power is in our hands.

Our vote will determine the future of America for at least the next two years. It will also shape what happens in much of the rest of the world. We are voting for ourselves, for our children and for people who have not been born yet. We are also honoring the men and women who fought in the Revolution, gave their lives at Gettysburg, died on Omaha Beach and whose lives have been wasted by corrupt politicians in the unnecessary skirmish wars we the people should not have allowed. We are the culmination of those who crossed the prairies, climbed the mountains and who, all too often, ended in unmarked graves along the way.

America is my home and I love her with all my heart.

I am part of We the People. The American People. Tomorrow, the fate of our country is in our hands. This great experiment in republican democracy has churned through more than two tumultuous centuries. It has changed the world, revamped the universal understanding of government and the value of human beings in the process. Even America’s critics judge us by American standards.

These standards have their foundation in the words of a poor carpenter and miracle-worker who lived in a tiny corner of a great empire a long time ago. He taught us that we matter. He took the concept of what it means to be human and lifted it out of the pagan mire of the human-sacrificing, enslaving, individuals-don’t-matter muck that was the ancient world and set it on a hilltop of aspiration and hope. “Even the hairs of your head are numbered,” He said. You matter. You. You. Your own individual self, matters to the God who made everything there is, everywhere.

That is the philosophical foundation on which the concept of human rights that grew up in the Western world is based. It is why the concept itself is a Western concept. Because it came from Christ. Because it is part of the Kingdom that is both here and coming when His will shall be done on Earth as it is in heaven.

America is a grand experiment in self-government by millions of people who vote and then, no matter how they vote, accept the outcome of the election. Tomorrow, we will elect a lot of people to office. At least in the presidential election, it is certain that about half the people of this great land will be unhappy and dismayed by the outcome. But the power to decide is ours. The responsibility to accept the outcome and, if necessary, begin again in our work for what we believe, is also ours.

Go Vote tomorrow.

But remember: The Ultimate Victory will never go to the R or the D. The Ultimate Victory was achieved by that poor carpenter on Calvary. Christians, all 2 billion of us, are the living embodiment of that Victory. Our eternal lives, of which these times are the beginning, is the reality of it.

We are not the R or the D. We are Christians. No matter the election tomorrow. We have already won.

Support for Traditional Marriage Growing in Key States

We’ll know Wednesday if it was enough, but polls indicate that support for traditional marriage is on the rise in states which will vote on it tomorrow.

A recent CNA article says in part:

Washington D.C., Nov 3, 2012 / 08:47 am (CNA).- Recent polls show increasing support for marriage being the union of one man and one woman in states that will soon cast ballots on whether to legalize “gay marriage.”

“Our opponents are hugely outspending us and had a jump start on us when it comes to getting the message across, though they failed to move the needle much their direction,” explained Thomas Peters, cultural director for the National Organization for Marriage.

“Now that we are on the airwaves as well, we are having success in changing hearts and minds,” Peters told CNA on Nov. 2.

In the final days before the election, the National Organization for Marriage is working with other marriage supporters to reach and mobilize 10 million voters through a robocall campaign in key states.

The calls – which will be placed in both English and in Spanish – will reach out to voters of various political beliefs who support marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Marriage is an important issue this year for voters in four states.

In Minnesota, voters will have the chance to approve a state constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Citizens in Maryland and Washington state will be faced with referendums to approve or reject recent laws legalizing same-sex “marriage.” In Maine, advocates of redefining marriage have placed a measure on the ballot to legalize same-sex “marriage.”

A number of recent polls in these states have suggested that the measures are in a dead heat, with defense of marriage on the rise.

A poll conducted Oct. 26-28 by SurveyUSA found the Minnesota amendment as being too-close-to-call, with marriage defenders leading those who wished to redefine the institution by one point, within the survey’s margin of error.

A Washington survey found the percentage of voters committed to defending marriage has risen in recent weeks, as the gap of undecided voters narrows.

The Elway Poll, an independent, nonpartisan analysis of public opinion trends, found in its Oct. 24 analysis that support for redefining marriage in the state dropped by two points from September to October, falling below 50 percent.

Meanwhile, opposition to redefining the institution has risen by eight points within that same time, bringing the ballot measure to within four points.

In Maryland, an Oct. 20-23 poll conducted for The Baltimore Sun indicated a dead heat, while a poll that it commissioned a month ago showed proponents of redefining marriage with a 10 point lead – 49 percent to 39 percent.

The newspaper reported that in late September, a majority of the African American community supported redefining marriage, while the most recent poll found that 50 percent opposed it and 42 percent supported it. It attributed this shift in black opinion to the efforts of religious leaders.

Peters agreed that “in Maryland special credit goes to the African-American pastors and leaders who are informing their community” about the importance of defending marriage.

Contributing to these efforts is the Coalition of African-American Pastors, a national group that has been working to raise awareness and support for marriage at the grassroots level.

Rev. Williams Owens, president of the coalition, recently spoke out against an ad aimed at African American Christians that encouraged them to follow President Barack Obama’s lead by voting to redefine marriage in Maryland.

“This ad is the worst attempt at pandering and manipulating the Black community to ignore their own pastors who rightfully uphold the sanctity of traditional marriage,” he said in an Oct. 31 statement. (Read more here.)

John Paul II and Tuesday’s Election

Blessed John Paul II is one of my favorite thinkers. He said quite a few things which I think are worth pondering in light of Tuesday’s election. I’ve listed some of them below for your prayerful reflection.

Have a blessed Sunday.

The Value of Human Beings and Human Life

“The commandment you shall not kill even in its more positive aspects of respecting, loving, and promoting human life, is binding on every individual human being.”~Evangelium Vitae-Gospel of Life Pope John Paul II-1995

“While it is true that the taking of life not yet born or in it’s final stages is sometimes marked by a mistaken sense of altruism and human compassion it cannot be denied that such a culture of death, taken as a whole, betrays a completely individualistic concept of freedom, which ends up by becoming the freedom of ” the strong” against the weak who have no choice but to submit”.~Evangelium Vitae

“Man’s life comes from God: it is his image and imprint, as sharing in his breath of life. God therefore is the sole Lord of this life: Man cannot do with it as he wills.”~Evangelium Vitae

‘The Gospel of life must be proclaimed and human life defended in all places and all times.”~Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics- National Conference of Catholic Bishops (United States) 1998

 

The Family and Same-Sex Marriage

“It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this [gay marriage] is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man.”

“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

“Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family – a domestic church. ”

“The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.”

“The family, as the fundamental and essential educating community, is the privileged means for transmitting the religious and cultural values which help the person to acquire his or her own identity. Founded on love and open to the gift of life, the family contains in itself the very future of society; its most special task is to contribute effectively to a future of peace.”

 

Abortion

 “The cemetery of the victims of human cruelty in our century is extended to include yet another vast cemetery, that of the unborn.”

“Finally, true freedom is not advanced in the permissive society, which confuses freedom with licence to do anything whatever and which in the name of freedom proclaims a kind of general amorality. It is a caricature of freedom to claim that people are free to organize their lives with no reference to moral values, and to say that society does not have to ensure the protection and advancement of ethical values. Such an attitude is destructive of freedom and peace. There are many examples of this mistaken idea of freedom, such as the elimination of human life by legalized or generally accepted abortion.”

“Abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, for example, risk reducing the human person to a mere object: life and death to order, as it were!”

 

Euthanasia

“Euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person.” ~Evangelium Vitae, 1995

“Similarly, euthanasia and assisted suicide are never acceptable acts of mercy. They always gravely exploit the suffering and desperate, extinguishing life in the name of the “quality of life” itself.”~Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics-National Conference of Catholic Bishops(United States)-1998

“Those who advocate euthanasia have capitalized on people’s confusion, ambivalence and even fear about the use of modern life-prolonging technologies. Being able to choose the time and manner of one’s death, without regard to what is chosen is presented as the ultimate freedom.”~Statement on Euthanasia- National Conference of Catholic Bishops (United States) 1991

“The sickness of a family member, friend or neighbor is a call to Christians to demonstrate true compassion, that gentle and persevering sharing in another’s pain.”~Ad Limina Apostolorum to Bishops of the United States-John Paul II -

 

The Economy

 “Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power … Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of states, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development.”

“The distinctive mark of the Christian, today more than ever, must be love for the poor, the weak, the suffering.”

“I cannot fail to note once again that the poor constitute the modern challenge, especially for the well-off of our planet, where millions of people live in inhuman conditions and many are literally dying of hunger. It is not possible to announce God the Father to these brothers and sisters without taking on the responsibility of building a more just society in the name of Christ.”

“Hence in every case, a just wage is the concrete means of verifying the justice of the economic system… It is not the only means of checking, but it is a particuarly important one and in a sense the key means.”

“Wages must enable the worker and his family to have access to a truly human standard of living in the material, social, cultural and spiritual orders. It is the dignity of the person which constitutes the criterion for judging work, not the other way around.”

 

Walking the Talk

“When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society.”

“True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather, it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life, in the family, at school and at work, and in social and political involvement.”

“The evil of our times consists in the first place in a kind of degradation, indeed in a pulverization, of the fundamental uniqueness of each human person.”

“Precisely in an age when the inviolable rights of the person are solemnly proclaimed and the value of life is publicly affirmed, the very right to life is being denied or trampled upon, especially at the more significant moments of existence: the moment of birth and the moment of death.”~Evangelium Vitae

“Forgiveness is above all a personal choice, a decision of the heart to go against the natural instinct to pay back evil with evil.”

It’s The Lord’s Day: Pray, Reflect, Love Your Loved Ones

I’ve decided to post a blessing and a prayer from Blessed John Paul II. I feel almost as if I am sending it to you as a gift on this Sunday before the election. It is a call to Christians, everywhere. We were made for these times, my friends. It is our duty, our call, our privilege, to stand for Christ in today’s world.

Pray for our country and our world today. Take time to reflect on what’s before us through the light of the Gospels and our shared faith in Him. But other than that, let politics go for a few hours. Take time to enjoy your friends, family and homes. This is the best of life.

Here is the blessing and the prayer from Blessed John Paul II. Have a blessed Sunday.

I leave you now with this prayer: that the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to each one of you, that He will give you the strength to go out and profess that you are Christian, that He will show you that He alone can fill your hearts.

Accept His freedom and embrace His truth, and be messengers of the certainty that you have been truly liberated through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This will be the new experience, the powerful experience, that will generate, through you, a more just society and a better world.

God bless you and may the joy of Jesus be always with you!
[L’Osservatore Romano, 11-5-79, 2]

Calling Evil Good: How Many People Do You Have to Kill Before It’s Wrong? Part 1

Euthanasia in the Netherlands

1. 17% of euthanasia victims were euthanized by doctors without the patient’s consent.

2. In 2006 the Royal Dutch Medical Association said that “being over the age of 70 and tired of living” was an acceptable reason for euthanasia.

3. Since 1994, it has been legal to euthanize people for being in mental anguish. 

4. On March 1, 2012, the Dutch Association for a Voluntary End to Life launched mobile euthanasia units. The sick and their families can make application by phone or email. 

5. Thirteen psychiatric patients were murdered by euthanasia last year. 

The reasoning people who advocate euthanasia use to arrive at their conclusions amazes me.

They construct their arguments on a base of fantasy and inaccurate assumptions and then lard on a thick layer of wishful thinking. Such a combination of callow naiveté and confabulation might be touching in a three year old child, but when it comes from adults who are advocating legalized murder, it takes on darker tones.

One of the many inaccuracies on which they base their arguments is the shining success of legalized euthanasia in the Netherlands. I have nothing against the Netherlands, but I weary of having it pushed at me as the promised land by those who are arguing for oddball social issues here in America. It annoys me mainly because of its cloying inaccuracies and facile assumptions.

Let’s take a look at the Euthanasia promised land to which, we are told, all Americans, except the unwashed and illiterate traditional Christians with their rock-headed defenses of the right to life for all people, should aspire.

One assumption that is advanced by euthanasia advocates is that “death with dignity,” which is their euphemism for euthanasia, would only occur in the most controlled, charitable circumstances involving mostly elderly, terminally ill people facing imminent death. It is asserted that these people would all be in the last straits of unbearable suffering from uncontrollable pain, begging for release in the only way possible — immediate death.

Does that about sum it up?

It doesn’t happen like that in real life. Not even in the Netherlands. I am not going to go in depth with this post. Instead, I will confine it to one aspect of the argument: That no one will be euthanized unless they are terminally ill and choose it of their own free will. I’ll go into the other arguments in later posts.

According to studies in The Lancet and Current Oncology, the rate of euthanasia in the Netherlands has grown by 73% in the last 8 years. One in five of the people who were murdered did not request euthanasia and were unaware that they were being euthanized. 

The Current Oncology article says,

The reasons for not discussing the decision to end the person’s life and not obtaining consent were that patients were comatose (70% of cases) or had dementia (21% of cases). In 17% of cases, the physicians proceeded without consent because they felt that euthanasia was “clearly in the patient’s best interest” and, in 8% of cases, that discussing it with the patient would have been harmful to that patient. Those findings accord with the results of a previous study in which 25 of 1644 non-sudden deaths had been the result of euthanasia without explicit consent.

Initially, in the 1970s and 1980s, euthanasia and pas advocates in the Netherlands made the case that these acts would be limited to a small number of terminally ill patients experiencing intolerable suffering and that the practices would be considered last-resort options only. By 2002, euthanasia laws in neither Belgium nor the Netherlands limited euthanasia to persons with a terminal disease (recognizing that the concept of “terminal” is in itself open to interpretation and errors). The Dutch law requires only that a person be “suffering hopelessly and unbearably.” “Suffering” is defined as both physical and psychological, which includes people with depression … By 2006, the Royal Dutch Medical Association had declared that “being over the age of 70 and tired of living” should be an acceptable reason for requesting euthanasia. That change is most concerning in light of evidence of elder abuse in many societies, including Canada, and evidence that a large number of frail elderly people and terminally ill patients already feel a sense of being burden on their families and society, and a sense of isolation. The concern that these people may feel obliged to access euthanasia or pas if it were to become available is therefore not unreasonable, although evidence to verify that concern is not currently available.

As noted in the Current Oncology article, the Netherlands began the argument for euthanasia at the same place we are now in the United States. Nobody would ever be euthanized against their will. This new license to kill would never, no never, be abused because we can trust doctors to kill us without misusing the power.

Is there any part of this argument that an adult should believe? Evidently, a lot of adults do believe it, for reasons that confound me. In what should be no surprise at all to someone who has dealt with human frailty and sinfulness, which in my opinion, would be anyone over the age of 5, the law in the Netherlands has been abused. Not only that, it has been broadened.

In 1994, 50-year-old Netty Boomsma went to her psychiatrist, Dr Boudewijn Chabot, requesting euthanasia. Her son had died, and, according to the article, she was “in despair.” She requested no treatment, and none was offered to her. She was not physically ill. She asked Dr Chabot to kill her and he obliged. He was charged with a crime for this and the Dutch Supreme Court  gave a verdict the next day finding him not guilty.

That is how the Dutch legally allowed euthanasia for mental anguish.

The arguments in favor of euthanasia are based on false assumptions and fallacies. I think a lot of people vote for these laws because they see them as “trendy” and against the staid world of traditional morality.

Euthanasia in the Netherlands

1. 17% of euthanasia cases were committed by doctors without the patient’s consent.

2. In 2006 the Royal Dutch Medical Association said that “being over the age of 70 and tired of living” was an acceptable reason for euthanasia.

3. Since 1994, it has been legal to euthanize people for being in mental anguish. 

4. On March 1, 2012, the Dutch Association for a Voluntary End to Life launched mobile euthanasia units. The sick and their families can make application by phone or email. 

5. Thirteen psychiatric patients were murdered by euthanasia last year. 


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