Saturday, June 18, 2011

Oh Canada!

Quebec Province is incredibly beautiful, as well as incredibly sad. While Catholic influence is apparent in the name of virtually every Quebec locale and street, what's been happening with respect to abortion, marriage/family, and prostitution suggests the Catholic influence to be part of a bygone era:

  • "Demographics tell the story of the decline of the Quebec’s Roman Church [sic]. The province-wide rate of church attendance, which, prior to the 1960s ranged between 80 to 90 percent, has now plunged to below eight percent....The decline of church authority is also reflected in the province’s record-low birth rate, increased abortion rate, single parent homes, divorce rates, and reluctance to marry. As early as 2006, Quebec’s population will start to decline because of the low birth rates" (Robert J. Galbratith).

  • "Canada is in fact a 'land without restrictions' with respect to abortion. In Canada abortion is completely legal, at any stage of pregnancy for any reason. Minors do not need parental consent and most parents don’t know this" (Daniel Caza).

  • "Statistics show roughly 90 per cent of young people say they'd like to marry, but that fewer Canadians actually are. The fastest growing relationship form in Canada is cohabitation" (Andrew Mrozek).

  • "The federal and Ontario governments are appealing an Ontario judge's decision that struck down some sections of Canada’s prostitution laws as being unconstitutional....University of British Columbia law professor Janine Benedet made an impassioned plea to protect women who are vulnerable to exploitation. In particular, she noted how aboriginal women make up a disproportionate number of women working in prostitution....she highlighted several international treaties against women's exploitation, including UN treaties against human trafficking....the Canadian Civil Liberities Association argued that the current anti-prostitution laws are putting women's lives at risk....Lawyer Cynthia Petersen...objected to earlier arguments that prostitution is 'inherently degrading' and 'male-dominated'" (Sheila Dabu Nonato).

Clearly, Canada needs our prayers. On this side of the border, better appreciation is needed of Quebec's historic role as the "capitol" of North American Catholicisim.


Mary Queen of the World Cathedral
A fascinating aside: As per Mystery still surrounds Mary Surratt, the Catholic Widow Implicated in Lincoln's Assassination, "'The Conspirator,' a film directed by Robert Redford that examines Mrs. Surratt's role in the Lincoln drama...has fueled even greater public interest in Mrs. Surratt and the extent of her involvement in the Lincoln assassination.... Mrs. Surratt protested her innocence until her last breath on the gallows. 'I am a Southerner, a Catholic, a devoted mother, but no assassin,' she is reported to have said." While Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer doesn't get much into the "Catholic Conspiracy" angle, it indicates that Mary's son John was on the lam in Montreal and wound up with the Papal Zouaves (They seem to have been that era's equivalent of the Swiss Guard.). Anyway, fast forward to the present day: the Papal Zouaves are celebrated in Montreal's Cathedral.
Notre Dame Bascilica

Notre Dame de BonSecours Chapelle

St Patrick's Bascilica, from the bus

St Joe's Oratory

Quebec - a beautiful city!

Notre Dame des Victoires - the oldest church in North America

St Z├ęphirin’s Church, now & in "I Confess"

St. Anne de Beaupre

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

McIlhinney Amendment to Senate Bill 3

Dr. Robert J. O’Hara, Jr., Exec. Dir.
Ms. Amy B. Hill, Communications Director
Mr. Francis J. Viglietta, Dept on Social Concerns
Pennsylvania Catholic Conference
223 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101-1180

Mr. Michael Geer, President
Pennsylvania Family Institute
23 N. Front St.
Harrisburg, PA 17101-1606

Michael Ciccocioppo, Exec. Dir.
Pennsylvania Pro Life Federation
4800 Jonestown Rd. Ste. 102
Harrisburg, PA 17109-1741

Dear Dr. O'Hara, Ms. Hill, Ms. Vitale, Mr. Geer, & Mr. Ciccocioppo

As I understand it, Pennsylvania Senator Charles McIlhinney, Jr (10th) successfully put through an amendment to Senate Bill 3, yesterday. Is this a positive development or not?

After numerous, unsuccessful attempts to speak with Senator McIlhinney about Senate Bill 3, I briefly spoke with him in Harrisburg on May 23. In no uncertain terms, Senator McIlhinney told me that he intended to support Senate Bill 3. He made absolutely no mention of an amendment.

Though Senator McIlhinney is a parishioner of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Doylestown and a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (a Catholic fraternal organization), he has also been listed by Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC as one of their "pro choice endorsed candidates."

Knowing Senator McIlhinney's track record, I fear that the McIlhinney amendment will weaken Senate Bill 3.

Your comments on the McIlhinney Amendment would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hospice & Kevorkian v. Catholic Teaching

The "Hospice Patients Alliance affirms that all human life is inherently valuable and that the role of hospice nurses, physicians and all other staff is to alleviate suffering and provide comfort for the sick and dying without sanctioning or assisting their suicide." This group's understanding of nutrition and hydration (aka, food and water) certainly appears to be consistent with Catholic teaching, but it varies dramatically from what has been published on the web site of the Hospice Foundation of America by William Lamber, M.D.:

  • "The notion of caregivers not providing normal amounts of food or water runs counter to all we have been taught in medical training, much less what we hold to be necessary in everyday society. Yet because of the advances of science we are now able to prolong the lives of persons who would not survive without external support, mechanical devices, or, at times, intravenous or central line (cut-down) nutrition and water....
In last year's HBO tribute to the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian, it is interesting to note that Kevorkian was depicted as arguing that assisted suicide was far more humane than death by the deprivation of nutrition (aka, starvation). Of course, this was a pointless argument, as assisted suicide and failure to treat food and water as ordinary care are both absolutely IMMORAL!

As per Blessed Pope John Paul II, "the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering."

Dr. Lamber of the Hospice Foundation of America goes on to unwittingly remind us that medical doctors are NOT always the brightest or most ethical members of society:

  • "Physicians and bio-ethicists who work with dying persons have grappled with the dilemma of what is reasonable care for a dying person. There comes a time in some cases where even nutrition and hydration are considered extraordinary means of prolonging life, and such ordinary nutrients are discontinued. This is never done without great and careful consideration [emphasis added]....
Father Thomas D. Williams has masterfully pointed out the fallacy of such "anguish-based ethics," which suggest that - even if a choice is immoral - it is legitimized by the chooser's struggle! Nonsense! Dr. Landers continues in a similar vein,

  • "For persons in the final phase of illness, the withholding of food and fluids is not painful....
The tragic death by starvation of Terri Schiavo is a reminder that the phrase, "final phase of illness," can be used in a higly loosey-goosey manner!

Dr. Landers also maintains that

  • "There is a side effect of starvation and dehydration in which one's metabolism changes and the resulting elevated level of ketones produces a mild sense of euphoria, so that hunger and thirst are not the problem we would imagine. This same phenomenon has been well documented in the self-imposed starvation of Irish prisoners in Northern Ireland who went on strict fasts to cause them to die, if possible, on certain Irish holidays. Once starvation begins, the ensuing metabolic shift eliminates the sense of hunger. The body feeds at first on fat reserves, and later on protein....
While I am NOT a medical professional, I would like to point out that the independent film, "Hunger," deals with those Irish deaths by starvation. Death by starvation is as inhumane as it is immoral!

How ironic that Dr. Landers maintains that,

  • "In no way is the withholding of food and fluids comparable to the methods or rationalizations employed by Dr. Kevorkian."
This death by depriving food/water advocate is just as eager to distance himself from the death by assisted suicide advocate, as the death by assisted suicide advocate was to distance himself from death by starvation!

As per the Vatican's 2007 "Responses to Certain Questions of the USCCB Concerning Artificial Nutrition and Hydration":

  • "The administration of food and water even by artificial means is, in principle, an ordinary and proportionate means of preserving life. It is therefore obligatory to the extent to which, and for as long as, it is shown to accomplish its proper finality, which is the hydration and nourishment of the patient. In this way suffering and death by starvation and dehydration are prevented....A patient in a 'permanent vegetative state' is a person with fundamental human dignity and must, therefore, receive ordinary and proportionate care which includes, in principle, the administration of water and food even by artificial means."
As per Directive 58 of the 2009, 5th edition of the U.S. Catholic Bishops "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services":

  • "In principal, there is a moral obligation to provide patients with food and water, including medically assisted nutrition and hydration, for those who cannot take food orally."

We cannot afford to be naive about aspects of hospice which are in conflict with Catholic teaching.

The Beatitudes from "Jesus of Nazareth"


Use of Emergency So-Called Contraceptives in Catholic Hospitals for Those Reporting Rape

Book & Film Reviews, pt 1

Book & Film Reviews, pt 2

Blog Archive

And yup, that's me!

And yup, that's me!
(from page 1 of the NY Sun, 3/22/04)

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12/12/08 Interview with Rev. Tad Pacholczyk, Ph.D. of the National Catholic Bioethics Center

March for Life 2010