Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fred, Wilma, Holy Redeemer Hospital, and "Donations"

Fred and Wilma hail from Abington, Pennsylvania.  Friends lovingly describe them as an "old fashioned" couple, as a "page right out of history."  Over their ten years of marriage, Fred's packed on a few pounds, while Wilma maintains her girlish figure.  Their closest friends acknowledge that Fred can be borish at times, but Wilma never hesitates to lovingly put Fred in his place.  Though they have one daughter, Fred and Wilma have been hoping and praying for a second child.  It just has not happened. 

Trying to be faithful Catholics, Fred and Wilma take great comfort that their local Catholic hospital posts this on their web site: "As a Catholic healthcare provider, Holy Redeemer expects that all health care practitioners adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services at health system locations. We are committed to maintaining the highest professional standards while promoting our commitment to human dignity and the common good."  As Fred puts it, "Holy Redeemer is a brand you can trust!"

Fred and Wilma learn that Holy Redeemer's Dr. Larry Barmat has a special interest in infertility and is certified in Reproductive Endocrinology.  Checking further, Wilma learns that another Holy Redeemer physician,  Dr. Jennifer Nichols, is also a reproductive endocrinologist and an associate of Barmat at Abington Reproductive Medicine (address and phone # provided!).  With a little bit of "googling," they learn more about Abington Reproductive Medicine:
  • "Our IVF specialists -- Dr. Jay Schinfeld, Dr. Stephen Somkuti, Dr. Larry Barmat, Dr. Michael Sobel, and Dr. Jennifer Nichols -- will determine the infertility treatment options and reproductive services right for your diagnosis. These can include fertility medication therapy, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), autologous endometrial coculture, egg donation and/or surrogacy."
"Fred," Wilma says to the love of her life, "I always thought that Catholic hospitals would object to things like IVF, PGD, egg donation, and surrogacy.  If they still objected in 2012, why would they make it so easy to find out about their physician's private practices?  These specialists have privileges at Holy Redeemer!The Church must have changed its teaching, because Holy Redeemer makes it so easy!   

"Wilma, this is a wonderful blessing," replies Fred.  "And there's more!  Look at Holy Redeemer's entry for Dr. Maria Pia Platia.  She's also certified in Reproductive Endocrinology, and we can reach her at Fertility and Gynecology Associates.  Holy Redeemer provides addresses and phone numbers for both their Center City and Willow Grove locations!  When I googled them, I learned that they also do IVF, and that they have egg and sperm donor programs."

"Fred, the Church must have changed its teaching.  I've certainly NEVER heard that the Archdiocese has ANY objections to ANY doctors with privileges at Holy Redeemer!"

"Wilma, what are we waiting for?  We always joke that George and Jane are like a couple from the future.  Let's ask George and Jane right away, about donating some sperm and eggs!


Slow Down, Fred and Wilma!

"Freddy boy, you've gotta be kidding me," says a startled Barney, Fred's best buddy since childhood. 

Wilma and Barney's wife, Betty, have become so close that they actually share the same delightful giggle.  "Fred and Wilma, Barney and I love you and know your pain.  We waited so long for Bam Bam," says Betty with tears in her eyes.  "Guys, we did our homework and are confident that the Church has ABSOLUTELY NOT CHANGED ITS TEACHING about human life at its origins. 

"Just take a look at the Vatican's December 2008  'Dignitas Personae,'" continued Barney.  That document clearly reiterated the Church's teaching about human dignity, from the very first moment of fertilization until natural death. It also declared unapologetically that each and every baby has the right to originate in the loving embrace of a mom and dad, who are wife and husband.  Fred, it says it right here: 'the ethical value of biomedical science is gauged in reference to both the unconditional respect owed to every human being at every moment of his or her existence, and the defense of the specific character of the personal act which transmits life' (# 10)."

Yes, But....

"Barney old boy, that's all well and good, but it makes no sense.  Just Look at this web site, " Fred continues.  "In addition to Dr. Barmat, Dr. Nichols, and Dr. Platia, I've found four more Holy Redeemer physicians, who specialize in IVF and 'Third Party Reproduction.'  Holy Redeemer itself says that Dr. Arthur Castelbaum, Dr. Martin Freedman, Dr. Benjamin Gocial, and Dr. Janet Gutmann are all certified in reproductive endocrinology and can be contacted at RMA of Philadelphia (aka, Northern Fertility and Reproductive Associates).  This is NOT a secret!  If Holy Redeemer and the Archdiocese had a problem with this, wouldn't they be saying so?  They're practically giving them a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval!"

The Church Cares

"Fred, I certainly can't speak for Holy Redeemer and the Archdiocese about listings in that web site.  I do know, however, that the Church certainly cares about its married children who struggle with infertility.  In fact, when employed by a husband and wife, Dignitas Personae says assistance to AID the 'marital act' toward procreation can be moral. Even when used by a husband and wife, Dignitas Personae is unequivocal in declaring that methods REPLACING the marital act (eg., IVF) are immoral.  Fred, I want to share some snippets from a recent article that I read: 

    "The United Kingdom’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) monitors the fertility industry there. At a request from Lord Alton on the numbers of embryos created with IVF in the UK, the HFEA reported that for every one live birth as many as 30 embryos are created....
    "it is likely that America’s tabulated deaths from such practices would be far higher. The truth of the matter is that, at a very fundamental level, we Americans do not like to think about IVF and its progeny as being unethical, evil, or otherwise unacceptable. We like being in charge and doing things our way. But perhaps it is time to do a reality check on this perspective....

    "there is nothing sound or good about in vitro fertilization....The facts scream at us if only we pay attention.

    "One of those sad facts is that couples do confront infertility on a daily basis and this is a tragedy. These are the couples who yearn for children of their own and discover they cannot have them in the natural way. The bright light is that there are moral and ethical ways available to such couples. Such practices do not require submitting one’s eggs and sperm to a techno-lab where the result is perhaps a baby now and then, but dead babies in abundance.

    "As Doctor Thomas Hilgers
    said in an interview, 'Methods are now available that are very effective, medically authentic, and completely consistent with the teachings of the Church....

    "Hilgers’ method called
    NaProTechnology—and his perspective as a holistic physician who truly cares about infertility—make eminent sense...."What is the most logical way to deal with the human pain caused by infertility—inflicting death on millions of embryonic children or visiting a center where the actual root cause of infertility is studied and treated so that the couple can bear children according to nature’s way?" (Rejecting In Vitro Fertilization for All the Right Reasons, American Life League, 7/27/12)

Couldn't This Be Called Immediate Material Cooperation? 

"Barney and Betty, Wilma and I are absolutely blessed to have friends who love us enough to stop us from hurting ourselves!  I wish that we could say the same about Holy Redeemer!  Even if they had no choice as to who gets privileges at their hospital, why are they advertising the practices of those bozos?  And if they are falling down in that matter, why isn't the Archdiocese saying something?"

"Fred, I can't answer that.  However, I hope that they will give some additional thought to what the Pontifical Academy for life has said about 'cooperation.'"

Click for the challening YouTube video: "Nine Ways of Being an Accessory to Another's Sin."

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

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About Me

I am an enormously blessed husband and dad. In regard to my Catholic theological background, I have a certificate in social ministry & a master's degree (moral theology concentration), as well as a catechetical diploma from the Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (Nope, I am not now - nor have I have ever been - a seminarian, deacon, or priest.). I feel particularly proud to have a mandatum. I also have a doctorate in Christian counseling psychology.

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