Saturday, November 24, 2012

Your Excellency, all of Holy Redeemer's "Reproductive Endocrinologists & Obstetricians" are IVF specialists.

With regard to practitioners of morally excluded services, it cannot be legitimately argued that Holy Redeemer is MERELY providing hospital privileges, under some sort of supposed legal duress.  As Holy Redeemer's web site cheerily tells the unsuspecting, "If you’re pregnant or planning on having a baby, you’ve come to the right place. Our board-certified obstetricians offer the latest medical expertise that can help maintain your health and the health of your baby at a convenient location near you."

 
While NONE of Holy Redeemer's obstetricians is to be found on a list of NFP-only physicians, Holy Redeemer is actively promoting providers of IVF and so-called "pre-implantation genetic diagnosis."  After sperm and egg have joined outside the mom's body, "pre-implantation genetic diagnosis" facilitates the discarding of supposedly "defective" new human life.  The Vatican clearly reiterated its opposition to such Brave New World atrocities in Dignitas Personae.  Yet, EACH AND EVERY ONE of Holy Redeemer's "Reproductive Endocrinologists and Obstetricians" is an IVF specialist!   I do not understand how Holy Redeemer has been flying under the radar of moral accountability, sometimes seeming invisible to Catholic clergy and ethicists and other pro life voices.  Come Judgement Day, how will we possibly explain our silence to our tiniest brothers and sisters?   

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Holy Redeemer's "guidance" violates ERDs #24, #25, #28, #58.

Your Eminence:

I would like to call to your attention Holy Redeemer's Making Your Own Health Care Decisions and its accompanying Advance Directive Form.  These documents fail to specify 1) Catholic teaching with regard to nutrition and hydration and 2) that Catholic health care services cannot honor advance directives which are opposed to Catholic teaching:

    "As a competent adult, you have the fundamental right, in collaboration with your health care providers, to control decisions about your own health care. You have the right to make voluntary, informed choices to accept or refuse any treatment, service or procedure used to diagnose, treat or care for your physical or mental condition, including life-sustaining treatment.

     "So long as you have the ability to understand the nature of your medical condition and the benefits, risks and burdens of the course of treatment and care recommended by your physician and its alternatives and are able to reach an informed decision, you have the right to make your own health care decision.

    "If you should lose these abilities and become incapable of making your own decision, meaning that you have lost decision-making capacity, then your health care providers will look to your prior written advance directive and /or to family members to make decisions on your behalf. A determination that you have lost decision-making capacity MUST be made by your attending physician and as necessary, one or more additional physicians who personally examine you.

    "Planning Ahead: Advance Directive for Health Care

    "By writing an Advance Directive, you may exercise your right to plan ahead for, and control decisions about your health care in the event that you become unable to make your own decisions in the future. Your advance directive may be used to accept or to refuse any treatment, service or procedure used to diagnose, treat or care for your physical or mental condition, including life-sustaining treatment.

    "You may choose among three types of advance directives:

    "(1) By writing a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, you may designate another person, such as a family member or friend, to make decisions on your behalf.
    (2) By writing a Living Will, you may state your directions and wishes for medical treatments you wish to accept or reject in certain circumstances.
    (3) By writing a combined directive you may designate a health care representative to act on your behalf and provide him/her with a written statement of your treatment wishes.

    "Please remember that you are not required by law to have an advance directive. If you choose to complete an advance directive, you may wish to consult your attorney, although an attorney is not required. You may choose to use the form provided by Holy Redeemer (see below), you may use a form obtained from another source, or you may write your own directive. It is not necessary to have an advance directive notarized.

    "Holy Redeemer has developed a form for your use. Please click on the following link to open the PDF, which you can save to your computer: Advance Directive Form."
These documents certainly appear to violate what is taught on these matters by both the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (i.e.,Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, Charter for Health Care Workers, 1995; Address of John Paul II to the Participants in the International Congress on "Life-Sustaining Treatments and Vegetative State: Scientific Advances and Ethical Dilemnas", 3/20/04; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Responses to Certain Questions of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Concerning Artificial Nutrition and Hydration, 8/1/07; USCCB, Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (5th ed), 11/17/09)

Sincerely,
  • "120....The administration of food and liquids, even artificially, is part of the normal treatment always due to the patient when this is not burdensome for him: their undue suspension could be real and properly so-called euthanasia" (Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, Charter for Health Care Workers, 1995 )

  • "I should like particularly to underline how 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" (Address of John Paul II to the Participants in the International Congress on "Life-Sustaining Treatments and Vegetative State: Scientific Advances and Ethical Dilemnas", 3/20/04).

  • "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" (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Responses to Certain Questions of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Concerning Artificial Nutrition and Hydration, 8/1/07).

  • "24. In compliance with federal law, a Catholic health care institution will make available to patients information about their rights, under the laws of their state, to make an advance directive for their medical treatment. The institution, however, will not honor an advance directive that is contrary to Catholic teaching [emphasis added]. If the advance directive conflicts with Catholic teaching, an explanation should be provided as to why the directive cannot be honored.

  • "25. Each person may identify in advance a representative to make health care decisions as his or her surrogate in the event that the person loses the capacity to make health care decisions. Decisions by the designated surrogate should be faithful to Catholic moral principles [emphasis added] and to the person’s intentions and values, or if the person’s intentions are unknown, to the person’s best interests. In the event that an advance directive is not executed, those who are in a position to know best the patient’s wishes—usually family members and loved ones—should participate in the treatment decisions for the person who has lost the capacity to make health care decisions.

    "28. Each person or the person's surrogate should have access to medical and moral information and counseling so as to be able to form his or her conscience.  The free and informed health care decision of the person or the person's surrogate is to be followed so long as it does not contradict Catholic principles [emphasis added].   

    "58. In principle, there is an obligation to provide patients with food and water, including medically assisted nutrition and hydration for those who cannot take food orally. This obligation extends to patients in chronic and presumably irreversible conditions (e.g., the 'persistent vegetative state') who can reasonably be expected to live indefinitely if given such care.  Medically assisted nutrition and hydration become morally optional when they cannot reasonably be expected to prolong life or when they would be 'excessively burdensome for the patient or [would] cause significant physical discomfort, for example resulting from complications in the use of the means employed.'  For instance, as a patient draws close to inevitable death from an underlying progressive and fatal condition, certain measures to provide nutrition and hydration may become excessively burdensome and therefore not obligatory in light of their very limited ability to prolong life or provide comfort" (
    USCCB, Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (5th ed), 11/17/09).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Christians and Other Animals: Moving the Conversation Forward"

The announcement for “Christians and Other Animals: Moving the Conversation Forward” is an embarassment for its fawning nature and the poor manner in which it was written - to say nothing of the abysmal ignorance it reveals:
  • "This panel wishes to provoke Christians to think about other animals. This is an issue that is a currently [sic] hot topic in academic theology and philosophy, but largely unengaged by our broader culture. Peter Singer—in addition to being the most influential philosopher alive today—was the intellectual heft behind the beginning of the animal rights movement in the 1970s. David Clough is one of the leading voices in defense of animals in the contemporary Christian conversation, and Eric Meier’s research has mined the Christian tradition in ways which turn the current debate about animals on its head. R.R. Reno (in addition to know[sic] the Christian tradition backward and forward) plays the all-important role of ‘sympathetic skeptic’ in our discussion. All participants will be framing their remarks in such a waythat students and non-specialists can engage. It promises to be a lively afternoon!"
Truth be told, this supposedly "hot topic in academic theology and philosophy" features irreconcilable positions:
  • "It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2418).
  • "especially in the Judeo-Christian tradition — less so in the East — we have always seen ourselves as distinct from animals, and imagined that a wide, unbridgeable gulf separates us from them. Humans alone are made in the image of God. Only human beings have an immortal soul.....the language of human rights — rights that we attribute to all human beings but deny to all nonhuman animals — maintains this separation....the vehemence with which this prohibition ["the taboo on sex with animals] continues to be held, its persistence while other non-reproductive sexual acts have become acceptable, suggests that there is another powerful force at work: our desire to differentiate ourselves, erotically and in every other way, from animals" (Peter Singer, Heavy Petting, 2001)
Please note that I have quoted comparatively "tame" sentences from Singer's Heavy Petting.  Were this article better known, it would be unquestionably condemned by a wide cross section of the population.  It is absolutely irresponsible to host the author of such an article! 

Anyone who has bothered to read any of Singer's works knows that this man is unapologetic about his pro-abortion and pro-infanticide positions.  What an insult to the memory of your own "20th Century Doctor of the Church."

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Leave Reproductive Technology Issues to the Legislatures" (Times of Trenton, 11/7/12)

Gregory J. Sullivan has provided outstanding contributions to the Times of Trenton, including Remembering Fulton Sheen, the Face of Catholicism (7/7/12) and John Paul II's Catechism is a Thorough Explanation of the Catholic Faith (10/7/12).  While I am unfamiliar with the particulars of the legal proceedings to which he refers in Leave Reproductive Technology Issues to the Legislaures (11/7/12), he strikes the nail on the head with these comments: 
  • "A couple’s desire to have a child is perfectly natural; however, the problem presented with the explosion of reproductive technologies is whether all means to that worthy end should be available. The direction of this revolution is becoming alarmingly clear: Affluent couples, unable to have children, enter the reproductive marketplace and purchase all that they need: sperm, ovum, and womb. These 'products' are provided, of course, by the poor. (In fact, there is a thriving Third-World market in wombs-for-hire — reproduction outsourced.)."
Right in the midst of the "explosion of reproductive technologies," how ironic it is that the NaPro Technology of Dr. Thomas Hilgers has been largely ignored!  NaPro Technology grew out of Hilgers' clinical experience in teaching fertility awareness to husbands and wives.  With regard to addressing infertility, Hilgers has had astronomically greater success than IVF - without involving outside-of-body conception, so-called third party reproduction, or the freezing/discarding of so-called "extra" embryos.  Chapters of Hilgers' fascinating NaPro Technology Revolution also address his success in areas, such as Recurrent Ovarian Cysts, PMS, Postpartum Depression, Recurrent Miscarriage, Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Disease, Absence of Menstrual Periods, Male Infertility, Menstrual Cramps and Pelvic Pain, Chronic Vaginal Discharges, Unusual Bleeding, and Prevention of Preterm Birth.

Locally, additional information is available at http://www.fertilitycarefriends.org.

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.

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