An intrepid contingent of pilgrims left by bus from Holy Cross to participate in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. today. The weather always presents a challenge, especially these days when forecasters seem so prone to maximize the potential of every flake of snow into a major blizzard.
The experience of being part of so many people who are pro-life is one not to be missed! We should have some photos later in the day.
Conscience Protection Act
We call on all the faithful to pray and to act by emailing and calling Congress in the coming week especially on Monday, March 12 with the message that enacting the Conscience Protection Act is urgently needed to protect Americans from being forced to violate their deeply held convictions about respect for human life. Your calls and emails to your Members of Congress really do make a difference, so please act now to protect conscience rights!"
Members of Congress can be reached by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and asking to be connected with your representative or senator.
Or you can email and call your Members of Congress quickly and easily at Notify Congress.
For additional information and videos featuring nurses who were forced by their employers to choose between their jobs and participating in abortions go to www.usccb.org/conscience.
Our Novena for Life, "Nine Days for Life," concludes with prayer after tomorrow morning's 9 AM mass. Praying each intention aloud and quietly reading the reflection gave us much to think about and an appreciation of the breadth of the Church's teachings on the dignity of human life without veering too far from the traditional groupings of concerns under this category of Church teachings.
We prayed Mass with our parish community this morning and were joined by the Holy Cross School students to mark this Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. Immediately following mass we prayed Day Five of the Nine Day Novena For Life. Today's intention was "May each person suffering from the loss of a child through abortion find hope & healing in Christ."
confusing women's right with the right to an abortion
producing a child as a right, not a gift
unethical human experimentation
promoting euthanasia as a human dignity.
November 15, 2014
Conference of Italian Catholic Physicians
This should finally allow the Little Sisters of the Poor and other groups who have been challenging the regulations to come to reconciliation.
The USCCB's statement regarding the broadening of the exemption read in part:
"Such an exemption is no innovation, but instead a return to common sense, long-standing federal practice, and peaceful coexistence between church and state. It corrects an anomalous failure by federal regulators that should never have occurred and should never be repeated.
"These regulations are good news for the Little Sisters of the Poor and others who are challenging the HHS mandate in court. We urge the government to take the next logical step and promptly resolve the litigation that the Supreme Court has urged the parties to settle.
"The regulations are also good news for all Americans. A government mandate that coerces people to make an impossible choice between obeying their consciences and obeying the call to serve the poor is harmful not only to Catholics but to the common good. Religious freedom is a fundamental right for all, so when it is threatened for some, it is threatened for all. We welcome the news that this particular threat to religious freedom has been lifted...."
The US Bishops have re-issued a call to American Catholics to pray and fast on Fridays for the protection of all human life, religious liberty and the dignity of marriage and the sacrament of matrimony.
One suggestion is to abstain from eating meat on Fridays (just like the olden days).
Holy Hours, rosaries and specific times for family prayer, e.g. around the shared table are other worthy suggestions.
Visit their website for other suggestions:
Vice-President Mike Pence, the highest ranking administration official ever to address the March for Life in its forty-four year history, stirred hearts with his hopeful words today.
In a far-ranging, 10 minute speech, the Vice-President confided that President Trump had asked him to attend today's march and that the President also extends his welcome to the marchers in Washington.
Pence highlighted two of the president's efforts for life so far: 1) his re-institution of the "Mexico City Policy" which prohibits the use of federal dollars for international organizations which promote or provide abortion; 2) he assured the crowd that next week, Trump would nominate a justice for the Supreme Court who stands for life, lamenting that the Supreme Court had turned away from life with its decision on Roe v Wade.
"Life is Winning in America" is a phrase the Vice-President used several times in his address, thanking the crowd for supporting life, but especially for their compassion toward mothers and their unborn children in crisis. He reminded listeners that when it comes to matters of the heart, gentleness is the strongest virtue of all.
He quoted both the Declaration of Independence and the words of Thomas Jefferson to assert that the right to life comes from God. Importantly, he pledged that the administration would work to bring about an end to tax payer support for abortion and for those who provide them. (emphasis mine)
The vice-president longed for a time in America when compassion is greater than confrontation and hope defeats despair. He urged that Pro-Lifers continue to use love and compassion as their message, not confrontation or anger.
Quite a speech, really - especially coming from the White House.
Thankfully the weather looks relatively placid between here and Washington, D.C. and the temperature won't dip below freezing.
Our contingent, along with parishioners from nearby parishes got an early start this morning. No pictures yet, but hopefully soon.
Please pray for the success of all our prayers. As you may know, President Trump has already re-instated the "Mexico City" policy, which prohibits the international use of federal tax dollars for organizations which promote or provide abortions.
In a major boost to opponents of physician-assisted suicide, the American Psychiatric Association has taken a clear stand:
The American Psychiatric Association, in concert with the American Medical Association’s position on Medical Euthanasia, holds that a psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person for the purpose of causing death.
According to Bioedge, Dr Mark S. Komrad, of the APA ethics committee, says that “So far, no other country that has implemented physician-assisted suicide has been able to constrain its application solely to the terminally ill, eventually including non-terminal patients as legally eligible as well,” says Dr Komrad. “This is when psychiatric patients start to be included.”
This is a perfect example of the slippery slope argument, which far from being theoretical, has already been shown to lead to dangerous broadening of the laws restricting physician assisted suicide.
This is a welcome decision indeed.
A statement from Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York Chairman,
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities
Seven jurisdictions in the United States have now opened the legal door to this dangerous abuse of medicine, an alarming trend that must be stopped for the sake of human dignity and the sacredness of life.
In Colorado, Proposition 106 legalized the ability of a doctor to write prescriptions for the sole purpose of killing another human being, and the ability of insurance companies to refuse treatment of patients they consider terminal. The DC law is the most expansive and dangerous so far. It goes beyond assisted suicide by allowing third parties to administer the lethal drugs opening the door even further to coercion and abuse.
Every suicide is tragic, whether someone is young or old, healthy or sick. But the legalization of doctor-assisted suicide creates two classes of people: those whose suicides are to be prevented at any cost, and those whose suicides are deemed a positive good. We remove weapons and drugs that can cause harm to one group, while handing deadly drugs to the other, setting up yet another kind of life-threatening discrimination. This is completely unjust. Our inherent human dignity does not wane with the onset of illness or incapacity, and so all are worthy of protection.
The act of prescribing a fatal, poisonous dose, moreover, undermines the very heart of medicine. Doctors vow to do no harm, and yet assisted suicide is the ultimate abandonment of their patients.
What seriously ill – and often depressed -- patients need is authentic support, including doctors fully committed to their welfare and pain management as they enter their final days. Patients need our assurance that they are not a burden -- that it is a privilege to care for them as we ourselves hope to be cared for one day. A compassionate society devotes more attention, not less, to members facing the most vulnerable times in their lives.
So doctor-assisted suicide must now be opposed with renewed vigor. Catholics must join medical professionals, disability rights groups, and other concerned citizens in fighting for the authentic care of those facing terminal illness.
Catholic Bishops of New Jersey Correct "Catholics for Choice" Misleading Advertisement With The Church's Message
The ads will run this tomorrow in the Star Ledger and the Bergen-Record, two of the papers in which the deceptive ads from "Catholics for Choice" ran.
The US Civil Rights Commission released a briefing report to the President entitled "Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties." It studied the conflict between the expanding Federal legislation and regulations on sexual identity and marriage vs. freedom of Religious organizations, institutions and individuals to practice their faith.
The Commission's recommendations are troubling, but telling
- Overly-broad religious exemptions unduly burden nondiscrimination laws and policies.
Federal and state courts, lawmakers, and policy-makers at every level must tailor religious exceptions to civil liberties and civil rights protections as narrowly as applicable law requires.
- RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) protects only religious practitioners’ First Amendment free exercise rights, and it does not limit others’ freedom from government-imposed religious limitations under the Establishment Clause.
- In the absence of controlling authority to the contrary such as a state-level, RFRA-type statute, the recognition of religious exemptions to nondiscrimination laws and policies should be made pursuant to the holdings of Employment Division v. Smith, which protect religious beliefs rather than conduct.
- Federal legislation should be considered to clarify that RFRA creates First Amendment Free Exercise clause rights only for individuals and religious institutions and only to the extent that they do not unduly burden civil liberties and civil rights protections against status-based discrimination.
- States with RFRA-style laws should amend those statutes to clarify that RFRA creates First Amendment Free Exercise Clause rights only for individuals and religious institutions.
- States with laws modeled after RFRA must guarantee that those statutes do not unduly burden civil liberties and civil rights with status-based discrimination.
The full report (over 300 pages) is linked here Peaceful Coexistence.
Comments from Chairperson of the US Civil Rights Commission, Martin R. Castro, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011.
“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian
religion.” —John Adams
The phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia,
Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.
Religious liberty was never intended to give one religion dominion over other religions, or a veto power over the civil rights and civil liberties of others.
However, today, as in the past, religion is being used as both a weapon and a shield by those seeking to deny others equality. In our nation’s past religion has been used to justify slavery and later, Jim Crow laws. We now see “religious liberty” arguments sneaking their way back into our political and constitutional discourse (just like the concept of “state rights”) in an effort to undermine the rights of some Americans.
This generation of Americans must stand up and speak out to ensure that religion never again be twisted to deny others the full promise of America.
Faith and the Full Promise of America
A Statement from Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty
For the current Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, religious liberty is reduced to "nothing except hypocrisy," and religion is being used as a "weapon… by those seeking to deny others equality." He makes the shocking suggestion that Catholic, evangelical, orthodox Jewish, Mormon, and Muslim communities are comparable to fringe segregationists from the civil rights era. These statements painting those who support religious freedom with the broad brush of bigotry are reckless and reveal a profound disregard for the religious foundations of his own work.
People of faith have often been the ones to carry the full promise of America to the most forgotten peripheries when other segments of society judged it too costly. Men and women of faith were many in number during the most powerful marches of the civil rights era. Can we imagine the civil rights movement without Rev. Martin Luther King, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel? In places like St. Louis, Catholic schools were integrated seven years before the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Jesus taught us to serve and not to count the cost.
Our record is not perfect. We could have always done more. Nevertheless, we have long taught that the one God, maker of heaven and earth, calls each and every individual into being, loves every individual, and commands believers to love and show mercy to every individual. The idea of equality, which the Chairman treats as a kind of talisman, is incomprehensible apart from the very faith that he seeks to cut off from mainstream society.
Today, Catholic priests, religious and laity can be found walking the neighborhood streets of our most struggling communities in places abandoned by a "throwaway culture" that has too often determined that quick profits matter more than communities. We are there offering education, health care, social services, and hope, working to serve as the "field hospital" Pope Francis has called us to be. We wish we were there in even greater numbers, but we are there to humbly offer the full promise of America to all. Rest assured, if people of faith continue to be marginalized, it is the poor and vulnerable, not the Chairman and his friends, who will suffer.
Catholic social service workers, volunteers and pastors don't count the cost in financial terms or even in personal safety. But, we must count the cost to our own faith and morality. We do not seek to impose our morality on anyone, but neither can we sacrifice it in our own lives and work. The vast majority of those who speak up for religious liberty are merely asking for the freedom to serve others as our faith asks of us. We ask that the work of our institutions be carried out by people who believe in our mission and respect a Christian witness. This is no different from a tobacco control organization not wishing to hire an advocate for smoking or a civil rights organization not wanting to hire someone with a history of racism or an animal rights group wishing to hire only vegetarians.
In a pluralistic society, there will be institutions with views at odds with popular opinion. The Chairman's statement suggests that the USCCR does not see the United States as a pluralistic society. We respect those who disagree with what we teach. Can they respect us? We advocate for the dignity of all persons, a dignity that includes a life free from violence and persecution and that includes fair access to good jobs and safe housing. People of faith are a source of American strength. An inclusive and religiously diverse society should make room for them.