Print

A Rare Opportunity: Measures Recognizes Humanity of the Unborn, Dignity of Mother

Written by Carol Hogan on . Blog

pregnant happy woman 150x190This year, the California Legislature has presented us with a rare opportunity—two bills we can support based on the whole of Catholic social teaching. They are SB 899 and AB 1579. But first, some background.

As Catholics, our Church teaches us to respect the sanctity of human life, to uphold the imperative of family, to honor the dignity of work, to understand God’s special love for the poor and to seek justice in our dealings with each other. Those “ideas” are found in Catholic social teaching—the distillation of divine revelation, age-old human wisdom and common sense—and if understood and followed, a framework for human thriving.

However, too often, we Catholics tend to focus on one aspect of the teaching over and against another aspect. Catholic social teaching is of a piece and can only be a reliable guide if taken as seamless. Respecting human life ought to occur throughout the trajectory of that life—from conception to natural death. Families must be seedbeds tended to nourish and guide the new generation. We need to remember the dignity of work and that those who are poor must be loved and brought along if able or carried if not. And overlaying it all, our human interactions must reflect justice—which can bring about peace.

Print

Random Acts of Gratitude

Written by Judy Barrett on . Blog

 

thank you noteOne of my gifts to a friend this Christmas was a “Gratitude Kit” consisting of 52 small thank-you cards and a handsome little journal to keep track of a note sent each week to someone who has extended an unexpected act of kindness or who in some way has gone above and beyond the expected—the barista who always spreads cheer with her smile, the co-worker who does a favor, a neighbor who stops by with a garden bouquet for no special reason, that sort of thing. At the end of the year, she will have a lovely memento of some big and small acts of kindness she’s enjoyed and for which she has expressed gratitude.

If I had kept such a journal this past year, here are a few people and things I would have included:

  • Our two Holy Fathers in 2013—Pope Benedict, who showed us how to step down with grace and dignity after a long period of prayerful discernment, and Pope Francis, who continues to model the humility of Christ for the world; and for their combined efforts in bringing Lumen Fides to print. In 2014 they will jointly canonize two of their predecessors—can you image St. Peter’s Square in Rome on that day!
Print

The Homosexual Infertility Problem

Written by Carol Hogan on . Blog

NCBCFor years, conventional wisdom has held that what happens in California foretells national trends. For instance, California was the first state to mandate coverage for contraceptives in health insurance policies and the first state to legally recognize same-sex couples, and now both public policies have spread nationwide.

California may have launched another trend with the 2013 passage of A.B. 460, a novel extension of protections against discrimination to the "gay community." A small minority of individuals orchestrated the redefinition of a tragic biological malady—infertility—in defiance of both science and common sense. The unintended consequences of this action could be profound. At jeopardy are the well-being of California's children, the freedom of conscience for health care professionals and the state's social services network.

This article appears in Ethics & Medics: A Commentary of The National Catholic Bioethics Center on Health Care and the Life SicencesDownload a PDF.

Print

Walking the Walk, Staying Awake

Written by Judy Barrett on . Blog

pope smiling wavingSo, what do you think of Pope Francis? If you’re like me, you’ve heard that question time and again during the past months. It is heartening that many people, including non-believers and those who are not particularly religious, are taking great notice of what this man says and does. His openness, accessibility, humility and apparent genuine love for people shine through and resonate with them.

Here’s what I think. Pope Francis is modeling what it means to be a follower of Christ. He has attracted worldwide attention by his impromptu phone calls to people, his visits to the poor and marginalized. Who cannot respond with a warm heart to the photo of his embrace of a very sick man at a Wednesday audience, or who cannot smile at seeing videos of a child climbing up on the stage with the pope during the Conference on the Family in Rome.

Print

Healing for Wounded Souls

Written by Judy Barrett on . Blog

butterfly150Ten years ago a friend and I joined a pilgrimage to Poland. One of our destinations was Czestochowa, a shrine famous for its ancient, beautiful icon of Mary and the infant Jesus. The history of the image is rife with legends and drama. At some time during its long existence the icon was irreparably scarred with two deep gashes across the face of the Virgin.

The priest who led the pilgrimage group was involved in a post-abortion ministry in New York. He told us that this particular image of Mary, with those two deep wounds, resonates in a special way with many post-abortive women. They identify with the scars that will not go away. They see in the icon an image of their own wounded souls.

Mothers who abort their babies typically do so because of pressure from parents, friends or the boyfriend who fathered of the child, or because of worries about finances, continuing their education or hanging onto a job. Rather than making problems go away, for many women the abortion results in guilt, shame, regret and grief that she is unable to share with anyone. Simply put, she is often left to fend for herself spiritually and emotionally, and more often than not, she’s abandoned by the baby’s father.

Print

Abortion: Ideology or Commercial Enterprise? Part III: The Pharmaceutical Industry

Written by Vicki Evans on . Blog

The predominant industries engaged in fetal tissue research are part of the emerging "life science" industry---the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and biologics sectors. The pharmaceutical industry is involved in the discovery, development, production and marketing of drugs licensed as medications. The field of biologics is narrower and typically involves highly specific and potent medicines derived from living cells, as opposed to chemical processes. It tends towards personalizing medicine through genetic testing and treating diseases at a molecular level.