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Insights: Roll Back Assisted Suicide, Merton and Rain

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October 30, 2015

Roll-Back Assisted Suicide Before It’s Too Late

On Oct. 5 Gov. Jerry Brown signed ABx2-15 (Eggman) the so-called “End-of-Life Option Act,” authorizing physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to patients who are determined to have a terminal illness and less than six months to live.

“What happened” that day “was an enormous culture shift in our country, not unlike Roe v. Wade,” said Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Program in Medical Ethics at UC Irvine School of Medicine, at the Sacramento Catholic Forum on Oct. 15.  The law also changes the “culture of medicine” from a focus on saving lives to helping end them, he said. 

The California Catholic Bishops predicted that the law will put “the elderly and disabled” in “great peril.”

But “it’s not too late,” Dr. Kheriaty asserted.  “We should work even harder at rolling this law back.”

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Seniors Against Assisted Suicide is organizing a referendum campaign to halt the implementation of the physician-assisted suicide law.  The referendum is now at the printer.  As soon as distribution information is available, we’ll notify readers of when and how to obtain copies.  About half a million signatures must be gathered by Jan. 4 to place the question on the ballot in November 2016.  If that happens, the law will not be implemented until after the voters make a decision.



Thomas Merton and His Call for Dialogue and Peace

During his recent speech to Congress on September 24, Pope Francis paid special tribute to the contributions of four great Americans – two Catholics, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, and two non-Catholics, Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In this third installment, we examine the life and legacy of Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, who Pope Francis highlighted for "the capacity for dialogue and openness to God."

Thomas Merton was born in France in 1915, but he spent time in the United States as a small child.  He returned to America in 1935 to attend Columbia University, where he graduated in 1938.  During this time, Merton began to explore Catholicism and was deeply inspired by the writings of poet and priest Gerald Manley Hopkins.

After hearing a call to the religious life, Merton first explored becoming a Franciscan friar.  However, in 1941, he instead entered a Trappist monastery at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky.  He was ordained to the priesthood in 1949 and given the name Father Louis.

Merton was a gifted poet, writer, social activist, and student of comparative religion.  His bestselling 1948 autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, was named as one of the best non-fiction books of the 20th century by the National Review.                        

To many, Merton is a symbol of peace and dialogue.  The Thomas Merton Award, a peace prize, has been awarded since 1972 by the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Social Justice located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


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California Mission Indians Met with Pope Francis

On Sep. 23, 2015, Native American representatives comprised of descendants from each of the nine original missions founded by St. Junípero Serra, met personally with Pope Francis in Washington, D.C. Taking place after the canonization Mass honoring Serra, the meeting was organized to help promote continued healing and reconciliation with the Native American communities. Inside a corridor in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the representatives and a guest were each able to meet with the Pope briefly, exchange a few words and present him with a gift.

The meeting was requested by the California Bishops. They invited a representative that had ancestral ties to the mission and the Franciscan Province of Santa Barbara covered the expenses for the representatives.

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Nuns Sue State of California

A Roman Catholic order of Sisters, las Misioneras Guadalupanas del Espíritu Santo (the Guadulapanas Missionaries of the Holy Spirit), filed a petition today in California Superior Court in Sacramento asking the court to review a state requirement that compels the Sisters to purchase a health plan that provides coverage for all abortions, including late-term and gender selection abortions.  The Guadalupanas Sisters, who serve the poor and vulnerable in Los Angeles and believe unequivocally in the sanctity of unborn human life, are being compelled by the State of California to violate their deepest moral convictions. 

On Aug. 22, 2014, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued a directive to private market California managed health care plans that required them to start covering all abortions, as a “basic health service.”  As a result, thousands of California religious employers, including the Guadulapanas Sisters, cannot purchase a managed health care plan that excludes abortion-on-demand.


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On the Web

Scientists are predicting a record El Niño which is expected to bring torrential rain to California.  To ease the drought, however, the Golden State relies on snowpack while the tropical nature of El Niño rains may bring plenty of water but little snow.  Please continue to pray for drought relief even as you prepare your home for heavy downpours this winter.

International Restorative Justice Week (Nov. 15-22, 2015) is celebrated annually during the month of November.  Download resources for use in your parishes and families in English or Spanish.

A Sacramento Life Center and a pro-life advocacy group have filed a lawsuit to overturn a new law forcing pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise the availability of abortions in California.  Find out about the story here.


Oct. 30, 2015
Vol. 8, No. 38

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