Category Archives: Faith & Reason

Connecticut lawmakers to consider physician assisted suicide

The front page
of today’s New Haven Register carried an article by Jordan Fenster,
Right-to-die bill may be discussed by legislature” by which the citizens of
Connecticut were alerted to the possibility that in the next session of the
legislature the question of assisted suicide will be on the table. Following
the defeat of Massachusetts ballot on the same subject last week, the contagion is now again flowing south. Already three US states, Oregon, Montana and Washington, allow for
physician assisted suicide. 34 states prohibit lethal doses of medication that
would end human life.

Let me say from the outset, this is not a Catholic issue. Persons of belief and unbelief ought to be concerned about the potential passing of a law that legalizes medically induced suicide. Hence, this is not a conservative issue. This is not a an anti-human dignity issue. It
is just the opposite: this is a human issue. Who we are a human beings, and how
we teach each other is a human issue that is informed by what we believe and
how we behave. Committing this legislative error is a problem of education.
Recall that in the past when a similar bill was brought to the CT voters it failed only 51-49%.

Several weeks ago there appeared in the New York Times an
intriguing OP-ED article that I believe we need to seriously consider in the
discussion of physician assisted suicide. Considering voices that differ from ours need to be thoughtfully taken into account because we are people use who reason to frame our moral lives. We can’t simply dismiss the other and therefore I appeal to people of belief and unbelief to reasonably discuss what’s at stake. When we rush the discuss without fact we always get burned.

In my opinion not enough attention has been devoted
to considering how this legislation has been lived out in this country and in
others, nor have we considered the philosophical, theological, sociological and
human consequences of such an act. Most often our heart-strings are pulled, even stretched leading us to decide weighty matters without due attention to the reality in front of us –to the person and people and intimately connected with life and death issues. We also don’t always adequately consider the eternal consequences of killing someone before natural death happens. 

Who’s life are we “making dignified” by engaging death before it’s naturally
presented? What really is human dignity? What does it mean to be truly a man or
a woman in relationship with other men and women here-and-now, and following
death? To what extent does fear, anxiety and perceived suffering dictate how we
think and act toward others? Are we sufficiently aware of and sensitive to the difference between ideology and being a person, no matter how debilitated?

Here is Ben Mattlin’s October 31, 2012 New York
article published online.

Suicide by Choice? Not So Fast

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Human Genomics help us to understand Adam and Eve, Father Nicanor Austriaco says

Nicanor Austriaco.jpeg

The Rhode Island Benedictine Portsmouth Abbey School welcomed Dominican Father Nicanor Austriaco to
deliver the Dom Luke Childs Lecture on October 15,
2012. He is an Associate Professor of Biology at Providence College. Father’s address was titled, “What Can Human Genomics Tell Us About Adam and Eve?

 Watch the presentation, it is very good and informative.

The Dom Luke Childs Lecture honors the popular Benedictine monk who taught at Portsmouth and died unexpectedly in 1976. The Lecture topics cover a wide range of intellectual and culture pursuits.

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2013 Portsmouth Institute Announced


The Portsmouth Institute is delighted to announce that the 2013 Institute will take
place June 7-9 on the topic of CATHOLICISM AND THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. 
The keynote speaker on June 7th will be George Weigel, author of many books on
Catholicism, papal biographer,  and senior fellow of the Ethics and
Public Policy Center
in Washington DC.  

Stay tuned for further details on
speakers and events of next June’s Institute; call or
write Cindy Waterman at
or 401.643.1244. 

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Humans are Useless, indeed

Marc Barnes publishes his essays on his blog, Bad Catholic on Patheos. A recent installment, Humans Are Useless, is a beautiful piece on humanity, God, human relationships, sex, art and Love. My friend Tacy give me the tip to read this essay. It is rewarding. The essay is an excellent piece for faith formation.

Post-Christian America: what does it look like, why?

Bouncing around in Catholic religious orders for some time is the notion that one can be a member of the Jesuits or the Sisters of Mercy and “go beyond Jesus and the Church.” I can remember hearing from a Jesuit whom I respected in the early 1990s that he was a “post-Christian Jesuit.” I wondered how a member of the Society of Jesus, a son of Saint Ignatius, could be post-Christian. The former Dominican Father Matthew Fox tried the same line of thinking. In fact, he’s neither a Catholic nor a Catholic priest and a professed member of the Order of Preachers as he’s gone to the Episcopal Church and now some kind of new ager. Christ is optional for him. Not long ago a religious sister who teaches at CTU said that the sisters in the USA can go beyond Jesus. So the recent crisis in faith in religious orders reflects a deeper divide in Christian faith in the rest of society.

I try to wrap my mind around what it means to be a post-Christian American. Father C. John McCloskey III, priest of the Opus Dei wrote a piece, “Post-Christian America,” which I am recommending. Father McCloskey is a Church historian and research fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute (Washington, DC). The point of the article is not demonstrate America’s abandonment of Christian faith but to say how it happened.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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