Category Archives: Faith & the Public Order

Assisted Suicide picks up steam in Connecticut

Assisted suicide is gaining a little popularity in Connecticut with Senator Edward Meyer’s bill, S.B. 48, “An Act Concerning Physician-Assisted Suicide.” In the bill it is written that the bill would “…permit a competent person who is suffering from a terminal illness to take his or her life through the self-administration of prescribed medication.”
Senator Meyer is a state senator representing Branford, North Branford, Guilford, Durham, Killingworth and Madison (Connecticut’s 12 district). In 2009, a similar bill was introduced but defeated.

You’ll remember that Massachusetts voters narrowly defeated a proposition in the 2012 elections. The AP is now reporting that a half-dozen states are now proposing bills supporting legalized assisted suicide. Is there an honest shift in thinking in these united States? What is claimed is that there is strong support for such.

In some circles it’s thought that a very small group of people in the USA are in favor of assisted suicide but they are organized, with money, and capable of capitalizing on the fears of the chronically ill, the disabled and the elderly. One group is poised to become the Planned Parenthood of the assisted suicide movement called Compassion and Choices. But what about the opposition?

In the media you’ll hear lots about the Catholic opposition to assisted suicide and you’ll be told that few others are interested in these questions. There is, so to speak, a coalition of peoples with diverse philosophies have organized opposition, namely,
  • medical professionals
  • advocates for the poor
  • disability rights activists
  • mental health professionals
  • pro life peoples (Christians and non Christians)
  • “egalitarian liberals”
The issue is not a Catholic moral matter, it is a human one. Assisted suicide is based on false premises of human dignity and meaning. True that the Catholics in Massachusetts under the leadership of Cardinal Sean O’Malley helped to defeat the “Question 2” but they didn’t do it alone. There was help by the ghost of the late Senator Edward Kennedy divined by his widow who wrote a persuasive-enough OP-ED piece convincing some to vote down the bill proposal. Of course, the Kennedy family is seen by practicing, faithful Catholics as being a left-wing ideological group of politicos, and therefore not a reliable barometer for Catholic thinking and moral life. Nevertheless, Mrs. Kennedy did rally support against the assisted suicide bill.
Jason Negri and Dominican Father Christopher Saliga authored a helpful review/analysis in an essay published by the Catholic Information Service (Knights of Columbus), “Freedom to Flourish: A Catholic Analysis of Doctor -Prescribed Suicide and Euthanasia” (2011).
You may also be interested in a Kindle essay (14 pages) by Christopher Veniamin, “Euthanasia: A Theological Approach.”

The Church outlasts oppression

Catholic Church outlastingI saw this picture the other day and thought: “how clever, how true.” Every form of oppression has collapsed on itself rather than bring true human freedom. Reflecting on the historical legacy of Communism, Cardinal Ratzinger writes,

“No one can any longer seriously deny that what was supposed to be a movement to bring freedom was, along with National Socialism, the greatest system of slavery in modern history: the extent of the cynical destruction of human beings and of the world is very often passed over in shame and silence, but no one can deny it any longer” (Truth and Tolerance, 233).

Stalinism alive and well in the Ukraine: Church faces crisis

Archbishop UkraineReligious Freedom, the freedom to worship, and the freedom to live by a fully formed conscience (all three are not the same things) are not only crucial issues for the citizens of the USA, Egypt, the Sudan, parts of Asia, but also for various places in Europe but further East, in Russia. Religious freedom is the basis of all freedoms.

Joseph Ratzinger wrote an article sometime ago on freedom and truth where he said, “freedom is the theme that most characterizes modernity.” We could also say that Americans most care about, but freedom is not just an American thing, it is a human thing that all people want to enjoy. From the American dream which is the achievement of freedom, human development we to need to sustain a work that helps all peoples, not just Catholics but Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims and the like, be truly free.

 

Of late, the Christians in the Ukraine are being forced to re-live Stalinist power plays to shout down the Church. The Catholics in the Ukraine, especially the Byzantine Catholics as lived in The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), are facing political fights with the state over the right to pray in public and to pray in public for the good of the nation. Here we have a keen issue of how faith and the public order intersect. Looks like a new John Paul II has risen…

George Weigel outlines the scene in his article in a  National Review (January 14, 2014), “The Exhaust Fumes of Stalinism.” Weigel is good a pointing to the fact that culture, faith and good political order has been the hallmark of the Church: the dignity of the person and the God-given rights were only help up and promoted by the Church. A Church that is not beholding to state pressures and coercion. Metropolitan Shevchuk is articulating the hope and the path forward…

Islamist rebels control Monastery of St Thekla, Maaloula, Syria

While information is not consistent and the reports are “unconfirmed,” at least in their details, numerous sources, including Vatican diplomats who have been in contact with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, say that Islamist rebels have taken control of the venerable Monastery of St Thekla in Maaloula, Syria, and have kidnapped a number of nuns, including the Abbess, and possibly set about sacking the monastery, one of the most ancient ones in Christendom. AsiaNews.it has this report.
Various reports can be accessed through the blog Ad Orientem.
Father Charles Baz writes,
“Mother Alexandra, I have been following most of the Arabic news agencies all day, thinking at first it was a rumor, but sadly it is not. Mother Pelagia Sayyaf, a dear friend of our family and to many in the US, is among them. This attack on Ma’aloula seems much worse and ferocious compared to September’s. May God pacify the situation and have these nuns released.”
He also says:
“All the news sources are mentioning only Ma’aloula, Al-Nabak, and Al-Yarbood. These three towns are clustered together and collectively are distant from Saidnaya. The news agency are clear about the fact that this battle, distinct from others, is politico-religious, since Ma’aloula and the rest of the Qalamoun region gives neither the government nor the rebels any strategic edge. Sadly, it is only a religious-motivated aggression. Let us pray for the safety of the nuns and the orphans lest any harm befalls them. Some news agencies are stating that already some nuns have been killed Monday in the Yarbood vicinity. All this has to be verified still, and hopefully not true.”
Please join in prayer for the safety of the Nuns, the soldiers who were guarding the monastery, and all concerned.

No one is listening to Syrian Christians

It seems that worldwide Christians are silent before the holocaust happening in Syria. The story is here from AleteiaDoes justice mean anything? Do our brothers and sisters in other places have dignity, meaning and worth? Where does the gospel of Jesus Christ make a difference in the oppression of others?

Our friends in Syria have great needs. Say a prayer BUT also you and I have to act! This is a matter of faith and the public order, faith and reason, faith and the dignity of the human person. Is anyone listening???

Here is an excerpt:

Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh concludes: “We have shouted aid to the world but no one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers? I think of all those who are suffering today in mourning and discomfort. We ask everyone to pray for us.”

Sadad is a small town of 15,000 people, mostly Syriac Orthodox Christians, located 160 km north of Damascus. It has 14 churches and a monastery with four priests.

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]yahoo.com.
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