Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category

The Pope’s Bioethics Council

Monday, April 18th, 2011

At the end of February I was privileged to be welcomed at the Vatican as a new member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Established in 1994 by Pope John Paul II, this body has “the specific task to study and provide information and training about the principal problems of law and biomedicine pertaining to the promotion and protection of life, especially in the direct relationship they have with Christian morality.”

In our General Assembly meeting this year, we addressed in depth the theme of post-abortion healing. Two other members of our Priests for Life team were also invited: Janet Morana, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, and Dr. Theresa Burke, who founded Rachel’s Vineyard.

The group met with Pope Benedict, who said in his address, “It is necessary to provide the necessary help to women who sadly have already taken recourse to abortion, and who now experience all its moral and existential tragedy. There are many initiatives, at the diocesan level or through individual volunteer entities, which offer psychological and spiritual support for a complete human recovery. The solidarity of the Christian community cannot give up this type of co-responsibility.”

He also had strong words about the responsibilities of doctors:

“Doctors cannot fail to defend against the deception of the conscience of many women who think they will find in abortion the solution to family, economic, social difficulties or to the problems of health of their children. Especially in this last situation, the woman is convinced, often by the doctors themselves, that abortion represents not only a licit moral choice, but that in addition it is a necessary “therapeutic” act”.

He also said doctors are to “Continue affirming that abortion does not resolve anything, but that it kills the child, destroys the woman and blinds the conscience of the child’s father, often ruining family life.”

The Pope expanded on the idea of fathers by saying:

“It would be useful to focus attention on the fathers of the children, who often abandon pregnant women. It is the duty of the moral conscience to discern good from evil in the different situations of existence.”

While men can’t have abortions, they do commit the sin of abortion. The “abandonment” of which the Pope speaks often consists in the man saying it is the woman’s choice. This makes her feel alone and desperate, and increases the temptation to abort. The man, instead, is called to stand with the woman and the baby and say, “we can do the right thing.”

Finally, the Pope reminded us all that “It is necessary that the whole of society defend the right to life of the conceived and the true good of the woman, who never, under any circumstance, will be fulfilled in the choice of abortion.”

As one of many entities of the Vatican – essentially a bioethics council for the Pope and the Church — the Academy for Life represents a key concern of the Church. You can follow its activities and publications at www.AcademiaVita.org.

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A Dangerous Mentality

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Next week marks the anniversary of the murder of Terri Schiavo. She was deprived of food and water, as police officers stood over her bed to make sure nobody gave her any. She did not have any terminal disease and was not on life support. Her loving parents and siblings were ready to care for her for the rest of their lives. Yet through the actions of her estranged husband and the erroneous decisions of the courts, she was killed anyway. It is perfectly logical and moral to forego useless treatments, but that’s not what Terri’s case was all about. In this case, it was not that treatments were considered useless – it was that a life was considered useless, and that type of judgment is dangerous to us all.

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Statement from SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center Regarding Baby Joseph

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Contact: SSM Cardinal Glennon Public Relations office, 314-577-5615

“SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center has met the needs of children and families with great compassion for more than 50 years. In the case of Joseph Maraachli, we agreed to take the baby into our care to provide a medical consultation. Baby Joseph has Leigh Syndrome, a progressive neurologic disease.

“Following a thorough examination by a multi-disciplinary medical team of specialists from SSM Cardinal Glennon and Saint Louis University School of Medicine, along with extensive consultations with Joseph’s parents and the SSM Cardinal Glennon ethics committee, we concluded that a tracheotomy was medically appropriate.

“Baby Joseph received a tracheotomy on Monday. He is currently in the pediatric intensive care unit, where tracheotomy patients routinely spend 7 to 10 days following the procedure. After he is discharged from SSM Cardinal Glennon, Joseph will travel to Ranken Jordan – A Pediatric Specialty Hospital in St. Louis before being transported to his family home in Windsor.

“It is our hope that this procedure will allow Joseph and his family the gift of a few more months together and that Joseph may be more comfortable with a permanent tracheotomy.

“As with any of the children we help, our primary focus must remain on the patient and what is best in his or her individual circumstances.

“We ask that you keep Baby Joseph and his family in your prayers.”

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Baby Joseph’s Condition

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today after Baby Joseph Maraachli’s successful surgery at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.

“Yesterday was a big day for Baby Joseph and his family, as the baby received a tracheotomy. Ordinary medical treatments are those which provide a reasonable hope of benefit without an excessive burden. Baby Joseph received yesterday a wonderful benefit, through the love of his parents and the professional care of the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.

“We at Priests for Life continue to challenge those in our society – whether medical professionals, government officials, or anyone else – to stop putting a price tag on human life. The idea that some lives are not worth living belongs to a past age of worn-out philosophies leading to massive holocausts which deserve to be bad memories on the ash heap of history, not threatening clouds on its horizon,” Fr. Pavone concluded.

Click here for a statement from the Medical Center.

Click here for photos of Baby Joseph after surgery.

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