Reverence for Life
We hold life sacred from conception to natural death. We support policies and services that assist pregnant women to make life-affirming choices. We advocate for restrictions on the practice and public funding of abortion. We support stem cell research that does not destroy or clone human embryos. We support patient-focused, quality end-of-life care and oppose legalizing assisted suicide. We oppose the use of the death penalty.
Dying is just that, an art! According to leading experts in the newly formed medical specialty of palliative care, there is definitely an art to dying, a way to die well. This art, when practiced while alive and well, enables a patient to seamlessly, effortlessly, and spiritually make the transition to the next part of his or her journey.
“Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is not likely ever to go back in again,” Dutch doctor Theo Boer warned recently in Britain, where Parliament is debating its first assisted suicide.
“Don’t do it, Britain! Euthanasia is on the way to become a ‘default’ mode of dying for cancer patients,” he continued. Boer was an early advocate for assisted suicide, but is now strongly opposed.
In 2002 the Netherlands implemented a law giving individuals the right to end their own life with a doctor’s approval when they are suffering unbearably. Neighboring Belgium did the same.
To reassure the skeptical, advocates insisted that physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia would be rare.
But the reality since it became legal has been far different in the two countries. Most obvious is the reality that the number of people dying with medical assistance is rising rapidly and it only shows signs of continuing to increase.
"Dying is one of the most important moments in our lives. Like all important moments, it deserves thoughtful preparation.” (Fr. Lawrence Reilly, Ethicist and Theologian)
The end of life can be a time of spiritual and emotional growth. But with the onset of technological advances, patients and families may find themselves dealing with complicated treatment plans instead of addressing those spiritual questions.
Fortunately, new options on the care and comfort of people near the end of life have paralleled the emergence of technical advances.
California lawmakers are being asked to create a right to die in new legislation proposed this week. SB 128, by Senators Monning (D-Monterey) and Wolk (D-Napa), attempts to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide in the Golden State.
Debate on physician-assisted suicide (PAS) has once again surfaced following the tragic suicide of Brittany Maynard. But, as is usually the case, media coverage tends to misstate Catholic teaching on end-of-life issues and some proponents deliberately twist our teachings to confuse the debate.
Proponents continue to focus on emotional elements and ignore the very significant and dangerous policy implications of PAS. But the discussion must be much deeper and the potential consequences for the elderly, disabled and disenfranchised members of society from PAS made much clearer.
The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) - bowing to political pressure from Planned Parenthood and its supporters – has told health insurers that they cannot sell two Catholic universities any product that does not cover all abortions for employees.
The notice contradicts the Department’s own ruling earlier in the year that Jesuit-run Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and Santa Clara University are within the law by offering health plans that do not cover elective abortions.
On Thursday, June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 2007 Massachusetts state law that required a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics to prevent pro-life counselors from talking to or handing information to patients entering abortion clinics.
One of the key components of the pro-life movement is sidewalk counseling outside of abortion clinics. It is one of the few and sometimes the only way that some pregnant women seeking help receive information about alternatives to abortion.
The Most Rev. Jaime Soto, president of the California Catholic Conference and Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, issued the following statement today upon word that the recently passed State Budget includes a 40 percent increase in rates paid to abortion providers, but continues a 10 percent cut in all other hospital and provider fees that endangers access to care for all women and families participating in the Medi-Cal Program.