Tag Archives: secularism

COVID-19 and Euthanasia; potential allies in this Pandemic? Where is God in all of this?

Influenza epidemic in United States. St. Louis, Missouri, Red Cross Motor Corps on duty, October 1918. (National Archives)

By Larry Peterson

Portugal is a step closer to approving euthanasia and assisted suicide, and in Spain, the leftist government is completing their approval of legalizing life-ending procedures. Medical gurus in Italy, that very Catholic nation, home to Catholicism and the Pope, are telling their doctors that they should just let the elderly patients die. Why not,  if they have no insurance, they will cost the government $73,000.00 anyway. In our secularized world, it makes sense; the monetary cost outweighs the “value of the life.”

Remember the sad saga of little Alfie Evans, from the spring of 2018? Alfie was the disabled 23-month-old boy whose parents wanted to keep him and take care of him and love him until God took him. Ah yes, the wondrous doctors and legal scholars of Mother England decided that was not in the best interests of Alfie. No, they decided he was better off dead. One judge even got angry when they called Alfie a “human being.

I mention Alfie because I have experienced circumstances similar to Alfie’s parents. My wife was on life-support, but unlike Tom and Kate Evans, I had the task of allowing the machines to be turned off.  It was not a judge or a doctor or the courts or anything like that. It was ME,  the woman’s husband. The result was different. Alfie’s parents were stripped of their parental right to protect their child. I had secured the right to defend my wife.

Except for two overriding factors, Alfie’s death was unnecessary. First, the assumed necessity of his death is embedded within the secular practicality of  21st-century culture. Secondly, among many medical practitioners who lean on their omniscient ability, it was in Alfie’s “best interests” to die. They decided there was no hope for him to live on his own, and it followed that his life was mercifully disposable.

Although my wife was a middle-aged adult, and Alfie was a baby, the parallels in each case were quite similar. Alfie, at the age of seven months, developed seizures, and they caused him to go into a “semi-vegetative state.” Alfie did have brain function, but most doctors agreed that his condition (which they were not sure of) was incurable. Most importantly, his parent’s rights to try to save him were stripped from them by the courts.

Six doctors told us it was “no-use.” The consensus was, without doubt, that she would never survive without the ventilator.  My grown children took turns going to their mom’s bedside to say their “good-byes.” One at a time, they came from that room sobbing like babies. I was last and sat by her side, looking at her, holding her hand and saying whatever it was I was saying. Those words I do not remember. I do remember one word I heard; I was called a “murderer” by someone in Loretta’s family.

Unlike Alfie’s parents, I had control over the machine that was doing her breathing (she had been on life-support for three weeks). That was because Loretta had a “living will,” which gave me the right as her husband to sign what is called a DNR order. DNR means Do Not Resuscitate, and it allowed me, as the husband, to decide when to “pull the plug.”

Three of her doctors were there and the hospital chief-of-staff. I asked them to pray with us, and they all did. The machine was switched off, and the intubation tubes were removed. A minute passed by, and she kept breathing. Then two minutes passed by and then five and ten and then one hour. The cardiologist said, “Don’t be fooled; she is not going to  make it.”

Well, they were wrong. She did make it. Three days later, she was up in a room, and three weeks later, she came home. She had earned the title of “The Miracle Woman of Northside.” Her recovery was not only baffling; it was unexplainable. Ironically, cancer killed her exactly one year later.

In Alfie’s case, his parents had no choice. They were invoking God, along with countless others around the world, including the Pope, who had secured Italian citizenship for Alfie. The Italians were ready to transport Alfie to Italy for care and treatment. Unfortunately ,virtually every court in the U.K. ruled against the parent’s rights. The government and their “experts” knew best; Alfie must DIE. I cannot imagine standing by as my child’s life was taken from him and his family by court order. It is incomprehensible to me.

So the state took away the parent’s right to protect their child. They subjugated Natural Law and trampled upon the very nucleus of any thriving civilization, the family.  They removed Alfie’s tube, and the little boy lived for five days breathing on his own. Was that a message from above that those in charge should have tried harder? If they had waited one more day, might he have breathed on his own for six days and so on? Would recovery have been in Alfie’s future if he had lived another six months? I guess no one will ever know.

The point is,  the possibility exists for many families to be confronted with a life-death situation in the immediate future.  Many patients may not have a “living will.” If not, the hospital administrators will be in charge. If thousands of people become seriously ill with COVID-19, who is to decide what an average allowable time to live or die should be? We are all different, and some of us will pass on, and others will survive. Who will determine the acceptable “time frame” for the life and death struggle?

If you think it cannot happen in the USA, you are wrong.  The respect for God-given life is under assault all over the world. The Catholic governor of NewYork cheered the passing of the “infanticide bill” in January. His state has the most prolific number of COVID-19 deaths in the entire country. If the numbers increase, will he agree to an acceptable age limit to allow the “elderly NOT to be cared for?

The unpredictability, combined with the deadly consequences of COVID-19, leaves us all in a tenuous position. Who among us will be left to determine who lives and who dies and when and where? If you do not have a Living Will find one on line—preferably faith-based. Yes, get God into the equation. We need Him more than ever.

 

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2020

 

The Call to Evangelization has been Heralded by three Popes and the Clergy. So how do we answer their Call?

Evangelism                                                      en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

The term, “New Evangelization” was introduced by Pope St. John Paul II, back in 1983. This call to evangelize has been carried forward by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. Even today, our priests often tell us to go out and evangelize.

Evangelization by the laity makes sense. A simple way to understand the problem is to consider that only 22% of those who say they are Catholics attend Mass on Sunday. Incredibly, 70% of those that profess Catholicism do not believe in the Real Presence. Those two things, the Mass and the Real Presence, are the nucleus of our faith. How can so many be so lost yet still say they are Catholic?

We Catholics have heard much about how we must evangelize. Unfortunately, most Catholics still do not know how to do it. Most of us even avoid discussion with each other about controversial topics in the Church. Indeed, none of us are going to stand on a milk crate on a street corner, hold up a Bible, and say, “Repent, repent.” So…how should Catholics evangelize?

The first thing we must realize is that we are part of a team The name of the team is Catholic/Christian. The owner and general manager is Jesus  The next position is that of“coach.” There are different coaching levels such as cardinals and bishops. But we, the laity, have one regular weekly coach. He would be the priest saying the Sunday Mass we attend.

Standing at the ambo after reading the Gospel, he could prepare us for the week ahead. The ambo is his “bully pulpit,” meaning he can say anything he wants. The good part for him is that no one will say anything back or challenge him (at least I have never seen that happen). He would be our coach, and we parishioners, his team.

When we leave  Church, that should mean  the kickoff has been made and  it is “game on.”  We, the members of the coach’s team, will primarily and foremost behave according to the commandments. They are what we should treat as the “fundamentals.”  However, we need to know more than the fundamentals. We need “coach” to talk to us about what is going on within the church and is on everyone’s mind. We need to know how to confront the other team’s game plan. By the way, the other team members consist of all those who reject and/or have fallen away from our faith.

We cannot evangelize if we do not know what Holy Mother Church teaches about certain things that are heard about every day. We rarely hear about church teaching on euthanasia and birth-control which are not permitted by the church? How about being told that gay marriage is not allowed and that the church only approves of marriage between a man and a woman.

You can be in full communion with the church and be a homosexual. But you cannot have a sexual relationship. The sex act is for married partners, a man, and a woman, only.  I am a widower and therefore a single man. I am not allowed to have a sexual relationship unless I remarry. Priests take a vow of celibacy and do not have sex.

Here is a “newsflash: We have to eat, and sleep, and breathe, to live. We do NOT have to have sex to live. If we abstain, we will not die.  How often have our coaches talked about those things as we sit in the pews?

There is more the coaches could help us with. Our game plan needs to expand. We need to hear about how divorce and getting remarried without an annulment is against church teaching. We need to know the rules about marriage, contraception, and birth control. And we need to be ready to talk about these things and not be afraid. And the coaches have to not worry about being politically correct or socially sensitive. They are there to help save our souls, not to make us happy. That can come second.

Alone, we can always be setting Christian example by giving a smile to someone passing by, saying hello to a stranger, opening a door for someone, giving some money to a person in need, or saying grace publicly in a restaurant. Those things can be our evangelizing warm-ups.

However, we do have an evangelization technique available to most of us. It is called social media. My method of being a “lone evangelist” is via social media.  How many of you use Facebook and/or Twitter? How about Linkedin or Pinterest? Youtube? Snapchat? Google? Chrome? Tumblr? Instagram?

Go on Facebook and post, “I LOVE JESUS.” That’s it—you are spreading  the “Good News.” We all can be evangelists right from our own homes. How easy is that? Or is it? You may lose some friends. I have for sure. I have also gained some. In fact, I have been kicked off Facebook twice for posting something about Our Lady.

Facebook seems to be primarily for folks to share about themselves and what they are doing, how they are doing, and how their friends and families are. Most people will not spread the “GOOD NEWS” on Facebook. But why not? You can post a picture of a child to promote life or an image of people feeding the homeless. Those are always Christian messages. The fact of the matter is, the laity must help spread the Word. The clergy needs us…and we need their coaching prowess. We are all in it together.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

 

Loneliness in America; a growing and deadly Epidemic

Loneliness                                        stockvault.net

By Larry Peterson

My wife passed on almost two years ago and when you become “widowed” there is an inescapable loneliness factor that enters your life. But I have learned that loneliness has no boundaries. It reaches out for everyone and captures many of the unsuspecting, including the seemingly happy and contented and successful, dragging them into a world of hidden misery and often depression.

Even though loneliness does occupy a unique place in the widowed equation, as it does for those who may have lost a child, a parent, or even a dear friend,  loneliness reaches out and grabs many unsuspecting folks who, on the surface, have happy and contented lives going on. It has become a social condition of almost epidemic proportions that has swept across America and is affecting millions of our neighbors.

When a man and a woman have been together for a long time, and one of them dies, the one left living is deeply wounded. But as painful as that may be, it makes sense; part of who they were is now missing and they cannot get that part back. Over time the wound will scar over and the intensity of the pain will diminish yet never leave. But what about the others?

Cigna referenced a “Loneliness Index,” and it shows that loneliness is an actual epidemic in the United States. This worldwide health service company used the UCLA Loneliness Scale  (yes, they have a loneliness scale) which is a 20 item questionnaire that was designed to determine a person’s social isolation and their subjective feelings. This evaluator is used frequently to track and measure loneliness. Some of the results were astonishing. This is from their report of May 1, 2018:

  • 47 percent of Americans sometimes or always feel alone
  • 27 percent of Americans feel no one understands them
  • 40 percent feel that their relationships have no meaning and feel isolated
  • 20 percent feel they feel close to no one and have no one to talk to
  • AMAZINGLY—the Generation Z people (18 to 22) are the loneliest generation. How scary is that?
  • Social Media users have a 43.5 percent loneliness factor which was comparable to the 41.7 percent for those who do not use social media.

If we think about the actual numbers these percentages refer to it is mind-boggling. In s nation of 330,000,000 people, 20 percent is 66.000,000 of us. When we say 47 percent, we are almost at 150,000,000 people. How can almost half the population of the United States of America, feel alone? How can 66,000,000 people feel close to no one or have no one to talk to?

The answer may be right in our face, but the secular world will never factor it in. You see, nowhere is the name of God mentioned in these findings. And nowhere is the importance of the traditional family considered.

Over the past 25 years, there is a 58 percent drop in attending club meetings, a 43 percent drop in family dinners, and a 35% drop in having friends over. Children have regulated play time, and they are deprived of social development. We reach in our pockets and pull out electronic devices that allow us to instantly reach each other day or night anywhere in the world, but how many of us are talking to each other.

Is our main mode of communication now email? How many young people can even write a letter or address an envelope? Job applicants interview over the phone or skype, couples break up via text message.

Loneliness is brought upon us by things we have no control over such as death, injury, accidents, and natural disasters. This we understand, this makes sense. But for so many, especially the young, to feel so alone with no one to turn to, is one of the saddest commentaries of our era. This does NOT make sense.

Getting back to God and family would be akin to putting the lynchpin back into the hub of life. Then, people, kids included, might be taught that they can turn to Jesus and think of His words from Matthew 28:20   And behold, I am with you always, until the end of this age.

Interestingly, the first three words of the Bible are; “In the beginning—”  Could the Bible or an app for the Bible be the beginning for someone to believe that they are NEVER alone?

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted
is the most terrible poverty.”
St. Teresa of Calcutta

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019