Program #0233 for Thursday, February 9, 2012: Cardinal Seán’s homily on assisted suicide; Little Sisters of the Poor; Honorary Ibo chief; Defense of marriage

February 9, 2012

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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Susan Abbott

Today’s guest(s): Fr. Roger Landry, executive editor of The Anchor, the newspaper of the Fall River diocese; and Gregory Tracy, managing editor of The Pilot, the newspaper of the Boston archdiocese

Links from today’s show:

  • The Anchor
  • The Pilot
  • Some of the stories discussed on this show will be available on The Pilot’s and The Anchor’s websites on Friday morning. Please check those sites for the latest links.

Today’s topics: Cardinal Seán’s homily on assisted suicide; Little Sisters of the Poor; Honorary Ibo chief; Defense of marriage

Summary of today’s show: Scot Landry, Susan Abbott, Fr. Roger Landry, and Greg Tracy discuss the news of the week including an advance look at Cardinal Seán’s homily on assisted suicide that will be heard in parishes throughout the Archdiocese; the Little Sisters of the Poor in Somerville who truly show what death with dignity looks like; a pastor in Hyde Park who’s been made an honorary chief in a Nigerian tribe; and how the defense of marriage is linked to the defense of religious freedom.

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1st segment: Scot welcomed Susan, Fr. Roger, and Greg back to the show. He said the biggest story in the Pilot this week is a preview of Cardinal Seán’s homily that will be played in the parishes of the Archdiocese with his remarks on the assisted suicide ballot initiative. Greg said the Cardinal has taken on this issue full force to make sure people are educated on this issue.

Susan said the Cardinal talks about the slippery slope, noting how in the Netherlands after euthanasia was legalized, doctors are now killing people for non-terminal ailments and sometimes even without their permission. He also quotes from the Hippocratic Oath, which says the doctor will not prescribe a lethal dose. Fr. Roger said many schools no longer administer the oath. Greg said the original oath also said the doctor would not perform abortions.

Fr. Roger said the Cardinal says the assisted suicide proponents use euphemisms for killing and suicide. He said the Cardinal’s leadership is very important and he hopes the cardinal’s words are repeated by people throughout Massachusetts.

Scot quoted from the homily:

The 5th Commandment states “Thou shall not kill.” This certainly includes killing to alleviate suffering. Doctor-assisted suicide occurs when a doctor assists the patient to end his own life, even though does not directly administer the lethal drug. It is doctor-prescribed death. Blessed Pope John Paul II said: “To concur with the intention of another person to commit suicide and to help in carrying it out through so-called “assisted suicide” means to cooperate in, and at
times to be the actual perpetrator of, an injustice which can never be excused, even if it is requested.”

Scot said the slippery slope is true when it comes to life issues. The more we devalue human life, the worse it becomes in the future. susan said there is much confusion about Catholic teaching on end of life care and we need education for this. Greg said in the proposed law it says that the death certificate wouldn’t say suicide. If suicide is okay, why won’t they use the word?

2nd segment: Scot talked about an article in the Pilot this week about the Little Sisters of the Poor in Somerville who are serving the elderly and terminally ill at Jeanne Jugan Residence. Greg said the Pilot wanted to have a story that was a counterpoint to the assisted suicide advocates. These woman witness to the dignity of human life by the care they show to the dying. Susan said they accompany those at the end of life and provide for the poorest who have no one else to take care of them. They stay with the person, even up to 24 hours a day. She quoted the sisters who said St. Jeanne Jugan did not found nursing homes, but founded homes for these elderly poor people and this is why they are called “little sisters”.

Scot said this is truly death with dignity and there are many Catholics who are willing to care for the dying. Fr. Roger said Pope John Paul II wrote that seeing suffering in others unleashes love in us.

Scot said also in the Pilot this week is a story on Fr. Paul Keyes, who helped grow St. Michael’s in Andover to the largest parish in the Archdiocese. He’s been given senior priest/retirement status.

One of Susan’s favorite stories is about Fr. Peter Nolan who’s been named an honorary chief in a tribe in Nigeria.

In recognition of the accomplishments of his ministry there 50 years ago, elders and tribal leaders made Father Nolan an honorary chief of the Ibo tribe at a ceremony on Dec. 31 celebrating the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first missionaries in the town of Nimo.

Fr. Nolan is a Holy Ghost Father who came to Boston years ago from Ireland to study at Boston College. Susan said he originally lived at her parish, St Theresa’s in West Roxbury. He’s now pastor of Most Precious Blood in Hyde Park.

3rd segment: Scot said Fr. Roger’s editorial this week connects the defense of marriage with the Church’s battle for religious freedom. Fr. Roger said religious leaders in the US signed a letter connecting the two topics. The Obama administration has failed to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. As soon as we begin to change the meaning of marriage we start to lose religious freedom as we’ve started to see in states that have legalized same-sex marriage. Town clerks and owners of wedding-related businesses are being fined and sued if they follow their own conscience on the meaning of marriage. He said this letter is a consicise and beautiful statement on these connections.

Greg said in a story this week that the 9th Circuit Court of appeals in San Francisco ruled a voter-passed law defending marriage is unconstitutional and violated the 14th amendment. Scot said the circular logic of the ruling was ridiculous because it based its decision on those who married during the brief period after a court created the right to marry.

Greg noted that everywhere the people have voted on same-sex marriage, they have voted to defend the traditional definition of marriage. It’s not like the civil rights fight of the 60s because in that case it was a few states fighting against the majority of the country, but here it’s the courts stepping to undermine the will of the majority. Susan said she is interested to see whether this reaches the Supreme Court level.

Fr. Roger said he thinks the Supreme Court will have to confront this issue and we have to pray for our Supreme Court Justices. Once the court makes its decision—which should be to defend marriage—then we’ll have to see if we can overturn it at the state level. At the least we’ll have to re-evangelize and educate people on the definition of marriage.

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