Program #0263 for Thursday, March 22, 2012: St. Thomas More College; palliative care; Choose Life plates; stand up for religious freedom; Baltimore archbishop; going to Cuba

March 22, 2012

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Summary of today’s show: In our regular Thursday news roundup, a new Catholic college is moving to the Archdiocese of Boston; palliative care is introduced as an alternative to assisted suicide; time is running out to show support for Choose Life license plates; a rally for religious freedom on Boston Common on Friday; new archbishop for Baltimore; Obama losing support from women; and Greg Tracy is going to Cuba.

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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: St. Thomas More College; palliative care; Choose Life plates; stand up for religious freedom; Baltimore archbishop; going to Cuba

1st segment: Scot welcomed Susan Abbott back to the show. She’s planning this Saturday’s Catechetical Congress. It’s a gathering of 800 catechists and directors of religious education. Bishop Richard Malone of Portland, Maine, will celebrate Mass and be the keynote speaker. They will give out two awards for excellence in catechetical leadership and recognizing volunteer catechists nominated by their pastors. After lunch here will be a number of workshops in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. It’s going to be held at Boston College High School.

2nd segment: Scot welcomed Gregory Tracy and Fr. Roger Landry to the show. Scot said in the Pilot this week is a story about the move of Thomas More College, now in southern New Hampshire, that is moving to Groton, Mass., which is in the Archdiocese of Boston. Pilot reporter got a tour of the new land that the campus will be located on.

It’s an old farm and they intend to keep some of the farm buildings. It’s about 35 acres, but it’s surrounded by dozens of acres of conservation land. They intend to preserve the historic buildings, but they will be able to build new buildings. The college will be able to grow from about 80 students to over 300. The college president said they will like Groton because they were very serious about the whole of the community. He also likes that students will be able to enjoy an historic New England town. They also hope to buy the former Sacred Heart church building, which is closed, and move it to the new campus.

Scot said this is a win for the Archdiocese. Susan said she’s thrilled, especially because of the mission of the college. Scot explained where in the northwest corner of the Archdiocese Groton is located. The move is expected between 2014 and 2019. Fr. Roger talked about the college’s positive features and advantages, including a semester abroad program in Rome.

Scot said another story is about the Women Affirming Life spring breakfast at which the speaker was M.C. Sullivan – a nurse, bioethicist, attorney and Director of Ethics at Covenant Health Systems in Tewksbury—who said the answer to the push for assisted suicide is better palliative care, which treats not just bodily pain, but also spiritual and emotional pain. The women at the breakfast were fired up. Susan said she was glad to learn of the difference between palliative care and hospice care. Hospice focuses strictly on the end of life, but palliative care can also be used for those with chronic illness.

Greg said more and more people are coming out to stay this assisted suicide is not curative and isn’t really helping people. He said palliative care recognizes that quality of life is not solely about “fixing” or curing someone. Fr. Roger said the short-term focus in this fight is for those who are the end of life, but also for the fight against the legalization effort for November. The longer-term issue is about creating a culture of life, not just for palliative care, but also to provide companionship and compassion through presence for those who are suffering alone.

Scot said another pro-life effort is the Massachusetts specialty license plate called Choose Life. Those who sponsor the plate effort have to give a bond to ensure to the state that enough plates will be issued. The organizers need about 600 plates in order to read their goal in the next few months. Fr. Roger said these plates are one of the best pro-life efforts we’ve been able to get through our Legislature the past few years. Thousands of people will see these plates as we drive around each day. He was one of the first to get the plate and he challenged many of his parishioners to get the plate as well and they have responded.

Fr. Roger joked they might even be a get-out-of-a-ticket card with regard to being pulled over by state troopers. He said we should be grateful for the anonymous donor who put $100,000 of his own money for the bond and hopes he gets all of his money back. But even more important we can show we support life in a commonwealth that may not be as pro-life as we want it to be.

Also in the Pilot this week is the announcement that Fr. John Delaney from St. Michael Parish in North Andover has been appointed as Pastor of Sacred Hearts Parish in Haverhill. Scot said St. Michael’s has had a lot of upheaval in recent months with three priests leaving for one reason or another. It is the largest parish in the archdiocese with the most activities of any parish. Greg said it’s a dynamic parish that is well-supported by the parishioners.

Also in the Pilot is the obituary for Fr. John Fallon, who was 89 years old. He was ordained in 1946 and served in many parishes in southern and western parts of the Archdiocese, although he served in most parts of the Archdiocese, including Gloucester, Arlington, and Ayer. He served 9 parishes in the archdiocese. His funeral Mass was celebrated in the parish where he was baptized, St. Charles Borromeo in Woburn. Fr. Roger talked about the baptismal imagery invoked in the funeral Mass and the symbolism of being buried from the same parish where he ws baptized.

Scot said in the Anchor was a story about Fr. Riley Williams who is serving in Rome where he wrote a book on the station churches of Rome. He also has a popular blog.

Other articles include the Legion of Mary of the diocese of Fall River celebrating its 60th anniversary, a profile of the Faith Formation Office in Fall River, Catholic Girl Scouts celebrating 100 years of scouting, and a new parish that brings togethers two other parishes in Fall River.

Scot also read prize-winning pro-life student essays that were published in this week’s Anchor, including an essay by eighth-grader Althea Turley:

I am lucky to walk, talk, and communicate normally with the people I love. I have spina bifida, and without spinal operations. my life would be dramatically different. My parents always loved me, regardless of my problems. Not all babies with birth defects are so lucky. Some never take their first breath. Six hundred ninety unborn babies with Down’s Syndrome were aborted in 2002, and that rate rises every year. Aborted babies will never experience the simple joys of life because a person rejected a wonderful gift. Only God should have the power to give or take a life as every human life is a gift and a miracle.

Jesus “came so that all might have life and have it to the full.” Victims of murder, capital punishment, assisted suicide, and abortion have a right to life. They are unable to have it because of the choices of others. God should be the only One to make these decisions, yet some people give up hope rather than trusting in God. They don’t leave it up to the omniscient Father.

Humans are fallible and make mistakes. Therefore, cancer patients who might live three more years may commit suicide because ofa doc-Il tor’s estimate of a month left to live. The same goes for abortion and capital punishment. A baby in a complicated pregnancy might not kill a mother, and a convicted criminal may be innocent after all. Life’s potential cannot be known. An aborted baby could discover cures for diseases or become a great world leader, but no one will ever know if he or she is deprived a chance at life.

The disabled, poor, elderly, and sick are just as important as anyone else and should be treated with the same respect. This past Advent season. my classmates and I volunteered at a homeless shelter and served lunch to the less fortunate who were so appreciative of a single meal. As I was there. I realized the homeless people who seemed so different on the outside weren’t so different from us. We all have the same needs and hopes, and we are all God’s children. We are all important and all merit good lives.

God is love, and He created us in His likeness, with the purpose of living a full, happy. and successful life. Humans need to realize this and let God choose when to terminate a life. We should put our faith in God and help others live lives God gives all His children.

Susan said she was really impressed. She has the message and has made this her message. She’s not just repeating what she’s heard. There seems to be great commitment in this. Scot said this is a neat contest, in which the winners read their essays during a Mass with Bishop Coleman. Fr. Roger said they’ve been doing the contest for a decade and they change the theme each year.

Fr. Roger said he loves seeing the perspective of the youth and the young have a great energy and hope and enthusiasm. Scot said the first place in the senior division was Eileen Corkery, a high school senior.

3rd segment: Scot said across the country tomorrow a lot of organizations are sponsoring local rallies at noon to stand up for religious freedom. A Boston rally will take place on the Boston Common on the corner of Park and Beacon Street. There will be five speakers from 12-1. Scot asked those who could take the time to join in so that our voices could be seen and heard.

Also this week, the bishop who is overseeing the US bishops’ religious freedom initiative, Bishop William Lori, has been appointed to become the next Archbishop of Baltimore. Fr. Roger said Baltimore was the first and only diocese in the United States soon after 1789. It’s the closest thing the US has to be a primatial see. That fact that we’re now in a very visible battle for religious freedom, most pundits thought Bishop Lori was most likely to be given the archdiocese. He is a native of the area.

Scot said another article shows that two former ambassadors to theVatican have joined the fight for religious freedom, Ray Flynn and Jim Nicholson. They have joined other former government officials to create a group called Conscience Cause. Greg said they intend to travel around the country speaking out about this issue from a different perspective from the bishops.

Scot said another late-breaking story is related to the lawsuit filed by EWTN against the HHS mandate. Today the state of Alabama has joined EWTN in that lawsuit, claiming that the federal mandate is hurting the rights of all Alabamans. It’s a big development for a state government to join a lawsuit like this.

Another story shows that President Obama’s approval rating among women voters has dropped.

Fr. Roger said he thinks the sense the Obama administration is projecting, that all women are lining up for their free contraception, is false. It’s awakened the vast majority of women for whom the National Organization for Women and Planned Parenthood don’t speak. Fr. Roger also thinks economic news is also important to women and that might be hurting the president as well. What Catholic women need to do is stand up and say what the President is trying to do doesn’t speak for their values when forcing them to pay for other women’s abortifacient pills. This is not the type of feminism they want to support.

Scot said it seems like it could offend a lot of women when far-left groups claim they speak for all women. Susan said this is a hot topic among women she knows, who are saying that the administration isn’t doing this for them. Susan suggested listeners re-listen to last Friday’s show to hear an excellent argument. Scot suggested many women will want to sign on to the petition at WomenSpeakForThemselves.com.

Greg said we can’t draw direct conclusions art o why the president’s approval rating dropped, but it must be related. It’s a little degrading to think that their vote can be purchased by contraceptions.

Scot said next week Greg will be visiting Cuba to cover Pope Benedict’s trip. Greg said his group is traveling to Havana to participate in the Pope’s Mass there. He is traveling with a group called Caritas Cubana. Over four days they will visit many of the projects they are doing there.

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