|U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry|
admires Vatican art
|Cardinal Dolan with NY Mayor Bill de Blasio|
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has not been a friend to Roman Catholics. His policies in support of abortion, homosexual rights, and increased taxes for Church-owned lots have been met with stern opposition from many people of faith.
But the Mayor has been inspired by Pope Francis’ message, and he hopes to attract the pontiff to visit New York City.
With that in mind, Mayor de Blasio visited Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s residence in Midtown on January 13. The two discussed their mutual interests, and made plans to work together to bring Pope Francis to town.
De Blasio left the 45-minute meeting upbeat and enthusiastic. According to a report in Politicker.com:
Mr. de Blasio raved about the “fantastic meeting,” which he said had covered a lot of ground.The mayor, who was raised Catholic and whose Italian uncle was a priest, has broken ties with the church of his youth and is not affiliated with any formal religion. He was elected by a 73% majority of New Yorkers, despite a number of anti-Catholic planks in his platform, including:
“Just wanted to say that I’m really appreciative of the opportunity to spend as much time as I did with His Eminence. And it was a very energizing meeting. We have so much common ground, so much we want to work on together.
“We talked a lot about affordable housing. We talked a lot about Catholic charities and the work it does on behalf of children, on behalf of people in need. We talked about the need to help prisoners returning to society, a whole host of areas where we have common ground and where we can work together,” he added. “We think it’s crucial for the people we represent to have a personal bond and a close working relationship.”
- He has pledged to partner with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, helping them to expand their businesses, even providing “city-sponsored” space to set up shop.
- At the same time, he pledged to help abortionists to wipe out their main competition, pro-life pregnancy centers—which he refers to as “sham” clinics which are not “legitimate health care centers.” (Pro-life pregnancy centers offer women financial and logistical assistance to either keep their babies or place them with adoptive families, but they do not perform abortions.)
- He supports a pending appeal by the City of New York of a court order striking down a law aimed at closing pro-life pregnancy centers. If the court appeal fails, de Blasio pledges to “craft new regulations to prevent [crisis pregnancy] centers from masquerading as legitimate health care providers.”
- He supports a NARAL-backed program begun under Mayor Michael Bloomberg to force doctors who train in city hospitals to perform abortions as a routine part of their training. This is intended to ensure that there are a sufficient number of abortionists to meet the high demand in the city.
- He has pledged to use ObamaCare to expand state funding for abortion, so that more New York women will have access to abortions.
- He plans to raise taxes on some 7,000 to 10,500 vacant residential lots, many of which are owned by the Roman Catholic Church. De Blasio’s plan calls for a five-year phase-in period, after which owners of the vacant lots could expect tax hikes averaging $15,300 annually. Crain’s reports that the plan is intended to spur development of housing; but critics doubt that the higher taxes would have the desired effect.
De Blasio has shown solidarity with gays rather than with Irish Catholics, declining to march in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade—citing homosexuals’ complaints that they are not permitted to march. (Actually, the parade officials do not permit any organization to preempt the stated purpose of the parade, namely, to honor St. Patrick; so pro-life organizations, also, may not march under their own banner.)
When the Brooklyn Museum of Art hosted an anti-Catholic exhibit that featured elephant dung smeared on a portrait of the Virgin Mary, along with pornographic pictures, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani pledged to pull funding from the museum; but de Blasio, then serving as campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s bid for the U.S. Senate seat, accompanied Clinton to the museum without comment.
He ignored a request from the Catholic League to light the Empire State Building in blue and white commemorating Mother Teresa’s centenary.
De Blasio does have direct experience with one “Catholic” organization. In the 1980s, he was employed by the Maryland-based Quixote Center, a social justice center which supports liberation theology and which has been investigated by the Justice Department for smuggling guns to their Sandinista friends, and has been the target of probes by the IRS and the U.S. Customs Service. According to the website of the Quixote Center:
The Quixote Center supports gender equality, including ordination for women; the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons; and advocate for an end to the rule of celibacy for Catholic clergy. We support full communion for divorced and remarried Catholics; due process for church employees and theologians; and democratic reforms in the governance of the Roman Catholic Church. We call for lay involvement in the formulation of church teachings on sexuality and reproduction, improvements in interfaith and ecumenical dialogue, and a strong church voice on issues of social justice.
Cardinal Dolan was cordial during the meeting, and seemed to anticipate a good working relationship with the new mayor. Speaking to reporters afterward, the Cardinal said:
“I expressed to him my deep appreciation for the courtesy of his visit … I felt inspired about his commitment to a lot of the causes that we’re passionate about and I felt excited about working closely working with him.”
Have you given up on your New Year's resolutions already? The New Year represents a time of new beginnings for many, but do you make your resolutions based on emotions and feelings tied to temporal things like saving money, losing weight, or reducing the clutter in your life? Is that where God wants you to focus ...
4:00 – Kresta Comments
4:20 – Jahi McMath and “Brain Death”
Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old girl who was declared legally dead by hospital staff and county officials after suffering complications from a routine tonsillectomy, has been released to her family to seek treatment elsewhere. The move comes after a settlement was reached Friday in Alameda County Superior Court between the girl’s family and Children’s Hospital. The family had been fighting to remove Jahi from the hospital since December 12, when hospital staff declared the girl “brain dead” after she went into cardiac arrest while recovering from surgery. We talk about this case, but also the larger question for Catholics about brain death. Dr. John Haas of the National Catholic Bioethics Center and Dr. Paul Bryne, Neonatologist and Pediatrician, have differing views on a Catholic understanding of brain death. They join us.
5:00 – Study of 36 Chinese Abortion-Breast Cancer Studies a “Game Changer”
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 36 Chinese studies by Dr. Yubei Huang and his colleagues in the prestigious journal, Cancer Causes Control, last week reported a significant 44% increased breast cancer risk among women with at least one induced abortion, compared to women without induced abortions. Huang's team cited and supports a 1996 review and meta-analysis, led by Joel Brind, Ph.D. and colleagues at Penn State, who found a 30% risk elevation for women with any history of induced abortions. We talk to Dr. Brind about his long-time fight to get the medical community to recognize the abortion – breast cancer link.
5:20 – More of the Holy Spirit: How to Keep the Fire Burning in Our Hearts
In the last forty years, many Catholics have experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their lives that resulted in a new passion for God and a zeal for spreading the gospel. In addition to a newfound love of prayer, Scripture, and the Eucharist, many have been blessed with the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as tongues and healing. Yet as the years go by, many often experience a waning of the gifts of the Spirit as well as a luke-warmness creeping into their lives. What can we do to keep that fire for God, which may have been ignited many years ago, burning brightly in our hearts? Sr. Ann Shields is here to tell us.
After the Sunday Angelus on January 12, Pope Francis announced the names of nineteen bishops from around the world whom he'd selected to receive the red hat.
Of the 19 new cardinals, sixteen are under 80 years of age and thus would be eligible to vote in a Conclave for a new pope. The number of eligible voters is now 121--one higher than the traditional 120 votes. However, among the cardinals of voting age is disgraced Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who resigned as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh last March, then went into exile following accusations of sexual impropriety. Cardinal O'Brien is not expected to participate in the upcoming Consistory.
From the Vatican's website, Pope Francis' announcement regarding the full list of new cardinals:
As was previously announced, on February 22, the Feast of the Chair of Peter, I will have the joy of holding a Consistory, during which I will name 16 new Cardinals, who, coming from 12 countries from every part of the world, represent the deep ecclesial relationship between the Church of Rome and the other Churches throughout the world.
The following day [February 23] I will preside at a solemn concelebration with the new Cardinals, while on February 20 and 21 I will hold a Consistory with all the Cardinals to reflect on the theme of the family.
Here are the names of the new Cardinals:
Pietro Parolin, Titular Archbishop of Acquapendente, Secretary of State
Lorenzo Baldisseri, Titular Archbishop of Diocleziana, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.
Gerhard Ludwig Műller, Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Regensburg, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Beniamino Stella, Titular Archbishop of Midila, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster (Great Britain).
Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, Archbishop of Managua (Nicaragua).
Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec (Canada).
Jean-Pierre Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan (Ivory Coast).
Orani João Tempesta, O.Cist., Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
Gualtiero Bassetti, Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve (Italy).
Mario Aurelio Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Andrew Yeom Soo jung, Archbishop of Seoul (Korea).
Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, S.D.B., Archbishop of Santiago del Cile (Chile).
Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo, Archbishop of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).
Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I., Archbishop of Cotabato (Philippines).
Chibly Langlois, Bishop of Les Cayes (Haïti).
Together with them, I will join to the Members of the College of Cardinals three Archbishops emeriti distinguished for their service to the Holy See and to the Church.
Loris Francesco Capovilla, Titular Archbishop of Mesembria.
Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, C.M.F., Archbishop emeritus of Pamplona.
Kelvin Edward Felix, Archbishop emeritus of Castries.
Let us pray for the new Cardinals, that vested in the virtues and the sentiments of the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, they might be able to help more effectively the Bishop of Rome in his service to the universal Church.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has blocked the administration’s mandate that the Little Sisters of the Poor contract to provide contraception coverage to their employees. That the case has gone this far illustrate the sickness of the left, the complacence of our popular media culture, and the weakness (partly self-inflicted) of President Obama’s political opponents.
“…the Obama administration would simply have given the sisters a thank you and left it at that. When it became clear that the president’s health care law would force the sisters to violate their consciences as a condition of continuing to alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable, the Obama administration could have apologized for the confusion and then either issued a waiver or called on Congress to adjust the law.
But, since the sisters’ beliefs are an example of unauthorized diversity, the Obama administration did not grant them a waiver. The Obama administration chose a “compromise” in which the sisters would still have to contract with a third-party to provide contraception coverage.
Absent a visible and comprehensible set of alternative policies, President Obama’s chaotic, expensive, and coercive statism will ultimately triumph.
4:00 – Kresta Comments
4:20 – CDC: U.S. Fertility Rate Hits Record Low for 2nd Straight
- On the one hand, the hospital and medical experts have declared her to be "brain-dead."
- On the other hand, her family attorney reports some improvement in her condition, now that she's been given a feeding tube and tracheal tube in her new care facility.
Whether Jahi is able to recover will become clearer in the days to come. We pray for her, and for her loving family.
But what does the Catholic Church teach about "brain-death"? When is it permissible to remove life support from a patient? What care must be maintained? The National Catholic Bioethics Center has published a helpful guide:
Jahi McMath and Catholic Teaching on Determination of Death
January 7, 2014
A very tragic case in California has gained national notoriety and prompted debates about the determination of death. It has been reported that at the beginning of December a 13 year old child, Jahi McMath, underwent surgery for breathing problems that occurred while she slept (sleep apnea). During the surgery her tonsils and other tissues were removed to enlarge the breathing passages. As she was recovering in the intensive care unit, she began to bleed profusely. She was reportedly placed on a ventilator to help doctors stabilize her condition. The physicians finally came to the medical judgment that she had died. They used neurological criteria for determining death since her heart was still beating.
Customarily, cardio-pulmonary criteria are used to determine death: the beating heart and the breathing of the patient stop and death is declared. However, when a patient is on a ventilator the oxygenated blood can enable the heart to continue beating making the patient to appear alive. Various tests are used to determine death using neurological criteria, including a complete lack of blood flow in the brain, the absence of any electrical activity of the brain, the absence of cranial nerve responses, and the inability of the patient to breathe on her own. The ability to breathe spontaneously would indicate that the brain stem is not dead, as is in the case of persons in various forms of coma, who are not actually dead. When the application of these tests confirmed death in the judgement of the physicians, the hospital asked the mother for permission to remove the ventilator from what they now considered to be her daughter’s corpse. The mother refused, insisting that her daughter was still alive and that the removal of the ventilator would kill her.
The National Catholic Bioethics Center cannot address the accuracy of the facts of the case of Jahi McMath since we have not been a party to the case; but this tragic situation provides an opportunity for the Center to make clear the teaching of the Catholic Church on the question of the determination of death using neurological criteria. Some media commentators have presented this situation as evidence of the opposition between faith and science since the mother professes to be a devout Christian and believes her daughter can be restored with God’s miraculous intervention. However, the determination of death by the rigorous application of the neurological criteria is considered legitimate by the Catholic Church, which accepts the findings of science in such a determination. The Catholic Church does not believe there can be any opposition between faith and science since both are gifts from God, the source of all truth.
In 2000 Pope John Paul II, who will be declared a saint in April, stated the following in an address to an international conference of health care professionals involved in organ transplantation: “It is a well-known fact that for some time certain scientific approaches to ascertaining death have shifted the emphasis from the traditional cardio-respiratory signs to the so-called ‘neurological’ criterion. Specifically, this consists in establishing, according to clearly defined parameters commonly held by the international scientific community, the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity (in the cerebrum, cerebellum, and the brain stem). This is then considered the sign that the individual organism has lost its integrative capacity. . . . Here it can be said that the criterion . . . for ascertaining the fact of death, namely the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity, if rigorously applied, does not seem to conflict with the essential elements of a sound anthropology.”
The Catholic Church considers the application of these criteria to be a legitimate means of determining death and has always maintained that it is the competency of the medical profession to declare death. In his 1957 address to anesthesiologists, Pius XII said: “It remains for the doctor to give a clear and precise definition of death and the moment of death of a patient who passes away . . .” Pope John Paul II said the same in his 2000 Address. The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, summarizes the continuous teaching of the Catholic Church: “The determination of death should be made by the physician or competent medical authority in accordance with responsible and commonly accepted scientific criteria.”
From news reports it appears that Jahi has been declared dead by physicians repeatedly and rigorously applying the neurological criteria, including an independent court-appointed pediatric neurologist from Stanford University, and that the coroner’s office has issued a death certificate. If this is accurate, at this point there would be no moral obligation for a hospital or physician to perform any procedure on a corpse such as placing a feeding tube or trying to stabilize the bodily functions that are kept working using mechanical means, as some have argued. This is a very tragic case but in the face of death, the Church proclaims that Jesus Christ has won the victory over death, and she has the obligation to comfort those who mourn with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the dead. We offer our prayers for all who have been so profoundly affected by this tragic event.