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Stop Physician-Assisted Suicide in Maryland #prolife #StopPASMD

HB 1021 and SB 676 are bills proposed in the Maryland General Assembly this session that would legalize physician-assisted suicide, which was previously outlawed in 1999.

 Via Maryland Against Physician Assisted Suicide, here are flaws with the legislation:

  • The legislation does not require doctors to give patients a screening for depression before providing physician assisted suicide.   
  • Patients can request physician-assisted suicide if a doctor has diagnosed them with a terminal illness and six months or less to live. Such a prognosis is nearly impossible to accurately predict.  
  • No doctor, nurse, or independent witness is present when the lethal dose is taken.
  • People will pick up their lethal prescription at their local pharmacy.
  • There is no requirement to notify family members that you plan on taking a lethal medication

Physician-assisted suicide is opposed by the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Nurses Association, the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, the National Council on Disability, and several other medical groups.

For more information on this legislation, read a fact sheet. You should also contact your legislators to register your opposition to this bill. I have also heard in numerous discussions on this legislation that Governor Larry Hogan has said he would veto it if it passed.

All of the inherent flaws detailed above are sound reasons to oppose this legislation from a secular standpoint. 

One of the religious groups opposing this legislation is the Maryland Catholic Conference. They have a fact sheet online also. 

I’ve noted before what F. Michael Gloth, III, an Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Outpatient Services in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins, has written on physician-assisted suicide:

Catholic teaching condemns physician-assisted suicide because it, like murder, involves taking an innocent human life…

Policy makers and the public are not always receptive to appeals to Catholic moral teaching. Fortunately, well-established principles of medicine and bioethics provide sound and abundant grounds for opposing physician-assisted suicide.

McGloth closes with this:

There is, of course, a final reason to advocate for physician-assisted suicide. It is cheaper to kill a person than to provide care. Yet a physician’s first obligation is to “Do No Harm.” Until that is replaced with “Save more money,” it will be difficult to support physician-assisted suicide.

In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Saint John Paul II wrote the following on the issue:

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. In a remarkably relevant passage St. Augustine writes that “it is never licit to kill another: even if he should wish it, indeed if he request it because, hanging between life and death, he begs for help in freeing the soul struggling against the bonds of the body and longing to be released; nor is it licit even when a sick person is no longer able to live.”

Even when not motivated by a selfish refusal to be burdened with the life of someone who is suffering, euthanasia must be called a false mercy, and indeed a disturbing “perversion” of mercy. True “compassion” leads to sharing another’s pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear. Moreover, the act of euthanasia appears all the more perverse if it is carried out by those, like relatives, who are supposed to treat a family member with patience and love, or by those, such as doctors, who by virtue of their specific profession are supposed to care for the sick person even in the most painful terminal stages.

Emotional arguments are being used by proponents of this bill to try to get it passed. If you oppose this legislation, your Senator and Delegates need to hear from you as soon as possible.

Also, be sure to follow @StopPASMaryland on Twitter and like their Facebook page.

Pro-Abortion Martin O’Malley to run on his “Catholic values” in 2016

Maryland State Senator James Rosapepe penned a love note to former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley in The Hill last month in hopes of helping O’Malley’s long-shot presidential campaign.

Rosapepe on O’Malley’s ultimately successful attempts to repeal Maryland’s death penalty:

Nothing characterizes O’Malley more for me than that brief conversation. In less than sixty seconds, he showed me the kind of leader he is: principled, progressive, strategic, and skillful.

He knew his Catholic values, had no reservation about expressing them, was focused on the long game — and lobbied with an engaged and respectful touch.

Rosapepe lays more of the groundwork for his theme:

But, as one who has watched O’Malley up close during his years as governor, I find him more interesting and unusual in the modern Democratic Party. He’s a social justice Catholic—or, as some have called him, a Pope Francis Democrat—in the tradition of Mario Cuomo and Robert Kennedy.

Rosapepe also discusses O’Malley offering to house illegal immigrant minors in Maryland last year and sums it up thusly:

That’s the Martin O’Malley I know — acting on the values he learned from his family, from his Jesuit high school teachers, and from his college years at the Catholic University. And acting with the leadership skills of an Irish Catholic Democrat he learned in seven years as mayor of Baltimore and eight years as governor of Maryland.

Rosapepe closes with the following:

O’Malley didn’t do this all by himself. But, with his Catholic social justice values and Irish political skills, he’s led Maryland’s progress for the past eight years. These are the traits he brings to the national stage.

It has always been fascinating to me, even before I became Catholic, that O’Malley touts his Catholic values when it comes to his opposition to the death penalty and ignores Catholic values regarding the murder of the innocent unborn through abortion.

O’Malley also cited his Catholic values and his concern for the welfare of immigrant minors yet his concerns for the welfare of minors in his own state are suspect. He took no action to require minors to get parental consent (or even notification) for an abortion but signed a state law that requires minors to get parental consent to use a tanning bed.

While Rosapepe makes the comparison to Cuomo, who made the case Catholics could pick and choose which doctrines to follow, a more contemporary comparison might be Archbishop Cordileone in San Francisco who recently admonished Rep. Nancy Pelosi:

Responding to statements made by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi–who would not say at her press briefing last week if a 20-week-old unborn child is a “human being”–Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said that it is a “scientific fact that human life begins at conception” and that “no Catholic can dissent in good conscience” from Church teaching on the sanctity of life.

The subject of that discussion is a proposed ban on abortion past 20 weeks into the pregnancy. Polling shows that 84% of Americans (and 69% of people who identify themselves as “pro-choice”) support significant restrictions on abortion past the first 3 months. That legislation is such a no-brainer that it was supported by O’Malley’s Republican successor Larry Hogan prior to his election, even though he generally went out of his way to avoid mentioning pro-life issues in the primary or general election campaign.

Count on O’Malley to continue toeing the Democratic Party line on this issue despite what public opinion shows. In fact, Maryland became a destination of choice for late-term abortionists like Leroy Carhart and Steven Brigham during the O’Malley administration. The results included harm and even death to pregnant women undergoing late term abortions.

I asked back before the election if it was a mortal sin for Catholics to vote for Anthony Brown for governor. I’ll echo that question again now – is it a mortal sin for Catholics to vote for Martin O’Malley in 2016?

O’Malley received a top award from Planned Parenthood in Maryland. He pushed for more spending on destructive embryonic stem cell research. These two items in conjunction with all of the details above make it hard to believe He is running in anything but Cafeteria Catholic values in 2016.

Educating Obama on The Crusades

There are many legends about world history that are based in falsehoods. If you get your notions of what The Crusades were all about from Islamists claiming the Crusades continue today, or from voices in the mainstream media, or even from Monty Python and Mel Brooks bits, then it is not unexpected that you would get it wrong. President Barack Obama showed today that he is misinformed on the issue at best.

At the National Prayer Breakfast earlier today, President Obama made the following remarks while discussing religious extremism:

“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” he said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Within a month of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 former President Bill Clinton said something similar at his alma mater, Georgetown:

“Those of us who come from various European lineages are not blameless,” he declared. “Indeed, in the First Crusade, when the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem, they first burned a synagogue with three hundred Jews in it, and proceeded to kill every woman and child who was Muslim on the Temple Mount. The contemporaneous descriptions of the event describe soldiers walking on the Temple Mount, a holy place to Christians, with blood running up to their knees.

“I can tell you that that story is still being told today in the Middle East, and we are still paying for it,” he concluded,

Thomas F. Madden, who wrote about the Clinton remarks in a 2009 book review at First Things, had the following to say (emphasis added by me):

It is generally thought that Christians attacked Muslims without provocation to seize their lands and forcibly convert them. The Crusaders were Europe’s lacklands and ne’er-do-wells, who marched against the infidels out of blind zealotry and a desire for booty and land. As such, the Crusades betrayed Christianity itself. They transformed “turn the other cheek” into “kill them all; God will know his own.”

Every word of this is wrong. Historians of the Crusades have long known that it is wrong, but they find it extraordinarily difficult to be heard across a chasm of entrenched preconceptions. For on the other side is, as Riley-Smith puts it “nearly everyone else, from leading churchmen and scholars in other fields to the general public.”

The book reviewed by Madden was The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam by Jonathan Riley-Smith. Be sure to read the whole review for lots of good information. Madden also points out that all the Crusades met the criteria for a just war.

Steve Weidenkopf, author of a book (The Glory of the Crusades), wrote a piece in 2014 detailing why the Crusades were just wars.

Weidenkopf wrote the following summary on the justification for the Crusades:

The invasion of Christian territory, Muslim persecution of native Christians and pilgrims, plus the threat posed to the Christian Byzantine Empire, were all legitimate reasons to engage in defensive warfare and, and Bl. Pope Urban II cited them as justification for the First Crusade. And so in 1095, at the Council of Clermont, the pope preached an armed pilgrimage to recover the lost Christian territory of the East and specifically the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Urban viewed the Crusade as a pilgrimage, the aim of which was not to conquer but to visit the place of pilgrimage and then return home. Later popes maintained the understanding of the Crusades as just, defensive wars with the central goal of the recovery of ancient Christian territory. Heroic men and women of faith, rooted in love of Christ and neighbor, undertook the Crusades as acts of self-defense and recovery of stolen property. This is the proper understanding of these important events in Church history.

Weidenkopf also noted specific reasons for the justification including 12,000 Christian pilgrims from Germany killed by Seljuk Turks as they approached Jerusalem on Good Friday in 1065. Also noted – the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in 638 that included the destruction of over 300 monasteries and churches.

This from Weidenkopf sounds a lot like ISIS today:

The Crusades were also a response to the severe persecution of indigenous Christians living in the occupied territories, whose lives were severely restricted and who suffered constant pressure to convert to Islam. As an example, in the early eleventh century, Christians living in the Fatimid caliphate were subject to persecution during the reign of al-Hakim, who ordered them to wear identifying black turbans and a large cross in public. He also ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, originally built by Constantine and St. Helena in the fourth century.

Another Weidenkopf piece on the “glorious” Crusades last year discussed where the misperceptions came from:

The negative “spin” on the Crusades began in the sixteenth century with the Protestant revolutionary Martin Luther, who saw them as an outgrowth of papal authority and power. Later Enlightenment authors such as Voltaire and Edward Gibbon shaped modernity’s negative view of the Crusades by portraying them as barbaric projects undertaken by greedy and savage warriors at the behest of a corrupt papacy. Modern-day Crusade historians, thankfully, eschew the anti-religious prejudices behind this view, and are bringing to light an authentic understanding of these Catholic events from the perspective of those who participated in them. But such scholarship has not eradicated the popular myths.

Add in the Islamist views discussed by Madden and an anti-Catholic media and the mistaken views on the Crusades can be explained, whether it is rooted in ignorance or antipathy.

Weidenkopf on the nature of the Crusades:

The Crusading movement was a Catholic movement. Popes called for Crusades, clerics (and saints) preached them, ecumenical councils planned and discussed them, and Catholic warriors fought them for spiritual benefits. The Crusades cannot be properly understood apart from this Catholic reality. The modern world’s historical amnesia on this point is curable, and the cure begins with Catholics learning the authentic history of their Church and the culture it created. Like the Benedictine monks of old, we modern Catholics can maintain the inheritance of Western Civilization, and correct the errors and biases of our age, through a commitment to learn our history and take pride (where appropriate) for the actions of the men and women who came before us in the Faith.

Madden made similar points:

But the Crusades were not just wars. They were holy wars, and that is what made them different from what came before. They were made holy not by their target but by the Crusaders’ sacrifice. The Crusade was a pilgrimage and thereby an act of penance. When Urban II called the First Crusade in 1095, he created a model that would be followed for centuries. Crusaders who undertook that burden with right intention and after confessing their sins would receive a plenary indulgence. The indulgence was a recognition that they undertook these sacrifices for Christ, who was crucified again in the tribulations of his people.

Madden discusses the sacrifices at length, whether it was death or financial ruin for the Crusaders.

As for the other historical references made by Obama along with the Crusades, I’ll leave those for another day. However, Steve Wiedenkopf has something to say about the Inquisition. More on the Inquisition here.

Since this post relies heavily on Weidenkopf’s writings at the website of Catholic Answers, I’d be remiss in not mentioning a blog post there on the subject of the president’s speech today. The post, “Terrible Deeds and Odious Comparisons“, is by Todd Agliolaro.

Vatican: Pope’s remarks “distorted”


Father Thomas Rosica, Vatican spokesman, issued this statement:

The Pope’s expression is in no way intended to be interpreted as a justification for the violence and terror that took place in Paris last week. The Pope’s words about Dr. Gasbarri were spoken colloquially and in a friendly, intimate matter among colleagues and friends on the journey. His words mean that there are limits to humor and satire particularly in the ways that we speak about matters of faith and belief. Pope Francis’ response might be similar to something each of us has felt when those dearest to us are insulted or harmed. The Pope’s free style of speech, especially in situations like the press conference must be taken at face value and not distorted or manipulated. The Pope has spoken out clearly against the terror and violence that occurred in Paris and in other parts of the world. Violence begets violence. Pope Francis has not advocated violence with his words on the flight.

Aleteia published the statement along with the context – that Dr. Gasbarri was a papal staffer who the Pope joked he would punch in the nose if Gasbarri said anything about his mother. Additionally, the Aleteia article publishes a statement by the Coptic pope and a bishop.

The article also notes that Charlie Hebdo staffers say they don’t want support from Catholics:

What made us laugh the most is that the bells of Notre Dame rang in our honor. We would like to send a message to Pope Francis…: We will only accept the bells of Notre Dame ringing in our honor when it is Femen who make them ring.

This wasn’t the first time nor will it be the last that the current Pope has his words distorted, taken out of context, or mis-translated by those in the media or other groups eager to cast him in light if their own views or biases.

Junipero Serra to be canonized during papal visit to US


Catholic News Agency:

In a surprise addition to his fall 2015 trip to the U.S., Pope Francis is planning to canonize the founder of California’s first missions, Bl. Junipero Serra.

“In September, God willing, I will canonize Junipero Serra in the United States,” declared Pope Francis aboard Sri Lankan Air Flight UL4111 on the way to Manila.

Bl. Serra, a Franciscan priest, lived in what is now California in the 1700s. A Spanish-born missionary, he founded the first nine of 21 eventual missions in California. He worked tirelessly with the Native Americans, and is said to have baptized more than 6,000 people, and confirmed 5,000.

“He was the evangelizer of the west in the United States,” Pope Francis beamed.

Bl. Serra’s canonization will be the latest in a systematic action from Pope Francis to give a boost to evangelization efforts throughout the world.

Serra will be the latest “equipollent” canonization – meaning no miracle was verified and the normal process was waived so that the Pope could declare him to be a saint.

Pope Francis will be in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in September and may also be visiting Washington and New York. It is not known where the canonization would take place, but Serra is entombed at Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo in Carmel-by-the-Sea in California (Clint Eastwood was the town’s mayor at one point.)

During the American Revolution, Serra had a collection taken up in mission parishes and sent those funds to General George Washington.

Allegations by some that he mistreated native Americans were dismissed as unfounded during his beatification process. in fact, the truth was reported to be be very different:

Dr. Iris Engstrand, professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of San Diego, described him as “much nicer to the Indians, really, than even to the governors. He didn’t get along too well with some of the military people, you know. His attitude was, ‘Stay away from the Indians.’ I think you really come up with a benevolent, hard-working person who was strict in a lot of his doctrinal leanings and things like that, but not a person who was enslaving Indians, or beating them, ever….He was a very caring person and forgiving. Even after the burning of the mission in San Diego, he did not want those Indians punished. He wanted to be sure that they were treated fairly…”

Sabato: Ehrlich is a 7th Tier Candidate for 2016


Larry Sabato published his ratings for 2016 Republican candidates before the latest round of Mitt Romney buzz. That latest bit of momentum for Romney wouldn’t change things at the bottom of the rankings, where we find former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich.

Ehrlich is at the bottom of the seventh tier, behind George Pataki and Peter King. Sabato’s description of that tier is, “Newt Gingrich Society — ‘Want to buy a book?'”

Here’s Sabato’s snarky listing for Ehrlich’s key primary advantages:

— e-mail us if you can think of one

Sabato also lists key primary disadvantages:

•Lost twice to…Martin O’Malley
•Time has passed him by: “Bob Who?”
•No grassroots support

In all, there are twenty candidates ranked higher than Ehrlich. I think Sabato is on to something re: Ehrlich with the book sales strategy. Ehrlich also may be desperately trying to cling to relevance now that he’s no longer the last Republican to win a statewide election in Maryland (especially after he predicted he would be the last Republican elected governor of Maryland.) of course, jetting away to New Hampshire and Iowa is a bit more glamorous than headlining fundraisers for Pat McDonough.

If both Ehrlich and Governor Martin O’Malley continue with plans for their 2016 bids, Maryland will have the dubious distinction of having a former governor flame out and sink to the bottom in both the Republican and Democratic primaries.

Report: GOP denied money to Bongino over likely Boehner opposition

Dan Bongino

In a report on Rep. Louie Gohmert’s challenge to Speaker John Boehner earlier this week, Sarah Rumpf of Breitbart Texas reported this tidbit:

One intriguing wrinkle to the mention of Dan Bongino, who came tantalizingly close to winning a Congressional race in Maryland, is that he was unable to get significant support from the NRCC or other official party fundraising operations. A consultant who worked on Republican congressional campaigns last election cycle but did not want to be named told Breitbart Texas that Bongino could not get financial support because it was believed that he would be unlikely to support Boehner or his designated successor.

If true, this is pretty damning. That a potential pickup in a blue state was not funded by the national leadership due to hypotheticals about what might happen in a speaker’s race is ludicrous.