1. Worry of copycats in states with assisted-suicide laws, By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, December 6, 2016, Pg. A1.

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, a Florida radiologist and policy adviser to The Catholic Association, says it is difficult to demonstrate statistically the relationship between physician-assisted suicide laws and the overall suicide rate.

“I don’t think there’s any way that you can pinpoint that,” she says. “But suicide in general, we know what causes increases in the rates of suicide. When suicide is publicized, there’s a copycat effect. When people hear about suicide, more suicides occur. I think you have to assume that that’s something that happens, and I think you have to apply it in this case too.”

Dr. Christie says physician-assisted suicide laws may be especially influential because they co-opt two institutions that people are brought up to trust — the law and medicine.

“The law is a teacher,” Dr. Christie says. “When the law says that suicide is an honorable, compassionate solution for suffering, it would only make sense that suicide would increase in social acceptance for other cases.


2 Words are not enough — US must support Christians who survived genocide in Iraq, By Carl Anderson and Most. Rev. Bashar Warda, The Hill, December 5, 2016, 6:15 PM, Opinion.

Though it was never intentional, Christians in Iraq have suffered from U.S. action — and inaction — there, and the few who still remain represent a sort of living “collateral damage.”

The country’s Christian population has plummeted to about 200,000 from about 1.5 million in 2003.

America’s lack of financial support for those who survived ISIS’ genocide is shocking.

They are supported entirely by the Archdiocese, which also assists many Yazidis. Of the tens of millions of dollars spent, all of it is from private sources, like the Knights of Columbus and the Italian Bishops Conference. The Archdiocese of Erbil has received no money from the United States or Iraqi governments, or from the United Nations.

The United States must insist that Christians — and other non-majority groups — are given full and equal rights, as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Without equal rights, and without sufficient aid — the kind the American government could provide — the Christian population of Iraq will continue to decline and those communities that survived a genocide could disappear altogether.

American inaction is simply not acceptable.

Carl Anderson is CEO of the Knights of Columbus. Most Rev. Bashar Warda is the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq.


3. Disappointment as Senate Republicans drop religious freedom amendment, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, December 5, 2016, 3:46 PM.

Senate Republicans agreed to remove a religious liberty amendment from a defense bill earlier this week, after a fierce campaign was waged against it by secular groups.

Back in 2014, President Obama signed an anti-discrimination executive order that prohibited any federal contractor from making employment decisions based on someone’s sexual orientation. There were no religious exemptions.

In response, the Russell Amendment, named for the sponsor Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) established protections for religious groups against this order.

However, Senate Democrats threatened to hold up the $618.7 defense authorizations bill unless the amendment was removed. Secular advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union also pushed for its demise.


4. Montreal archbishop: ‘Physician-assisted suicide plants seed of death in democracy’, By Christopher White, Crux, December 5, 2016.

Archbishop Christian Lépine of Montreal has been an outspoken critic, together with the other Quebec bishops, of the province’s “Medical Aid in Dying” Act passed in June 2014. The Act allows for terminally ill patients to choose medically assisted suicide if they can demonstrate that their condition is incurable and they are enduring unbearable suffering. In February 2015, physician-assisted suicide became legal throughout Canada as a result of a nationwide Supreme Court ruling. The provincial law came into force after the high court ruling.

[Christopher White:] How would you advise your neighbors to the south in the United States who are witnessing the creep of assisted suicide throughout the country?

[Archbishop Christian Lépine:] On one hand, never stop promoting the sanctity of life. But this is also about the sick, so never stop promoting palliative care. You can’t promote the sanctity of life without promoting palliative care and creating space for a person to find meaning in suffering.

We’ve certainly seen in the Western world a tendency, like here in Quebec, toward accepting euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, which I find very troublesome.

It plants a seed of death within democracy, because as a society, we’ve provided a reason for killing someone willfully and directly. Even when you want to believe that you have good reasons, such as to relieve suffering or pain, you’ve crossed the line. And then your reasons to do so expand to include more and more exceptions.

This is not just about God; it’s about all of us and the frailty of life and how we view it. Christians have a very beautiful view of the value of life. Every person is created by God and in the image of God, and is created to be in alliance with God and to be a child of God.

From the Christian point of view, there’s no greater value than the human person, and we have to convey that message. We’re losing track of this understanding of the inherent dignity of the person and of human life, and Christians must proclaim this message and help those who suffer. We can’t just do one of the two, we must do it on both fronts.