1. A flawed and dangerous law, Physician-assisted suicide is an assault on patients and the medical profession. 

By G. Kevin Donovan, The Washington Times, May 10, 2018, Pg. B3

It is no surprise to me that, a whole year after the District of Columbia enacted a law to allow assisted suicide, just two out of approximately 11,000 licensed D.C. physicians are willing to participate. On top of that only one hospital has cleared doctors to participate. The law allows patients with a prognosis of six months or less to be prescribed by a doctor a fatal dose of drugs to end their life. This law is flawed and dangerous for many reasons that would give anyone pause, but especially someone who has dedicated their life to healing.

It is tragic that legalizing assisted suicide sanctions discrimination against people with illnesses, disability or advanced years. Making death available to these groups relies on the assumption that dependency and the need to be cared for at the end-of-life is something too burdensome, perhaps even revolting, to those surrounding the patient who do not fall into those same groups. As the Oregon data show, feeling like a burden to others is one of the top reasons given for why people asked for lethal drugs in the first place.

The D.C. assisted suicide law, like all other assisted suicide laws, contains spurious “safeguards,” which cannot adequately protect patients and cannot be controlled.

Assisted suicide advocates will often say that these laws that allow this practice will be taken advantage of by only a few. But for these few, we must place a far greater number at risk of having their lives devalued, and deemed suitable for early termination. 

One prominent national assisted suicide advocacy group blames a “cumbersome process” for dissuading doctors from participating. For each of the reasons mentioned here, and others, I am not convinced.

Assisting in suicide is an all-out assault on both patients and the profession of medicine. While proponents of this lethal practice point to real human suffering at the end of life, unfortunately, they offer a cure worse than the disease.


2. After Alfie, what comes next?, Why are we letting the values of human dignity and parent’s rights slip away?

 By Grazie Pozo Christie, Angelus News, May 10, 2018

Little Alfie Evans died after all, despite the tender intervention of Pope Francis and the prayers of millions across the world.  

Although he suffered from a neurologic disorder that was reportedly incurable, it is possible that his death could have been put off indefinitely with a respirator and a feeding tube. 

His mother and father wanted more time with him, more certainty that all avenues had been explored and all possibilities for improvement had been exhausted. 

But the hospital decided for them, and Alfie was allowed to die.  

Perhaps in a few more weeks, the young couple would have become comfortable with the knowledge that their baby had come to them only for a short visit. They would have come to understand that it was time to let him return to the Father, and bless them from heaven. 

Or perhaps they would have chosen to take him home and tend to him lovingly, helping him breathe and eat. He would be a blessing to them for years on earth. 

It takes time, and patience, and lots of respect for the distress and dismay of good people who were not prepared to face, this month or this year, the hardest decision of their lives.

It was this time, patience and respect that was missing in the case of Alfie Evans. His mother and father had every right to walk that thorny path at their own pace, and to choose which way to walk it. It was their hearts that were broken, and their child that had been inexplicably stricken.  

The court and the hospital took their authority away in a move of breathtaking injustice. 

The people of Great Britain have woken up to find that somehow, somewhere, the locus of control over their own children has passed away from them and has been given to a cold, impersonal cadre of experts and judges. And the default position of these strangers is that some lives are not worth living. 

There is a real desire, it seems, for the British to take back control and put mothers and fathers back where they belong: in the role of decision makers over the medical treatment of the children they love more dearly than they love themselves. 

I think there may also be a readiness to re-examine their culture’s drift away from a sound understanding of human dignity, especially the dignity of the disabled and vulnerable. 

Watching and praying from across the ocean, we hope they succeed — on both counts.


3. Chilean cardinal at center of abuse scandal won’t travel to Rome. 

By Inés San Martín, Crux, May 10, 2018

Even though he’s considered to be at the center of the current sexual abuse crisis in the Chilean Church, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, who sits on the “C9” council of cardinals that advises Pope Francis, won’t be coming to Rome next week when the rest of the country’s bishops meet with the pontiff.

Citing “personal reasons,” Errázuriz, 86, will not travel, even though Francis asked that every bishop in the country come to the Vatican to address the crisis created by well-documented cases of clerical sexual abuse and accusations of its cover-up.

Errázuriz was last in Rome in April, to participate in a April 23-25 C9 meeting. Per his own statement, he’s already given Pope Francis a 14-page report of the ramifications of the case of Father Fernando Karadima, Chile’s most notorious clerical abuser.

Three survivors of Karadima, have accused Errázuriz of covering up for the priest. They met the pope at the end of April, and told the press that they “would love to see” the cardinal, together with the current archbishop of Santiago, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, stand trial.

Francis asked the Chilean bishops to be available May 14-17, though it’s unclear at this point when the meetings will take place and what format they’ll follow. Most bishops are scheduled to arrive on Thursday and Friday, but some are already in Rome.

Francis summoned all of the Chilean bishops to Rome after he received a 2,300-page report from Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnós, who work for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith. The two interviewed 64 people in Chile and the United States.

Next week’s will be the largest gathering of bishops to discuss clerical sex abuse in response to a papal summons.


4. Google suspends all ads related to Irish abortion referendum. 

By Jill Lawless, Associated Press, May 9, 2018, 3:43 PM

Google is suspending all advertising connected to Ireland’s abortion referendum as part of moves to protect “election integrity,” the company announced Wednesday.

The move came a day after Facebook banned foreign-backed ads in the Irish campaign, amid global concerns about online election meddling and the role of internet ads in swaying voters.

Google said that starting Thursday, it would no longer display ads related to the May 25 vote on whether to repeal Ireland’s constitutional ban on most abortions.

The prohibition on ads connected to the Irish vote applies to both Google and YouTube, which the company owns.

5. Anti-abortion activists cry foul as Google pulls all referendum ads. 

By Graham Fahy, Reuters, May 9, 2018, 9:41 AM

Google announced plans on Wednesday to suspend advertisements related to Ireland’s May 25 abortion referendum, sparking an angry response from anti-abortion activists who said the move would hurt them most.

The policy change comes a day after Facebook (FB.O) said it would no longer accept ads from outside the country that seek to influence the referendum.

Google (GOOGL.O) went one step further and said it would not accept any ads related to the referendum, not just those from groups or individuals seeking to sway the vote.

Anti-abortion campaigners reacted with fury to the move, arguing it will deprive them of a key platform for their message and represents a bid to help those favoring a more liberal abortion regime.

“Its scandalous, and it is an attempt to rig the referendum,” umbrella group Save the 8th said in a statement.

“Online was the only platform available to the No campaign to speak to voters directly. That platform is now being undermined in order to prevent the public from hearing the message from one side.”


6. Ex-head of Vatican bank goes on trial for embezzlement. 

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 9, 2018, 12:01 PM

The former president of the Vatican bank went on trial Wednesday on charges he and his lawyer embezzled 57 million euros ($68 million) in Vatican real estate sales, a case that shows the Holy See’s willingness to prosecute shady financial deals that may have involved top cardinals.

Angelo Caloia appeared in the Vatican courtroom, while his onetime lawyer and 95-year-old co-defendant, Gabriele Liuzzo, was absent, citing his age. A third suspect died during the investigation.


7. Pope marks historic mafia denunciation by St. John Paul II. 

By Associated Press, May 9, 2018, 2:51 PM

Pope Francis is marking the 25th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s historic denunciation of the Mafia with calls for today’s young to resist the pull of organized crime.

Francis issued a telegram to Sicily’s bishops Wednesday recalling John Paul’s “prophetic invective” against the mob during a May 9, 1993 trip to Agrigento, Sicily. His off-the-cuff remarks at the end of Mass — in which he demanded Mafiosi convert, change their ways or face the wrath of God’s final judgment — have gone down in Italian church history as a turning point of sorts, coming within a year of the mob slayings of two leading anti-Mafia prosecutors.


8. Working document approved for synod on youth. 

By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency, May 9, 2018

After a two-day meeting in Rome, the governing council of the Vatican office for the Synod of Bishops approved the text to be used as the working document for the upcoming October gathering dedicated to youth.

The May 7-8 meeting of the governing council was presided over by Pope Francis and centered on finalizing the text.

A compilation of ideas and thoughts from five sources, the document includes information from answers to a questionnaire sent out to bishops’ conferences; answers to an online questionnaire for youth; an international seminar on youth that took place in Rome in September 2017; contributions and suggestions from both individuals and groups; and the concluding document of the March 19-24pre-synod meeting in Rome, which gathered some 300 youth from around the world.

The youth, who included Catholics and non-Catholics, largely said they felt left out and that they wanted to be taken seriously, as leaders and contributors to important discussions happening in the Church.

They also said they didn’t want the Church to shy away from talking about hard or controversial topics, such as sexuality and women’s roles in the Church, but wanted people who could speak with them openly and honestly. They also asked for mentors who could help them navigate the tough issues and listen patiently to their questions.


9. Pope Francis to meet with head of Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church. 

By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, May 9, 2018

Pope Francis and the primate of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, His Beatitude Metropolitan Rastislav, will meet for the first time later this week, the Vatican announced Wednesday.

The meeting will take place May 11, the first visit between the pope and the Orthodox archbishop, who was elected primate, or the head, of the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church in January 2014. Details of the visit have not been made available.

During his May 9-12 trip to Rome, Rastislav will meet with the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, and will celebrate Divine Liturgy at the tomb of St. Cyril in the minor Basilica of St. Clement in Rome.

The Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is an Eastern Orthodox Church whose territory covers the countries of Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It is one of 14 self-governing Orthodox Churches originating in the Byzantine tradition, which was brought to the area through the evangelization of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.