The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin
Mary in Heaven
Caring for The Whole Person
Catechism-Life [USCCB] ; ERDs [pdf ] ; The Good Samaritan [Vatican CDF]
THE Catechism of the Catholic Church and all recent magisterial documents concerning health care have reaffirmed Pius XII's declarations concerning the necessity of free, informed consent for medical procedures.
THE THE priest-chaplain can play an essential role by insuring that informed consent has actually taken place, since patients and decision-makers frequently hear what they want to hear, rather than what their physician has told them
ADVANCE DIRECTIVES are essential for everyone - not only those who are hospitalized or seriously ill.
POLST: Intention in Law and Catholic controversy (bishops - nav.)
PALLIATIVE CARE describes the treatment of symptoms, usually pain and psychological distress associated with illness, rather than an attempt to cure the underlying illness. At the end of life palliative care is sometimes called “hospice”; however palliative medicine will play an increasingly-important role in the practice of medicine in all stages of life as advances are made in methods of controlling pain and alleviating symptoms of chronic and incurable diseases.
THE Catholic Church encourages and recommends palliative care as an important and unselfish kind of love, “a special form of disinterested charity” (Catechism §2279: formam constituunt excellentem caritatis gratuitae). The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith encourages palliative care (Samaritanus Bonus V.4) and has clarified that is morally acceptable for persons facing the end of life to obtain treatment that renders them unconscious (“deep palliative sedation in the terminal stage”): Samaritanus Bonus V.7.
FOR many centuries the Catholic Church has taught what is now clearly stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church with regard to withdrawing or withholding medical treatment and how to apply the traditional categories of horror vehemens and “moral impossibility”.
§2278. Discontinuing medical procedures that are [:]
2278 Cessatio a mediis medicinalibus,
disproportionate to the expected outcome
talibus quae cum effectibus obtentis proportionata non sunt,
can be legitimate; it is the refusal of “over-zealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.
|legitima esse potest. Haec est recusatio « saevitiae therapeuticae ». Hoc modo, non intenditur mortem inferre; accipitur non posse eam impedire. Decisiones suscipiendae sunt ab aegroto, si ad id competentiam habeat et capacitatem, secus autem ab illis qui ad id, secundum legem, habent iura, rationabilem aegroti voluntatem et legitimum commodum semper observantes.|
THESE issues are also discussed in the the USCCB-ERDs (Part Five - Issues in Care for the Dying); and in Christ the Good Samaritan V.2.
SOME confusion arose in 2004 through misinterpretation of an Address on the Persistent Vegetative State by Pope Saint John Paul II (March 20, 2004); however, this was clarified in his Address on Palliative Care (November 12, 2004).
THE issue of pastoral care for those facing terminal or debilitating illness has been rendered much more complex by recent legislation that permits physician-assisted suicide in the State of California. It has always been the case that legalization of practices that were formerly forbidden both reflects changing cultural norms and is invariably accompanied by social pressure to “normalize” the now-legal practice.
THE issue of pastoral care for those who intend to take their own lives has been specifically addressed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the September, 2020, document, Samaritanus Bonus / The Good Samaritan.
THE Catholic Church unequivocally supports somatic stem cell research, that is, research that does not result in the destruction of human embryos. As Pope Benedict XVI has summarized:
[...] somatic stem-cell research also deserves approval and encouragement when it felicitously combines scientific knowledge, the most advanced technology in the biological field and ethics that postulate respect for the human being at every stage of his or her existence. The prospects opened by this new chapter in research are fascinating in themselves, for they give a glimpse of the possible cure of degenerative tissue diseases that subsequently threaten those affected with disability and death. How is it possible not to feel the duty to praise all those who apply themselves to this research and all who support the organization and cover its expenses?
Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Participants in the Symposium on the Theme: "Stem Cells: What Future for Therapy?"organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life. Saturday, 16 September 2006
Embryonic stem cell research that creates, dissects, and destroys human embryos is specifically condemned in (CDF) Dignitas Personae 30.
Somatic cell gene therapy seeks to eliminate or reduce genetic defects on the level of somatic cells, that is, cells other than the reproductive cells, but which make up the tissue and organs of the body. It involves procedures aimed at certain individual cells with effects that are limited to a single person.
Procedures used on somatic cells for strictly therapeutic purposes are in principle morally licit.
Germ line cell therapy aims instead at correcting genetic defects present in germ line cells with the purpose of transmitting the therapeutic effects to the offspring of the individual. Whatever genetic modifications are effected on the germ cells of a person will be transmitted to any potential offspring.
Because the risks connected to any genetic manipulation are considerable and as yet not fully controllable, in the present state of research, it is not morally permissible to act in a way that may cause possible harm to the resulting progeny.
on Respect for Human Life in its Origin CDF
Dignitatis Personae, On Certain Bioethical Questions, CDF, 2008
THE Catholic Church invites human beings to embrace a vision of cooperation with the natural world created by God, rather than attempting to coerce and dominate the gifts of human sexuality and fertility (DV Intr.1 ; II.B.5). The fact that something is possible does not make it permissible (DV Intr.4)
THE Church teaches that there exists no right (of parents) to have a child; however, the child does have rights (DV III.A.8):
1. The innocent person's right to life (DV Intr.4) (this includes the right of "extra" embryos to life)
2. To be conceived and born born from within marriage and from marriage
3. To come into existence through a sexual act (cf also DP 12)
4. Not to be frozen (cryopreservation) or destroyed as extra embryos (DV I.3.6)
1. Natural Family Planning is increasingly recognized in both the Catholic and secular communities as an effective treatment for infertility that is completely free of side effects.
2. Naprotechnology, practiced by Creighton-trained physicians: Naprotechnology-trained physicians: https://fertilitycare.org/find-a-mc
THE ongoing pandemic of COVID has raised numerous questions concerning the intersection between public health and Catholic faith and practice. The inability of Catholics to obtain sacramental ministry during the COVID pandemic has been especially obvious and politically-contentious; however, the economic, social, and psychological toll of the pandemic has also been devastating for many.
VACCINES from ABORTED FETUSES
THE question often arises whether it is permitted for Catholics to use vaccines that have been prepared using cells from aborted fetuses. It should be noted that the vaccines themselves do not contain any material derived from these fetuses; rather tissue-culture made from these cells (e.g. cell-line HEK 293) is sometimes used in the manufacturing or testing process by the pharmaceutical industry as a growth-medium for the viruses that are used to prepare the vaccine.
BOTH ethical and understandable medical explanations of the use of cell lines derived from aborted fetuses is available in an excellent article by , PhD, cited in part as ?Tainted Vaccines? at the link on the navigation bar. The history of these cell lines and many of the moral principles involved are discussed in an article by Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., (additional article: Moral Guidance)
THE magisterium of the Catholic Church has definitively and consistently stated that it is permissible to use these vaccines, even if their manufacture has been “tainted” by using cells from aborted fetuses. The documents clarifying this have approved by the Pontifical Academy for Life in 2005 and 2017 and by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2008: Dignitatis Personae §35) in 2008 and 2020. This was most recently reasserted and summarized by the Pontifical Council for Life in 2020 (Vaccines for All). The documents may be accessed on the navigation bar to the left.
At least five of the candidate COVID-19 vaccines use one of two human fetal cell lines:
HEK-293, a kidney cell line widely used in research and industry that comes from a fetus aborted in about 1972;
and PER.C6, a proprietary cell line owned by Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, developed from retinal cells from an 18-week-old fetus aborted in 1985.
Both cell lines were developed in the lab of molecular biologist Alex van der Eb at Leiden University.
Saints Cosmas and Damian perform
THERE exists a widespread misconception that the Catholic Church requires the bodies of deceased persons to remain in tact whenever possible, and that organ-donation is thus opposed to Catholic tradition. This is completely false. Pope Saint John Paul II proclaimed that organ donation is a heroic action and a particularly praiseworthy example of the gift of self. Evangelium Vitae, 86. This teaching is reiterated in The Catechism of the Catholic Church §2296, and the USCCB Ethical and Religious Directives §63-64.
L.A. Archdiocese: “Caring for The Whole Person” https://lacatholics.org/caring-for-the-whole-person/
L.A. Archdiocese: “Natural Family Planning”: https://lacatholics.org/natural-family-planning/
Catechism of the Catholic Church (Life Issues) §2258-2301: https://www.usccb.org/sites/default/files/flipbooks/catechism/ ”.
USCCB “Ethical and Religious Directives,”6th ed., 2016: https://www.usccb.org/about/doctrine/ethical-and-religious-directives/upload/ethical-religious-directives-catholic-health-service-sixth-edition-2016-06.pdf
Pope St. John Paul II, Encyclical “Evangelium Vitae, 1995 https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae.html
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “Iura et Bona (Declaration on Euthanasia),” 1980: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19800505_euthanasia_en.html
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Donum Vitæ, on Respect for Human Life in its Origin,” 1987: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19870222_respect-for-human-life_en.html
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Dignitatis Personae, On Certain Bioethical Questions,” 2008: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20081208_dignitas-personae_en.html
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Christ the Good Samaritan,” 2020: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20200714_samaritanus-bonus_en.html
Naprotechnology-trained physicians: https://fertilitycare.org/find-a-mc
Introduction to Catholic Bioethics (self-study
Racism and Critical Race Theory
United States Catholic Bishops, "Brothers and Sisters to Us," 1979: https://www.usccb.org/committees/african-american-affairs/brothers-and-sisters-us
Pontifical Justice and Peace Commission, "The Church and Racism: Toward a More Fraternal Society," 1989: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20010829_comunicato-razzismo_en.html
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Instruction on Certain Aspects of the 'Theology of Liberation,'" 1984: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19840806_theology-liberation_en.html
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation," 1986: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19860322_freedom-liberation_en.html
Congregation for Catholic Education, "Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education," 2019: http://www.educatio.va/content/dam/cec/Documenti/19_0997_INGLESE.pdf
Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laeitia, §56, 2016: https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20160319_amoris-laetitia.html
Paul R. McHugh, "Surgical Sex: Why We Stopped Doing Sex Change Operations," First Things, November 2004: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2004/11/surgical-sex
Paul McHugh, "Transgender Surgery Isn't the Solution," Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2016: https://www.wsj.com/articles/paul-mchugh-transgender-surgery-isnt-the-solution-1402615120
Lawrence S. Mayer and Paul R. McHugh, "Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological Psychological, and Social Sciences," The New Atlantis, Number 50, Fall 2016: https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/executive-summary-sexuality-and-gender
Paul W. Hruz, Lawrence S. Mayer, and Paul R. McHugh, "Growing Pains: Problems with puberty suppression in treating gender dysphoria," The New Atlantis, Number 52, Spring 2017, pp. 3-36: https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/growing-pains
Los Angeles Archdiocese Therapist Referral Directory (2019-220)
This Webpage was originally created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 2003