Bulletin (September 14, 2008)

In my homily last Sunday, I mentioned that our Parish Council has been discerning what it means for Holy Family to become a Stewardship Parish. We have prepared a document titled “Stewards of Providence: A Plan for Developing Faithful Christian Stewards.” Besides explaining the principles of Stewardship, the document outlines a three-year plan for our parish. On September 27, our Parish Council will have an all-day retreat at the Palisades Retreat Center to finalize this plan. We will then present the plan to the overall parish. I believe that you will find it helpful in your life as a Christian and as a member of this parish community.

We are already seeing some fruits of our Parish Council discernment on Stewardship. As I indicated last weekend, we will be emphasizing Stewardship of Time and Talent throughout the year instead of overwhelming you in November with a presentation on all the different ministries of the parish. At the end of Mass, Dan Parfait and Susan Purcell gave presentations on Catholic Bible Study. During the year we will hear other invitations to participate in ministries of Holy Family Parish.

This weekend we will not have a speaker at the end of Mass, but we will have people in the vestibule with information on some important matters. Our parish Respect Life Committee – with the help of representative of 40 Days for Life - will have brochures and fact sheets regarding pro-life issues. As you know, in November we will be facing an Initiative that would legalize assisted suicide in Washington State. Our bishops have taken a strong stand opposing I-1000. I ask you to pick up some of the brochures and other material to help you understand why it is so important that we take a stand against legalized suicide. Also, you will find helpful guidelines to deal personally with end of life issues. The principles are clear: No one has a right to take another person’s life or to take one’s own life. The application of those principles often requires much prayer and discernment. Our bishops have published a document titled “A Guide to Making Good Decisions for the End of Life” that you may find particularly helpful.

On a national level our bishops have made some important clarifications regarding the Church’s teaching about respect for human life from the moment of conception. Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman, U.S. Bishops Committee on Doctrine, issued the following statement:

Recently we had a duty to clarify the Catholic Church’s constant teaching against abortion, to correct misrepresentations of that teaching by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on “Meet the Press” (see www.usccb.org/prolife/whatsnew.shtml). On September 7, again on “Meet the Press,” Senator Joseph Biden made some statements about that teaching that also deserve a response.

Senator Biden did not claim that Catholic teaching allows or has ever allowed abortion. He said rightly that human life begins “at the moment of conception,” and that Catholics and others who recognize this should not be required by others to pay for abortions with their taxes.

However, the Senator’s claim that the beginning of human life is a “personal and private” matter of religious faith, one which cannot be “imposed” on others, does not reflect the truth of the matter. The Church recognizes that the obligation to protect unborn human life rests on the answer to two questions, neither of which is private or specifically religious.

The first is a biological question: When does a new human life begin? When is there a new living organism of the human species, distinct from mother and father and ready to develop and mature if given a nurturing environment? While ancient thinkers had little verifiable knowledge to help them answer this question, today embryology textbooks confirm that a new human life begins at conception (see www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/bioethic/fact298.shtml). The Catholic Church does not teach this as a matter of faith; it acknowledges it as a matter of objective fact.

The second is a moral question, with legal and political consequences: Which living members of the human species should be seen as having fundamental human rights, such as a right not to be killed? The Catholic Church’s answer is: Everybody. No human being should be treated as lacking human rights, and we have no business dividing humanity into those who are valuable enough to warrant protection and those who are not. This is not solely a Catholic teaching, but a principle of natural law accessible to all people of good will. The framers of the Declaration of Independence pointed to the same basic truth by speaking of inalienable rights, bestowed on all members of the human race not by any human power, but by their Creator. Those who hold a narrower and more exclusionary view have the burden of explaining why we should divide humanity into those who have moral value and those who do not and why their particular choice of where to draw that line can be sustained in a pluralistic society. Such views pose a serious threat to the dignity and rights of other poor and vulnerable members of the human family who need and deserve our respect and protection.

While in past centuries biological knowledge was often inaccurate, modern science leaves no excuse for anyone to deny the humanity of the unborn child. Protection of innocent human life is not an imposition of personal religious conviction but a demand of justice.

Finally, a personal note: Next Sunday my home parish, St. Cecilia’s in Stanwood, celebrates its 100th anniversary. I will be attending that Mass, so I will not be here for the 11 a.m. Mass on September 21. I will be celebrating the 8 a.m. Sunday Mass – and after that will be going to Stanwood for the Anniversary Mass.

St. Philomena Youth Group after Latin Mass on Aug 12, 2008 (This Sunday, Sept 14, is First Anniversary of John XXIII Mass at Holy Family)

En la parte en ingles he escrito sobre la Mayordomia (Generosidad, Diezmo, Co-Responsibilidad). Al final del mes el Consejo Parroquial tendra un retiro para reunir los resultados de nuestro año de discernimiento. Despues del retiro les comunicaré los resultados de plan que lleva el titulo “Mayordomos de Providencia: Un plan para desarrollar fieles mayordomos cristianos.”

Ademas este domingo habrá informacion sobre unos asuntos pro-vida: la Campaña 40 Dia Para la Vida y la Iniciativa sobre el suicidio asistido (I-1000). Aquí hay unos de los riesgos en la práctica de la eutanasia y del "suicidio asistido".

1. Mal diagnóstico, por no tomar en cuenta el estado mental del enfermo, incluidos los que sufren enfermedades terminales, quienes es posible que contemplen la posibilidad de un suicidio asistido, por no ser debidamente atendidos de los desórdenes mentales y depresiones que sufren durante sus padecimientos. Así pues, si llegan a legalizarse la eutanasia o el suicidio asistido, pueden realizarse sin haber sido elegidos por el enfermo, por no estar en el pleno uso de sus facultades, y por ser especialmente vulnerable.

2. Mal manejo de los síntomas físicos, pueden los médicos optar por el suicidio asistido, en vez de buscar los tratamientos adecuados para cada enfermo.

3. Insuficiente atención a los sufrimientos y temores de los pacientes terminales quienes pueden ser ayudados con una debida atención psicológica, y sobre todo con el Sacramento de la Unción de los Enfermos que ayudarían al enfermo a morir en paz en la Esperanza cristiana de ir al Cielo.

4. Vulnerabilidad de los grupos marginados. Esta práctica pone en grave riesgo a los pobres, ancianos aislados, miembros de grupos minoritarios, que se encuentran completamente indefensos ante las decisiones de otras personas.

5. Devaluación de las vidas de los llamados "minusválidos" porque no son "productivos".

6. Sentido de la obligación. Muchos pacientes se sentirían presionados a tomar esta decisión, por no ser una carga para sus familiares.

7. Recomendaciones del médico. Muchos pacientes siguen ciegamente las recomendaciones del médico y así cuando él dice que es "médicamente apropiada" la eutanasia, los pacientes sienten que es la única alternativa.

8. La cuestión financiera. La eutanasia, es mucho más barata que los tratamientos para los ancianos o enfermos terminales, y ya no se buscan paliativos ni otras soluciones.

9. Arbitrariedad en los límites. Una sociedad que acepta el suicidio asistido médicamente, sería difícil si no imposible contener esta opción, en grupos limitados, pues cualquiera, aunque no sea enfermo terminal, podría solicitar la asistencia médica para su suicidio.

10. Imposibilidad de regulación, pues sería difícil, dada la naturaleza de esta decisión, prevenir abusos y errores, que se dan frecuentemente en la conducta de algunos médicos.

11. Los trasplantes. La posibilidad de la intervención para disponer de órganos para trasplantes, lo que es un "gran negocio".

Primeras Comuniones (10 de mayo de 2008 - mediodia)

(10 de mayo de 2008 - misa de 2 p.m.)