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My People

Vol. 17, Issue 8, August 2004

"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." — 2 Chronicles 7:14

Bishop Jose Ramiro Pellecer Samayoa, Archdiocese of Guatemala, is shown with Directors Michael Walsh and Wil Jolicoeur of H.E.A.L. Guatemala and some of the students served by H.E.A.L. Guatemala. The Archdiocese of Guatemala has endorsed H.E.A.L. Guatamela (which stands for Help Educate and Love Guatemala). More information on this American lay Catholic organization is available in July's My People. (Photo provided by H.E.A.L. Guatamela.)

Pope Declares "Year of the Eucharist"
In Defense of Life: Man Never Becomes a "Vegatable"
Church Works To Restore Strength And Hope To Africa
Pope Stresses Need For Peace And Freedom
Just a Few Thoughts
Pray the News


Pope Declares "Year Of The Eucharist"

As he celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi with the Diocese of Rome on June 10, Pope John Paul II announced a special "Year of the Eucharist" from October, 2004, to October, 2005. The year will open at the International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, which will be held October 10-17. It will end with the next Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which will take place at the Vatican from October 2-29, 2005. The theme of this meeting of the bishops will be: "The Eucharist: source and summit of the life and mission of the Church."

In his Angelus message on June 13, the Pope said:

"The 'Year of the Eucharist' fits into the context of the pastoral project that I pointed out in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, in which I invited the faithful to 'start afresh from Christ' (n. 29ff.). By contemplating with greater perseverance the Face of the Incarnate Word, truly present in the Sacrament, they will train themselves in the art of prayer (cf. n. 32) and undertake that high standard of Christian living (cf. n. 31), an indispensable condition for effectively developing the new evangelization.

"Eucharistic worship constitutes the soul of all Christian life. In fact, Christian life is expressed in the fulfilling of the greatest commandment . . . in the love of God and neighbor, and this love finds its source in the Blessed Sacrament, which is commonly called the Sacrament of love." —John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae, 1980

"The Eucharist is the center of the Church's life. In it Christ offers Himself to the Father for our sake, making us sharers in His own sacrifice, and gives Himself to us as the bread of life for our journey on the highways of the world.

"From this moment I entrust to the Virgin Mary, 'Woman of the Eucharist' (cf. Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, nn. 53-58), this new initiative. May the one who in the Year of the Rosary helped us to contemplate Christ with her eyes and her heart (cf. Rosarium Virginis Mariae, nn. 10-17), enable every community in the Year of the Eucharist to grow in faith and love for the mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord.



Man Never Becomes A "Vegetable"

Fred H. Summe
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
by Fred H. Summe

"A man, even if seriously ill or disabled in the exercise of his highest functions, is and always will be a man, and he will never become a 'vegetable' or an 'animal,' " states Pope John Paul II in his March 20, 2004, speech at the international seminar sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Life.

After the Holy Father expressed his disdain for the very term "vegetative state," he continued: "I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act . . ." [Such care] "is ordinary and proportionate, and as such, morally obligatory.

"Death by starvation or dehydration is, in fact, the only possible outcome as a result of their withdrawal. In this sense it ends up becoming, if done knowingly and willingly, true and proper euthanasia by omission."

Euthanasia is an act or omission which is intended to cause the death of a handicapped, sick, or dying person, frequently "justified" by the intention to eliminate suffering. The removal of food and hydration or the administration of a lethal injection to a patient, conscious or unconscious, competent or incompetent, with the intent to end his or her life, is morally wrong and must be considered murder.

New Teaching?

As reported in the June, 2004, The Catholic World Report, the Catholic Health Association (CHA) has long held a position in direct contradiction to the Pope's recent allocution. CHA has taught under the disguise of Catholic teachings that nutrition and hydration are not always required and can be treated as extraordinary and thus not morally obligatory. Thus, this hospital association concluded that withdrawal of artificially provided nutrition and hydration (ANH) was not euthanasia, directly opposite of what the Holy Father has declared.

CHA issued a statement following the Pope's allocution, stating that "this will require dialogue," which obviously indicates that they are unwilling to follow the moral teachings of the Church.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) was also disturbed by the Pope's position, which contradicts NCBC prior statements.

Although many so-called "Catholic" health providers and associations have long promoted living wills, which "authorize" the withdrawal of food and hydration from the comatose patient, or those in the so-called "persistent vegetative state," pro-life organizations all over the world have long understood and articulately professed the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, as again reiterated by the Holy Father.

While pro-lifers vigorously oppose the pro-euthanasia forces and their so-called "right to die," many, if not most, so-called "Catholic" medical providers have been ushering into their hospitals and nursing homes the culture of death, all while the vast majority of U.S. bishops remain silent.

As stated in The Catholic World Report, Rita Marker reports that an 1896 Kentucky medical journal stated that feeding by a tube was commonplace. Marker, the Director of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Steubenville, Ohio, states that from her work, she has frequently encountered situations in which families were subject to "a tremendous amount of browbeating" by hospital officials, including ethics committees and chaplains, to remove feeding tubes.

Even though a number of "Catholic" medical providers "got it wrong," some in our judicial system long recognized that the withdrawal of food and hydration causes the death of the patient, and not any underlying condition or disease.

"The cause of her death will not be from being in a persistent vegetative state, nor from the effects of the vicious beating. She will die or be killed, as you prefer, by the inherently lethal action of withholding food and water . . . Food and water are basic human needs and the process of feeding is not medical treatment under any circumstances . . . Can a valid distinction be drawn between the feeding of a patient and the force feeding of an infant by a parent?" writes Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Donald Wintersheimer in his dissenting opinion in DeGrella v. Elston (1993).

Always to Care, Never to Kill

Dr. Leo Alexander, the official American medical representative at the Nuremberg, Nazi doctors' trial, warned physicians: "The beginnings, at first, were a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitudes of physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived."

When those who are dear to us become ill or disabled, God gives us the opportunity to express our love by word, by comforting them, and by praying with them.

"Deeply embedded in our moral and medical traditions is the distinction between allowing to die, on the one hand, and killing, on the other . . . It is never permitted, it is always prohibited, to take any action that is aimed at the death of ourselves or others . . . we must learn again the wisdom that teaches us always to care, never to kill." (A Declaration on Euthanasia, issued by thirteen Jewish and Christian scholars in 1991.)


Church Works To Restore Strength And Hope To Africa

On June 15, Pope John Paul II spoke to participants in the meeting of the Post-Synodal Council of the Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. This Council was appointed 10 years ago by the Synod Fathers at the end of the Special Assembly for Africa.

The Pope pointed out that this Post-Synodal Council "has on various occasions encouraged the Bishops of Africa in their effort to put into practice the conclusions of the Synod, contained in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa. Indeed, by meeting regularly, you are able to review the achievements, projects, and progress made by the local African Churches, which are especially praiseworthy and deserving of admiration, given that the political and socio-economic situations are for the most part deplorably unfavorable even if there may be some comforting signs in them."

The Pope continued: "This is the reason why I once again renew my gratitude to you for the important work you do in the name of episcopal collegiality. Indeed, you constantly offer the Successor of Peter enlightened advice, based on your pastoral experience of the situation in the Church and in society on the African Continent.

Fighting scourges to the Continent

"I described the First Special Assembly as 'a Synod of Resurrection and Hope' (Ecclesia in Africa, n. 13), and so indeed it was, since it was already possible to glimpse here and there the first signs of this new flowering. Unfortunately, however, the Continent seems to be experiencing neither truce nor lasting peace. In addition to international conflicts are the endemic hotbeds of conflict that sow terror and devastation among the peoples whose only aspiration is to live in peace, rediscovered at last.

"The Church in the United States, with its impressive network of educational and charitable institutions, is challenged to an evangelization of culture capable of drawing from the wisdom of the Gospel . . . It is called to respond to the profound religious needs and aspirations of a society increasingly in danger of forgetting its spiritual roots and yielding to a purely materialistic and soulless vision of the world." Pope John Paul II

"In addition, other scourges come to afflict Africa and Africans: poverty that derives both from a compromised economic situation as well as from the difficult conditions in the areas of education and health care. In this regard, how could we fail to mention the social scourge of AIDS or the insecurity due to conflicts, latent or being fought out, and lastly, the corruption that still beleaguers too many levels of civil society? All of this makes up the vicious circle that causes gangrene in this young and vigorous body.

"To break the links of these new chains requires the joint effort of all the vital forces of society and particularly of the Church, which are already at work and intervene at every level with self-denial and dedication. For her part, the universal Church, faithful to her prophetic role for Africa, has already reminded the great world leaders of five priorities in order to restore to Africans what has been taken from them, often with violence: respect for life and religious differences, the eradication of poverty, the end of arms trafficking, the resolution of conflicts, and action with a view to development, motivated by solidarity.

Deepening the synodal experience

"Our hope, of course, is strong because it is rooted in Christ and draws vigor and inspiration from Him. The Special Assembly for Africa stressed the family dimension of the Church, insisting on the notion of the Church as God's family, and in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa I took up this beautiful expression of the divine fatherhood, which is so meaningful. In this 'family' context, it seems to me to be important to recall the need for authentic fraternal reconciliation, after the wounds inflicted by the hostilities that still poison interpersonal, interethnic, and international relations in the different regions of Africa.

"Has not the time come to deepen this African synodal experience, for which many Pastors of Africa have been pressing? The exceptional growth of the Church in Africa, the rapid succession of Pastors, the new challenges that the Continent must face demand responses that can stem only from a persevering and concerted effort to implement Ecclesia in Africa, thereby restoring renewed strength and more firmly-grounded hope to this Continent in difficulty . . ."


Pope Stresses Need For Peace And Freedom

In meeting with American President George W. Bush on June 4 at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II addressed a number of areas including the sacrifices made in World War II, Iraq, terrorism, the Middle East, and Africa. In his address, the Pope said:

"You are visiting Italy to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Rome and to honor the memory of the many American soldiers who gave their lives for their country and for the freedom of the peoples of Europe. I join you in recalling the sacrifice of those valiant dead and in asking the Lord that the mistakes of the past, which gave rise to appalling tragedies, may never again be repeated. Today I too think back with great emotion on the many Polish soldiers who died for the freedom of Europe.

"Let us not pray for a prosperity that will alienate us from God, but for a prosperity that will give us the true idea of the dignity of human nature and of the inalienable rights of every individual, and preserve us from that spirit of intolerable despotism which would debase men and trample on this God-given right in order to amass wealth." John McNicholas Archbishop of Cincinnati, 1931

"Our thoughts also turn today to the 20 years in which the Holy See and the United States have enjoyed formal diplomatic relations, established in 1984 under President Reagan. These relations have promoted mutual understanding on great issues of common interest and practical cooperation in different areas. I send my regards to President Reagan and to Mrs. Reagan, who is so attentive to him in his illness. I would also like to express my esteem for all the Representatives of the United States to the Holy See, together with my appreciation for the competence, sensitivity, and great commitment with which they have favored the development of our relations.

Concern for the Middle East

"Mr. President, your visit to Rome takes place at a moment of great concern for the continuing situation of grave unrest in the Middle East, both in Iraq and in the Holy Land. You are very familiar with the unequivocal position of the Holy See in this regard, expressed in numerous documents, through direct and indirect contacts, and in the many diplomatic efforts which have been made since you visited me, first at Castel Gandolfo on July 23, 2001, and again in this Apostolic Palace on May 28, 2002.

Secure conditions in Iraq

"It is the evident desire of everyone that this situation now be normalized as quickly as possible with the active participation of the international community and, in particular, the United Nations Organization, in order to ensure a speedy return of Iraq's sovereignty, in conditions of security for all its people. The recent appointment of a Head of State in Iraq and the formation of an interim Iraq government are an encouraging step towards the attainment of this goal. May a similar hope for peace also be rekindled in the Holy Land and lead to new negotiations, dictated by a sincere and determined commitment to dialogue, between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Threat of international terrorism

"The threat of international terrorism remains a source of constant concern. It has seriously affected normal and peaceful relations between States and peoples since the tragic date of September 11, 2001, which I have not hesitated to call 'a dark day in the history of humanity.' In the past few weeks other deplorable events have come to light which have troubled the civic and religious conscience of all, and made more difficult a serene and resolute commitment to shared human values: in the absence of such a commitment neither war nor terrorism will ever be overcome. May God grant strength and success to all those who do not cease to hope and work for understanding between peoples, in respect for the security and rights of all nations and of every man and woman.

Harsh conditions in Africa

"At the same time, Mr. President, I take this opportunity to acknowledge the great commitment of your Government and of your Nation's numerous humanitarian agencies, particularly those of Catholic inspiration, to overcoming the increasingly intolerable conditions in various African countries, where the suffering caused by fratricidal conflicts, pandemic illnesses, and a degrading poverty can no longer be overlooked.

"I also continue to follow with great appreciation your commitment to the promotion of moral values in American society, particularly with regard to respect for life and the family.

"A fuller and deeper understanding between the United States of America and Europe will surely play a decisive role in resolving the great problems which I have mentioned, as well as so many others confronted by humanity today. May your visit, Mr. President, give new and powerful impetus to such cooperation.

"Mr. President, as you carry out your lofty mission of service to your Nation and to world peace, I assure you of my prayers and cordially invoke upon you God's Blessings of wisdom, strength, and peace.

"May God bestow peace and freedom upon all mankind!"


Just A Few Thoughts

Ray Grothaus
Ray Grothaus
by Ray Grothaus

Many times it's not what you see, but how you see what you see. It's all about your point of view.

The other day, I was lamenting to a friend of mine how six years ago the wife and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. The girls were 12 and 14, no longer needing our constant attention, and we had reached that point in life where we could do whatever we wanted. I was commenting that now with our four year old, it was going to be awhile before we could be free again. To have the time to do adult activities instead of going to youth ball games and functions.

When asked if he and his wife were looking forward to that day when they could be a couple again, he said that they had never discussed it. You see, this pair had trouble conceiving at the beginning of their marriage and they've cherished each and every day with their three boys. This kind of threw me because almost everyone I know is thinking about the future with an empty house and fewer responsibilities. But Kevin was quite sincere when he said he thinks it will be a sad day when his last one moves out.

This got me to thinking; no matter the situation, how you feel depends on your point of view. To some, an eight-ounce glass with four ounces of milk in it is half full; to others it's half empty. In Italy, wine is served at most meals and is available to all, while here, you can't purchase alcohol until you're 21. A small point guard believes he's been fouled when someone leans on him but a large man in the center just plays through the bump and takes the ball to the basket. One man's trash is another man's treasure so to speak.

We had a situation at work the other day where a customer wanted us to perform some work at their property. We arrived late so the customer asked our field representative to reschedule the job. My guy called me to give me the news, but I told him to stand by while I called the manager of the business. The manager had been given some bad information about our arrival time and after a short discussion, we agreed to go ahead with the job. Actually she said she was 90% sure we could proceed but wanted to talk to one more person. She promised to call me back in a few minutes.

"Your love must be sincere. Detest what is evil, cling to what is good. Love one another with the affection of brothers. Anticipate each other in showing respect. Do not grow slack but be fervent in spirit; He Whom you serve is the Lord." (Rom 12:9-11)

After twenty minutes, I called the field guys and told them to proceed. After some reservations, they went ahead and did the job but when they returned to the shop, they expressed some additional concerns. They weren't comfortable doing the work without firm commitment from the office manager. To me, "90% sure" was all we needed to carry on. The reps felt that 10% unsure was enough to shut the job down. It's all about your point of view. The lady never called us back and thankfully, the job was completed without any further tribulations.

When you have your guitar or piano tuned, the technician brings it to what he considers the perfect tone. But did you ever wonder what Les Paul or Beethoven might say if they had to use your instrument? Sure it's close enough for bluegrass, but is it good enough for the classics? Once again, it's all on your point of view. Or when you're writing a column, is every verb in the correct tense? Even if these ramblings aren't perfect, hopefully they're readable. No doubt Bill Shakespeare would cringe at my writing.

Possibly you can find an example in your life where point of view makes all the difference. So let's be less judgmental until we walk in another's moccasins. Just a few thoughts.


Pray The News

Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.

  • We pray that we will love, value, and respect all human beings.
  • We pray for those caring for the sick.
  • We pray for peace and freedom throughout the world.
  • We pray for the Church in Africa and her ministry to the peoples of Africa.
  • We pray for those who have given their lives so that we might live in peace and freedom.
  • We pray that Americans will seek God's will as they prepare to vote in the upcoming elections.
  • We pray that all Catholics will grow in their eucharistic love during this "Year of the Eucharist."


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Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378,



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