"Politically Safe": Obama Admin Resuscitates End-of-Life Counseling For Medicare Patients

07/09/2015 Comments (5)
Colour photogravure after the Hon. J. Collier, 1908. CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

"A Physician Telling a Patient That He is Going to Die"

– Colour photogravure after the Hon. J. Collier, 1908. CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Beginning January 1, 2016, Medicare will cover counseling sessions for end-of-life care, the Obama administration announced yesterday.

NPR noted that this development comes "just weeks after a Supreme Court decision solidified the Affordable Care Act." And Julie Rovner, senior correspondent with Kaiser Health News,  told NPR, "the decision might have prompted Medicare officials to conclude that 'it was safe politically ... to go ahead with this.'"

An estimated 55 million people are on Medicare. The New York Times reported that  the new policy will reimburse physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to have "conversations with patients about whether and how they would want...READ MORE

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How Should We Offer Ourselves to God?

07/09/2015 Comment

What's the best way to offer ourselves to God? How is it done? Why is it important? 

Of Oblation, from Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara

Cordial thanks being given to God, presently the heart breaks naturally into that affection, which the kingly prophet David felt in himself, when he said: “What shall I render to our Lord, for all things that he hath rendered to me?” (Ps 115:12). Which desire, we shall in some sort satisfy, if we offer to God whatsoever we have.

First, therefore, we must offer to God ourselves, for his perpetual servants, wholly resigning ourselves to his holy will, howsoever he shall please to dispose of us. We must likewise direct all our...READ MORE

Filed under meditation, navigating the interior life, peter of alcantara, prayer, saint peter of alcantara, st. peter of alcantara

German Section of Vatican Radio Receives 'Wild Verbal Slap'

07/08/2015 Comments (28)

An article published July 3 on the German edition of Vatican Radio’s website headlined “Moral Theologian: Church’s Sexual Morality is In Motion”, together with an accompanying picture featuring two lesbians kissing, has caused consternation on the blogosphere and in social media.

A number of readers took to Twitter to say they couldn’t believe such a headline and photo would appear on an official Vatican website. One called it a “disgrace”, another described it as a “shocking piece.” A third tweeted: “Dear God, please help us!”

One reader said the picture was yet another example of "desensitizing" people, especially children and adolescents, to such immoral behavior and the last place one...READ MORE

Filed under germany, homosexuality, same-sex unions, synod on the family, vatican radio

The Best Advice for Discerning God’s Will

07/08/2015 Comments (9)

– "The Calling of St. Matthew" by Hendrick ter Brugghen

Personally I have had to discern God’s will many times over the years. At first I had to make the big decision of what to do after high school. In the last two years before I graduated, I had a deep conversion and sincerely wanted to do God’s will. At first I thought I was called to enter college and then get married. While praying, I didn’t have a lot of peace about the situation, but I really liked this girl that I was dating. I didn’t want to give it all up, so I persisted and applied to a local university.

Then circumstances changed during the last semester of my senior year and we had to end the relationship. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do, but I had a sneaking suspicion that...READ MORE

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Fun Summer Reading: Specter, by John Desjarlais

07/08/2015 Comment

I discovered John Desjarlais' writing in 2009, when Bleeder landed in my reading pile. The sequel, Viper, was just as riveting, and Desjarlais' latest mystery, Specter, continues the suspense in the story.

You don't have to read the first two to enjoy Specter, though if you like nail-biters, you'll enjoy them. This book is as much mystery as it is an examination of the supernatural.

It begins simply enough: Selena De La Cruz and Reed Stubblefield are getting married. There's enough with that alone to fill a book: planning the nuptials is its own set of dramatic encounters, misunderstandings, and colorful dialogues.

After drying her hands, Selena kissed her godmother goodnight, saying...READ MORE

Filed under book review, fiction, john desjarlais, novels, summer reading

Why Do You Need Spiritual Direction?

07/08/2015 Comments (10)

Image credit: "Laughing Fool," By Netherlandish (possibly Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Spiritual direction is a relationship through which we come to better know, love, and follow Christ through the help of a kind of spiritual coach. It is a process through which we come to know and love Christ and ultimately experience the heights of spiritual union with Him, even in this life. The director and directee work together, through the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit, to understand God's will, and then determine how to follow that leading in a concrete way on a day-to-day basis, into a deeper intimacy with Him.

This definition is how I began my book Navigating the Interior Life: Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux famously said, “He who...READ MORE

Filed under bernard of clairvaux, navigating the interior life, spiritual direction

In Brittany Maynard's Home State, California Assisted Suicide Bill Defeated

07/07/2015 Comments (1)

Brittany Maynard

– CNA/YouTube

In 2015, disability rights groups feared that Brittany Maynard's crusade to legalize assisted suicide in California would finally secure legislation permitting physicians to provide lethal medication to terminally-ill patients who want to control the time of their death.

In life and death, Brittany Maynard has been the poster girl for Compassion & Choices, the nation's leading voice for assisted suicide. For the past year, Maynard has appeared in widely-circulated YouTube videos, and a People magazine story featured her husband's disturbing memories of their final day together.

But the Sacramento Bee just reported that the authors of Senate Bill 128 had issued a statement confirming that...READ MORE

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10 Ways to Insult a Catholic Blogger (and Why You Shouldn't Bother)

07/07/2015 Comments (32)

Oh. My. Gosh. I just read the worst blog post ever. I'm going to sit right down and let the author know exactly what I think. That'll show 'em!

Yeah, maybe not. Something tells me the author has heard it all before, and the only reason you don't get a personal response is because the writer you think you're demolishing is either bored to death, or just went to confession because of being a jerk on the internet, and doesn't want to bore the priest to death. 

But just in case you're wondering, here are ten of the most common criticisms Catholic authors hear -- and the responses that the author is almost certainly thinking.

1. You're just trying to get attention with this! Oh...READ MORE

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