Fair Play?

Relative to your editorial "The Ryan Budget" (Opinion, Aug. 26 issue):

You speak of the demand for fiscal responsibility as being not "social Darwinism," but "a deeply moral and courageous response to an unsustainable reality."

If this is so courageous, why did you or Ryan not mention the need of the wealthy paying their fair share of taxes and how this privilege of theirs (bought by influence) has run up our national debt?

Recall that Justice Brandeis says we can have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few or we can have democracy. But we cannot have both.

Courage consists in taxing the rich fairly, and lack of mention for fear of alienating donors is hardly courageous.

Ryan and others fail to mention the problems of climate change, a major right-to-life issue.

As a lifelong right-to-life person, I find the 2012 Republican platform offensive and contributing to the pervasive culture of death. How about comparing Ryan and Democrats on this issue as well as on the abortion one?

You have a right to be partisan, but at least be fair.

Father Al Fritsch, SJ

Ravenna, Kentucky


The editor responds: As a nonprofit organization, the Register does not and cannot endorse a political party or one political candidate over the other, but points out the distinctions of candidates and parties where they agree and conflict with Catholic doctrine. Church teaching directs us all, not just the wealthy, to be good stewards of God’s providence. The accumulation of wealth and lack of concern for the environment cannot be compared with the intrinsic evils of abortion, same-sex "marriage," cloning, euthanasia and contraception, which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) teaches are non-negotiable and must never be promoted by law. The CDF also teaches that certain goods must always be protected, including marriage between one man and one woman, the freedom of parents regarding the education of their children, religious freedom, peace and the development of an economy that is at the service of the human person.


Really Catholic

Regarding "CARA: Catholic Vote ‘Too Close to Call’" (NCRegister.com, Sept. 19):

Catholics and Christians are called to live by the higher standards of Jesus Christ. Catholic Church history is filled with saints who lived their faith. Thomas More took on the king of England and was beheaded. John Paul II, when he was young, took on the Nazis — and later the communists.

Wake up, Catholics, and defend your faith! Your cardinals and bishops can’t vote for you. This is a defining moment in history. It’s the choice of a lifetime. The Lord is calling out to you. Answer the call and defend his values.

It’s time to stop "saying" you’re a Catholic and "be" a Catholic.

Jim Konerman

Cincinnati, Ohio


End-of-Life Care

Pertinent to "Euthanasia on the Ballot in Boston" (Oct. 7 issue, page one):

When my father became terminally ill, he was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y. (which was co-founded by St. Marianne Cope of Molokai). At the time, no one in the family was Catholic, although I have since converted (and am content and glad to be home).

The Catholic chaplains and sisters could not have been more respectful, kinder or more understanding of the situation. When we needed privacy, they backed off.

When we needed encouragement, they were there, always discreet, always welcoming; they and the nurses, who had given my father a private room because he had been popular and well-liked when he worked there, made a heartbreaking situation easier to bear for all of us. Everyone knew the outcome and when it could happen.

Yet there was no attempt to prolong his life unnaturally and no attempt to end it earlier. He was suffering, but was put on a morphine drip that did not hasten his death. It merely made passing away comfortable for the time left, which was short. Euthanasia appalls me. It is possible to die naturally with dignity.

When life becomes measured in dollars and cents, then it loses its real value. People will become, in a word, expendable, less than human.

The experience my family had at my father’s end of life was so comforting and caring that I cannot imagine why anyone would prefer suicide — assisted or involuntary — to the tender ministrations of Catholic doctors, nurses, sisters and chaplains.

Thank you, St. Joseph’s, for all you did. It will be remembered by us as the finest care anyone, anywhere, could have been given — with love, compassion and discretion, walking humbly in the footsteps of Christ.

God bless all of you, and I will pray for those looking at more drastic action.

Elizabeth Turner

Syracuse, New York


Unanswered Questions

In your Oct. 7 article "Euthanasia on the Ballot in Boston," a number of questions were not addressed. Among them:

Is it right to force a human being to endure a dying process that he or she regards as painful, degrading or both?

Does a human being have any right to not be forced to endure a dying process that he or she regards as painful, degrading or both?

Do existing laws against abuse and torture protect people from being forced, against their will, to endure a dying process that they regard as painful, degrading or both?

Does a human being have any right to a swift and painless death if he or she wishes?

I understand that these are difficult questions. However, since they are so close to the heart of the debate over euthanasia and assisted suicide, those who are opposed to these practices will need to be able to deal with these questions in plain words.

If they refuse to acknowledge the reality of what happens to people under a society that forbids euthanasia and assisted suicide, let alone successfully defend those results, how can anyone be certain that forbidding euthanasia and assisted suicide is correct?

Julie A. Robichaud

San Antonio, Texas


The editor responds: The Catechism of the Catholic Church can’t get any plainer: "Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. Thus, an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes the death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his creator."

It goes on to say, "The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded. Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of ‘overzealous’ treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted" (2277-2278).