Matt C. Abbott
May 6, 2010
Readers sound off on illegal immigration, 'quiet euthanasia,' anti-Catholic bigotry
By Matt C. Abbott

The following is a selection of (edited) readers' responses to recent columns of mine.

Philip C. Onochié:


    I have been following the illegal immigration problem for quite some time. It is a sad state of affairs when the USCCB conflicts with the Catechism of the Catholic Church — that's always the case when it comes to immigration and health care. I recently took it upon myself to read the CCC and was astounded to see how straightforward the language in it is:

    2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

    Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.


    How our dear bishops draw the conclusion that the above citing commends us to protect illegal aliens who break the law to come into the country is beyond me. When a state is truly burdened by an overflow of people so much so that crime is up and resources to take care of this problem are down, what is the state to do except start cracking down on people who use state services without the ability to pay for it through taxes?

    The good bishops have also mentioned one part of the problem. Of course we want to treat people with dignity. But arresting people for breaking the law is not wrong; neither is arresting people for traffic violations and other law infractions, which is what the new law allows enforcers of the law to do.

    Make no mistake: This law is basically the same law we have on the federal level. The governor appealed to the regime to help with their problem, but was ignored. She acted well and cautiously, too, so that this law would not give her police force unreasonable power. To fix this problem, perhaps we ought to figure out the tax situation when immigration policies are on the table. We need to move toward removing the federal and state taxes and employing only sales taxes that will provide revenue for the states. That way, we can support our local officials with the means to do their jobs while we protect our states more from a surge of lawbreakers.

    Our bishops need to speak to the ordinaries around the borders in Mexico. A message of greed, corruption and stewardship needs to be heard by all. Their faithful need to be told and encouraged to live within and under the law, rather than above it. Where is the accountability there? Why do our bishops always put the government in charge of taking care of us when it is their job to catechize us? People who come here illegally leave their families broken or put the lives of their families in danger by crossing illegally — all for what? With nobody to take care of them, do they resort to begging or stealing? I don't know.

    What I do know is that if there is a chance for me to put my family in danger by crossing illegally, I will not. I am more sympathetic to Cuba for the fact that they are really oppressed, but to come here only to live on the streets or on the run is no way to dignify yourself.

    I am a legal immigrant. I know of pain and stress. There is pain and suffering going through the process, but all I suffered was not in vain. I put in my time and I spent the money, but in the end, it was worth it to be able to live in peace. The bottom line is, I am tired of reading columns or articles by the USCCB or the likes (Archbishop Dolan) within the Church who support illegals without seeing the CCC being quoted.

Greg Rolla:

    If anyone cares, the Arizona law only mirrors what is found in existing federal law. If people want to protest the federal law, they should do so in Washington.

    I liked what Huckabee had to say recently. He compared the United States to Disneyland (I don't know if that was the best analogy, but follow here). Anybody can go anywhere they want in the 'park' and partake of whatever they want, whenever they want, once they have their 'tickets' to get in. People just cannot walk into the park. They have to pay for a ticket at the gate. However, once inside, they are free to go wherever they want. Huckabee feels it should be the same for our country. Once checked at the gate, one can proceed. People cannot be in the park without a ticket. If they are, they are escorted out.

    I would have to support him on his view. My faith does not preclude protecting my country by the government implementing laws that guarantee both the humanity of the immigrant and the law. We are, after all, a nation of laws. Nobody is above the law. That is what has allowed our country to work, though not perfectly, but, as a free republic, adequately. But once you begin allowing groups to be above the law, you immediately begin chipping away at what the law seeks to do. Are there bad laws? Of course, and they need to be reformed. I prefer people coming into the country to have a 'ticket' for entrance. That way, they can come in and partake of all the great benefits the U.S. has to offer.

Belinda:

    Those who mean harm twist many good ideas and intentions into something they

    were never meant to be. As an example, the 'quality of life' studies were designed to help improve patients' daily living experiences while undergoing cancer treatment and follow-up care. The studies were an effort to make health care providers more aware of, and sensitive to, the effects of cancer and its treatment on the individual patient's everyday life and to help them identify areas where they could help make positive change. Evil changes semantics while cleverly maintaining syntax; taking advantage of a naïve American spirit. We must build upon the knowledge and experience of those who have gone before us, while seeking the truth ourselves and using common sense.

Susan McInnis:

    A very well written article on 'quiet euthanasia'! As a retired Catholic RN, I'm well aware of this strange disaster — even lay people caring for their loved ones at home, with hospice coming in and directing a very quiet patient to have morphine. I have sent your article to my daughters in Florida. One is an accountant, and one does marketing. Both have wanted to volunteer at the local hospice. I have discouraged them, because they would be shocked at what they would encounter. Thanks again. Heaven help us!

Kay Jaworsky, RN, MSN, of Baltimore, Md.

    I recently read your article on 'quiet euthanasia.' I don't know what kind of hospices actually would participate in 'quiet euthanasia,' but I can assure you that they are probably the exception and not the norm.

    I have been a hospice nurse for many, many years and have personally never seen a patient at our Catholic hospice denied food or fluid when they could still take them safely by mouth. I have also never seen a patient medicated, overmedicated or inappropriately medicated. Pre-death agitation can be very difficult to control, and depending on the patients mental and spiritual status, can be overwhelming for them. But it is for the patient's best interest that pre-death agitation be adequately medicated because of the potential for injury to the patient who is going through it.

    My fear is that someone would read an article such as this, and assume that all hospices operate to quickly bring about someone's demise by medicinal routes, starvation or dehydration. Even when patients reach a point when they refuse food or fluid by mouth, a prudent health care worker does everything within their ability to keep a dying patient comfortable, from swabbing the mouth, ice chips melted over dry parched lips, soothing salves to keep the mouth and lips moist, repositioning, etc.

    The goal of a good hospice is not to prolong the inevitable death that approaches, but to ease its progression by comfort measures and medications. No hospice, for any reason, should push a dying patient toward death any sooner than when God calls him home. So if people are faced with hospice either for themselves or a loved one, ask questions, get informed, talk to the hospice physicians, administrators, nurse practitioners etc., and find one that doesn't believe in practices that are not only immoral but medically unnecessary in caring for the dying.

Rebecca Anderson of Edmonds, Wash.

    I just read your post about the Third Way from a link off of SpiritDaily.com. My grandmother died on Monday morning in hospice after having hydration removed. She had a stroke last week, was 90, in poor health (but had a very strong heart) and according to her Living Will, she did not want hydration. While the stroke left her compromised, it did not put her in a coma. Even on Saturday, the day before she died, she was conscious and seemed aware of her surroundings. It was difficult to understand her and at times we just couldn't, but I have a feeling that she was 'hurried along' instead of allowing nature to take its course. I did not see her Living Will, nor did I have any legal power over her affairs.

    As a result, this experience has really left me questioning the timing of her death. I was accepting that she was dying, but the way in which she died didn't seem right. I do have a document in place for myself -protecting me from being euthanized or starved and have my husband as my agent of the document. This is something from Rita Marker's group, Euthanasia International. She spoke at our parish a few years back when our state was fighting physician assisted suicide. Unfortunately it passed in November 2008.

    I felt so helpless watching all the events that unfolded before me. I went home that Saturday night wondering if I was an accomplice to a moral crime. Again, I knew that my grandmother was going to die eventually. I suppose hospitals like Living Wills because things are so clearly laid out in advance; but I don't know if that is the appropriate approach. I have a son who has special needs and he has surprised many with what he's been able to accomplish. I think the same can be true for those who are dying. We don't have all the answers and can't predict when a person will pass. It seems like there is a very, very fine line between keeping someone comfortable and actually pushing them along. At one point on Saturday my grandmother told the other family member who was alone with her in the room at the time, 'Don't rush me!' I continue to pray for my grandmother's soul.

Linda of Fort Collins, Colo.

    In my town of Fort Collins, Colo., a woman died last week. But the circumstances are like what you are alerting us to. God only knows how much this 'quiet euthanasia' is occurring, but I am certain it is ever increasing and will increase. This woman, Gloria, was a lifelong friend of a fellow parishioner. And this friend did everything she could, desperately trying to save the life of her friend. She was not successful. This friend was disabled and was on a feeding tube and in a facility. Her power of attorney was given to a lawyer. The lawyer and the facility committee decided to withhold hydration and nutrition on April 16. It is done on a Friday so that nothing legal can be attempted for a few days over the weekend. The parishioner got to take the issue the following Friday after Gloria had been starving for a week but she was not successful in getting a reversal in the decision to let this woman starve to death. Gloria died last Saturday I believe.

    The courts are not likely to help. The new healthcare reform, with its committees and panels, will be looking at the money bottom line. Those 'throw away' people who are no longer to be 'contributing members of society' are going to be targeted. They are the next weakest group of souls after the unborn. Those who are alone or have no one to wish them to remain alive will be legally terminated. And even when a person has loved ones, as Teri Schiavo did, he or she will have no guarantee that someone will not want him or her dead. Our culture of death is expanding; there is a lessening regard for the dignity of life.

Fran in Vermont:

    I am a Catholic convert, formerly a Protestant. The word 'Protestant' obviously comes from the word 'protest.' Protest is synonymous with the word 'rebellion.' Anti-catholic people are really just uneducated in the Catholic Faith. If Christians really understood the history of the Catholic Church, they might not be opposed to it. Ignorance is not always bliss.

    When Jesus came on this earth to suffer and die for our sins, he clearly established His Church on earth as part of His mission. This is clearly spelled out in the Bible....

    Now I know when I tell you all of this, I am preaching to the choir. But there are so many people in the world who are being deceived. Even the far left liberals who believe anything goes and who support a woman's right to destroy the infant within her own body, or the gays and lesbians who wish to 'marry' their own gender. Just trying to understand the divine design of the human body and the world as we know it is mind boggling, including every living organism known and unknown to man. God is intellectually superior to any man who has been born or will be born. Yet we delude ourselves when we believe that we can contort God's truth to justify why we left the Church or why we refuse to believe in the Church or humbly follow her teachings. Truth is unchanging.

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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