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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The NCBC Joins the Official Pennsylvania Coalition to Stop Doctor-Prescribed Suicide

We, The National Catholic Bioethics Center, have joined the Pennsylvania Coalition to Stop Doctor-Prescribed Suicide. The Coalition, which is an alliance of disability rights, healthcare, civil rights, faith-based, and patient advocacy organizations, is dedicated to preventing legalization of Doctor-Prescribed Suicide in the state of Pennsylvania. This legislative year alone, 16 states and the District of Columbia have introduced proposals to legalize Doctor-Prescribed Suicide. Fortunately, these initiatives have failed in six states so far this legislative year. The misinformation, however, continues to flow into the media about why persons “need” this option. The data support that the reasons for requesting Doctor-Prescribed Suicide have more to do with fear of loss of autonomy, enjoyment in activities of living, and dignity (which a person should never be made to feel, no matter how dependent on others) than the false representations presented by advocates of Doctor-Prescribed Suicide. In fact...


Read the rest of the NCBC story, HERE.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WATCH: Father Tad Pacholczyk Live TV Interview -- March for Life Special

NCBC Ethicist and Director of Education, Father Tad Pachoczyk, made a special appearance on the annual March for Life Episode of EWTN's The World Over with Raymond Arroyo. Father Tad spoke at length with Raymond about abortion and also covered other topics in bioethics including the importance of well-ordered human sexuality, surrogacy, and even the Pope's 'rabbit' comments!

Be sure to watch the video of the live interview on the NCBC Home Page, HERE

Friday, December 5, 2014

The NCBC Supports: The Little Sisters of the Poor and Others Challenging Violations of their Conscience Rights

The National Catholic Bioethics Center has again been a signatory to several amicus briefs of late in support of sound and life giving health care policies: 

 The NCBC supports the state of Iowa and the Ruling of its Board of Medicine to protect women from abortions via telemedicine. Planned Parenthood has challenge these safety requirements and the case is before the Iowa Supreme Court. Dr. Marie Hilliard, is Director of Bioethics and Public Policy for The National Catholic Bioethics Center, where she files briefs such as the brief for Iowa (NCBC named on page 4) and she helps the Center fulfill its critical role in defending the human person and supporting the common good. 
(For more details on this issue, see: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/health/2014/09/16/planned-parenthood-of-the-heartland-iowa-supreme-court-telemedicine-abortion/15726317/.)


The NCBC has also firmly supported the Little Sisters of the Poor in their Fight for Religious Freedom, which is being Violated by the HHS Contraceptive Mandate. On Monday December 8th, 2014, the Little Sisters of the Poor will have their day in court before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Contraceptive Mandate, is requiring virtually all employers, regardless of their opposition on grounds of conscience, to provide to their employees through their benefit plans coverage of contraceptive drugs and devices, including abortifacients, as well as surgical sterilizations. The Little Sisters present perhaps the best and clearest example of a religious organization that is faced with an existential threat by the HHS Contraceptive Mandate 

A victory by the Little Sisters will send a clear message to the U.S. Supreme Court, and will increase the chances that other religious non-profits will be protected from the ruinous fines that would be imposed under the Mandate. A defeat could subject the Little Sisters to as much as $50 million in fines for following their conscience -- that would force them out of their significant ministry to the elderly and infirm, and also send an ominous message about the future of religious freedom in America. Please continue to hold the Little Sisters and their attorneys in your prayers.


The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) continues to support organizations and their rights to religious freedom which are continuously violated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Contraceptive Mandate. The NCBC joins other organizations committed to the protection of Religious Freedom in signing onto the following amicus briefs, in support of those employers who are legally challenging the violations of their conscience rights: 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

ACTION ITEM -- Join the NCBC in the Fight for Informed Consent and Protection of Organ Donors

Right on the heels of the Official Commentary given by NCBC Director of Public Policy, Dr. Marie Hilliard, concerning new living-donor transplant policies that: "Violate informed consent, donor and recipient safety, as well as human physical integrity." 

Dr. Marie Hilliard


Dr. Hilliard and the NCBC ask that you help us take action on this issue:


The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), the federally authorized body to develop public policy on safe organ donation and transplantation, has issued a request for public comment on their proposal entitled Policy to Implement the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network's Oversight of Vascularized Composite Allografts (VCAs).

As we know, the Catholic Church supports the voluntary charity of organ donation, as a gift of life. However, this proposal would allow living donors to donate hands and feet and facial tissue. The public comment of The National Catholic Bioethics Center is attached. The protections for the safety of the donor and recipient, true informed consent, and bodily integrity will be violated by this policy. Please have your voice heard by December 5, 2014, by e-mailing OPTN at publiccomment@unos.org, asking that this proposal be rejected, citing that you:

  • “Urge an entire rejection of this policy and a redrafting to address the blatant violations of informed consent, donor and recipient safety, and human physical integrity, as well as the prevention of bodily mutilation to the living donor. No living donor should be included in VCA donation policies.”

Thank you for helping to inform the regulators of public policy on the importance of such protections for the human person.

-- And thank you to Dr. Hilliard for her hard work on these issues!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dr. Haas Reports from Rome -- Day 3 of the Colloquium

The President of The National Catholic Bioethics Center, Dr. John Haas, is in Rome this week to attend an international colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman organized by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
Dr. Haas will also be attending the annual assembly of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care for Healthcare Workers, for which he serves as a Consultor. 

Dr. Haas is providing daily reports of the proceedings of both those meetings for the benefit of those who are visitors to our website and social media sites. We will provide regular updates to you here on the Blog this week!

Click here to read about day 1 of the Humanum Colloquium.

Click here to read about Day 2 of the Humanum Colloquium

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The third day of the conference was a radical shift from the two previous days.  There were no papers in the morning.  Instead there was the Wednesday audience with Pope Francis for participants in the colloquium – and a few hundred other people.  It was a beautiful, clear day with a bright blue sky.  The participants in the conference were taken as a group and placed in chairs near the Pope.  Francis lived up to his image of being outgoing and freewheeling with the crowd, taking one baby after another in his arms and kissing them.  I asked a Swiss Guard if his job were more demanding now with this Pope, and he responded diplomatically, “It is certainly more interesting!”


A Swiss Guard checking credentials


Spotted at the Colloquium: The Honorable Mary Ann Glendon,
Professor of Law and former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See

Also spotted: Dr. John Garvey, President of Catholic University



Dr. Haas got to meet the new Archbishop of Sydney,
His Excellency Anthony Fisher, OP, at the Colloquium.



Father Scott Borgman (driving) was kind enough to take Dr. Haas to one of his appointments!



At 12:15, as others were heading to lunch, I reported to the Swiss Guards at St. Anne’s Gate of the Vatican to keep an appointment with my mentor, Pope Emeritus Benedict!  The Swiss Guards checked  my passport and then had a driver take me up to the convent in the Vatican Gardens which had been renovated to accommodate the Pope Emeritus.  We were first taken to a sitting room and offered a seat.  Shortly a religious sister came in and visited with me, asking me how I knew the Holy Father.  She said that Pope Emeritus would see me for 10 or 15 minutes.  



After a short time I was taken in an elevator to his apartments.  As I came in, he entered through a door across the room, walking slowly but steadily.  It was a great joy to see him again.  He sat on a couch in the room and I sat in a chair beside it.  He was very alert.  He asked about the work of the NCBC and even remembered projects with which we had collaborated.  He remembered having twice addressed the Bishops’ Workshops which are organized every other year by the NCBC and underwritten by the Knights of Columbus.  I showed him the material we had prepared for the next Workshop planned for February 2015, and he seemed most interested.  He has a remarkable memory.
He asked me about the HUMANUM conference I was attending and so was quite aware of what was going on.  He said it would have been inconceivable thirty years ago that there would be the need to defend marriage against the assaults of something such as same-sex marriage.  He said the current situation was a result of the collapse of Christian culture.   He spoke of the beauty of Catholic folk customs, so dear to him in Bavaria, which helped to nurture sound family life.  Indeed, he said it was important to nurture such customs in our day lest they die out.  We visited for about 40 minutes after which he gave me a commemorative medal and a holy card.  The convent sits on a hill above the dome of St. Peter’s.  The walk down the hill provided stunning views of the basilica – and the opportunity to reflect on the significant contributions Benedict XVI made to Catholic thought and practice.    

Dr. Haas and His Holiness Benedict, Pope Emeritus




The View of Saint Peter's Basilica from the residence of the Pope Emeritus




After lunch with some friends I headed back for the conclusion of the Humanum conference.

Passing Saint Peter's on the way to lunch


 Archbishop Luis Ladaria, SJ, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, chaired the afternoon session.  The Archbishop made it clear that marriage of a man and a woman is a natural institution for which there is no substitute.  In the Church this natural institution becomes a supernatural, sacramental reality.  Archbishop Charles Chaput spoke with his customary clarity on the nature of marriage and the plans of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.  As a conclusion to the colloquium, the Pentecostal minister Dr. Rivers and his wife Mrs. Jacqueline Cooke-Rivers delivered a rousing “Affirmation of Marriage”, taking turns in making declarations on the beauty of marriage and the unique and essential contribution it makes to society.    There was tremendous enthusiasm on the part of participants as the program concluded with renewed commitment to work in defense of marriage.

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