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Category: Disability, Sickness & Suffering

Save the Pandas and Down Syndrome
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Save the Pandas and Down Syndrome

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One of the casualties during the recent Government shutdown was the Washington DC Zoo Panda Cam: “The National Zoo announced that all its live zoo cams, including the one trained on the zoo’s 5-week-old panda cub, will go dark.”  The Panda Cam allows viewers to watch the activities of Giant Pandas Mei Xiang and Tian […]

Defeating Autism: Joseph at Year Three in Boy Scouting
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Defeating Autism: Joseph at Year Three in Boy Scouting

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This is a story about defeating autism, the practical attainment of hope for devastated parents, and a whole new way of approaching a scourge upon our beloved children. Our son, Joseph, happens to be its protagonist; but the joyful hope in this story resides in the certainty that it is a template into which parents […]

Google Launches Calico to "Solve Death"
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Google Launches Calico to “Solve Death”

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Google has launched a new company called Calico (California Life Company) whose focus is to “solve death.” CNN reports: Last month Google announced a new medical company called Calico, whose explicit aim is to take on aging itself. But what will Google’s approach be? And what other research into prolonging life already exists?… Calico — […]

Good News About Down Syndrome
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Good News About Down Syndrome

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It was one of the most heartwarming moments of the 2013 baseball season. On April 18, after a pep-talk from his “best friend and greatest batboy,” Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier ripped a two-run homer to center field off John Maine, extending the Reds lead to 11-1 over the Miami Marlins in the sixth […]

Caring for Life Near the End of Life
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Caring for Life Near the End of Life

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My wife, LaRee, and I were asked to address a conference about critical life issues sponsored by the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey. They wanted us to speak about a Christian perspective on suffering, disability and end of life care. It is a timely topic because New Jersey is considering a law to allow […]

The Pain of Loneliness
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The Pain of Loneliness

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There can be a fine line between loneliness and solitude. In solitude, there is a quiet joy — time spent by yourself in nature or at eucharistic adoration, an opportunity for contemplation and prayer and just basking in a peaceful presence. I love solitude. Like so many, however, I dread loneliness. And unfortunately, I have […]

Five Types of Guilt After Pregnancy Loss
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Five Types of Guilt After Pregnancy Loss

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You can never anticipate the feelings you will go through following a pregnancy loss. Nothing in life prepares you for it and no one ever thinks it will happen to them. Of all the emotions I went through after each of my three losses, the one that kept surprising me over and over again was […]

The Moment of Choice: Recognizing Human Dignity in Difficult Circumstances
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The Moment of Choice: Recognizing Human Dignity in Difficult Circumstances

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In every country, at this very moment, women who have become pregnant — either because of decisions they made or as victims of assault through no fault of their own — are faced with making the choice of life or death for their child. Some of these women are financially stable, some are in financial […]

Pride and Postpartum Depression
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Pride and Postpartum Depression

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My husband married a woman who had the ability to laugh things off, to be spontaneous, to work hard and get ‘er done. And then I got pregnant, had a baby, got pregnant, had a baby, and so on five times in a row. My five kids are aged 5, 4, 3, and 1 year […]

Who Do We Trust In?
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Who Do We Trust In?

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Like Mount Zion are they who trust in the LORD, unshakable, forever. — Psalm 125 Do you ever think about how much we trust every single day? For instance, every time you turn on your car and pull out of the driveway, you are trusting the people who assembled that car and the mechanic who […]

The New Love Affair with Eugenics
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The New Love Affair with Eugenics

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One of the modern zeitgeists that scares me the most is the growing love affair with eugenics among the elite. Whether the masses are aware of it or not, elite ideas trickle down and infect our subconscious. More and more dropping from Ivory Towers are notes that say, “Eugenics is good,” and “The problem last […]

Preying on the Disabled
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Preying on the Disabled

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I came across a headline that posed a bold idea: Killing MS Patients VIA Assisted Suicide to Harvest their Organs? As a theoretical question for provocative bioethicists to ponder or advocate, it may be interesting, but I live in the real world far from academia. The real world is being asked to answer that very […]

What Can We Do in the Face of Suffering?
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What Can We Do in the Face of Suffering?

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I remember a couple of years ago seeing some TV reports about a heartbreaking situation in Somalia and Kenya that continue today. The commentator said, “We must warn you. Some of the images you are about to see are quite disturbing.” We proceed to see starving infants and children with distended tummies, crying children who […]

Learning from the Poor
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Learning from the Poor

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During a conversation with my 23-year-old son, he told me that a lot of his friends like our new pope. This isn’t the measure of the greatness of the man, but it is good to see some of Pope Francis’ major themes resonating with the young. Among the most prominent of these themes, something that […]

Lament and Wait Quietly for the Lord
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Lament and Wait Quietly for the Lord

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Far too frequently we look around our lives and find so much going so wrong.   Sometimes we know what we can do about our problems, and sometimes we don’t.  But that’s where faith comes in.  Here’s what I mean: The sixth century before Christ was a time of tremendous pain for the Israelites.  The Temple […]

Disability, Service, and Stewardship
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Disability, Service, and Stewardship

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There’s a dangerous tendency in America today to view disabilities of various kinds as insuperable barriers to productive and loving service. There is often an implicit, and sometimes explicit, disrespect of a basic feature of human dignity in the treatment of those with disabilities as merely passive recipients of government aid, the objects of public […]

How Can I Forgive When I Can't Forget?
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How Can I Forgive When I Can’t Forget?

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While many people believe forgetting an injury is part of forgiveness, Fr. Justin Waltz, pastor of St. Leo’s Church in Minot, ND, suggested just the opposite. In fact, he stated that forgetting is not even possible. “The only type of forgetting I have heard of is stuffing,” he said during a retreat presentation and added, “The […]

Imposing Death With Quality Control Standards
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Imposing Death With Quality Control Standards

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We’ve all heard the “quality of life” argument applied to everything from an excuse for abortion to the reason posited to justify assisted suicide or some other form of euthanasia. Ongoing debates relating to various segments of Obama’s national health care law—the Affordable Care Act—challenge us to sort out and explain the problematic nature of using a slide rule […]

Making it Through the Storms
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Making it Through the Storms

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Sometimes you see the storm coming from miles away. The sky darkens long in advance, the thunder roars loudly from a distance, the wind whips up and turns cool. You expect those storms and can plan around them a little, or at least plan for them. I don’t mind a good storm. You can enjoy […]

Providing Support Services for Life With Dignity
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Providing Support Services for Life With Dignity

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In my little corner of the world (Alberta, Canada) there is an issue raging about government cutbacks to support services for people with severe disabilities. Disabled Albertans feel threatened — and with good reason. Many of the support services that will be cut provide personal daily care that will directly impact the ability of disabled people to function, […]

The Measure of Humanity
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The Measure of Humanity

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Pope Benedict writes in Spe salvi, “The true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer.” These words recently took on new meaning for me as I encountered the story of Edwarda O’Bara, who passed away at the age of 59 in late November. In January 1970 Edwarda slipped into […]

Catholic Insights Into Depression
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Catholic Insights Into Depression

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Being father to five young boys and maintaining both a university teaching post and a busy clinical practice would seem to be a prescription for physical and emotional meltdown. Yet in addition to all this, Catholic psychiatrist Dr. Aaron Kheriaty found time to write a very practical and much-needed book on depression. The Catholic Guide […]

Five Ways to Maintain Hope
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Five Ways to Maintain Hope

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Sadly, a priest recently committed suicide in the rectory a block down the street from my house. In my view, this priest (and anyone else who has committed suicide) must have lost all hope. To me, a person can only take his or her own life if steeped in utter hopelessness. That got me thinking […]

Intentional Dementia
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Intentional Dementia

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During Mother’s last few months, conversations were extremely difficult to follow because her mind seamlessly switched from one decade to another. Isaac Singer writes, “Sometimes she’d tangle one story with another and couldn’t find her way out” (In My Father’s Court). Within one statement, she would toggle between viewing me as a teenager in the […]

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