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Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Cardinal Who Believes in Medjugorje

If I didn't already think Medjugorje was a sham, the behavior of Cardinal Schonborn of Austria would go a long way toward convincing me it couldn't be true. If the cardinal were close to the Blessed Mother, he surely wouldn't turn the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass into a circus performance. Please take the balloons, the rock music, the applause, and all the other liturgical abuses (did they sell peanuts and hot dogs?) back to hell where they belong. Cardinal Schonborn, do you realize how ridiculous it is for a grown man, a prince of the Church, to preside over this liturgical sideshow?

Is the Manahattan Declaration Compromised?

Have you read the Manhattan Declaration? It's the ecumenical document that addresses the issues of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia and assisted suicide, same sex marriage, and conscience protection for those refusing to support those immoralities. It's a wonderful document in many ways and eloquently addresses the issues. But there's a serious omision: contraception.

Roe v. Wade wasn't the court decision that made abortion inevitable. It was Griswold v. Connecticut. That decision plucked out of thin air the "privacy" claim that undergirded Roe. Just as Roe demolished all the laws in the country against abortion, Griswold demolished all the laws against contraception, laws put into place in the 19th century by a Protestant Congress as a matter of fact. And it was the acceptance of contraception and the contraceptive mentality that led, as surely as night follows day, to abortion.

Eminent Catholic lawyer Charles Rice recently pointed out the problem with the Manhattan Declaration in a thoughtful piece in The Observer, an independent paper that serves Notre Dame and St. Mary's in South Bend. Here's an excerpt that addresses the serious flaw in the document:
MD, unfortunately, misreads the origins of the “culture of death.” MD describes “the cheapening of life that began with abortion” and “the license to kill that began with the abandonment of the unborn to abortion.” Legalized abortion, however, and the other evils denounced by MD, are not origins, but rather symptoms of the contraceptive ethic that dominates our secularist, relativist and individualist culture....

In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI predicted that the acceptance of contraception would place “a dangerous weapon … in the hands of … public authorities …. for applying to … problems of the community those means acknowledged to be licit for married couples ... Who will stop rulers from … imposing upon their peoples … the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious? In such a way men would [place] at the mercy of … public authorities the most personal … sector of conjugal intimacy” (No. 17).

The failure of MD, in its catalogue of legalized promotions of the “culture of death,” even to mention the entry by government into the business of subsidizing by contraception the rejection of new life, is inexcusable. Once that role of government was conceded, the other evils denounced by MD were predictable. Perhaps the purpose of MD was to put together a coalition of signers that would include proponents of public funding of contraception. If so, MD politicized and trivialized itself....

MD forthrightly calls attention to evils that transcend the political as a challenge to reason, nature and God himself. MD itself would have transcended the political if it had called on the American people to put their primary reliance on prayer. Without a confrontation of contraception and its promotion by government, and without a serious call to prayer, MD invites dismissal as just another syncretistic manifesto cast in powerful prose that misses the point.

Why did the drafters of the Manhattan Declaration leave out the serious evil of contraception? Even abortifacient "contraception" including the morning after pill, is not mentioned. One can only presume that contraception was seen as a sticking point for potential supporters of the effort. For example, one public defender of contraception is James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and a signer of the Declaration. Presumably there were many others.

Does this serious flaw "invite dismissal as just another synretistic manifesto...that misses the point" as Charles Rice asserts? My gut instinct is to say yes, but when I examine the list of supporters who I admire and respect I feel a little intimidated to say so. But then I think of the millions of babies murdered by abortifacient birth control who dwarf the numbers killed in abortion mills. Was it right to make them invisible? And what about the souls of those who, not only are willing to kill the body, but the soul. If an act of intercourse was meant by God to result in a child and the couple thwarts the natural end of the act, do they not kill a soul will the absolute non-existence of a soul? After all, the aborted babies continue to exist, but the little one who is denied existence is denied the face of God for all eternity.

I've read the Declaration several times and part of me really wants to sign. But so far I just can't get around that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that somehow it's a compromise I don't have the right to make.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Can you believe anything they say on global warming?

Climate scaremongers have been wringing their hands over the melting of the Himalayan glaciers. One problem - once again the data is false. And it also appears that leading scientists knew and hushed up the fact to prevent embarrassment at the Copenhagen summit. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) knew for months that data about glacier melt in the organization's report was wrong. But as part of the basis for the Copenhagen meeting, he did nothing to correct it claiming ignorance. Baloney! As The Times (UK) reported:

Mr Pallava interviewed Dr Pachauri again this week for Science and asked him why he had decided to overlook the error before the Copenhagen summit. In the taped interview, Mr Pallava asked: “I pointed it out [the error] to you in several e-mails, several discussions, yet you decided to overlook it. Was that so that you did not want to destabilise what was happening in Copenhagen?”

Dr Pachauri replied: “Not at all, not at all. As it happens, we were all terribly preoccupied with a lot of events. We were working round the clock with several things that had to be done in Copenhagen. It was only when the story broke, I think in December, we decided to, well, early this month — as a matter of fact, I can give you the exact dates — early in January that we decided to go into it and we moved very fast.
If you believe this nonsense I have a bridge here in Woodstock I'd be willing to sell, one of the few covered bridges left in the country as a matter of fact. And speaking of money, in a related story The Times reported that:
The chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has used bogus claims that Himalayan glaciers were melting to win grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Rajendra Pachauri's Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in New Delhi, was awarded up to £310,000 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the lion's share of a £2.5m EU grant funded by European taxpayers.
There you have it, boys and girls. Once again love of money leads to lying and falsification of data. If you believe these climate change gurus after repeated demonstrations of their lies, you need to have your head examined. Remember the old adage, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Devil You Say!

Many today don't believe in the existence of the devil. It's convenient not to believe because if the devil doesn't exist there isn't any hell. So you can believe in a nice fluffy God who looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy and who has his angels making tea and cinammon rolls in preparation for your arrival.

Well, one U.S. bishop isn't afraid to talk about the devil. Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput speaking in Rome recently said, “It is very odd that in the wake of the bloodiest century in history – a century when tens of millions of human beings were shot, starved, gassed and incinerated with superhuman ingenuity – even many religious leaders are embarrassed to talk about the devil. In fact, it is more than odd. It is revealing.

“Mass murder and exquisitely organized cruelty are not just really big 'mental health' problems They are sins that cry out to heaven for justice, and they carry the fingerprints of an Intelligence who is personal, gifted, calculating and powerful.... If we do not believe in the devil, sooner or later we will not believe in God.”

The Archbishop focused on the responsibility of believers to evangelize the world. Why, to make sure as many people as possible are spared "the loss of heaven and the pains of hell."

Read more here....

Years ago when I was on a weekend retreat, I spent a late night in the stairwell with another retreatant who didn't believe in the existence of hell. She did after our long conversation. But it isn't surprising that people have stopped believing. I attended a funeral of a priest who committed suicide a number of years ago. The homilist, a senior priest in the diocese cast doubt on the possibility that anyone goes to hell. I was shocked because he never asked for prayers for the poor dead priest! I wanted to scream, "Did you care about your friend? Ask people to pray and fast that he experienced final repentance."

Do a Bible search with a concordance. Jesus talked about hell (Gehenna) more than almost anything else warning people NOT TO GO THERE.

At Fatima the Blessed Mother showed the three shepherd children a terrifying vision of hell. Was she a child abuser? NO! She is good mother who warns us about danger. Those three little ones engaged in heroic sacrifices to, as Jacinta said, "save poor sinners from hell."

St. Robert Bellarmine said that priests should preach often on the four last things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. We would all do well to reflect on them often. Ultimately, our elternal salvation is the only thing that matters. What a tragedy to lose heaven for the world.

Practice what you preach, Nancy!

Liberals talk about children and the poor when they want to use them to score political points, but in reality they couldn't care less. If they did, they wouldn't advocate ripping little babies limb from limb and they would live modestly the way they keep telling the rest of us to do. (Turn down your thermostat, take Metro, get rid of your gas guzzler, only use two sheets when you wipe, etc. etc. ad nauseum.) But Nancy Pelosi deserves a special award for hypocrisy as this article shows. She spends almost $1000 a week of the taxpayers money just on her travel boondoggles where she serves high end liquor and fancy food on her government transport.

Take a look at this excerpt from Judicial Watch:
Judicial Watch said the newly obtained 2,000 pages of documentation show Pelosi's military travel cost the U.S. Air Force $2,100,744.59 over two years – including $101,429.14 for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.

Among the newest highlights revealed:

Pelosi used Air Force aircraft to travel back to her district at an average cost of $28,210.51 per flight. Of 103 Pelosi-led congressional delegations (CODEL), 31 trips included members of the House speaker's family.

One CODEL traveling from Washington, D.C., through Tel Aviv, Israel, to Baghdad, Iraq, May 15-20, 2008, "to discuss matters of mutual concern with government leaders" included members of Congress and their spouses and cost $17,931 per hour in aircraft alone. This flight included the purchase of the long list of alcoholic drinks.

According to a "Memo for Record" from a March 29-April 7, 2007, CODEL that involved a stop in Israel, "CODEL could only bring kosher items into the hotel. Kosher alcohol for mixing beverages in the delegation room was purchased on the local economy i.e. bourbon, whiskey, scotch, vodka, gin, triple sec, tequila, etc.
We all know that corruption isn't limited to Democrats and there's plenty of criticism to go around on both sides of the aisle. But the Democrats set themselves up as the ones who stand for the little guy. What a crock! The poor are just convenient props while they attack the rich which never includes them. They, we are told, are public "servants." Have you noticed much serving on their parts? Nancy uses the military as her personal house boys (and girls). She needs to be retired in disgrace for her corrupt practices.

Obama May Have Good Reason to Make War on the Court

A number of strict constructionists now populate the Supreme Court which may explain Obama's hostility the other night and his lying attack on the justices' recent decision on campaign financing. He certainly isn't opposed to campaign contributions whereever he can get them and his presidential run received plenty of brown bag money funnelled illegally from foreign countries. Check out articles at News Busters and Big Government. Here's just one paragraph from the article by Pamela Geller:
I broke the jaw-dropping story about how tens of thousands of dollars came in to the Obama campaign from a Hamas-controlled camp in Gaza. Al-Jazeera actually ran video of Obama phone banks in Gaza. One large contributor to the Obama campaign was Monir Edwan, who was listed on FEC documents as contributing to Obama from the city of Rafah in the state “GA.” If you were reading quickly, you might have thought it was just a contribution from Georgia. But there is no city of Rafah in the Peach State. Monir Edwan sent money to Obama from Rafah, Gaza.

The recent court decision may be scaring the pants off liberal pro-abortion Democrats because the separate concurrence by Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito addressed the principle of stare decisis and offered a subtle warning about the underpinnings of cases like Roe v. Wade. Theodore Kettle at Newsmax writes:
[Roberts] also said a precedent could be targeted for destruction if its “rationale threatens to upend our settled jurisprudence in related areas of law, and when the precedent’s underlying reasoning has become so discredited that the Court cannot keep the precedent alive without jury-rigging new and different justifications to shore up the original mistake.” That uncannily describes Justice Antonin Scalia’s long-held objections to Roe v. Wade, and the unusual joint opinion that shored it up in 1992 in the Casey decision.

Yes, Washington watchers, the culture war is heating up. Pray for the Lord to raise up many David's to defeat the Philistines led by their raging lions and false messiahs. And be sure to verify every teleprompter statement by the president. His lies are only matched by his chutzpah!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama has a very low opinion of the intelligence of the American people!

Last night the president made one more of his incorrect statements. Did he think it was true or was he lying? If the first, he is incompetent; if the second, he's a liar. And here it is.

"We've excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions."

Is that right, Mr. President? provides this list of your lobbyist appointments, which I presume was put together over a year ago since it mentions some current appointees as "nominees":

-- William Lynn in the Pentagon as Deputy Defense Secretary. Mr. Lynn was a lobbyist for Defense Contractor Ratheon.

--Eric Holder, attorney general nominee, was registered to lobby until 2004 on behalf of clients including Global Crossing, a bankrupt telecommunications firm [now confirmed].

--Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year on behalf of the National Education Association.
William Lynn, deputy defense secretary nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for defense contractor Raytheon, where he was a top executive.

--William Corr, deputy health and human services secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until last year for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-profit that pushes to limit tobacco use.
David Hayes, deputy interior secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until 2006 for clients, including the regional utility San Diego Gas & Electric.

--Mark Patterson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for financial giant Goldman Sachs.

--Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, was registered to lobby until 2005 for clients, including the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, U.S. Airways, Airborne Express and drug-maker ImClone.

--Mona Sutphen, deputy White House chief of staff, was registered to lobby for clients, including Angliss International in 2003.

--Melody Barnes, domestic policy council director, lobbied in 2003 and 2004 for liberal advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Constitution Society and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

--Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, was a lobbyist as recently as last year for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group.

--Patrick Gaspard, White House political affairs director, was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union.

--Michael Strautmanis, chief of staff to the president's assistant for intergovernmental relations, lobbied for the American Association of Justice from 2001 until 2005.

Are none of these men and women in "policy-making" jobs? Certainly the Deputy Defense Secretary and the Attorney General make policy and "Domestic Policy Director" certainly sounds like a policy job.

Obama thinks his charisma will prevent everyone from checking out what he says, but, as Reagan quipped, trust, but verify. And when you do that you catch this president in a lot of lies. Like the old joke says. How do you know he's lying? His lips are moving!

Ask Samuel Alito who couldn't hide his surprise at the attack on the Supreme Court with more Obama untruths about their recent decision. Lies just come to this man as easily as reading the teleprompter. No wonder Joe Wilson called out "liar" during Obama's address to the joint houses of Congress. I couldn't help blurting it out myself watching the speech last night. And can someone please explain why he always has his nose in the air? It was the first thing he did when he got to the podium.

Obama and the State of the Union

I watched about an hour of the state of the union speech last night. It was as much as I could stomach. What I found particularly appalling was the Mardi Gras atmosphere. The only thing missing was the confetti and glass beads. (On second thought, Nancy had on the beads.)

The speech had little depth and was given in almost a joking way with Nancy (and Joe following more slowly) jumping up like a little bobbly head jack-in-the-box every time the president ended a sentence.

On the one had, the president was talking about focusing on the economy, but then dragged out the same economy-killing agenda that has raised the misery index in the country and left ten percent of Americans out of work.

Check out what Heritage Foundation analysts thought of the speech.

Archbishop urges reverence for the Eucharist: Receive on the tongue!

This interview on Communion in the hand is powerful. Bishop Athanasius Schneider tells how his family moved to Germany when he was a little boy. They tried to find a church where Communion was NOT given in the hand. They attended every church in town and all dispensed Communion in the hand. He describes coming home after attending Mass at the last church. "My mother began to weep....This profoundly impressed my soul." He gives the history of Communion and emphasizes the importance of reverence.

The loss of reverence is reflected in the way our churches turn into a social halls after Mass. This happens in almost every Catholic church these days. There is little reverence for Jesus in the tabernacle. Do those who laugh and chat ignoring the Lord of Lords really believe He is present there?

Pray for a return to reverence. If you receive in the hand, consider returning to Communion on the tongue. Jesus calls us to be like little children. What more graphic image of our relationship to God our Father than to open our mouths like little children waiting to be fed with the bread of life.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

China's One-Child Policy Leads to Human Trafficking in Women

What happens when a culture has a twenty-four million shortage of women? That's how many Chinese men this year may not be able to find brides. And it's a question that China will be answering through experience after a generation of limiting births to one per family by forced abortion. In Chinese culture, parents want boys to carry on the family name and take care of them in old age. Changing a culture isn't as easy as devising an evil policy. One result is the burgeoning traffic in women as forced brides and sex slaves. It's the law of unintended consequences, but the government isn't about to rethink its evil policy.

Let's hear it for the feminists who helped bring about the murder of millions of little girls! Some still herald the Chinese program as a model for the west. So much for equal rights. Read more about it here.

Even if you've never loved opera, you'll love this!

Last November an opera company posing as vendors at a market (mercado) in Valencia, Spain broke into song enthralling everyone there with excerpts from Verdi's La Traviata. Note the cast giving out drinks and dancing with the spectators. What a joyful surprise to make someone's day. Note the tears in the eyes of some spectators at the end of the performance. Great music tends to have that effect. Thanks to Bill for sending it to me. Every time I'm in the Food Lion I'll imagine opera singers dancing in the aisles. It would certainly make stocking shelves more interesting!

Pro-Choicers, You Gotta Love 'Em!

Don't you just love the open-minded tolerance of the pro-choice crowd. Their latest demonstration of it is the effort to ban an ad during the Superbowl featuring Tim Tebow and his mom. Tebow is the football player well known for sporting scripture passages on his face during games. According to reports the ad doesn't mention abortion, it simply relates in 30 seconds the story of his mom choosing life for her son. Celebrate life is the theme, but the harpies from NOW and other feminist groups are going ballistic over the thought that anyone would put a positive perspective on choosing life. After all choice for the feminists isn't about making a decision between aborting or not aborting. Choice in their lexicon IS abortion.

This is just one more example of the dishonesty of the pro-abortion crowd. The only choice they support is abortion. They offer no support groups to help women choose life. They offer women no option but killing they're children. And they hate those who portray the choice for life in a positive way.

The feminist groups are calling the ad offensive and divisive. Is that a joke? I've walked away from a lot of Superbowls because of the disgusting ads. This one won't be one of them. In fact, I may watch the Superbowl just to see it and I expect there will many others like me.

As for the feminists, polls show they are in a shrinking pool. The country is becoming more pro-life. Soon the only ones listening to their rants will be themselves. Say a Hail Mary for their conversion.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Nobel Peace Prize that Wasn't

While Barack Obama got the peace prize for...what exactly did he get the peace prize for? Well, anyway, while he got it, others were passed over and one nominee, Jim Garrow, actually deserved it. He runs the Pink Pagoda Project to save baby girls in China from the government's one-child policy. He's spent $23 million in the past ten years rescuing baby girls from certain death. Isn't it ironic that a man who saves little ones from murder lost out to the champion of child-killing?

It reminds me of the 2007 debacle when Al Gore, the biggest hot air windbag on the planet, beat out Irena Sendler a Catholic who risked her life to rescue 2500 Jewish children  from the Warsaw ghetto during the Holocaust. After the war she reunited the children with surviving family members when possible. She had kept all the details of their identities buried in a jar in her back yard. Read her story here.

Isn't it edifying to think that recent Nobel peace prizes have gone to men, one who did nothing at all and the other who gave a slide show and made a movie based on fraudulent data? This formerly prestigious award has become nothing but a joke for late night TV. Pray for the repose of the soul of Irena Sendler who died in 2008 at the age of 98. She was a hero and a woman after God's own heart. After all, he came as an infant which shows His tremendous love for babies.

Michael Voris Pegs it Again: The Relationship between Theological and Moral Error

Barack Obama: He Lied about Reducing Abortion!

Have you bought the lying rhetoric of President Obama that he wants to reduce abortion by helping women instead of working to outlaw abortion? Have you believed Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Obama's waterboys, who echo the lying rhetoric? If so, take a look at this list itemizing the pro-abortion actions of our lying president. (Remember when your mom said, "Actions speak louder than words?) Obama's actions are an unrelenting war against babies in the womb and their poor moms. For the complete (looooooong) list go here.

January 5, 2009 - Obama picks pro-abortion Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as the chairman of the Democratic Party.

January 6, 2009 - Obama chooses Thomas Perrelli, the lawyer who represented Terri Schiavo’s husband Michael in his efforts to kill his disabled wife, as the third highest attorney in the Justice Department.

January 22, 2009 - Releases statement restating support for Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions and has resulted in at least 50 million abortions since 1973.

January 23, 2009 - Forces taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations. Decison to overturn Mexico City Policy sends part of $457 million to pro-abortion organizations.

January 26, 2009 - Obama nominee for Deputy Secretary of State, James B. Steinberg, tells members of the Senate that taxpayers should be forced to fund abortions. Nominee erroneously says limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional.

January 29, 2009 - President Obama nominates pro-abortion David Ogden as Deputy Attorney General.

February 12, 2009 - Obama nominates pro-abortion Elena Kagan to serve as Solicitor General.

February 27, 2009 - Starts the process of overturning pro-life conscience protections President Bush put in place to make sure medical staff and centers are not forced to do abortions.

February 28, 2009 - Barack Obama nominates pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Good News in Virginia

Several pro-life bills were voted out of committees to the full committees yesterday, something that has been all too rare in Virginia in recent years. One, HB 1042, requires abortion mills to let women view ultrasounds of their babies. It's funny to see Planned Parenthood and NARAL's local affiliate wax eloquent about the exorbitant cost of this technology which many women have done for the fun of it! Delegate Kathy Byron stays on message asking what's wrong with giving women an opportunity to make an informed choice. As for cost, crisis pregnancy centers often offer ultrasounds for free. The word for the day for PP and NARAL is desperation. Pray that all pro-life bills introduced this year pass, especially Bob Marshall's personhood bill, HB 112, which has been referred to the Committee for Courts of Justice. It doesn't appear to have been discussed yet. Keep up with the status here. Just fill in the bill number, HB 112. To keep up with pro-life legislation in Virginia visit The Family Foundation.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Miracles still happen!

I spent years sidewalk counseling at an abortion mill in Alexandria, a suburb of Washington, D.C. Then I moved to the Shenandoah Valley where, thank God, abortion mills are nowhere around. But I still pray and keep up with the sidewalk counseling movement. I'm on Fr. Francis McCloskey's email list and get regular updates about the activities of sidewalk counselors around the country. (Father organizes Oh Saratoga every year, a weeklong counseling and prayer witness at abortion mills in the Saratoga, NY area.) Today's email was so inspiring I wanted to share it.

It was another cold day on Warren Street but this time with lots of rain falling and icing up the snow on sidewalks and lawns. Business at the Moloch was off as usual but the sidewalk warriors were at their best because it was a time of reminiscences of what once happened at this site.

And with 11 warriors most of whom remembered Judge Mannix - John, Alan, Mike, Cheryl, Steve, Marion and her sister Barbara, Francis, Jean, Olga and this writer - it was worth the telling of the time the Judge would come out in his Cadillac to pray with us. As the story goes...

One day the Cadillac pulls up, a man wearing a special surgical slipper and limping on a cane, gets out and comes to pray with us. He is the City Court Judge of Glens Falls. But why did he come out, not just once but repeatedly over weeks and months, and join us on the sidewalk? Which increased the beeps and toots as he was well-known in the City.

Judge Mannix, limping over leaning on his cane, introduces himself. He, a diabetic, had just exited Glens Falls Hospital where he had been admitted with a gangrenous left leg for amputation. While in the hospital he prayed to St. Joseph [understand that with so many Quebecois French in the Glens Falls area, most locals intuit the connection, i.e. the famous healing Shrine of St. Joseph on Mount Royal in Montreal and its founder Brother Andre Bessette with its famous healing oil, l'huile de Saint-Joseph]. When one visits the Shrine one sees the mountains of crutches, back braces and other medical paraphernalia that were left behind by the many healings recorded there.

So Judge Mannix said to us "I said to St. Joseph... St. Joseph, if I don't have to have my leg amputated I'll go out and pray with those crazy people in front of the Planned Parenthood".

Each time Judge Mannix returned he was walking better. One day the special slipper was gone. Finally the cane was gone and he was totally healed.

And so today we recalled those Judge Mannix days and thanked God for the judge's witness. There is more to be told especially about the next door lady who called us over and told us how within a month after the first Scripture Wall, she saw the PP building get hit by lightning and their circuits were out for a week. More to come on this. Since we had both snow and rain to deal with today we finished up with Isaiah 55:10-11.

If you've never prayed at an abortion mill, you are missing a powerful experience. Put it on your bucket list of things to do. You will never regret it. And who knows, you might personally witness a baby being saved. I have photos of quite a few from my days at the mill including a sweet little Muslim girl, the sixth child in her family. Life is beautiful!

This is part one of a sidewalk counseling series. To see the others visit the Pro-Life Action League.

Hollywood and the Classics

I have a bone to pick with Hollywood. When they make a movie based on a classic novel, don't the writer and director owe even a modicum of respect to the author by being true to the story? Obviously in a two hour film, it's impossible to cover a 400 or 500 page book, so why not just tell part of the story authentically. Leave out the minor plots and be true to what you tell. But to take a story and gut it and produce something utterly different makes using the original title ludicrous.

The other night my husband and I watched Robinson Crusoe with Pierce Brosnan. It wasn't a bad movie, but it sure wasn't Robinson Crusoe. It began with a a duel over a woman which motivated Crusoe's fleeing to sea. Nope, no woman in the story. (Which would mean omitting the mandatory nude scene.) Crusoe left England against his parents' wishes because he didn't want to study law and wanted adventure. The film left out all of Crusoe's adventures before the shipwreck which was understandable. Some of his activities on the island were true to the book.

However, when he and Friday leave the island and return to Friday's village, they are forced by the inhabitants to engage in a fight to the death to see who would be allowed to live. Nope! total fabrication, new story. So is Crusoe's rescue by slave traders, Friday's demise, and Crusoe's return to his lady love in England. His 28-year adventure was compressed into six - no doubt to preserve the love story. After all, two doddering lovers hobbling toward each other with canes wouldn't be very romantic.

Hey, Hollywood, if you want to write your own story, do it. But please give it another name. Disney's Pocahantis, which was a complete fiction, should have been called "Indian Princess." Robinson Crusoe could have been called "Marooned." Stop stealing other people's titles and make up your own since you feel free to make up everything else within the covers of the book.

An even better solution might be to save the classics for TV. The BBC version of Pride and Prejudice with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth runs what? (six hours I think), but is a beautiful tribute to Jane Austen and, with only a few exceptions, totally true to the story. I certainly can't say that about Robinson Crusoe.

So, kids, if you're assigned the book and are too lazy to read it, don't depend on the movie. Use the cliff notes instead.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Obama, the Narcissist

Fascinating article which offers an interesting perspective that should make every American nervous. Thanks to Gary Morella for the heads up.

The Decompensation of a President

For All You Anti-Gun Folks Out There; Please Don't Have a Heart Attack

I confess, I thought this was a hoot. And what a way to retire a clunker! He reminds me of some of my hunter nephews. Makes me want to go down to the gun range and shoot at some clay pigeons. But what a way to treat a watermelon!

Rainbow Priests?

[It turns out that the story about the Vatican approving rainbow vestments was basically the french version of an April Fool's joke. The diocese of  Saint Brieuc-Treguier explains the "joke" on its website. Mainly the fabricated details include things like being used on feasts of "St. Noah" and "St. Abraham" which don't exist." However, the truth is that rainbow vestments were introduced at World Youth Day in 1997 in Paris without anyone's approval at all.  So the fact is, rainbow vestments are being warn at Mass and it's no joke. They may not be as glaring as the picture below, but you'll get the picture in the video. So the pope and the Vatican apparently never approved of rainbow vestments. The French bishops made the decision all on their own. So you may still want to write to the Congregation in charge of the liturgy and complain about the practice of priests wearing vestments with the symbol of "gay" pride. It's no joke!]

You're sitting in the psychiatrist's office doing a word association test. He says rainbow. What's the first thing you think of? I'll wager that the rainbow flag of "pride" is likely to pop into your head and you are likely to respond with: homosexual, gay, gay pride, or a similar association. Somehow I doubt the first thing you will think of is Noah and the ark and God's covenant with his people.

The fact is that the gays have co-opted the rainbow to make it a symbol of shame that carries a strong subliminal (Heck! what am I saying, there's nothing subliminal about it!) message of homosexual pride and approval of the gay lifestyle. And yet the Vatican has approved rainbow vestments at the urging of the French bishops. Which is interesting considering that the Church in France is almost moribund. Maybe their enthusiasm for the rainbow reveals why.

Atila Sinke GuimarĂ£es writes about another pagan symbol rejected by the Church for centuries because of its association with sin:

Even if the introduction of the rainbow as a new liturgical color were well intentioned, I do not recognize in this measure the bi-millennial wisdom of the Catholic Church. Let us look at how she acted in the past in face of a similar symbol.

History teaches us that when the Church was founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Roman Empire had assumed the rose as one of the symbols of its decadent customs. Indeed, in the orgies dedicated to Venus, Bacchus, Mercury or Saturn, there was a display of the most sophisticated pleasures known at that time: refined food and wines for the palate, oils for the body, perfumes for the smell, music and singing for the ears. To these luxuries another was added, considered top of the line. The banquet rooms were designed so that from time to time rose petals would fall from the ceiling over the guests during the feast. The ensemble was meant to give the impression they were living in an anti-chamber of Olympus.

Immorality and the most refined Roman good taste served by their more advanced technology became symbolized by the rose.

What did the Catholic Church do regarding the symbol of the rose? She did not use it in her symbolism until the memory of the Roman Empire and its orgies had completely disappeared. Only after the barbarians had ravaged the Western Roman Empire did the Church use the symbol of the rose in her devotions and works of art. Then, Our Lady became honored as the Rosa Mystica, the cathedrals erected stain glass windows shaped as grand roses, and on their columns the rose became a frequent ornament. Following this example in the temporal sphere, we find noble houses placing roses on their coats of arms and gentlemen offering roses to lady as a sign of their respect.

It took centuries for the Church to purify the symbol of the rose, but she did it perfectly. To the point that until a little before Vatican II, it was common for a religious woman, in the ceremony of taking her solemn vows, to wear a crown of roses, a symbol of her virginity. From being a symbol of the Roman orgy, the rose became the symbol of Catholic virginity. What an extraordinary victory of the Church!

Now the opposite is taking place. Instead of avoiding a symbol that has become universally identified with the worse sin against nature, the Conciliar Church jumps in and assumes that symbol as its own. (Read more....)

A few weeks ago, the French bishop of the Diocese of Evreux turned up in Thiberville to carry out his symbolic murder of the traditional parishes in the area and remove their faithful pastor of 20 years. (Fortunately his decision was overturned.) The bishop, a modernist, was wearing rainbow vestments. What can the pope be thinking to allow this abomination? I will NEVER attend a Mass where the priest is wearing rainbow vestments. In the U.S., only a homosexual or homosexualist would perpretrate such an abomination on the people of his parish.

Write to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which approved the change, to protest. The address is Piazza Pio XII, 10, 00120, Vatican City, Europe. It's time for faithful laity to take back the church.

Head of D.C. Schools Said Some Laid Off Teachers Had Sex with Children

Rhee: Laid-off D.C. teachers abused kids

Okay, where's the outrage? The newspapers (as well they should) went after abusive Catholic priests and the bishops who covered up for them for months, no years! So where's the call for full disclosure of the public schools and teacher abuse of children in the nations's capitol?

Who had sex and with whom? Was it heterosexual, homosexual? What was the degree? Fondling? Rape? What were the ages of the children? Were parents told? Did those who discovered the abuse call the police?

Public school officials are MANDATORY REPORTERS. They must call the police when they are aware of sex abuse of minors. What does Michelle Rhee know and when did she know it? What about school principals. And where are the newspapers running articles every day about sex abuse in the public schools? Where's the Washington Post's front-page coverage? All I could find was a blog entry from their education reporter. Is that it?

Or is sex abuse by Catholic priests bad but sex abuse by public school teachers no big deal?

Ah, the hypocrisy of the liberal left

My mom was fond of the old saying, "Practice what you preach." The proverb came to mind as I read about a North Carolina state senator,R.C. Soles, who shot an intruder who was a former law client. (This story gets more interesting by the minute.) The 74-year-old gun control advocate has been charged criminally in the case and will not run again for the seat he's held since 1968.

The case reminds me of another gun control fanatic, liberal columnist Carl Rowan, who shot an intruder in 1988 with an unregistered gun (a crime in D.C.). The teenager was swimming in his backyard pool. Rowan first claimed the gun was registered, then changed his story. When criticized and ridiculed for his hypocrisy, Rowan had the chutpah to say, "I am for gun control, but I am not for unilateral gun control, in which I leave my family naked to the druggies and the crooks out there." In other words, Carl Rowan could have a gun because he needed to protect his family, but you can use a baseball bat at your house. No doubt he wasn't really aiming at the teenager, but trying to shoot a hole in his rubber tube.

Liberals are so funny! Rowan went off to his heavenly (or other) reward in 2000 leaving the world bereft of one more fulminating leftist hypocrite. Pray for the repose of his soul and in his honor defend the Constitutional right to bear arms.

Ellie Light Scammed at least 42 Newspapers

Yesterday I wrote about the mysterious Ellie Light, an Obama worshiper, who wrote to dozens of newspapers with her liberal blather. (Scroll down to see original post.) Newsbusters is reporting at least 42 newspapers taken in by the writer whose identity remains unknown. Seems like lying to the press if you're a liberal is a non-issue since nobody outside the original reporter is looking into this story. I wonder how such a trick from a conservative would be treated.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Newborn Survives after a week-long burial in the rubble

Miracles in Jacmel, Haiti

I remember reading about Mother Teresa once showing an emaciated infant rescued from a dumpster to a reporter and saying with joy, "Look, there's life in her." Praise God for the rescue and survival of little Elizabeth and for the medical workers there on the scene enabling such joyful miracle stories.

Holy Mary, Queen of the Universe

And of the European Union.

Anyone who has followed the EU is aware of just how anti-Christian it is, even refusing to acknowledge the Christian roots of western Europe. Ah, but God is not mocked. Take a good look at the EU flag and count those stars. Then read the following fascinating article.

Coincidence? Or is it a God-incident? Perhaps it symbolizes the hope of a re-Christianized Europe. Let us pray for that outcome.

Why the sign of Our Lady reigns over Europe

Obama Supporter: Bi-Location is Nothing for Her!

Actually, Ellie Light doesn't just bi-locate, she multi-locates. The woman who has had similar letters supporting Obama in multiple newspapers around the country, always signs an address in the paper's circulation area. A savvy reporter at the Cleveland Plain Dealer caught on and published an article exposing Light's game.

Obama has suspicious number of letter-writing fans named 'Ellie Light'

Who is this woman really? Several suggestions have come up in the comments section, but the question I have is -- how many Ellie Light clones are doing the same thing and is it a project of the Obama administration? After all, voter registration fraud, fundraising irregularities, etc. are endemic to this administration. Maybe it's just the latest project for ACORN and the SEIU. More likely it's somebody with too much time on her hands who is a true believer and obviously thinks most Obama supporters are too stupid to write intelligent letters supporting their man. She may be right. After all, most of those who voted for him when interviewed outside polling places couldn't identify Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or Barney Frank and didn't know which political party controlled Congress. (See the video below.)

A big thank you to Sabrina Eaton, the reporter who exposed the shenanigans.

Republican Party Fund Raising

I got a call yesterday from the Republican Party of Virginia. I should say, I got ANOTHER call from the Republican Party of Virginia because I get numerous calls from the party at both the state and national levels.

I always say, "I don't give to the party, I only support pro-life candidates."

But that doesn't keep the callers from going on and on and on trying to get my no to turn into yes. After several statements that I won't give to the party, I usually switch to the "marketing strategy" comment. "I realize your script tells you to make me say no five or six times before you give up, but I assure you I'm not going to change my mind."

The woman yesterday continued trying to convince me for at least five minutes and I said no at least five times. Even then she asked again saying, "Won't you give $35." At that point I paused for about three seconds and then said, "What do you think my answer is going to be? After all, you've heard it already - how many times?" She finally gave up. It was almost amusing. She kept asking and I kept refusing criticizing the way the party treats pro-lifers, talking about Michael Steele's cavalier dismissal of Republicans who defend the social issues. "I hope you'll pass on my comments," I said with little expectation that will happen.

"Why don't you just hang up?" you may be thinking. Well, actually, I find the marketing strategies interesting, which is why I engage. I'm always amazed at how long the caller (presumably a paid caller) will pursue an obviously futile call. It makes me wonder how she's paid. Obviously not by the number of calls she makes. She could have made three or four in the time she spoke to me. By the successful call? I told her I was a past precinct chairman and some other details and maybe she thought someone that involved could be convinced to change her mind. Whatever the reason, it never ceases to amaze me. I waste their time. I doubt if they care about my opinions. So what's the point from their point of view? They must think the next argument on their script sheet is the winner. Or maybe the're zapping me with a subliminal high frequency message. "You want to want to want to give...."

If you figure it out, let me know.

Hundreds of Thousands Marched in D.C.

And they were just the tip of the iceberg. Americans United for Life organized a last-minute "virtual march" for those who couldn't attend a physical function logging almost 75,000 participants and many cities around the country held their own marches. Check out a few samples!

Thousands of pro-lifers storm D.C.

The 5th Annual Walk for Life West Coast

Tulsa March for Life (first annual - results not posted yet)

Cleveland's annual March for Life

Friday, January 22, 2010

Phil Lawler of Catholic World News Explains What Happened in Massachusetts

Phil Lawler is from Massachusetts and his insight on the election of Scott Brown is astute and interesting. Author of the fascinating book, The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture, Lawler is well positioned to describe the collapse of the Kennedy myth.

Check out "What happened in Massachusetts?"

Is Suicide the Answer?

In the culture of death it is no surprise that suicide is common and that, for many, it seems an easy way out, or at least an easier way out than living with suffering and challenge. Charlotte Raven has written a moving article on the issue, one that shows, despite no religious conviction, that the natural law still moves hearts.

Charlotte Raven: Should I take my own life?

Perhaps at least a drop of sense is entering the debate. Switzerland is taking steps to increase restrictions on its suicide clinics. Well-publicized cases about non-terminal patients being killed has brought some soul-searching to the debate. According to The Guardian, "The Swiss cabinet, which is divided on the emotive issue, sent two proposals into the legislative process for consultation, which will last until 1 March: one for tighter regulation, and the other for an outright ban."

Pray for those considering the legislation that they will recognize the value of life, even a life of suffering. Pope John Paul II showed the world that suffering can be accepted and a source of sanctification. He didn't hide his Parkinson's Disease, but allowed his vulnerability to touch the world.

Let us each pray to embrace our sufferings and even praise God for them, knowing they make us humble and only humble people get into heaven.

Alveda King is Silent No More

On her birthday and the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Aveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, explains why she is "silent no more."

Why I am Silent No More

Thursday, January 21, 2010

One More Reason to Drive: the Health Impact of Airport X-Rays

Airport Travelers To Get Ionizing X-Ray Radiation

Read this excerpt on the dangers of radiation:

A leading U.S. expert on the biological effects of X-radiation is Dr. John Gofman, Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Gofman's exhaustive research leads him to conclude that there is NO SAFE DOSE-LEVEL of ionizing radiation.13 His studies indicate that radiation from medical diagnostics and treatment is a causal co-factor in 50 percent of America's cancers and 60 percent of our ischemic (blood flow blockage) heart disease.14 He stresses that the frequency with which Americans are medically X-rayed "makes for a significant radiological impact."15

This highly credentialed nuclear physicist states: "The fact, that X-ray doses are so seldom measured, reflects the false assumption that doses do not matter...[but] they do matter enormously. And each bit of additional dose matters, because any X-ray photon may be the one which sets in motion the high-speed, high energy electron which causes a carcinogenic or atherogenic [smooth muscle] mutation. Such mutations rarely disappear. The higher their accumulated number in a population, the higher will be the population's mortality rates from radiation-induced cancer and ischemic heart disease."16

A report in the British medical journal Lancet noted that after breast mammograms were introduced in 1983, the incidence of ductal carcinoma (12 percent of breast cancer) increased by 328 percent, of which 200 percent was due to the use of mammography itself.17 A Lawrence Berkeley National Lab study has demonstrated that breast tissue is extremely susceptible to radiation-induced cancer,18 confirming warnings by numerous experts that mammograms can initiate the very cancers they may later identify.19 Dr. Gofman believes that medical radiation is a co-factor in 75 percent of breast cancer cases.20 So why would girls and women want their breast tissues irradiated every time they take a commercial flight?

The Sweeter Side of Scott Brown

Scott Brown’s Candy-Making Nuns

Well, where there's life, there's hope. Scott Brown needs a lot of prayer considering his immoral positions on abortion and homosexual marriage. But having a group of cloistered nuns praying for you is a game changer. Keep this man on your rosary list for his own sake and the sake of the country.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More about possible miracle attributed to intercession of Pope Pius XII

Details of possible Pius XII miracle emerge

The Bloom is Off the Rose!

Poll: More Americans Now Say Obama is ‘About the Same’ or ‘Worse’ Than Bush, as Independents Sour on Him

My Favorite Politician: Bob Marshall, Virginia Delegate

Bob Marshall is a man of principle who will never sell out to the special interests. He calls for constitutional governance. "Authority comes from the people.... This fight [healthcare] is a fight over whether you are a citizen or you are a serf!"

Read the Constitution and ask politicians the hard questions and support Bob Marshall. He is currently introducing a personhood amendment in Richmond. See the text below the video and the list of members of the Courts of Justice Committee who will be reviewing the bill. If you live in Virginia, ask for their support and please pray for passage of this bill.

No Greater Love: the Courage of Roy Benavidez

After you watch this incredible video go here for more. Pray for this courageous Catholic warrior who died in 1998. Rest in peace, Roy.

So Who is Scott Brown? A Sobering Reality Check from AFA of Michigan

I'll be honest. I'm glad Martha Coakley was deep-sixed, but who knows in the long run (and in God's eyes) what the better part would be? Only time will tell whether all the hope pinned to Scott Brown was justified. So all of you cheerleaders for Brown, hold your enthusiasm to modest levels until we see what the future brings. A man who posed nude for Cosmopolitan in 1982 and holds the kind of positions you'd expect from someone so morally blind, may turn out to be another Arlen Specter. His social positions are certainly more in line with liberal Democrats than conservative Republicans. Gary Glenn of AFA Michigan points out just exactly how out of tune with those of us who care about family values he is. Pray for him and write to him!

Mary Ann


Gary Glenn

American Family Association of Michigan

A sobering reality check, just so we know precisely who it is whose election we're all supposed to be celebrating today, who even some nationally prominent conservative and pro-family activists insistently urged us to support in this week's special election in Massachusetts...

Republican U.S. Senator-elect Scott Brown:

* Believes abortion on demand should be legal for all women 18 years of age and older (though he phrases it in more politically soothing terms on his campaign website), with the sole exception of opposing one particular late-term abortion procedure which does nothing whatsoever to prevent an abortion from being performed on the same baby at the same time by some other procedure.

* Favors legal recognition of homosexual "civil unions",8599,1954918,00.html

Remember only a short decade ago in 2000, when pro-family activists labeled "civil unions" signed into law by Democratic Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont as "same-sex marriage in everything but name...a major step toward radically redefining our most important social institution and overturning four thousand years of Judeo-Christian moral teaching...plac(ing) homosexual relationships on the same legal footing as marriage...subversive...destructive of society's most important institution...extremely damaging"?)

But in 2010, we were told by some this week, we should support a Republican politician who favors this precisely same radical redefining of marriage.

* Believes each state should be free to redefine marriage to include homosexual couples, according to his campaign website, which by logical deduction means he would oppose a Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, since that would constitutionally prohibit any state from redefining marriage.

Or, as summarized by GOProud, the homosexual activist group recently at the center of controversy over its being accepted as a sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference: "Brown...has stated that same-sex marriage in Massachusetts is settled law and that he personally supports civil unions. Brown has also said that he believes marriage is a state issue and that each state should be free to make its own law regarding same-sex marriage. ...(Brown is) in favor of civil unions, oppos(es) a federal marriage amendment and (has) the same federalist approach to marriage that President Obama has."

So Democrats who favor abortion on demand, support homosexual civil unions, and oppose constitutionally protecting marriage are of course bad, we're told, but a Republican who favors abortion on demand, supports homosexual civil unions, and opposes constitutionally protecting marriage, pro-family voters are told we should actively support, send money, make phone calls for...

If you're among those who've pledged to themselves never to support a candidate who thinks it should be legal to torturously kill prenatal children in the womb, take note this week of which organizations and individuals whose word and leadership you can trust to help you keep that pledge.

Gary Glenn
American Family Association of Michigan

It's Health Care, Stupid!

Scott Brown won in Massachusetts for one reason: HEALTH CARE! The citizens of Massachusetts, like the citizens in the rest of the country, DO NOT WANT GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE! Is that loud enough for you to hear, Nancy and Harry? President Obama?

According to the Rasmussen polling organization: "Health care has been a huge issue in this election. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Brown voters say it was the most important issue in determining their vote. Sixty-three percent (63%) of Coakley voters say health care was the top issue...."

Let's see whether the tyrants in Congress try to shove it down our throats anyway.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Call us crazy, but where's the transparency?

The man who claimed he'd run the most transparent administration is history has spent beuacoup bucks keeping all his records sealed. What does he have to hide? Inquiring minds want to know.

Youngstown, Ohio is abortion free!

While Planned Parenthood opens its mega-abortion center in Houston, another center is closed for good.

Ohio Abortion Clinic Follows National Trend and Closes

"The closure follows a well-documented national trend. In 1991, there were nearly 2,200 abortion clinics, but today there are 712. Since 1991 over two-thirds of all abortion clinics have permanently closed. That trend reflects the shifting attitude of Americans toward the pro-life position....To further speed the closure of abortion clinics, Operation Rescue is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of abortionists who are breaking the law."

Abortionists are the bottom feeders of the medical profession. Can't make it legitimate medical practice? Open an abortion mill and butcher babies and their moms. Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics has argued for years that the end of abortion won't come through political means, but by limiting access. The more abortionists whoare exposed for their filthy practices and illegal activities and drummed out of business, the fewer women will choose abortion. Limit access and offer assistance to moms and the answer is a living baby. Visit Life Dynamics.

Green Snake Oil

Real Catholic TV's Michael Voris recently did a series on the environmental hoax. Here's the last video in the four-part series. You can watch the three earlier videoes by going here. The first one is on the connections between former communists and the green movement. It's a subject I want to look into making direct links. But if you haven't noticed the connection between saving the planet and more government power and control, you need to think about it. Because that's what it's all about. And a lot of useful idiots are joining in the scam as enablers of what is nothing but the latest snake oil cure from Dr. Death.

Is it a Miracle for Pope Pius XII?

Vatican confirms existence of possible miracle attributed to Pius XII

X-Rated Riddle for the Day

What's shaped like a cash register and goes ching-ching for babies?

Answer: Planned Parenthood's new six-story building in Houston that is the largest killing center in the country. It used to be a bank, but now it's a cash cow for the largest baby-killing business in America.

Poor Houston!

Pro-lifers to protest huge Houston clinic

Thousands March Against New Planned Parenthood Abortion Business in Houston

Terminal Sedation: Abortion for the Elderly

I spoke to a friend this morning whose father was murdered by terminal sedation (aka "palliative" care). Her father suffered from Alzheimer's and his mind was pretty well gone, but physically he was in great shape. He and his wife lived with one of my friend's children who took him for a long walk every day and knew how to manage all his grandfather's moods. They were good buddies. My friend lived nearby and spent as much time as possible visiting her parents and enjoying her father's company.

But the rest of the family (including my friend's mother who had power of attorney) decided to put him in a nursing home where he was difficult to control because he wanted to be released. My friend told me that every time she went to visit him he was trying to escape -- pulling at every door and even the bookcases looking for a way out. Three nursing homes and several months later he pretty much gave up. When she went to see him he would be sitting in a wheelchair slumped over and drooling. He got an infection and ended up in a hospital "palliative" ward where he was denied food, water, and antibiotics. Within several months, he went from an elderly man who was walking two miles a day with his grandson, to dead from dehydration and terminal sedation. It was Terri Schiavo and Hugh Finn without the publicity.

My friend considered trying to get guardianship at one point, but she was familiar with the earlier cases and knew it would be a lengthy legal battle and the result would be the same. He had also deteriorated so much she didn't think he could recover. With a number of young children still at home, she didn't think she could deal with the fight. So here was a faithful daughter (and her husband) willing to care for both her parents until they died, who had to watch while her faithless siblings and her mom murdered her father.

Welcome to the realities of the culture of death.

Terminal sedation is abortion for the elderly. You have dementia and get pneumonia? Like Rahm Emmanuel says, Never let a crisis go to waste. See it as an opportunity for a quick exit. No antibiotics and terminal sedation. Abortion completed. Your loved one is healthy but brain damaged like Terri Schiavo and Hugh Finn? No problem. Starvation, dehydration, and terminal sedation. Call it late-term abortion.

You think I'm exaggerating? The New York Times ran an article in December on the practice. (I've copied it below.) It is common in hospice programs. Hurry the patients along for the peace of the family and to empty the bed. Saves everyone anxiety, money, and hassle. Except, perhaps, the patient. But he is drugged so whatever objections he may have had, you'll never have to hear them.

Sometimes, as in my friend's case, though, things aren't that smooth. Far from bringing peace to families it brings terminal strife and family breakdown. And in the case of my friend's mom, will children who killed their father, hesitate at doing the same thing to the their complicit mother? After all, she had no objections to killing dad; so how can she object to her own quick exit? It's for the children (and their inheritance?).

I wish I could say this is the only case I know of the deliberate murder of elderly parents, but it isn't. It's common practice in some hospices with or without the complicity of the families. Situations like my friend's are also becoming more and more common as the baby boomers, who often gave their children nothing in the way of faith, face the results of their hedonistic lives. "Hey, Mom put me in day care for most of my childhood and aborted my siblings; I'll put her in a nursing home and pull the plug as soon as possible." So much easier for everyone.

The worst part, however, is that while the body is being killed, the souls of the killers are dying as well. How does God who said, "Honor your father and your mother," look at the deliberate murder of parents? It is mortally sinful! And that's the greatest suffering for my friend. She would like to see her family in heaven, but fears that this life on earth may be the only common ground they ever share.

Please pray for all those in danger of death today from terminal sedation and for those who will carry it out and enable it. It's a soul-killer for sure! You can call it quick and painless, but in the end the palliative care ward, like the abortion mill, is literally hell on earth.



December 27, 2009
Months to Live
Hard Choice for a Comfortable Death: Sedation
In almost every room people were sleeping, but not like babies. This was not the carefree sleep that would restore them to rise and shine for another day. It was the sleep before — and sometimes until — death.

In some of the rooms in the hospice unit at Franklin Hospital, in Valley Stream on Long Island, the patients were sleeping because their organs were shutting down, the natural process of death by disease. But at least one patient had been rendered unconscious by strong drugs.

The patient, Leo Oltzik, an 88-year-old man with dementia, congestive heart failure and kidney problems, was brought from home by his wife and son, who were distressed to see him agitated, jumping out of bed and ripping off his clothes. Now he was sleeping soundly with his mouth wide open.

“Obviously, he’s much different than he was when he came in,” Dr. Edward Halbridge, the hospice medical director, told Mr. Oltzik’s wife. “He’s calm, he’s quiet.”

Mr. Oltzik’s life would end not with a bang, but with the drip, drip, drip of an IV drug that put him into a slumber from which he would never awaken. That drug, lorazepam, is a strong sedative. Mr. Oltzik was also receiving morphine, to kill pain. This combination can slow breathing and heart rate, and may make it impossible for the patient to eat or drink. In so doing, it can hasten death.

Mr. Oltzik received what some doctors call palliative sedation and others less euphemistically call terminal sedation. While the national health coverage debate has been roiled by questions of whether the government should be paying for end-of-life counseling, physicians like Dr. Halbridge, in consultations with patients or their families, are routinely making tough decisions about the best way to die.

Among those choices is terminal sedation, a treatment that is already widely used, even as it vexes families and a profession whose paramount rule is to do no harm.

Doctors who perform it say it is based on carefully thought-out ethical principles in which the goal is never to end someone’s life, but only to make the patient more comfortable.

But the possibility that the process might speed death has some experts contending that the practice is, in the words of one much-debated paper, a form of “slow euthanasia,” and that doctors who say otherwise are fooling themselves and their patients.

There is little information about how many patients are terminally sedated, and under what circumstances — estimates have ranged from 2 percent of terminal patients to more than 50 percent. (Doctors are often reluctant to discuss particular cases out of fear that their intentions will be misunderstood.)

While there are universally accepted protocols for treating conditions like flu and diabetes, this is not as true for the management of people’s last weeks, days and hours. Indeed, a review of a decade of medical literature on terminal sedation and interviews with palliative care doctors suggest that there is less than unanimity on which drugs are appropriate to use or even on the precise definition of terminal sedation.

Discussions between doctors and dying patients’ families can be spare, even cryptic. In half a dozen end-of-life consultations attended by a reporter over the last year, even the most forthright doctors and nurses did little more than hint at what the drugs could do. Afterward, some families said they were surprised their loved ones died so quickly, and wondered if the drugs had played a role.

Whether the patients would have lived a few days longer is one of the more prickly unknowns in palliative medicine. Still, most families felt they and the doctors had done the right thing.

Mr. Oltzik died after eight days at the hospice. Asked whether the sedation that rendered Mr. Oltzik unconscious could have accelerated his death, Dr. Halbridge said, “I don’t know.”

“He could have just been ready at that moment,” he said.

With their families’ permission, Dr. Halbridge agreed to talk about patients, including Mr. Oltzik and Frank Foster, a 60-year-old security guard dying of cancer. He said he had come to terms with the moral issues surrounding sedation.

“Do I consider myself a Dr. Death who is bumping people off on a regular basis?” he asked. “I don’t think so. In my own head I’ve sort of come to the realization that these people deserve to pass comfortably.”

An Uncomfortable Topic

For every one like Dr. Halbridge, there were other doctors who, when asked about their experiences, would speak only in abstract and general terms, as if giving a medical school lecture, and declined requests to arrange interviews with families who had been through the process. It is a difficult subject to discuss.

The medical profession still treats its role as an art as much as a science, relying on philosophical principles like the rule of double effect. Under this rule, attributed to the 13th century Roman Catholic philosopher Thomas Aquinas, even if there is a foreseeable bad outcome, like death, it is acceptable if it is unintended and outweighed by an intentional good outcome — the relief of unyielding suffering before death. The principle has been applied to ethical dilemmas in realms from medicine to war, and it is one of the few universal standards on how end-of-life sedation should be carried out.

At Metropolitan Hospital Center, a city-run hospital in East Harlem, Dr. Lauren Shaiova, the chief of pain medicine and palliative care, has issued 20 pages of guidelines for palliative sedation. The guidelines include definitions, criteria, what to discuss with family and hospital workers and a list of drugs to induce sleep, control agitation and relieve pain.

The checklist of topics to be discussed with the family includes whether to offer intravenous food and water. Another checklist anticipates that some hospital workers may be upset by the process, and recommends a discussion with questions like: “Were you comfortable with the sedation of this patient? If not, what were your concerns?”

But clarity, doctors say, is hardly the rule. In 2003, Dr. Paul Rousseau, then a Veterans Affairs geriatrician in Phoenix, wrote an editorial in the Journal of Palliative Medicine calling for more explicit guidelines and research. He noted that some researchers include intermittent deep sleep in the category of palliative sedation, while others limit it to continuous sedation, which he said might explain some of the variance in estimates of how often it occurs.

And he proposed more systematic research into the types of medications used, how long it takes for patients to die, and the feelings of family and medical staff.

Doctors at two prominent New York City hospitals, Beth Israel Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, freely discussed their policies on terminal sedation, but were reluctant to allow a reporter to talk to patients or families. The policy adopted by Beth Israel’s hospice endorses palliative sedation to “carefully selected patients” at the end of life. The three-page policy reviews legal, ethical and clinical considerations in broad strokes, but refrains from providing names of drugs and checklists.

Dr. Russell Portenoy, chairman of pain medicine and palliative care at Beth Israel, said the policy reflected the perceived perils of too much specificity. The hospice ethics committee decided that every patient was different, he said, and that “it was better to present a policy at this 10,000-foot level.”

The Metropolitan guidelines authorize certain drugs to induce palliative sedation, or in conjunction with sedation for pain, delirium and agitation. The sedation drugs are lorazepam, midazolam, phenobarbital and, in the intensive care unit only, sodium thiopental.

For pain, the guidelines list opioid drugs, including morphine, methadone and fentanyl.

Doctors say that other drugs used for sedation are ketamine, an anesthetic and sedative popular at rave parties, and propofol, an anesthetic, which was ruled, with lorazepam, to have caused Michael Jackson’s death. In very high doses, sodium thiopental is used as a sedative in the three-drug combination used for lethal injections.

There is one ethical guidepost for all the protocols: Terminal sedation should not become so routine that the end of life is scheduled like elective surgery, for the convenience of the doctor or the family, or because the patient’s care is no longer economically viable.

Physicians occasionally feel pressure to turn up the medication, said Dr. Pauline Lesage, Beth Israel’s hospice medical director. The pressure may come from weary relatives, who say, in effect, “Now it’s enough; I just want him to disappear.”

Sometimes the pressure is institutional. “You may be tempted to jump over because, oh well, ‘I need the bed,’ or ‘That’s enough, I don’t see what we are doing here,’ ” she explained.

The doctors resist pressure to deliberately hasten death, she said. “Otherwise you see that you are jumping into a different field.”

The Conversation

Leo Oltzik was a lanky man with a piercing gaze, a draftsman who, among many of his projects, worked on plans for the Second Avenue subway. In 57 years of marriage, he and his wife, Eleanor, had a son and a daughter and hardly ever argued.

They slept in the same bed, even after a railing had to be installed on one side to keep Mr. Oltzik from jumping out. But around Thanksgiving, Mr. Oltzik became too agitated for his wife and son to continue caring for him at home. “He was fighting death,” Mrs. Oltzik said.

After three days of efforts to calm Mr. Oltzik in the hospice failed, Dr. Halbridge told the family that he was going to try an IV drip. Mr. Oltzik was connected to an intravenous bag of Ativan, a brand name of lorazepam, and he was given Roxanol, a liquid morphine, for pain and shortness of breath. He lay in a large room where the December sun washed over flowered curtain ruffs, plush carpeting and lavender chairs. He looked as if he was sleeping, except to his wife.

“That’s not him,” she said, pulling out a photograph from better times.

On the sixth day, the staff invited Mrs. Oltzik and their son into a cozy meeting room, equipped with an overstuffed couch and chairs. They were joined by Dr. Halbridge; Barbara Walsh, a nurse managing the hospice team; and Lynne Kiesel, a medical social worker, who called the Oltziks’ daughter, Barbara Ladin, in Florida, and put her on a speakerphone.

“We have these meetings to talk about how you’re doing, how he’s doing, and to give you a chance to ask us questions,” Ms. Walsh began, then turned to Dr. Halbridge, who signaled his profession with the stethoscope wrapped over his dark blazer like a shawl.

“Our biggest challenge was to try to get him not to be so agitated,” Dr. Halbridge began.

The staff had tried to calm him with various medications by mouth, without success. “So we put him on an IV medication, which is dripping in at a continuous rate,” he said.

The doctor pressed ahead, in a cheerful, upbeat voice, tinged with regret, saying that the staff had to decide what was better for Mr. Oltzik in the long run and wanted the family’s opinion. His blood pressure was falling, “which implies that his body is slowing down, but he’s comfortable, and that’s what we’re looking for,” Dr. Halbridge continued. (Low blood pressure can be a side effect of Ativan and Roxanol, according to the drug manufacturers, as well as a consequence of the dying process.)

Ms. Walsh added consolingly, “He really looks like he’s sleeping.”

She said, apologetically, that the hospice had tried to find a balance between controlling Mr. Oltzik’s agitation and making him too sleepy.

“We did go to this IV as kind of a last measure, because we know that people do get sleepy and may not be as responsive, and we know how hard that is for the family to see,” she said.

Mr. Oltzik’s daughter zeroed in on the question that had been hanging over the discussion: “This is the end?”

“Yes, pretty much,” Dr. Halbridge said, “because what we’re seeing is a man who had a rather significant blood pressure on admission, and over the past day now, and today again, his blood pressure is even lower. So we’re talking about a poor prognosis and a shorter time.”

Mr. Oltzik’s son detected an almost imperceptible change in his mother. “Stay calm,” he urged her.

Moments later, the social worker gently entered the discussion, saying, “You’ve given him excellent care at home.”

“I worked very hard,” Mrs. Oltzik said.

Although throughout the half-hour meeting the staff had never explicitly asked to continue sedating Mr. Oltzik, his daughter now gave them tacit permission: “We understand that the inevitable is here, but we wish him to go in peace and to find solace in that,” Ms. Ladin said.

When the conference was over, Mrs. Oltzik still seemed to be ruminating. As many relatives do, she had hesitated over whether her husband should be given nutrition and water through tubes, now that he could not feed himself. The thought of someone dehydrating or starving is one of the most difficult emotional burdens for families, and was the crux of the famous fight over Terri Schiavo, a vegetative Florida woman whose husband wanted to let her die, but whose parents did not.

Palliative care doctors generally agree that sedated patients do not feel pain from dehydration or starvation, and that food and water may only prolong agony by feeding the fatal disease.

Mrs. Oltzik had done some research, and decided that nutrition and water would only burden her husband’s system. “The idea is now not to make him work harder, but to be as peaceful and calm as he can,” she said. “Common sense dictates that that would be the way to go.”

Much of the conversation had proceeded not in black and white like a legal document, but in shades of gray. By the end, they all seemed to understand one another, though ultimately Mrs. Oltzik would express some sadness at being unable to interact with her husband.

The Family’s Dilemma

From Karen Foster’s perspective, watching her husband, Frank, die while sedated was the least in a series of cruel blows. Mr. Foster, who arrived at the Franklin hospice about the same time as Mr. Oltzik, had stoically hidden his liver cancer from his family for years. As recently as October, he was still driving, Mrs. Foster said; then he suddenly went downhill.

The night before Thanksgiving, her husband was acting bizarrely, and soon he was admitted to the hospice, Mrs. Foster said. Dr. Halbridge put him on morphine for pain and Ativan to calm his shortness of breath and anxiety. It was terminal sedation, Dr. Halbridge said, but Mr. Foster’s liver was failing so rapidly that no medication could have hastened his death.

Mrs. Foster sat stiffly at his bedside in a cloche hat and long coat, as if she expected him to go any second. She said she was relieved that her husband was no longer suffering. The sight of him sedated, his mouth open in a premonition of death that some doctors call “the O sign,” was less shocking than the disease he kept secret, she said.

But families sometimes push back. Marguerite Calixte, a day care worker, asked Dr. Halbridge to wake her husband out of deep sedation — begun the day before because he had trouble breathing — so she could say goodbye.

Her husband, Alix, who was 53, had trained as a nurse and had told her that if he was going to die of his colon cancer, he wanted to die at home, with his wife and their two teenage children.

On a Thursday night, Dr. Halbridge began decreasing the morphine drip, and by the next morning, Mr. Calixte’s eyes fluttered open. “I’ve been talking to him,” his wife said on Saturday, in Haitian cadences. “I say, ‘If you want to go home, squeeze my hand tight.’ He keep doing it over and over.”

Ms. Walsh, the team manager, patiently gave Mrs. Calixte a lesson in how to take care of her husband, but doubted that he would be able to go home on Monday, and she was right.

He died that Saturday night, when his wife went home to have dinner with their children.

Mrs. Calixte believed the morphine was to blame. “He died quicker,” she said. “I don’t know when it was going to be, but it wasn’t going to be now. The thing is, he was going to suffer. I know that. But he wasn’t going to die so quick.”

Dr. Halbridge said there was “no way of knowing which would have taken him sooner,” the medication or the disease. He said the conflict between his desire to make Mr. Calixte comfortable and Mrs. Calixte’s wishes made the case “a tough one, I admit.”

Teaching a Difficult Subject

The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine has endorsed “palliative sedation to unconsciousness” and in 2008, the American Medical Association issued a policy statement supporting palliative sedation, except when it is used primarily for emotional distress. Even the United States Supreme Court, while rejecting a constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide, has opened the door to palliative sedation.

There is general agreement that “a patient who is suffering from a terminal illness and who is experiencing great pain has no legal barriers to obtaining medication, from qualified physicians, to alleviate that suffering, even to the point of causing unconsciousness and hastening death,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in a 1997 case, Washington v. Glucksberg.

One provision of the House health care bill, which passed in November, recognizes that palliative care may include treatment “furnished for the purpose of alleviating pain or discomfort, even if such use may increase the risk of death.” The bill — but not the Senate version, passed on Thursday — also allows doctors to be reimbursed for discussions with patients about what treatments they would want or decline. This gave rise to charges by some Republicans that “death panels” would be convened to decide who deserves life-saving treatment.

Amid the furor, the bill was revised to make clear that patients would not be forced to forgo treatment.

Terminal sedation remains touchy enough that last month, Dr. Lyla Correoso, Bronx medical director of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, and Dr. Shaiova spoke with doctors, nurses, administrators and social workers at Metropolitan Hospital about how to explain the process to families and colleagues, so no one would feel guilty or betrayed.

The title of the lecture, projected on a giant PowerPoint screen, conveyed the crux of the dilemma: “The Double Effect: Is it the Drug or the Disease?”

“Some people speculate that people are really covering up the fact that this is really perhaps a type of euthanasia or maybe something else that’s really afoot,” Dr. Correoso said. “You have to have good overall intent, and most physicians, that’s what we’re here for — we’re here to do something good.”

She advocated setting “goalposts” in advance, by asking patients to stipulate “the farthest line I’m not going to cross” — including sedation.

The most pointed questions came from a chaplain, Rabbi Isaac H. Mann. Was it possible, he asked, that a person under deep sedation could still be feeling pain, and how would the staff know?

“Yes,” Dr. Shaiova replied. But they often expressed pain through agitation or grimacing, she said, adding, “Err on the side of treating them” with pain-controlling drugs.

The chaplain pressed for more clarity, even after the meeting had broken up. Was she trying to say, he asked Dr. Correoso, that if morphine killed a patient, “you wouldn’t mind?”

“Then you’ve already broken the principle of double effect,” Dr. Correoso replied.

“The doctor knows that this can kill the patient,” Rabbi Mann insisted.

“The doctor doesn’t know,” Dr. Correoso said. Then she repeated a refrain often heard in the world of palliative medicine: “It’s not easy to kill a patient. People think it’s easy, but it’s really not. That’s why Dr. Kevorkian had to use all that” combination of drugs.

The Gray Zone

On the day Dr. Shaiova and Dr. Correoso lectured on terminal sedation, they were also consulting with a patient at Metropolitan Hospital who was dying of lung cancer. The patient, Gloria Scott, 50, had learned of her cancer in June.

End-of-life treatment often has a kind of studied ambiguity to it, and such was the case with Ms. Scott.

After she was moved to the hospice wing of Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Jamaica, Queens, she received fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain reliever, through an IV line that gave her the drug continuously, and allowed her or a nurse or doctor to push a pump for more when she had “breakthrough” pain. Under her right ear, she wore a scopolamine patch, used to reduce secretions. Scopolamine has sedative and mood-altering properties, and was once combined with morphine to induce “twilight sleep” for women giving birth. Ms. Scott also had standing orders for Ativan, the sedative, and Haldol, for delirium, two more drugs in the palliative sedation arsenal.

At first, though in pain, she was lively. She sat on the bed in the lotus position, which eased her pain, and in her Betty Boop voice, punctuated by an infectious giggle, she talked about her favorite Motown music and her plans to get a business degree.

She fiercely resisted signing a “do not resuscitate” order, although she would later change her mind. “I don’t know when is my last day,” she said. “I might outlive one of you all.”

She asked her doctor at the hospice agency, Erik Carrasco, to keep the fentanyl, which she had begun taking at the hospital, turned down low. Otherwise, she said, “you sit here and you nod. I don’t want to be like that.”

Two weeks later, the change in Ms. Scott was marked. She was still alive but dessicated and barely responded to visitors. Her companion, Milton Cruz, was troubled by her “semi-dreamland” state, as he put it, but was shy about asking questions.

In her last days, she lost the desire to eat or drink, though nurses continued offering food and water, Dr. Carrasco said. The textbook survival time for patients who stop eating and drinking is two weeks, Dr. Carrasco said, but he said he had seen people last longer — elderly people who had survived the Holocaust and “people who are waiting for someone, like a son.”

She died after 22 days. Dr. Shaiova said she did not consider Ms. Scott’s sedation to be palliative or terminal sedation, because that was not her doctor’s intention. Her body had sedated itself as a defense against the disease, Dr. Shaiova said, and she had been on fentanyl long enough to develop some tolerance, making it unlikely to have hastened her death.

“When you’re sick, you’re sick, and everything else is somewhere in the gray zone, and that’s the problem,” Dr. Shaiova said.

Dr. Carrasco said that while the medication might have contributed to her drowsiness, he believed she had died a natural death. “What I’ve been seeing sometimes is you release the pain,” he said, “and even though you are using very small amounts of morphine or narcotic, they relax and pass away.”

The Semantics

Even when everybody agrees that terminal sedation is a humane response to unyielding suffering, many doctors seem to feel a prick of conscience.

“There should be ambivalence,” said Dr. Joseph J. Fins, chief of medical ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College. “If it became too easy and you weren’t ambivalent, then I would really start worrying about it. But the fact that you’re worrying about it doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong.”

In a 1996 paper in the Journal of Palliative Care that is still debated within that community, Dr. J. Andrew Billings, a Harvard professor and palliative care doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr. Susan D. Block, a psychiatrist, took on the moral ambiguity surrounding terminal sedation. They argued that the main distinction between terminal sedation and euthanasia was time.

Terminal sedation would lead inexorably to death, but “not too quickly,” they said. They derided the rule of double effect in this context as a rationalization, a subtle cover-up, of what they called “slow euthanasia.”

Even a simple morphine drip, they said, could put patients into a stupor at the right dose or when combined with other drugs or when concentrated by the inefficiency of a damaged liver or kidneys.

“If the morphine drip becomes a code word for slow euthanasia,” they wrote, “laypersons may be increasingly wary of the other uses of opioids.”

Both Dr. Billings, who is still at Harvard, and Dr. Block declined requests to be interviewed.

The authors did not endorse euthanasia, but their arguments have been used by others looking to make the case for public acceptance of euthanasia, to the dismay of some doctors who defend terminal sedation.

People who adopt this argument say, “We know what you’re really doing, it’s crypto-euthanasia,” Dr. Fins said. “Polemics really have no place at the bedside.”

Dr. Fins said he sometimes told families that terminal sedation was altruistic, because they might be giving up an extra day or two “of communication with the person you love in the service of that love.”

As for the argument that double effect is overly scholarly, Dr. Fins said: “I can’t imagine a world at the end of life without double effect. We’d be highly impoverished without it, and patients would suffer needlessly without it. We do need our philosophical contrivances in order to be pragmatic physicians and caregivers.”

Ambivalent, Then Accepting

Mr. Oltzik died two days after the meeting between Dr. Halbridge and his family, and Dr. Halbridge was frank in describing his treatment.

Asked if he would call it palliative sedation, Dr. Halbridge said, “This would be called terminal sedation, almost.” He said he hesitated only because the word “terminal” sounded negative and might make the family feel bad, when “it’s really comfort care.” The terms “palliative” and “terminal” were interchangeable, he said.

Speaking with considerable passion, he said he saw himself as the doctor who would not “forsake” patients by telling them he could do nothing for them. If there was no cure, he could at least offer comfort. “We are not gods who can cure everything, and I think at some point in time you have to accept that,” he said, “and to me, it’s the mark of an honest doctor who understands when that time has come.”

The decision to administer terminal sedation was based on a review of the patient’s history that convinced him that Mr. Oltzik was “terminally agitated,” he said. “It means that he is entering the dying process and for whatever reason — whether it’s physical, spiritual — something is interrupting the peaceful passing, and to me, because it’s so uncomfortable for the family and for the patient, that’s the time to medicate the patient and make them comfortable, because no matter what you do, he’s not going to go back to the old Leo that he was.”

He then told a self-deprecating joke about a doctor who gets to the gates of heaven and demands to jump to the head of the line, only to be turned back by St. Peter. But St. Peter opens the gates to someone else carrying a doctor’s bag. “That’s God,” St. Peter explains. “He just thinks he’s a doctor.”

Young residents often challenge him, saying things like, “If I’m 105 years old, I want to be fed, no matter what,” Dr. Halbridge said. His response is, “O.K., but did you ask your patient what he wants?”

Some patients are getting “multimillion-dollar workups” in the intensive care unit, he said, but make their wishes known by pulling out tubes. “I think a light bulb should go off in somebody’s head after the third time he pulls it out. Am I going to change the outcome of this, and if I’m not, why am I doing it?”

At one point, however, Mrs. Oltzik changed her mind.

“She was having second thoughts on that, and then she was saying, ‘I wonder if we should cut back on his medication,’ ” Dr. Halbridge said.

She hoped for a last chance to communicate with her husband, but Dr. Halbridge said he warned her that Mr. Oltzik was more likely to wake up agitated and suffering. Dr. Halbridge did not want to feel like he was experimenting. “I have a little bit of a problem with using the patient as kind of a guinea pig and saying, ‘Well, the medication worked nicely, now we’ll take it away and see if they bounce back the other way,’ ” he said.

Did he wake Mr. Oltzik? There was no need, Dr. Halbridge said: “He passed away within a couple of minutes.”

A couple of weeks later, Mrs. Oltzik still felt a bit uneasy. “They had him so heavily sedated that he was in a stupor,” she said. “I didn’t say goodbye to him, which hurts me.”

But she did not fault the hospice team’s judgment. She could not think of any other way to handle her husband’s agitation. As to whether his death had been speeded up, even a tiny bit, she said philosophically, “There was no way of knowing.”