Assisted suicide, three-parent families, and the future of America

In a recent interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, was asked why he thinks a majority of Massachusetts residents are in favor of a ballot initiative that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in their state. His response? It’s about “autonomy.”

Our culture, he argued, is infused with a “terrible individualism” that “makes people feel as though they want to end their own life so as to be completely independent of everyone else.” Advocates of the ballot initiative are wrong when they say they are driven by compassion, Cardinal O’Malley added, because “ending your life by suicide is not a compassionate or dignified way to die.”

Indeed, autonomy is the word of our time. No longer do people confer with others, especially the clergy, when trying to figure out how to live a moral life. Whatever I say is moral is moral, the argument usually goes, and anyone who disagrees with me is a bigot who simply wants to impose their values on me.

I can’t help but be reminded of one of Chris Matthews’ ‘Lean Forward’ commercials in which he says something to the effect that the political party that promises voters more freedom and more liberty is the one that usually wins.

While most of what Matthews says is incoherent nonsense, he is right about this particular point. What politician in their right mind would run on a platform that emphasizes less freedom, less liberty and fewer options? No one would vote for that, right? Well, it depends on how we understand freedom.

Unfortunately in California, freedom means having the ability to do pretty much whatever you want. This has lead to, among other things, men marrying men and women marrying women.

It has also lead to SB 1476, a bill that if signed into law by Governor Brown would allow children to have three legal parents.

The traditional family unit is constantly under attack

Advocates against same-sex unions warned about this slippery slope, but marriage re-definers didn’t listen.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, head of the San Marcos, California-based Ruth Institute, says that SB 1476 will have dire consequences, but that it was inevitable.

Writing for Public Discourse, Dr. Morse argues that “once we started trying to normalize parenting by same-sex couples and redefine marriage to remove the dual-gender requirement, we had to end up with triple-parenting.”

Morse goes on to add that “triple-parenting and genderless marriage are destructive policies” that “will unnecessarily complicate [children’s] lives.”

Inasmuch as California considers itself a forward-looking place, they are actually behind the curve on this one. In August, a three-person civil union was sanctioned by a judge in Brazil.

However bleak the future may look for traditional marriage, there is some good news. It’s being reported by the National Organization for Marriage that Australia’s House of Representatives has just voted down gay marriage by an overwhelming majority. They are also reporting that several of the New York Republican state senators who voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in that state are having difficulty winning re-election.

As President Obama said not long ago, this year’s elections will offer Americans the clearest choice in a generation between two different paths for our country. Let’s make sure we choose the right one.



  • Lisa Tyler

    Blah! Blah! Blah! Can we worry about our economy first and have social issue fights later? I would love to see everyone back to work!!!

    • Tyler Nethercott


      Have you considered that our economic plight may be due to our social problems?
      Any cursory study of economics necessitates social/demographic factors.

      This is, in fact, called “socioeconomics.”

      If inner-city areas boasted the best economic performance while traditional Catholic dioceses/neighborhoods struggled to produce desirable human conditions, in other words if there were no correlation between social and economic issues, your comment would have merit.

      But as it is sufficiently refuted by indisputable quantitative and qualitative research, it holds no such consideration.

      The Catholic Church has always (and will always) have a vested interest in the social and economic well-being of all people. It is the most responsible and largest charitable body in the world and is founded in the true meaning of the Golden Rule seeking first the spiritual well-being of all people and then the temporal.

  • Mark Broussard

    The government SHOULD structure itself to impact lives as little as possible and allow its citizens to live the life they chose, as long as no harm is brought to any other citizen. Religions are then free to overlay their beliefs and moral restrictions over that free person, so he or she can use its guidance as seen fit. People then are able to chose the guidance of religion as they chose, or not chose guidance of religion at all. Surely some paths may be chosen that others don’t see as the best, or most productive, and may even not present the best possible atmosphere for children, but then, the Catholic church has allowed those situations to exist within its own walls for years, to much worse situations than a child being raised by 2 men or 2 women. Shame on the those of the church for prejudging others’ situations, when they have failed so miserably, themselves.

  • Mara

    The right to end one’s own life is the right of all people. Would I suggest that someone commit suicide? No. Would I try to talk someone out of committing suicide? Yes. There are those people who, when they can no longer contribute to society, do not wish to be a burden on society. Those people sometimes choose suicide. I consider Cardinal O’Malley’s statement to be very inaccurate. There is much compassion involved.

    • Sharon

      Mara, this is the same argument many people use to justify abortion. It just doesn’t work. It may look very merciful, very compassionate, but don’t be deceived. Taking your own life, someone else’s life, or the life of an unborn child, at any time, is not merciful or compassionate, no matter the situation. What becomes difficult for us is watching the suffering. The cross is hard to look at (and hard to bear.) But, that doesn’t mean we remove the cross. We carry the cross, as Christ did, until the end, an end that God chooses, not us.

      • Mara

        The compassion comes in allowing someone to choose not to suffer. The cross we bear is not about how WE find it difficult to see someone suffer. It’s about the suffering (physical pain) that the person is actually experiencing. It’s not about us, it’s about them. Your analogy implies that if my dog gets injured so severely that it’s obvious that he is not going to survive, the compassionate thing to do is to NOT end its life but rather to have him experience the pain. That’s not compassion.

        • Albert

          Humans and Dogs are not the same. The compassion you would show by serving those in pain is orders of magnitude higher than showing in taking their life.

    • Samuel

      At first blush it may seem compassionate to release someone from his/her suffering but this view does not take into account the tremendous redemptive power of suffering. It brings us closer to Christ because He is all the closer to us as we bear our crosses. In our suffering we are united with Christ crucified. Christ does not merely look with pity on those that suffer; He suffers WITH them. He prepares them for Eternal Rest.

  • Tyler Nethercott

    I think Pope Leo XIII put it the best:
    “the possibility of sinning is not freedom, but slavery…Even the heathen philosophers clearly recognized this truth, especially they who held that the wise man alone is free; and by the term “wise man” was meant, as is well known, the man trained to live in accordance with his nature, that is, in justice and virtue.”

    • Jamie Candace Ward

      So God created us all as slaves, because he gave us the freedom to sin. Makes total sense.

      • Sharon

        Come on Jamie, even the youngest of children, raised with knowledge of the faith will tell you that God created us good, in His image. Original sin brought about slavery. Christ came to deliver us from this slavery, to give us the freedom to choose what is good and loving over what will hurt us (sin.) Peace.

        • Mara

          Sharon, there’s no such thing as original sin described in the Old Testament. Why would God change the true nature of all human beings because of the acts of the first two humans. That makes no sense. I know you believe otherwise but Jesus updated (corrected) many beliefs that were mentioned in the Old Testament. God created all of us with the ability and freedom to sin. In fact, we never truly learn who we are until we sin. In that moment, we recognize that the sinful act we committed is not the real us and that’s the moment we recognize the true self. We must sin to recognize self. When we get that recognition, we truly begin to understand the real beauty of ourselves and all others.

          • Tyler Nethercott

            What school of thought/denomination/etc do you subscribe to?

            I may be able to help point you in the right direction with respect to some of what you wrote above if I know where you’re coming from.

  • ifollowHATE

    Dr. Morse is a professor of Economics, and has no experience regarding anything about family. In addition, she is an employee of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). Among other things, NOM has said that they would “fan hostility” between blacks and gay in order to “drive a wedge” between these Americans. That is the epitome of hate. But that wasn’t enough, so they threw a rally in New York where their headline speaker said that gay people were “worthy of death”. A true Catholic wouldn’t quote a person employed by such a group (unless they wanted to fan hostility).



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