Belgium: First in the World?

02-23-2014Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

In Belgium, euthanasia has been deemed medically appropriate for adults for at least twelve years and now has been legalized for minors, with the consent of their parents of course and only after the child has put his request to die in writing. The Belgians are "surprised" that much of the world finds this development disturbing. As reported by Reuters:

Bart Sturtewagen, chief editor of De Standaard, one of the country's largest daily newspapers, said that after 12 years of legal euthanasia in the country, Belgians had grown used to it as an option for the final stages of their lives. "I'm annoyed at hearing 'you'll kill children' in the foreign media. We don't use that kind of language anymore. It's a very different debate on a different level," he said..

Obviously forthright language is for a lesser culture than Belgium. Euphemism is now the lingua franca of ethics and morality. Euphemism is how to say what you don't mean and mean what you don't say. The use of euphemism seems to be the way to permit the formerly impermissible. If we just change the language, the words we use, killing even children somehow becomes acceptable. This strategy, something George Orwell called "double-speak" in 1984 cleans up the ugly reality that has become part of our moral slide to depravity. It functions as verbal quicksand: just try to debate why the issue of killing the sick and vulnerable is wrong and you get stuck in the muck of "you just want people to suffer" backlash.

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Love Sweet Love

02-16-2014Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

We just celebrated St. Valentines Day and as anyone who has been married for a long time knows, love, real love is much more than romance. Still romance is important and must be keep alive and that's why having a day to just be romantic is important. Unfortunately for those whose married love is waning a heart shaped box of chocolates or a dozen roses won't change things much. Married love requires much more. Think of it like one of those little bonsai trees that need lots of trimming, just the right amount of water and sunshine. Without that kind of attention married love can easily begin the slow process of decline and just like the bonsai tree that shows little signs of stress until it is too late, marriages can come apart without the partners realizing it until it is too late.

One of the lessons that was learned from the sinking of the Titanic was that a sense of urgency is often our best defense against serious and sometimes fatal problems. During the sinking of the Titanic the crew made a decision to keep the lights on so as to keep the passengers calm. They realized too late the seriousness of the destruction the iceberg caused the ship and instead of alerting the travelers that they had little time, keeping the lights on lulled them into thinking things weren't that bad. Reacting quickly, taking action and not waiting to see if things are really that bad is a good sound strategy for marriages.

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Guest Writer

02-09-2014Fr. John LettersMatthew Rich

Dear Friends,

(While I'm away here's a "Guest Columnist". One of our young men at ASU who does some exceptional writing for The State Press)
By Matthew Rich *** November 14, 2013 at 5:00 pm

As an economics student and a believing Christian, I have often found myself conflicted as to how I ought to balance my educational influence with my theological influence. As I have come to understand the field of economics, I have discovered that it is fraught with mathematical conceptions and models that can come across as cold and insensitive to the human condition.

This scientific approach is certainly important to economics, as it provides a framework for consumption patterns, ideal policy decisions and more. However, to reduce economics to a merely scientific subject is to strip it of the very question it seeks to address: the human condition.

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Presidential Pot

02-02-2014Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

I wish the President had not waded into the marijuana craze that is sweeping the country. Or at least he had commented on the issue as a parent rather than a politician. But then again politicians tend to see everything as a political opportunity. Whatever the President said, no matter how you parse his words, what many teenagers heard was the "Obama says pot is OK".

This makes it even more difficult for parents who are trying to get their kids not to smoke pot. Parents in this country, especially in Colorado and Washington just don't need the President giving their children another excuse to rebel against them. In fact it would have been nice for the President to let parents know that he was interested in putting up more walls and hurdles to make it more difficult for young people to get pot by using his "pen" or simply by actually enforcing existing marijuana laws. The Presidential seal of approval on marijuana is certainly something that parents could have done without.

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