LA archdiocese vows continued anti-abuse efforts
Los Angeles, Calif. (CNA) – As former priests face litigation over sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has renewed its commitment to protect the young people of the Church.

“No institution has learned more from mistakes made decades ago in dealing with priests who have abused young people than the Archdiocese of Los Angeles,” said a Jan. 22 release from the archdiocese.

The Los Angeles Times published a story Jan. 21 saying that 25 years ago, in the late 1980s, archdiocesan officials tried to hide sex abuse cases from police.

The paper’s story is based on personnel files dating from 1986 and 1987 which were filed as evidence in pending litigation involving two former priests.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former head of the archdiocese, stated Jan. 21 that his “thoughts and prayers” are with the victims of the “sinful abuse” committed by Catholic clergy.

Catholics call end-of-life care central to pro-life mission
Denver (CNA) – Catholic healthcare providers and legal professionals in the Denver region convened to share the importance of end-of-life care as a necessary part of a pro-life worldview.

Mark Skender of Divine Mercy Supportive Care, Inc. reminded the more than 60 people in attendance at the Colorado Catholic Medical Association’s Jan. 16 meeting that being pro-life means protecting life from conception to natural death.

Unfortunately, he noted, today there is “not a whole lot of natural death.”

Divine Mercy Supportive Care, Inc., a group of medical and legal professionals who aim to “deliver medical, supportive and spiritual end of life services consistent with the Catholic standard of care to anyone who desires it,” presented information to help Catholics achieve the best care possible as they approach the end of life in a way.

Although hospice care consists of “many caring and compassionate providers,” the group saw a great need to offer care for Catholics that is consistent with Church teaching while providing the “very best medical services.”

Skender highlighted the importance of hospice care while dispelling common myths about it, noting that it is not a kind of “a death sentence” as many people may believe.

“What keeps people out is misconception that it’s a death sentence, when in fact, if used properly it can be a way to prepare for death and solidify family relationships,” he said.

Deacon Alan Rastrelli, who serves as the organization’s medical director, noted that the average time in hospice care is only about two weeks even though it is designed for those who have six months or less to live. His role with the organization is to help patients sooner than that to prepare them better for death.

“The mindset of American culture is that if you can’t cure that, something is wrong,” he said.
However, as a patient ages and as disease continues to progress, a patient’s base level of health is deteriorated. Eventually, no matter how good the care that the patient receives is, he pointed out, they will die.

By helping arrange Catholic hospice or other forms of end of life care, Deacon Rastrelli said that people can be more comfortable with the knowledge that “eventually we will reach that point.”

After 40 years of abortion, bishops voice sorrow, hope

Washington, D.C. (CNA) – Church leaders across the U.S. expressed both grief and renewed determination Jan. 22, the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

“The scourge of abortion is still a part of our land,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., “but the faith, love and witness of our young people is a reminder to all of us that in the end, truth, goodness, life and love will win out.”

Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City said, “Today is a day of mourning for our nation…we beg the Lord’s mercy and pray for conversion and repentance.”

Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison posted on Facebook that he was praying “that individually and as a society we might experience the conversion of heart necessary to view every life as sacred.”

And Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn said, “The forces of death press on from every side in contemporary American culture.”

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