“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Monday, November 13, 2017

INNOVATIONS IN DEMENTIA CARE

I read a news story about a little village in Holland called Hogeway. At first glance Hogeway seems like any normal small community. It has houses, a grocery store, a restaurant, a theatre, a barber shop, as so forth. People happily stroll throughout the shops, squares and courtyards or the local park. Hogeway is a clean, orderly community with 152 residents.


They all have one thing in common: Severe dementia.
You see, Hogeway is actually a nursing home but its residents don’t know that. All Hogeway’s “normality” is not real ― it is contrived ― but again the residents are unaware of that. They are happy in their fantasy world. The goal is to make living as normal and familiar as possible within the scope of each resident’s disease. It’s an interesting concept in health care.


Residents live in one of 23 houses with about six others, according
to lifestyle. Each house has one or more health care workers to oversee and assist with life.  Residents are free walk where they wish in the town because they can’t get lost. Special two-seater bikes allow residents and workers, or a family member, to ride throughout the village.  They live protected lives and they are happy.


A Hogeway employee, Yvonne van Amerongen, was quoted as saying, “We protect our residents from the unsafe world. They do not understand the world outside this because the outside world doesn’t understand them.” Hogeway is partially funded through taxes and residents contribute according to their income.


The Hogeway approach and philosophy to dementia care is so successful that it has generated interest in other countries including Canada. A Hogeway style village is located in Penetanguishene, Ontario. Families and residents are very happy with the facility.  
Julian Hughes
But as with any good idea there will always be naysayers and the Hogeway approach to dementia care is no exception.  English bioethicist and deputy chair of the London based Nuffield Council on Bioethics, Julian Hughes, is troubled about being deliberately artificial.  In 2009, the Council issued a report that stated the Hogeway approach “serves to undermine the remaining grip the person with dementia may have on the everyday world.”


O please!


I disagree with the position of the illustrious bioethicist and his Council. Hogeway is for people with severe dementia. If they are happy living in a pretend world, let them. Is the Hogeway philosophy and approach to care condescending or patronizing? I don’t care. We are talking about irreversible progressive dementia. The patient’s happiness, safety and quality of life are the important issues. Let them live in a fantasy!  Is Hughes against it because he didn’t think of it? Someone please give bioethicists something constructive to do with their time.



Goodness! We should welcome innovative ideas in nursing home care. The 
Hogeway philosophy is a breath of fresh air and a far cry to how so many of people with severe dementia are institutionalized in sterile nursing homes. These settings may be safe but they are unfamiliar to the patient. (I know of cases where dementia patients were essentially warehoused until they died.)



As the population ages, society will face increases amounts dementia. We need to welcome creative or novel approaches to their care that gives them increased quality of life.


According the Alzheimer’s society of Canada, one in twenty people over the age of 65 has dementia. The numbers steadily increase to one in four Canadians over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s disease. I suspect the the numbers are similar in the U.S.


We need innovative ways to care for this population. I think the Hogeway approach is worth considering. It’s not for everyone but it
allows some people with severe dementia to live in healthy, happy, safe and stimulating environments that resemble normal community life. And that taps into the Common Good about which I have previously written and spoken about across Canada and the United States. 

The common good involves EVERYONE and that includes the physically, developing disabled, the aged, and those yet to be born. Communities that exclude anyone are not really communities at all because the common good is not being served. The dignity of people with severe dementia involves protection from the harshness and cruelties of the world. Not only does it involve protection but it also involves creating environments for people to thrive as individuals and groups. Reaching fulfillment means different things at different times, stages and states in people’s lives.  

Fulfilment for a person suffering from severe dementia may simply mean being happy and as free as possible from anxiety.  If we can put in place environments to help achieve that goal, let’s do it. If reality is beyond reach or too fearful, let them live in a fantasy. 


When even memories fade, all that matters is to be loved.



MDP

Sunday, November 5, 2017

CANADA: FOUR YEAR WAIT TO SEE NEUROLOGIST: NO WAIT FOR ABORTION OR LETHAL INJECTIONS

Wesley J. Smith
My long time friend Wesley J. Smith wrote an interesting blog post about a recent case in Canada. Apparently a doctor tried to refer a patient to a neurologist and was informed it will take over 4 years to get an appointment. 

Canadians can quickly get abortions or lethal injections -- all paid with tax dollars -- but real medical appointments can take years. See Wesley's blog post here.
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/453430/canada-4-year-wait-neurologist


MDP

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A KEYNOTE ADDRESS IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL: EUTHANASIA AND THE TRUE SOURCE OF HUMAN DIGNITY

Below is a keynote  address I delivered at Saint Matthew the Apostle Cathedral in Washington D.C., Rally and Mass for Life, 2016 U.S. National March for Life in the nation's capital. 

For booking to speak about Life issues, disability or a Christian perspective on suffering contact me at HumanLifeMatters@shaw.ca 


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

SEMINAR: CATHOLIC RESPONSES TO EUTHANASIA, SUFFERING AND DISABILITY

Recently I conducted 3-part seminar workshops for a Catholic Women's League sponsored event.  The first workshop dealt with Catholic responses to Canadian or American states' legalizing euthanasia law or medical assisted suicide. 


The second workshop dealt with a Catholic perspective to incurable
illness, degenerative disability and suffering. The third and final workshop highlighted contributions of people with disabilities to society and the world. A Q&A followed.




The seminar concluded with a stunning audio-visual presentation of Beethoven's fourth movement of his 9th symphony. It was  performed by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks), conducted by Mariss Jansons and recorded for  Pope Benedict XVI's 80th birthday at the Vatican.  

A seminar on a Catholic response to euthanasia, suffering and disability. To book me to present to your community, church group, pro-Life event or conference contact HumanLifeMatter@shaw.ca

Mark

Monday, October 30, 2017

THE KING OF CIVIL RIGHTS

My son Dean is a successful graphic artist who works primarily in the publishing industry. He designs books and owns Canada Book Design. Dean is also a first class artist in a traditional sense.  Prints of his portraits are in constant demand. At the bottom of this post, is his latest offering of Martin Luther King Jr. 

Dean commented of this new portrait he calls "The King of Civil Rights": "My latest portrait of Martin Luther King. I have worked in part of his famous "I Have A Dream" speech, along with many of his other famous quotes."

In my view abortion is the greatest civil rights issue of the 21 century. Martin Luther King was pro-Life and saw abortion as a threat to his Dream of human equality and dignity.  Order a print of the wonderful portrait of the great man below:  $40 plus shipping. It would make a wonderful Christmas present. Order soon!  Contact
Dean Pickup directly by email at Dean@dict.ca or on Facebook at Dean Pickup Art where you can see view his other portraits. 



DOES ALBERTA REALLY VALUE DIVERSITY? DO CATHOLICS REALLY TEACH SPOUSAL RAPE?

Mollie Hemmingway is senior editor of the Federalist, an American online magazine covering culture, politics and religion. She writes on her Twitter profile "I don't share your groupthink and it's unlikely I will be bullied into sharing it. Have a good day." That's my kinda person! We need some Mollie Hemmingways north of the 49th.

In Canada, liberal groupthink reigns supreme. In my province of Alberta, those who do not align themselves with groupthink -- or dare to publicly state opposing views -- are quickly shouted down or bullied until they embrace it (or at least shut up). If they do neither, they may be punished, depending of the wind direction of groupthink. If the violation of groupthink is too egregious for progressives' sensibilities, offenders may even be hauled before a human rights tribunal and/or vilified by the media. Offenders will be shunned. (I've been disabled and pro-Life for most of my adult life; I'm not sure I would notice.) 

Canadian liberal elites in power, or authority, or quasi-academe, and their liberal media lapdogs, maintain that they prize diversity. They do not. They value homogeneity of views in line with their groupthink. Liberal elites within groupthink will trample established human rights to get that uniformity of views. The liberal social order must be adjusted to fit liberal groupthink. Long-established human rights be damned! 

Here's a current example:

Alberta's anti-Christian minister of education, David Eggen, is
Minister of Education and
indoctrination, David Eggen
(anti-Catholic contempt
almost palpable)
trying to force Catholic schools -- and other Christian schools -- to include lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer (LGBTQ) sex education in their health programs. Homosexuality is against centuries of Catholic teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. ... They are contrary to natural law. ... Under no circumstances can they be approved."
[1]  But it doesn't stop there, it continues in a compassionate pastoral context:

We are all broken
but can be united
In Christ 
"The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."[2]

This may be offensive to modern sensibilities, but it is Catholic teaching -- and Catholic education is constitutionally guaranteed. Not only is Catholic education constitutionally guaranteed dating
back to the inception of the province, it is guaranteed dating back to the inception of the nation![3] If diversity was really valued and respected -- as the government of Alberta continually claims -- they would have to accept Catholic education based on Catholic teaching and morals regardless of how distasteful it may be to the government and their progressives. The test of diversity is allowing and encouraging diverse views and beliefs, even those of which one disagrees.  After all, the word diversity comes from the word diverse.

diverse adj. Unlike in nature or qualities (Oxford Canadian Dictionary)

But diversity is not what the socialist government of Alberta has in mind. They say diversity but they mean homogeneity. All opposing views must be suppressed. By imposing his anti-Catholic agenda on the Catholic school system, education minister David Eggen and his ideologues at the department of education, also violate the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It guarantees "Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience and religion, the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression ...." You will find this in Section 2 under the title FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS.

As long as I'm citing human rights, let me also state that what education minister David Eggen is doing contradicts the spirit and letter of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It declares "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that will be given to their children."[5] Canada signed that Declaration. Notice that the United Nations recognized that parents even had this human right prior to the Declaration. It was, and remains, an original right (but not if the social government of Alberta has its way!) 

The secular press have begun their assault on the Catholic school system and its opposition to the new health curriculum. The
Catholic school trustees in Alberta presented an alternative health curriculum. The main newspaper in the Alberta's capital city of Edmonton is the Edmonton Journal. Recently, a story appeared under the title of "Catholic school districts want their own sex-education curriculum".[4] Well, Duh! Reporter Janet French wrote:

"Promotion of “homosexual relationships and/or lifestyles,” masturbation, anal and oral sex, or teaching ” ‘gender identity’ as disassociated from ‘biological sex’ ” would all be problematic for Catholic schools if required by Alberta’s forthcoming K-12 health and wellness curriculum. That’s according to a document submitted to Alberta Education by the Council of Catholic School Superintendents of Alberta, and obtained by a freedom of information request."

It would be "problematic" is putting it mildly. It is a direct attack on Catholic teaching. Think about it. Alberta's new sex education curriculum includes the underlined sentences above and below) for K-12 students. (What does the K mean?)

The article further stated:

"The superintendents’ association lists possible contrary curricular outcomes, including requirements to discuss consent, reproductive aid technologies for other “family types,” contraception, same-sex relationships, anal and oral sex, masturbation, “modern gender theory,” pornography and “sexualization of girls (and boys).”

They are not possible contrary curriculum outcomes, they are contrary to Catholic teaching. What is being consented to and what is being encompassed? For example, it is legal in Canada for 16 year olds to consent to sex, and its legal for 14-15 years to consent as long as their sexual partner is less than 5 years older than them. It's even legal for 12-13 year olds to consent to sex as long as its among themselves or the partner is less than two years older than them.[6] Is that the sort of consent the new curriculum teaches? Catholic education would have a huge problem teaching that sort of consent. Because something is legal does not make it right and children having sex with children is wrong regardless of what is legal. Catholic education would not teach it. Does reproductive aid technologies include abortion as a positive reproductive aid? Abortion has been forbidden by the Catholic church dating back to the 1st century. If it is presented it must be utterly condemned. 

The newspaper article continued:

"It [the Catholic superintendents document] says schools are "unable to teach any outcome requiring promotion of homosexual relationships," and would promote a life of chastity and virtues as a "positive choice" for people who experience same-sex attraction."

The words of the Superintendents are consistent with Catholic education and values (remember those pesky constitution guarantees). Quasi-Academe was aghast! University of Alberta
Christina Stasia
professor of gender studies Christina Stacia was "intellectually horrified". She said that 'their' perspective "glamorizes marriage." 
(I presume she meant Catholic school superintendents or Catholicism itself) No, Christina. Catholic teaching is not the least bit concerned about glamour in marriage. We are concerned about the sanctity of marriage. Marriage is one of seven solemn sacraments in Catholicism. It is a holy union between a man and woman. The EJ article quotes University of Calgary professor of masculinity studies, Michael Kehler, as saying the superintendents' document is naive, marginalizing and antithetical to how public education should be. He went on to proclaim that it establishes a dichotomy between the "right" choices and "bad" ones. Well, first of all Michael, we are talking about Catholic education system not the public education system. Secondly Michael -- now prepare for a shock -- Catholic teaching does teach there are right decisions and bad decisions not only physically, but emotional and spiritually. They have for centuries! That's why the Catholic church is here. To point people in the right direction. We believe there are right decisions and choices and wrong decisions and choices.  

Predictably, minister David Eggen called the document  "unacceptable." To hell with constitutional guarantees of Alberta, Canada and the United Nations! Eggen responded:

“I’m deeply concerned to see it suggested that providing Alberta students with accurate information on these important topics is ‘problematic,’ or that there’s something wrong with being gay.  I can assure Albertans that, under our government, any curriculum changes will be inclusive of all students — no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.” 

For the sake of being inclusive for a small minority of people, the tyrant is willing to alienate hundreds of thousands of Alberta Catholics (24.3%) of its population.[7] That is not valuing diversity. It is a very selective way of being inclusive.
Paula Simons

A local columnist wrote a column under the title "Paula Simons: Catholic sex-education proposal puts church, NDP on collision course: Two ethical codes, two world views in a head-on collision that may lead to a constitutional crisis." I hope she's right and it leads to a constitutional crisis. Catholics need to know whether or if they fit into 21st century Alberta. I need to know if historic constitutional guarantees are still honoured. I need to know Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives the protections and rights it claims to give Canadians, or if it is a sham.

Someone may respond by saying the constitutional guarantees for Catholic education are old and outdated going back 150 years. Granted, but they still must be honoured just like treaty rights for Canada's indigenous peoples must still be honoured. 

Within Alberta's cultural, religious and secular mosaic, there must be room for everyone. Are there good education options for LGBTQ students? Absolutely! The public school system. Is there a good school system for Catholics? Absolutely! The Catholic School system. Other Christian school options are also available. Muslims have educational options such as the the Muslim Association of Canada's Islamic School, the Edmonton Islamic Academy, and the Calgary Islamic School come readily to mind. It provides parental choice. They must not be forced to compromise their faith and traditions.

There is room for everyone without forcing them to change. People have a right of educational choice; but choice means options from which to choose. 

But that's not what David Eggen and his minions at the department of education want. Diversity and inclusion are simply words used as euphemisms for something else: They demand homogeneity. Sameness. Alignment to certain ideologies that match their thinking and world-view. 

You see, for the new Alberta NDP socialist government's new rights and agendas are more important than legally guaranteed constitutional rights, dating back to the beginning of the province and nation. Their diversity is a selective diversity and does not include respecting Catholic education.

Yes, I hope this clash between the Catholic church and the NDP does lead to a constitutional crisis. We need to know if historic laws, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and educational rights of the UN Declaration of Human Rights are respected in Alberta. I need to know how anti-Catholic my provincial government and whether they will persecute us. It does not look promising. In a frenzy of hateful anti-Catholic hysteria, Alberta's Premier Rachel Notley actually referenced to a hateful lie that Catholics teach spousal rape.[8] 

She picked the word consent from the superintendents document and came to the wild conclusion Catholic educations supports spouse rape. They did nothing of the sort and I want the premier to show Albertans any place in the document when she found such a preposterous statement. Search high and low for it Rachel, you won't find it. It's not there. If anything, Catholic education teaches the exact opposite.  

Premier Rachel Notley owes Alberta's Catholic schools and Catholic Albertans a sincere and deep apology. We won't get it. I don't think she does apologies (and definitely not to Catholics).

Welcome to Alberta, Canada, under socialist rule, a land of anti-Catholic bigotry and hateful tyranny.

MDP 
__________________
[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2357.
[2] CCC, 2358.
[3] Alberta Act (1905) Article 17(1 & 2) http://www.solon.org/Constitutions/Canada/English/aa_1905.html; also see The Constitution Act, 1867, (s-93) http://www.solon.org/Constitutions/Canada/English/ca_1867.html
[4] Janet French, "Catholic Schools want their own sex-ed curriculum", 23 October, 2017, http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/catholic-school-districts-want-their-own-sex-education-curriculum
[5] The United Nation's Declaration of Universal Human Rights, Article 26 (3). (http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ )
[6] See "Age of consent to sexual activity", Department of Justice, Government of Canada, http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/other-autre/clp/faq.html
[7] Demographics of Alberta, Expedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Alberta#Religion
[8] See editorial "Ron Bell: Catholics don't teach spousal rape. Get it", 27 October 2017, Edmonton Sun  http://edmontonsun.com/opinion/columnists/catholics-dont-teach-spousal-rape-get-it/wcm/e3e5895d-af62-4db4-bc5c-a93a391b994c

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

ONE WOMAN'S STORY OF HER FREEDOM OF CHOICE. (SOME FREEDOM. SOME CHOICE.)

See the link below for a 7 minute video of Yvonne Freeman's story of Freedom of Choice. Planned Parenthood and other pied pipers of death take the money and leave women to wrestle with the aftermath of their "freedom of choice". Some Freedom. Some choice.