“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

Saturday, December 31, 2022

CURRENCY OF THE SOUL

 


Decades of suffering with a degenerative disability (MS) caused me to deal in the currency of my soul. (It is what makes us human and defines who we are.) With God's leading, I was able to cross a raging river of grief to discover a new self. The old Mark was gone as surely as if I had died. I needed to grieve that loss and search for a new self and self-identity. A new Mark emerged—different to be sure—but no less alive or vital than the previous Mark. My soul answered Yes to the critically important question: Is life worth living, even in what seems to be hopeless circumstances? 

Viktor Frankl was a survivor of Nazi death camps. In his remarkable book "Man's Search for Meaning" he wrote: "Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose." 

My wheelchair was like a prison that housed my broken body, but it also helped liberate me spiritually by driving me inward to deal with inner brokenness. I came to understand that my value is not connected to who I am, what I can do, or even my intelligence. It comes from simply being. Everyone has immeasurable value for no other reason than they were endowed with the indelible Image of God beginning at that spark of life we commonly call conception. 

Frankl also wrote: "If there is to be any meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering." 

There is. ... 

I'm seventy years old. Most of my adult life has been spent struggling with the anguish of multiple sclerosis and creeping paralysis.  In 2018, God unexpectedly raised me out of my electric wheelchair to walk again. What am I to make of it? My interior life is in full bloom. I have placed all of my life in His hands. I am finally willing to accept whatever is His will for me in for this year, and beyond. It is a peaceful place to be. That is the meaning that suffering gave to me. — Mark



Tuesday, December 13, 2022

A MAGICAL CHRISTMAS MOMENT IN JULY 1957

 




I was raised in a one-horse town in western Canada during the 1950s-1960s. Somewhere in my little grey cells rests an early childhood memory. It happened in the middle of July 1957. 


The day was hot and still. My parents loaded my brother and me into their 1950 Chevy for a long bumpy trip to Edmonton (Alberta). They were meeting a wholesale representative from a toy company to buy Christmas stock for my father’s store. They didn’t breathe a word of it to my brother or me.


When we arrived in Edmonton, I remember walking down sweltering July sidewalks holding my father’s hand. (He told me that he needed to hold my hand so he wouldn’t get lost.) We went to a Canadian National Railway luxury hotel named after Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.  In all my four years I had never seen such grandeur.  (The Construction of the MacDonald Hotel began in 1911 in a distinctive 16th castle style of a French chateau.)  A doorman dressed in a Yeoman guard’s uniform ushered us into the lobby of the hotel. My father leaned down and whispered that the doorman must have been waiting for me. I looked around with wide-eyed wonder at the elegant surroundings. It was a mini-culture shock! Vivaldi quietly played over the intercom not Hank Williams on a jukebox singing “Howlin’ At the Moon”. There was no dust bane on the floors of this hotel. We walked down a magnificent long hallway with glistening marble floors under Persian runner rugs. Men wore well-pressed trousers and shiny shoes not Drayton Valley oxfords (rubber boots). Women in this hotel had all their teeth. People “dined” in a dining room and the menus had pages with entrees. A waiter in a tuxedo had a napkin on his arm. People in my town ate at the Wild Cat Café (without the aigu). The menu consisted of, well, wild cat – or so the locals suspected. The name of the waitress was Thelma and she wiped arborite tabletops with a rag that smelled of bleach. She chewed gum and sauntered up to customers to ask, “What’ll yous have?” 

 

The Macdonald Hotel was a different world from what I knew. My family entered an elevator with shiny dark cherry wood panelled walls.  An elderly man wearing a MacDonald tartan blazer pushed a glistening brass handle and took us to our floor. 


Have you ever noticed how irrelevancies can stick in peoples’ memories?  One of mine was passing a hotel housekeeper pushing a hoover vacuum cleaner with a small light near shining on the floor that did not have the slightest speck of dirt or lint. I remember thinking it must be a very clean hotel indeed. Then a terrible thought crossed my mind: What if my mother saw that vacuum cleaner! She might want one! Nothing would be left undisturbed in our house. My colony of earthworms under the rug in my bedroom would be doomed!   

 

What do vacuum cleaners with lint lights and earthworms under a rug have to do with the story? Nothing. I digress. Back to the story. 


We walked down a long hallway and stopped at a huge heavy door. My father knocked. The massive dark cherry wood door slowly and silently opened to reveal . . . Christmas! There before me was tinsel and Garland and Angel hair and a fully decorated Christmas tree declaring a magical world of Christmas—in July! The tree’s lights twinkled and blinked to welcome us. Music from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker was playing in the background. Rows upon rows of tables held samples of new toys for merchants to order. I looked up awestruck at my smiling father! He and the toy salesman laughed. 

 

Every conceivable toy was laid out before me. Everything glittered, twinkled and sparkled in Christmas colours.  This was heaven to a four-year-old boy!

 

My dad picked me up to watch the elaborate precision of a toy train hustling through miniatures mountain tunnels, across trestles, into a little alpine village where tiny lights shone inside wee shops, a little church and tiny houses with snow-covered roofs.  A little gate rose and fell to stop little toy trucks and cars from crossing the tracks while the toy train whistled and chugged past. I felt like Gulliver in Lilliput.[1] I, the boy-giant Markus, watched the goings on of a magical miniature world, from his father’s arms.

 

Then, as though saving the best for last, the salesman opened another big door to an adjoining room. In there we found bicycles, tricycles, sleighs and a large assortment of outdoor toys! There was a salmon-coloured Dick Tracey pedal car with whitewall tires. It was just my size! And the toy salesman let me drive it back and forth down the hallway, right passed the housekeeper pushing the vacuum. Wow! In my mind, that toy salesman was promoted to the stature of Geppetto. [2]

 

But alas, all good things must come to an end. My father ordered his stock for the next Christmas and we left the grand old Macdonald hotel and entered the hot summer day. The magic of Christmas in July melted away. Everything was ordinary and commonplace again.

(My father & I in his store (December 1957) with some Christmas stock ordered the previous July.)


A little boy’s experience with Christmas in July was embedded into my memory and fondly remembered even into old age. 



May this old man wish that sweet childlike joy and longing that lies in each of you a most blessed and merry Advent season. Here is a Christmas song for you. (Hope you like John Rutter.)

Mark

 


[1] Jonathon Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, 1726. A tale of Lemuel Gulliver who finds himself shipwrecked on the island of Lilliput inhabited by people only a few inches tall.

[2] Carlos Collodi, The Adventures of Pinoccheo, 1883. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

WHAT I SAID ON INFOWARS


Some months ago, I was interviewed on the American Show InfoWars, about my perspective on the joyous demise of Roe v Wade, and the horrible reality of abortion in Canada. Every abortion is paid for by the government—regardless of whether taxpayers want to or not! A woman can have an abortion for any reason at all, or no reason whatsoever, and there is no limit to the number of abortions. The government will pay for them all! No questions asked. 

 

Killing one’s unborn child is euphemistically called ‘reproductive freedom.’ Some freedom! A baby’s life hangs in the balance. What previous generations considered an abomination, Canada has made into a virtue! The Tyranny of Relativism has gone amuck and is near its absurd and deadly conclusion. The only babies that matter are babies wanted by their mothers. Reproductive freedom of choice has become a reproductive licence to kill unwanted children before birth. (Article continues below photos)



InfoWars guest host, Kristi Leigh, also asked me about a miraculous partial recovery from end-stage multiple sclerosis. For nearly four decades with MS, I experienced creeping paralysis that rendered me triplegic (paralysis of 3 limbs). In the early years of MS, my disease was so serious and aggressive that my physicians thought I would not live more than a few years. Instead of dying, I spend many years in an electric wheelchair. My atrophied legs were completely useless and my right arm was heavily compromised. In 2018, I went before the Blessed Sacrament—just as I had many times before—and prayed that God would let me get out of my wheelchair and walk again. “Please Lord,” I prayed, “even if for a short time, even if I must use canes or a walker.” 

 

I had come to a point of degeneration where I was finally willing to accept God’s will, whatever that might be, even if His answer was no. He knows what is best. It was only then that long-lost function began to return! I did walk again. Use of my right arm and hand returned.

 

It’s 2022, and I am still walking (albeit with a limp and a walking stick). These 4 years I have used to praise God for what He has done for me. I’ll tell anyone who will listen. They stay away in droves. People do not want to hear about it. Those who have only known me in an electric wheelchair can’t fathom how I can be walking? They can’t make sense of it, so they stay away. It’s the oddest thing. When I’ve been asked how this impossibility happened, I tell them it was God, and God alone (My doctors could not stop the disease progress and were dumbstruck how my miracle happened.) People who asked the question started looking for the exits. 


My situation is a beautiful example of why we should not give up on life. We don’t know what lies around the next corner, or what joy might enter our world.

 

Maybe somebody will say remissions are common with MS. They are right, but not for end-stage MS which is secondary progressive. Even as I type these words, my brain is riddled with scars (the scler in multiple sclerosis). I should not be able to do it. 

 

Before 2018, my next address was expected to be a nursing home or a cemetery. Thank you Lord.


Mark 





Wednesday, November 9, 2022

PROGRESSIVE DELUSION AND GENDER ILLUSION




Abortion advocates & progressives talk about reproductive rights. But surely the 1st reproductive right is the right to be born. They say "follow the science" when talking about COVID vaccines but they won't follow the science when it comes to when life begins. Science established decades ago that life begins at conception. To deny this is either a lie, ignorance, or sophistry. They delude themselves. Delusion!

They say the unborn child is not a person yet. Prejudice. The same argument was used against blacks. North American Indigenous people were called savages in order to take their land. In Germany during the Nazi regime, Jews were denied their personhood and exterminated by the millions. 

We live in an age of shadows and illusions. We are presented with the illusion that there are more than two genders. If we do not accept this illusion as reality, we are considered bigots. Men dress as women, women dress as men. I am supposed to accept the illusion. No. It is a lie. Everyone knows in their heart of hearts there are two genders, two sexes: Male and female. I do not accept the illusion, no matter how cleverly and skilled it is presented to me. I refuse to play the game. I can not replace truth for a lie or the reality of the natural world for an illusion of progressive ideology.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

THE TROJAN HORSE OF THE SYNODAL WAY

Please see the link below to a video by Dr. Gavin Ashenden exposing the heresy found in the new Synodal Way, designed to turn the Catholic Church upside down. It is important, I believe, to faithful Catholics— and indeed all Christians. 


  

Monday, October 31, 2022

LOVE, MARRIAGE, AND IDOLATRY

 


My wife LaRee and I are closing in on 70-years-of-age. Lately,
we find ourselves thinking more about our mortality and the terrible prospect of one of us being widowed. We have loved each other for more than 50 years. We are one in marriage. In speaking of marriage, Jesus said that from the beginning of humanity God “’made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

 

Even now, after half a century, my heart still thrills when LaRee enters the room, or I hear her voice, or she smiles at me. The thought of having to carry on without her and go through the motions of life alone—ending each day lying on our bed where she once slept—would be so terribly lonesome, it would be like cutting me in half. Would I lose my joy for life, or the will to live without LaRee? I don’t know. I hope not. Life is a gift from God, every breath I take is from Him. She would be with Christ. But I know my heart would be waiting to see my Lord, and LaRee again. 

 

For years I have written daily love letters in journals to LaRee. She has a drawer filled with them. Although they are private, I will share part of a recent letter I wrote to her:

 

“Dear LaRee:

What goes on in your mind? What are your thoughts? Sometimes when I see you gazing into space daydreaming, I think that I'd love to be inside your head to share that interior moment with you. That desire is rooted in a wish to know my LaRee in your entirety—the woman I have loved all my life. Since childhood, I have never loved anyone else but you. The inexpressible love we have for each other is completed in God’s inexpressible love. One day there will be no need for me to search for words to express my love. You will be able to see what is unseeable now. I love you so much. — M” 

 

Jesus said this about marriage:

 

“At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.  But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?” He is not the God of the dead but of the living.[1]

 

 

[NB: Jesus did not say we be angels, He said we will be like angels. What are angels like? They are eternal and are always in the presence of God and are filled with His love.]

 

Jesus said there is no marriage in heaven? My heart cries out, “Nooo! Please Lord! I want to always love LaRee and be loved by her! Our marriage is all I know.” 

 

I can try to build a case why our marriage will continue in some transfigured way, but that flies in the face of what Jesus plainly said. I know it. I must accept it. I have only the life I have lived. I know nothing else. That life has been blessed by romance. I must not succumb to making our marriage my idol. 

 

But that’s exactly what I have done! I am guilty of idolatry! As I type these words, I realize it. My perspective is so confined and small. Marriage must not become the entire focus of my heart, or my love for LaRee, which surpasses my ability to express in words. I must not allow human romance of the heart to overwhelm the greater romance of the soul: It is a divine Romance from which God wooed me into a relationship with Him through the sacrificial love of Christ. He is the author of love—from which romance springs of a man for his wife, and vice versa. Christ must not fit into my marriage; He must be the center of it. My love for Him must be my first love on earth. 

 

Lord, forgive me! I have adored too much the charm of human romantic love. 

 

And yet I know from personal experience, that immense divine Romance of God—primordial and timeless—that has so often overwhelmed and astonished me. 

 

The Bible tells us there will come a time when all things will be made known. Every small act of kindness made in private, every act of love or hatred, every desire or yearning, that either blessed or broke our hearts, will be laid bare. Everyone will see how unworthy I am to have received the forgiveness Christ gave me. So too, my love for LaRee will also be laid bare. She will finally see the inexpressible depths of my love for her that words have always failed to express. Love and the ability to love will be complete in the joy of His love. 

 

The book of Revelation gives a revelation to those who have wept inconsolably in this life. We are told that God Himself will wipe away every tear we have ever shed.[2] There will be no more crying, sickness, disease, or death. Restraints of time will dissolve. We will enter the timeless.[3] We will have shed the material and temporal for the immortal and eternal. We will be given new bodies, (and I can kick this decrepit one to the curb).

LaRee’s and my earthly marriage will be dissolved and we will enter the marriage of the Lamb. 

 

“How will we know each other? I think our new bodies will resemble the perfect LaRee and Mark originally intended for us before the Fall in Eden that brought sin into the world—not only Original Sin, but our own sins that marred us.” 

 

I have often wondered what I could have achieved without the MS and disability? It won’t matter because there will be a new world—a new heaven and a new earth[4]— too marvellous for us to comprehend in our present state. The words I wrote at the beginning of this letter won’t matter. They will be irrelevant because we will know just as we are known in our redeemed state.[5]


There may be some theological problems in what I have written, but you must forgive me. I’m just a romantic old fool.

 

Mark

[1] Matthew 22:30-32.

[2] Revelation 21:4.

[3] Cf. Ecclesiastes 3:11a.

[4] Revelation 21.1. cf. 2 Peter 3:13

[5] Isaiah 65:17,

Friday, October 14, 2022

A CHRISTIAN ROMANCE SCREENPLAY

PRODUCER NEEDED 

 TRANSCEND

(A Journey Toward Love)
by
Mark Davis Pickup


TRANSCEND is a fictionalized screenplay inspired by the true events of my life. 

Logline: TRANSCEND spans 50 years and follows the lives of Mark and LaRee Fraser from teenage lovers through the heartbreak of
abortion and the trials of their marriage after Mark develops aggressive multiple sclerosis and catastrophic disability.  Their story involves sin, brokenness, forgiveness, adversity, and learning to trust God when the stakes are horribly high. 

Genre: Christian romance


This film would appeal to audiences who enjoyed Miracles From Heaven and The Notebook.

Contact: Mark Davis Pickup
Email: markdpickup@icloud.com
Tel: 780-929-9230
Cell: 780-232-4954

"My friend Mark Davis Pickup has written a remarkable screenplay which echoes his own story in a warm and personal way. Mark and his wife LaRee have overcome insurmountable odds to discover a rich and abiding love ... . In a broken world where many marriages are crumbling under pressure and disappointment, there is ample room for stories like theirs." — Joni Eareckson Tada,


Thursday, October 13, 2022

CANADA TO LEGALIZE ASSISTING SUICIDES OF THE MENTALLY ILL

 

In March 2023, Canada will legalize assisted suicide for the mentally ill. It’s part of the horrible legacy of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

If we are going to do something so horrible, March is the right month to do it. It's a lonesome month; neither winter nor summer; it is a month when bare trees, devoid of leaves, reach starkly toward grey skies and sway in cold winds. 

Broken windows and empty hallways 
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray 
Human kindness is overflowing 
And I think it's going to rain today. 

Progressive liberals are about to do what my father’s generation—the generation Tom Brokaw called the greatest generation—would be appalled to learn. He and his countrymen were prepared to die for their nation to stop the Nazis: Their atrocities included killing the physically and mentally ill. They had little use for the disabled. Judging by how Canada treats its disabled, apparently, we feel the same way. 

Those with severe mental illness are usually at the bottom of society, impoverished, isolated and excluded, under-employed or unemployed. Many see only their future as a barren landscape of "aloneness" and loneliness.  Many are driven to give up on a life in which they feel unwelcome. The cold and coarse regime of Justin Trudeau will offer them so-called death with dignity instead of searching for a life with dignity. Why would many mentally ill Canadians not take it? Death may be preferable when life has been so unkind. 

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles 
With frozen smiles to chase love away 
Human kindness is overflowing 
And I think it's going to rain today 

The scarecrow in a white coat who holds the syringe that injects the poison into the mentally ill person has a frozen smile. It’s the same icy smile they've seen all their lives. 

They have always sung off-key with society’s latest tunes. A sea of loneliness can overwhelm a broken spirit.  The last thing the defeated mentally ill person sees in this world—before they succumb to lethal injection—is that familiar frozen smile that tells them they were never welcome.

Lonely, lonely Tin can at my feet 
Think I'll kick it down the street 
That's the way to treat a friend. 

The mentally ill are not really friends with the new Canada. Inclusive rhetoric is just that: rhetoric. So many are alone in their anguish. Behind the progressives’ smiles lies a hostility that would just as soon dispense of the physically and mentally ill—people who don’t fit in with the liberal progressive world they want exclusively for themselves and those who ascribe to their progressive ideology. 

Depending on the severity of a person’s disability, their presence offends progressive sensibilities. Progressive liberals of Justin Trudeau’s regime won’t admit it—but they’re not above legalizing lethal injections they euphemistically call 'Medical Assistance in Dying.' Death is the ultimate exclusion!

Like Justin Trudeau, euphemisms are dishonest. They are designed to disguise something wrong, or too unpleasant to mention in the company of polite progressives.   

Death with Dignity is a myth. Dignity is not achieved with a lethal injection when someone is at their lowest point, or helping someone kill themselves. Death with dignity is not an event, it is a process—the natural conclusion of having lived with dignity. 

Right before me 
the signs implore me 
To help the needy and show them the way 
Human kindness is overflowing 
And I think it's going to rain today. [1] 

These are the lyrics to a song written by Randy Newman in 1968 called I Think It's Going To Rain Today. He is an atheist but his lyrics touch on the despair and defeat experienced by so many people suffering from mental illnesses. What are people of faith and goodwill to do in such a Brave New World? The answer is right before us. The signs are before us. They implore us to help the needy and show them the way. If the mentally ill are not the amongst the neediest, who is? We must embrace them in their neediness, their loneliness, their depression, their confusion. Inclusion. We journey with them, seeking a way for a life that changes their pale death moons and skies streaked with grey into sunlight uplands of hope. Showing people The Way never leads to death. It leads to life with dignity.


* Lyrics from I Think It's Going To Rain Today by Randy Newman in 1968.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

WHAT MORE WAS NEEDED BY THIS OLD MAN?


Progressive disability from multiple sclerosis forced me to retire far too early in my career with the Canadian civil service. I was thirty-eight, still a young man, and had to live on a modest disability pension. That did not sit well with my Type A personality. I sank into clinical depression as disease kept ravaging my body, forcing me into stillness and eventually, after bitter anguish, contemplation. Days, months and years were spent convalescing. Seasons passed. My children grew up and married. Grandchildren were born and grew up and have begun to marry. My wife’s and my hair turned white. Still, that small voice whispered, “Be open to love as it comes to you for in love you will find God.” To my surprise and delight, I discovered it was true. New revelations about love (both human and divine) came to me in our little, red-roofed house with its yard shrouded from the world by a massive hedge. 

I still sit with my morning coffee and look at successive generations of blue jays coming into the yard. At night, I can stand there contemplating the vastness of the heavens above me. God raised me from the wheelchairs I used for many years.  The creeping paralysis that marred my adult life— beginning as a young man—receded like the tide. I stood and walked again as an old man.

The words of Victor Hugo come to me from his great novel Les Misérables:

“What more was needed by this old man who divided the leisure hours of his life, …Was not this narrow enclosure, with the sky for a background, enough to enable him to adore God in His most beautiful as well as his most sublime works? Indeed, is not at all, and what more can be desired? A little garden to walk, and immensity to reflect upon. At his feet something to cultivate and to gather; above his head something to study and meditate upon: a few flowers on the earth, and the stars in the sky.”  

The Psalmist wrote: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvellous display of his craftsmanship. Day and night they keep telling about God. Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, the message reaches all the world.”

Yes, it does. 

The meaning of my life did not come in a thunderclap of a potentially successful career that was smothered before it really began. It came in a gentle breeze of the ordinary rhythms of life. The purpose of my life is here with those I love, and within the greater and perfect love of Christ.

 


Saturday, October 1, 2022

CHRISTIAN LOVE GIVES A DYING SOUL PEACE

I wrote a column for a Canadian Catholic newspaper, The Western Catholic Reporter from 2004-2016 when the paper folded (a victim of many newspapers to new online media). One of my columns appeared under the title "Christian love gives dying souls peace." It dealt with

my wife's adamant and resolute protection of her mother (who had dementia) from being euthanized. My column appeared on October 28th, 2013. Her Mother died two months later. Less than 3 years later Canada legalized euthanasia under the euphemism "medical assistance in dying" in May of 2016. 

Since that time, more than 30,000 Canadians have been murdered under the new law—the vast majority by lethal injection. The initial criteria of Canada's law have been slowly broadening. In March of 2023, the mentally ill will be eligible for assisted suicide. Evil advances incrementally to coarsen public acceptance for what was once unthinkable. 

See my article below. If you are unable to read, the text is below the article.



Text

My wife, LaRee, and I were asked to address a conference about critical life issues sponsored by the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey. They wanted us to speak about a Christian perspective on suffering, disability and end-of-life care. It is a timely topic because New Jersey is considering a law to allow assisted suicide. The diocese wanted the dual perspectives of someone with a degenerative and incurable condition like multiple sclerosis (me) ― and the perspective of a loved-one (my wife) watching the deterioration and unable to stop it.  LaRee and I looked forward to going to New Jersey for two reasons. Firstly, we thought we could bring a needed life-affirming Christian story to the debate that is raging in that state, and secondly, we were going to celebrate our 40th anniversary after the conference in the nearby city of New York. It was not to be.

LaRee’s aged mother’s frail physical condition started to take a life-threatening turn in Edmonton. We could not risk being so far away from her. Once again, my wife is giving a profound witness by her actions for Christian care of those who are vulnerable and cannot care for themselves. We cancelled our trip. 

My wife’s active love for others has been illustrated for more than half of her lifetime. 

Her mother lives in a nursing home and has dementia; her confusion makes her frightened and she cries out for LaRee.  As soon as she enters her mother’s room, all is calm again because she knows she is safe with LaRee near. 

It’s unfortunate, but my wife has deep reservations about anything that would put her mother in an acute care hospital setting. The threat of her mother being denied nutrition and hydration (food and water) is very real. LaRee’s grandmother met with that fate ten years ago and died a torturous death.  It happens to vulnerable people all the time. In this new bioethical era, the incurably ill, dying, and severely disabled are increasingly fearful of hospitals where some physicians ― with the full backing of a hospital ethics committee ― may decide providing treatment to them is futile. 

Treatments may be futile but the patient is never futile. Doing anything to hasten the death of a sick or dying person is always wrong and flies in the face of a long tradition of Hippocratic medicine. That’s why I previously wrote that Catholic hospitals must never acquiesce to bioethical trends that do not recognize the innate dignity and worth of every human being regardless of their state or stage in life.

Whether or not physicians working in Catholic hospitals are Catholic, they must adhere to the principles of Catholic teaching. As a person with advanced multiple sclerosis, I want to know I can rest confident that medical decisions about my care follow those teachings. 

The Catechism of the Catholic teaches that euthanasia is morally unacceptable (2277-2279). Any act of omission that causes death (like withholding food and water) is considered as murder and must always be forbidden. “Withdrawal of medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate” If death of a patient is imminent “painkillers to alleviate suffering of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means.” In such cases, death is recognized as inevitable but not hastened. The underlying principle is one of motive and intent. Death must never be the intent of any medical action or inaction.

That is the ethic by which every Catholic hospital must operate its end-of-life care. They must always act in accordance with Catholic teaching on matters of life and death and never give in to trends in bioethics, secular pressures or financial burdens. If people like my mother-in-law (or me and you) cannot rely on Catholic care to always value our lives, where can go to know we will be safely treated? 

I mentioned that my mother-in-law feels safe when LaRee’s is near. Even in her mounting dementia, she seems to know she’s in good hands. LaRee’s Christianity and familial love motivate her to stand in the gap for her vulnerable loved-ones. She recently combed through her mother’s advanced directive from 2009, and updated it to reflect 2013’s reality. She met with her mother’s treating physician to make sure every measure for comfort is met and ordinary care owed to all sick people is not interrupted (just like the Catechism says).  

By caring for her mother in this way, LaRee is giving vivid testimony to a culture of life that treats dying as the last phase of living in which the bonds of humanity are strengthened, not weakened.


Saturday, September 17, 2022

MARK DAVIS PICKUP AVAILABLE TO SPEAK ABOUT CHRIST IN OUR SUFFERING

·  .

CHRIST IN OUR SUFFERING:

        By Mark Davis Pickup

Addresses and interactive workshops are available via Zoom, Skype, etc.

A new way to have guest speakers



What are Christians to make of suffering? After sin has been confessed, and suffering continues, what then?  C.S. Lewis said: 

 

“Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God, or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t.”[2]

 

Mark Davis Pickup has suffered from aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS) for close to 40 years. The disease took him from being a healthy and able-bodied man to chronically ill and disabled. Weeks, months, and even years of convalescence gave him time to prayerfully reflect and seek to understand God’s purposes in his anguish. He knows Christ’s love and knows God is good. There must have been meaning or purpose to Mark’s protracted suffering. There is, and he reveals it in his new live online presentation available through video conferencing platforms such as Zoom. Mark has stopped travelling.

 

For more than 25 years Mark spoke extensively across the United States and Canada promoting the sanctity, dignity and equality of all human life, and against assisted suicide & euthanasia. He has spoken widely about the natural human dignity that is ours in Christ. Mark is available to address your group, your conferences, churches or community outreach about finding Christ in our Suffering via conferencing platforms. 


He addressed politicians and legislative committees (both Canadian and American), university forums, hospital medical staffs, religious and denominational leaders, community groups and organizations about the importance of Life and disability issues, and a Christian perspective on suffering. In the wake of Canada and 10 U.S. states and the District of Columbia legalizing assisted suicide, Mark continues to speak out about the sanctity of human life and building a culture of Life—and life-affirming responses—in our culture of death and despair. He is available to address your next conference or event.[3] Mark gave the keynote addresses to the U.S. National Right to Life Prayer Breakfasts in 2001, 2005, and jointly with his wife LaRee in 2010.

 

In 2018, God did a wonderful thing for Mark and answered Yes to his prayer: After more than 15 years of paralysis (triplegia) and dependent on an electric wheelchair, he regained the use of his atrophied legs, compromised right arm and useless hand. He’s walking! His right arm and hand are fully restored! In the aftermath of decades of horrible, slow creeping paralysis, Mark has a fresh perspective of those stormy years and calamitous times. Like the crisp clean smell in the air after a violent thunderstorm, it has become evident that Christ was always there even in the darkest times when the tempest’s black clouds darkened the world, and terrifying thunderclaps muffled that still small voice. CHRIST IN OUR SUFFERING speaks to the grief of adult-acquired disability and disease, both for the individual and those who love them. CHRIST IN OUR SUFFERING speaks to finding meaning in anguish. 

 

CONTACT:  HumanLifeMatters@shaw.ca


Why consider conferencing live speeches, sermons, workshops, or other presentations with Mark Davis Pickup?


- Precisely because they are live and in real-time.

- Conferencing allows Mark to speak anywhere in the world.

- Expense: Hosting organizations or churches are not faced with flight costs and travel-associated costs. 

- They are interactive, allowing for Q&As and discussions. 


Mark Davis Pickup has lectured so widely here in the U.S. that a lot of people know him and have tremendous respect for him.”— Dr. Dianne Irving, former career-appointed bench research biochemist/biologist (NIH, NCI, Bethesda, MD), an M.A. and Ph.D. philosopher (Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.), and professor of the History of Philosophy and of Medical Ethics

 

“I met Mark Pickup in the early 1990s, and we became good friends. When I met him, he could barely walk using two canes because of his progressive MS. Over time, I observed his physical condition worsen, to the point he became triplegic, that is, was only able to use his left arm. He had no use of his legs whatsoever. I am convinced that Mark’s dramatic improvement is a miracle. What else could explain a man in the later stages of MS being able to walk again and ride a bicycle? Mark is a very prayerful Christian, and I believe his faith was answered as a sign for the world.

Wesley J Smith

Host, Humanize Podcast https://humanize.today

Chair, Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism

Washington, D.C.

 

HLM


[1] Photos: Top left Mark Davis Pickup speaking at a fund-raising banquet for a Christian hospice, Lansing, Michigan. Photo right: Mark being interviewed by Canadian national Christian TV program about a miracle God gave him to walk again after 16 years in an electric wheelchair and paralysed. 

[2] C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, (New York, Bantam Books, 1980), p. 50.

[3] Venues should have a large screen. Workshops should be interactive for Q&A