Monday, April 27, 2015

"Pro-Life" Hospice Care?

"Pro-Life" Hospice Care?

Dr. Brian Kopp

There was a time, not long ago, when the idea of designating a hospice care program as "pro-life" would have seemed absurd. Most hospice care programs in the US in the 1970s and 1980s sprang from roots in Christian ministry to the sick and dying, and the sanctity of human life was always paramount in these grassroots hospices. To understand why things have changed, we need to understand the Christian roots of hospice care philosophy and how the hospice industry has deviated from those origins.

In the Middle Ages, many Christians made pilgrimages to the Holy Land. They frequently became sick on the long and arduous journey. Pilgrims who were unable to complete the journey home were admitted to the care of the Knights Hospitaller in their hospice in Jerusalem. Christian care was provided to fulfill the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, and hospices were subsequently  founded along pilgrimage routes in other regions. In France, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul opened hospices in the 17th century, and the Irish Religious Sisters of Charity opened a hospice in Dublin in the late 19th century. Churches led the way in the care of the dying well into the 20th century, which saw the emergence of two great leaders in the hospice field.

Most know of Mother Teresa and her pioneering work among the dying in India's poorest regions, her establishment of the first hospices for AIDS victims in the 1980s, and her uncompromising pro-life stance. England's Dame Cicely Saunders began her career in nursing, transitioned to social work and eventually completed medical school in order to help the development of modern hospice care. She also developed a lively faith as a result of joining a Christian study group founded by C.S. Lewis at Oxford University. She took a keen interest in the needs of the dying, recognizing that their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs and sufferings were simply not being met in the medical system of the first half of the twentieth century. Dame Saunders was fully committed to the sanctity of human life and strongly opposed euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The early grassroots hospice programs that started in the late 1970s in the USA took as their foundation the Christian philosophy of the sanctity of life held so dear by Mother Teresa and Cicely Saunders. Most hospice work was volunteer-based and primarily provided as Christian works of mercy. Unfortunately, the federal government's introduction of a Medicare hospice benefit in 1986, while providing stability and a revenue steam for these hospice pioneers, also introduced the profit motive.

Within two decades, big for-profit corporate hospice providers had completely displaced these grassroots non-profit community based hospices in many markets. Today, all of the large for-profit corporate hospice providers have been credibly accused of massive amounts of fraudulent hospice billing; the largest for-profit corporate hospice provider stands accused of a billion dollars per year in fraudulent insurance billing for the last ten years.

Most of this fraud consists of admitting patients to hospice who aren't actually terminal, thus billing for inappropriate care, or billing for higher levels of care than patients actually need. Fraud by neglect and by withdrawal of routine chronic medications is common. Also, omissions (e.g., inappropriate withdrawal of food and water) or commissions (e.g., over-medication) frequently lead to premature deaths. We call these deaths "stealth euthanasia" whether they are deliberate or not.

Sometimes these deaths occur simply because of greed. For instance, hospices commit fraud by not providing services and supplies to which patients are entitled, by denying patients medications for chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, or by over-medicating patients to make them appear sicker than they are in order to bill more for higher levels of care. Sometimes, as in the case of Terri Schindler Schiavo's death at the hospice in Florida, deaths are caused deliberately. The pro-life movement needs to recognize, understand, and fight against "stealth euthanasia."

It is also imperative that the pro-life movement help develop and support "Pro-Life Hospice Care."

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


As the Synod approaches this fall, keep the following infallible teachings of the Ordinary Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church handy, and compare anything you see or hear to these constant teachings. Anything that deviates from these documents is in error, and those promulgating such errors are to be resisted.

"...5. Many argue that the position of the Church on the question of divorced and remarried faithful is overly legalistic and not pastoral.

A series of critical objections against the doctrine and praxis of the Church pertain to questions of a pastoral nature. Some say, for example, that the language used in the ecclesial documents is too legalistic, that the rigidity of law prevails over an understanding of dramatic human situations. They claim that the human person of today is no longer able to understand such language, that Jesus would have had an open ear for the needs of people, particularly for those on the margins of society. They say that the Church, on the other hand, presents herself like a judge who excludes wounded people from the sacraments and from certain public responsibilities.

One can readily admit that the Magisterium’s manner of expression does not seem very easy to understand at times. It needs to be translated by preachers and catechists into a language which relates to people and to their respective cultural environments. The essential content of the Church’s teaching, however, must be upheld in this process. It must not be watered down on allegedly pastoral grounds, because it communicates the revealed truth.

Certainly, it is difficult to make the demands of the Gospel understandable to secularized people. But this pastoral difficulty must not lead to compromises with the truth. In his Encyclical Veritatis splendor, John Paul II clearly rejected so-called pastoral solutions which stand in opposition to the statements of the Magisterium (cf. ibid. 56).

Furthermore, concerning the position of the Magisterium as regards the question of divorced and remarried members of the faithful, it must be stressed that the more recent documents of the Church bring together the demands of truth with those of love in a very balanced way. If at times in the past, love shone forth too little in the explanation of the truth, so today the danger is great that in the name of love, truth is either to be silenced or compromised. Assuredly, the word of truth can be painful and uncomfortable. But it is the way to holiness, to peace, and to inner freedom. A pastoral approach which truly wants to help the people concerned must always be grounded in the truth. In the end, only the truth can be pastoral. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn. 8:32)."



Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Official Vatican teaching on the divorced and remarried and Holy Eucharist, Given at Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 14 September 1994, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross:

"...the Church affirms that a new union cannot be recognised as valid if the preceding marriage was valid. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Holy Communion as long as this situation persists(6).

This norm is not at all a punishment or a discrimination against the divorced and remarried, but rather expresses an objective situation that of itself renders impossible the reception of Holy Communion: "They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and his Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage"(7).

The faithful who persist in such a situation may receive Holy Communion only after obtaining sacramental absolution, which may be given only "to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when for serious reasons, for example, for the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they 'take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples'"(8). In such a case they may receive Holy Communion as long as they respect the obligation to avoid giving scandal.​


"However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they "take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples."(180)

Similarly, the respect due to the sacrament of Matrimony, to the couples themselves and their families, and also to the community of the faithful, forbids any pastor, for whatever reason or pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry. Such ceremonies would give the impression of the celebration of a new sacramentally valid marriage, and would thus lead people into error concerning the indissolubility of a validly contracted marriage."

No one can change these teachings.

No one.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I Will Not Serve! I Will Not Be Served!
Jan. 23, 2015
PHA Monthly
Newsletter for the Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance
Eighteenth Edition

From the Chairman's Desk
I Will Not Serve! I Will Not Be Served! 

Dr. Brian Kopp 

The sexual revolution embraced a mindset that is best described by Jeremiah's phrase, "I will not serve!" 

"Long ago you broke your yoke, you tore off your bonds.
'I will not serve!' you said."
 - Jeremiah 2:20

Jeremiah attributes the declaration "I will not serve" to the people of Israel in their rejection of God. More generally, it is attributed to Lucifer in his refusal to serve the Creator-God and his desire to himself be worshiped. The phrase "I will not serve!" appropriately describes the sexual revolution's rejection of God and His moral law and the idolization of youth and unrestrained sexuality. The "I will not serve" mentality has strewn wreckage in its path.

There is a corollary to "I will not serve": "I will not be served!"

In Scripture, when Jesus talks about the Last Judgment, He says:
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me...Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." - Matthew 25:35-36, 40

One can almost hear the lament:
"I will not be served because whatsoever you do to the least of His brothers that you do unto Him. I've always done everything for me. I've never done anything for Him. I'm not going to start now! I'm not going to humble myself. I will not allow anyone to do unto Him by letting them do unto me.

"I will not suffer. I would rather die. Now and in eternity, I will shake my fist in the face of God, spit in His eye one last time when I refuse my last meal, take my last pill, draw my final breath. My last act will be eternal rebellion and thus damnation."

This rejection of suffering short circuits the cycle of grace that comes both in serving "the least of these brothers and sisters of mine" and in being served as "the least of these."  By humbling ourselves so that we may be served, those who serve us may attain Eternal Life.

The tip of the spear in the present battle regarding stealth euthanasia* is death by dehydration. In the vast majority of cases of stealth euthanasia, death occurs primarily due to withdrawal of fluids, leading to volume depletion, organ failure, shock, and death. The symptoms of dehydration are almost always masked by narcotic analgesics, sedatives and anti-psychotics. Stealth euthanasia is not just unethical and immoral, but also an obvious violation of the basis on which Jesus said we would be judged.

Today many are not only quietly acquiescing to the stealth euthanasia agenda, but are requesting the legalization of assisted suicide. The same generation that idolized youth and sex is refusing to bear the ignobility of sickness, old age and vulnerability.

Why accept natural death? Because, instead of final rebellion, it is final surrender. Acceptance of death at the time of God's choosing says:
 "Please, Lord, let this cup pass me by. But not my will but Your will be done. If that means taking this cup of spoon feeding or tube feeding or IV hydration, Your will be done! If that means letting others care for me and giving up my radical autonomy, so be it! If that means letting others clean my face or behind,this, Lord, seems too much to bear! But this too I accept. I am not sufficient unto myself. Without You, God, I am nothing.

"Your will be done. I humble myself and permit others to serve You in my person, in my weak and vulnerable and suffering body, in the ignobility of age and sickness. I accept that, where once I did for others, now I must permit others to do for me. Because I am one of "the least" now, and in Your providence You call forth the next generation to love and serve selflessly, I must swallow my pride. I am no longer the strong one, the warrior. I am now the one who needs protection. You call new warriors into the arena to protect me, feed me, clothe me, bathe me.

"I permit others to console Your heart by consoling and caring for me in my need. That alone makes it possible to bear my cross. Because in doing it for me, they do it for You."

Ultimately, the battle against euthanasia and assisted suicide is a battle for eternal souls--our own souls, the souls of those for whom we fight and for whom we care, and the souls of those who care for us.

* "Stealth euthanasia": hastening death by neglect or intention while pretending to provide appropriate end-of-life care.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Rabbits and NFP

My wife and and I taught NFP for ten years. We heard all the jokes (i.e., half truths and outright lies) about NFP, typified by this perennial favorite: "What do you call couples who use NPF? 'Parents.'" We heard the continual disparagement about "breeding like rabbits." We had couples who walked out of our class after my presentation on the necessity of having "grave reason" for recourse to NFP. We also had couples who, after hearing the Church's teaching on the necessity of having "grave reason" for having recourse NFP, realized they had none, and happily reported within a month or two that they were expecting. 

We also always wanted a big family, and I even bought a 12 passenger van when the children were young in hopes of having 6 or 8 children or more. After our third came along, God never sent us any more.We love our children, and we would have loved to have more, but He knew best for us.

We gave up teaching NFP partly because the mentality was not that Catholics could have recourse to NFP "for grave reasons," but one that had morphed into the idea that NFP was "responsible parenthood" and "Catholic birth control" and that "grave reasons" weren't really necessary any more. It was just too difficult to teach young couples how to be "responsible parents," avoiding pregnancy for often less than grave reasons, when we still were asking God for more children.

The Pope's recent comments were grossly imprudent in my opinion, even hurtful to many good faithful Christians. They contribute to the values-free mentality of the modern NFP movement and the idea that "responsible parents" must limit childbearing. They are not in any way helpful; I find them to be indefensible, despite the spin of the usual suspects who want to interpret them in a hermeneutic of continuity with former Magisterial statements on the subject. I find them to be a rupture with the perennial teachings of the Church on this subject, based on firm reliance on Divine Providence, appeals to the "responsible parenthood" proof texts in Guadium et Spes and Humanae Vitae notwithstanding.

If Pope Francis were not preparing an encyclical on "global warming" and "human ecology" I would just shrug off this latest embarrassment as just another in a long line of off-the-cuff gaffes.
But he is using the language of the environmentalists and population controllers who blame climate change on Christians, Islamists and Third World citizens who "breed like rabbits." If he has bought into the climate change propaganda then he has likely also bought into the idea that fighting climate change requires "responsible parenthood."

In his mind, maybe population control to combat global warming is fine, as long as it employs NFP?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

G. Kopp rifle at The Prince Gallitzin Chapel House in Loretto PA

Several years ago my nephew was on a tour of the Prince Gallitzin Chapel House in Loretto PA:

of God Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin


Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin was born of a Russian prince of Lithuanuan
roots and a German countess in the Hauge, Netherlands on December 22,
1770.  He left his claim to nobility and came to America in 1792.
Wishing to serve God as a priest, he became a student at Saint Mary's Seminary
in Baltimore.  On March 18, 1795, Bishop John Carroll  ordained Father
Gallitzin, the first priest to receive all his orders in preparation for
priesthood in the United States of America.

He initially arrived in the
mountains of west central Pennsylvania on a sick call to the McGuire
Settlement.  He persistently sought his bishop's permission to serve as
this community's pastor.  On March 1, 1799, Bishop Carroll assigned Father
Gallitzin as resident pastor of the settlement in the mountains.  The
pioneer priest later renamed the place Loretto after the Marian shrine in Italy.

here to continue the story of Demetrius Gallitzin....

He noticed that there was an antique long rifle hanging over the living room fireplace mantel and reached across the barrier with his smart phone to snap a photo of the top of the barrel. This is where most PA long rifle makers sign their guns, and to his surprise, this rifle was indeed made by our ancestor, George Kopp.

Andrew Kopp and his son George were PA long rifle makers whose gun shop was in Geeseytown, PA, just outside of Hollidaysburg. This particular rifle is labelled to have been the property of Nicholas Stevens, whose wife Ruth was reputed to have been baptized by Father Gallitzin in Sinking Valley PA in 1812:

The rifle hangs over a striking hearth and book shelf in Prince Gallitzin's early 1800's chapel house:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Contraception, Abortion, and now Euthanasia: Demographics is Destiny.


Contraception, Abortion, and now Euthanasia: Demographics is Destiny.
by Brian Kopp, DPM

The historical and universal Christian prohibition on contraception, which dates back to the Apostles, was first shaken by the Anglican Church's 1930 Lambeth Conference, the first Christian body ever to condone contraception. Although the Anglicans limited contraception to what they termed exceptional cases, they cracked open a door that had previously been tightly shut. Within three decades, most Protestant denominations had abandoned the universal Christian prohibition against contraception and, by the early 1970s, much of Eastern Orthodoxy had dropped its prohibition on barrier methods.
The connection between the acceptance of contraception, beginning only in 1930, and the legalization of abortion, just four decades later, cannot be overstated. The apocryphal "right to privacy," upon which the horrid 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion-on-demand was based, was first invented by five justices on the US Supreme Court in the 1965 case Griswold v. Connecticut.The Court decided in Griswold married couples had a "privacy" right to purchase contraceptives. To this day, Constitutional scholars openly concede there was simply no foundation or precedent for such a ruling, but there was also no means to stop the Justices from imposing their opinions on the nation. The Griswold ruling struck down the only remaining "Comstock Laws," written by Protestant legislators in the 1800's to make it illegal to sell or distribute all forms of contraception.

Over time, birth control became accepted in our culture because Christian groups abandoned traditional Christian teaching regarding sexual morality.
In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae, the landmark encyclical letter reaffirming the Christian prohibition of contraception passed down from age to age. A large number of Catholics rejected Humanae Vitae, so that, in the early stages of the Pro-life Movement (begun as a Catholic movement), contraception was never really examined or debated. This is regrettable since contraception is a fundamental consideration in the fight against both abortion and euthanasia. Paul VI warned that legalized contraception would result in disregard for life and morality leading to widespread divorce, abortion and euthanasia. Of course, in retrospect, it is obvious that he was correct.

The Pro-life Movement, which began in the 1960s as a Catholic response to efforts to legalize abortion, would become a coalition of Catholic, Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians in the ensuing years. The issue of contraception was never debated within this broad pro-life coalition because of the many Catholics who considered it a non-issue and because the movement's Protestant members held that the issue had already been "settled." In the interest of political effectiveness, a movement was born that never examined the root cause of what it was fighting against.
The fabricated legal foundations for the "right" to birth control progressed naturally to the philosophical foundations of a "right" to abortion. The US Supreme Court, in its 1992
Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, said:              
In some critical respects, abortion is of the same character as the decision to use               
contraception... for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.

This brutal honesty on the part of the US Supreme Court should have been cause for the pro-life community to reevaluate the role of secular and Christian acceptance of the contraceptive mentality in fomenting the legalization of abortion. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  
Of course, there are organizations, such as American Life League and Human Life International, whose founders did recognize that the widespread embrace of contraception led to legal and social acceptance of abortion, but they are the exception. 

To orthodox Christians, who form the core of the Pro-life Movement, it is morally and philosophically inconsistent to support (or ignore) contraception and oppose abortion. Even the US Supreme Court admitted the connection. Surely the pro-life community can address contraception, which, for the most part, has never been credibly debated in spite of its role in the legalization of abortion and its precipitation of the cultural embrace of euthanasia.
As the momentum for legalized euthanasia builds, and de facto legalized stealth euthanasia becomes more and more commonplace, the question must be asked: Why euthanasia now?
The answer seems simple enough. The solvency of Social Security, Medicare, Welfare and Medicaid is based on younger workers paying into the system to support the outlay of benefits. In 1940, there were 159 workers paying into the Social Security Trust Fund for every Social Security beneficiary. In 2010 there were 2.9. This is due to increased life expectancy as well as decreased birth rates. The Baby Boomer generation, born from 1946-1965, filled the coffers and kept the welfare benefits flowing well into the 80s and 90s. But the Boomers did not reproduce at the rate of their parents. By 1970, the ratio of workers paying into the Social Security Trust Fund for every Social Security beneficiary had already dropped to 3.7. (Therefore this collapse in the ratio cannot be laid at the feet of Roe v. Wade.)

No society has both a shrinking population and a growing economy. As the federal government projects the costs of pensions and medical care promised to retirees will soon outstrip the ability of our population base to provide support, pressure is mounting to control costs by rationing care. Demographic changes have created the economic incentive to euthanize the Baby Boomer generation.
Frankly, killing the elderly is the final solution for a culture that has contracepted and aborted out of existence the generations that would otherwise have supported and cared for them. That is the ultimate end product of the cultural embrace of the contraceptive mentality.

Why euthanasia now? Demographics is destiny.

About the author: Brian J. Kopp, DPM, is a podiatrist in private practice in Johnstown, PA. He has written articles on a range of subjects, primarily the culture of life, medicine, and ethics, that have been published in the L'Osservatore Romano (English Edition), New Oxford Review, The Wanderer National Catholic Weekly,, World Net Daily, and Podiatry Today magazine. Dr. Kopp is assisting Catholic Hospice of Pittsburgh to expand their pro-life hospice care services and will serve as Faith Community Liaison for Catholic Hospice of Greensburg. Dr. Kopp is also a member of the PHA.

Friday, October 18, 2013

ObamaCare is to Euthanasia What Roe v. Wade was to Abortion


ObamaCare is to Euthanasia What Roe v. Wade was to Abortion

By Dr. Brian J. Kopp

When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, we were caught off guard. We had to build a pro-life infrastructure almost from scratch to provide alternatives for women with crisis pregnancies. We now find ourselves at a similar point with euthanasia. We know that stealth euthanasia is here, that it is essentially legally protected already, and its prevalence is going to explode. We need to warn and educate the public. We also must identify and network with pro-life healthcare providers who are striving to provide ethical end of life care within a healthcare system that is becoming increasingly comfortable with prematurely ending the lives of certain patients. We urgently need to build the pro-life infrastructure that is still missing, but which is essential to providing concrete alternatives to stealth euthanasia.

Taking Stock

As we swiftly move toward the close of 2013, with the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the immediate horizon, it is prudent to take stock of where the pro-life movement stands.

Despite measures in the ACA which will undeniably increase the overall rates of abortion (with estimates that new abortion coverage under the ACA will result in taxpayers subsidizing up to 111,500 abortions each year{1}, the culture at large is becoming more pro-life. Abortion clinics are closing at record rates and health care providers have no interest in entering the abortion field. Gallup polls in 2012[2] revealed that Americans now self identify as pro-life at record rates. The pro-abortion movement is horrified to see the graying of its own movement as America's youth reject the pro-abortion agenda and swell the ranks of the pro-life movement. On the issue of abortion, there is great reason for hope. Anyone attending the March for Life each year in Washington, DC witnesses this heartening change.

Looking at the opposite end of the life spectrum, there is cause for grave concern.

In the USA, approximately 2.5 million people die annually from all causes. Approximately 1.7 million patients receive hospice care annually (with more than 200,000 discharged alive from hospice care each year). With each passing year, a higher percentage of total yearly mortality occurs within the context of hospice and palliative care.

The roots of hospice care are thoroughly Christian, based on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy and dating back a thousand years to the times of the Crusaders in the Holy Land. In the 20th century, hospice care was a continuation of the work of Irish and French nuns dedicated to the care of the sick and dying, and furthered by Mother Teresa of Calcutta's global efforts. Modern hospice care, with its interdisciplinary approach and modern methods of alleviating physical, emotional and spiritual suffering, was the brainchild of Dame Cecily Saunders, an Evangelical Christian who came to her faith in a study group founded by C.S. Lewis at Oxford University. When hospice care is provided by professionals who still strive to uphold these Godly roots, it can be an awesome resource for the patient and loved ones, with nothing to fear.

Unfortunately, the overall picture today does not reflect the roots of hospice philosophy. Of the 1.5 million who die annually under hospice care, a growing number are dying premature deaths due to "stealth euthanasia," primarily via over-medication, terminal sedation and withdrawal of hydration and nutrition. Furthermore, hospice Medicare fraud is soaring. Most of the large corporate hospice providers have been accused of millions, and in some cases billions, of dollars in insurance fraud, often certifying patients for hospice care who were not actually dying, while profit-driven negligence in patient care has hastened the deaths of many.

Because death records never list over-medication, terminal sedation, deliberate dehydration or neglect as the immediate cause of death, it is very difficult to obtain concrete data regarding the number of those dying in such circumstances. However, having spoken with pro-life leaders in the end of life care field, I think it is safe to say that the numbers are not small and that they are increasing rapidly. A very conservative estimate would be that about one out of five patients under the care of the hospice and palliative care industry are caused to die premature deaths at present. That is 300,000 deaths by stealth euthanasia yearly. Many in the hospice and palliative care field are trying to make terminal sedation the standard of care. Those who are terminally sedated cannot take food and water, and the end of life care industry rarely provides assisted nutrition and hydration. As terminal sedation becomes more prevalent, the number of those dying by euthanasia will increase steadily.

ObamaCare Rationing

Unfortunately, health care rationing is going to contribute to the increasing number of premature deaths in healthcare settings. The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the "death panel" being instituted under the ACA that Sarah Palin warned us about, will be tasked with rationing health care spending and making life and death decisions for enrollees. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Obama telegraphed where health care rationing is heading when he said that the elderly needed to be encouraged to forgo expensive care in the last years of their lives, choosing instead palliative or hospice care. When directly questioned about refusing an elderly women needed surgery, he responded, "Maybe this isn't going to help. Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller."

Those whose surgical procedures or expensive medical plans of care are deemed by the IPAB to be "futile" will be sent home or to the nursing home, hospice or palliative care unit to "take the painkiller."

Stealth euthanasia will become the norm. Most laws that directly prohibit physician assisted suicide also protect physicians whose use of opioids, sedatives and antipsychotics for pain management or alleviation of agitation might also hasten death. Thus stealth euthanasia, under cover of law, is little different than the outright legalization of abortion through nine months of pregnancy that was the result of Roe v. Wade.

The pro-life movement is at a crossroads. As the total number of surgical abortions has dropped to approximately 1.1 million per year, the number of stealth euthanasia cases has rapidly increased. As the total percentage of those who die in the USA within the context of hospice and palliative care climbs and the cultural acceptance and general practice of stealth euthanasia increases, we could see deaths by euthanasia surpass deaths by abortion within a generation.

It is indeed urgent that we build the pro-life infrastructure necessary to provide ethical alternatives to euthanasia.

About the author: Brian J. Kopp, DPM, is a podiatrist in private practice in Johnstown, PA. He has written articles on a range of subjects, primarily the culture of life, medicine, and ethics, that have been published in the L'Osservatore Romano (English Edition), New Oxford Review, The Wanderer National Catholic Weekly,, World Net Daily, and Podiatry Today magazine. Dr. Kopp is assisting Catholic Hospice of Pittsburgh to expand their pro-life hospice care services and will serve as Faith Community Liaison for Catholic Hospice of Greensburg. Dr. Kopp recently became a member of the PHA.

[1] "Affordable Care Act Could Fund Over 100,000 Abortions," Christine Rousselle,, 9/26/2013

[2] "'Pro-Choice' Americans at Record-Low 41%," Lydia Saad,, 5/23/2012

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ask Vladimir Putin to request the consecration of Russia this October 13th

As many Catholic readers already know,
Pope will consecrate world to Immaculate Heart of Mary
CWN - August 21, 2013

Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at a Vatican ceremony on October 13.
The “Marian Day” ceremony, organized by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, will be held on the anniversary of the final appearance of the Virgin Mary at Fatima. For the occasion, the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be brought from the shrine in Portugal to the Vatican, for public veneration on October 12 followed by the consecration ceremony the following day.
Pope Francis will also speak on Marian devotion, and preside at Eucharistic adoration, and lead the Rosary with audio links to Marian shrines around the world on the eve of the consecration.

In 1925 the Fátima visionary Sr Lúcia dos Santos stated regarding the Virgin Mary of Fátima:

"... It was Our Lady of Fátima... with a crown of thorns... and said to me: "The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father in union with all the Bishops of the world to consecrate Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.""

Regardless of differing views regarding prior efforts of Popes to fulfill the instructions expressed by Our Lady of Fatima regarding the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, perhaps Russian President Vladimir Putin could help encourage Pope Francis to include the Consecration of Russia, by name, during the Pope's October 13th ceremony at the Vatican.

Recently, President Putin stated he would defend Russia based on her religious values:

Russia will defend national identity, based on religious values - Putin

Valdai, September 20, Interfax - People will lose their human dignity without values enshrined in Christianity and other world religions, without moral standards that have taken millennia to take shape, President Vladimir Putin.

"We believe that it is natural and appropriate to defend those values. Any minority deserves respect for its distinctive identity, but the rights of the majority must not be questioned," Putin said during a meeting of the Valdai discussion club.

He believes, that Russia can't move forward without cultural and national self-determination. Otherwise the country won't be able to respond to external or internal challenges, can't be successful in global competition.

"Events that take place in the world represent one more serious challenge to the Russian identity. There are foreign policy and moral aspects to this. We have been able to see many Euro-Atlantic countries effectively embark on a path of renouncing their roots, including Christian values, which underlie Western civilization," Putin said.

"That involves the negation of moral principles and any traditional identity - national, cultural, religious, or even sexual," he said.

"Policies are pursued that put large families and same-sex partnerships in the same category, belief in God and belief in Satan. Excesses of political correctness reach the point where there are serious discussions on the registration of parties that have propaganda of pedophilia as their objective. People in many European countries are ashamed and afraid of speaking about their religion, holidays are abolished or given other names, names that shyly conceal the nature of those holidays, and aggressive attempts are made to force this model on the rest of the world," Putin said.

"This is a direct path to degradation and primitiveness, to deep demographic and moral crises," he said.

"What can be a better indication of a moral crisis in human society than its loss of the ability for self-reproduction?" Putin said.
President Putin needs as much supernatural assistance as possible in his efforts. The battle he is waging for Russia is the same battle Pope Francis is waging against the secularization, materialism and moral decay in the west.

Please consider contacting President Vladimir Putin at the website specifically established to email him at

Email correspondence is limited to 2000 characters. Here is a the text of the letter I just submitted:

Recently through the diplomatic efforts of Russia and global prayers lead by Pope Francis, war in Syria was narrowly averted. Christians in the Holy Land are being persecuted and killed, and western nations seem indifferent to their plight. We need your continued leadership in protecting the Christians in the Holy Land and in averting war in the middle east. In 1925, the Theotokos appeared to Sr. Lucia of Fatima and requested that Russia be consecrated, by name, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope, in union with the bishops of the world. Many believe this consecration has not been completed as explicitly requested for fear of offending the Russian Orthodox and/or the Russian government. Regardless of these controversies it is obvious that Russia is now the solitary nation defending traditional Christian Truths on the world stage. For her to continue to lead this fight for the soul of Christendom, Russia needs the Grace and Blessings of Our Lord and the intercession of the Theotokos in a way that is unique in the history of mankind.

Given the precarious state of world peace and the disintegration of family and morality, would you please consider using your considerable influence with both the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church to request that Pope Francis, when he consecrates the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary this October 13th, that he specifically consecrate Russia, by name, to the Immaculate Heart of the Theotokos? With the blessings and encouragement of the Russian President and the Russian Orthodox Church, I truly believe this consecration would work miracles for your people and your Church, and for peace in our world. It would assist those of us battling the secularization and moral decay of the western nations immeasurably.

Please prayerfully consider this request.

Please ask Pope Francis to consecrate Russia by name to the Immaculate Heart of the Theotokos this October 13.

Thank you,
Dr. Brian Kopp
Johnstown, PA, USA