The following excerpts from stories written by Lisa Fullam on the websites of Compassion & Choices, New Ways Ministries, and Commonweal magazine were emailed to Cal Catholic on May 26 by one of our readers.

As I wrote last week, Compassion & Choices welcomes the affirmation by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that religious objection is the foundation of their opposition to aid in dying. The bishops’ battle against the medical practice of aid in dying has been vigorous in the past, though cloaked in secular arguments about protecting the vulnerable or promotingpalliative care. The statement the USCCB adopted last week asserts “suffering accepted in love can bring us closer to the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice for the salvation of others.” It’s refreshing and important to see that theological rationale established at the forefront of political opposition to aid in dying.

Never would I intrude in another person’s expression of religious faith and belief. I have no desire to interfere with those who wish to emulate the Passion of Christ on their death bed. Thomas Lynch wrote eloquently about his mother embracing this framework for her suffering in his delightful book, The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade. His deeply respectful and loving description is enormously moving.

Tor read Fullam’s entire pro-euthansia column, click here.

….In this essay, I have offered a case for a Catholic affirmation of civil same-sex marriage. Magisterial opposition to same-sex marriage centers on the question of gay couples’ capacity for reproduction, which is read through the lens of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, according to which reproduction reveals a deeper truth about men and women. However, those insights lack scientific and experiential support, and are far from universally acknowledged. Reproductive capacity is not absolutely required even for marriage within the Church, nor has it been required of civil marriages by the Church.

The goods of marriage are many and varied, but, except for the category of possible reproduction with one’s spouse, same-sex couples are able to participate in them equally with straight couples. Moreover, given what we know about sexual orientation, a ban on marriage for gay and lesbian people would seem, according to Church teaching, to abridge a fundamental human right, and so constitute an attack on their human dignity. Beyond that, many gay and lesbian couples calling for the right to marry are recalling to our culture the social and cultural importance of marriage. Rather than living quietly in a legally unrecognized state, gay and lesbian couples asking for marriage affirm the dignity of the institution. Finally, to reject the most intimate relationships of LGBT people as dangerous to the civil polity stokes savage homophobia, which the Church opposes.

As Christians, we are called by Jesus to one fundamental task in life—to love God and others as well as we can. For most of us, the call to love is answered principally, though not exclusively, in the context of our most intimate relationships, those uniting spouses and those of parents and children. As Catholic Christians, we embrace a moral tradition that addresses social policy in light of the common good, a reasoned assessment of the rights and duties incumbent upon us in order that we may participate in the flourishing of society. Marriage is a key institution, with an array of social goods that include, but are not limited to, procreation. We can all share in those wider, socially critical benefits of marriage, gay and straight, parents and the childless alike. Why would Christians deny to any of our brothers and sisters, at least in the realm of our civil life together, the opportunity for the blending and sharing of life toward, we hope, the “mutual perfection” that Pius XI said was the wider purpose of marriage? Love requires no less than our support of love.

To read the entire essay, click here.

The following comes from a May 22 posting on the blog site of Commonweal magazine.

….Francis DeBernardo at the New Ways Ministry blog agrees that it’s time for LGBT people to be truly welcomed by the Church, not as “a special category of sinners, but, because they are, like most people, average, garden-variety sinners.” He notes:

for the past two years we have been witnessing dismissals of LGBT people from church employment, a total devaluing of their gifts and personhood.  Yes, this type of welcome is urgently needed, not just for a positive message, but to correct the terribly negative message that firings have sent.

It’s important, too, that LGBT people’s spiritual gifts are also acknowledged and affirmed. The particular journeys that LGBT people go on to accept, affirm, and announce their identities to others often results in incredible spiritual gifts that are not as readily attained by others.  For instance, their journeys often provide them with a strong sense about telling the truth, a deep reservoir of courage to  stand up to fear and rejection, a profound sense of God’s love, and a new respect for the primacy of their consciences. Amazing gifts that they can offer to the rest of the church!

Amen. I’d add also that listening to LGBT people might include being open to the possibility that language like “grave depravity,” “intrinsic disorder,” “objective disorder” and the like is in need of revision and rejection. It seems to be utterly unjust to apply such harsh and hurtful language to two women who love each other deeply and share also a profound commitment to service of the poor. They set a standard for love of neighbor that all of us–gay, straight, or whatever–would do well to emulate.

To read the entire Commonweal piece, click here.