Enjoy Cardinal DiNardo's Blog on Partnership 2013

 A Shepherd's Message - Nov. 11, 2013

The weekend of Nov. 1 to 3, beginning with the Solemnity of All Saints, was a beautiful one for our Archdiocese.

That weekend, we hosted a national conference of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD). I have been a board member of this very energetic group for some years, and it was a pleasure to welcome so many persons to our local Church.

I was also honored to be able to deliver the keynote address for the Saturday night dinner and to be principal celebrant for the final liturgy on Sunday.

The conference was titled, Partnership 2013: Where Faith and Disability Meet. It was truly an encounter of Catholic Faith and persons of different abilities and disabilities. It was a showcase of accessibility on all levels and was attentive to languages and cultures.


NCPD Board Chair Emeritus on NPR Regarding Organ Donation

Click the NPR grapic to listen to Stephen Mikochik, Esq. discuss on "Morning Edition" how a proposed organ donation policy can work against people with disabilities by devaluing their lives in favor of potential organ recipients.

NPR Logo Woman watching son in hospital bed.


Read latest letter in opposition to proposed policy changes.
Read Not Dead Yet letter opposing OPTN/UNOS proposed policy changes.
See Action Alert on emailing the organ donation board that will issue decision (OPTN/UNOS).
Supporting statement from the National Catholic Bioethics Center.



March Bioethics and Public Policy Report

Lots of legislative activity occuring related tho the HHS mandate and other issues which impact the Catholic faith. Read the latest news in the Bioethics and Public Policy Report from the National Catholic Bioethics Center.


Join us for an Evening with Fr. Robert Barron

Fr. Robert Barron serves as the Rector of Mundelein Seminary; is founder of Word on Fire and producer of the acclaimed Catholicism series.

He will be speaking at an event benefitting the mission of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability. To download a flyer regarding the event click on the image below. To register for the event or make a donation visit




National Catholic Bioethics Report

The National Scene: 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged Catholics nationwide to participate in Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage, January 19th through the 27th, marking the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.1 This year’s turnout for the events surrounding the March for Life was phenomenal, with some estimates as high as 600,000. 

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the dismissal of a suit, by the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, concerning government funding of embryonic stem cell research, which relies on destroyed human embryos. Two scientists have been challenging President Obama’s 2009 executive order which allowed federal funding of research on stem cells taken from human embryos as a violation of the 1996 Dickey-Wicker law.2 

The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act is before the U.S. House of Representatives.  It would prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving federal dollars for providing contraception.3 

Read the full report here.


Sum of Their Parts

NCPD Board Chair Emeritus, Stephen Mikochik pens a criticism of the drafted organ donation policy and the procedure by which it came about. Read this article in the new forum by Human Life International, Truth and Charity. Click here for the article.


National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness and Mental Illness Awareness Week 2012

The National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding is Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Mental Illness Awareness Week 2012: Oct. 7-13, 2012

Resources for the day and week can be found in the resource manual “Welcomed and Valued” available on the NCPD website (click here). See the corresponding page numbers next to the following suggestions.

Some suggestions for that day and week:

For one of the regularly scheduled masses on the National Day of prayer, request that the mass intention be for people with mental illness and their families. Meet afterwards for discussion.

Have a prayer service for people with mental illness and their families. (see pg 60 for “Prayers and Reflections”)

In addition to the above, during Mental Illness Awareness Week parishes can offer the following:


NCPD Ethics Committee Points out Serious Flaws in Proposed Organ Donation Policy

The NCPD Board Ethics Committee has weighed in on the latest step in the proposal to change existing organ donation policies. For the full opinion click here. Certain excerpts are included below.

"It is hard not to conclude that the decision to change the Model Elements was made well before its comment period ended and that those who took the time to submit substantive comments were drawn into a futile gesture"

"Because of the obvious pressure placed on vulnerable patients and families, commenters further challenged the proposal’s refusal to keep separate the decision to donate from that to withdraw life-support. Even the OPTN Ethics Committee did “not agree with the OPO approaching the family prior to decision to withdraw treatment or support.”"

"[B]y extending DCD candidacy to patients whose “disease” is not necessarily terminal but that otherwise renders them dependent on life-support, the proposal singles out a class of persons, disabled under federal civil rights law, for adverse treatment. Comments warned this could jeopardize OPTN’s relation with HHS which is forbidden from entering into contractual arrangements with the purpose or effect of discriminating against people with disabilities."



PBS Video features member of the Mental Illness Council

The PBS video series Religion and Ethics Newsweekly features Connie Rakitan as she tells us about the Faith and Fellowship group in Chicago Illinois. Connie is council member of the NCPD Council on Mental Illness. Please click the image below to see this well made 8:00 minute video. The section on Faith and Fellowship begins about the 5:00 mark.



NCPD Submits Comments to UNOS Opposing Changes on Organ Donation Procedures

NCPD Urges the Rejection of the Proposed Changes in the Model Elements in Organ Donation

On behalf of NCPD and the fourteen million Catholics with disabilities it serves, I urge UNOS to reject the proposal for changing the DCD Model Elements.

The proposed changes aim “to maximize the number of donors and transplants by identifying … currently unrealized donor potential [.]” As laudable as that objective is, it cannot justify singling out a class of disabled people, those dependent on life-support, for adverse treatment. Under the proposal, for example, the hospital and local OPO may examine patients on life-support to determine their eligibility for organ donation without their knowledge or consent, even though they are neither terminal nor near death. Further, the hospital may initiate a request for donation of such patient’s organs before the decision to withdraw life-support is made. Finally, the OPO is not required to condition eligibility for organ donation on assurances that a conscious patient’s decision to have life-support withdrawn is voluntary and not a product of clinical depression.

Simply put, the proposed changes subject a class of disabled people to discriminatory treatment, while offering justifications that are inapposite, unconvincing, and clearly violative of patients’ rights.


To read the full set of comments click here.

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