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to condition eligibility for organ donation on assurances that a conscious patient’s decision to have life-support withdrawn is voluntary and not a product of clinical depression.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.


Action Alert on Organ Donation

Action Alert

Proposed Modifications to the Requirements for Organ Donation Could Adversely Impact People with Disabilities –
Send your Comments Today

The National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) urges you to express your concerns directly by computer submission to stop serious threats to hospitalized persons with disabilities on life support. Such threats are due to occur if current proposals are put into effect that would increase pressure on individuals and families to decline further treatment in order for the patient’s organs to be donated.

The organization we are asking you to contact is the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN)/ United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). OPTN was established by the U.S. Congress to act as a unified transplant network, but is operated by a private, non-profit organization under federal contract, in orderto ensure the success and efficiency of the U.S. organ transplant system. Under federal law, all U.S. transplant centers and organ procurement organizations must be members of this network to receive any funds through Medicare.


Recent Activity by Ethics Committee

Just a sample of the latest items taken on by the Ethics Committee

  1. The Maryland Catholic Conference has expressed its gratitude for the input provided by NCPD that helped defeat a legislative initiative which would have allowed harvesting of paired organs (e.g., one kidney) for organ donation from patients living in the persistent vegetative state.
  2. Georgia’s legislature has passed a law reversing the court decision that legalized physician assisted suicide in that state.  NCPD sent two letters encouraging the Governor to sign into law the ban [The Governor signed the legislation into law.]

Call to Action: Stop the Violation of the Right to Religious Liberty

Last August, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandated that under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act almost all private health plans are to include with no co-pay “preventive services for women.” These “services” will include sterilization, all FDA-approved birth control (such as the IUD, Depo-Provera, ‘morning-after’ pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella), and the “well-women preventive visits,” described as including prenatal screening for genetic or developmental conditions (thus, potentially “preventing” the birth of babies deemed unfit eugenically, since there are presently no available prenatal treatments for most of these conditions). The HHS exemption for a religious employer is so narrow that it is virtually meaningless. Despite an outcry from persons who respect our cherished tradition of religious freedom, on February 10 President Obama adopted this policy as a final rule “without change” (Federal Register, 2/15/12, 8725). Religious organizations which cannot qualify for the exemption will have an extra year to comply; but before the end of that period, an additional rule will be issued to make sure that their employees receive the mandated coverage despite the employer’s objection. 


May is Mental Health Awareness Month

The NCPD Council on Mental Illness has produced a variety of materials which can aid in observance of May as Mental Health Month. Click here for resources posted on the NCPD website.



Resources for Disability Ministry


Resources for Disability Ministry
Available from the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD):
Welcomed and Valued 1-day awareness workshop
One-day awareness workshop on supporting the pastoral needs of people with mental illness and their families, incorporating use of the 27-minute Welcomed and Valued DVD and Resource Manual. Training will be conducted by a member of the NCPD Council on Mental Illness, with input from local host as desired; can be adapted in length and content for local use. Intended audience: clergy, pastoral workers, diocesan and parish personnel
Ministry Foundations: Disability in Parish Life 1-day awareness workshop
One-day introductory awareness workshop on supporting the pastoral needs of people with a range of disabilities and their families, incorporating use of the 60-minute Ministry Foundation: Disability in Parish Life training DVD. Training will be conducted by members of the committee which developed this project, with input from local host as desired; can be adapted in length and content for local use. 
Intended audience: all whose ministry impacts Catholics with disabilities and their families—clergy and seminarians, catechetical leaders, pastoral workers in youth ministry and family life, Catholic school administrators and teachers, and other diocesan and parish personnel

April is Autism Awareness Month


April is Autism Awareness Month
April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day
Let us join together once again to make it Autism Awareness Month in Parishes & Dioceses!

Bring this information to your Bishop so he is aware of your efforts to support the people of your diocese. The first link leads to many additional resources for pastoral and catechetical staff. Most resources can also be used to support those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Use the press release for your diocesan papers.

Find the resources below at our easy-to-remember link:

Autism Resource Page Link
Parent Interview Form  
Strategies for Catechetical Instruction for Students with Autism
Spectrum Disorder
Strategic Components for Successfully Working with
Individuals with ASD
A Prayer of St. Francis for Autism  
Mass Petitions  
Bulletin Anouncements  
Press Release - Autism Awareness Month
for Parishes and Dioceses

March and April are both designated as Disability Awareness Months

  • March is known as Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
  • March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Find creative and varied ways to highlight disability awareness in your parishes and dioceses. Ask your diocesan newspaper to feature articles they pick up on CNS and ones that you write or give them (see our press release for Autism Awareness Month above).

Put short announcements in your parish bulletin. Do a feature on Saints with disabilities or about a disability advocate who has entered the canonization process (see feature below). Pull prayers or petitions off our website to use at Mass, to share in your bulletin, or to use as an opening or closing prayer for a parish meeting during the month. In our national survey on The State of Ministry for those with Autism and their Families, the biggest need that the nearly 500 responding parishes identified was for parish awareness of disability! Don’t underestimate the impact your efforts for awareness can have. It can be one of the simplest yet most impacting things you do in your ministry.


HHS urged to not adopt organ transplant policy that would dicriminate against people with disabilities

The Chair-Emeritus of NCPD has issued a letter to the Board of Directors of the Organ Procedure and Transplant Network/ United Network for Organ Sharing,  ponting out that the proposed amendment on organ donation after cardiac death (DCD) would discriminate against persons with disabilities, specifically those with upper spinal cord injuries. Read the letter below.



Still Time to Comment on HHS Regulations

The National Catholic Partnership on Disability expresses extreme dismay over the Final Interim Rule impacting group health plans and health insurance coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Health Care Reform).

The National Catholic Partnership on Disability expresses extreme dismay at the apparent wholesale disregard for the protection of conscience, including the consciences of those working to assure respect for all persons, including those with disabilities, exhibited in the final regulations which implement the rules for group health plans and health insurance coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Health Care Reform).

On August 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under the signature of its secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, issued new mandates concerning preventive health services to be covered by such insurance plans.  These mandates require that all such plans provide the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods, as “preventive health services” for women.  These FDA-approved contraceptives include potential abortifacients such as so-called emergency contraception and IUDs, as well as surgical sterilizations.

(click below for full article)

Syndicate content