Author: Beth Haile

The Virtues of Gift-Giving

I asked my daughter why the magi would offer Jesus gold. “To give it to the poor,” she suggested. I chuckled to myself with the thought of Jesus as the first re-gifter, but then I got more serious. I find gift-giving and receiving very stressful. I am notoriously difficult to give to because (a) I don’t like to have a lot of things and (b) I have very particular tastes. I do a lot of re-gifting and returning, which I normally feel pretty guilty about, like I am doing something wrong. But from the mouths of babes, the tyke’s...

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American Psychiatric Association Opposes Euthanasia

There was important news over Christmas break. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has approved a formal position opposing euthanasia: The American Psychiatric Association, in concert with the American Medical Association’s position on Medical Euthanasia, holds that a psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person for the purpose of causing death. Currently, Belgium and the Netherlands allow euthanasia for those with psychiatric conditions including depression and bipolar disorder. From 2014-15 124 of the 3,950 euthanasia cases in Belgium involved persons diagnosed with a “mental and behavioral disorder,” four more than in the previous two...

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The Peace of Christmas

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) Mass during the Night Lectionary: 14 IS 9:1-6 PS 96: 1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13 TI 2:11-14 LK 2:1-14 And it happened that in those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. . . So Joseph also went from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, up to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David, to be registered with Mary. The mention of Caesar Augustus at the beginning of the Christmas story is significant. Luke,...

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Making Abortion Rarer

A recent Economist article about reducing the number of abortions worldwide raises some difficult questions for Catholics. In Greece, notes the Economist, “abortion is seen as an ordinary form of birth control.” This reasoning is grounded in a deep suspicion toward contraceptives: More than half of married Greek women use none at all. Withdrawal and condoms are the methods of choice for most couples who are trying not to have a baby—even medical students, who should know that these fail about a fifth of couples who rely on them for a year. Greeks commonly believe that the pill and...

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Getting Informed on Immigration

I’ve spoken to a few people recently who have been wondering what they, as Catholics, should have to say about immigration in light of President-elect Donald Trump’s potentially hard-line stance on border security and deportation. Here are a few places to begin. First, you should read this book: The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea This is an older book (2005) but it still deserves our attention, especially as immigration debates come to a head under our new president-elect’s administration. Urrea tells the story of 26 men who attempted to cross the border in 2001 through a brutal area of the Arizona desert known as the Devil’s Highway. Only 12 survived, the rest perishing miserably from severe dehydration and heat exposure in the relentless 110+ degree desert days. Urrea weaves the story of the so-called “Yuma 14” into a sensitive and balanced discussion of the failure of border policies in both the US and Mexico, policies that both encourage illegal immigration and also contribute to the dangerous conditions that lead to so many deaths of those who attempt to cross. Urrea’s story is, above all, a human story. He humanizes the immigrants, the coyotes, the border patrol. He even mentions his biggest surprise in doing the research for the book: his newfound respect and admiration for the border patrol. As a human story, Urrea keeps us from adopting any...

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