FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK

FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK

Director of Education, National Catholic Bioethics Center, Philadelphia
December 7, 2018  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
Americans have long been disturbed by the fraud and waste that often surrounds the federal government’s use of their tax dollars. They now have further reason to be up in arms because of the way those tax dollars support the practice of abortion, even though such support, technically speaking, remains illegal.
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November 2, 2018  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) rely on professional therapy and counseling, often in a religious context, to assist those struggling with unwanted homosexual inclinations who would like to diminish their same-sex attractions and grow in their ability to abstain from same-sex behaviors. Many proponents of same-sex lifestyles argue that Sexual Orientation Change Efforts are not only not effective, but also are harmful and unscientific, going so far as to advocate for legislation that would restrict a practitioner’s ability to offer SOCE. A sweeping bill recently tabled in California, for example, would have labeled any sexual orientation therapies offered for a fee as “consumer fraud.” Are such laws sensible or reprehensible? What do scientific studies indicate about attempts to change sexual orientation?
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October 5, 2018  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
Almost two million Americans are now addicted to opioids. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that more than 100 people die each day in the U.S. from opioid overdoses. This unprecedented level of abuse — which involves not only heroin, but also prescription pain relievers such as OxyContin, Percocet, morphine, codeine, and fentanyl — has become a national crisis. Reportedly, about 80 percent of heroin addicts first misused prescription opioids. Yet for many patients, no pain-relieving options more effective than opioids exist. Figuring out how to use these powerful pharmacological agents in an appropriate and ethical manner is urgent and imperative.
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September 21, 2018  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
Often we envision donating our organs after we are dead, but we can also choose to become an organ donor while we are alive if we share part of our liver or donate one of our kidneys. The proposal to give one of our two kidneys away, though, does raise some ethical and safety concerns. There can be long-term risks for the donor. Donating a kidney, moreover, would not be therapeutic for us — only for someone else — and in fact might slightly increase our own risk for experiencing renal failure in the future.
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August 3, 2018  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
Superheroes attract us. From Greek gods to Superman and Spiderman, our fascination with the awesome deeds of superheroes beckons us to become Masters of our own destiny. Yet even as we enjoy the fantasy of acquiring Promethean powers to combat our enemies and conquer evil, we have legitimate misgivings about mere mortals taking on god-like powers in real life. We are concerned about those who play with fire just like Prometheus did, at the risk of harm and great destruction. Today, as modern medicine tries to rebuff death and control our humanity in ever more sophisticated ways, new temptations arise that challenge us to choose between life and death, between living in reality and living in a fantasy world where we elevate ourselves as “Masters of our own destiny.”
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July 6, 2018  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
A comprehensive 2015 scientific review found medical marijuana to be useful only for a small number of medical conditions. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, an international team of researchers found scant evidence to support broad claims for the drug’s effectiveness. Although clinical trials showed that chronic neuropathic pain and cancer-related pain could often be treated, other forms of pain, such as those related to rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, HIV and multiple sclerosis did not show statistically significant improvement. Researchers also found inconclusive data for people with insomnia, anxiety disorders, depression, Tourette syndrome, psychosis, and sleep disorders. They registered concerns about medical marijuana’s significant side effects as well.
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June 1, 2018  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
Recent news articles exploring the post-#MeToo world of romance have noted the phenomenon of cell phone “consent apps,” allowing millennials to sign digital contracts before they have sex with their peers, sometimes strangers they have just met. Many of these apps are being refined to include a panic button that can be pressed at any time to withdraw any consent given. Lawyers reviewing the practice, as might be anticipated, have urged caution, noting that consent apps are not able to provide definitive proof of consent, because feelings may “change throughout an evening, and even in the moments before an act.”
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May 4, 2018  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
Most people still remember the story of Nadya Suleman, dubbed “Octomom,” a single woman who used in vitro fertilization to become pregnant with eight babies simultaneously. Suleman had asked her fertility specialist, Dr. Michael Kamrava, to implant at least a dozen embryos into her uterus, leading to the birth of the famous octuplets in 2009. Dr. Kamrava’s medical license was later revoked by the California Medical Board. In commenting on the case, Judith Alvarado, Deputy Attorney General in California, concluded that Dr. Kamrava had acted “like a cowboy” in ignoring fertility industry guidelines.
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January 19, 2018  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
A major study published on December 7 in The New England Journal of Medicineconcludes that hormonal contraception increases the risk of breast cancer for women. The research used all of Denmark as its sample, following nearly 1.8 million Danish women of childbearing age for over a decade. 
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October 20, 2017  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
During World War II, if a contractor had been asked to construct a building knowing that it would serve as a gas chamber in Auschwitz, it goes without saying that he ought not agree to do it.  By laying the foundation and supervising the plumbing, electrical and duct work, he would be contributing to, or enabling, the subsequent commission of atrocities against prisoners in the concentration camp.
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August 18, 2017  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
Couples who struggle to get pregnant are turning with greater frequency to the in vitro fertilization (IVF) industry for assistance. In some cases, they can end up feeling they are “too pregnant” when twins, triplets or quads arise.
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August 3, 2017  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
When Catholic couples experience trouble getting pregnant, they often seek medical help and begin to research what options are available to them. A number of moral considerations and questions generally emerge during this process: Why are techniques like in vitro fertilization (IVF) considered immoral? What approaches will the Church allow us to try? What does our infertility mean, spiritually and personally, in the face of our fervent but frustrated desire for a baby?
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June 16, 2017  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
Some people may wish to “donate their body to science” after they die. Such a gift of themselves can be objectively good and praiseworthy provided that their body would contribute to meaningful research or study, and that it would not be used in a disrespectful or otherwise inappropriate manner.
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May 4, 2017  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
Patients who face serious illnesses are sometimes attracted to alternative medicines, also referred to as “holistic” or “new-age” medicines. These can include treatments like homeopathy, hypnosis, “energy therapies” like Reiki, acupuncture, and herbal remedies, to name just a few.
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March 17, 2017  |  
I have met several priests over the years who ended up leaving the active ministry of the priesthood. Two of them have been on my mind and in my prayers recently, having left the priesthood and the Church over issues connected to homosexuality.
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