FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK

FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK

Director of Education, National Catholic Bioethics Center, Philadelphia
November 1, 2019  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK

Because suffering almost always imposes itself on us during life, and especially at the end of life, it can be helpful to reflect on the need to accept some personal suffering as we die, even as we recognize the importance of palliative steps and other comfort measures.


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August 2, 2019  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK

Those of us who have grown up within the womb of a democratic society may not always recognize how radical the idea behind such a society actually is, nor how fragile its structure can be in the face of strident claims regarding individual freedoms. Legalization of abortion, to focus on one of the most strident claims, corrodes the very pillars of our democratic society.


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July 5, 2019  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK

Children require extensive support and protection to meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. They are uniquely dependent on their parents because they are particularly vulnerable. Often they are unable to speak on their own behalf or effectively defend themselves from various forms of exploitation.


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June 7, 2019  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
Most people recognize the importance of obtaining consent before retrieving organs from the bodies of deceased persons. They also understand the necessity of showing respect for those bodily remains following death.
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May 17, 2019  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
A few years back, I gave a talk entitled “Thinking Through the Transgender Question” at a local parish. In the audience were several individuals supporting the transgender movement. During the question-and-answer session, one of them, a young woman, raised this difficulty: “If someone wants to transition, how does that hurt anybody else? If my friend wants to be transgender, how would that harm any of us?”
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April 5, 2019  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
I remember a conversation I had with a married Catholic couple a few years ago. They were feeling lost and desperate over their inability to conceive a child. They were casting about for options. They understood there were moral concerns with doing in vitro fertilization (IVF), though they weren’t sure about the specifics, so they asked: “Would it be OK for us to do IVF as long as we don’t make any extra embryos and we’re careful to implant all the ones we make?”
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March 1, 2019  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
Whenever we make small exceptions to universal moral rules, we shouldn’t be surprised that the rules themselves can be quickly undermined. Establishing an “exception” in one case makes people think they’re due an exemption for their case as well. Certain norms of moral behavior, however, do not admit of any exceptions, and we risk undermining morality altogether if we don’t recognize them. Moral norms governing the protection of human life are one such example.
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February 14, 2019  |  By FATHER TAD PACHOLCZYK
During the course of pregnancy, receiving an adverse prenatal diagnosis can be a tremendously jolting experience for parents. In severe cases, physicians may tell them that their unborn child has a condition that is “incompatible with life.”
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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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