Praying for Charlie Gard and his family

Re: “Charlie Gard and the morality of dying” (News Analysis, July 30-Aug. 5).

Between your article and the large amount of media coverage regarding the plight of Charlie Gard, I have done a great deal of thinking.

I became a hospice nurse because I firmly believe in the Church’s teaching on respecting life from natural conception to natural death. I have sat with parents of children dying of incurable brain cancer, congenital disabilities and of older children from incurable ovarian cancer (and more). Therefore I think I have a pretty good idea what Charlie’s parents were facing and feeling.

The hospice philosophy is providing comfort when treatments become futile. Charlie’s syndrome meant his life was not going to be extended. The ventilator he was put on was a futile treatment. It did not extend his life; it extended his dying. I offer my deepest sympathy at their loss and pray they feel God’s loving arms around them as he carries them through their grief.

Jeannine Aucoin, Henniker, New Hampshire

Eucharistic matter

Re: “Matter for Eucharist” (God Lives, Aug. 6-12).

I just wanted to say “thank you” to Msgr. Owen F. Campion for his article explaining and expounding on the new Vatican ruling on the Eucharist. The article was informative and reminded all of the antiquity of our religion and its adherence to the Bible.

Mary Alice Sullivan, Nashville, Tennessee

Health care

Re: “Health care is a human right” (Essay, June 11-17).

Many Americans have long feared a government takeover of our health care system. Now it looks as if it will be forced upon us even with a Republican Congress and a Republican president. After repeatedly stating in his 2016 election campaign that he would vote to repeal Obamacare, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) once more has stabbed his party in the back. In the early morning of July 28, he voted no on the “skinny repeal” proposal. He did not keep his word.

When the government takes over our health care system, it will be a sad day for those of us who support the Church’s five non-negotiable principles.

Beverly Steiner, Augusta, Kansas

Angels

Re: “What’s the story on angels?” (Essay, July 30-Aug. 5).

A few items to note about angels. First, angels are never our servants. Angels are exclusively the servants of God.

Second, they are not bodyguards. The only circumstance in which they act as physical protectors is if a person assigned to them is the executor of a divine priority or mission that would otherwise be threatened. Once this task is completed, the forces of man and nature are once again allowed to prevail (see Isaiah, St. Paul, St. Joan of Arc, etc.).

Third, their capabilities are not constant. Angels temporarily are equipped by God with whatever powers are necessary to get his will done on a task-by-task basis. People do not lose their lives or health because their guardian angels “let them down.” Given their love for us, it is reasonable to believe that our guardian angels are probably as upset as our earthly friends when bad things happen to us.

Fourth, their spiritual companionship is constant. Whether or not we actively have them in mind, our guardian angels always are concerned with our spiritual well-being. They can and do influence our thought processes and decision-making to the extent that our free will and reason allow.

Joel Avren, via email

Clarification

Re: “Thriving parishes” (In Focus, Aug. 13-19 online Aug. 13).

Alpha, an experience of encounter with Jesus Christ, is a primary way Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, in Plymouth, Michigan, engages members in evangelization, and 3,800 people have gone through the experience through the parish. Catholic Leadership Institute helped the parish build and maintain a cohesive parish team.

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