Order of Malta

Cardinal Issues


The sterile dictionary definition of abortion, “the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy”, does not come close to the societal, cultural, psychological damage has been wrought by this evil. It sanctions the painful homicide of an innocent life, a practice unique in post Renaissance liberal western culture, most often justified on the basis of convenience. Once this standard was accepted the door was opened to allow for the “societally accepted” elimination of inconvenient human life. If society will not protect the most innocent and vulnerable human life who is safe?

Learn more by visiting SistersofLife.org. The Sisters of Life are a contemplative/active Roman Catholic community of women religious, who profess the three traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and a fourth vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life

Capital Punishment

Capital punishment is the legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us: “The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” (#2267)

In their document on Pro-Life Matters, the USCCB states: “Catholic teaching against the death penalty is both persuasive and eminently pro-life.” Click here to read this statement. St. John Paul II addressed the death penalty in his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, he explained that, “The Gospel of God’s love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel” (no. 2). In order to follow the Gospel of Life, we must respect every human life, even those convicted of terrible crimes.


Eugenics is the pseudoscience of using selective human breeding and abortions to improve or “purify” the human race. Popular in the early twentieth century, it fell into disfavor with the exposure of the horrors of Nazi Germany. Yet, in our time, it has made a remarkable comeback, threatening some of the most vulnerable and marginalized brothers and sister among us. Click here to read an address entitled, “The Face of Modern Eugenics”, given by Order of Malta, American Association Knight Dr. Joseph Dutkowsky, to the Catholic Medical Association.


The dictionary definition of euthanasia is remarkable for its deliberate “softening” of the profound act of the taking of one human life by another: “the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma. The practice is illegal in most countries”. The words, “painless”, “suffering”, “incurable”, and “irreversible” project an image of mercy, which provide a tragic “alternate view” of the dignity and respect of human life.

Click here to read an essay of the expansion of the comments of Professor John Finnis from his Fritz B. Burns Lecture at Loyola University in Los Angeles. Although the lecture was given in 1996, his scholarly logic rings true today and his words prophetically accurate.

Doctor Assisted Suicide

Doctor Assisted Suicide is when, at a patient’s request, a doctor prescribes a lethal dose of a medication with the direct intent of allowing the patient to commit suicide. This goes contrary to the purpose, study, and practice of medicine from its origins up until the present time. Click here to read an article by Oregon Family Practitioner, Dr. William Toffler, that first appeared in the Wall Street Journal and was subsequently featured on the Catholic Medical Association’s website.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is the abuse of a spouse, partner, or child which occurs in the home. It may be physical, emotional, sexual, economic, or verbal. It is especially bad when the abuser attempts to misuse Biblical passages or bastardize the teaching of The Church to justify (usually) their behavior. The USCCB is clear on their stance on domestic violence in their teaching: “When I Call For Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women”. Click here to read their statement. 

Order of Malta, American Association Conventional Chaplain Bishop Edward Scharfenberger is a strong and active advocate for the victims of domestic violence. Click here to read his essay, “The violence at home”, which was printed in The Evangelist, the official publication of the Diocese of Albany.

Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is a growing national and international crisis involving the use and abuse of vulnerable people. Although the predominant issue is sex trafficking, both forced labor and organ procurement are recognized as substantial and increasing. The three commonalities in human trafficking are force, fraud, and coercion. Click here to learn more. 

Neonatal Hospice

A new, encouraging field promoting the dignity and respect of human life can be found in select neonatal ICUs. In these forward looking settings, caregivers work with families to allow for the bonding and full human emotions preparing for and after the birth of a child who is expected to live for only hours to days. A pioneer and leader in the field is Dr. Elvira Parravicini of Columbia University in New York City. Dr. Parravicini is the recipient of the Cardinal John O’Connor Award from the Sisters of Life. Click here to read about the origin and growth of The Neonatal Comfort Care Program, co-written by Dr. Parravicini. 

Palliative Care

Palliative Care is specialized medical care for people living with serious illness. It is not just end of life care. This type of care is focused on providing physical, emotional, and spiritual relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. The goal is holistic to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family.

The Tri-Associations continue to develop palliative care initiatives throughout each Association. Click here for a listing of articles that explain and explore Church teachings on end-of-life and palliative care issues. 


Order of Malta

American Association, U.S.A
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