September 2, 2011

Letters to the Editor

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Surgeon weighs in on brain death and organ transplantation discussion

It has been interesting to read the debate that has occurred in The Criterion over the last several weeks regarding the question of brain death and organ transplantation.

It is clear that the people contributing their opinions have all been well-intentioned.

It is important to clarify some misconceptions that people have regarding organ procurement.

Brain death means the cessation of brain activity. A patient who is “brain dead” still has a beating heart and functioning organs. So during an organ procurement operation, the heart is beating.

There is no pain so there is no need for pain medicine.

An anesthesiologist is present during the organ procurement procedure in order to make adjustments to the ventilator, which is breathing for the donor patient, and to administer drugs to maintain the adequate blood flow to the organs, and to counteract certain chemicals released by the body that may be harmful to those organs.

By doing these things, the best outcome is assured for those transplanted organs and the patients who receive them.

It is important for people to understand these things so they can feel comfortable with the whole process of organ transplantation, and may even someday give the gift of life to another person.

- Dr. Stephen O’Neil, general surgeon, Indianapolis


St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry needs donations to help hungry families

As happens at this time of year, the food supply at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, 3001 E. 30th St., in Indianapolis is declining.

We cannot provide the 3,000-plus clients that come to the pantry each week—yes, each week—with a balanced selection that was available just a month or so ago.

This situation is consistent with the reduced donations to food banks and pantries across the country.

Additionally, the food pantry is currently over budget due to unexpected cost increases from vendors, especially for turkeys and hams distributed to clients last Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If any groups within the metro Indianapolis area would like to conduct a food drive to support the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, send an e-mail to or call 317-921-1401, ext. 236.

The pantry especially needs the following items that are in perennial shortage—cereal, canned meat or fish, soups (except tomato), canned fruit, rice, pasta, pasta sauce, box dinners and personal care items.

Perhaps Indianapolis area parishes or schools could sponsor a drive for a particular item to increase its availability for client shopping?

Visit the society’s website at for more information on the ministries and services of the society in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Thank you for your prayers and support of Vincentian works.

- Don Striegel, St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry volunteer coordinator, Indianapolis


Problem of immodesty is everywhere in society and must be addressed, reader says

This is in response to the letter with the headline “Why don’t all teenagers and men wear their best clothes to meet Jesus at Mass?” which appeared in the July 15 issue of The Criterion.

The letter is appropriate for this time of year, but the writer only addresses teenagers and men wearing shorts. The problem is much deeper and broader than this group.

The problem cannot be focused in on any one age group or gender. The problem of immodesty is everywhere, and is very much tied to the widespread impurity in our culture and society today.

On a pilgrimage to Rome this spring, I visited St. Peter’s Basilica. Posted at the entrance are pictorial signs explaining the dress code. Swiss Guards routinely turn away men and women in shorts or with bare shoulders.

Our Lady of Fatima, in 1917, told the three visionaries: “Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend our Lord very much. … More souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”

Can it be that our Lady is talking about our time now? About today?

Today, in our culture and in Church services, less clothing covers the body, not only of young people, but their parents, who should know better.

Instead, they are oblivious to the virtue of modesty and dress in “fashions that offend our Lord very much.”

-Paul Kachinski, Indianapolis

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