While we were sleeping...?

July 24, 2015

Summer is a season when we want to make time to refresh ourselves by relaxing and occasionally “getting away from it all” with family and friends or just on our own. However, if we go away, we still take precautions to make certain that our home is secure and that someone is keeping a vigilant eye on everything ensuring that it is safe so that we are not robbed of what is most precious to us (Matt. 24:43).

This summer, as we relax, we can also find time to pray and act regarding important moral and social matters. Earlier this year, when our country’s Supreme Court thrust euthanasia upon Canada – which, many predicted long ago would be the next step after we became complacent enough about abortion – the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops reiterated our fundamental position toward the question. In his statement, Archbishop Paul André Durocher said, “Catholics are called by their faith to assist all those in need, particularly the poor, the suffering and the dying. Comforting the dying and accompanying them in love and solidarity has been considered by the Church since its beginning a principal expression of Christian mercy. Helping someone commit suicide, however, is neither an act of justice or mercy, nor is it part of palliative care. The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada today does not change Catholic teaching. "An act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, our Creator" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2277). The Bishops of our country invite Canadians, especially Catholics, to do all they can to bring comfort and support for all those who are dying and for their loved ones, so that no one, because of loneliness, vulnerability, loss of autonomy, or fear of pain and suffering, feels they have no choice but to commit suicide. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops will continue to promote palliative and home care, and to encourage all the faithful to work for the betterment of the elderly, the disabled, the ill, and those who are socially isolated.” He concluded by calling on our government agencies to develop palliative care and many other humane alternatives. In the end, he stated the simple truth that we as Catholics, especially health-care workers, “will not and cannot accept suicide as a medical solution to pain and suffering.” We need to pray about this and talk about what our personal and collective solution will be. How will WE give more attention to our elderly and infirm at home and in hospitals?

We also need to make haste in encouraging our MPs, MLAs and local healthcare facilities to vote for and to do the right thing. If we spend some time in prayer and, say, make the effort to send an email to OUR elected representatives etc., that hotdog and watermelon with family and friends will taste so much better.

 Very Rev. Dr. Michael Kwiatkowski


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