Saturday, February 27, 2016

#Archbishop says Last Rights may be Denied for those seeking #Euthanasia

Canadian law has changed recently and approved forms of Euthanasia or Doctor Assisted Suicide in the country. This has prompted the action of several Bishops and the Canadian Conference of Bishops to defend Life. Several Catholic hospitals have declared that they will not be providing Euthanasia. In an article by Journalist Deborah Gyapong in the Catholic Register she interviewed Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa who explained that Last Rights may be denied to Catholics who receive Assisted Suicide. Here are some pertinent excerpts from the Archbishop's interview: 
“Asking your priest to be present to something that is in direct contradiction to our Catholic values is not fair to the pastor,” Prendergast said. “Of course a pastor will try and dissuade a patient from requesting suicide and will pray with them and their family, but asking him to be present is in effect asking him to condone a serious sin.”
A person who requests a lethal injection “lacks the proper disposition for the anointing of the sick,” he said.
“Asking to be killed is gravely disordered and is a rejection of the hope that the rite calls for and tries to bring into the situation.”
“The rite is for people who are gravely ill or labour under the burden of years and it contains the forgiveness of sins as part of the rite, in either form,” he said. “But we cannot be forgiven pre-emptively for something we are going to do — like ask for assisted suicide when suicide is a grave sin.”
“When someone asks for the presence of a priest, whatever the situation, you always say yes,” said Montreal Archbishop Christian L├ępine.
Without speaking specifically about administering the sacraments, the archbishop said suicide is “a grave evil” and the focus “has to be to promote the sacred character of life from conception to natural death.”
He compared attending to a person intent on assisted suicide to seeing someone ready to jump to their death from a bridge and rushing to talk them out of it. “It’s the same thing with the terminally ill,” he said.
Catholic priests can only pray the person will “turn away from it,” Prendergast said.
The Canadian Conference has released a letter regarding the controversy; FULL TEXT below: 
CCCB Release: Dear brothers and sisters,
The Special Joint Committee of the Government of Canada on "Physician-Assisted Dying" this past February 25 released its report,Medical Assistance in Dying: A Patient-Centred Approach. The report, in part, recommends:
- That assisted suicide be available to those with psychiatric conditions (Recommendation 3)
- That psychological suffering be among the criteria making an individual eligible for assisted suicide (Recommendation 4)
- That within approximately three years assisted suicide be available for adolescents and possibly also children who can be considered "mature minors" (Recommendation 6)
- That all health-care practitioners be obliged at the minimum to provide an "effective referral" for clients seeking assisted suicide (Recommendation 10)
- That all publicly funded health-care institutions in Canada provide assisted suicide
(Recommendation 11)
In addition, the report fails to show how palliative care and home care can provide true options for those tempted by suicide, nor does it call for a national plan to prevent suicides. Suicide rates are five to seven times higher for First Nations youth in Canada than for non-Aboriginal youth, while suicide rates among Inuit youth are among the highest in the world, at 11 times the national Canadian average.
The teaching of the Catholic Church and the stance of the Catholic Bishops of Canada are clear. Suicide is not part of health care. Killing the mentally and physically ill, whether young or aged, is contrary to caring for and loving one's brother and sister. The dignity of the human person and the flourishing of the human community demand: 1) protection and respect for each human life from conception to natural death, and 2) freedom of conscience and religion for each person as well as each institution. Social wellbeing, personal security and the common good – together with religious faith – involve safeguarding, not endangering, the lives of those suffer.
The above recommendations and the thrust of the report completely fail to be "patient-centred" or to assist and support the dying and the vulnerable. To borrow from the words of Pope Francis, the report's recommendations are the approach of a "throw-away" society. They do not reveal the face of God's mercy.
Together with my brother Bishops, both Catholic and Orthodox, as well as with leaders from the Evangelical Protestant, Jewish and Muslim faith communities, and many of other faiths or of no faith, I urge you to inform your elected officials why euthanasia, assisted suicide and the above recommendations are completely unacceptable.
(Most Rev.) Douglas Crosby, OMI
Bishop of Hamilton
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

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