Pastor's Corner Feb 11 2018

Canada has joined the rogue's list of countries that have legalized Euthanasia. You know that several states in America have also done so. It will soon be legal in Virginia, because the philosophical basis for legalizing abortion is also the basis for legalizing euthanasia. Euthanasia is evil. It is already being practised quietly. We need to review the questions involved. Since we are going to be pressured to accept it too, and in order to resist effectively, we need to be clear about what is true. Here's Part II of a statement in the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton: Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS)

What about dignity? No one should ever feel that death is their only option. Friends, family and parishioners are called to share time with those who are ill, disabled or dying to help them avoid loneliness and despair. While we all face suffering in life, we need not suffer alone.

Dying with dignity means people would be accompanied in their last days, be provided with effective pain treatment and medical care and be offered access to spiritual and pastoral support.

Refusing treatment that is burdensome or without benefit to the person is not a form of suicide but allowing life to proceed to its natural end. Effective pain management and palliative care are available. It is morally permissible to administer pain medication, even if it hastens death, as long as the intention is to ease suffering rather than cause death. [See article: "Deep sedation is masked euthanasia"].

Catholics are encouraged to speak with their pastors about any issue troubling them, especially be-fore making end-of-life decisions. Pastors visit the sick and dying regularly. They will pray with the per-son and listen to their doubts and fears. If someone expresses interest in Euthanasia or P.A.S., a priest will encourage the person to seek options more in keeping with their dignity as a child of God.

Receiving the Sacraments? Near the end of life Catholics will normally celebrate the sacraments of Confession, Communion and Anointing of the Sick. These sacraments are given to bring forgiveness of sins and to strengthen the recipient to bear patiently his or her sufferings, uniting them to the Cross of Jesus Christ.

The Church is generous in offering the sacraments; however, it is crucial that an individual have the proper disposition of faith to receive a sacrament (Canon 843). If someone has made the decision to end his or her life – contrary to divine law and Church teaching – and is unwilling to reconsider this decision, he or she is not rightly disposed in faith to receive the sacraments. In this case a priest will continue to pray with the person, offering pastoral support while encouraging a change of heart. "Sacraments bear fruit only in those who receive them with the right disposition." (Catechism 1131) An attitude of faith and openness is essential.

Funeral Rites? The purpose of the funeral rites of the Church is to pray for the eternal salvation of the deceased person. "We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives." (Catechism 2283) The Church frequently celebrates funeral rites for someone who has committed suicide; however, in the case of Euthanasia and P.A.S., care must be taken that the funeral preparation and rites (including the obituary) are not presented in such a way as to show support for the person's decision to end their life. In such cases, the priest may suggest more discreet alternatives for the funeral rites.

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