Fr Bob Writes – February 2, 2014

The following is an abridged version of the presentation Anastasia Bowles made last Sunday at St Clare’s, addressing a most important issue for us as Catholics….

From LifeCanada, a national association of Canadian pro-life groups educating on the value of human life. www.lifecanada.org; 866-780-5433; info@lifecanada.org

You may have heard that Quebec is currently debating a Bill (Bill 52) which concerns “end-of-life” care. Part of the Bill also proposes to legalize “medical aid in dying” which is just a euphemism for euthanasia. Euthanasia means “putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.”(Catechism of the Catholic Church) The Bill—which you may never have heard of—is currently expected to pass its 3rd and final reading in a few weeks—so euthanasia will very likely be legal in one Canadian province before spring. This will, of course, create a precedent for the other provinces.

The topic of euthanasia is a very difficult one. Euthanasia is often presented as putting someone out of their misery, helping to ease their suffering or preventing needless pain. No one wants to watch someone they love writhing in pain. But the solution is not to give doctors the license to kill them. The solution is to give them the palliative care and comfort they deserve and that is available.

It is very disturbing that euthanasia will likely be legalized in Canada despite the fact that palliative care physicians—experts in end-of-life care–are opposed. The Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians released the results of a survey of Society physicians, stating that they “strongly oppose the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide” and that “most of its members are unwilling to participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide.”[i] If the doctors and others who are experts in end-of-life care are strongly opposed to euthanasia and don’t want to do it, why is it being legalized? These palliative care physicians oppose euthanasia because they say that patients are not receiving the appropriate palliative care which should be made available to them and the focus should be on improving care access instead. It is estimated that only 16-30% of Canadians who die have access to appropriate palliative care.[ii] One palliative care physician in Quebec estimated that only 10-20% of Quebecers receive adequate palliative care.[iii] So most dying patients are not getting the care they need or that is available. The question is do we try to find ways to bring pain-relieving medicine and other comforts to those who need it or do we make it legal for doctors to kill them? The answer should be obvious.

There are other dangers to legalizing euthanasia. The Quebec Bill proposes a model for euthanasia based on current practices in Belgium where euthanasia is legal. Quebec promises safeguards so that abuses of the euthanasia law won’t take place. Such abuses involve euthanasia without consent and elder abuse, euthanasia of children, euthanasia for mental health reasons and so on. But Belgium has already demonstrated that once legal, abuses do take place. In 2010, the Canadian Medical Association released study results showing that 1/3rd of patients who were reportedly euthanized in Belgium (between June and November 2007) were killed without their consent. 66 of 208 of the patients did not ask to die.[iv] They were killed. The study found that those who ASKED for euthanasia tended to be younger and were often in care at home, while those who were euthanized WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT were typically over 80 and in hospital. You have to ask if euthanasia takes place because hospitals are under pressure to free up space and cut costs?

Belgium is also extending their law to include the euthanasia of children and for mental health reasons. Last year, two 45 year-old identical twins asked to be killed because they were deaf and would soon go blind. They were not terminally ill or in pain. They were disabled. Instead of receiving support and resources to convince them their lives were worth living, a Belgian doctor killed them. Such practice contradicts current suicide prevention strategies but is the model that Quebec proposes to follow, saying such abuses will never happen here. That’s what they said in Belgium too.

What can you do? First, and most importantly, PRAY. Pray for the Quebec legislators to vote against Bill 52 in the coming weeks, and pray especially for a greater respect for life in our culture from conception until its NATURAL end. Second, CARE. Care enough to get educated on these issues and to educate others. Finally, get active for LIFE. See enclosed document by LifeCanada for specific action items YOU can do to help uphold the value of life in Canada.



[iv] http://www.cmaj.ca/content/182/9/895.abstract

BILL 52 AND EUTHANASIA IN CANADA: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. PRAY:  –    For Quebec Legislators to vote AGAINST Bill 52.

–     For respect for life in our culture from conception until NATURAL death.

 

  1. CARE: –     Educate yourself and others on the issues (Visit http://www.lifecanada.org/quebec-bill-52–the-euthanasia-bill for information or call us at 1-866-780-5433.) Donate to our efforts.

–          Get active for LIFE!

 

  1. WRITE to the following to express your opposition to Bill 52 (sample letters available at lifecanda.org) NO POSTAGE REQUIRED:

 

To your MP:

 

Gordon O’Connor            OR                          Scott Reid

House of Commons                              House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario                                     Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6                                               K1A 0A6

gordon.oconnor@parl.gc.ca                  scott.reid@parl.gc.ca

(To find your MP, visit http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseofCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC)

To the Justice Minister:

Hon Peter MacKay mcu@justice.gc.ca or
MO-CD@justice.gc.ca
284 Wellington St., Ottawa ON K1A 0H8

To Members of the National Assembly of Quebec:

Find addresses here: http://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/deputes/

  1. SIGN the petition at http://www.citizengo.org/en/1476-stop-bill-52

 

 

 

Fr Bob Writes – January 26, 2014

As Fr Bob is away this week, I regret that we do not have a new ‘Fr Bob Writes’ commentary.  But be sure to check out the bulletin for this week as we take some time to explore the new series of 16 Christian CDs that is now at the back of the church.  This new ‘Lighthouse Media’ kiosk offers 16 authentic Catholic media CDs which discuss many of the pertinent topics in our communities and Churches today. Lighthouse Catholic Media also offers many other titles – feel free to check out their website at www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org and let Fr Bob or the office know what other titles you would like us to carry in the future.  Lynn

Fr Bob Writes – January 19, 2014

We have now moved out of the high days and holy days of the Christmas season into what the Church calls “Ordinary Time.”  It is in the ordinary times, the ordinary days, doing the ordinary things of life, that we must “work out our salvation,” as St Paul reminds us in his letter to the Philippians, chapter 2, verse 13.  In the first few weeks of the new year the Church gives us readings from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.  As one of the chief commercial centers of the ancient world, Corinth was a very cosmopolitan city with a great diversity of ethnic and social groups. It was infamous for loose living …the Las Vegas of its day. All this was reflected in the Corinthian community where Paul labored for over a year and a half and to which he later wrote his most challenging letters.

Put simply, the Christians in Corinth were ordinary people who were living the extraordinary life of the Spirit and doing it badly.  As we will see in future weeks, the community was rife with division, envy, one-up-manship, spiritual immaturity, moral turpitude.  St Paul’s most well-known and well-loved passage on the centrality of love, a favourite reading for weddings, which we find in chapter 13 of his letter, was written, precisely because the Corinthians were NOT living a life of love amongst each other, nor anything like it!!  So Paul reminds them, in the passage we are given for this Sunday’s liturgy, that they are, in fact, “called to be saints.”   This is meant,  not in the sense that we understand the word, the canonized Saints of the church’s calendar, but in the sense that they are meant to live in a Christ-like manner, in the midst of their ordinary lives.

That same charge is laid upon us as ordinary Catholic Christians. We are called to this, says St Paul, because we CAN live like this, since we are, in his words, already “sanctified (made holy) in Christ Jesus.”  Through our baptism, in which we receive the Holy Spirit, or to put it another way, the Spirit of holiness, we have received everything we need to enable us to live holy lives.  This is not a call just for clergy and religious and specially gifted lay people, but, as the Church reminds us in the document on the Church, chapter 5, from the Second Vatican Council, a call which is given to every single Christian, no matter what their state in life. The thing is, we do not achieve holiness by gritting our teeth and trying really, really hard, but by surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus in the power of his Spirit.  To use a common metaphor, we allow Jesus to take the wheel in the vehicle of our everyday life, and are content to let him drive us where he wills, not where we want to go. (Oh, and by the way, it also means we hand over to him the map as well!!)

In the year ahead, brothers and sisters, I wish you, in the words of St Paul, “grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!!”

Father Bob Writes – January 11, 2014

“This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).  These are the words that God speaks out over Jesus as he is baptized. What a fantastic affirmation!!  Can you imagine how it must have made Jesus feel to have his heavenly Father declare how much he loved his son, how proud he was of him? Which one of us would not love to receive such words of esteem and affection spoken over us by our own fathers?  Some people spend their whole lives limping along under the burden of never having had their fathers affirm them as children. They seem to be always seeking the approval of their dads, even when they are adults and their fathers are long dead.

We can also labor under the conviction all our lives that God is also displeased with us, that we are always falling short of his approval.  The truth of the matter, however, is that at our baptism, God is always speaking over us the same words he speaks over Jesus at his baptism:  “This is my beloved son/my beloved daughter. I am so proud of them.”  At our baptism, St Paul says in Romans 8: 15-16, “you received a spirit of adoption, so you can cry: Abba! Father!” as the Spirit bears witness within us that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”

For centuries before Christ, there had been no prophetic voice in Israel, speaking forth the words of God to his people.  The heavens themselves seemed closed against them.  No wonder the prophet Isaiah had cried out on their behalf:  O that you would tear open the heavens and come down!!(64:1).  For a people used to God always being in communication with them, this silence from Him was terribly hard to bear, the more so as they understood that it was  their sinful rebellion against God that had led to this breakdown in communication.  That is why it is so significant that Matthew depicts the heavens opening at Jesus’ baptism and God’s voice ringing out.  It signified that God was once more willing to communicate with Israel, that he wanted reconciliation with them, and that Jesus, his own Son, was going to be the means for that renewed communication and reconciliation. “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased” God’s voice speaks again over Jesus at his transfiguration (Matthew 17:6) before going on to say Listen to Him!” 

It is Jesus, the Word of God, who now reveals God’s heart to us.  If you are feeling that heaven seems shut to you, so that you cannot hear anything from God, ask Jesus to “tear open the heavens” for you.  Ask him to reveal to you how much God loves you, how proud he is of you, how much he delights in you as His beloved son or daughter.

Mystical Body ~ Mystical Voice: Come Encounter Christ Anew in the Words of the Mass

All are invited

Where:  St. Philip Parish Hall, 127 Burke St, Richmond

Time & Dates:  5 Sessions Total.  7-9 pm every second Wednesday night:  January 15 & 29, February 12 & 26,  and the final session: March 12.

We will be exploring the newly-published book Mystical Body, Mystical Voice: Encountering Christ in the Words of the Mass.  Authors and noted theologians Christopher Carstens and Douglas Martis recall for the readers that the texts of the Mass are viewed in light of the Paschal Mystery and the Church as the mystical body of Christ.

This 5-part series will explore the sacramental nature of the liturgy, the symbolic use of words in the liturgy, a brief history of translation of the missal, an examination of the texts of the Mass, and a section on liturgical catechesis.  There is no charge for this series.  Come join us, all are welcome!