The Cathedral Connection 16 July 2017

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The Parliamentary Select Committee that investigated into ending one’s life in New Zealand has yet to make its report, but New Zealanders have made it abundantly clear that they are not in favour of legalising euthanasia. An unprecedented number of submissions rejected the idea by 4 to 1.

Nevertheless, an “End of Life Choice Bill” has been drawn from the Ballot and will be debated in Parliament later this month. It is important that the voice of the people be heard, and a law that will not be able to avoid unintended consequences be roundly defeated.

Opening the door to a death-on-demand policy, however tightly restricted the option might be, increases the possibility of manipulation, whereby the elderly or terminally ill could be made to feel obligated to seek a medically assisted death.  Just as no one wants to see their loved one suffering, or awaiting death through a protracted illness, nobody wants to be a burden on others. A request for a medically assisted death from a patient may present as a rational and conscious decision while, in reality, because of pressure or a sense of duty is not a completely free choice. No legislation should enable such an unjust situation to arise.

Nor can our lawmakers expect the medical profession to abandon the commitment to heal and preserve life by making them collaborators in the termination of life.

Our Bishops ask us to become well-informed on this issue, and invite us to send postcards to our MPs urging them to vote “No” to this Bill. Please do so.

I was reminded recently of words of St Augustine: what’s right is right, even if no one is doing it; and what’s wrong is wrong, even if everyone’s doing it.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.