End of Life Issues/Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia
The June Respect Life focus is on End of Life Issues/Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia
For our spiritual work of mercy, please join us as we pray during the month of June...
Prayer For Those Close to Death
Lord Jesus Christ,
As You stood by the bed of good Saint Joseph and gently led him home to heaven, so shepherd every soul about to die to a paradise of perfect peace. Let the tears we shed upon their passing stand witness to our love for them and the depth of our thanksgiving for the gift of their lives and the grace of a good death. For You are Lord, forever and ever. Amen.
Our corporal work of mercy...
This month we will be assisting Angels’ Place, a local ministry which provides on-going respite care and support services to a child with a life threatening disease and their family in a loving caring manner. During the summer months they collect school supplies for the Angels’ Place children & their siblings. If you would like to assist in this project, the following items are needed…
flash drives, multi-subject spiral notebooks, scissors, sturdy rulers, washable markers, crayons, index cards, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, colored construction paper, & plastic pencil cases
To coordinate a collection, please email the Respect Life Office for details.
Do you feel a tug of the heart to help out as a volunteer with Angels’ Place? They always need respite caregivers! Please contact Mary to learn more at 504-455-2620.
The Respect Life Office now has prayer cards with Prayer for All Life available to those who are sick & homebound in your parish. Please invite the sick & homebound of your parish to join your Respect Life group...share a prayer card, ask them to pray for the Respect Life work you will be doing. Email the Respect Life Office to obtain the prayer cards.
Public Information & Education
- Now & at the Hour of our Death -- Catholic Guidance for End-of-Life Decision Making
- Simple explanations for Extraordinary vs. Ordinary Care, Nutrition & Hydration, Pain Management, etc...
- Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services from the USCCB
- Approaching Death: The Moral Decisions -- Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops End of Life resource
- Q&A from the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and Committee on Pro-Life Activities regarding The Holy See’s Responses on Nutrition and Hydration for Patients in a “Vegetative State” -- a pdf handout prepared by the USCCB
Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: Beyond Terminal Illness -- a USCCB analysis of the slippery slope of legalizing Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia
- To Live Each Day with Dignity: A Statement on Physician Assisted Suicide -- A pdf handout prepared by the USCCB
- USCCB Assisted Suicide videos
- Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: Beyond Terminal Illness -- a USCCB analysis of the slippery slope of legalizing Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia
- National Council for Aging Care - Elder Abuse Awareness
- Meeting idea
- Bulletin insert ideas
- Handouts (click links to order/download)
- Speakers' topics
- Health Care Advanced Directive for Catholics (recommended by Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops)
- Angels' Place -- anorganization that provides help to children with life-threatening diseases & their families. Currently they are helping nearly 90 children in the greater New Orleans area
- Hospital Chaplaincy Program - pastoral support to those in the archdiocese who are patients in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, & hospice.
- Christopher Homes -- affordable housing for the elderly and handicapped residents through the archdiocese
- Wynhoven Health Care Center -- provides 24-hour nursing care for the frail elderly
- Chateau de Notre Dame -- an archdiocesan retirement community offering a continuum of care
- Project Lazarus -- provides transitional housing to people living with HIV/AIDS who have no other place to live
- Notre Dame Hospice -- a ministry of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and is the only Catholic nonprofit hospice in the Greater New Orleans Area.
Prayer & Worship
- World Day of the Sick -- February 11 is the World Day of the Sick, a commemoration instituted by St. John Paul II that takes place each year on the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes.
- Pope Francis' World Day of the Sick 2017 message
- one who is elderly
- for those with end of life issues & their caregivers
- for one in a nursing home
- one who is near death
- a person in a persistent vegetative state
Church Teaching on End of Life Issues
From Evangelium Vitae (65, 97):
“The work of education cannot avoid a consideration of suffering and death. These are a part of human existence, and it is futile, not to say misleading, to try to hide them or ignore them. On the contrary, people must be helped to understand their profound mystery in all its harsh reality. Even pain and suffering have meaning and value when they are experienced in close connection with love received and given. In this regard, I have called for the yearly celebration of the World Day of the Sick, emphasizing the salvific nature of the offering up of suffering which, experienced in communion with Christ, belongs to the very essence of the Redemption. Death itself is anything but an event without hope. It is the door which opens wide on eternity and, for those who live in Christ, an experience of participation in the mystery of his Death and Resurrection."
Euthanasia must be distinguished from the decision to forego so-called aggressive medical treatment, in other words, medical procedures which no longer correspond to the real situation of the patient, either because they are by now disproportionate to any expected results or because they impose an excessive burden on the patient and his family. In such situations, when death is clearly imminent and inevitable, one can in conscience refuse forms of treatment that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life, so long as the normal care due to the sick person in similar cases is not interrupted. Certainly there is a moral obligation to care for oneself and to allow oneself to be cared for, but this duty must take account of concrete circumstances. It needs to be determined whether the means of treatment available are objectively proportionate to the prospects for improvement. To forego extraordinary or disproportionate means is not the equivalent of suicide or euthanasia; it rather expresses acceptance of the human condition in the face of death.”
From Evangelium Vitae (66):
“To concur with the intention of another person to commit suicide and to help in carrying it out through so-called "assisted suicide" means to cooperate in, and at times to be the actual perpetrator of, an injustice which can never be excused, even if it is requested. In a remarkably relevant passage Saint Augustine writes that "it is never licit to kill another: even if he should wish it, indeed if he request it because, hanging between life and death, he begs for help in freeing the soul struggling against the bonds of the body and longing to be released; nor is it licit even when a sick person is no longer able to live".85 Even when not motivated by a selfish refusal to be burdened with the life of someone who is suffering, euthanasia must be called a false mercy, and indeed a disturbing "perversion" of mercy. True "compassion" leads to sharing another's pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear. Moreover, the act of euthanasia appears all the more perverse if it is carried out by those, like relatives, who are supposed to treat a family member with patience and love, or by those, such as doctors, who by virtue of their specific profession are supposed to care for the sick person even in the most painful terminal stages.
From Evangelium Vitae (65):
“For a correct moral judgment on euthanasia, in the first place a clear definition is required. Euthanasia in the strict sense is understood to be an action or omission which of itself and by intention causes death, with the purpose of eliminating all suffering. "Euthanasia's terms of reference, therefore, are to be found in the intention of the will and in the methods used…
Taking into account these distinctions, in harmony with the Magisterium of my Predecessors and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.”