WASHINGTON (June 1, 2011)—The U.S. bishops will debate and vote on a document on physician-assisted suicide at their Spring General Assembly, June 15-17, in Seattle. The document, To Live Each Day with Dignity, will be the first statement on assisted suicide by the full body of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
“After years of relative inaction following legalization of physician-assisted suicide in Oregon in 1994, the assisted suicide movement has shown a strong resurgence in activity,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities. “This renewed effort has led to the passage of an Oregon-style law in Washington by popular referendum in November 2008, a state supreme court decision essentially declaring that assisted suicide is not against public policy in Montana, and concerted efforts to pass legislation in several New England and Western states. The Church needs to respond in a timely and visible way to this renewed challenge, which will surely be pursued in a number of states in the years to come.”
The draft statement speaks of the hardships and fears of patients facing terminal illness and the importance of life-affirming palliative care. It cites the Church’s concern for those who are tempted to commit suicide, its opposition to physician-assisted suicide, and the consistency of this stance with the principle of equal and inherent human rights and the ethical principles of the medical profession.
Countering two claims of the assisted suicide movement, that its agenda affirms patients’ “choices” and expresses “compassion” for their suffering, the statement says physician-assisted suicide does not promote compassion because its focus is not on eliminating suffering, but on eliminating the patient. True compassion, it states, dedicates itself to meeting patients’ needs and presupposes a commitment to their equal worth. The statement says that “compassion” that is not rooted in such respect inevitably finds more and more people whose suffering is considered serious enough for assisted death, such as those with chronic illness and disabilities.
According to the statement, the practice also undermines patients’ freedom by putting pressure on them, once society has officially declared the suicides of certain people to be good and acceptable while working to prevent the suicides of others. Undermining the value of some people’s lives will undermine respect for their freedom as well, the statement says, citing legal systems such as the Netherlands, where voluntary assisted suicide has led to involuntary euthanasia.
The statement argues that assisted suicide is not an addition to palliative care, but a poor substitute that can ultimately become an excuse for denying better medical care to seriously ill people, including those who never considered suicide an option. It concludes by advancing what Pope John Paul II called “the way of love and true mercy,” and calls on Catholics to work with others to uphold the right of each person to live with dignity.
Coverage of the bishops’ meeting in Seattle is open to credentialed media. Sessions open to the media will be Wednesday, June 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time and Thursday, June 16, until 10:30 a.m. Pacific time. There will be media conferences after all open sessions. Reporters seeking to cover the meeting can download a credential application form at www.usccb.org/comm/credentialform.pdf and submit it by June 3, by fax to (202) 541-3173, or mail to:
June Meeting Credentials
Office of Media Relations
3211 4th St. NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194
Islamabad (AsiaNews) – A Pakistani journalist, Syed Saleem Shahzad, was found dead yesterday in Sarai Almagir, about 150 kilometres from Islamabad, after he was abducted, tortured and killed by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), this according to various journalists and activists contacted by AsiaNews. In their view, the way the kidnapping was carried out and the marks on the body have all the hallmarks of the infamous ISI rather than the Taliban. He was targeted because of his recent investigations, the most of which focused on the recent Taliban attack against the Pakistan Naval Station in Mehran. In his article, Shahzad showed how extremists have infiltrated the high echelons of the military.
Syed Saleem Shahzad’s funeral was held today at 1.30 pm in Karachi, capital of Sindh province. The 40-year-old married father of three (two boys, 13 and 7, and one girl, 11), was a Karachi native, but had moved with his family to Islamabad, where he worked for Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online, and also with some Italian media outlets (La Stampa and AdnKronos).
He disappeared on Sunday evening, when he left home, heading for a television station where he was scheduled to take part in a talkshow.
His body was found yesterday in Head Rasul, an area in Mandi Bahauddin District, Punjab. Earlier, investigators had found his car near Sahara-i-Alamgir, some ten kilometres from where his body was found.
The government has already announced the creation of commission of inquiry to investigate security forces and ISI involvement. Investigators are leaving all doors open, from religious extremists to other political groups. However, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who extended his condolences to the family on behalf of the government, suggested that the murder might be a “personal vendetta”.
Still, most fingers point to the secret services as the most likely culprit for the murder of a journalist who was an expert in Islamic terrorism and domestic affairs.
Syed’s brother-in-law, Hamza Ameer, said, “He was a very brave journalist” who was not afraid of possible retaliation for his work.
He left home around 5:30 pm, but soon after his mobile phone stopped responding. “The news channel tried to contact him several times” without success. They eventually called the family.
“We rushed to the Margalla police station,” Ameer said, “and lodged a complaint about Shahzad`s mysterious disappearance."
At present, his wife and other relatives are not speaking, staying away from the media.
According to Islamabad Police Wajid Durrani, inspector general of the Islamabad police, Syed was “kidnapped close to his residence.” He added, “There were clear signs of torture on the body”.
The post mortem report indicates that the cause of death was liver failure and ruptured lungs, with 15 visible wounds on the body and broken ribs.
“Saleem Shahzad’s last story [. . .] revealed how Al Qaeda had penetrated the Pakistan Navy,” said Najam Sethi, an analyst and editor in chief of The Friday Times, who rejected police allegations that the Taliban were involved in the abduction.
The latter usually “take their victim to North Waziristan or the Tribal areas,” he said. Once in their stronghold, “they interrogate and release a complete video showing the whole world that they have abducted someone,” but this did not occur in the case of the journalist. “My experience points a finger at the intelligence agencies,” Sethi said.
In fact, “several years ago, Saleem Shahzad got into a fight and was shot in the left side in the ribs. He ultimately survived, but his left ribs were weak. “Another injury on his left side would have been fatal,” which is what happened.
“I have also experienced torture by the agencies back in 1999,” Sethi noted. “I barely survived a heart attack during the interrogation”.
Friend and fellow journalist Omar Waraich said that Shahzad had complained of threats from the ISI over the recent articles he wrote. He was picked up just days after he wrote his last report, in which he made some explosive allegations regarding the PNS Mehran attack (see Jibran Khan, “Karachi: Pakistani Taliban attack military base, killing 11,” in AsiaNews, 23 May 2011), which was caused by a breakdown between the military and the Taliban over the release of some prisoners.
"On Sunday evening Saleem Shahzad was suppose to speak about the PNS Mehran attack,” said Nasim Zehra, director of current affairs at Dunya News Channel.
For Human Rights Watch Pakistan representative Ali Dayan Hasan, Saleem Shahzad was abducted by the ISI. His case is similar to others blamed on the security agencies.
In September of last year, a journalist was kidnapped, beaten, tortured and raped. His attackers were never found but are thought to be ISI men.
According to Reporters without Borders, Pakistan ranks 151st out of 178 in terms of press freedom. This year, at least ten journalists have been killed doing their work.
"The rain continues to hit the area constantly increasing number of cases of cholera. Doctors Without Borders have sent medicines to the displaced, but the needs are so many, "concludes the Apostolic Administrator of Malakal.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) there are more than 60,000 displaced people from Abyei and their number seems to be destined to grow.
CATH NEWS REPORT: Pope Benedict received the Governor-General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, yesterday at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, reports Vatican Radio.
They also discussed the current international and regional situation, with particular reference to natural disasters and environmental problems as well as interreligious dialogue.A Communiqué from the Press Office of the Holy See says the Pope and the Governor General held cordial discussions on topics including the contribution of the Catholic Church to Australian society, the treatment of refugees, and other themes of mutual interest.
The ABC reports that Ms Bryce is on a six-day official visit to Italy and is one of around 40 heads of state attending celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the Italian republic.
Before her meeting with the Pope, she was scheduled to tour the Sistine Chapel and take in an exhibition in the Vatican Museum featuring a collection of Aboriginal art works, the report said.
Feast: June 1
St. Justin was born at Neapolis, now Naplosa, the ancient Sichem, and formerly the capital of the province of Samaria. Vespasian, having endowed its inhabitants with the privileges belonging to Roman citizens, gave it the name of Flavia. His son Titus sent thither a colony of Greeks, among whom were the father and grandfather of our saint. His father, a heathen, brought him up in the errors and superstitions of paganism, but at the same time did not neglect to cultivate his mind by several branches of human literature.
St. Justin accordingly informs us, that he spent his youth in reading the poets, orators, and historians. Having gone through the usual course of these studies, he gave himself up to that of philosophy in quest of truth, an ardent love of which was his predominant passion. He addressed himself first to a master who was a Stoic; and after having stayed some time with him, seeing he could learn nothing of him concerning God, he left him, and went to a Peripatetic, a very subtle man in his own conceit: but Justin, being desired the second day after admission, to fix his master's salary, that he might know what he was to be allowed for his pains in teaching him, he left him also, concluding that he was no philosopher. He then tried a Pythagorean, who had a great reputation, and who boasted much of his wisdom; but he required of his scholar, as a necessary preliminary to his admission, that he should have learned music, astronomy, and geometry. Justin could not bear such delays in the search of God, and preferred the school of an Academic, under whom he made great progress in the Platonic philosophy, and vainly flattered himself with the hope of arriving in a short time at the sight of God, which the Platonic philosophy seemed to have had chiefly in view.
Walking one day by the sea-side, for the advantage of a greater freedom from noise and tumult, he saw, as he turned about, an old man who followed him pretty close. His appearance was majestic, and had a great mixture in it of mildness and gravity. Justin looking on him very attentively, the man asked him if he knew him. Justin answered in the negative. "Why then," said he, "do you lock so steadfastly upon me?" Justin replied: "It is the effect of my surprise to meet any human creature in this remote and solitary place." "What brought me hither," said that old man, "was my concern for some of my friends. They are gone a journey, and I am come hither to look out for them." They then fell into a long discourse concerning the excellency of philosophy in general, and of the Platonic in particular, which Justin asserted to be the only true way to happiness, and of knowing and seeing God. This the grave person refuted at large, and at length by the force of his arguments convinced him that those philosophers whom he had the greatest esteem for, Plato and Pythagoras, had been mistaken in their principles, and had not a thorough knowledge of God and of the soul of man, nor could they in consequence communicate it to others. This drew from him the important query, Who were the likeliest persons to set him in the right way? The stranger answered, that long before the existence of these reputed philosophers, there were certain blessed men, lovers of God, and divinely inspired, called prophets, on account of their foretelling things which have since come to pass; whose books, yet extant, contain many solid instructions about the first cause and end of all things, and many other particulars becoming a philosopher to know. That their miracles and their predictions had procured them such credit, that they established truth by authority, and not by disputes and elaborate demonstrations of human reason, of which few men are capable. That they inculcated the belief of one only God, the Father and author of all things, and of his Son Jesus Christ, whom he had sent into the world. He concluded his discourse with this advice: "As for thyself, above all things, pray that the gates of life may be opened unto thee: for these are not things to be discerned, unless God and Christ grant to a man the knowledge of them." After these words he departed, and Justin saw him no more: but his conversation left a deep impression on the young philosopher's soul, and kindled there an ardent affection for these true philosophers, the prophets. And upon a further inquiry into the credibility of the Christian religion, he embraced it soon after. What had also no small weight in persuading him of the truth of the Christian faith, was the innocence and true virtue of its professors; seeing with what courage and constancy, rather than to betray their religion, or commit the least sin, they suffered the sharpest tortures, and encountered, nay, even courted death itself, in its most horrible shapes. "When I heard the Christians traduced and reproached," says he, "yet saw them fearless and rushing on death, and on all things that are accounted most dreadful to human nature, I concluded with myself that it was impossible those men should wallow in vice, and be carried away with the love of lust and pleasure." Justin, by the course of his studies, must have been grown up when he was converted to the faith. Tillemont and Marand understand, by an obscure passage in St. Epiphanius, that he was in the thirtieth year of his age.
St. Justin, after he became a Christian, continued to wear the pallium, or cloak, as Eusebius and St. Jerome inform us, which was the singular badge of a philosopher. Aristides, the Athenian philosopher and a Christian, did the same; so did Heraclas, even when he was bishop of Alexandria. St. Epiphanius calls St. Justin a great ascetic, or one who professed a most austere and holy life. He came to Rome soon after his conversion, probably from Egypt. Tillemont and Dom. Marand think that he was a priest, from his description of baptism, and the account he gave at his trial of people resorting to his house for instruction. This, however, is uncertain; and Ceillier concludes, from the silence of the ancients on this head, that he was always a layman: but he seems to have preached, and therefore to have been at least deacon. His discourse, or oration to the Greeks, he wrote soon after his conversion, in order to convince the heathens of the reasonableness of his having deserted paganism. He urges the absurdity of idolatry, and the inconsistency of ascribing lewdness and other crimes to their deities: on the other hand, he declares his admiration of, and reverence for, the purity and sanctity of the Christian doctrine, and the awful majesty of the divine writings which still the passions, and fix in a happy tranquillity the mind of man, which finds itself everywhere else restless. His second work is called his Paraenesis, or Exhortation to the Greeks, which he drew up at Rome: in this he employs the flowers of eloquence, which even in his apologies he despises. In it he shows the errors of idolatry, and the vanity of the heathen philosophers; reproaches Plato with making an harangue to the Athenians, in which he pretended to establish a multitude of gods, only to escape the fate of Socrates; while it is clear, from his writings, that he believed one only God. He transcribes the words of Orpheus the Sibyl, Homer, Sophocles, Pythagoras, Plato, Mercury, and Acmon, or rather Ammon, in which they profess the unity of the Deity. He wrote his book on Monarchy, expressly to prove the unity of God, from the testimonies and reasons of the heathen philosophers themselves. The epistle to Diognetus is an incomparable work of primitive antiquity, attributed to St. Justin by all the ancient copies, and doubtless genuine, as Dr. Cave, Ceillier, Marand, &c., show; though the style is more elegant and florid than the other works of this father. Indeed it is not mentioned by Eusebius and St. Jerome; but neither do they mention the works of Athenagoras. And what wonder that, the art of printing not being as yet discovered, some writings should have escaped their notice? Tillemont fancies the author of this piece to be more ancient, because he calls himself a disciple of the apostles: but St. Justin might assume that title, who lived contemporary with St. Polycarp, and others, who had seen some of them. This Diognetus was a learned philosopher, a person of great rank, and preceptor to the emperor Marcus Aurelius, who always consulted and exceedingly honored him. Dom. Nourry6 mistakes grossly, when he calls him a Jew: for in this very epistle is he styled an adorer of gods. This great man was desirous to know upon what assurances the Christians despised the world, and even torments and death, and showed to one another a mutual love, which appeared wonderful to the rest of mankind, for it rendered them seemingly insensible to the greatest injuries. St. Justin, to satisfy him, demonstrates the folly of idolatry, and the imperfection of the Jewish worship and sets forth the sanctity practiced by the Christians, especially their humility, meekness, love of those who hate them without so much as knowing any reason of their hatred, &c. He adds, that their numbers and virtue are increased by tortures and massacres, and explains clearly the divinity of Christ,7 the maker of all things, and Son of God. He shows that by reason alone we could never attain to the true knowledge of God, who sent his Son to teach us his holy mysteries; and, when we deserved only chastisement, to pay the full price of our redemption;-the holy One to suffer for sinners,-the person offended for the offenders; and when no other means could satisfy for our crimes, we were covered under the wings of justice itself, and rescued from slavery. He extols exceedingly the immense goodness and love of God for man, in creating him, and the world for his use; in subjecting to him other things, and in sending his only-begotten Son with the promise of his kingdom, to those who shall have loved him. "But after you shall have known him," says he, "with what inexpressible joy do you think you will be filled! How ardently will you love him who first loved you! And when you shall love him, you will be an imitator of his goodness. He who bears the burdens of others, assists all, humbles himself to all, even to his inferiors, and supplies the wants of the poor with what he has received from God, is truly the imitator of God. Then will you see on earth that God governs the world; you will know his mysteries, and will love and admire those who suffer for him: you will condemn the imposture of the world, and despise death, only fearing eternal death, in never-ending fire. When you know that fire, you will call those blessed who here suffer flames for justice. I speak not of things to which I am a stranger, but having been a disciple of the apostles, I am a teacher of nations, &c."
St. Justin made a long stay in Rome, dwelling near the Timothin baths, on the Viminal hill. The Christians met in his house to perform their devotions, and he applied himself with great zeal to the instruction of all those who resorted to him. Evelpistus, who suffered with him, owned at his examination that he had heard with pleasure Justin's discourses. The judge was acquainted with his zeal, when he asked him, in what place he assembled his disciples. Not content with laboring in the conversion of Jews and Gentiles, he exerted his endeavors in defending the Catholic faith against all the heresies of that age. His excellent volumes against Marcion, as they are styled by St. Jerome, are now lost, with several other works commended by the ancients. The martyr, after his first Apology, left Rome, and probably performed the functions of an evangelist, in many countries, for several years. In the reign of Antoninus Pius, being at Ephesus, and casually meeting, in the walks of Xistus, Tryphon, whom Eusebius calls the most celebrated Jew of that age, and who was a famous philosopher, he fell into discourse with him, which brought on a disputation, which was held in the presence of several witnesses during two entire days. St. Justin afterwards committed to writing this dialogue with Tryphon, which work is a simple narrative of a familiar unstudied conversation. Tryphon, seeing Justin in the philosopher's cloak, addressed him on the excellency of philosophy. The saint answered, that he admired he should not rather study Moses and the prophets, in comparison of whom all the writings of the philosophers are empty jargon and foolish dreams. Then, in the first part of his dialogue, he showed, that, according to the prophets, the old law was temporary, and to be abolished by the new: and in the second, that Christ was God before all ages, distinct from the Father,-the same that appeared to Abraham, Moses, &c., the same that created man, and was himself made man, and crucified. He insists much on that passage, Behold, a virgin shall conceive. From the beginning of the conversation, Tryphon had allowed that from the prophets it was clear that Christ must be then come; but he said, that he had not yet manifested himself to the world. So evident was it that the time of his coming must be then elapsed, that no Jew durst deny it, as Fleury observes. From the Apocalypse and Isaiah, by a mistaken interpretation, Justin inferred the futurity of the Millennium, or of Christ's reign upon earth for a thousand years, before the day of judgment, with his elect, in spiritual, chaste delights: but adds, that this was not admitted by many true orthodox believers. This point was afterwards cleared up, and that mistake of some few corrected and exploded, by consulting the tradition of the whole church. In the third part, St. Justin proves the vocation of the Gentiles, and the establishment of the church. Night putting an end to the conversation, Tryphon thanked Justin, and prayed for his happy voyage: for he was going to sea. By some mistakes made by St. Justin in the etymologies, or derivation of certain Hebrew names, it appears that he was a stranger to that language. The Socinians dread the authority of this work, on account of the clear proofs which it furnishes of the divinity of Christ. St. Justin testifies that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, of curing the sick, and casting out devils in the name of Christ, were then frequent in the church. He excludes from salvation wilful heretics no less than infidels.
But the Apologies of this martyr have chiefly rendered his name illustrious. The first or greater, (which by the first editors was, through mistake, placed and called the second,) he addressed to the emperor Antoninus Pius, his two adopted sons, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Commodus, and the senate, about the year 150. That mild emperor had published no edicts against the Christians; but, by virtue of former edicts, they were often persecuted by the governors, and were everywhere traduced as a wicked and barbarous set of people, enemies to their very species. They were deemed atheists; they were accused of practicing secret lewdness, which slander seems to have been founded on the secrecy of their mysteries, and partly on the filthy abominations of the Gnostic and Carpocratian heretics: they were said in their sacred assemblies to feed on the flesh of a murdered child; to which calumny a false notion of the blessed eucharist might give birth. Celsus and other heathens add, that they adored the cross, and the head of an ass. The story of the ass's head was a groundless calumny, forged by a Jew, who pretended to have seen their mysteries, which was readily believed and propagated by those whose interest it was to decry the Christian religion, as Eusebius, St. Justin, Origen, and Tertullian relate. The respect shown to the sign of the cross, mentioned by Tertullian and all the ancient fathers, seems ground enough for the other slander. These calumnies were advanced with such confidence, and, through passion and prejudice, received so eagerly, that they served for a presence to justify the cruelty of the persecutors, and to render the very name of a Christian odious. These circumstances stirred up the zeal of St. Justin to present his apology for the faith in writing, begging that the same might be made public. In it he boldly declares himself a Christian, and an advocate for his religion: he shows that Christians ought not to be condemned barely for the name of Christian, unless convicted of some crime; that they are not atheists, though they adore not idols; for they adore God the Father, his Son, and the Holy Ghost, and the host of good angels. He exhorts the emperor to hold the balance even, in the execution of justice; and sets forth the sanctity of the doctrine and manners of Christians, who fly all oaths, abhor the least impurity, despise riches, are patient and meek, love even enemies, readily pay all taxes, and scrupulously and respectfully obey and honor princes, &c. Far from eating children, they even condemned those that exposed them. He proves their regard for purity from the numbers among them of both sexes who had observed strict chastity to an advanced age. He explains the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the flesh, and shows from the ancient prophets that God was to become man, and that they had foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, the vocation of the Gentiles, &c. He mentions a statue erected in Rome to Simon Magus, which is also testified by Tertullian, Saint Austin, Theodoret, &c. The necessity of vindicating our faith from slanders, obliged him, contrary to the custom of the primitive church, to describe the sacraments of baptism and the blessed eucharist, mentioning the latter also as a sacrifice. "No one," says he, "is allowed to partake of this food but he that believes our doctrines to be true, and who has been baptized in the laver of regeneration for remission of sins, and lives up to what Christ has taught. For we take not these as common bread and common drink; but like as Jesus Christ our Saviour, being incarnate by the word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation; so are we taught that this food, by which our flesh and blood are nourished, over which thanks have been given by the prayers in his own words, is the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus." He describes the manner of sanctifying the Sunday, by meeting to celebrate the divine mysteries, read the prophets, hear the exhortation of him that presides, and make a collection of alms to be distributed among the orphans, widows, sick, prisoners, and strangers. He adds the obscure edict of the emperor Adrian in favor of the Christians. It appears that this Apology had its desired effect—the quiet of the church. Eusebius informs us, that the same emperor sent into Asia a rescript to the following purport: "When many governors of provinces had written to my father, he forbade them (the Christians) to be molested, unless they had offended against the state. The same answer I gave when consulted before on the same subject. If any one accuse a person of being a Christian, it is my pleasure that he be acquitted, and the accuser chastised, according to the rigor of the law." Orosius and Zonaras tell us, that Antoninus was prevailed upon by the Apology of Justin to send this order.
He composed his second Apology near twenty years after, in 167, on account of the martyrdom of one Ptolemy, and two other Christians, whom Urbicus, the governor of Rome, had put to death. The saint offered it to the emperor Marcus Aurelius (his colleague Lucius Verus being absent in the East) and to the senate. He undertakes in it to prove that the Christians were unjustly punished with death, and shows how much their lives and doctrine surpassed the philosophers, and that they could never embrace death with so much cheerfulness and joy, had they been guilty of the crimes laid to their charge. Even Socrates, notwithstanding the multitude of disciples that followed him, never found one that died in defence of his doctrine. The apologist added boldly, that he expected death would be the recompense of his Apology, and that he should fall a victim to the snares and rage of some or other of the implacable enemies of the religion for which he pleaded; among whom he named Crescens, a philosopher in name, but an ignorant man, and a slave to pride and ostentation. His martyrdom, as he had conjectured, was the recompense of this Apology: it happened soon after he presented this discourse, and probably was procured by the malice of those of whom he spoke. The genuine acts seem to have been taken from the praetor's public register.
|John 16: 12 - 15|
|12||"I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.|
|13||When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.|
|14||He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.|
|15||All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.|