WASHINGTON— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved a policy statement on physician-assisted suicide at its Spring General Assembly in Seattle on June 16. The statement, To Live Each Day with Dignity, passed with a vote of 191-1. It marks the first time the full body of bishops has issued a statement devoted to this issue.
The full text of the statement will be available online at www.usccb.org/toliveeachday, along with fact sheets and articles on the issue, relevant Church documents, and prayers for use with those who are ill.
The 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 to choose death, 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 countries 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.
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT:
17 Jun 2011
Most of the 256 chief executives arriving at Luna Park for the annual Vinnies Sleepout last night were not quite sure what to expect.
For the majority it was their first night "sleeping rough" for charity.
Sure they were dressed for success - but not in their Italian suits and ties.
Smart dress for this night out was a fleecy tracksuit or jumper, beanie and sleeping bag. Plus a good dose of purpose.
Most were surprised to hear from St Vincent de Paul staff that 105,000 men, women and children across Australia are homeless, every night. And the children make up a quarter of that figure.
And like many people with a roof over their head each night, the general perception of homeless is a middle age man sleeping on a park bench with just his bottle of booze for company.
Wrong. Sixty percent of homeless people in this country are under 35 and 340,000 people experience some form of homelessness in any one year - often called rough sleepers or couch surfers.
Last night was all about raising community awareness to the face of homelessness and raising much needed dollars.
And by giving up their three course dinners and soft beds albeit for just one night the chief executives did a mighty fine job.
Supporters of the registered CEOs could contribute to the Sleepout and early this morning the Sydney bosses had raised well over $1.3m.
Commonwealth Bank boss Ralph Norris had raised $126,000 and News Limited CEO John Hartigan had raised $103,000 for the Vinnies appeal.
Also sleeping rough last night was Barnard Boerma, the CEO of the Archdiocese of Sydney's CatholicCare and the CEO of the Archdiocese Catholic Education Office, Dr Dan White.
"One thing that struck me was the awareness that I probably didn't have about homelessness", Dr White said.
"What really hit home was the loneliness of the people," Dr White said. "And how even just a gentle word of recognition - just an acknowledgement of them - just how much that was such an important part of respecting their dignity. I think the other thing that struck me was that I didn't realise the extent of the homelessness among women suffering from abuse, and their children, and that was quite profound. Also that homelessness didn't always mean what you saw visibly on the streets."
"But I think the third thing that doubly impressed me was how the chief executives from the corporate sector articulated a deep moral purpose in their visions for their organisations and their willingness to lift awareness among their staff of the broader social issues as part of their corporate philosophies.
"And that echoed with me as a director of Catholic education as something that we try to instil in our children. I am very taken by how much our schools do in this regard. I scan all our school newsletters regularly and I see there is always something going on to support social justice projects.
"While I do really appreciated the wonderful generosity of our teachers and staff in Catholic education in support of my sleeping 'rough' last night, I am particularly thrilled to see our Mini Vinnies and other groups across our schools getting active in so many interesting and innovative ways to raise money and awareness for such projects. They have been wearing pyjamas to school; dressing up in winter woollies, all kinds of things. And to have raised more than $30,000 - so far - is just a stunning result."
Running a little late from the rough and tumble of Federal Parliament to the rough and cold of a concrete slab was the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Along with everyone else he took his foam cup of vegie soup and breadroll and sat down to hear the stories of a few people Vinnies has helped in the past year. There were others who would not have been around to tell their story if not for Vinnies and their various programs and shelters.
The CEOs heard that homelessness is more than not having a shelter over your head. Homelessness erodes a person's health, hope and dignity.
The homeless are also amongst the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalised people in our community and their voices often go unheard.
Every night Vinnies provides shelter to babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, men and women. Others are helped out with a hot shower, a cup of tea, change of clothes or maybe just someone who will listen to them.
Charities do the best they can with what they have but there is simply not enough accommodation for the disadvantaged.
Around Australia 1001 CEOs tried to make a difference by talking to each other about the problems, looking at ways to effect change in social opinion and raise much needed funds for Vinnies services and programs.That national figure is close to $4m.
Dr Andy Marks, a senior researcher with St Vincent de Paul, said he was astounded with the level of support for the Sleepout.
"There was a lot of new interest and not only in the event which was great but in the overall issue of homelessness," he said.
"I think there is an increasing awareness of the issue and we need to focus on that.
"It was also very good to have a number of people speak about their own personal experience and for the CEOs to realise everyone's story is different and raises different issues."
The CEOs also spoke about how they could use their skills from the corporate world to tackle the homelessness problem.
"The corporate sector could really be the glue between the problem and the government, bringing their experience, new ideas and ways of tackling the problem."
What a group of CEOs and a cold and chilly night can do.
However it still leaves one question. Why do we have 105,000 on the streets every night?
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - After major appeals and demands from the Chinese Catholic Church, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts has published a statement to clarify crimes, penalties and remedies for an episcopal ordination without Papal mandate (illegal) .
This request for clarification has come from official and underground Catholics after the illicit ordination of the bishop of Chengde, 20 November (see Chengde, eight bishops in communion with Pope participate in illicit ordination - photo). It is even more urgent because the government threatens more future ordinations without the mandate of the pope. The text of the Declaration, which we publish in full below, appeared in the Osservatore Romano on 11 June. The issue was also addressed days ago Mgr. Savio Hon, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (see Rev. Savio Hon 03/06/2011: Chinese bishops should have no fear and say no to Beijing’s demands, says Mgr Savio Hon).
First we present the main elements.
In the first paragraph, the meaning of the text is explained, which seeks to clarify code No. 1382 for an adequate knowledge of penal morms related to illegal ordinations and how to adopt them properly.
The second deals with the "crime" as an external act, which is a violation of Church law. According to Catholic doctrine, this act is considered a "crime against the Catholic doctrine" (and it cites the Second Vatican Council and other documents, noting that this principle is accepted by the Eastern Churches). The "crime" to which it refers is illicit ordination, when it is conducted without papal mandate.
The third section explains who the people involved in crime are: the consecrating bishop, the consecrated and participating bishops.
The fourth paragraph explains that faced with this crime, the Church has two ways to impose a penalty: ferendae sententiae and latae sententiae: the first comes at the conclusion of a real trial, in which the penalty is imposed by a court with a sentence. In the second case (latae sententiae), there is no need for explicit ruling of the court. The act already done automatically implies excommunication.
The Code also indicates a number of circumstances for which the latae sententiae penalty is mitigated (eg fear of serious physical violence, external conditions, ignorance, ....). According to Code 1324, par. 3 if there were mitigating circumstances, the latae sententiae penalty is not incurred . In this way - even if the sentences are a little confused - it gives space to each bishop, who has been implicated in acts against the Catholic doctrine, to personally verify his position.
In the fifth paragraph, it is stated that since there have been actions that have caused scandal to the faithful, the bishops involved must find a way to remedy by making due penance.
Those who admit to have fallen into this crime and this excommunication, shall refrain from three things: 1) taking part in the celebration of the Eucharist as a minister or any other ceremonies of public worship, 2) celebrating the sacraments and sacramentals and receiving any sacrament, and 3) exercising ministerial functions and carrying out acts of ecclesiastical government. "
If they do so, even knowing this, they are making gestures against God's law and thus committing sacrilege.
The sixth paragraph says that the Holy See may have to directly censor bishops who have this canonical responsibility. This will depend largely on their refusal to explain themselves, or their decision to continue to perform acts contrary to communion. The Holy See can declare that they have already fallen into excommunication, or launch other penalties against them.
The text concludes by recalling that these measures are primarily a "medicine", which tend to heal and reintegrate into the communion of the Church. Here is the full text of the Declaration:
1. The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts has been requested to clarify some details regarding the correct application of canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law (C.I.C.), especially in relation to the canonical responsibilities of the subjects involved in an episcopal consecration without the necessary apostolic mandate.
The question, as such, does not give rise to doubts about the law as such, but only requires some elucidations which serve to ensure adequate knowledge of the most important points of the penal norm and the manner in which it should be held to be applicable in concrete cases, taking into account the personal circumstances of the subjects who take part in committing the offence.
2. As is known, Canon 1321 defines an offence as an external violation of a law or precept, gravely imputable by reason of malice or culpability. The canon adds that where there has been an external violation, imputability is presumed, unless it appears otherwise (Canon 1321 § 3). For the offence to exist, it suffices that the offender know that he is violating a canonical law; it is not necessary that he know that a penalty is attached to the canonical law.
Canon 1382 C.I.C. punishes with a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See the Bishop who without the apostolic mandate consecrates someone as Bishop and also whoever receives episcopal ordination in this way. This offence violates Catholic teaching confirmed, among other things, by the Dogmatic ConstitutionLumen Gentium, Nos. 22 and 24, and by the Decree Christus Dominus, No. 20, and included in Canon 377 § 1 C.I.C.: “The Supreme Pontiff freely appoints Bishops or confirms those lawfully elected” and in Canon 1013 C.I.C.: “No Bishop is permitted to consecrate anyone as Bishop, unless it is first established that a pontifical mandate has been issued”.
Canon 1382 C.I.C. is, first of all, a disciplinary norm of the Church which, as Canon 11C.I.C. indicates, holds only for the baptised members of the Catholic Church or for those already received into it. Furthermore, it corresponds to the offence described in Canon 1459 § 2 of the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, even if there are nolatae sententiae penalties in the penal tradition of those Churches, which is why the same penalty is inflicted ferendae sententiae.
3. The offence punished by Canon 1382 C.I.C. is one committed both by the Bishop who consecrates and by the cleric who is consecrated. Furthermore, since episcopal consecration is a rite in which it is usual that more ministers participate, those who assume the responsibility of co-consecrators, that is, who lay hands and recite the consecratory prayer in the ordination (cf. Caeremoniale Episcoporum, Nos. 582 and 584), are co-agents of the offence and therefore equally subject to the penal punishment. This interpretation has also been confirmed by the tradition and recent practice of the Church.
4. However, with regard to the punishment of the offence, the penalty of excommunication stipulated by Canon 1382 C.I.C. is subject to the general conditions required by canon law for the effective and completely certain incurring of a latae sententiae punishment. As is well known, apart from the general penal punishments inflicted ferendae sententiae by the legitimate authority by means of a sentence or decree on the conclusion of the corresponding penal procedures, the canonical system also contains so-called “latae sententiae” penalties, which do not depend on an external judge who inflicts them but only on the committing of the offence, without prejudice to what is prescribed in Canon 1324 § 3. This Canon exempts from the specific latae sententiae penalty if it is found that there are circumstances which, in accordance with § 1 of the same Canon, though not excluding the penalty as such, mitigate it. Canon 1324 § 3, in fact, specifies that the offender does not incur thelatae sententiae penalty if one of the circumstances listed in Canon 1324 § 1 is found to exist.
Hence, in the case of an episcopal consecration without the apostolic mandate, each subject is to be considered singly and according to his own personal circumstances as far as incurring the penalty oflatae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Holy See is concerned. These personal circumstances may be very different and, in some cases, may constitute attenuating circumstances stipulated by the law. In this regard, Canon 1324 § 1 C.I.C. points out that the heat of passion, being a minor, grave fear, even if only relative, necessity, unjust provocation, or ignorance of the canonical penalty, for example, are attenuating circumstances which exclude the latae sententiae penalty in the forms indicated by the law.
Few of these circumstances may be found to exist in the offence of consecration without a mandate. There is, however, a set of attenuating circumstances described in Canon 1324 § 1, 5° C.I.C. which history has shown to be compatible with offences of this nature: when the person, who committed the offence as the one ordaining or the one ordained, was “compelled by grave fear, even if only relative, or by reason of necessity or grave inconvenience”. In the concrete case of an episcopal consecration without the mandate, the attenuating circumstance of grave fear or grave inconvenience (or the exempting one of physical violence) must therefore be verified in relation to each of the subjects who intervene in the rite: the consecrating ministers and the consecrated clerics. Each of these knows in his own heart the degree of his personal involvement and right conscience will indicate to each one whether he has incurred a latae sententiae penalty.
5. With regard to the canonical responsibilities of the subjects involved in an episcopal consecration without the necessary apostolic mandate the following, however, must be added.
The external committing of an act punished by Canon 1382 C.I.C. spontaneously provokes reactions among the faithful, including scandal and confusion, which may in no way be underestimated and which call for the Bishops involved to recover their authority through signs of communion and penance, which can be appreciated by everyone and without which “only with difficulty could a Bishop’s governance be accepted by the People of God as a manifestation of the active presence of Christ in his Church” (Pastores Gregis, No. 43). Bishops, in fact, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, govern the particular Churches entrusted to them “by their counsel, exhortation and example” (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, No. 27; cf. Canon 387 C.I.C.).
Furthermore, we recall that Canon 1331 § 1 C.I.C. points out that the excommunicated person is prohibited from 1) taking part as a minister in the celebration of the Eucharist or any other ceremony of public worship; 2) celebrating sacraments and sacramentals, and receiving any sacrament; 3) exercising ecclesiastical ministerial functions or acts of government. These prohibitions enter into effectipso iure at the very moment in which a latae sententiae penalty is incurred. Hence, there is no necessity for any authority to intervene to impose these prohibitions on the subject: awareness of having committed an offence suffices for the person who has incurred the punishment to be held before God to abstain from such acts, on pain of committing a morally illicit and therefore sacrilegious act. However, even acts derived from the power of order and carried out in these circumstances of sacrilege would be valid.
6. Obviously, all that precedes does not exclude the possibility, in cases of episcopal ordination without the papal mandate, of the Holy See’s finding itself in the position of having directly to inflict censures on the subject, for example, were an attitude incompatible with the requirements of communion to be shown by his successive behaviour or reluctance to provide the necessary explanations about the degree of his involvement in the offence. Furthermore, on obtaining new and certain information, the Holy See could even find itself having to declare the latae sententiaeexcommunication or impose other punishments or penances, were this necessary in order to repair the scandal, dissipate the confusion of the faithful and, more generally, safeguard ecclesiastical discipline (cf. Canon 1341).
The penalty of latae sententiae excommunication stipulated by Canon 1382 C.I.C. is a censure reserved to the Holy See. As a censure, it is a so-called “medicinal” penalty, because its aim is to move the offender to repent: once he has demonstrated that he has sincerely repented, he acquires the right to be absolved from the excommunication. Furthermore, since it is reserved to the Holy See, the repentant offender can approach only to the Holy See to obtain absolution from the excommunication and be reconciled with the Church.
From the Vatican, 6 June 2011
+ Francesco Coccopalmerio, President
+ Juan Ignacio Arrieta, Secretary
In Burundi, Bujumbura, at the MEO Center, born in 2001 and over the years has become an important reference point for more than 500 children, AVIS has organized games with prizes for the event which required the involvement of the family also, simply to emphasize the importance of parents in the educational processes of children. In collaboration with Cadhro (local NGO specialized in law and legal defense of the most vulnerable), organized moments of awareness on the rights of the child with the participation of parents. In Kayanza and Ngozi meetings were held with families to reflect on the condition of the child in Africa.
In Rwanda, in the refugee camps where Congolese children and families are welcomed, poetry, theater, music and drawing competitions were organized. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Kamanyola, in South Kivu, AVIS contributed to the day organized by the Danilo Catarzi Center with the participation of some children also from Rwanda and Burundi who took part in recreational activities such as football matches, traditional dances and writing poems.
In Nigeria, the Child Day was celebrated in advance by AVIS, to emphasize the importance of these places as points of reference for the development of the community. As part of a project that provides assistance and care of orphans and vulnerable children and the creation of clubs that help the children stay together, on May 26, in the village of Ikorodu, at St. John's Nursery and the Oreto Primary School Compound , meetings and demonstrations were held following the theme "Our Children - Aspiring to greatness". The Day, which was attended by 176 children and 54 relatives, began with a prayer and a song and was followed by activities dedicated to highlight the importance of infant education, encouraging parents to send their children to school. The theatrical play on the rights of children which saw them as actors was also emotional. On May 28, the association in Idiaraba, Mushin, Ikorodu and Ikat organized special activities to promote greater awareness on the rights of children through targeted proposals and remembering the basics to the children themselves and their families. There was a large participation, 639 children and 163 adults. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 06/18/2011)
St. Elizabeth of Schoenau
BENEDICTINE ABBESS AND MYSTIC
Feast: June 18
Born about 1129; d. 18 June, 1165.-Feast 18 June. She was born of an obscure family, entered the double monastery of Schönau in Nassau at the age of twelve, received the Benedictine habit, made her profession in 1147, and in 1157 was superioress of the nuns under the Abbot Hildelin. After her death she was buried in the abbey church of St. Florin. When her writings were published the name of saint was added. She was never formally canonized, but in 1584 her name was entered in the Roman Martyrology and has remained there.
Given to works of piety from her youth, much afflicted with bodily and mental suffering, a zealous observer of the Rule of St. Benedict and of the regulation of her convent, and devoted to practices of mortification, Elizabeth was favoured, from 1152, with ecstasies and visions of various kinds. These generally occurred on Sundays and Holy Days at Mass or Divine Office or after hearing or reading the lives of saints. Christ, His Blessed Mother, an angel, or the special saint of the day would appear to her and instruct her; or she would see quite realistic representations of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension, or other scenes of the Old and New Testaments. What she saw and heard she put down on wax tablets. Her abbot, Hildelin, told her to relate these things to her brother Egbert (Eckebert), then priest at the church of Bonn. At first she hesitated fearing lest she be deceived or be looked upon as a deceiver; but she obeyed. Egbert (who became a monk of Schönau in 1155 and succeeded Hildelin as second abbot) put everything in writing, later arranged the material at leisure, and then published all under his sister's name.
* three books of "Visions". Of these the first is written in language very simple and in unaffected style, so that it may easily pass as the work of Elizabeth. The other two are more elaborate and replete with theological terminology, so that they show more of the work of Egbert than of Elizabeth.
There is a great diversity of opinion in regard to her revelations. The Church has never passed sentence upon them nor even examined them. Elizabeth herself was convinced of their supernatural character, as she states in a letter to Hildegarde; her brother held the same opinion; Trithemius considers them genuine; Eusebius Amort (De revelationibus visionibus et apparitionibus privatis regulae tutae, etc., Augsburg, 1744) holds them to be nothing more than what Elizabeth's own imagination could produce, or illusions of the devil, since in some things they disagree with history and with other revelations (Acta SS., Oct, IX, 81). A complete edition of her writings was made by F.W.E. Roth (Brunn, 1884); translations appeared in Italian (Venice, 1859), French (Tournai, 1864), and in Icelandic (1226-1254).