Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
September 14, 2009
WCR Letters to the Editor
Alberta gov't cultivates a culture of death
As Canadian bishops draw attention to a federal private members bill on euthanasia, legislation that obviously clashes with the pro-life mantra of the Catholic Church, the Government of Alberta contributes to a "culture of death" by closing Alberta Hospital and cutting health-care programs throughout the province.
The most publicized of all cuts is the removal of professional care from the mentally ill at AH, many of whom survive on minimal government subsidies. This move is an unequivocal disregard for the dignity of the human person, and therefore immoral.
Lesser known, but serious nonetheless are funding cuts to pastoral care (a.k.a. spiritual care) programs throughout the province. Particularly noteworthy is the axing of the reputable clinical pastoral education/pastoral counseling education residency at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, a training resource for theological students, by this government.
Standing against a culture of death and affirming the dignity of life, as well as the process of dying, spiritual (or pastoral) care can be a component of palliative care.
Arguably, the reason euthanasia has remained illegal for so long, palliative care offers gravely ill persons the opportunity to die with dignity and with minimal pain.
Spiritual care, meanwhile, offers the sick and dying the opportunity to die with the dignity of pastoral support. A service to both family and patient, spiritual care aims to ease the trauma of dying by honouring the experience of fear and pain among the suffering. While some desire to die, none desire to suffer.
The best defenses against euthanasia then are programs like pastoral and palliative care; programs that affirm the dignity of the sick and the dying.
Pierre Ducharme, ofm
Letter to the Editor - 09/28/09
Dig deep next time the collection plate passes
My wife and I recently attended Mass in a small Alberta community that depends financially on visitors. With tourism down this year the contributions of the residents was laid bare.
It was the vital needs of the church building as outlined by the priest and finance chairperson that made me realize that maybe Catholics are not so great at giving.
The litany of needs of this old church dealt with crumbling walls, broken windows, new safety doors to "bring up to code," a boiler repair and other deficiencies. The parish does not have the money for the repairs.
Tithing is a dirty word with a lot of Catholics.
Our entertainment pursuits, theatre, liquor, hockey, cable television and gas for two or three cars must add up to a lot more than the toonies we sometimes throw into the collection.
I read about one parish, which is mostly middle and upper middle class, where the bulletin reported that the average collection per participant at Mass is about $3. That is way less than the cost of a happy meal at McDonalds.
A lot of Protestant churches tithe. Tithing is generally based on 10 per cent of one's income. Very few Catholics tithe. Five per cent of one's income would greatly help but generally we don't do this either.
At the service my wife and I attended the priest asked us to compare what we put in the collection to our Internet costs, texting costs and cable TV costs.
Perhaps we as Catholics don't understand that everything we have is a gift from God.
Next time when the collection is brought up during a eucharistic celebration, perhaps we should take a hard, long look at that basket and ask am I really and truly giving?
Is it enough?
Rocky Mountain House
The question of dying requires clarification
Regarding Father Rolheiser's column in theAug. 24 WCR, I felt that it condoned the wishes of a terminally ill woman, who told her family she would be moved to palliative care and would die the same day.
She was then given a dose of pain medication that put her to sleep permanently, as was implied by the comment of the attending nurse.
This seems to be a case of assisted suicide, which is condemned by the Catholic Church.
It seems contradictory that the WCR included this column in an issue where the cover story has Archbishop Smith urging Catholics to speak out against the euthanasia bill (C-384) and Mark Pickup, in the same issue, alerting us to the dangers of the bill.
I hope Father Rolheiser will clarify his words.
I will keep this intention in prayer.
Letter to the Editor - 10/05/09
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