Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
May 10, 2010
Euthanasia denies humanity's sacredness
Cardinal Ouellet tells physicians no one is the 'ultimate arbiter of life'
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
MONTREAL - People have a right to life because the human person has been created and loved by a transcendent, sovereign God, says Cardinal Marc Ouellet.
"God is involved in our identity," Ouellet told a gathering of doctors here May 2. "If we touch the human being, we touch God."
Those who support legalized euthanasia believe that pain, helplessness and the deterioration of health makes some lives less worthy, he said.
But the Catholic Church teaches that the dignity of the human person is the same in all phases of development. Our human identity is sacred, he said.
The Bible, Ouellet said, forbids any human decision to end or shorten the life of another person or even to end one's own life. "No human being is the ultimate arbiter of life."
Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec and primate of the Catholic Church in Canada, spoke to the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies (CFCPS) annual conference.
The former rector of St. Joseph Seminary will return to Edmonton May 27 to give the catechetical presentation at Nothing More Beautiful, 7 p.m., in St. Joseph's Basilica.
Ouellet told his audience of physicians that human beings are created in the image of God. Their identity depends on loving relationships, modeled on the self-giving loving relationships of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the Trinity.
"Married life and family is the first realization of this resemblance by love," he said. "This dynamism of communion is part of a larger network of human relationships through which the mystery of the covenant between God and man in Christ (is imaged)."
Catholics, he said, understand the dignity of people who live without God "more deeply than they see themselves. We can help them recover this dimension of their own being," the cardinal said, speaking of the need to "foster a life of prayer."
"If there is no place for God, there is no place for prayer," he said. "It is a terrible impoverishment not to pray, not to have this divine dialogue."
Ouellet also said prayer and penance are the first steps in combating the recent attacks on the pope.
"If other groups and lobbies want to install euthanasia and abortion without any control, they have to attack the Catholic Church."
The attackers are trying to discredit the pope, he said. "We don't have to look at the message if the messenger is not credible."
He applauded the role the Catholic physicians are taking in organizing to bring the message into the public debate.
Doctors face social currents that openly defy their consciences, he said. Legislation or proposed legislation concerning abortion, euthanasia and regulations threatening to undermine conscientious objection have made the confrontation more dramatic.
If the right to life is not respected, democracy itself is threatened, he said. So are all other human rights, as well as the foundational principles of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Consequently, we face an unjust society where the strong prevail over the weak, he said.
Ouellet also spoke of how the role of a physician depends not only on technical and chemical means, but on healing relationships with sick and vulnerable human beings.
More than 120 physicians, medical students and other health professionals from across Canada attended the three-day conference.
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