Braintree, MA – The Archdiocese of Boston announced today a parish based education campaign to inform our Catholic community on the issues involved with doctor-prescribed suicide. This weekend, parishioners will have the opportunity to listen to a previously recorded homily by Cardinal Seán O’Malley on a November 2012 ballot initiative that would allow physician-assisted suicide in Massachusetts. Should the law pass, Massachusetts will become only the third state in the United States to allow doctors to write lethal prescriptions for the terminally ill at the patient’s request; the other states being Oregon and Washington. The teaching of the Church regarding the human dignity of all people would be undermined by such a measure.
The launch of the education campaign on Saturday and Sunday, February 11th & 12th coincides with World Day of Sick, inaugurated by Pope John Paul II twenty years ago to pray for the sick and dying and their caregivers. In his homily the Cardinal states, “We celebrate World Day of the Sick each year on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes in order to pray for the sick and the dying and for those in the healing professions. Saint Paul exhorts us today to be imitators of Christ, who stretches out his hand in compassion toward the sick. This is the model that we as Christians have emulated for centuries in our hospitals, nursing homes, and treatment centers.
Regarding the doctor-prescribed suicide ballot initiative, Cardinal Seán states, “Suicide is always a tragedy. A vote for assisted suicide would be a vote for suicide.” The Cardinal noted that most Americans are against suicide, regardless of their religious denomination and view suicide as a morally objectionable choice. “Our society will be judged by how we treat those who are ill and the infirm. They need our care and protection, not lethal drugs.”
In addition to the Cardinal’s recorded homily, materials will be made available to help inform Catholics about the proposed law. This includes a specially prepared pew card to follow along as the Cardinal lays out the reasons why this initiative must be defeated this November. In addition brochures, prayer cards, bulletin inserts and other materials have been prepared for parishioners and will be available in parishes. The Archdiocese is also launching a website www.suicideisalwaysatragedy.org to preview Cardinal Seán’s homily and to provide more information.
The Cardinal urges the Catholic community to do three things to help stop doctor-assisted suicide from becoming law in Massachusetts. He states, “First, pray for people who are seriously ill and dying, and for their caregivers. Visit the sick which is one of the corporal works of mercy. Second, avoid believing the misleading and seductive language of “dignity,” “mercy,” “compassion” or “aid in dying” that proponents of the legislation will use to describe assisted suicide. Third, educate yourselves as much as possible on assisted suicide.” Catholics are urged to help organize the opposition to this ballot measure.
Please visit www.SuicideisAlwaysaTragedy.org which has been created to educate people on this issue.
Cardinal Seán said, “Let us work together to build a civilization of love – a love which is stronger than death!”