The Editor: In response to an article which appeared in the Feb. 24 PM, “Clergy face moral issues on assisted suicide,” it is indeed a thorny issue but not for bishops and priests alone. The title of this article seems to give “ownership’ of the sacraments to the clergy and therefore gives them the right to dispense the sacrament as they see fit.
The sacraments are for the Christian (Catholic) community. They are not favours for good behaviour but an experience of the saving work of God in our lives.
I would hope that bishops and priests would invite the faithful to dialogue with them on this matter. Dialogue brings people together. In these turbulent times, we need more dialogue to promote unity and understanding.
During this year of mercy and in the midst of this controversy, what an opportunity to witness the mercy of God to those in the midst of crisis. As Pope Francis stated in his recent letter, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), “no one can be condemned forever.” Who knows the mind of the person asking for assisted death? Only God does. Who knows the mind of God? Only God does.
To condemn people even before they depart this world seems to go against everything the Gospel teaches. Did Jesus not eat, talk to and touch those condemned by the religious leaders of his time? Jesus witnessed mercy and justice in the true sense of Scripture. It was justice which restored people to wholeness. It was not punitive justice which made people cringe and fear God. The sacrament of the sick in this situation may be a lifeline someone is desperately looking for. Let’s hope the church can extend that lifeline.
As I said in the beginning, this is a thorny issue with no easy solution but if we dialogue, speak our thoughts, express our feeling, share our experiences, and listen, perhaps together, as the whole people of God, we can be led by the Holy Spirit to a true pastoral solution. — Anthony Chezzi, Sudbury, Ont.