Bishops to launch national strategy to combat euthanasia

By Deborah Gyapong

Canadian Catholic News

BEAUPRÉ, Que. (CCN) — At the annual plenary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the CCCB president announced the launch of a national strategy to fight the push for euthanasia.

Gatineau Archbishop Paul-André Durocher said the CCCB website has added a new section on euthanasia and assisted suicide in its life and family section. He said the CCCB would launch a “campaign to combat the movement in Canada to facilitate access to euthanasia” with the help of the Catholic Organization of Life and Family (COLF) and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

“It’s a campaign for palliative care and against euthanasia,” Durocher said in an interview. He described it as an “educational campaign to get people to be aware of the difference between the two.”

The campaign, called a National Campaign for Palliative Care and Home Care, and against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, launches Sept. 28. It includes a flyer and website materials that bishops can use in their dioceses.

“We are promoting a vision of life, a vision of care of the dying and that vision is best embodied in good palliative care,” he said.

“The idea is to make the faithful conscious of what’s happening,” said COLF executive director Michele Boulva in an interview. “It’s designed to educate people and promote their responsibility as citizens to get involved in the public debate and to defend life.”

Durocher reported CCODP has developed new bylaws that were presented at a general council meeting earlier this year. He told the more than 80 bishops and eparchs from across Canada relations between the CCCB and CCODP were “optimal.”

The CCCB president said the new bylaws strengthen the “Catholic identity of Development and Peace.”

He described as “fruitful and positive” the interaction with lay members of the council.

“We have an extremely beautiful relationship and we want to continue building on this relationship in the coming year,” he said.

The Canada Revenue Agency requested bylaw changes for all charitable organizations and they have already been accepted, said CCODP executive director Michael Casey in an interview. In addition to strengthening the agency’s Catholic identity, the bylaws also highlight the relationship CCODP has to the Holy See’s charitable federation, Caritas Internationalis, he said.

These bylaws benefited from the work the special liaison committee for CCODP and the CCCB had developed to revise CCODP’s policies in light of Pope Benedict XVI’s social justice encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Casey said. He also said the liaison committee had strengthened the bonds and communication with the bishops’ conference.

Durocher told the bishops a national collection to aid the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan raised more than $10 million to help people rebuild. CCODP will also be supplying the bishops with a summary of the work they have done in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake, not only in emergency relief but in long-term development, he said.

Durocher shared how last year as part of the Holy Land Co-ordination he was able to visit Gaza for a period of 24 hours and pray with the small Catholic community there.

“The events we’ve seen in the last few months in Gaza disturbed me deeply,” he said. “Once you have developed human relationships, the suffering of the people is not only an idea anymore. I asked for your prayers for the Middle East.”

Durocher also noted the second International Conference on Human Trafficking that took place in April at the Holy See where delegates from 40 countries examined how to combat human trafficking.

“Religious women are deeply involved in the fight against human trafficking here in Canada,” he said. The CCCB presidents invited the four episcopal regions to invite some sisters to describe the work they are doing. “It’s important for us as bishops to be aware and to support them,” he said, noting Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Peace Jan. 1 will be about human trafficking.

The Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disposition of the Sacraments, Archbishop Arthur Roche, addressed the plenary assembly Sept. 15 on the importance of retaining the use of the word “sons” in some passages of St. Paul in Romans and Galatians, and why inclusive language may risk losing the Christological import of those scriptural passages.

Roche, who chaired ICEL during its work revising the Roman Missal’s recent English translation, explained that the major difference between the 1969 liturgical books and the Holy See’s 2001 directive Liturgiam authenticam was a shift in the principles of translation from dynamic or functional equivalence to formal equivalence.

“Dynamic equivalence has become an outmoded idea,” Roche said, noting even its originator, a Baptist pastor, ceased to use it in his later writings.

“Specialists in language have realized the form we choose for an utterance is expressive of our purpose in expression,” he said.

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