The Bishop of Sts Peter and Paul of Melbourne His Grace Most Reverend Peter Stasiuk has issued a Pastoral Letter, directed to the priests, deacons, monastics, religious and the faithful of the Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul on the subject on Voluntary Assisted Dying – Euthanasia
of CSsR DD AM Eparch of Sts Peter and Paul of Melbourne on Voluntary Assisted Dying – Euthanasia
To the priests, deacons, monastics, religious and the faithful of the Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul
Praise be to Jesus Christ!
Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm (99:3)
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
All life is a sacred and precious gift from God. As your bishop and teacher I write to you on a topic that threatens the sacredness of human life. Euthanasia, which is now euphemistically referred to as Voluntary Assisted Dying.
Over the last few months, the State Governments of Victoria and New South Wales have introduced legislation into their respective Parliaments which have the benign title of “Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill”. These Bills will change the criminal code to permit doctors and other health professionals to become actively and deliberately involved in the premature death of patients. Motivated by a false sense of compassion the proponents of this legislation are also proposing government endorsed suicide.
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Endorsing suicide as a solution to pain or suffering sends the wrong message, especially to the young. Suicide is a tragedy for the person who takes their own life, but it also seriously affects their family and community. It would be morally corrupt to legally endorse any form of suicide.
The sanctity of human life is at the heart of our faith. The Church teaches, “Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for themselves or for another person entrusted to their care, nor can they consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately permit such an action. For it is a question of the violation of divine law, an offence against the dignity of the human person, a crime against life, an attack on humanity.” (Catechism UGCC 909)
Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying
Brothers and Sisters, no one takes pleasure in suffering, or seeing a loved one suffer.” A gravely ill person needs love attention, prayer and spiritual support. Those who are close to the infirm — parents, children, family members, friends, and also doctors, nurses, clergy and other members of the church community are called to surround the infirm with such care. ” (Catechism UGCC 910)
Government has a duty to help those who are suffering by providing and funding adequate palliative care facilities. The old, sick, infirm and dying are never to be considered a burden, but rather a gift that enables us to love at a deeper level.
I encourage you to speak up. Let your voice be heard. Contact your local member of parliament and let them know that Voluntary Assisted Dying — Euthanasia or assisted suicide are not the answer in a truly compassionate society.
The old, sick, infirm and dying are never to be considered a burden, but rather a gift that enables us to love at a deeper level
Psalm 99.3 reminds us that God made us and we are His. The sacredness of human life comes from God. Protecting it is of utmost importance to God. He takes this so seriously and personally because He made humanity to reflect Him. We are His earthly representatives, made in His image. To murder another person or to assist someone in taking their own life is to mount an attack on God!
May Blessings of God be upon us!
Given at our Cathedral Church of Sts. Peter and Paul of Melbourne on the Twelfth Day of October in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Seventeen
Eparch of Sts Peter and Paul of Melbourne
For Ukrainian Catholics in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania