Browsing News Entries

Assisted suicide legislation advances in Australia's Victoria state

Melbourne, Australia, Oct 18, 2017 / 04:41 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- American-inspired legislation to legalize assisted suicide has advanced in the Australian state of Victoria, leading critics to worry that it abandons the vulnerable.

On Oct. 18, Ministers of Parliament in Victoria voted to advance the bill by a 49-37 vote. It will face consideration by the full body before being advanced to the Legislative Council, the upper house.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill is based on similar laws in the U.S. It allows adults who are terminally ill and mentally competent to ask their doctor to prescribe a drug that will end their lives, the U.K.-based news site Politics Home reports. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had introduced the bill.

A parliamentary inquiry found that one terminally ill Victorian was taking his or her own life every week.

Critics of the bill questioned a lack of detail about what lethal drugs will be used. They said there is not a requirement for a psychological assessment to determine whether the patient suffers depression, the U.K. newspaper The Guardian reports. They also cited the risk that the elderly will be coerced into committing suicide.

Backers of the bill said it would only affect a small number of people who suffer terminal illnesses. They objected that palliative care cannot deal with all pain. They also claim the bill has among the most stringent safeguards in the world.

Catholics, including Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, and leaders from several Christian denominations joined together to sign a letter protesting the proposal, charging that euthanasia and assisted suicide “represent the abandonment of those who are in greatest need of our care and support.” The letter appeared July 31 in The Herald Sun newspaper.

In April, the local Catholic bishops said the proposal was based on “misplaced compassion.”

“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are the opposite of care and represent the abandonment of the sick and the suffering, of older and dying persons,” they said in a pastoral letter. They also invoked the commandment “You Shall Not Kill” and cited the situation in countries like Holland where there are pressures on the elderly to commit suicide.

The effort to legalize assisted suicide in Victoria has been debated for more than a year. In June 2016, a parliamentary committee recommended legalizing voluntary euthanasia.

At the time, some physicians criticized the move. They charged that some lawmakers had naïve expectations and overestimated the speed and painlessness of a euthanasia death.

They warned that the legalization risked diminishing palliative care, which they said was already underused and underfunded.

A proposal similar to the Victorian bill will be debated in New South Wales in November.

 

Philippines mourns Cardinal Vidal, who leaves a legacy of service

Cebu, Philippines, Oct 18, 2017 / 01:36 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, who was Archbishop of Cebu from 1982 to 2010 and a leading Catholic figure in the fall of Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, died Wednesday at the age of 86.

Pope Francis praised the cardinal’s “untiring and devoted service to the Church” and his “constant advocacy of dialogue and peace for all the people in the Philippines.”

“I commend his soul to the infinite love and mercy of our heavenly Father,” he said in an Oct. 18 telegram, voicing condolences to Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu and the clergy, religious, and laity of the archdiocese.

In the early 1980s Vidal became vice-president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. He served as the conference’s president from 1985 to 1987. With Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila, he took a lead role in what has become known as the People’s Power Revolution.

He issued a famous letter denouncing the results of the country’s February 1986 snap elections that gave a slim victory to longtime ruler President Ferdinand Marcos over his challenger Corazon Aquino. The elections were denounced for widespread fraud. After widespread non-violent protests, Marcos would leave office to live in exile.

During another period of political tensions in 2001, Cardinal Vidal urged then-president Joseph Estrada to resign amid allegations of corruption, ABS-CBN News reports. The cardinal later convinced Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to pardon Estrada after he was convicted.

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato remembered Vidal as “a true servant-leader, rather than a ‘prince’.” He said the late cardinal left a legacy of outstanding character, CBCP News reports.

The cardinal showed humility and had a low-profile style, according to Quevedo. He was approachable and was able to listen to opposing views. He showed prudence in political issues, charity towards those considered “enemies,” and “courage” in presenting the Catholic bishops’ position ahead of the People Power Revolution.

The future cardinal was born Feb. 6, 1931 in Mogpoc, a city in the central island province of Marinduque. He studied for the priesthood at the minor seminary of the Most Holy Rosary, later named for Our Lady of Carmel. He also studied at the seminary of San Carlo.

Bishop Alfredo Maria Aranda Obviar of Lucena, who has been named a Servant of God, ordained him a priest in March 1956. Bishop Obviar named Vidal spiritual director of the local seminary of Mount Carmel, which the priest later served as superior.

In September 1971 he was named Coadjutor Bishop of Malolos, a diocese in the Central Luzon province of Bulacan. He did not succeed as ordinary of Malolos, however, as in August 1973 he was named Archbishop of Lipa in the province of Batangas. In April 1981 he was named Coadjutor Archbishop of Cebu, whose archbishop at the time was Cardinal Julio Rosales. He succeeded Cardinal Rosales in August 1982. He was named a cardinal by St. John Paul II in 1985.

Msgr. Joseph Tan, a spokesman for the Cebu archdiocese, said Vidal had become seriously ill and was admitted to hospital Oct. 11. He said the cause of death was infection leading to septic shock.

He asked for prayers for the cardinal’s soul.

A wake for the cardinal has begun at Cebu’s cathedral. On Oct. 21 his body will be brought to the St. Pedro Calungsod Shrine, inside the compound of the archbishop’s residence.

His funeral will take place Oct. 26 at 9 a.m. in the cathedral. He will be laid to rest in the mausoleum at the back of the cathedral’s sacristry.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Philippines bishops’ conference, praised the cardinal’s legacy.

“Cardinal Vidal cannot die,” Villegas said. “He who has always shared in the dying and rising of the Lord daily in his priestly life cannot die. He now joins the immortal ones who served the Lord faithfully here on earth. His wisdom and his humility, his love for priests and his devotion to the Virgin Mary must live on in us whom he has left behind.”

“Rest well Eminence,” said the archbishop. “Pray for us in the Father’s House.”

Giving Generously in Motherhood Will Not Leave You Empty

By Susanna Spencer | I first read The Awakening by American author Kate Chopin my junior year of high school. It was assigned reading in my class on American history and literature at my all girls Catholic high school. It was a...

50 Years Ago This Month, Abortion Became Legal in Great Britain

By Fr. Matthew Pittam | This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act in Britain. A number of pro-life groups have planned peaceful events to mark this anniversary. Pro-life events in the U.K. have...

Modern Horror: New Report Says Global Persecution of Christians Is at Historic Peak

By CNA/EWTN News | NEW YORK — Anti-Christian persecution is “worse than at any time in history,” and in many cases, genocide and other crimes against humanity “now mean that the Church in core countries and...

Pope Francis Explains Why He Gives Interviews

By Hannah Brockhaus/CNA/EWTN News | VATICAN CITY — In a preface to a new book of interviews, Pope Francis outlined his approach to speaking with journalists, explaining that he thinks...

Oasis of Mercy: Boston Mall Chapel Installs Relics of Three Saints

By Christine M. Williams | BOSTON — At the heart of Boston’s busiest shopping center stands an unusual storefront. Through the glass wall, passersby see a crucifix, tabernacle and, now, reliquaries...

Pope Prays for Somalia, Reflects on Christian Hope of Eternal Life

By Hannah Brockhaus/CNA/EWTN News | VATICAN CITY — On Wednesday, Pope Francis offered prayers for the more than 300 victims of a terrorist bombing in the African country of Somalia, one of...

Why the Light of Purity is Needed to See the Mystery of Sex

By Dietrich von Hildebrand | The following essay was excerpted from Dietrich von Hildebrand’s In Defense of Purity, which first appeared in 1927 and was released in a new English edition on...

Hollywood is Full of Booming Gongs and Clashing Cymbals

By Matthew Archbold | Harvey Weinstein is a problem. But he's not THE problem. It goes far deeper. We all know that Harvey Weinstein is a symptom of a diseased culture. I enjoy going to the movies but I've noticed something...