Care Week is 23-29 May and Palliative Care Sunday is celebrated on Sunday 23
May (Pentecost this year). A Pastoral Letter on this topic
has been prepared and will be distributed through your local parish.
is currently a campaign running to legalise Voluntary Assisted Dying (euthanasia
and assisted suicide) in NSW. This has prompted me to make Palliative
Care Week a focus for our Diocese, and to use this opportunity to help our
people be better informed on Palliative Care as a genuine alternative to euthanasia
and assisted suicide.
We respect life from the very beginning
as a precious gift. Each of our lives is precious and God values each of us to death
and beyond. We are made by love and for love, and are witness to and celebrate
this by defending life from conception to death, and with the respect we show
towards those who have died.
We know at an intellectual level that we will die. Yet it
can be confronting when this becomes personal and we have to face it happening
to us or our loved ones. Even talking about it is difficult and does not come
easily; it is something we have to learn.
Palliative care "opposes what makes death most terrifying and unwelcome -- pain
and loneliness." (Pope Francis, November 16, 2020)
Palliative care does not set out to make our
life longer or shorter but rather helps us live as well as possible until we
die. It is not euthanasia. If there is treatment for our medical condition, we
will still get it if we so choose.
On Sunday August 1,
we will dedicate the day to understanding why the Catholic Church rejects Voluntary
Assisted Dying with the hope that it will prompt many to contact our
politicians and ask them to vote against it. I urge you all to do whatever you can to
ensure that compassionate, life-affirming care is provided to everyone who
needs it, so that no-one ever feels, or is, in pain or abandoned.
The full Pastoral Letter on Palliative Care issued by Bishop Mark Edwards OMI can be downloaded by clicking the link below: