Posts Tagged ‘Defending Life’
As a Jesuit priest and a physician, Father Myles Sheehan brings a unique perspective to the debate about assisted suicide.
Fr. Sheehan recently spoke to Boston’s Catholic newspaper, The Pilot, about proposed legalized physician-assisted suicide in Massachusetts, which he considers a failure to meet the needs of the dying.
“I would like to see that people receive an approach that attends to their suffering in all its dimensions from the beginning of a serious illness,” Fr. Sheehan said. He said those dimensions include attention to spiritual needs as well as mental and physical needs.
A medical educator trained in internal medicine and geriatrics and an expert in palliative care, Fr. Sheehan currently serves as the provincial of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus.
“This is a place where St. Ignatius said, ‘Love needs to be shown in deeds not words.’ The care and our whole way we approach people as they face the end of life is an issue that needs further attention. A distorted way to attend to it is what has come out of this assisted suicide [movement], but the underlying fears, concerns and discomfort about what the end of life might mean is real whether or not you agree or disagree,” Fr. Sheehan said.
Fr. Sheehan believes fear is a large contributor to attitudes that push people to choose to end their own lives, adding that the healthcare system can address these fears, provided caregivers make a sustained effort to maintain high standards of treatment in the system and in society.
“There is a bottom line that we have the fifth commandment ‘Though shalt not kill,’ and the killing of innocent life is considered intrinsically evil, that is, it is always wrong. And so to take the life, or to provide the means for a person to kill himself is considered an intrinsically evil act, because it violates first the life of the person. Second, it is a larger assault against what it means for human dignity,” Fr. Sheehan said.
Read the full story at The Pilot.
On Friday, July 20, after the shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater that left 12 dead, Jesuit Father James Martin, culture editor at America magazine, posted the following on Facebook:
“Gun control is a pro-life issue. Pray for the families of the victims in Colorado, and for an end to the taking of life by violence.”
That post sparked a debate on Fr. Martin’s Facebook page that USA Today’s Faith & Reason blog reported on later that day, in a post titled “Would Jesus pack heat? Is gun control a God issue?”
On July 22, Fr. Martin expanded on his views in a post on America magazine’s blog. Fr. Martin stated that he is a religious person, not a political person, and that he believes gun control is a religious issue:
“It is as much of a ‘life issue’ or a ‘pro-life issue,’ as some religious people say, as is abortion, euthanasia or the death penalty (all of which I am against), and programs that provide the poor with the same access to basic human needs as the wealthy (which I am for). There is a ‘consistent ethic of life’ that views all these issues as linked, because they are.”
Fr. Martin wrote that he prays for the victims, but suggested that “our revulsion over these crimes, and our sympathy for victims, may be more than an invitation to prayer. Such deep emotions may be one way that God encourages us to act.”
Fr. Martin said religious people should meditate on “the connection between the more traditional ‘life issues’ and the overdue need for stricter gun control.”
Today, pro-life groups from Jesuit high schools, colleges, universities and parishes from across the US are banding together as part of the Ignatian Pro Life Network’s annual Mass for Life & Rally on the Mall in Washington, DC.
The participants will gather on the Mall following today’s Mass for Life where they will hear from speakers and students before heading out to join others at the March for Life.
National Jesuit News recently spoke with the Ignatian Pro Life Network’s coordinator, Jesuit Father Phil Hurley about the importance of Jesuits and their partners to be involved in pro life advocacy work and Father Hurley shared with us his own personal story on why this work means so much to him in the video below.