ACADEMY FOR LIFE PRESIDENT: “ASSISTED SUICIDE AN ABSURDITY” – POPE FRANCIS TO MEET FOUNDER OF ARGENTINA’S GRANDMOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO – “THE NONEXISTENT RIGHT” – RUSSIA NOT EXTENDING PERMITS FOR RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES IN CRIMEA

To save you some time, here are some links to ordering Pope Francis’ Italian-language book, “Il Mio Breviario” (My Breviary), online. It is Kindle version only but you know you can read Kindle books on your iPad or other tablet. These links are for the US, the UK and Italy:

US – Kindle:  http://www.amazon.com/Il-mio-breviario-Italian-Francesco-ebook/dp/B00O4KCF1Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415101941&sr=1-1&keywords=Il+mio+breviario

UK – Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Il-mio-breviario-Italian-Edition-ebook/dp/B00O4KCF1Y

ITALY – Kindle: http://www.amazon.it/Il-mio-breviario-Francesco-ebook/dp/B00O4KCF1Y

ACADEMY FOR LIFE PRESIDENT: “ASSISTED SUICIDE AN ABSURDITY”

On its English language site with Vatican news. ANSA, the Italian news agency, reported today that “a senior Vatican official on Tuesday condemned the suicide of American brain cancer sufferer Brittany Maynard at the weekend. ‘We don’t judge people, but the gesture in itself is to be condemned,’ Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told ANSA. “Assisted suicide is an absurdity. Dignity is something different to putting an end to your own life’.”

ANSA noted that “Maynard, a 29-year-old American afflicted with terminal brain cancer, announced weeks ago that she was planning to end her life. The video Maynard posted on Youtube in conjunction with the non-profit Compassion & Choices, in which she announced her decision, has been viewed 9.8 million times and made her a key advocate in the US’s right-to-die movement.”

POPE FRANCIS TO MEET FOUNDER OF ARGENTINA’S GRANDMOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO

Pope Francis on Wednesday will receive the founder and leader of an Argentinian grandmothers’ association that seeks children stolen and illegally adopted during the country’s Dirty War, Vatican sources said Monday. The Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo) were set up to track down grandchildren abducted from female prisoners who gave birth in secret detention centers during the military dictatorship of 1976-1984.

“We are proud of the Argentine Pope,” Estela de Carlotto told ANSA ahead of her audience with Francis. She will be bringing several family members, including Ignacio Guido, her grandson, the son of her daughter Laura, who was abducted while pregnant, tortured and killed by the military 36 years ago. While Laura’s bullet-riddled body was returned to her mother, Laura’s child was not. Estela recovered him in August this year, thanks to a DNA bank set up by families and survivors of the dictatorship.

“We will all be there, a total of 18 Carlottos,” she said. (http://popefrancisnewsapp.com/)

“THE NONEXISTENT RIGHT”

The Vatican newspaper, in its November 5 edition that is on newststands the afternoon of November 4, carried a front page editorial entitled “The Nonexistent Right,” which is a commentary on the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide. The following is my translation:

The editorial starts: “This is the great weakness of many Western societies, the fact that they confuse what is moral with what is legal. And what is no longer condemned by law quickly becomes the object of a right.” This sentence by Patrick Verspieren. Jesuit and bioethicist, is from the editorial of the latest edition of the magazine “Etudes” and refers to the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide in several countries.

Fr. Verspieren, in commenting the position of Corinne Van Oost, the author of a book published in Belgium in mid-September with the provocative title “As a Doctor and Catholic, I practice Euthanasia,” denounced the risk of the banalization or almost becoming a habit of morally unacceptable acts when they are permitted by the law. This, for a doctor – especially for those who seek to assure the dying the best possible conditions of life – represents the enormous risk of “losing the sense of transgression that every homicide represents” and of becoming accustomed to the idea that one can serve life through giving death. Fr. Verspieren’s words can also be read in a broader context with respect to the fundamental questions of bioethcs and bio-law (bio-right) that, often in a very emotional and not-meditated-upon fashion, run through our societies.

It has often been said that the law would tend to regulate several hidden practices with the goal of making them safer. The basis from which the legislator would move (act), in other words, (is) a behavior already present in society; hidden euthanasias, clandestine abortions, the use of drugs, to list only a few examples. The problem is that often to give “legal feasibility” to such behavior can end up – and this is what Dr. Verspieren says clearly – making them also “morally acceptable,” demolishing in the eyes of many, and what is more, in the name of the law, the last obstacles to their realization. It is as if one had started a vicious cycle of extreme consequences: this would rapidly become a “right” which, until not long ago, was illegal. Just as quickly the law would lose its proper educational function, truncating all moral reference, and medicine would find itself overwhelmed by its own deontological principles.

It is clear – as can be seen in the words of both Patrick Verspieren and Dr. Van Oost – that apparently it is easier to give in to the wishes of society, even if obscure, than to refer to clear moral principles that have been and should continue to be the founding pillars of law in so-called evolved countries. It is also clear that, to second (give in to) such wishes by bending to presumed nonexisting rights can, on the one hand, push the law to go in the same direction and, on the other hand, generate a sense of profound suffering and anxiety. “To practice euthanasia,” says Van Oost, “means risking becoming accustomed to it. As the years pass, I do so with ever less fear, but I also have the impression of being the first to lose. As a doctor and as a Christian.”

The doctor and the legislator have equal responsibilities and are both called to have courage, the courage to go in the right direction. Breaking that vicious cycle that tends simply to legitimize and, in the end, to incentivize every desire.

RUSSIA NOT EXTENDING PERMITS FOR RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES IN CRIMEA

Forum 18 News Service reports that, “Russia’s Federal Migration Service is not extending residence permits for foreign citizens who have been working for Crimean religious communities, leaving Simferopol’s Roman Catholic parish without its senior priest, Polish citizen Fr. Piotr Rosochacki, who had worked in Crimea for 5 years. All other Catholic priests and nuns will have to leave by the end of 2014. Similarly, almost all Turkish Muslim imams and religious teachers have been forced to leave Crimea.

“The Federal Migration Service in Crimea told Forum 18 News Service that only registered religious communities can invite foreign citizens. No Crimean religious communities have registration, and under a Russian law that entered into force on 1 July all religious communities must apply for re-registration by 1 January 2015. There is uncertainty about what will happen to applications from communities under bodies outside Crimea or Russia – including Crimea’s Armenian Apostolic, Old Believer, Moscow Patriarchate, Roman Catholic and Kiev Patriarchate parishes.

(Forum 18 News Service, as it says on its website, “is named after Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the similar Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a core international human rights treaty. We work for freedom of religion or belief for all on the basis of these articles. Article 18, Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”)

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