LIFE IS A RIGHT TO BE WELCOMED, NO TO SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA
Pope Francis began yet another general audience catechesis on St. Joseph, saying “we now consider him as the patron of a happy death. This traditional devotion was born of the Church’s meditation on Joseph’s own death, comforted by the presence of the Blessed Mother and the Lord Jesus. Today we tend to avoid the thought of our own death, yet our faith in the Risen Jesus invites us not only to be unafraid of death, but to accept it with trust in Christ’s promises.” (Vatican media photo)
Francis explained that, “our relationship with death is never about the past, but always about the present. The so-called ‘feel-good’ culture tries to remove the reality of death, but the coronavirus pandemic has brought it back into focus in a dramatic way. So many brothers and sisters have lost loved ones without being able to be near them, and this has made death even harder to accept and process.”
“The Christian faith is not a way of exorcising the fear of death; rather, it helps us to face it,” said the Pope.
“It is only through faith in resurrection that we can face the abyss of death without being overwhelmed by fear. Not only that: we can restore a positive role to death. Indeed, thinking about death, enlightened by the mystery of Christ, helps us to look at all of life through fresh eyes. I have never seen a moving van following a hearse! It makes no sense to accumulate if one day we will die. What we must accumulate is charity, and the ability to share, not to remain indifferent when faced with the needs of others.”
“Or, what is the point of arguing with a brother, with a sister, with a friend, with a relative, or with a brother or sister in faith, if then one day we will die? Before death, many issues are brought down to size. It is good to die reconciled, without grudges and without regrets!”
Francis spoke about “the quality of death itself, of pain, of suffering. Indeed, we must be grateful for all the help that medicine endeavours to give so that, through so-called “palliative care,” every person who is preparing to live the last stretch of their life can do so in the most human way possible. However, we must be careful not to confuse this help with unacceptable drifts towards euthanasia. We must accompany people towards death, but not provoke death or facilitate assisted suicide.”
Indeed, said the Holy Father, “Indeed, life is a right, not death, which must be welcomed, not administered. And this ethical principle applies to concerns everyone, not just Christians or believers.”
The Pope and faithful present at the audience then prayed a Hail Mary for the dying and those who are experiencing bereavement.
POPE REITERATES CALL FOR PEACE IN UKRAINE AS DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS CONTINUE
During the general audience on Wednesday, the Pope described war as “madness” and appealed for dialogue as a way of overcoming tensions and threats of conflict in Ukraine.
By Vatican News staff reporter
In his remarks, the Pope thanked all the communities who joined in prayer for peace in the country on January 26.
“We continue to implore the God of peace that tensions and threats of war be overcome through serious dialogue, and that the Normandy format talks may also contribute to this end. Let us not forget: war is madness.”
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been ongoing for years. Most recently, Russia began moving troops and military equipment near its border with Ukraine late last year, raising concerns of a potential invasion. In the latest developments, diplomatic efforts have been gathering pace in a bid to defuse the situation.
Following talks with President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday he believed steps can be taken to de-escalate the crisis and called on all sides to stay calm.
Both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had told him they were committed to the principles of a 2014 peace agreement, he said, adding that this deal, known as the Minsk accords, offered a path to resolving their ongoing disputes.
Meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz later in Berlin, both Macron and the chancellor said, “Our common goal is to prevent a war in Europe.”
Macron and Scholz also met in Berlin with Polish President Andrzej Duda. The French presidency said after the talks the three leaders expressed their joint support for Ukrainian sovereignty.
The United States and European Union have threatened Russia with sanctions if it attacks Ukraine. However, Moscow has largely dismissed new sanctions as an empty threat.
U.S. President Joe Biden warned on Monday that if Russia invaded Ukraine, “there will be no longer Nord Stream 2,” referring to a newly built, as yet unopened gas pipeline to Germany.