A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Creating a Culture of Life

Posted on: October 3, 2013

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10*

Once I would have thought it went without saying that life is precious.

So why do I believe it bears repeating?

Lately I’ve been reading far too many news reports that show how easy some people find it to take a life (or lives), as well as articles suggesting society’s attitudes on issues such as euthanasia and abortion tend not to lean toward the pro-life side.

Dr. Donald Low, who was the microbiologist in chief at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and a University of Toronto professor, passed away in September. Before his death, Dr. Low called for the legalization of doctor-assisted suicide. Among the many news items in support of euthanasia in the days that followed, I spotted a letter to the editor in the Ottawa Citizen by Steve Passmore of Hamilton, Ontario. He described his physical health and went on to say this about euthanasia (the emphasis is mine):

Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide is an abandonment of me as a person, that society would rather help me die, than help me live….The answer is not legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide but rather improving social supports….Society needs to ensure life with dignity not death with dignity.

Much of the media coverage on euthanasia focusses on whether we have the right to a doctor’s assistance to “die with dignity.” And not enough attention is given to whether we are helping people live out their final days with dignity through palliative care, including hospice programs such as Hospice Care Ottawa.

Similarly, when the mainstream media reports on abortion, the focus tends to be on access to abortion services, with limited coverage of pro-life events. And the pro-life position is sometimes tarred with labels such as “anti-choice” and “anti-woman.” But I wasn’t sad to read in the October issue of Catholic Digest that, since 40 Days for Life began, 38 abortion clinics across the United States have closed, as Carolee McGrath reported in her article “Peaceful, Prayerful, Public Witness Pays Off.” Or to hear that campaigns such as Defund Abortion, Life Chain and 40 Days for Life continue, and that Priests for Life Canada offers a monthly Pro-Life Hour program on pro-life and pro-family issues.

Sometimes it seems people of faith swim against the tide when we take a pro-life stance, especially if we rely on the perspective of mainstream media. But I pray that we would find hope in reading articles from pro-life media such as Action Life’s blog and The Interim newspaper and in learning about and participating in pro-life events such as the ones I’ve mentioned.

Life is precious.

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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