As we prepare for the Solemnity of Christmas our focus is drawn to the mystery of the Incarnation, Jesus, the Word made Flesh. This taking on of our humanity by God in the Person of Jesus, serves to remind us of the inherent dignity of every human life.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2258) states:
Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being." ~ Catechism of the Catholic Church #2258
The Government whose role is to protect our basic human rights, including the fundamental right to life from conception to natural death, has sought instead to expand access to physician-assisted suicide. This new legislation would now include those suffering with forms of mental illness and disabilities.
In responding to this current moral and social issue, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) formed a Joint Ad hoc Committee on Palliative Care. It was comprised of medical, theological, ethical, and pastoral experts who were united in addressing this culture of death. They developed Horizons of Hope: A toolkit for Catholic Parishes on Palliative Care, an educational resource to help understand and reflect upon the many end-of-life issues we will face.
The Horizons of Hope program has been designed for:
This program will allow parishioners to learn and reflect upon end-of-life issues and to promote the need for excellent palliative care. It will assist in clarifying misinformation, and reverse the deceptive messaging found in this increasing culture of death. This 4-module program is being offered simultaneously to all the faithful in our Diocese at several locations:
To register, please visit catholicyyc.ca/horizonsofhope to participate in one of the following six sites:
The Catholic Church remains opposed to euthanasia and as such stands for the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death. It will continue to support the conscience rights of health care professionals and all organizations in our society that protect and defend human life. Through this diocesan initiative it is my sincere hope that we can work together in bringing about a renewed culture of life that respects the inherent dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death.
May our Lord, who comes into this world as a humble and defenseless child, teach us to receive and protect the precious gift of life in every person.
Yours in Christ,
+William T. McGrattan
Bishop of Calgary