18 Notes & Comments

posted Mar 14, 2018, 9:29 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 14, 2018, 9:29 AM ]

Response of the Catholic Church to the SC ruling on Passive Euthanasia

Fr. Stephen Fernandes, National Secretary, CBCI Office for Justice, Peace & Development

The Church rejects any proposal concerning active euthanasia as well as passive euthanasia.

No one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a foetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. No one has the right to ask for this act of killing for ourselves or for those entrusted to our care.

In India, the sanctity of life has hitherto been placed on the highest level. The right to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution does not include within its scope the right to die.

The taking of innocent life is never a moral act. Legalising euthanasia would place the lives of vulnerable people at risk, including those whom others might be tempted to think would be better off dead.

Especially at the end of life, when it is clear that death is imminent and inevitable, no matter what medical procedures are attempted, one may refuse treatment that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life, so long as the normal care due to the sick person in similar cases is not interrupted.

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Snehalaya Family Centre

Janina Gomes

The family, the cradle of civilisation and the bedrock of society for innumerable decades, is in crisis. Granted that women were often oppressed by the family in patriarchal set-ups in the past, and many abuses covered up, families still continued to provide stability to society.

Today, the pendulum seems to have swung the other way with permissive families. The sanctity of marriage is questioned, children are allowed free-wheeling and even rebel against their parents. Many families are single parent families, and the phenomenon of people living with partners and moving in and out of live-in relationships is common.

Whilst India still has the semblance of traditional families in the rural areas, where the moorings of families still remain intact, in the urban set-up, things are changing rapidly, with both partners working and inter-cultural and inter-faith interactions on the increase.

Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, has pointed out how the family and its sanctity are the bedrock of human development, and has emphasised the need to preserve families in the 21st century. He sees the importance of the family as a mini Church.

In Mumbai, the Archdiocese of Bombay has established a Family Commission and a Coordinating Centre for the Family Apostolate and a Family Counselling Centre, at Snehalaya Family Service Centre in Mahim, Mumbai.

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Challenge of Communalism

MELVILLE X D'SOUZA

What is communalism? How do we face up to this challenge of communalism that is threatening to tear apart this country? An interactive meeting titled 'The Challenge of Communalism & The Way Forward' was organised by the Orlem unit of the Bombay Catholic Sabha, on February 4, 2018 at the Nihar Hall. It was heartening to see people of other communities also present at this meeting.

The renowned social activist, Prof. (Dr) Ram Puniyani, the keynote speaker, gave an insight into communalism, and how it is affecting the democratic set-up in India. He took us through history—the 1857 uprising when people of all communities got together to fight the British. The British understood that if they were to retain their hold over India, they had to resort to the 'divide and rule' policy.

Prof. Puniyani touched upon other related issues like religious conversions in our country, the Godhra riots, Babri Masjid demolition, about how religion is being used to create communal tensions in society, and how people will go to any extent in order to gain power. Prof. Puniyani fielded questions from the audience with his wealth of knowledge and a great memory.

As things stand today, this ideology of communalism is reaching dangerous proportions, and it's time we gauge the seriousness of the situation and do something about it.

One of the steps suggested by Prof. Puniyani was conducting workshops at various places to sensitize people to the challenges of communalism. He expressed his willingness to be part of such workshops. He suggested setting up of 'Peace Centres' all over Mumbai and India, which would certainly go a long way in maintaining peace and harmony among different communities in our localities.

Some of the immediate plans of action suggested :

1. One-day workshop to understand various issues and concerns at Orlem, with resource persons like Dr Ram Puniyani, Teesta Setalvad, Irfan Engineer.

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