22 National News

posted Mar 14, 2018, 9:18 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 14, 2018, 9:18 AM ]

Bishops oppose SC allowing euthanasia

The Indian Catholic Bishops Conference has opposed the Supreme Court allowing euthanasia, saying the Indian Constitution and teachings of the Catholic Church assert the right to life, and those teachings do not include the right to die within its scope.

"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," the bishops said in response to a recent court verdict.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said on March 9 that passive euthanasia and advance living will are "permissible".


New Delhi
Religious leaders oppose Euthanasia verdict

India's top court has ignited a new religious debate after permitting passive euthanasia, allowing patients to prescribe in their "living will" the withdrawal of medical support if they slip into an irreversible coma.

Leaders of India's Catholics, Muslims and Hindus have opposed the March 9 Supreme Court verdict, which said the right to life also includes the right to die with dignity. Permission is solely for a terminally ill person to choose death over life support, but does not allow doctors or families to take that decision on behalf of the patient, the court said.

"The Church rejects any proposal concerning active euthanasia, as well as passive euthanasia," said Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India.

India's Muslim Personal Law Board, which deals with the application of Islamic law in personal affairs, also objected to the Supreme Court judgment. Kamal Faruqui, a senior board member, told ucanews.com that euthanasia in all its forms goes entirely against Islam. "Human life is Allah's gift, and we have no right to meddle with it, however bad the condition of the body," he said.

Bansi Lal Sharma, a Hindu priest based in Jammu, told ucanews.com that there is no place for euthanasia in the Hindu ethos. "How could such a thing be encouraged? If a person is terminally ill, there should be dignified means adopted to take care of that person. You cannot simply ease a burden and kill him," said Sharma.


Indian bishops to observe April as Dalit History Month

The Catholic bishops in India have invited the faithful to observe April as the Dalit History Month.

"April is the most important period in the year to commemorate the diary of our radical struggle for liberation and the most important contributors who sacrificed their lives towards Dalit Empowerment," says a letter from the Office for Scheduled Caste/Backward Class (SC/BC) under the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India.

Fr Devasagayaraj, national secretary of the Office who has written the letter, urges people to remember "the unequivocal contributions of Dalit leaders, one by one, every day in this most precious period for inspiration."


Madhya Pradesh
Church hospital in Ujjain attacked, nurses beaten up

A group of some 60 people forcibly occupied part of a Catholic hospital's land on March 12, and roughed up nurses and other workers in the central Indian city of Ujjain.

Pushpa Mission Hospital, managed by the Syro-Malabar diocese of Ujjain, has faced trouble for some time after the assistant to the local parliamentarian allegedly used fake documents to claim ownership of part of the hospital property.

"Some 60 masked men armed with cycle chains and pickaxes came with bulldozers around 9 am, broke the front gate of the hospital, and fenced off some 2,000 square feet of the hospital land," Fr Vineesh Mathew, director of Ishvani, the communication wing of Ujjain diocese, told Matters India.

The 146-bed hospital managed by the Syro-Malabar diocese sits adjacent to the bishop's residence in Ujjain, an ancient city in Madhya Pradesh state.

Fr Mathew said the intruders beat some nurses and pushed around nuns when they went to check the commotion.

They claimed that a local court has authorised them to occupy the disputed site.