16 Notes & Comments

posted May 9, 2018, 10:29 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 9, 2018, 10:29 AM ]

'Faith and politics in the third millennium' (Vol. II) by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI

An introduction by Pope Francis


The relationship between faith and politics is one of the great themes that has always been the focus of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's attention, and runs through his entire intellectual and human journey. His direct experience of Nazi totalitarianism led him since his early academic years to reflect on the limits of obedience to the State in favour of the freedom of obedience to God: "The State is not the totality of human existence and does not embrace all human hope. Humankind and their hope go beyond the reality of the State and beyond the sphere of political action. The State is not the totality. This lightens the burden on politicians and paves the way for rational policy. The Roman State was false and anti-Christian, precisely because it wanted to be the total of human possibilities and hopes. Thus demanding what it cannot; thus forging and impoverishing humankind. With his totalitarian lie, it becomes demonic and tyrannical."

Later, also on this basis, alongside St John Paul II, he elaborated and proposed a Christian vision of human rights, capable of questioning on a theoretical and practical level the totalitarian claim of the Marxist State and the atheist ideology on which it was based.

Because the authentic contrast between Marxism and Christianity for Ratzinger is certainly not given by the preferential attention of the Christian for the poor: "We must learn – once again, not only at the theoretical level, but in the way we think and act – that alongside the real presence of Jesus in the Church and in the Sacrament, there exists that other real presence of Jesus in the little ones, in the trampled of this world, in the last, in whom he wants us to find Him." (1970s)


Pope adds feast of Mary, Mother of the Church to universal calendar


Pope Francis has decreed that Latin-rite Catholics around the world will mark the feast of "the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church" on the Monday after Pentecost each year.

The Gospel reading for the feast, which technically is called a "memorial," is John 19:25-31, which recounts how from the Cross Jesus entrusted Mary to His disciples as their mother, and entrusted His disciples to Mary as her children.

The decree announcing the addition to the Church calendar was released March 3 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

Pope Francis approved the decree after "having attentively considered how greatly the promotion of this devotion might encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety," the decree said.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation, noted in a brief commentary published the same day, that Blessed Paul VI in 1964 had formally bestowed the title of "Mother of the Church" on Mary, but that recognition of her maternal care for the Church and for believers had already spanned centuries.


Catholic Teaching on 'Passive Euthanasia'

A response to The Examiner Editorial (April 7, 2018 issue)


"Passive Euthanasia" is an obsolete and inappropriate term. Euthanasia cannot be passive. Euthanasia is an active act of ending the life of a human being to end suffering. The intent in Euthanasia is to end life, and it is clearly not ethical and morally justifiable. However, withholding or withdrawing "extraordinary" life-sustaining measures, in a patient with far advanced terminal illness when there is no hope for recovery cannot be construed as passive euthanasia. 'Extraordinary' life-sustaining measures would involve artificially kick-starting the heart that has stopped beating, putting a breathing tube down the throat into the lungs and connecting to a ventilator for artificial breathing, artificially increasing the blood pressure by intravenous medications, and so forth. These extraordinary measures in terminally ill patients will not cause recovery, but rather cause increased pain, suffering, distress and poor quality of life at an increased cost.

Palliative care strongly advocates continuing ordinary measures such as pain and symptom control, psychosocial support to patients and their families, hydration and nutrition, hygiene and respecting patient/family preferences. As you have rightly stated in your editorial, to terminate suffering and not life, are the core principles of palliative care. It affirms life and regards dying as the natural process. It neither hastens death nor postpones death by artificial means. Palliative care opposes euthanasia in all its forms. However, it advocates limitation of harm to the dying patients by withholding/withdrawing artificial extraordinary life-sustaining treatment. Unfortunately, the honourable Supreme Court judges failed to see the difference, and dubbed withholding and withdrawing of the extraordinary life-sustaining treatment as passive euthanasia.