As a proposed piece of legislation that would allow physicians to assist some terminally ill patients to end their lives moves forward in the NJ State Legislature, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., issued a letter to legislators expressing his opposition as a “bishop, a priest, a man of faith… but also as a human being and a son.” In the letter sent Feb. 11, the day that the Catholic Church observes World Day of the Sick, Bishop O’Connell told legislators that “never again will your responsibility be greater or your decision more important.”
The “Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Act” (S1072/A1504) which allows physicians to prescribe drugs to end the lives of terminally ill individuals “considered” to have six months to live — a prognosis that is not always accurate — embodies such jeopardy, denial and dangers to human life. Where will such legislation, commonly known as physician assisted suicide, lead? I shudder to imagine. What other consequences for human life will it directly and indirectly introduce? I dread to think.– Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.
The practice of medicine purposefully seeks to eradicate illness. Physicians pledge an oath to “do no harm.” Taking a life before natural death violates that vow and there is no turning back. Their duty — and our duty as caregivers and legislators— is to assist those who are facing death, not to kill them.
Medical science has made advances in our lifetime unlike the world has ever known. The care we can and should give to human beings with life-threatening illnesses reveals both the moral nobility of the efforts of physicians and caregivers to accompany the dying and their right to face the natural end of human life that all of us will eventually face, a right that is no one’s — including physicians, caregivers and, yes, legislators — to take away.
February 11 marks the annual observance of World Day of the Sick by the universal Church. This commemoration was instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1992, as a way for believers to offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses. This day coincides with the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes because of the healing attributed to the waters that flowed in the grotto where Our Lady first appeared to St. Bernadette. Pope Francis has shared a message for World Day of the Sick, which you can read here.
On Feb. 9, over 600 youth and chaperones from around the Diocese of Trenton attended the annual Diocesan Youth Conference (DYC), in Holy Cross Prep Academy, Delran.
The day-long conference included inspirational speakers, witness and time spent with Christ in the Eucharist. Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. joined those in attendance at the end of the day when he celebrated Mass in the auditorium of Holy Cross Prep Academy. Over 15 priests concelebrated the Mass with Bishop O’Connell.
The Monitor has uploaded photo galleries of the day’s events and of the Mass, which you can view here.
Post-event coverage on the DYC can be found in the following week on TrentonMonitor.com. The Monitor is also producing a glossy DYC magazine, set for publication and distribution the week of Feb. 18. Be sure to check back to the website for updated coverage on this annual event.
To listen to Bishop O’Connell’s homily, click play on the video below: