MAY 20, 2021
Pastoral Letter – Palliative Care
Palliative Care Week, Sunday 23 May 2021
Palliative Care Week is 23-29 May and Palliative Care Sunday is celebrated on Sunday 23 May (Pentecost this year). A Pastoral Letter on this topic has been prepared and will be distributed through your local parish.
There is currently a campaign running to legalise Voluntary Assisted Dying (euthanasia and assisted suicide) in NSW. This has prompted me to make Palliative Care Week a focus for our Diocese, and to use this opportunity to help our people be better informed on Palliative Care as a genuine alternative to euthanasia and assisted suicide.
We respect life from the very beginning as a precious gift. Each of our lives is precious and God values each of us to death and beyond. We are made by love and for love, and are witness to and celebrate this by defending life from conception to death, and with the respect, we show towards those who have died.
We know at an intellectual level that we will die. Yet it can be confronting when this becomes personal and we have to face it happening to us or our loved ones. Even talking about it is difficult and does not come easily; it is something we have to learn.
Palliative care “opposes what makes death most terrifying and unwelcome — pain and loneliness.” (Pope Francis, November 16, 2020)
Palliative care does not set out to make our life longer or shorter but rather helps us live as well as possible until we die. It is not euthanasia. If there is treatment for our medical condition, we will still get it if we so choose.
On Sunday August 1, we will dedicate the day to understanding why the Catholic Church rejects Voluntary Assisted Dying with the hope that it will prompt many to contact our politicians and ask them to vote against it. I urge you all to do whatever you can to ensure that compassionate, life-affirming care is provided to everyone who needs it, so that no one ever feels, or is, in pain or abandoned.
Read the full Pastoral Letter on Palliative Care issued by Bishop Mark Edwards OMI.