This is the fourth of a five-part series.

In the first three parts of this series I have tried to paint a bleak picture of what the legal availability of physician-assisted suicide means for vulnerable individuals and Canadian culture generally. On the other hand, while this legal battle seems unwinnable at this stage, I am not without hope. The church has lived through bleak times before. 

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Last Tuesday, I was lucky to be a member of an ecumenical and interfaith delegation that went to the provincial legislature to present a joint statement calling for more palliative care in our province and conscience rights for health care workers and institutions in light of Canada's new laws on assisted suicide.  The delegation included Roman and Ukrainian Catholic, Anglican, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Evangelical, and Muslim delegates and represented a much larger group of signatories to the joint statement that included Jewish, Muslim, and a great many Christian communities.

While it is not necessary to appeal to Scripture or the authority of the Church to demonstrate that assisted suicide is bad for people and for society (you’ll notice I made no such appeals in the first four parts of this series), that does not mean that Christian faith is of no help for our present situation. 

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By Brett Salkeld

The following is the third of a five-part series.

We live in a culture that makes an idol out of choice. In our basic and unquestioned public discourse choice per se, without any reference to the object of that choice, is seen as a basic good. Choice is understood as the sine qua non for authentic human freedom. Take away someone’s choice in any matter and you limit their freedom. This is seen as acceptable only when their choice might harm others.

This is the second of a five-part series.  In the first part of this series we looked at the claim that, “An assisted dying law would not result in more people dying, but in fewer people suffering.” We saw that, while the statement is true, it is irrelevant. No kind of killing increases the number of people dying for the simple reason that everybody dies. But there is another problem with this statement: it imagines death as the solution to suffering. This is a dangerous idea. People contemplating suicide do not want to die. They can simply see no other way out of their suffering.

This is the first of a five-part series on assisted suicide by Archdiocesan Theologian Brett Salkeld.  It is being co-published on his Archdiocesan blog sAsk-a-Theologian and in the Prairie Messenger every two weeks.  Parishes are very welcome to print and distribute this material in their Sunday bulletins and to provide the link to this blog in their bulletins and other communications platforms, i.e., Facebook pages, e-mail listservs, etc. ____________________________________________

I have recently come across questions about dialogue in the Catholic tradition in at least three different contexts.  First of all, Pope Francis’s prayer intention for January 2016 was interreligious dialogue.  This got a lot more play than is normal for a Pope’s monthly intention because it was also the first time the Vatican accompanied the announcement of the Pope’s prayer intention with a video.  Many Catholics expressed concern about this choice of intention.  “Why dialogue with false religions?” they asked.  “Shouldn’t we be evangelizing people instead?  Isn’t dialogue an admission of relativism?  Aren’t we saying, or at least implying, that all religions are equally true?”
Second, at our most recent diaconate formati

One of the most difficult teachings of the Catholic Church for contemporary people to understand is the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.  Actually, in one way, it is one of the easiest things to understand.  We may not have any sense of what it means to be conceived without Original Sin (the meaning of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception) because we simply cannot imagine that.  We can, on the other hand, imagine what perpetual virginity is, namely, that Mary never had sexual intercourse throughout the course of her life.

Frank Flegel recently wrote a blog expressing his confusion over the question of conscience and its relation to Church teaching.  Frank had recently attended two events in our Archdiocese where the speakers, a priest and Catholic ethicist Father Mark Miller, CSsR, and the Bishop Emeritus of Victoria Remi de Roo, made comments about the primacy of conscience that seemed to conflict with the idea that Catholics are required to follow Church teaching on important moral issues (among other things!).

Archbishop Daniel Bohan would like Catholic families to reintroduce or reemphasize the practice of saying grace before meals in this 100th Anniversary of our being an Archdiocese.  Pretty simple.  Pretty easy to do.  But will it make any difference?  Can something as small as a memorized prayer before a family meal stand up to the massive pressures we often feel against our faith in contemporary culture?

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Dr. Brett Salkeld
Archdiocesan Theologian
306.352.1651 Ext 214

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