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We Care

From the earliest times, Christ’s followers have set themselves apart by their care of the vulnerable (Acts 4:34). Indeed, Christ said, “By this love you have for one another; everyone will know that you are my disciples” (John 13:35). Just as the early Christians were, we too, are called to accompany and care for those who are suffering.

On 19 June 2019, the Victorian Assisted Dying Act comes into effect. This law legalises euthanasia and assisted suicide. Despite what the law may say, our Christian tradition affirms that every life, including those of the sick and suffering, is sacred. For us, euthanasia or assisted suicide are never part of end of life care. Instead, we remain committed to healing – never harming; relieving pain and symptoms of illness and frailty; withdrawing life-prolonging treatments when they are medically futile or overly burdensome or when a person wants them withdrawn, and never abandoning those in our care.

Here are three ways that those who conscientiously object to this law can accompany people who suffer.  

Pray (Heart)

  • For those who are or may be convinced that taking their life is the only option left. May God intervene and show them His love.
  • That when faced with pain and suffering – ours or someone else’s – we respond with compassion and courage. May we do all we can to alleviate the pain of those around us and respect their dignity.
  • Seek inspiration by reflecting on Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.

Be informed (Head)

Act (Hands)

  • Who do you know who is sick, disabled or elderly and may be vulnerable? Visit them, call them, spend time with them. Show that you care.
  • Loneliness, loss of meaning in life and fear of losing dignity or being a burden, are the most common reasons people seek euthanasia and assisted suicide. Help to address these concerns in whatever way you can.
  • Link those you encounter with support services. If you’re not sure who can help, Palliative Care Victoria is a good place to start.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide will now be legal in Victoria. All of us have a role to play in caring for those suffering as well as becoming conscientious objectors by refusing to participate.

When we visit the sick and suffering, we visit Christ (Matt 25:34). Given there are over one million Catholics in Victoria, if each of us do what we can, we will have a tremendous impact. We may not be able to change the law now, but we can remove the need for it and resist it by refusing to cooperate with it. 

Many of the saints have been bold witnesses of conscientious objection – heroically holding fast to the Truth amid difficult and trying circumstances. Read more about their witness here

Resources