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The West’s sickness began in hospitals

SIR – As a student in Rome in the mid 1980s I greatly benefited from the huge knowledge and teaching skills of Fr Mark Attard. His courses on sexual and medical ethics were of the highest quality. In concluding his lectures he commented that the era of priesthood we were about to enter would witness staggering developments in medical ethics. Many, including the Church, would find it difficult to keep up with these changes and the moral challenges they would present. Change and the speed of change would characterise the world. The learned Maltese priest spoke with the authority of an Old Testament prophet.

While accepting the possibility that Fr Attard might be right, I never realised how this would be demonstrated in countries whose Christian identities had existed for centuries.

Belgium, a country with deep cultural religious roots, brutalised by the tyranny of Nazism and its power over the weakest and most vulnerable, became a byword for “progressive” liberal policies and attitudes. Yet euthanasia, including the euthanasia of children, has become accepted there as another medical procedure intended to free people.

Ireland, for so long the very symbol of Catholic being, rejoices in its newfound identity as a modern, liberal, progressive European state, freed from the restrictions of religion.

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