Ottawa

Bishops: keep palliative care separate from legalised killing

Canada’s bishops have called for euthanasia and assisted suicide to be considered as distinct from the practice of palliative care.

In response to a public consultation the bishops asked that palliative care should “not include interventions which intentionally cause the death of the patient”, saying there was a “fundamental distinction” that needed to be maintained. Assisted suicide and euthanasia were legalised in Canada in 2016.

Their statement came after a Canadian man filed a lawsuit against an Ontario hospital which he said offered him assisted suicide. Roger Foley, 42, who suffers from a rare neurological disorder, released audio recordings in which he asked to be cared for at home, saying this would relieve his misery, but was instead encouraged to consider assisted suicide.

Santa Rosa, California

Bishop orders end to lay-led Communion services

The bishop of Santa Rosa has ordered an immediate end to Communion services in his diocese where a priest is not present. Bishop Robert Vasa said such services were “not consistent” with a 2004 instruction from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, which says that diocesan bishops “should not easily grant permission” for such services on weekdays “especially in places where it … would be possible to have the celebration of Mass on the preceding or the following Sunday”. Bishop Vasa said the practice had become popular in several parishes both on Sundays and weekdays. He urged parishes to “take very seriously the directives of the Church.” (Damian Thompson, Charterhouse)

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