Assisted suicide is coming closer in Australia, as one state parliament voted in favour of it last Friday.
After an all-night session in the legislative assembly of the state of Victoria, MPs voted 47-37 for the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill. It will now be passed to the legislative council (the upper house).
The bill would allow adults who are terminally ill and of sound mind to request a drug from their doctor that would end their lives.
In a fierce debate last week the Catholic former prime minister of Australia, Paul Keating, said that voluntary assisted dying would be “an unacceptable departure in our approach to human existence … and what it means to be human”.
At the end of July Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne and other Catholics joined leaders from several Christian denominations to sign a letter protesting against the bill, saying that euthanasia and assisted suicide “represent the abandonment of those who are in greatest need of our care and support”.
In April, the local Catholic bishops said in a pastoral letter that the proposal was based on “misplaced compassion”.
“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are the opposite of care and represent the abandonment of the sick and the suffering, of older and dying persons,” they said.
Some critics said there was no requirement in the bill for psychological assessment of patients to assess whether they are suffering from depression. Victoria is not the only Australian state which is considering assisted suicide. The parliament of New South Wales will debate a similar proposal next month.
Greek Church protests against gender-change law
Church bells have rung “in mourning” across a Greek diocese in protest at the passing of a law making it easier for people to officially change their gender.
Under the guidance of Metropolitan Amvrosios of Kalavryta, clerics in his diocese decided that church bells would ring for three minutes at noon every day this week.
They also called for the repeal of the “anti-Christian and anti-Greek” law, which allows over-15s to change their gender on identity cards.
“It is an outrageous inspiration for someone to change his gender in a few minutes, with a simple declaration, so contrary to what God has gifted people with … whoever has ‘gender dysphoria’ is mentally ill,” the Kalavryta diocese’s clerics said in a statement.
The statement, which also condemned homosexuality as a “deadly sin” and criticised “every kind of bestial deviation,” also expressed fears that legislation allowing adoption by same-sex couples will be next.
“We do not hate the sinner, but the sin,” the statement said.
The clerics said that they would raise protest banners in the city of Aigion, the largest in the diocese.
Catholic radio fears censorship
Bishops in the Philippines fear the government is censoring Catholic radio stations.
The stations’ licence to broadcast expired in August. Although the bishops applied for its renewal in January, the application is still stuck in committee in the parliament.
“It’s sad that politics could get in the way of our democratic processes,” said a bishops’ conference spokesman. The bishops have spoken out against President Duterte’s violent crackdown on drugs.
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