Euthanasia and Public Funding of Catholic Facilities

Euthanasia and Public Funding of Facilities

For many, many years our care facilities and our schools were supported by the Church and charitable donations. Then, it was deemed by some that the public should be funding these institutions through government monies. This idea was supported by the fact that many people, with or without faith, were using our care facilities and schools. This gradual acceptance of government funding was taking place during a much more benign time in our society – both in faith and morals. Care of the sick and dying was seen generally, as a work of mercy and love – participating in the merciful love of God! To educate the young was seen as a participation in nurturing them in the mind and heart of God, so that they could serve God’s world in all its facets.

Gradually, what was seen as a good idea for meeting all the needs in healthcare, and education, began to become something sinister as the morality of society began to disintegrate. Along with the deterioration of faith, the funding was becoming overwhelmingly public money. Many of us could see the handwriting on the wall. We could take the message of Daniel’s vision of the four beasts (Dn 7), pointing to various generations of social upheaval, and apply it to the compromised and lived faith within society. One of the tenants put forward by people, that cannot be avoided because it is socially true, is this – the one who pays the piper calls the tune! This is true in the education sector and it is true in healthcare!   The government states how its money is to be spent. The government may not be morally right, but they are legally right in the demands they make on funding. We are in a time of reckoning: “Pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s!” (Mk 12:17)

I believe that Christians, and in this case, we who are Catholics, are at a very important juncture in our lived faith. We are meeting a day of reckoning, one that we have been sidestepping.   We have diplomatically negotiated with governments, but we have also compromised with the powers of government, as far as we can – sometimes to our painful detriment, and the watering down of faith. We are now, as Church, with all our warts, and sinful behaviour – especially sexually – being challenged to decide who we are going to follow. Will it be God, or the gods of the world? We can truly hear the statement: “I put before you life and death. Choose life that you may live!” (Deut. 30:19 ) This is not simple at all! The Lord promised to send the Holy Spirit to be with us – to lead us to all truth – but not without persecution. Some of the persecution we have brought on ourselves, because we have chosen the wide road over the narrow road! But the Holy Spirit is more powerful than any human spirit, if we are willing to listen and follow.

Maybe we are going to have to give up our hospitals, palliative care facilities, and nursing homes entirely. We cannot play both ends against the middle, constantly juggling, sidestepping issues, living our faith as thought it were a chess game. “Say ‘yes’ when you mean ‘yes’ and ‘no’ when you mean ‘no’ Anything more that this comes from the evil one!” (Matt. 5:37) We need to come to terms with the fact that freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech are on life support systems in our land! We can try negotiation with the various levels of government. But not negotiations that mean watering down our faith – and settling for momentary stop gaps!
We can begin small again. Start places for the dying – as Mother Teresa did – for people with incurable diseases, for the elderly, street people – treating them with dignity, love and mercy. This means not just declaring that life is sacred from conception to death, but living it. It will not be a money making business! It will be a spiritual endeavour that produces peace and true dignity. This is what our hospitals and schools were when we pioneered healthcare and education! Maybe, as in the past, such actions will inspire support from those who have money to give, and, or become spiritually inspired to give of their expertise.

When a law is evil it does not have to be obeyed! And it cannot be obeyed, if we are to remain intact in our true humanity – not just flesh and blood with a head attached – but flesh and blood, attached to God as co-creators with Him! We have gradually forgotten this, as we became proficient, and worldly successful in our medical and educational endeavours.

We are living in missionary territory both in healthcare and in education. Those of us who are now senior citizens grew up in an education system that was supported by our churches – our parishes and our families. Times were economically very tight. We had to live simply. If we could do it then – we can discover with the Holy Spirit how to do it now – sanctifying all the technology that man has created. Maybe, just maybe, the opportunity is afforded us to live simply the beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount and the Last Judgement in all of their profoundness of teaching – being willing to accept with trust and joy the suffering that enriches the endeavour.

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