The Catholic Spirit: Stewards of the gift of life

In one of my “Weekly Word” email newsletters earlier this year, I asked you to reach out to your representatives at the Minnesota State Capitol concerning the great harm that would come with the passage this term of proposed physician-assisted suicide legislation.

Even when that harmful legislation is couched in more euphemistic language to make it seem more palatable to the citizens of our state, we know that our Catholic respect for life begins at conception and continues until our natural death. Bishops and the faithful in other states and countries give eloquent testimony to the harm that follows when societies go down this slippery slope of disrespecting the dignity of human life.

We are blessed that opposition to assisted suicide is not limited to people of faith, who know we are stewards of the gift of life, and not its master.

The Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC), the public policy arm of the Catholic bishops of Minnesota, has been a leading member of the Minnesota Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, a diverse, bipartisan coalition of more than 50 organizations dedicated to opposing assisted suicide and promoting better care.

The alliance has elevated the perspectives of doctors and nurses, people with disabilities, and veterans’ organizations. These opponents of assisted suicide highlight how legalization will exacerbate financial disparities, amplify already-existing health care inequities, erode the doctor-patient relationship, and blur the line between life-saving care and life-ending treatment. For these reasons, the legislation has stalled and the chances it will pass this year diminish each day. Praise God!

In fact, if more people knew about the already existing options of advance-care planning and the importance of palliative care, the demand for assisted suicide would likely decrease significantly. Our message to our legislators has been to focus on policy mechanisms that promote better care, and not those that hasten death. That message has been resonating, but we cannot assume that the battle is yet won. I encourage you to please continue to keep this matter in your prayers and to share your thoughts with our legislators on this important topic.

I am so grateful to Jason Adkins and the staff of the MCC who not only help our Church to communicate our positions effectively to our legislators and those in the executive branch of government but also keep us, as Catholic citizens, apprised of what is happening at the Capitol. I encourage you to look at the MCC website for up-to-date information on the assisted suicide legislation and for end-of-life resources consistent with our faith.

Elsewhere in this issue of The Catholic Spirit, you will find the “Inside the Capitol” column from the MCC that describes the challenges we are currently facing this term as the conference strives to protect our religious liberty, especially our ability to teach what the Church teaches about how God creates us as male and female.


I encourage you to sign up to become members of the MCC’s Catholic Advocacy Network to stay up-to-date and communicate with our legislators about important issues. Information can be found at the MCC website.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Bishops Andrew Cozzens of Crookston, Daniel Felton of Duluth, Chad  Zielinski of New Ulm, Patrick McNeary of St. Cloud and Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester wrote a letter to Catholics about the legislation titled, “A Better Way Forward.”


Read the full story at The Catholic Spirit.

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