Germany, Belgium, Spain/Poland” “

Germany: protection of life, hospice and palliative treatment “The life of every individual must be protected at all costs”: it is the warning of the permanent Council of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK), that convened January 27 in Würzburg, Bavaria. The bishops addressed a set of themes that include, inter alia, the ongoing debate on assisted suicide triggered by a parliamentary initiative on the ban on organized assistance to suicide, announced by Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe. “We welcome political initiatives meant to address this important issue”, states the document released by the bishops, who reiterated the need to “unconditionally protect human life, especially that of those in need of assistance, old people, the sick and desperate”. “Concerns on a dignified accompaniment to death are of equal relevance. It’s important that old, and/or sick people be assisted by their family members”, the bishops said. “For this reason we call for increased hospice assistance and palliative treatment. In this framework, people should be able to access, in a positive way, all medical progress in this field”. “The Catholic Church”, the Council points out, “is committed in this field in various ways with mobile and permanent structures providing a wide range of means for palliative assistance and hospices. These include German Caritas with a wide offer for seriously ill patients and those nearing death, as well as for their relatives, which includes medical assistance as well as dedicated pastoral care. Moreover, many volunteers in the hospices provide a precious service, enabling people to die without making them feel lonely”. Belgium, the bishops’ appeal: no to euthanasia on minors New, heartfelt appeal of the Belgian bishops, that the Country may not follow the road of the Netherlands with the approval of a bill up for parliamentary debate on extending euthanasia to children and minors. Gathered in permanent Council last week, the bishops asked in a note: “Why legiferates on such a delicate issue?” They proposed a set of reflections. The first stems from the basic tenet of our society “not to kill”. “Opening the door of euthanasia to minors – the bishops remarked -risks being extended to the disabled, to people affected by dementia, to the mentally ill and to those who are tired of living. There is therefore the risk of changing the meaning of human life and of giving human value only to those who are able to recognize the dignity of their lives, introducing doubts on the value of certain lives”. The second remark regards medical practice. “When medical practice has no more options to offer patients are faced with a void, and they are tempted to resort to euthanasia as the only option. But there is the possibility to resort to sedation against pain as well as palliative treatment, that serenely prepare for death”. The bishops invite to reflect on the relationship with death, without living it “as a taboo”. Spain and Poland: promoting Catholic thought An agreement builds bridges between Spain and Poland. The Edith Stein Philosophy Institute in the archdiocese of Granada (Spain) and the Pontifical University John Paul II in Krakow (Poland) signed a cooperation agreement between the two academic institutions. Monsignor Javier Martínez, archbishop of Granada, and cardinal Stanis³aw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow and personal Secretary of Pope John Paul II, signed it in Krakow. The purpose of the agreement is the promotion of Catholic thought in Europe and the union of Polish and Spanish people, who share a common story of faith and are committed in the creation of a new Europe. Edith Stein Philosophy Institute in the archdiocese of Granada highlighted the importance of the agreement, which further expands its international relations and paves to way to cooperation building with the most important universities in Poland. The director of the Edith-Stein Institute – International Philosophy Academy, Marcelo López Cambronero, and a professor at the same Institute, Artur Mrówczynski-Van Allen, accompanied the archbishop of Granada to Krakow for the signature. On the Polish side, in addition to cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the dean of the Pontifical University John Paul II, Msgr. W³adys³aw Zuziak, and the dean of the faculty of Philosophy of the Atheneum attended the ratification ceremony.

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