UP Catholic 11 18 2016 E Edition Page 4

E very life has value. This is true from the first moment of concep- tion through one's last breath. An individual's dignity does not come from his or her physical appear- ance, level of intelligence, strength, or achievements, nor does it come from an ability to care for one's self independently. Instead, a person's worth is inherent, as a human being and child of God. Unfortunately, the promotion of assist- ed suicide across the country is devaluing the human person, undermining the med- ical profession, and leaving the terminally ill, elderly, disabled, and indeed, all individ- uals, vulnerable. Assist- ed suicide is promoted as a compassionate choice to prevent suf- fering for terminally ill patients. Certainly, it is difficult to watch loved ones experience serious illness. But equating assisted suicide with compassionate care is misguided at best. In fact, experiences where assisted suicide is legal show that most individuals do not request assisted suicide for pain management. Instead, they often request it due to depression and fear, fear of losing one's autonomy and abilities or fear of pain. While their life may change significantly, nothing can take away their worth. When people start to see their own lives as diminished in value or meaning, what they need most is others who help remind them of their inherent worth, regardless of their physical condition (To Live Each Day With Dignity, 2011). Palliative care can give patients respectful treatment and pain management, while also providing families the opportunity to have necessary conversations, spend time with one another, and get their affairs in order. Patients deserve to hear that their care is not a burden; they deserve to feel cared for in their final months; they deserve to have people by their side who love them. That is what society should offer- not assisted suicide. In 1998, Michigan- ders recognized the dangers of assisted suicide. A propos- al that would have allowed for its le- galization was over- whelmingly defeated by a 71%-29% margin. While unlikely to receive consideration this year, legislation was introduced this past summer for the first time in almost 20 years to overturn the ban. Lawmakers in other states are facing similar challeng- es. Since Oregon legalized assisted suicide in 1994, there have been more than 175 legislative proposals in more than 35 states, with only four additional states legalizing it through legislative or voter action. The American Medical Association is considering a change to its longstand- ing position opposing assisted suicide to one of neutrality. In Oregon and Califor- nia, insurance plans have offered to cover assisted suicide instead of certain cancer treatments for the terminally ill. Allowing assisted suicide there, effectively, makes death a more cost effective solution for patients and their families. Based on experiences in states that have legalized the policy, such as Oregon, assisted suicide laws remain problemat- ic. These laws are a recipe for abuse and leave the elderly, disabled, or other vul- nerable persons open to patient coercion, including by family members who might benefit financially from their death. Physi- cians are not required to notify families of a patient's intent to use assisted suicide, nor are they required to be present at the moment of death in case complica- tions arise. Without adequate screening and counseling in place, physicians can prescribe suicide for depressed patients. A study in 2008 found that 1 in 4 patients who requested assisted suicide might have been clinically depressed (Oregon Health Science University). In other cir- cumstances, help would be sought for in- dividuals struggling with depression. Why should assisted suicide be the exception? Assisted suicide provides false compas- sion for the terminally ill and vulnerable. The response should instead be true compassion, which marginalizes no one, it does not humiliate people, it does not exclude them, much less consider their death as a good thing (Pope Francis, Address to Medical Associations of Spain and Latin America, 2016). Society should surround patients with love, support, and companionship to ease their suffer- ing. The Catholic Church is committed to being a part of this response. She will continue to help lift up each and every person and care for all those who feel alone or in pain. Why? Because every person is worthwhile, not a burden, and our laws should remind them of that truth. The Word from Lansing is a regular column for Catholic news outlets and is written by Michigan Catholic Con- ference (MCC) President and CEO Paul A. Long. Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state. 4 November 18, 2016 THE U.P. CATHOLIC OFFICIAL APPOINTMENTS www.upcatholic.org Growing to serve you in 5 locations! MANISTIQUE, MI 735 E. Lakeshore Dr. Food for Le$$ 200 Deer Street MARINETTE, WI 1507 Cleveland Ave. 2301 Roosevelt Rd. MENOMINEE, MI M & M Plaza OFFICIAL APPOINTMENTS Most Reverend John F. Do- erfler, Bishop of Marquette, announces the following clergy changes: Effective Jan. 2, 2017: Rev. Joseph Boakye Yiadom is relieved as parochial adminis- trator of St. Fran- cis Xavier Parish, Brimley, and St. Kateri Tekakwitha Mission, Bay Mills, and appointed pastor of St. Jo- seph Parish, Lake Linden. Rev. Joseph Vandannoor is relieved as pastor of Joseph Parish, Rudyard and St. Mary Mission, Trout Lake, and appointed pastor of St. Charles Borro- meo Parish, Rapid River, St. Rita Par- ish, Trenary and St. Joseph Parish, Perkins. Rev. Jacek Wtyklo is relieved as pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Rapid Riv- er, St. Rita Parish, Trenary and St. Joseph Parish, Perkins, and ap- pointed pastor of St. John Neumann Parish, Spalding and Hermansville, as well as St. Bruno Parish, Nadeau. Rev. John Hascall is appoint- ed pastor of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Mission, Bay Mills, while remaining pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Mission, Sault Ste. Marie, and Holy Family Mission, Barbeau. Rev. Edward Baah Baafi is relieved as parochial vicar of St. Ignatius Loyola Parish, St. Ig- nace, Immaculate Conception Par- ish, Moran, and St. Anne Parish, Mackinac Island, and appointed pastor of St. Fran- cis Xavier Parish, Brimley, St. Joseph Parish, Rudyard and St. Mary Mission, Trout Lake Effective January 16, 2017: Rev. Daniel Malone is re- lieved as Chaplain of the Carmelite Monastery, Iron Mountain, and appointed pas- tor of Guardian Angels Parish, Crystal Falls, while remaining pastor of St. Rose Parish, Channing. Rev. Jose Joseph Mara- mattam is relieved as parochial administrator of Guardian Angels Parish, Crystal Falls, and Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus Crys- tal Falls Council #3082, effective Jan. 16, 2017. He is returning to India after serving in the Diocese of Marquette since 2005. Parish Linkage Changes: Due to the reconfiguration of parish linkages, a parish transi- tion team from Catholic Social Services will be available to assist the following parishes with this transition: Effective Jan. 2, 2017: St. Kateri Tekakwitha Mission, Bay Mills, St. Isaac Jogues Mis- sion, Sault Ste. Marie, and Holy Family Mission, Barbeau. St. Francis Xavier Parish, Brim- ley, St. Joseph Parish, Rudyard and St. Mary Mission, Trout Lake. Effective Jan. 16, 2017: St. Rose Parish, Channing, and Guardian Angels Parish, Crystal Falls. Rev. Joseph Boakye Yiadom Rev. Joseph Vandannoor Rev. Jacek Wtyklo Rev. John Hascall Rev. Edward Baah Baafi Rev. Daniel Malone Rev. Jose Maramattam Seek compassionate care, not assisted suicide THE WORD FROM LANSING Paul A. Long

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