On 1 July 2016. News from Canada, the Philippines, India, Switzerland, the United States of America, Togo and Iraq about the legalization of euthanasia, promotion of contraception, protection for women, assisted suicide, the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and refugee families.
• CANADA / EUTHANASIA
"The recent approval of Bill C-14, which legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide suicide in our country, stands as an appalling landmark decision to the utter failure of government, and indeed all society, to care truly, authentically and humanely for the suffering and vulnerable in our midst," said Msgr. Douglas Crosby, Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Canada in a statement published on 27 June. The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (OCVF), for its part, said on 23 June: "Our voices must continue to resound not only with a clear defence of the dignity of all human life from beginning to natural end but also an insistent demand for effective conscience protection across Canada."
• PHILIPPINES / Contraception
The new President of the Republic of the Philippines is defying the Church with regard to contraception, reports the French Catholic daily "La Croix." On 27 June, speaking about how "the excessive birthrate in the Philippines" is throwing families into poverty, the head of State announced his intention to promote artificial contraception "intensively" and praised the family planning program he implemented in Davao, when he was that city‘s mayor.
• INDIA / PROTECTION FOR WOMEN
In the region of Jammu and Kashmir, according the information agency of the Foreign Missions of Paris Eglises d‘Asie, there are battered women who are finding a new family and social status through the entrepreneurial program sponsored by the Catholic Social Service Society (CSSS), Caritas of the diocese of Jammu-Srinagar, in which the participants of a mutual aid workshop learn the basics necessary to start an economic activity, by placing savings or contracting microcredit.
• SWITZERLAND / ASSISTED SUICIDE
In Switzerland, well over 100,000 people have already joined an assisted-suicide organization. There is even talk about allowing people who are not at the end of their life to more easily organize their own death, explains the Swiss Bishops‘ Conference in a statement published on 1 July. During a press conference in Berne, Msgr. Felix Gmür, Bishop of Basel and Vice-President of Conference, clearly expressed his opposition to programmed death. In addition, with a booklet published by the National Commission for Justice and Peace, the Catholic Church intends to develop public discussion on autonomy, fragility, death and assisted suicide. This booklet is available on this page of the website of the Swiss Bishops‘ Conference.
• USA / SUICIDE
According to a recent American study, reports the Swiss information portal of cath.ch, the suicide rate of Catholic women who regularly attend religious services is approximately 5-fold lower than that of than the average of the female population. In the scientific community, these results reinforce the idea that there is a positive correlation between religious practice and mental health. The results of this research were published on June 29, 2016 by the journal JAMA Psychiatry, of the American Medical Association, after a worrying rise of the suicide rate among American women.
• TOGO / AMORIS LAETITIA
The Episcopal Conference of Togo met for a Plenary session in Lomé, from 14 to 17 June. Pope Francis‘ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the family "Amoris Laetitia" was among the issues discussed, as a statement published on the website of the Diocese of Kpalimé indicates. This document also presents the pastoral guidelines drawn up by the Bishops, which will be implemented at different levels in this field.
• IRAQ / FAMILIES
In Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, 38 families have been housed by the French association Fraternité en Irak. In the refugee camp in Ashti, where 7,000 displaced persons live, 38 new structures, paid by the government of Kurdistan, have been set up by Fraternité en Irak, where 38 families are able to live in decent conditions, while waiting to return to their cities.