3 June 2016, News from France, Belgium, Algeria, Syria and Canada on the following topics, on the following topics: Pro-Life Vigil in Paris, reform of the childcare allowance, the stages of family life in different religions, prayer with and for the Syrian children, positions and statements both on legalizing euthanasia and "medical aid in dying" in Canada.
• FRANCE / PRO-LIFE VIGIL On May 31st, feast of the Visitation, during the traditional Pro-life Prayer Vigil at Notre-Dame, in Paris, the Bishops of the Île-de-France entrusted to the mercy of God the prayers transmitted to them, according to the website of the Archdiocese of Paris, whose archbishop, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, was the main celebrant of the Holy Mass that began with a series of testimonies. In his homily, the cardinal spoke of the "deep internal contradiction between the dynamism of life received from God and the attraction toward death felt by many people nowadays." And he added, "But if love is a source of joy, if life is a source of joy, we must understand, as we have just heard in the Gospel, as we have heard through the testimonies, that we reach this joy only if it is shared. […] It is not enough, therefore, to loudly declare that we support life. We must bear witness to life‘s joy by sharing its trials with our brothers and sisters."
• BELGIUM / CHILDCARE ALLOWANCE In anticipation of the reform of the childcare allowance, on May 27th, the League of families presented its proposals, says the official website of the Catholic Church of French-speaking Belgium. The League recommends, among other things, the end of the allocation system according to rank, and a supplement of 50 euros per child for families with modest incomes. More details on the requests of the Family League can be found here.
• ALGERIA / RELIGIONS This week, on its website, the Catholic Church in Algeria proposes a reflection on "the major stages of life in the different religions:" Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. This is an easy way to discover the concrete traditions of the other believers.
• SYRIA / CHILDREN On the occasion of the International Day of the Child, celebrated on June 1st, the Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs of Syria launched a call to Christians around the world to "pray with the Syrian children so that there may at last be peace." This initiative was the result of a meeting that brought together the Churches of Syria and the French association Aide à l‘Eglise en Détresse, which published a statement on the matter. The prayer proposal is available at this link. The initiative has been largely echoed in the French-speaking press, in France (RCF, La Croix), but also in Belgium and, of course, in the Middle East, for example, on the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
• CANADA / ASSISTED SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA Throughout Canada, mobilization remains strong against the legalization of greater accessibility to euthanasia and assisted suicide across the country. For example, this week the Association Vivre dans la dignité in Quebec published a declaration entitled "Manifesto for a dignified and natural end of life and the promotion of care in Quebec." "We believe that it is necessary to give all the terminally sick quality care, infused with compassion, and to reject both euthanasia and assisted suicide as aggressive treatment," says Vivre dans la dignité, which wants "to live in a Quebec that is supportive and respectful of the most vulnerable." In its statement, the Association encourages all citizens to request of the government "high quality palliative care, so as to ensure that all those living in Quebec may end their natural life accompanied with attention and affection."
• CANADA / ASSISTED SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA (2) Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec, published an open letter, on May 30th, entitled "‘Assistance in Dying‘: No Deadline for Dignity." In this text characterized by its personal expression, the cardinal "collectively launches a great challenge", at the approach of June 6th, when Canada‘s Supreme Court will announce its decision on medical aid to the dying, which will go into effect with or without the framework of a federal law. "You surely know a person who can recognize him or herself in the Québec and (soon to be) Canadian criteria for access to medical assistance in dying. Listen to that person express to the very end his or her suffering and fear. Tell that person that he or she has a great worth in your eyes and will always be able to count on your presence. Remind him or her of your unconditional love."