Legalizing suicide 'sends a terrible message,' cardinal tells jurists
By Christine M. WilliamsPilot Correspondent
Cardinal O'Malley celebrates the annual Red Mass for members of the legal professions, Sept. 28, 2012 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Pilot photo/Kevin Blatt
Legalizing suicide "sends a terrible message." Laws that do so set arbitrary death forecasts, which are often inaccurate. The Massachusetts law in particular lacks basic safeguards. It offers more protections to those who assist in premeditated suicide than those on the receiving end of a lethal dose of drugs, he said.
In almost all cases, dying patients can be made comfortable with pain medication. The best palliative and hospice care should be made available to all, and anything else is an "ugly distraction," he added.
Cardinal O'Malley urged attendees at the Red Mass to build a society where people are more important than money.
"May your faith light the path of reason and bring you joy and satisfaction as you work for a more just world," he said.
He urged the lawyers to see their profession as a vocation, to integrate their legal, professional and family lives with prayer and deep principles. He acknowledged the challenge of doing so in today's culture, which has been invaded by moral relativism. Religion is often viewed as a "quirky hobby," something separate from professional life.
"In reality, religion makes an indispensable contribution to our democratic way of life," he said. "The place of religion and religious convictions in public life is precisely to sustain those values that make possible a common good that is more than just a temporary political expedience motivated by personal convenience or gain."
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