Saturday, January 13, 2018

Raymond Anthony Fernando's letter to The Catholic News: Reaching out to the elderly sick

My letter to The Catholic News (Singapore) on the above matter, was published this weekend (in advance for 2st January 2018) on page. 

 There have been several reports of seniors dying all alone – both here in Singapore and in Japan in the Straits Times (ST).

That was followed by discussions, both in the media reports as well as in the ST’s Forum page as to whether assisted suicide or euthanasia should be an option given to caregivers of loved ones to end the suffering of their loved ones going through enormous pain from life-threatening illness.

One ST commentary (“A good life to the end, or a quick death” Saturday, December, 2017) mentioned that the Australian state of Victoria recently legalised assisted suicide that permitted a patient with a terminal illness with life expectancy of less than six months to obtain a lethal drug to commit suicide. 

The commentary also cited several other countries like Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, Columbia, Luxembourg and American states such as California, Washington, Vermont and Oregon that have passed laws that allowed assisted suicides.

As a born Catholic, I do not support assisted suicide or euthanasia, but am a firm believer in palliative care and the power of prayer which has been known to create miracles. 

God gave us life, and only God can take life away from us. It is not for man to play God.

Although death is a subject which many feel uncomfortable to talk about– just like mental illness – death is very much a part of living. We all have to accept that.

As Christians, we all understand that life here on earth is only temporary, for the really good life is in heaven and that is why we must follow closely the teachings of Jesu Christ and show kindness and compassion to one another irrespective of our status in society.

When children are born, parents make so much preparations for them, that includes joyful celebrations, setting aside money for their education and even opening up bank accounts for them.

Yet when it comes to the elderly sick, many of whom live all alone, how much support and advance planning do we put in to help them lead more meaningful lives?

So, let’s not avoid discussing about end-life issues, but be open to talk about dying, and how as Christian brothers and sisters, we can rally around one another to provide that ray of light in uncertainties that can come our way.


Raymond Anthony Fernando









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