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Issue Fifty Nine

December 2019

In his Editorial, titled Euthanasia Memo to MPs: ‘Hard Cases Make Bad Law’, John Kleinsman provides a critical assessment of the speeches he heard during the 3rd reading of the End of Life Choice Bill. That some MPs described the Bill as narrow and robust, while others bemoaned the Bills breadth and lack of effective safeguards, suggests that some of them must have ignored key evidence presented to them. The public need to show a willingness to engage with the evidence.

On the 8th August, a new Abortion Legislation Bill passed its 1st reading in Parliament and was referred to a specially constituted Select Committee. The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and The Nathaniel Centre prepared a written and oral submission to the Select Committee. Our first piece, Joint Written and Oral Submission to the Abortion Legislation Committee, is a slightly edited version of these submissions. A key emphasis in the presentation is that there are always at least two human lives at stake in every abortion.

In our second piece, The Pain of an Abortion: It Can Take Years, Sometimes Decades, psychotherapist Stephanie Kitching offers her personal, candid and compassionate reflections of walking alongside, and bearing witness to, women who have had abortions.

Our third article, The Future is Accessible: Celebrating the International Day of People with Disability, by Zachariah Duke, reflects on the ways in which, as a community, we can create a culture of hospitality that celebrates the gift of disability throughout the year. The challenge is to make inclusion an integral part of our everyday lives.

We next reprint for our readers the Respect Life Sunday Pastoral Letter – Care for Our Environment, published by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference. This letter acknowledges the young people of Aotearoa-New Zealand who have taken to the streets this year as part of the global movement demanding the systemic societal change that is required to tackle the climate crisis. In their letter, the Bishops reflect on Pope Francis’ call to each of us to consider anew what it means to be baptised and sent on mission in a world in which the cry of the poor and the cry of the Earth are one and the same.

Finally, following on from the Bishops’ pastoral letter, Jim McAloon offers a succinct overview of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter in Reading and Re-Reading Laudato Si’ – Combining Realism and Optimism with Ethics, Science and Faith. In particular, he draws attention to the distorted relationship that we have formed with the Earth – namely, the idea that our planet is merely a collection of “resources” to be exploited at will. What is needed is a “conversion, a change of mind and heart”.




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