It is also important that some people in Massachusetts oppose Question 2 because they believe that a ballot initiative process is not a good way to deal with a complex, ethical issue involving life and death. The legislature exists to be able to review proposals, hold public hearings and build consensus on complicated issues.
We are asking our Catholic parishioners to help in this very challenging time. We feel confident that if the voters have a chance to hear about the flaws in this proposed legislation, they will vote "No on Question 2." It all hinges on our ability to get the message out. Please take copies of the hand-out cards, and distribute them to your family, friends and neighbors at the events you attend over the next week. You might ask people if they have heard about Question 2, and tell them you would like to read the card with some of the reasons that medical organizations, disability groups, and other community leaders are voting no. There are also sample texts on SuicideIsAlwaysATragedy.org that you can use to e-mail folks, post on Facebook, Twitter or Google-Plus. I would not be asking this of you if it were not so critical. I would hope that each of us would try to reach at least 10 people with this message.
This is not partisan politics; it is simply exercising our right to contribute to the exchange of ideas that the Constitution of the United States guarantees. The churches perform an important service by weighing in on moral and ethical issues. Many people objected to Archbishop Romero advocating for the poor and objected to Reverend Martin Luther King's work on behalf of social justice. They both gave their lives to make their countries better places where human dignity was respected.
We are all called to work for a more just society where the weak and the vulnerable are nurtured and protected. Our faith demands that we not be guilty bystanders. That's why I am asking you to join me and partner with so many medical and disability groups to stop assisted suicide and "Vote No on Question 2" on Election Day.
The beggar Bartimaeus was ignored by the maddening crowd. They tried to silence him, but Bartimaeus refused to be intimidated. It took courage to cry out: "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." It was interpreted as a political statement by some, no doubt. It was rather a cry to escape from the world of darkness. Jesus heard Bartimaeus' cry and called him over and asked what he wanted. Bartimaeus said: "Lord that I might see." Jesus who spent his ministry trying to heal blindnesses of minds and hearts says to the beggar: "Go your way, your faith has saved you." The Gospel said, he immediately received his sight and followed Jesus on the way. What a beautiful ending to this Gospel. Bartimaeus did not disappear when he received what he asked for. With faith and gratitude he became Jesus' disciple and followed the Lord to Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified ten days later -- and three days after that, rose from the dead.
Let us beg the Lord to cure all our societal blindnesses and help us to follow Jesus with the faith and gratitude of Bartimaeus. Following Jesus is never easy, but it always leads to deeper love and joy. Just ask the beggar.
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