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Cardinal takes on assisted suicide measure in homily

By Christopher S. Pineo
Posted: 2/10/2012

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BOSTON -- Many Catholics attending Mass in the Archdiocese of Boston on the weekend of Feb. 11 and 12 will hear a pre-recorded homily by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley on the sanctity of human life.

Cardinal O'Malley created the homily in response to a November 2012 ballot initiative to make Massachusetts only the third state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. It was distributed to parishes to be delivered on the occasion of the 20th World Day of the Sick, celebrated each year on the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes to pray for the sick, the dying, and medical professionals.

The homily will launch an education campaign on physician-assisted suicide throughout the archdiocese.

"St. Paul exhorts us today to be imitators of Christ, who stretches out his hand in compassion toward the sick. This is the model that we as Christians have emulated for centuries" the cardinal said in his homily.

"Unfortunately, this model of compassion is now being threatened," he says.

He says it is likely that in November citizens will be asked whether suicide should be considered a "legal and normal" way to care for patients facing death.

"Our society will be judged by how we treat those who are ill and the infirm. They need our care and protection, not lethal drugs," he says.

The Joint Committee on the Judiciary will hold a public hearing on the so-called Death With Dignity Act March 6.