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Letter to Parishioners from the New Zealand Catholic Bishops

23 January 2018
Dear Parishioners,
As many of you will know, in December 2017, David Seymour’s ‘End of Life Choice’ bill had its first reading in Parliament and was voted through to the Justice Select Committee. This Bill, which seeks to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide, is something that we, the Bishops of New Zealand, remain extremely concerned about. We want to take the opportunity to further inform you about the complexities and risks associated with euthanasia and assisted suicide.
We are hesitant about “tacking on” activities to Mass, but from time to time a particular initiative is given permission because its focus is so important that in effect it finds its full meaning within the context of the Mass. As we gather to be nourished by God’s Word (teaching and law) and by His Body and Blood, which makes possible the fullness of life, it is appropriate that something which so gravely threatens the gift of life is addressed within the context of our Sunday worship.
Today, all around New Zealand, we are making available a resource which gives 5 reasons why legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide would be dangerous. We encourage you to share it among your friends, family and networks. This information is to inform and assist you to take personal action. Each of you can make a difference. Each of you are called to make a difference.
The fact sheet being provided at Masses today is also available online by visiting the website of The Nathaniel Centre – the New Zealand Catholic Bioethics Centre – www.nathaniel.org.nz    (These can be viewed below)
Thank you for giving this your attention and for the support and effort you have all given to date on this issue. It is a powerful witness when the entire Catholic community is united around a point of belief and action – the upholding of the dignity of human life – which is so central to our faith and pivotal to an inclusive and caring society.
Many of you submitted to the Health Select Committee Inquiry two years ago. There is now an urgent need to let parliament know your views about David Seymour’s Bill. Therefore, we urge each of you to get personally involved by sending a submission to Parliament’s Justice Select Committee before the closing date of 20 February 2018. Instructions on how to make a submission will be handed out with the fact sheet.
Your voice will make a difference
Bishop Patrick Dunn, Bishop of Auckland and NZCBC President
Bishop Charles Drennan, Bishop of Palmerston North and NZCBC Secretary
Cardinal John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington
Bishop Steve Lowe, Bishop of Hamilton
Bishop Colin Campbell, Bishop of Dunedin
Bishop-Elect Paul Martin SM, Bishop-Elect of Christchurch
Euthanasia Bill Quick Facts Euthanasia Your Voice Counts – information Sheet for Submissions
Euthanasia Bill Quick Facts


Statement against the euthanasia bill

13 December 2017
Dear Friends
I am writing with the support of Bishop-Elect Paul Martin
Over the last twelve months or so, the issue of euthanasia has been a topic of public and political discussion in our country.
This is a brief update to let you know that there is a new bill currently before our Parliament which is seeking to legalise euthanasia here in New Zealand.
Based on what has happened in the minority of overseas jurisdictions where such laws have been adopted, we can say for certain that the vulnerable members of our families, parishes and wider communities would be placed in danger if this bill was to become law.
Once again we will be encouraging you to be a voice for the vulnerable on this issue.
Even if you have previously made a submission to parliament, or written to your MP about euthanasia, this is a brand new bill, and so we will need your help again.
More details will follow over the coming weeks, but in the meantime, please feel free to visit these websites:
God bless
Fr Rick Loughnan
Administrator Catholic Diocese of Christchurch
PS Submissions will close 20th February