12/01/2017, 18.01
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Syro-Malabar Church holds symposium in Panvel on human dignity and the culture of life

by Nirmala Carvalho

The ethical aspects of end-of-life issues are at the centre of the three-day conference (30 November-2 December) with the participation of some 200 religious and lay delegates from 22 dioceses. For an expert, member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, people should not be kept alive at any cost, nor should their life be terminated. Patients should be placed in God’s hands and accompanied with love.

Panvel (AsiaNews) – A number of religious leaders, scholars, doctors and legislators from across India have come together for the three-day Eva-Global Symposium on life (30 November-2 December). The Eparchy of Kaylan organised the event with the support of the Syro-Malabar Synodal Commission for Family, Laity, and Life.

Mgr Sebastian Vaniyapurackal, a new bishop in the Syro-Malabar Church, opened the symposium in the presence of Mgr Thomas Elavanal, bishop of Kalyan. Some 200 delegates, including bishops, religious leaders and lay people, came from more than 22 Catholic dioceses in India and abroad.

In a statement, organisers write that "The society we live in" faces more and more threats “to the dignity of life and of individuals and families, especially when life is weak and defenseless".

They note their acceptance of the recommendations made by the fourth Syro-Malabar major Archiepiscopal assembly, which call on dioceses and eparchies to "invent more concrete ways to promote life and protect marriage".

At the symposium, Dr Pascoal Carvalho, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, presented a paper entitled ‘Ethical concerns and End-of-Life Issues’.

Speaking about Pope Francis's message to Academy a few weeks ago, the expert centred his presentation on a number of medical and ethical questions, such as ineffective and “overzealous treatment”, death defined as the absence of vital functions and brain activity (not to be confused with coma), and the concept of suffering as something precious.

For the Catholic Church, suffering finds its "true meaning in Jesus Christ", which redeemed mankind through his suffering.

For Dr Carvalho, "The position of the Catholic Church is not to keep the person alive at all costs . . . neither is it to terminate life just because there is pain and suffering.”

Instead, “when the time comes,” people must surrender the person to God and be accompanied with love and “medication that will prevent excruciating suffering”. (NC)

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