US bishops : 'A matter of life and death'

us bishops.JPGThe United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or USCCB are holding their Spring General Assembly in the city of Seattle in Washington State. One of the key items on the agenda at their 3-day meeting is to debate and vote on a document on physician-assisted suicide. Entitled “To live Each Day with Dignity”, the document will be the first statement on assisted suicide by the full body of the USCCB. So, what has prompted the U.S. Bishops to issue such a document at this time? To find out more, Susy Hodges (Vatican Radio) spoke to Sister Mary Ann Walsh, Director of Media Relations at the USCCB.

The U.S. states of Washington and Oregon have approved laws in recent years permitting physician-assisted suicide and Sister Mary Ann says the implications of this and other similar moves are "a grave concern for the U.S. bishops ..... because you see policies being established or people attempting to establish policies all around the nation on assisted suicide which is making peoples' lives, especially the lives of sick people, feel less valued.... and it is the "intrinsic dignity of human life that is being completely rejected by the proponents of euthanasia."

As a result of this, Sister Mary Ann says "the U.S. bishops feel they have got to speak out now" so that Catholics and the general public really understand the issues at stake. She says: "This is much more than a choice in your life, this is a matter of life and death."

Another issue on the bishops' agenda at their General Assembly is voting on revisions of the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People". Asked about the reason for this, Sister Mary Ann replies: "Every document can get better and the Charter has to be brought into line with the recent Vatican changes." She says one of the proposed revisions calls for an explicit rather than implicit mention of child pornography in the Charter.

Listen to Susy Hodges' interview with Sister Mary Ann Walsh : >> RealAudioMP3 

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