Our class finally met this morning, after a very long hiatus imposed by the university break schedule.
Being that it is both Sanctity of Life Sunday and the middle of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, our topics for today were right-to-life issues and ecumenicism.
Fr. Joe summarized the Church's position on abortion and euthanasia quite well. In talking about mercy killings (he doesn't like the term "assisted suicide," because it lets the "assistant" off too easily) he was careful to stress the difference between the administration of drugs that incidentally hasten death and the administration of drugs intended to bring about death. This seems like common sense, but I think it's something that people can lose sight of. It is not wrong for a doctor to make a terminally ill person feel more comfortable by means of pain medications and so forth, even if the doctor knows that the pain medications are likely to speed the patient's death (see CCC 2279).
In discussing Christian unity, Fr. Joe stressed the importance of prayer by telling us about the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in Garrison, New York. An account of the monastery's history may be read here. It began as an Episcopalian society, but their founder established Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity in 1908. The whole monastery was received into the Church in 1909.
Fr. Joe also emphasized the necessity of focusing on the similarities between the Church and other Christian communities in paving the way for unity. As I am quite fond of the differences that separate the Church from those communities I've left behind, this was something I needed to hear. If our mentality is one of "Us vs. Them," it will be very difficult to win others to the Faith. Certainly the qualities that distinguish the Church from other communities are important, and they should in no way be brushed aside, but we should be willing to place emphasis on our similarities if it will help others toward unity with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
We'll be "enrolled" on March 5th, signing the book here in Martin in the morning and traveling to Memphis for a service at the cathedral in the afternoon. I haven't the words to say how giddily anxious I am for Easter to arrive. My grandmother has said that she will come to my Confirmation, which is really joyful news.
St. Hermengild, martyred on orders from your father for refusing to denounce the Church, patron of converts, pray for us.
File Under: RCIA