Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Alarm in Europe over spiraling euthanasia figures
Latest death after botched sex change ignites controversy
A euthanasia kit used in Belgium (picture: Etienne Ansotte/AFP)
- Alexander Smith for NBC News
- October 8, 2013
A high-profile case of a Belgian transsexual who chose to be killed by medical euthanasia after a sex-change operation turned him into a "monster" has highlighted the soaring number of people in the region electing to die this way – and has raised fresh questions over the controversial practice.
Nathan Verhelst, born Nancy, gave an interview to a local newspaper hours before his death this week citing his "unbearable psychological suffering" – rather than a terminal or degenerative physical illness – as his reason for dying voluntarily.
"When I looked in the mirror, I was disgusted with myself. My new breasts did not match my expectations and my new penis had symptoms of rejection. I do not want to be... a monster," Verhelst told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, referencing his double mastectomy and surgery to construct a penis last year.
Verhelst, 44, was killed by voluntary lethal injection on Monday according to local media reports.
Euthanasia, the act of a doctor directly killing a patient, is becoming more popular in Belgium and the Netherlands, which along with Luxembourg have all legalized euthanasia in the past 10 years and are the only three countries in the world where the practice is legal.
Last week the Dutch government released figures showing that in 2012 there were 4,188 cases of euthanasia or assisted suicide, or almost 1 in 30 deaths, while in 2011 there were 3,695 such cases – a yearly jump of 13 percent.
Source: NBC News