In death as in life – supporting the dying and the bereaved

Catholic social teaching rarely seems to touch on issues of death, dying, bereavement and so on, except, of course, in debates around euthanasia and medical choices made when caring for those close to death. But what about questions related to the care of those who are close to death, bereavement and the practicalities that inevitably arise when a member of the family dies? Many of the usual questions that are raised by Catholic social teaching pertain. What should be the role of the family, civil society, the Church and the state? How is the common good best promoted, remembering that the common good is about bringing society to a higher state of perfection? We cannot do that unless we are faithful companions to those who are dying and help those who are bereaved.

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The NHS – an article of faith

The UK system of health provision is unusual. Our death rate from Covid is also unusual. It is widely reported that our figure for deaths per million of population is one of the highest in the developed world. We could look at this figure and put the blame in all sorts of places. If only we had tightened borders more quickly, we would have had fewer cases, and fewer deaths; if only we imposed lockdown more quickly; if only we had a population more willing to comply with the state’s desire to track and trace us; if only we were on two islands 2,500 miles from the next nearest large country; and so on…

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Covid and healthcare – why we must learn not to leave the disabled behind

Covid vaccination

At present I am waiting for my daughter’s Covid vaccination appointment. My daughter, now an adult, has profound severe multiple disabilities. She cannot tell me if she feels ill or in pain, and certainly not if she has lost her sense of smell. Like many people with disabilities, especially those with learning disabilities, when it comes to health and social care it is easy for my daughter to fall through the gaps.

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Covid and human dignity

human Dignity

This post by Edward Hadas is part of a longer article on covid, lockdowns and Catholic social teaching published by Together for the Common Good

Much has been written about the medical aspects of Covid-19. Some attention has been paid to the effectiveness of the lockdowns ordered to combat the disease. Much less interest has been shown in evaluating the gamut of their non-medical effects. “Lockdown” refers to any collection of severe and fairly long-lasting governmental restrictions on the normal activities of human beings. This article is a critical study of what these lockdowns have done from the perspective of the first principle of Catholic social teaching – the promotion of human dignity.

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Mental health, spiritual wellbeing and COVID-19

Mental health

In the interest of the common good, every citizen has a responsibility to promote the mental health of all the members of our society, including ourselves, and of our local communities. The Church believes that life is worth living. Life matters. It is a precious gift to be cherished. Our fulfilment and destiny come from a living relationship with Jesus Christ through faith, nourished by the sacraments and the support of the Church community. Prayerful support of those who care about the mental health of every member of the community also assists in this great work of Christian concern.
Statement from Bishop Richard Moth on the World Mental Health Day 2019

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‘Dying well’ in the time of coronavirus

Deathbed-Etiquette-During-Covid-19

This article follows the same theme as last week’s article in a rather different context. The virtues of social justice and solidarity demand that we all play our part in ensuring that those who die experience a good death and have the support they need. Catholic organisations are working to ensure this in these difficult times, as are a range of other organisations. However, ultimately, when things return to normal, we know that, though we will learn from the use of technology during this difficult period, we still need human contact.

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Covid-19 and international solidarity

principles of cooperation

What has Catholic Social teaching to say about the Covid-19 pandemic? As the Church reflects on both the ethics of healthcare resource allocation and the running of the economy, there is quite a lot for us to say; but here I simply want to look at how the United Kingdom’s international policies, and the attitudes underlying them, have affected the country’s response to the crisis. Some policies have been mistaken because they stem from flawed moral attitudes. We have a duty to question and challenge policies: while we are trying to ‘pull together’ governments and public authorities need to be held to account, particularly if mistakes have cost lives. For Christians this is in the best tradition of the Old Testament prophets.

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