- - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Joseph Curl wrote movingly of the pain of watching loved ones suffer (“The politics of death and dying,” Web, July 20). The desire to lessen the pain of a loved one is universal. It compels us to support hospice and palliative care ministries such as Calvary Hospital in New York and the Little Sisters of the Poor, who care for those at the end of their lives with compassion and dignity. Under such dedicated care, the mind is engaged, the heart is healed, the pain is managed and the patient is treated with dignity until his last breath.

In the current debate over assisted suicide in England, Theo Boer, a former supporter of its legalization warns: “Don’t go there. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is not likely to ever go back in again.” Based on “twelve years of experience,” he wonders if assisted suicide’s legality has created “an invitation to see assisted suicide and euthanasia as a normality instead of a last resort.”

Pope Francis has cautioned: “The gravest deprivation experienced by the aged is not the weakening of one’s physical body, nor the disability that may result from this. Rather, it is the abandonment, exclusion and deprivation of love.” That’s where we come in — ensuring no one is left to despair. True mercy serves man until the last breath.

DANIEL McGIFFIN

Burke