Andrew Bennett

Andrew Bennett

The Reverend Andrew Bennett is a deacon of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada.

It has been just over seven years since Canadian law has permitted euthanasia and assisted suicide on demand. In those seven years restriction after restriction on euthanasia provision has fallen and now we stand on the threshold of euthanizing the mentally ill and permitting the as-yet-undefined “mature minor” to end his or her life. Euthanasia is now presented to patients as a health care option.

One of the most oft-quoted passages of the New Testament is 1 Corinthians 13:1: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” The ensuing verses are probably the most popular option for the epistle in the Roman Catholic Nuptial Mass and why wouldn’t it be at an occasion when we are celebrating the love between the bride and groom?

As I write this column, I have completed my first three weeks of holidays in the UK. It is a much needed respite and an occasion to return to some old stomping grounds from when I pursued graduate studies. Being here in June, at the tail end of the university term, I revelled in the sublime beauty of English choral evensong in Oxford’s New College chapel and at Winchester and Salisbury cathedrals.

On the fifth Sunday of Easter in the Byzantine rite we commemorate the Samaritan woman at the well who meets Jesus and hears the Gospel preached. To Jews such as Our Lord the Samaritans were distinctly the “other,” worshipping God in a way that the Jews rejected. Among the many important aspects of this Gospel passage one that merits greater discussion in our day is the preaching of the Gospel to those who are not “us.” We encounter in the Gospels many occasions when Jesus meets non-Jews such as when He meets the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30), or when the Roman centurion requests healing for his slave (Luke 7:2-10), or when He heals the Gerasene. Our Lord does not limit His saving ministry to His fellow Jews; He comes as the promised Messiah calling all people to salvation.

April 27, 2023

The Jews and us

As I write this column, the State of Israel and Jews around the world are preparing to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut marking Israel’s independence. This year’s celebration will be especially poignant as it is the 75th anniversary of the Jewish state — a country that has flourished and has become an example to the world of perseverance.

Euthanasia is murder. And, it is not simply murder but State-sanctioned, State-abetted, and State-funded homicide. To call it anything else is to engage in a serious form of deception. 

Why do we hate one another? Why do wait hate those who are unlike us in what they believe, how they act, or in how God Himself made them? The simple answer is because of the effects of the First Sin, the Fall, through which we became subject to sin, death and corruption. While Our Lord Jesus Christ through His passion, death and resurrection has conquered these effects, we are still prone to sin. Hate is a particular ugly manifestation of the effects of the Fall. 

As the Church, we have embarked again on our Lenten journey, that season of bright sadness during which we consider our sinfulness and the call to repentance. 

Almost a decade ago, I visited a close Catholic friend and his wife and family in one of the charming bedroom communities outside Boston. The highlight of the evening was a dinner that my friend hosted replete with fine food, delightful wines from a well-stocked cellar and rich conversation. Sitting next to me on that occasion was my friend and American Catholic man of letters Thomas Howard. 

My 86-year old joyful and faithful father has a cheeky toast that he likes to trot out once in a while. With glass raised, he proffers “Death to temperance!” It’s witty and always gets a laugh from family and friends. Yet, the wittiness of the toast draws back the curtain on our present societal stage more then one might expect.

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