With the increasingly ambivalent attitude in the care of the disabled and dying throughout the world, especially in the West – and not least in Ireland – it is comforting to realise that there are many who still regard death as a natural process at the natural end of life. Only a few years ago the God-given dignity of a dying person in Ireland was always recognised and respected but, sadly, in recent times it appears that the essential elements of care to a seriously ill person – hydration and sustenance – are not being automatically provided unless relatives or friends insist.
This is by way of introduction to the information that a very important conference – albeit in the U.S.A. – will take place on 23 July next in Kansas City. The theme of the conference is: Being Faithful Even Unto Death. It is sponsored by the St. Gianna Physicians’ Guild, an organisation that looks at and discusses Catholic wisdom on the treatment of the disabled and dying, and provides a medical, legal and doctrinal analysis of Catholic care of the disabled and dying. The Guild is under the patronage of St. Gianna.
Cardinal Raymond Burke (Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura) will be the keynote speaker at the Conference, and his address will be on ‘The Mystery of Human Suffering and Dying’.
Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla (youngest daughter of St. Gianna) will speak on ‘The Life and Spirituality of my Mother, Saint Gianna, and the legacy she left behind’.
Other participants in the Conference proceedings will be Archbishop Joseph Naumann (Archbishop of Kansas City); Bishop Robert Finn (Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph); Austin Welsh, M.D. (geriatric specialist); Peter Breen (Thomas More Society); Bobby Schindler and Suzanne Vitadamo (brother and sister of the late Terri Schiavo); and Thomas J. McKenna (founder and president of the St. Gianna Physicians Guild