Street disputes figures in euthanasia report

Holding Hands with Elderly Patient

Maryan Street, a member of Parliament in New Zealand disputes the figures in a report prepared by the Institute of Marriage and Family in Canada which claims deaths by assisted suicide have increased wherever the practices have been legalised.

The report states that international evidence shows that once assisted suicide or euthanasia are legalised, the criteria morph to include more and more people. This is as true in the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002, as it is in Oregon and Washington State, where assisted suicide was legalised in 1997 and 2009, respectively.

Street, who has withdrawn her euthanasia bill until after next year's election, says people need to have the choice as to when they end their lives and she says the report is misleading and statistically wrong.

She says undoubtedly there are people who would not have thought about using legalised euthanasia before because it was not a legal option for them.

Last week, Bob McCoskrie from Family First told TNVZ's Breakfast that to allow Street's bill would "open up a Pandora's Box for elder abuse".

New Zealand should adopt the same precautionary approach to assisted suicide as it did to the death penalty which said one life lost is one too many, McCoskrie said.

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Environment court to decide fate of Euphrasie House

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The diocese of Hamilton, in New Zealand, has gained consent to demolish Euphrasie House.

The Hamilton East Community Trust (HECT) is fighting to prevent the demolition of the 74 year old building.

The former convent, rebuilt in 1939, used as a boarding house for girls attending Sacred Heart College until it closed in 2011, is currently listed as a "Category B" heritage building.

Euphrasie House was the first three-storey building in Hamilton, and has a distinctive Spanish style, plaster walls and orange roof that set it apart from many other buildings in the city.

The diocese says it cannot afford earthquake strengthening work, and wants to instead build a two-storey diocesan centre on the site.

Mediation has failed and the matter will now go before the Environment Court.

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Law professor questions sense of pursuing case against Waihopai 3

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Auckland University law professor Bill Hodge wonders why the Crown is pursuing the civil action against the three peace protestors who damaged the Waihopai spy base in Marlborough, New Zealand.

"There really isn't much a creditor can do with respect to a debtor who truly is out of funds. You can't get blood from a turnip, so not that much can be done. So one wonders, what is the ultimate purpose, " says Hodge.

The peace protesters who damaged the Waihopai spy base in Marlborough now face $1.2 million damages claim, after the Court of Appeal found against them.

In 2008, Father Murnane, Samuel Land and Adrian Leason entered Waihopai and punctured an inflatable dome covering a large antennae.

In 2010 a jury acquitted the three on criminal charges, but the Crown then took civil action against them.

Murnane, who is a Dominican friar in his early 70s, has not had a bank account for half a century.

In May he said anyone demanding compensation from him would have to grab him by the ankles and shake him to find any money.

The activists say they will decide in the next two weeks whether to seek leave for a further appeal.

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Remembering Parihaka – a new booklet from Caritas

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A delegation from Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand recently presented its new booklet Remembering Parihaka to the Parihaka community after consulting them over its preparation.

"This is not a booklet just about Parihaka's history," said Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Director Julianne Hickey, "but a justice and peace resource that enables us to reflect on the impact of injustice today, in communities across the country - and strive for peace in the future."

Parihaka - on the western slopes of Mount Taranaki in New Zealand - became a centre for non-violent resistance under the leadership of Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi from 1865. It continues today to inspire discussion and a collective response to injustice.

Regular meetings to discuss the issues of the day - both local and national - have taken place on the 18th and 19th of each month at Parihaka since the 1870s. They were only interrupted during the village's occupation by government forces in the 1880s, following a destructive invasion to remove the community's leaders and most of its men.

Copies can be ordered from the Caritas office, or downloaded from the Caritas website www.caritas.org.nz

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Fr Chris Skinner and Janice Bateman join musical forces

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Father Chris Skinner has teamed up with Christchurch-based soprano Janice Bateman who's 2011 debut album 'Here I Am' knocked Justin Bieber out of a chart position he'd held for 10 weeks.

Their Album, 'Reason to Believe' is to be released on 1 November.

Brian Martin, from the Hawke's Bay, brought the two singers together.

In April 2011 he was in New York. He woke in the early hours and remembered that the Breakers had played the final of the Trans-Tasman NBL basketball championship. Interested in knowing the outcome, through the internet he tuned into NZ radio for the final score.

While waiting he heard Jim Sutton reviewing the first album of artist Janice Bateman. Brian thought that her voice came through with such quality and clarity that he was inspired to send her an email. That was the beginning of' 'Reason to Believe'.

When Brian got home he brought Fr Chris and Janice together to look at the possibility their working together.

"I wasn't sure about being involved in the project given my vocation, style and previous recordings. I am more at ease with the behind the scenes approach." says Fr. Chris.

"This particular project is a bit more out there but Brian assured me he would keep all that in mind."

Janice and Chris recorded the album in January of this year in Orewa with Mike McCarthy at his studio. She had recorded her first album with him and Chris had recorded the single 'You raise me up' with Mike in 2005.

Reason to Believe is an album of duets and solos, including timeless classics such as Flying Without Wings, Bridge over Troubled Water, Smile, In the Arms of an Angel, Amazing Grace and Sailing

Janice Bateman

Christchurch singer Janice Bateman's debut Album "Here I am" rose quickly to number 5 on the NZ charts and won immediate acclaim. She was voted the Female Artist of the Year at the Variety Artists of New Zealand awards.

Fr Chris Skinner

Chris is a Marist priest. He began writing his own songs from the age of 16 and recorded his first album in 1990. On average he has produced an album every two years since then and sees his music as an integral part of his priesthood.

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Progress – but no decision yet on Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

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The fate of the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch's Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is becoming clearer, as new information is released on the state of the current building and land.

Board chairman Lance Ryan said there were many complex issues affecting the decision making, but they had discovered new information on the state of the current Cathedral.

Ryan said that if the cathedral was rebuilt on the existing location, specific deep foundations would be needed to support the four internal dome columns and the heavy bell tower.

"The remainder of the structure could use the existing shallow foundations, which would need to be strengthened to tolerate up to 90 millimetres of differential settlement in a major earthquake," he said.

Ryan said there were still more issues which needed to be considered before a decision could be made.

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Two right-to-life groups criticise coroner’s euthanasia comments

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The Wellington regional coroner Ian Smith is acting irresponsibly in failing to recognise the real dangers of lethal elder abuse, says Bernard Moran who is the national president of Voice for Life Inc.

"Smith is within his coronial rights to describe Edna Gluyas' death as suicide or euthanasia, but to call for Parliament to yet again confront euthanasia is simply irresponsible in the light of what we now know about widespread elder abuse in New Zealand," he said.

And Ken Orr, Spokesperson for Right to Life, says his organisation believes that Smith's request is "reprehensible and a deadly threat to the common good".

" It is concerning that a Coroner should be advocating a culture of death with the murder of the vulnerable," he said.

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Cardinal Rodriguez had bumpy landing in Wellington

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A miscommunication between the Vatican and New Zealand church officials resulted in an adventurous arrival for Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga when he visited Wellington, New Zealand last week.

Vatican authorities provided the New Zealand officials with the wrong arrival date and he arrived a day before he was expected.

Cardinal Rodriguez survived a not unusual "bumpy" arrival into Wellington, which is well known for its high winds, but there was no one to meet him at Wellington airport.

So he caught a taxi and asked the driver to take him to the Catholic cathedral. The taxi driver went to a Baptist church, and Cardinal Rodriguez had to advise him to use his GPS device to find the Catholic destination. continue reading

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Cultural clash over altar servers

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Female altar servers are becoming an issue in some parishes that have high numbers of migrants attending Mass, Auckland diocese's liturgy centre says.

Many migrant populations have not been used to women and girls serving in this way, a statement from the liturgy centre to NZ Catholic noted. "This matter has to be handled with pastoral sensitivity, and catechesis provided, so that people understand the equal role of men and women in the Sunday assembly," the statement continued.

"While noting the historical practice of altar boys, and that it is ‘laudable' that this is retained [Redemptionis Sacramentum 47], it should be noted that this ministry has been renewed and developed since the Second Vatican Council, and that the norms and practices of the local Church where one chooses to live must also be respected," it added.

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Catholic and Anglican archbishops say pray for our justice system

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The Roman Catholic and Anglican archbishops of New Zealand are inviting their churches to pray and discuss how the Christian gospel is foundational to the rights and needs of victims, offenders, and their families.

The archbishops, John Dew, Justin Duckworth and Philip Richardson (above) say a justice system, levels of offending, and victims' needs and rights, are often summed up through statistics when it is actually about people.

They say, victims have needs and rights and offenders also need to face what they have done and be reintegrated into society.

The leaders share a concern that while the crime rate is falling in New Zealand, the level of incarceration in prisons has increased in the past four years and rates of reoffending remain high.

The archbishops question whether prison is the effective remedy for all who offend to be able to turn their lives around.

Their request accompanies the prayer vigil for victims, prisoners and their families outside Wellington Cathedral of St Paul by the Anglican Bishop of Wellington, Justin Duckworth.

The archbishops went and prayed with Bishop Justin today and want to encourage conversations and awareness about the issue.

The archbishops believe the Christian community can express hope and influence across society.

They say while there have been some good initiatives taken to reduce reoffending by prisoners on release, we need to ask ourselves as churches and society if there is more that can be done for victims and offenders and so for the common good of all.

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  • Media Release NZCBC
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