Friday, March 07, 2008

Bishops issue guide to Mental Capacity Act

Briefing. It can be downloaded as an A4 pdf or an A5 pdf; buy hard copy from the CTS here.

From CFNews: The new Mental Capacity Act affects the care of anyone who is unable to make decisions for themselves. These may be financial decisions, choices about where to live, or how someone is to be cared for. Healthcare decisions made when the end of life is approaching are the main focus of the 'Mental Capacity Act & Living Wills - A Practical Guide for Catholics', produced by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales to provide a Catholic perspective on the new law. 'As Christians we believe that every human life is a gift from God and that to live that life fully we must love one another. Illness, whether mental or physical is a part of the human condition and most if not all of us will have to cope with it at some time in our lives. Ill health makes us aware of our human frailty, and calls for a response of love and care, recognising always that to be human is to be body, soul and spirit, and that we are ultimately called by God to follow Our Lord through death to the fullness of life with Him,' says the Archbishop of Cardiff, the Most Reverend Peter Smith, Chair of the Department for Christian Citizenship and Responsibility, in his Opening Foreword.

This Guide seeks as practically as possible to answer many of the questions which you might have about this Act in relation to healthcare decisions, whether it concerns your own future, that of a friend or a member of your family who may be seriously ill, or whether you are a healthcare professional, he continues..Although (it) rightly focuses on the practical issues people face for Christians these of course find their true context within the Gospel message of hope. As Christians we are called to a vision of life and love beyond illness and death itself.' The Guide is in 'Question and Answer' form, and seeks to be as practical as possible in addressing some of the concerns which people may have, either regarding their own situation or that of a member of their family or religious community. It includes questions regarding the withdrawal of medical treatment at the end of life, the new powers in the Act to make advance decisions to refuse treatment (so-called 'Living-Wills'), and the duties of those appointed with lasting powers of attorney to take decisions of behalf of others.

A section of the Guide addresses issues for healthcare professionals. It has been written for use both within and beyond the Catholic Community and is available from the Catholic Truth Society, priced at £1.95. tel: 020 7640 0042 ISBN no. 978 1 86082 465 4 An on-line version is to be found here

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen