The golden rule

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

My mother al­ways tried to in­stil in me the golden rule of ‘do as you would be done by’. Though I have no re­li­gious be­lief, treat­ing oth­ers as one would like to be treated is the tried and tested so­cial tool for liv­ing to­gether in har­mony.

That’s why the Catholic at­ti­tude to suf­fer­ing seems so alien to the 97 per cent who don’t reg­u­larly at­tend mass. In some mys­te­ri­ous, way suf­fer­ing is sup­posed to be ‘en­nobling’, a ‘gift from God’, as Saint Teresa of Cal­cutta so charm­ingly put it.

Of course, in cam­paign­ing against David Sey­mour’s End of Life Choice Bill, the Catholic hi­er­ar­chy is po­lit­i­cally savvy enough to keep quiet about the virtues of suf­fer­ing.

But some­times re­li­gious fer­vour gets the bet­ter of po­lit­i­cal cau­tion. The De­cem­ber 21 is­sue of New Zealand Catholic de­tails a talk by Dr Colin Harte, in which he said that “Suf­fer­ing is not only a priv­i­lege, but it is the great­est priv­i­lege in this world”.

This is fine for those masochists who be­lieve that sort of non­sense, but to those of us on the re­ceiv­ing end, op­po­si­tion to David Sey­mour’s End of Life Choice Bill is lit­tle short of sadism.

MARTIN HAN­SON

Nel­son

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