Isn't it nice to see Archbishop Jensen take the opportunity at Easter to denigrate the notion of ''dying with dignity'' in favour of his own pro-life agenda?
By highlighting the humiliation of Christ on the cross, he belittles the suffering of the countless people crippled by chronic and terminal diseases – people unable to feed themselves, communicate, toilet themselves or even breathe without excruciating pain. Yet the archbishop talks of ''pain, helplessness, loss and anxiety of death'' – how much of this has he seen?
Has he ever had to clean an incontinent father? Has he ever held the hand of a dying sister whose every movement is racked with pain? Has he ever experienced the utter helplessness of watching a severely disabled daughter struggle to breathe, knowing there is nothing he can possibly do? The archbishop has the privilege of proffering his opinion with neither the knowledge nor the experience of witnessing the immeasurable suffering of these people first hand. Those of us who treat and care for terminally ill patients doubt that his platitudes would mean very much to these terribly sick people.
Dr Abhishek K. Verma Hornsby
Rhetorical questions are often the easiest to ask, with the answer fully implied. On this occassion the import isn't even hidden. Somehow we are (as opposed to others) utterly remote from and unfeeling about these issues.
Dr Verma (Letters, April 23-24) is perhaps jumping the gun when he accuses Archbishop Jensen of having ''neither the knowledge nor the experience of witnessing the immeasurable suffering of [the dying] first hand''.
As clergy we are regularly called to exactly those situations – not just of our own family but of many others.
When we challenge opinions on subjects such as euthanasia we do so out of both those direct experiences and our deep conviction that there are other ways to understand our human mortality – alternative understandings that flow from the physical Resurrection of Jesus 2000 years ago. We do indeed have a radical ''pro-life agenda'' – how could we not?
David Ould Assistant minister, Neutral Bay Anglican Church