18 February 2009

Italian missionary priest returns award to Italian President

Padre Aldo Trento, Italian missionary priest in Paraguay


Missionary Rejects Award in Protest of Italy's Euthanasia Ruling

A report from Zenit

ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay, FEB. 16, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Father Aldo Trento has been caring for patients like Eluana Englaro for years, so when Italy refused to protect her life, he protested by returning one of Italy's highest honors. Since 1989 Father Trento has been one of the best-known missionaries of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo in Paraguay. He is 62 years old and is the head of a clinic for the terminally ill in Asunción.

On June 2, the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, conferred the title "Knight of the Order of the Star of Solidarity" on Father Trento. Last Wednesday, the priest returned the honor to Napolitano in the wake of the latter's refusal to sign the special decree that would have saved the life of Eluana Englaro, who had been in a coma since 1992, and whose father had succeeded in a legal bid to have her feeding tube removed.

The priest asserted, "How can I, an Italian citizen, receive such an honor from you, who, with your action, permitted the death of Eluana in the name of the Italian Republic?" "I have more than one case like Eluana Englaro," Father Trento told the Italian newspaper Il Foglio.

Padre Aldo, as he is known, gives a name to each of the persons he is taking care of.

He continued: "I think of little Victor, a child in a coma, who clenches his fists. All we do is feed him through a tube. Faced with these situations, how can I react to the case of Eluana?

"Yesterday they brought me a girl who was naked, a prostitute, in a coma, who had been dumped in front of a hospital. Her name is Patricia and she is 19. We washed her. Yesterday she started to move her eyes.

"Celeste is 11; she suffers from a very grave form of leukemia; she was never taken care of and they brought her to me just to bury. Today she is walking. And she laughs."

The missionary said: "I have taken more than 600 of these sick people to the cemetery. How can we accept something like what happened to Eluana?

"Cristina is a little girl who was left in a garbage dump, she is blind, deaf, she trembles when I kiss her, she lives with a feeding tube like Eluana. She does not respond except for the trembling but little by little she will regain her faculties. "I am the godfather for many of these sick people. I'm not bothered by their decaying bodies. If you could see with what humility my doctors care for them."

Father Trento says that he feels "immense sorrow" for Englaro: "It is as if you were to say to me: 'We're going to take away your sick children now.'" For the missionary, "man cannot be reduced to chemicals." He added: "How can the president of the republic offer me a Star of Solidarity? I took it and returned it to the Italian embassy in Paraguay."



Clearly, Padre Aldo has the same kind of loving commitment to outcasts as Father Damien had.

1 comment:

Catholic Observer said...

Padre made the right decision. Such an honour would be forever tainted with the appalling death of this woman. I'm glad that Ireland hasn't legalized euthanasia yet, though it would be quite naieve to think it won't ever happen!