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(LifeSiteNews) — In a society unmoored from moral absolutes, law frequently becomes a moral teacher. That is why we have seen practices and behaviors once opposed by solid majorities become accepted by equally large majorities almost overnight — because once the stigma of criminalization or legal restriction was removed, the public promptly adopted a new position. We are seeing this unfold in profoundly chilling ways with assisted suicide, which was legalized in Canada in 2016.

According to a new survey done by Research Co. between April 22 and 24 among 1,000 adults, Canadian attitudes toward assisted suicide are expanding with the boundaries of our euthanasia regime. Consider a few significant numbers.

27% believe that people should have access to euthanasia because they are poor — a number that rises to 41% among the 18 to 34 age group. A full 28% believe that Canadians should have access to euthanasia for homelessness. This means that a growing plurality of Canadians believe that killing poor and homeless citizens by lethal injection is morally acceptable, and perhaps even desirable — despite the obvious fact that Canadians opting for death in these circumstances are doing so in part due to economic coercion.

It is important to note, despite a conveyor belt of horror stories about the poor applying for assisted suicide, Canadians have clearly not been hearing what they are saying. They don’t want to die — they want to be able to live, as one MAiD applicant Les Landry told me. The Toronto Star referred to the Canadian status quo as “Hunger Games-style social Darwinism.” I suspect we haven’t seen anything yet.

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The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) has described assisted suicide as sometimes being the “greatest common good concretely possible” contrary to the Catholic Church's strenuous condemnation of the practice.

This betrayal of the Catholic faith by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia is not for the first time, with the PAV repeatedly causing scandal under his watch by:

  • recently appointing a notorious pro-abortion atheist to the organization
  • claiming contraception and artificial insemination are sometimes acceptable
  • insisting that priests could accompany people through assisted-suicide, and
  • that Italy's pro-abortion law is a “pillar” of the country's social life.

SIGN: Pope Francis must remove Abp. Paglia from the Pontifical Academy for Life

“Personally, I would not practice suicide assistance,” Archbishop Paglia told an Italian journalism conference last week, “but I understand that legal mediation may be the greatest common good concretely possible under the conditions we find ourselves in.”

Accepting an anti-life Italian court ruling that specified when assisted-suicide is permitted, the archbishop claimed “it is not to be ruled out that in our society a legal mediation is feasible that would allow assistance to suicide under the conditions specified by Constitutional Court Sentence 242/2019...”

From the outset of his presentation in Perugia, Paglia also undermined the authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, stating: “First of all, I would like to clarify that the Catholic Church is not that it has a ready-made, prepackaged package of truths, as if it were a dispenser of truth pills.” 

SIGN: Abp. Paglia must be removed from the Pontifical Academy for Life

The PAV issued a statement on Monday trying to clarify the archbishop's remarks, insisting that Paglia “reiterates his ‘no’ towards euthanasia and assisted suicide, in full adherence to the Magisterium”.

However, far from denouncing Paglia’s words, the PAV unsurprisingly supported its president. Referencing the Italian court ruling which partially decriminalized euthanasia by outlining exceptions to its illegality, the PAV stated it was in the context of this ruling that Paglia had made his comments.

In this precise and specific context, Msgr. Paglia explained that in his opinion a ‘legal mediation’ (certainly not a moral one) in the direction indicated by the Sentence is possible, maintaining the crime and the conditions under which it is decriminalized, as the same Constitutional Court has asked Parliament to legislate. 

The PAV’s fudging of the issue was met with consternation from several Catholic commentators, with liturgist Matthew Hazell, who had highlighted Paglia’s original comments, asking “How hard is it for the @PontAcadLife to just say ‘sorry’ for scandalising the faithful? Indeed, how hard is it to actually adhere to the teaching of the Church on life issues? Are you so incapable of reading the signs of the times & interpreting them in the light of the Gospel?”

SIGN: Abp. Paglia's presidency of the Pontifical Academy for Life is untenable

It's vital that the Church and PAV push back against the culture of death, rather than trying to accommodate it and accept a world that where the vulnerable are helped to kill themselves.

Be part of pushing back against the tide and making it clear that there is no room for confusion or betrayal when it comes to the sanctity of human life and the infallibilty of Catholic teaching on the matter. 



Abp. Paglia defends assisted-suicide as 'greatest common good possible' for dying people - LifeSiteNews

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The most chilling statistic, however, is the fact that 50% of Canadians support euthanasia for the disabled — a number that rises to 60% among the 18 to 34 age group. This is not simply ableism; it is ableism harnessed to eugenics. The Canadian disability community has been desperately warning the government of these growing attitudes since the discussion around assisted suicide and euthanasia began, and they have been ignored at every single turn. The reality is that many people look at people with disabilities and think: If I had that disability, I’d rather be dead. It is this perverse version of “compassion” that is driving their support for assisted suicide for the disabled.

Support is growing for the Liberal government’s plan to extent assisted suicide to the mentally ill as well. While a majority of Canadians still opposes the expansion — only 43% of respondents supported assisted suicide for those with mental illness — only 22% “strongly disagreed.” That means the Liberal government will be able to implement these changes, barring a change in leadership, virtually unopposed. The advocates and activists desperately trying to stall these changes and warning about the consequences of the government affirming suicidal ideation and cognitive distortions in those suffering from mental illness will be ignored — just as representatives of the disability community were ignored.

In short, this new survey contains nothing but bad news. Canada is shifting on assisted suicide, and if the trend continues, I suspect opposition to euthanasia for mental illness will rapidly melt away as well.

As historian Tom Holland noted in response to this poll: “Now, this really IS post-Christian.”


Lawsuit filed to strike down California’s ‘unconstitutional’ assisted suicide law

The Netherlands is euthanizing children, and Canada could be next

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.