Allowing assisted suicide directly opposes ‘the Law of God’: Canadian bishops’ org

Vancouver's archbishop insists Canada's Supreme Court 'erred grievously' in its decision Friday.
Mon Feb 9, 2015 - 3:46 pm EST
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VANCOUVER, February 9, 2015 ( – Canada’s Supreme Court “erred grievously” in its decision Friday opening the door to assisted suicide, says Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB.

At the same time, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family has warned that the decision gives some a “permission to kill,” and that it is “in direct opposition to the Law of God.”

“Today the Supreme Court of Canada erred grievously in stripping Canadians of the protection that the law afforded them against assisted suicide," the archbishop said in a Friday statement.

"I am deeply troubled by the Court’s decision to overturn the law," he continued, "and I call on Catholics to join with other advocates for vulnerable persons to respond with urgency."

The archbishop noted that until the February 6 ruling, "Canadian legislation has been designed to protect those inclined toward ending their lives. That protection has now been eliminated."

He said that a lack of adequate palliative care, as well as situations of loneliness and despair, which are all remediable, are the source of a desire for assisted death.

"At the root of the desire for assisted suicide is the fact that adequate palliative care is often unavailable, which can lead to thoughts of suicide," Archbishop Miller said.

"In order to provide hope for those who suffer, we call on all levels of government, the healing professions, and hospitals and care facilities to ensure truly equal and inclusive access to such care. We have the technology to control pain, and we have the ability to overcome loneliness and despair."

"We call upon the federal government to enact legislation which will provide all possible legal safeguards for those who are vulnerable to suicide,” Archbishop Miller concluded.

The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), which is an initiative of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus, also denounced the Supreme Court's decision as a ruling that "has set itself up in direct opposition to the Law of God," namely, “Thou shalt not kill.”

"By ruling existing laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of Canada is giving some of us permission to kill. It would be difficult to overstate the gravity of the situation in which we find ourselves," COLF said in a statement.

"In the Carter decision," COLF said, "the Supreme Court bases its decision on false notions of autonomy and human dignity; these terms are being misused in such a way as to seriously weaken the common good. 

"What of the autonomy, what of the rights, of the medical practitioners who may now find themselves pressured to provide what some euphemistically call ‘medical aid in dying’?”

"What of the rights of citizens opposed to ‘assisted dying’ who will now find themselves forced to finance, with their tax dollars, the killing of their neigbours?”

"In this hour of crisis, more than at any time in our history as a nation, as citizens and as Christians, we have a moral obligation to uphold the rights of conscience and freedom of religion which are guaranteed by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The consequences of failing to do so may prove dire."

COLF urges citizens to petition their elected representative to: 1) Work to limit the harm done by the judgment of the Supreme Court by initiating or supporting restrictive legislation, and 2) initiate or support legislation which would prioritize the allocation of resources to the improvement of palliative care across Canada.

"We find ourselves at a crossroad," the statement concludes. "We must choose what kind of country we want, recalling that a society’s attitude towards its most vulnerable members is a sign of its level of civilization."

Find contact information for Canada’s Members of Parliament here.

URGENT: Sign a petition urging Canada's Parliament to stop assisted suicide here!

  assisted suicide, carter decision, catholic, catholic organization for life and family, euthanasia, j. michael miller

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