By Terry Vanderheyden

CALGARY, October 31, 2005 ( – Calgary bishop Fred Henry has condemned euthanasia Bill C-407, set to be debated in parliament tomorrow, insisting that euthanasia “has nothing to do with natural death or dignity, and everything to do with killing.”

“One of the misguided reasons for the current attractiveness of this kind of legislation is the exaggerated role personal autonomy has come to play in human consciousness today,” Bishop Henry explained in a column that appeared in the Calgary Sun Saturday. “Derived from the enlightenment movement of the 18th century, personal autonomy has erroneously developed into a concept that stresses so-called rights but forgets about responsibilities.” Bishop Henry stressed that a dying person also “has responsibilities to others and to society.”

Quoting from George Orwell’s essay, Politics and the English Language, Bishop Henry called the language of euthanasia one of “euphemisms, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Some of the language used in the euthanasia debate,” he added, “appears ‘designed to make lies sound truthful and murder acceptable, and give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.’”

“The rhetoric of ‘choice,’‘aid-in-dying,’‘compassion,’‘a new medical treatment,’‘self-determination,’‘autonomy,’ and ‘death with dignity’ tend to cover up the reality euthanasia means a human life is deliberately destroyed at the hands of another, in many cases at the hands of a loved one or a supposed professional healer.”

Bishop Henry warned that the new legislation “would pose a threat to the elderly, the infirm, handicapped newborns and to all members of society unable to look after their own best interests. This kind of legislation says to them: ‘you’re not important; you’re not needed; in fact, you are a burden to others.”

“Canadian citizens should be assured that their dignity at every stage of life is recognized by government as important,” Bishop Henry concluded. “They must be reassured by government their needs will be met humanely. They must be shown true compassion in the care they receive from society, not through death-dealing, but by being looked after in a life-giving way. As Canadians, we all have a duty to speak up for the rights and dignity of every citizen. In short, it is Bill C-407 that must die!”