Oh Canada, what have you done now to annoy Catholics?
You’ve just ‘officially crossed the boundary into a place in which the sick, the suffering and dying can be legally dispatched by lethal injection or a glass of liquid poison’ by allowing the nation’s laws against assisted suicide and euthanasia to evaporate.
And in doing so, according to pro-life activist Charles Lewis, who writes for the National Catholic Register, Canadians have:
Entered a frightening world in which several thousand years based on Judeo-Christian morality have been rejected. It is as if the Good Samaritan of the Gospels is no longer praised for helping the wounded man, beaten and broken on the side of the road, but is instead lauded for bashing the victim’s skull all in the name of ending suffering.
The story begins with Kay Carter, above, an elderly woman who said she did not want to end up “an ironing board on a bed” and was terrified of “dying inch by inch”. In 2010, Carter, who suffered from a debilitating case of spinal stenosis, travelled to a clinic in Switzerland to drink a toxic dose of sodium pentobarbital and end her life.
But before her death, she challenged Canada’s euthanasia ban. After she died, her daughter, Lee, above, took up the battle – and won. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in her favour, saying:
The prohibition on physician-assisted dying infringes on the right to life, liberty and security of the person in a manner that is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
The judgment gave Parliament a year to draft new legislation that recognises the right of clearly consenting adults who are enduring intolerable physical or mental suffering to seek medical help in ending their lives. And, most importantly, it does not limit physician-assisted death to those suffering a terminal illness. The deadline for the new legislation was set for June 6, 2016 – but the deadline was missed.
Lewis said this means:
Euthanasia is no longer considered a crime. Indeed, assisted suicide now carries the same status as any other medical procedure.
The present situation has put many Catholics and other anti-euthanasia activists in a quandary. The vast majority of the House of Commons and Senate, the two chambers of parliament, are enthusiastic supporters of assisted suicide, which means that petitions, writing letters and demonstrations likely will have little impact.
Lewis’s article quotes Douglas Farrow, a professor of Christian thought in the faculty of religious studies at Montreal’s McGill University, as saying:
Let us set aside the fact that this transforms the concept of medicine, which is no longer the art of healing and/or accompanying, but only the instrument for eliminating suffering.
I continue to marvel at the claim of the court: that one is unjustly deprived of life, if one is resolved to kill oneself at some future point and finds that one must do so sooner rather than later, because one fears that later one may not have the strength, indeed, the autonomy, to follow through on one’s own.
Lewis then pointed out:
An embarrassing statistic – according to a 2015 poll, the latest available, which asked about religious identity – that roughly 70 percent of Catholics either strongly or moderately support euthanasia.
And he added:
Most observers believe that Canadian Parliament eventually will pass a bill closer to what the national Supreme Court demanded, putting Canada on par with Belgium and the Netherlands where thousands of people, young and old, dying and not dying, are put to death every year.