So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Saturday, February 7, 2015

CCCB President's response to Supreme Court euthanasia decision.

Statement by CCCB President on Supreme Court judgment and physician-assisted suicide
Friday, February 06 2015

Catholics are called by their faith to assist all those in need, particularly the poor, the suffering and the dying. Comforting the dying and accompanying them in love and solidarity has been considered by the Church since its beginning a principal expression of Christian mercy.

Helping someone commit suicide, however, is neither an act of justice or mercy, nor is it part of palliative care. The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada today does not change Catholic teaching. "[A]n act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, our Creator." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2277).

The Bishops of our country invite Canadians, especially Catholics, (who, because they are Catholics, should understand that they are required) to do all they can to bring comfort and support for all those who are dying and for their loved ones, so that no one, because of loneliness, vulnerability, loss of autonomy, or fear of pain and suffering, feels they have no choice but to commit suicide. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops will continue to promote palliative and home care, and to encourage all the faithful to work for the betterment of the elderly, the disabled, the ill, and those who are socially isolated.

My brother Bishops and I entreat governments and courts to interpret today's judgment in its narrowest terms (What are those terms exactly?), resisting any calls to go beyond this to so-called acts of "mercy killing" and euthanasia. We again call on provincial and territorial governments to ensure good-quality palliative care in all their jurisdictions (palliative care and hospice—yes; death panels and killing machines—no.). We also urge governments and professional associations to implement policies and guidelines which ensure respect for the freedom of conscience of all health-care workers as well as administrators who will not and cannot accept suicide as a medical solution to pain and suffering. (Forgive me if I'm reading too much into this paragraph, but it sounds like a concession speech. Are the bishops throwing up their hands and conceding that euthanasia in Canada is a done deal? How about a clear call to parliament to use the notwithstanding clause to reject this activist court's decision?)

+ Paul-André Durocher
Archbishop of Gatineau
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
6 February 2015

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