Canadian cardinal won’t refuse funerals for those choosing assisted suicide
by Catholic News Service
Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec said he would not follow in the steps of other Canadian bishops.
Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec said he has no intention to follow in the steps of his fellow Canadian bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories in refusing funerals for those who asked to be euthanised. (So, the Church in Quebec now blesses despair and sin?)
“I don’t plan specific directives aimed at refusing this support or refusing access to the anointing of the sick and the celebration of funerals,” Cardinal Lacroix said in a statement on September 29. (How can the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick be applied to someone who is committed to killing himself? The same Sacrament effects the absolution of one's sins, i.e., if one is truly penitent. Offering the Sacrament to an impenitent sinner, i.e., someone intent on taking his or her life, makes a mockery of the Sacrament, does it not?) The cardinal was reacting to a document published earlier this month by the bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories, addressed to the clergy, in which they said these sacraments and celebrations may be refused for those opting for assisted suicide or euthanasia.
“The Catholic Church accompanies people in every step of their life. We do that in dialogue with every person and every family that wishes to be accompanied,” added the cardinal. (So then, "accompaniment" means avoiding the honest truth that to take one's own life puts one's soul at risk of hellfire?)
He also reminded people of everyone’s “unconditional dignity in the eyes of God.”
“This is why we will always opt for palliative care accessible for everyone instead of euthanasia,” Cardinal Lacroix said. (Dignity requires a defence, and the Cardinal has seemingly given a lame defence, a toothless defence of the sacredness of life from conception to natural death.)
He recognised that recent changes in the laws of the province of Quebec and in the Canadian Penal Code offer “new pastoral challenges” for the Catholic Church.
In Montreal, Archbishop Christian Lepine also said he does not intend to ask his priests to refuse funerals for those who choose the now legal medically assisted dying.
In their 34-page Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons and Families Considering or Opting for Death by Assisted Suicide or Euthanasia, published in mid-September, the Alberta and Northwest Territories bishops said euthanasia is a “grave violation of the law of God.” They offered pastoral guidance and indicated that a person’s judgment may be impaired through “depression, drugs, or pressure from others.” (The bishops of AB and the NWT have reminded us that we must accompany our brothers and sisters with authentic support and help them resists the effects of depression, drugs and external pressures.)
They said it would be “truly scandalous” if funerals were to become a celebration of the decision to choose euthanasia or assisted suicide. “Such a request for funeral rites must be gently but firmly denied,” said the document. (If priests do not inform someone that euthanasia is very likely to damn their soul to hell, then the burden of that person's choice and fate rests squarely on the shoulders of the priest who avoided his duty to counsel a soul with the truth.)