On 6 June 2016, “the decision of the Canadian Supreme Court regarding medically assisted dying” will take effect, with or without the supporting Federal law. Draft bill C-14 was “readily adopted” by the Canadian House of Commons on Tuesday evening, during the third reading.The decision now falls to the Upper Chamber, “where its fate is uncertain”. However, Senators are unlikely to be ready before 6 June, the deadline initially set by the Supreme Court.
Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec, has published an open letter on this subject in which he reconfirmed the Church’s sound opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide, and “deplored all of the situations considered by the Federal Government”. It is “dangerous to induce the death of another person, even with his or her consent” because “not only does the law dictate, but it also educates and gives a demand to rights and a suggestion of duty. With time, customs are affected and the rarity of the gesture gives way to habit”.
He challenged people to “accompany with gentleness and tenderness the life of our nearest and dearest who suffer”, because calls for assistance in dying“usually disappear when suffering people are well accompanied”. The Church’s position “is not to highlight the value of suffering”. He invites Canadians to “listen” to any person who recognises himself or herself as satisfying the criteria for obtaining access to medically assisted dying “to express to the very end his or her suffering and fear”.
Finally, he addressed the chronically sick as follows: “The life you have received, the breath that sustains you and the personality that characterises you are imprinted with beauty, nobility and greatness. What you have been, what you are today require, among other things, respect, accompaniment and appropriate care to help you grow to the very end”.
Zenit (31/05/2016); La Presse (31/05/2016)