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QUEBEC (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, the archbishop of Québec, is asserting terminally ill patients won't seek death if they know they're loved.
In Monday's open letter to the diocese, Cdl. Lacroix is looking ahead to June 6 when the Supreme Court of Canada's decision concerning "medical assistance in dying" will take effect "with or without a federal law to control it," according to Lacroix.
The proposal, referred to as Bill C-14 or "the Carter decision" and is currently making its way through parliament, is complementary legislation in response to a February Canadian Supreme Court ruling declaring patients with severe suffering or incurable conditions be allowed to kill themselves.
Bill C-14, which passed a second reading yesterday, will,
[C]reate exemptions from the offenses of culpable homicide, of aiding suicide and of administering a noxious thing, in order to permit medical practitioners and nurse practitioners to provide medical assistance in dying and to permit pharmacists and other persons to assist in the process.
In his letter, Cdl. Lacroix attests the bill will "widen the use of euthanasia in Québec, available to its citizens for the past 5 months." The cardinal noted that, "Pressures will also be felt to provide assisted suicide as defined by Bill C-14."
His Eminence addresses those who have “a grievous and irremediable medical condition" causing "enduring suffering that is intolerable." To these people, he affirms, "you are imprinted with beauty, nobility and greatness." He adds, "respect, accompaniment and appropriate care" are necessary "to help you grow to the very end."
Speaking for the Church, the cardinal declares, "The Catholic Church firmly opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide." In the present context he says, "She deplores all the scenarios put forward by the federal government."
Lacroix then speaks of the value of redemptive suffering, saying "faith can give a sense to suffering" but quickly points out that Christians often "wish to avoid suffering when possible."
His Eminence reveals that being loved is the cure to those seeking death, affirming, "The calls for assistance in dying usually disappear when suffering people are well accompanied." Reminding people of their "great worth," he says, and of your continually "unconditionally love" towards the end of their life, is the remedy to their suicidal tendencies.
Cardinal Lacroix next addresses those who object in conscience to assisted suicide declaring,
For those who oppose euthanasia — still a majority — their objection of conscience must be protected. If a doctor does not wish to refer a patient to his medically provoked death, the doctor's wish must be respected without being questioned.
Lastly, the cardinal warns society that it is "dangerous to allow permission" for people to kill themselves. He relates that, "With time, customs are affected and the rarity of the gesture cedes way to habit. In my humble opinion, it is a very sad 'progress.'"