“It is gravely unjust to enact laws that legalize euthanasia or justify and support suicide, invoking the false right to choose a death improperly characterized as respectable only because it is chosen. Such laws strike at the foundation of the legal order: the right to life sustains all other rights, including the exercise of freedom. The existence of such laws deeply wound human relations and justice, and threaten the mutual trust among human beings. The legitimation of assisted suicide and euthanasia is a sign of the degradation of legal systems.” Samaritanus Bonus, The Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, July 14, 2020
Question: In what ways does Canada’s euthanasia law comport with the teaching of the Catholic Church?
Given Canada’s apparently inexorable moral and cultural decline since 2015 and particularly since the Covid 19 pandemic, it’s become impossible not to conclude that this once magnificent nation is fast succumbing to all the powers of Western de-civilization and its own ruination.
It’s a now familiar process that began more than half a century ago in 1967 with the introduction of Canada’s then Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau’s Omnibus Bill and its controversial reforms to the Criminal Code which included the decriminalization of homosexuality and the legalization of abortion under certain conditions. Two years later, when the Bill was made into law, therapeutic abortions were legalized as long as a committee of doctors certified that continuing the pregnancy would likely endanger the woman’s life or health. In 1988, the abortion law was extinguished altogether when the Supreme Court decided in R. v Morgentaler that a law that criminalized abortion was unconstitutional. This left no law whatsoever to protect the human rights of the unborn in Canada – a state of lawlessness that remains to this day.
And now, thirty-five years later, the nation’s spiritual commitment to death appears complete with MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying) – an open-ended law offering death to an ever-expanding list of candidates seeking an end to life itself.
“It’s 2015,” gushed Justin Trudeau, as he assumed power as the nation’s new prime minister. Months later, in June 2016, euthanasia was legalized in Canada. Thus began an ever-escalating death toll which Cardinal Thomas Collins, then archbishop of Toronto, predicted and campaigned against as the legislation was being crafted in February 2016.
“Death comes to us all, sometimes suddenly, and sometimes slowly,” he said in one of his public warnings. “Although patients benefit from medication that controls pain, they are fully justified in refusing burdensome and disproportionate treatment that serves only to prolong the inevitable process of dying. But dying is simply not the same as being killed. We are grateful for physicians and nurses and others who offer medical assistance to patients who are dying, but it is never justified for them to kill a patient.”
It’s also been clear from the outset – and Cardinal Collins clearly anticipated this – that the Trudeau regime would go far beyond offering assisted death to competent adults suffering from “grievous and irremediable” conditions, Which is what the Supreme Court said that Canadians have a charter right to in 2015. But the law has also gone beyond the 2019 Quebec Superior Court ruling, which said it was unconstitutional to limit MAiD to those whose deaths were “reasonably foreseeable.”
To date, according to the government’s own records, 31,664 people have been killed so far by physicians now being pressured to offer the service. And in some parts of Canada, euthanasia is accounting for up to 5% of all deaths.
Euphemisms for euthanasia have also flourished, changing from “physician-assisted suicide“ to “physician-assisted dying“ to “medically-assisted death“ to “medical assistance in dying” – that is, MAiD which is today the acronym for euthanasia in Canada.
Minister of Justice – Phase Two
Worse is that the expansion of euthanasia under Justice Minister David Lametti – Pierre Trudeau’s legislative heir – appears characterized by an unseemly ambition. How else to explain this government’s persistence in extending the law’s mortal reach ever further? Why, mere days after its decision to pause for one year only on the proposed inclusion of persons suffering mental illness alone, did its assisted dying committee repeat its wish to include ‘mature minors’ as also qualified for access?
Why should government assisted death become the answer to the sufferings or inconvenience of the vulnerable?
How is it that euthanasia aka ‘mercy killing’ – which even ten years ago would have been met nationwide with loud denunciations as hateful, dangerous and barbaric – has in just six years become a routinely acceptable exit from a painful or inconvenient life? And produced a litany of horror stories suffered by family, relatives and friends of the deceased?
At its outset, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and proponents of MAiD said the law would be quite limited, that it would only be used to provide an option to people in truly dire physical condition with no chance of recovery. Nor was there any mention of how easily a ‘right to die’ could one day morph into a ‘duty to die’.
Yet despite all objections, the service was imposed on this nation anyway. Thus began a death toll of Canadians claiming their ‘right to die’ on ever expanding grounds.
And soon, the wider world began to notice the post-modern barbarism underway in Canada which continued to insist itself ‘civilized’ while MAiD advanced ruthlessly through the culture where medically assisted suicides found new venues of practice, including funeral homes and churches.
The result – further assisted by the Covid 19 pandemic – is that Canada appears to have become increasingly more death-centric, as the government, in the name of Climate Change, shuts down this nation’s bountiful natural resources and the spontaneous industry of God’s creation as the government seeks to wreck the oil and gas sector while warning away potential commercial and foreign investors by closing the bank accounts of protesters. Among other discouragements.
Nor is it the least surprising that Canada’s socialistic health system should become complicit in euthanasia practices while it continues to fail for myriad reasons, not the least of which is the loss of critical health workers – doctors, nurses and all related professions – who left their jobs rather than succumb to Covid vaccine coercion.
One Year Delay
Rebecca Vachon, health program director of Cardus, a non-partisan, faith-based think tank and registered charity, says the results of a recent poll should be a wake-up call.
“The government should work to ensure Canadians can access all mental health and social services they need before even considering the possibility of expansion,” she said. “The minister needs to back off from expanding medically assisted suicide to people suffering from mental illness.”
Vachon’s comments came after Lametti`s recent announcement citing safety concerns for the government’s sudden delay of MAiD’s program for the mentally ill for one year only.
The Liberal government sought to expand MAiD beginning in March 2023 to include people suffering mentally, but not dying, from their illness. Critics argued this and other recent changes make “medical assistance in dying” an inaccurate title, and that the program should be retitled as “medically administered death” or “medically assisted suicide”.
Canada’s MAiD policy has faced strong criticism internationally as well, since parliamentary committees heard that several Canadian Forces veterans had been offered MAiD to resolve an unrelated problem. For example, a prominent Forces veteran, retired Cpl. Christine Gauthier, testified she was offered euthanasia after five years of requesting a wheelchair ramp be installed at her house.
“I was completely shocked and in despair,” she told CTV News at the time. “It is not remotely just what they’re doing: exhausting us to the point of no return.” Gauthier suffered permanent knee and spine injury in 1989 while training on an obstacle course.
There has also been a litany of other stories that should alarm Canadians in general. Stories of poverty-stricken citizens seeking euthanasia as the answer to their inability to find housing; husbands reporting being intensely pressured to sign off their ailing wives to MAiD; doctors feeling pressured into offering euthanasia as the answer for ailing patients and physicians worrying they may be compelled to administer euthanasia on demand or lose their licenses.
Polls on MAiD
In a recent Cardus and Angus Reid survey, 55% of Canadians polled said they are worried the MAiD program will replace adequate social services; 51% oppose the expansion to include mental illness; four-in-ten said the rising use of MAiD since 2016 was a positive change, improving end-of-life control; and two-in-ten said the rise was neither good nor bad. Roughly 1-in-10 said they would support a person’s choice to request MAiD based on the person’s inability to afford housing. One-in-four supported a person’s choice to request MAiD based on the person’s lack of hope or life-meaning.
Overall, Canadians thought that some policies should be stricter than the Liberals government’s plan. Seven-in-ten said MAiD should be off-limits until patients exhaust every treatment option. Between 2016 and 2021 Canada recorded 31,664 assisted deaths – 10,064 such deaths in 2021 alone.
Raising the Alarm
Two things should worry Canadians most: One, the fact that three-in-five Canadians (61%) say they support the current MAiD law in Canada, which allows a patient not facing foreseeable death to request the treatment under certain circumstances. This foreseeable death condition was a key component of the initial criteria in 2016 but was challenged in court and deemed unconstitutional. This should raise serious questions about Canada’s Supreme Court and legal system in general, which appear to be writing legislation as if there was no God. No higher authority than themselves. No right and wrong based on moral absolutes in a nation that continues to be subjected to the morally relativistic, liberal judgement of the State.
Under the current law, people who are terminally ill when they apply for assisted death must be assessed by a physician or nurse practitioner. Applicants who have non-life threatening illnesses and disabilities must undergo assessments by two separate clinicians. They must also undergo a 90-day waiting period.
While patients have the option of swallowing prescribed medication to end their lives, the overwhelming majority elect to have a physician or nurse practitioner make a lethal injection. But the clinicians are the final arbiters of whether the person qualifies for assisted death. And all requests for assisted death and the deaths themselves must be reported to the federal health department.
Which means that at the moment, the process is still somewhat formal, as were the early years of Canada’s abortion law which has long since vanished into a morass of abortion pills and/or a local abortion ‘provider’ who may terminate an unborn baby up until birth from a mother as young as 14.
Will MAiD similarly echo Canada’s current state of abortion lawlessness?
And should Canadians not be alarmed by the entire spectre of mental illness as grounds for euthanasia – induced death as treatment for subjective mental suffering which may improve? Yet history suggests that widespread support for this proposed addition of mental health as the sole condition for requesting MAiD is merely a matter of time. More time for Canadians to be acclimatized; more time for the practice to become routine.
The facts bear this out: Since 2016 when the original law was passed, the number of Canadians using the procedure has increased ten-fold, to more than 10,000 in 2021.
The second thing that should worry Canadians is their public secularism which these days finds no moral authority above themselves and the heavily influential culture, meaning that in matters of morals they regard themselves as accountable to no one but themselves. Not even God.
Replacing divine authority with the State also leaves them devoid of any real protection. No protection from one’s neighbour or from State laws that are subject to the whims of politicians, lawyers and their minion media and its 24-7 liberal propaganda. This is because secular powers evaluate human lives in the utilitarian manner that governments invariably fall into: does this citizen help the State? Which is contrary to the Natural law which teaches that citizens do not live for the State; rather, the State lives to serve them. Yet when this order is reversed, democide – killing their own people – is the eventual result. To which the twentieth century stands in horrifying testament.
From Environmentalism to Transhumanism
This trend is manifesting once again in 2023 when the latest impulse of the world’s elites appears to be the elimination of humanity itself. Human extinction. Of which Canada’s MAiD is merely one aspect. And though it’s been labelled as the proverbial ‘canary in the coalmine’ of this post-modern world, the whole world has noticed Canada in particular, resulting in a passing parade of critical headlines:
CANADA PROPOSES JUST EUTHANIZING EVERYONE
THE INCALCULABLES OF STATE-SANCTIONED SUICIDE
CANADA KEEPS A TIGHT GRIP ON ITS WORLD RECORD FOR EUTHANASIA DEATHS
THE TRULY AWFUL COST OF CANADA’S PERMISSIVE ASSISTED DEATH PROGRAM
DEATH ON DEMAND: HAS EUTHANASIA GONE TOO FAR?
And from the New York Times: IS CHOOSING DEATH TOO EASY IN CANADA?
“Some say that with the law’s expansions, Canada is turning assisted suicide into an almost routine medical option, instead of treating it as an extraordinary measure taken in limited situations“, the NY Times reported.
“Canada has the least safeguards of all of countries that allow it,” said Trudo Lemmens, the chairman in health law and policy in the faculty of law at the University of Toronto, referring to the assisted suicide legislation generally. “And it has the most open-ended system. It’s a state-funded, state-organized, medical system providing end of life,” he continued. “What I find particularly troublesome is that there is no other jurisdiction that treats the ending of life by a physician as a standard medical practice.”
To date, euthanasia has been legalized in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Colombia and part of Australia. Assisted suicide is also legal in Switzerland, Germany and the American states of California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico, Maine, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Washington.
Life without God
Those paying attention have long understood that the world is facing a future without God, making the extinction of humanity a relatively easily-obtained goal for any resolute cabal planning to eliminate the Creator by destroying Man, His beloved creature.
During the pandemic, what suddenly became noticeable is how the environmental movement –which advocates recycling, carbon credits and vague Green New Deal programs which have been busily destroying prosperous economies – is suddenly being reassessed as not nearly effective enough. Thus opening wide a highway for eugenics and depopulation enthusiasts who want to remove most of humanity itself from the universe and giving new meaning to the phrase `reducing the human footprint`.
There are also lots of prominent depopulation supporters found all over academe, Silicon Valley, in NGOs such as the UN, the WEF and other places of influence now more mainstream than previously understood and populated with such famous faces as Bill Gates, Klaus Schwab and a host of climate warriors who may even include Canada’s prime minister.
“Even the most radical twentieth-century thinkers stop short at the prospects of the actual extinction of our species,” notes Wall Street Journal art critic Adam Kirsch in his new book , The Revolt Against Humanity: Imagining a Future Without Us.
But all that has changed. Radically.
“The human extinction movement is divided into two groups that differ in how they want to eliminate humanity. The first is the anti-humanist faction that believes humanity’s self-destruction is inevitable and everyone should welcome annihilation as a just sentence for destroying the earth,” he writes.
The second group consists of the transhumanists who believe that through technological and scientific progress, humanity should advance to an improved and immortal cybernetic form that will transcend Homo sapiens.
Both visions reject the Catholic vision of Creation, humanity, original sin, and redemption.
All of which means that the only answer to the central thesis of the first group – the extinctionists – is the Catholic Church. which is the foundation of Western civilization and its scriptural teaching that God gave humans “dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.” (Gen.1:28).
The anti-humanists deny this dominion, and claim Man is an enemy of nature who, if allowed freedom, will destroy the earth. Even indigenous peoples are cited as earth exploiters for their hunting, gathering and herding. Therefore, humans must go—all of them.
Their collective plans for the eventual elimination of humanity also spells mass depopulation for which plans have long been underway across vast NGO bureaucracies and their many promoters. Among them is Patricia MacCormack, author of The Ahuman Manifesto, who claims: “The death of the human species is the most life-affirming event that could liberate the natural world from oppression.” David Benatar, author of Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, also calls for abortion, suicide and euthanasia, claiming that giving birth is morally wrong.
The Transhumanist Vision
In contrast the transhumanists believe Homo sapiens must morph into ever-new species over “trillions of years”, ultimately eliminating suffering and death, effecting a complete disconnect of Man from God and bringing about a new reality: that humanity and the universe can be reduced to one thing: data which governs the universe which will come fully alive with data patterns, transforming it into one giant mind.
But first, homo sapiens must be eradicated by disembodying him into pure matter devoid of a tangible soul which, transhumanists believe, are strictly chemical-electrical processes in the brain.
Bottom line? While anti-humanists and transhumanists differ in their approaches, they share a metaphysical hatred of Creation—and the Creator.
T’were ever thus. But is this current manifestation of the struggle for the soul of humanity the culmination of all of history? Of the final intersection of Time and Eternity? Of Jesus Christ and Satan?
The Struggle for the Human Soul
The answer remains the same: the Catholic Church remains the repository of Truth, and the voice that cuts through the godless culture with a clarity unlike any other. As it did once again in 2020 on euthanasia when The Vatican categorically condemned euthanasia “in every situation or circumstance” as ”an intrinsically evil act”.
”Euthanasia is an act of homicide that no end can justify,” declared the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in its letter Samaritanus Bonus. It also categorically condemned euthanasia “in every situation or circumstance” as “an intrinsically evil act.”
Excoriating the utilitarianism that measures the intrinsic value of human life by “quality of life”, the CDF slammed the euphemism of “dignified death”, noting that if “a life whose quality seems poor does not deserve to continue, human life is no longer recognized as a value in itself.”
The letter also reserved its fiercest rebuke for “those who approve laws of euthanasia and assisted suicide” as ”accomplices of a grave sin that others will execute.”
The Secular State
“Those making these (secular) decisions don’t understand what man is,” opined political and cultural commentator Sarah Cain of The Dispatch daily podcast. “The true definition of man is anathematic to a government that prides itself on being irreligious.”
“When the fashion company Simons released a Canadian commercial lauding a woman who had recently been killed by the MAiD program, it applauded her bravery. The commercial didn’t tell the full story of how she struggled to get the medical care she needed and eventually gave up trying. But, in any case, if that was bravery, what would that imply about those who chose to keep fighting? By inference, those who battled their difficulties would be cowardly or even selfish. The truth is turned on its head.”
With this view, those who endured tremendous pain and trial, and dared to need (or, perhaps worse, ask for help) would be deemed blameworthy. A society that applauds the ‘bravery’ of suicide is one that will soon ask them to justify their existence.
All this points to a culture that is dying, concludes Cain, for it no longer sees why man lives, nor why life itself exists. Which also means that if it refuses to recognize the dignity and value of the individual, it will inexorably meet the bleak ending of every totalitarian system which places collective desire over the needs, value and dignity of the individual and his unique destiny.
Only the Church Has the Answers
Only the Catholic Church has the full truth of Life and its meaning and its purpose which almost invariably runs counter to the culture of the fallen World which has opposed her moral authority for two thousand years despite the fact that Western civilization was built and flourished under the Judeo-Christian commandments which prohibits murder, which includes abortion and euthanasia.
Its Truth is also electric so that when Holy Mother Church speaks, as it did through the CDF, the sound awakens the soul and reverberates within all who hear it whether they like it or not. Hence the loud and alarmed resistance from those who hate the message because it opposes the lifestyle they may be living.
And against this, all so-called ‘enlightened thought’ is exposed for what it is – devoid of Truth or any motive for sacrifice, obedience to a higher authority and eternal reward. As such, it can offer nothing to replace what human nature craves so deeply. Which is God.
And so the two sides are engaged in a spiritual war that Kirsch frames erroneously as a battle between uneducated “religious zealots” and enlightened “scientific” liberals whose nonchalance towards the human extinction movement and its treatment of the death of billions reveals a darkness and evil all its own.
The ugly truth is that the human extinction movement is a revolt against God. Which is how Canada’s expansion of MAiD into an almost routine medical option should be viewed.
This ever-expanding law – which takes the place of God in deciding the moment of death – is an audacious move that has brought perniciously secularized Canada to the gates of Hell. Why? Because, ultimately, this is a spiritual battle which Canada, once strong in the gracious habits of Christianity, cannot win.