We cannot but express our outrage at the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to create a new “constitutional right” in Canada, the so-called “right” to suicide. The ruling would legalize an action that, from time immemorial, has been judged immoral: the taking of innocent life. Moreover, it puts at risk the lives of the vulnerable, the depressed, those with physical or mental illness, and those with disabilities.
As Catholic Bishops, we speak in terms that are informed by reason, ethical dialogue, religious conviction and profound respect for the dignity of the human person. Our awareness is shaped by thousands of years of reflection, and by our actions as Christians in following Jesus. He showed most fully what it means to love, to serve, and to be present to others. His response to the suffering of others was to suffer with them, not to kill them! He accepted suffering in his life as the pathway to giving, to generosity, to mercy. One does not have to be a believer to recognize in Jesus’ life and action a supreme example of humanity. The values of Jesus of Nazareth are the basis for our views on assisted suicide. Canada has nothing to fear in committing itself to these profoundly human and life-giving values.It is in this spirit of collaboration in building a society more compassionate, more respectful of the dignity of all human life, more just and more generous that we make this heartfelt cry. Remembering the humble witness of Saint Brother André, we invite all Canadians to build a society that respects the dignity of every person. May our call be heard with respect, attention and openness.