The reason we fight against euthanasia, and fight for conscience rights, does not need much of an explanation.
Euthanasia is a disease that will eventually kill thousands of people who will be denied many good years of life. It is a form of murder but instead it has been turned into legalized mercy killing.
But there is another reason we fight: to help bring our fellow Catholics back into thinking with the Church. To make sure it is clear: Euthanasia is a mortal sin. There is no moderate position on this. It is always wrong.
There is no moderate position on euthanasia in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a mortal sin and those who believe euthanasia is right should not approach the altar for the Eucharist. This is not just my opinion, either. Every time I have said this at my one of my many talks the priest in the audience nods in agreement.
In late 2015 there was an Angus Reid poll. It has been cited ever since for one frightening result: 70% of Catholics said they supported euthanasia.
I am not aware of any more recent polling.
Some have argued the 2015 poll was worded badly or that respondents did not really understand what euthanasia was all about. I disagree. The poll was fine. It was a warning sign of a serious problem.
The only minor mitigating issue was this: In 2015 euthanasia was not law. No one had yet died and perhaps those who said yes to euthanasia were thinking theoretically. Still not a Catholic position but it could be argued that once the killing started many of those Catholics would return to the Church’s teaching. This is a very generous analysis.
We have no way of knowing. But my own sense from writing about euthanasia and speaking out is that there is still a real malaise about the issue. More than 1,500 Canadians have died and that is less than a year since legalization.
We are running out of time to slow this beast down and we are not going to do it without the might of the Body of Christ. I do not just mean the hierarchy but us. Those of us who sit in the pews – or perhaps should be in the pews. Vatican II gave the laity great responsibility and we are allowed to use it.
Two years ago I would have never been so bold as to stand in front of a group of Catholics and say: “If you’re for euthanasia you’re not really Catholic.” Now I say it all the time, because the time for being sensitive and gingerly is over.
If we hide our heads we will all feel the sting of shame. Remember too that a Health Canada committee is now looking into extending euthanasia to teens and the mentally ill. That report will come in December 2018. By then the entire country, Catholics too, will be so numb they will not even blink.
We must speak to our fellow Catholics. We must urge those who are for euthanasia or on the fence to change for the sake of their souls, our Church and the country.
There is a tremendous amount of material out there. I myself am part of a speakers’ bureau in Toronto that can find someone to talk at your parish in less than a day or two. We have Catholic doctors and health professionals to talk about the Catholic way of dying. You can email me at email@example.com.
There is a also a version of the great documentary The Euthanasia Deception for Catholic audiences, a labour of love from Kevin Dunn at DunnMedia & Entertainment that you can also buy from our friends at the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. If you email me, I will arrange to have it shown at your parish.
We as Catholics have a great responsibility to fight this. We have nothing to fear but passivity and inaction. We were built on the blood of the martyrs, not the goats.
Charles Lewis is a regular contributor to The Catholic Register and a board member of the Catholic Civil Rights League. He has been writing for 36 years. He was also the religion reporter for the National Post until January 2014.
About the CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information:
Christian Domenic Elia, PhD
CCRL Executive Director