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CCCB President issues new warning against euthanasia legislation

Kris Dmytrenko

September 24, 2009
Archbishop James W. Weisgerber (Image courtesy CCCB)The head of Canada’s episcopal conference is urging Parliament to reject the latest attempt to legalize euthanasia. With the House of Commons expected to s00n debate private member’s bill C-384, Archbishop V. James Weisgerber wrote the country’s MP’s to address popular confusion surrounding end of life issues. Referring to euthanasia's proponents, the Winnipeg prelate declared that “An unfortunate understanding of compassion has led them to suggest euthanizing the most vulnerable instead of providing them with proper care, effective pain control, and social, emotional and spiritual support until their natural death.”
Given that caregivers may be motivated to advise euthanasia to lessen demands on the health care system, Archbishop Weisgerber warns that an inevitable consequence would be a fragmented society with the ill and elderly “living in greater isolation and anxiety.” The CCCB president also cautions against using misleading terminology that obscures the actual risks and impact of the legislation.
Citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Archbishop reminds the faithful that it is permissible to refuse especially burdensome medical procedures and to use medical means to alleviate suffering, even if a side effect is a shortened life expectancy. Direct and intentional killing, however, is never acceptable.
Read Archsbishop Weisgerber's full letter here. In conjunction with the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, S+L produced the award-winning documentary Turning the Tide: Dignity, Compassion and Euthanasia, which can be used as an educational resource for your family, school or parish.