From: Statement on Assisted Suicide issued by the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
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.
40 Days for Life is a community-based campaign that takes a determined, peaceful approach to show the consequences of abortion in our own neighborhoods, our own friends and families, by drawing attention to the evils of abortion through: prayer/fasting, constant vigil and community outreach. The mission: to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life. The campaign tracks Biblical history where God used 40-day periods to transform individuals, communities, the entire world. From Noah in the flood, to Moses on the mountain, to the disciples after Christ’s resurrection, it is clear that God sees the transformative value of His people accepting and meeting a 40-day challenge.
When people think of the abortion issue, they think of confrontation, and we must change that. Instead of confrontation, seek conversation—and ultimately conversion. The pro-life message is one of hope and love. We are called to share that message and present it in a spirit of peace. As Christians, we turn to Christ as our model. The Gospel stories of the woman caught in adultery (Jn. 8) and the Samaritan woman at the well (Jn. 4) are just two examples of how Christ demonstrated love and compassion towards those he encountered. He did not back away from proclaiming the truth, but he was not harsh or hateful in presenting it. We are called to imitate Christ; to allow God to work through us to touch the hearts of those around us – to be the instruments through which He can spread His message – of love, not hate.