Quick Hits: Appalled reactions to Canadian bishops’ tepid stand on assisted suicide

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Dec 16, 2016

For readers still stunned by the directive from bishops of Canada’s Atlantic region, leaving open the possibility that people planning assisted suicide could receive the sacraments, two columns provide useful perspective:

  • Writing for First Things, in a short but powerful essay that suggests he has reached the limit of his patience, editor R. R. Reno remarks that the bishops have cleared the way for Catholic priests to serve as “Chaplains of Death.” Noting that the bishops provide only general guidelines rather than clear rules, Reno writes:
    This way of thinking is encouraged by Pope Francis’s habitual antinomianism, which treats canon law, sacramental norms, and theological principles as impediments to God’s love. Francis says many things, of course, but bishops are getting the message. The “gospel” is mercy without judgment, grace without truth, and church without form.
  • In Canada’s Catholic Register, Father Raymond De Souza makes the commonsensical observation that the way the Atlantic bishops approach the grave sin of suicide “would be unimaginable if it were applied to any other serious moral issue.” But the bishops almost seem to have absorbed the thinking of the Canadian politicians who have made assisted suicide legal. Father De Souza takes note of the bishops’ telltale use of the term “medical assistance in dying.” That phrase, he observes, is “an Orwellian construction designed by those who wish to disguise the enormity of what is being done…”

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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