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Jean Vanier, Templeton Prize winner, confirms support for legalization of assisted suicide

June 08, 2016

Jean Vanier, the Canadian Catholic layman who founded the L'Arche network of communities for the mentally disabled and was awarded the Templeton Prize last year, has confirmed that he would support the legalization of assisted suicide.

In a May television interview, Vanier had seemed to support the possibility of assisted suicide, but the exchange was not clear. Now, in response to questions from the LifeSite News agency, he has stated clearly: "I stand by everything that I have said."

Vanier invoked the authority of Pope Francis for his stand, saying that the Pontiff "continues to tell us that everything cannot be regulated by a law and there are always exceptions." In the case of someone suffering a painful and terminal illness, he said: "If the correct sedative or medication has not been found, one cannot oblige someone to live through an unrelenting agony."

Vanier emphasized that any policy allowing for assisted suicide should include tight safeguards "to avoid all situations of suicide that originate in a situation of depression or solitude."


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  • Posted by: - Jun. 13, 2016 2:49 PM ET USA

    Assisted suicide & euthanasia are both :mortal sins".[Thou shalt not kill which also covers abortion] No getting around it!! Palliative care is the best remedy. I hope his bishop does speak to him so that he can see the truth clearly.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Jun. 09, 2016 8:03 PM ET USA

    Situation Ethics is the obvious moral conviction being introduced. SE is also, from what we read, the ethical conviction of the Pope's major collaborator from Argentina, thus explaining the weird double talk in the Pope's Apostolic Exhortation about marriage. We better expect more of this before we see the next Pope.

  • Posted by: Grandmaster - Jun. 09, 2016 2:03 PM ET USA

    This IS an example of the "Francis effect"!!

  • Posted by: mario.f.leblanc5598 - Jun. 08, 2016 9:41 PM ET USA

    What a pitiful comment from a man whose own parents are still (according to a number of sources) on the path to beatification. May he live long enough to see the abuses his viewpoint is sure to bring about. Oh, by the way, we're already seeing that in Switzerland, Belgium, etc.

  • Posted by: jimr451 - Jun. 08, 2016 8:20 PM ET USA

    Is this an example of "the Francis effect"?

  • Posted by: gbrisebois1656 - Jun. 08, 2016 7:49 PM ET USA

    This is nonsense. Suicide is a mortal sin for the individual committing it, and we must not assist in mortal sin.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Jun. 08, 2016 7:20 PM ET USA

    Things have sure come a long way since Catholics were taught that suffering was something that could be offered up in union with the sufferings of Christ. "The smoke of Satan...."

  • Posted by: I am Canadian! - Jun. 08, 2016 6:31 PM ET USA

    I thought Mr. Vanier was going to become a saint once he passed. Now I have serious doubts about it. Hopefully, his pastor or bishop steps up and corrects some of the faulty thinking he has. We don't needed assisted suicide, we need to let people go through to their natural death when then suffer.

  • Posted by: 1Jn416 - Jun. 08, 2016 5:46 PM ET USA

    It is both shocking and saddening to see such a respected Catholic hold this position. All the more so given his life's work of helping those who are disabled.