Interim Special

“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are ‘knocking at the door’” says Father Jim Whalen, National Director for Priests for Life, Canada.

“And we can’t just ignore the traps of death. Just as 25 years ago when many said we would never kill our unborn, now another attack on the dignity of human life is ready to take hold here in Canada. But now we’re ahead of the game. We can still prevent the legal introduction of mercy killing, the ridding society of our unwanted and of those who feel no longer wanted… but we must act fast.”

Priests for Life Canada wants to make all Catholics… ‘informed Catholics’. Both euthanasia and assisted suicide are often spoken about as being acceptable ‘out of compassion’. Like most humans, we feel the suffering that others feel and we will often go to great lengths to help alleviate that suffering … to the point of offering to help end a human life. “This is not acceptable” says Father Whalen.

“We must never take life in our own hands. Only God gives life, and only God can take life away.” Father Whalen said this does not mean that we must endure pain at all costs. It is not necessary for a person to accept medical treatments ‘beyond what is humanly reasonably.’ But to many, this is a confusing subject.”

Priests for Life Canada has produced a 12-page newspaper specifically aimed at informing the public about euthanasia and assisted suicide. The publication includes information on Canadian laws, and strategies for combating euthanasia and assisted suicide. Of special interest is information on palliative care that concludes that ‘uncontrolled pain is very rare.’

Another section covers ‘Living Wills’… Should you have a living will? Also included is a special article by Teague Johnson who died of cerebral palsy in 1995 who had said before he died that “the Latimer case in Saskatchewan has caused me a great deal of unhappiness and worry.”

Pickup’s role

Another article by Mark Pickup, a courageous activist for life who testified to the Senate Committee Hearings on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in November 1994, explains his experience as a disabled person.

And most important, Father Whalen has included several articles explaining where Catholics stand on these issues. “This publication should be kept handy in every Catholic home across Canada,” says Father Whalen.

Knowing issues

“We need to know about these issues, where we stand and where the Catholic Church stands.” Priests for Life Canada have sent a copy of this publication to all bishops across Canada. An offer has been made to provide each bishop with enough free copies to distribute one to each parish in his diocese.

The parishes can then order more copies at a cost of only 12 cents each plus tax and shipping.