Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Theology on Tap East: Euthanasia in the Shadow of the Supreme Court Decision

St. Bartholomew Parish, Scarborough, ON

The Supreme Court of Canada’s unanimous decision earlier this year to legalize euthanasia as a constitutional right set the stage for yet another successful edition of Theology on Tap East on Thursday, May 21st.

Journalist Charles Lewis met with an enthusiastic group of young adults at The Bear Pub in Pickering to discuss the issues that we now face in light of this decision and what we can do as Catholics, Christians, and as a caring society to make a difference.

Guest speaker Charles Lewis
As the former religion reporter at the National Post, Charles Lewis is a familiar name to many Canadians as a veteran journalist with several years of experience under his belt. Now retired from the industry, Lewis dedicates his time and efforts to spreading the word on the issues surrounding Canada’s changing views on euthanasia. Lewis explained that the Canada we have come to know and respect, for its unwavering belief in protecting human lives and its vulnerable, is about to drastically change and sadly, it’s not for the better.

Doctors across the country will soon be able to lawfully end human lives via what is now being referred to as ‘physician assisted death’ or ‘death with dignity’, which bodes the question, what will happen when their primary mission to care for our sick is thus diminished?

Lewis dove right into answering this question in his talk, providing statistics from across the globe in support of his argument.  He began by explaining that the legalization of euthanasia in Canada is not a Catholic issue, but rather a global one. Though we are solid in our faith, it goes beyond what we believe. It’s a question of humanity.

He continues on to express that deep down we all know that there is something very wrong with accepting euthanasia, but we allow it to occur out of fearfear of the unknown and fear to take a stand and speak out. The past has proven that when we, as an organized group of people, try to preach against death, we are seen as interfering. Attitude and fear is what is killing us, explains Lewis. We worry more about how we are going to be viewed rather than the real issue at hand.

As Canadian Catholics, more than 12 million strong as of 2013, and with even more extensive numbers when we combine with Christians as a whole, we should be able to make a difference and have a voice. We, as North Americans, have all the freedom in the world, yet our timidity holds us back. We are afraid to express our faith despite not being threatened for our beliefs.

Lewis, who is unwell himself and on medication to control his pain, has not given up hope and chooses to find the blessings even in the dark days by laying it all at the foot of the cross. It’s time we do the same.

Instead of supporting euthanasia, which can be presumed if we choose to do nothing says Lewis, we need to invest in better hospice care, as well as to find ways to better aid in pain management.

Here are a few other things that we can do to make a difference:

•       Talk to your priest about it.
•       Pray, pray and pray some more.  Then, tell others to pray about it too.
•       Write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other MPs – vote the not-withstanding clause. This will give us some time to develop an opposition.

As the future leaders of our Church, we need to take action now. Let our voices be heard.

For photos from this event, click here.
For information about future events, please visit our website at ocytoronto.org.