Canadian Bishops Baptize Euthanasia

By John Zmirak Published on December 14, 2016

“I came that they might have death, and that more abundantly.” (Not John 10:10)

Yesterday we learned that a conference of Catholic bishops, those of Atlantic Canada, have decided to let priests take part in euthanasia, by absolving dying suicides while they are still in the midst of sinning. Breaking with church practice, which forbids priests to offer forgiveness in advance or give aid and comfort to sins by blessing them, these bishops claimed that Pope Francis has changed church teaching, to allow divorced Catholics living in what the Church considers adulterous new relationships to receive Holy Communion.

To be sure, these good bishops mention all the traditional Catholic teachings that absolutely forbid what they now plan to do. They bury these fatal objections to their deeply pagan proposal in a pile of saccharine prose about “pastorality,” “mercy” and “accompanying the sinner.” Call it the “Francis effect.”

Has the Catholic church launched itself down the same slippery slope into Sodom as dying mainline Protestant churches?

Their document (pdf) reads like some nasty parody of post-liberal Christianity. In fact, it channels the speech of the villain John Wither in C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength: a blizzard of cloying words and vaguely benevolent sentiments, within which hides a death sentence. In this case, the likely death of a soul — lulled by a pastor’s presence with a bible and a cross, as he blows through the Ten Commandments, and goes straight to the “fearful judgment seat of Christ.” And what of the souls of the priests who join this barbarous practice, and the bishops who command it? If they keep this up in Canada, that land will run out of millstones.

The Crisis of Moral Teaching in the Catholic Church

I warned against something much like this just a few weeks ago, when I wrote a Q & A explaining the controversy in the Catholic church over divorce, remarriage, and Holy Communion. I noted that deeper issues were at stake than even the sanctity of Catholic marriage or the risk of sacrilegious Communion: The previous church teaching went back to the apostles, had been proclaimed infallibly by the Council of Trent, and sternly reaffirmed by St. John Paul II. So rejecting it in the name of “mercy,” “pastoral” practice, or anything else would endanger the very authority structure of the church.

By setting one papacy against another, and surrendering ancient moral norms to conform to the spirit of the age, the Catholic church would launch itself down the same slippery slope into Sodom as dying mainline Protestant churches — whose desperate attempts to stay “relevant” and “compassionate” have landed them squarely on the side of the pro-choice, LGBT movement.  

As I wrote then, the radical cardinals who’d championed Pope Francis’ election as pope lobbied in 2014 at the Synod on the Family for the acceptance of homosexuality as a gift from God, en route (of course) to transitioning Catholics into blessing same-sex unions. That proposal was much too blatant; the lavender lobby overplayed its hand, and the bishops of the world voted their heresies down.

Now we see what the theological radicals are doing instead. They are using hard cases that appeal to our sentiments to create enormous loopholes in Christian moral principles, which can later be exploited. That’s how pro-choicers in the 1960s helped legalize abortion: by speaking incessantly of rape victims and pregnant 12-year-olds, using these people’s pain as a wedge to allow abortion for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy.

As Ross Douthat notes, defenders of the Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia cite vanishingly rare cases (perhaps invented) of innocent mothers abandoned by their husbands, trapped in second (invalid) marriages where a thuggish husband demands sex on pain of violence. Surely in such a case a loving, gentle Jesus would not condemn that woman. … (Of course He wouldn’t, since she would be a rape victim — but that’s not the point they’re making.) If you grant them that single exception, you have given away the game — blown a hole in the Hoover Dam, and your crucial moral principle washes away. You will never see it again.

Theological Radicals Have Bigger Things in Mind

This is only the first instance where liberal Catholics who never really bought into their church’s moral principles use the pope’s muddling of Catholic marriage doctrine to justify the Church blessing practices which She has always condemned as evil. And of course, it’s a sympathetic “hard case.” Who would be such a Pharisee that he’d deny the comfort of Last Rites to a terminal patient in terrible pain, so desperate that he resorts to assisted suicide? Surely that person is better off with a priest there praying for him than without him — isn’t he? (No, in fact, he isn’t, if it anesthetizes his conscience until it’s too late and he’s dead.)

That same logic would also lead priests to start performing same-sex weddings — don’t those sinners need grace too? There is no logical stopping point to this insidious, pseudo-Christian approach to being “pastoral,” which really amounts to shepherds deciding to kill their flocks themselves, to “save” them from the wolves.

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  • This is deeply worrying. I found this remark from Gandhi, very relevant in these times –

    “A wise judge will not give the wrong decision in the face of a hard case. He will allow himself to appear to have hardened his heart, because he knows that truest mercy lies in not making a bad law.”

    • galatians328

      While we admire Gandhi … have Catholics now come to the place that they are so hateful of their one Pontiff – who is Pontiff by the power of the Holy Spirit – that they use Hindus to criticize him? Will the same Catholics put a Muslim in charge of the Holy See? How about a Zoroastrian?

      • Don’t we, Catholics, always say that we recognize the “elements of truth” in other religions ? 😉

        And so, if these pagans value the dignity and sanctity of life, marriage, and families, what’s wrong in pointing these bishops to those “elements of truth” within the pagans ? May be the light of truth in Christian religion is too bright that they have to close their eyes. So let’s show the partial truths in the pagans that their eyes can adjust. 🙂

        • galatians328

          Thanks! Not only Roman Catholic teaching but the Apostle Paul in his discourse at the pagan temple (see Acts 17) makes your point. But since many Evangelicals are so illiterate of the Bible, and/or so culturally compromised (White Supremacy, ‘American Imminent Domain’, etc) you may have just ‘confirmed’ for many that Roman Catholics are tools of Satanic desires and designs, with concealed, secret pagan plans.

          • Micha_Elyi

            There you go again.

          • galatians328

            And, we see God has sent the fearsome polar vortex to chastise Trumpland for their unrighteousness and idolatries!

  • John

    Great Article! The C church is being tested just like many others. The warning in Revelations to remain true in the face of adversity is becoimg clearer , not to say we are in the end times, but the love of many is being cooled. Also hope the C church does not compromise with China over apointing Bishops…….very slippery. Sadly the The Enemy seems to have gained a foothold with liberal ideology

    • galatians328

      INDEED, Satan – FATHER OF LIES – is afoot with Satan’s demons creating more and more FAKE NEWS websites, with Satan’s demons creating more a more demonic coalition between OIL OLIGARCHS, DEMAGOGUES, and Anti-Christian Putin, with Satan’s demons inciting more and more violence within Islam and against Islam that incites more violence within Islam that creates more refugees that creates more violence against Muslims that creates more oligarchs, demagogues, more and more human trafficking which creates more violence, etc …

      SATAN is the Father of LIES and of VIOLENCE … because Satan is the opposite of God who IS TRUTH and ALWAYS TRUTHFUL (unlike the President-Elect, in cuck-sucking bed with Putin) and ALWAYS LIFE-GIVING.

      Ain’t that so?

  • Francis already has launched the Church into a schism. By allowing the divorced and cohabiting to receive communion, he attacks the sacrament of Marriage and the Eucharist; and by attacking the Eucharist, he attacks the rest of the sacramental system. What’s left is Unitarianism with incense. But Jesus will not let his Chair of Peter be abused for long.

  • galatians328

    These are vital questions for clinical ethics, health system/financing ethics, religious morality, and pastoral care.

    BUT, WE MUST INSIST that the writer neglects some of the most critical questions that need to be asked, explored, examined, and resolved:

    – why are so many people in the US WITHOUT high quality, affordable, accessible health care, over their life course, so that many of these issues NEVER GET TO THE POINT of desperation!? WHY?
    – why are still too many people in the US not receiving the best quality palliative care, including accessible and affordable home care resources, accessible and affordable respite relief for the family caregivers, training to ensure full competence of professional, lay and family caregivers, etc? WHY?
    – why are so many people in the US WITHOUT high quality, affordable, accessible and very capable ongoing mental health treatment, prevention services, and support services? WHY?

    Resolve these problems and much of the bluster in the article is muted because few cases would rise to desperation.

    JESUS provided the model for Christians: CHRISTIANS ARE TO THINK THIS LOVINGLY of all humans. WE MUST ASK THESE questions and be INVOLVED in remedies!

    Mr Zmirak, you SHAME JESUS’ NAME by not even bothering to address these issues. YOU shame Jesus’ name rather than glorifying that name!

    • plc53

      Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Exodus 20.

      Let’s just walk through the middle of the ten commandments. “Thou shalt not kill.”

      If you don’t get that right to begin with, all the programs and services in the world aren’t going to get you or anyone into Heaven.

      And yes, there is such a thing as a just war to protect from hostile aggressors. But the killing in the hospitals can in no way be seen as anything but killing. Suicide. And assisted suicide. It’s killing. Like abortion.

      The things you bring up are necessary acts of charity for Christians, but first and foremost, you need to get the commandments right. You can run around and blame “society” for murderers and all their murdering, asking why is it that they feel forced to murder others, and blame everyone but the murderers.

      But you need to get the commandments right first. Thou shalt not kill. And these bishops have put themselves above the commandments.

      Now move on to thou shalt not commit adultery, and we see a pope and bishops and cardinals and priests and people who have also put themselves above the commandments of God.

      Start with obedience to God and His commandments. Then you will be able to get yourself going with the charitable and needed services in society.

      Put yourself ahead and above the commandments, and you’ll get chaos and moral disorder. Which pretty much describes what we have now, yes? And it’s not because we don’t have treatment services, and prevention and support services, as good as those endeavours are. It’s because we are putting ourselves above and outside of the ten commandments, which are indeed the laws of love.

      Thou shalt not kill. These bishops are going along with murder. If we don’t get that right first and foremost, then you can not expect that society will get anything right after that.

      You’ve put the cart before the horse.

      • galatians328

        Sadly, you, as so many in this so-called Evangelical, Bible-believers blog, forget JESUS!

        Why so many Christians here – or anywhere – forget Jesus is perplexing, isn’t it?

        Jesus said (see Mattew 5):

        21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[c] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[d] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[e] of fire.

        Jesus is constantly ‘updating’ the Commandments. He ‘updates’ the Commandment about murder as we see above. btw, most translations use ‘murder’ not ‘kill’. We are obliged to use the translation that scholarship and reflection across the Bible indicates to be the proper translation. Current scholarship and other Bible texts indicate that ‘murder’ – not ‘kill’ – is the proper translation.

        • plc53

          lol….you are a funny protestant! I do not and never, God help me, forget Jesus. I receive Him, body, blood, soul and divinity each time I assist at the Holy Mass in a state of grace.

          Assisted suicide is murder. Suicide is a mortal sin. As is abortion. Thou shalt not kill. All your manipulations can’t get around that commandment. “Updated” by your “translations” or not.

          You don’t believe Jesus gives Himself to us, His Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. It is you who has forgotten Jesus, and traded Him in for your protestant manipulations of the faith.

          Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not murder. Either way, pal, you can’t get around the fact that “assisted suicide” is murder. Killing. And it’s a mortal sin. And the bishops in question here are supporting mortal sin.

          Get the facts right. Obey the commandments. Once you do that, you might just be able to help someone to a better spiritual and temporal life.

          Right now you are just part of the chaos.

        • Micha_Elyi

          I disagree with your “you… forget JESUS!” claim.

          By the way, when the Christian faith first came to English speakers the word ‘kill’ meant what we post-1066 English speakers mean by ‘murder’. As the alien French word ‘murder’ pushed into the semantic space occupied by ‘kill’, that word shifted in meaning and in turn displaced the word ‘slaughter’.

    • Mike Albertone

      What a crock!! That is the nicest things I could say about your post. You are obfuscating. Of course, everything you brought up is important and needs to be addressed. Even so, the author’s points are extremely valid and extremely important. He didn’t imply that his article was meant to address everything.

      If you have simply made the point that if we do some of the things you mentioned, this issue goes away or is minimized, that would have been valid, but to call the author out for not mentioning it deflects from the important issue at hand.

  • Matt

    I can hardly believe it! What kind of grotesque parody, to give a person last rites as they deliberately commit a final and mortal sin. How can you in good conscience give a person viatacum as they condemn themselves to hell?

  • Jim in Pittsburgh

    You nailed the Francis Effect” perfectly. What’s next? Catholic chaplains at abortion mills?

  • NDaniels

    And all we hear is the sound of silence from The Vatican.

  • PalaceGuard

    This decision makes as much moral sense as would posting priests at abortion clinics , offering absolution to those entering.

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