Sunday, October 02, 2016

Gravely Sinful Response

Image result for Edmonton Catholic Archbishop Richard Smith
I have made my uneasy peace with the legislation on Assisted Dying in Canada, even though I am uneasy with the Supreme Court and legislators having the final say is such significant territory. And while I'm not convinced that assisted dying will be the right choice in some circumstances, it will be an act of mercy for that very small percentage of Canadians who do avail themselves of this option. We should all pray that the confused and vulnerable are protected from the unscrupulous or indifferent.

That said I think the decision of the Edmonton Roman Catholic diocese to withhold church funerals from those who choose assisted dying is absolutely appalling.

The Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories issued new guidelines  that say priests should not conduct ecclesiastical ceremonies for people who have died in "high-profile" assisted deaths. The guidelines also say that families who want to celebrate the assisted-death decisions of their loved ones should be denied church funerals."The priest and the church have, as our ultimate concern, the salvation of souls and mercy and compassion can never be separated from telling the truth," said Archbishop Richard Smith in a Friday interview with CBC News."What the church teaches very, very clearly … to die by assisted suicide, euthanasia, these are gravely sinful acts contrary to the will of God."

Of course, the Roman Catholic church doesn't give a damn what I think, but it should! This conjures up all the miserable attempts by religions of every stripe to control the behaviour of others by punishment and fear and banishment. How well has that worked? And where do we stop with this? There are a fair number of funerals I've conducted for those whose character and behaviour leave a lot to be desired. The church can define assisted dying as a "gravely sinful act," but I was under the impression we are all sinners desiring the grace of a merciful God. I wonder how many paedophile priests have been denied Christian burial by the RCs? Those guilty of the "soul murder" of sexual abuse seem to be in far greater eternal peril than those who decide to escape pain and suffering.

Anyone else find this decision disheartening?


Judy Mcknight said...

I shook my head in disbelief when I read thias, as well...fortunately, no single religious policy or tenet limits God's good grace.

roger said...

This is more than disheartening, it is infuriating. This is the kind of thing that drives people away from organized religion. Yes, it would be very interesting to know what happens with pedophile priests when they die!

This is so judgmental and mean-spirited that it defies logic.