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."