Opponents of assisted suicide staged a “die-in” following a rally on Parliament Hill in 2016 prior to Bill C-41 passing that legalized euthanasia in Canada. A new bill creates an opening for those who want an assisted suicide but whose death is not “reasonably foreseeable.” CNS photo/Art Babych

Editorial: Hope for 2023

  • January 13, 2023

Our paramount hope and prayer for 2023 is that the federal government’s pause in its rush to push medically assisted homicide brings sincere recognition of its folly on life issues generally.

In case that sounds naïve, it’s important to be clear that we make our wishes with crossed fingers but put our faith in the Cross. It is God, we know, who will move current disordered hearts and minds to renewed clarity that human life is infinitely more than disposable feed stock for grandiose political experiments. Yet as Catholics who commit our lives to the understanding of Christ’s presence as the eternal Word bending into history, we must sustain belief that the neighbours we are called to love can see the errors of their ways.

A sign of hope is discernible in federal Justice Minister David Lametti’s pre-Christmas announcement that the Liberal cabinet will hit pause to review expanding the legal scope of medical homicide to include those who are mentally ill. It’s natural to snort with disgust at government having to “review” something so prima facie infamous, but let us take even temporary relief where we find it. 

Serious and credentialled voices within the government’s own progressive constituency were raised in concern, and then protest, about the implacable haste to medically kill the mentally ill. The Liberals not only listened. They retrenched. Backwards can be a best direction, and if saving face directly saves lives, let any triumphalist crowing start without us. 

Is it sincere? God knows. But on a seemingly divergent matter — China — Prime Minister Trudeau and his team have shown they’re ready, willing and able to zig the necessary zag when reality requires. The PM who entered office with kindly words for the “basic dictatorship” of the Middle Kingdom has now made a detailed commitment that Beijing’s road-and-belt global bellicosity is something up with which Canada will not put, to localize Winston Churchill’s phrase.

 If a certified progressive government can change on China, how impossible is the dream that it might shift considerable ground on life issues, too? A shared factor in both cases, after all, is that a chorus of voices warned for years against the perils being obliviously ignored because of obdurate ideology. 

Reality must ultimately out, which leads us to our second major hope and prayer for 2023. It is that 2022 marked the annus peakus of political “gaslighting,” which the Miriam-Webster Dictionary proclaimed as its word of the year for the 12 months just passed. The popularity of both the term and the technique, which entail discrediting a point of view by attacking the mental health of its advocates, should suffer the fate of all fashionable things and become unmentionable.

Attacking the sanity of those who decried medically killing the mentally ill proved wrong-headed. Let us hope and pray a government with its head on straight becomes even more widely clear-eyed. 

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