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The Catholic Register offers its readers dependable information and opinion as a joyful servant of God's pilgrim church.

The hope and joy of Easter have been magnified this year by the first steps of a Pope who has arrived like the blossoms of an Easter-morning lily to brighten the universal Church.

Collins extends prayers of Canadians to new Pope

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Cardinal Thomas Collins extended Pope Francis the best wishes and prayers of Canada in a brief meeting March 15 in the Clementine Hall of the apostolic palace.

Church of the poor

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“Oh, how I wish for a Church that was poor and for the poor!”

Pope Francis

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White smoke that billowed March 13 from the Sistine Chapel chimney heralded more than the election of Pope Francis.

Wisdom with vitality

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The past eight years gave proof that the College of Cardinals got it right in 2005 when they shrugged at Joseph Ratzinger’s birth certificate and made him Pope.

Non-European pope not beyond realm of possibility

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Cardinal Collins notes decision will be made for the good of the Church

Register for digital age

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The Catholic Register turns 120 this year. For 12 decades it has been a national Catholic voice delivered weekly to the homes and churches of Canada.

The gold standard

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Pope Benedict XVI barely had time to catch his breath after announcing his resignation before speculation began about his successor.

An admirable man

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Losing a pope to retirement is unprecedented in modern times. So the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI came like a thunderbolt on a sunny day. No one seemed to expect it, but maybe we should have.

Faith and charity

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Charity can exist without faith but faith without charity is illusory. That fundamental truth was underlined by Pope Benedict XVI in his message for Lent in which he said faith and charity are coupled and inseparable.

Killing is not care

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The Criminal Code, Parliament and the Supreme Court have been consistent and clear on the matter of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Both offences are serious crimes as prescribed in law and as upheld in various votes by the nation’s top legislative and judicial bodies. Yet the Province of Quebec is bulling ahead with a chilling attempt to circumvent the law by decriminalizing euthanasia through a legislative sleight-of-hand.

In mid-January, the PQ government of Pauline Marois trumpeted a report suggesting doctors should sometimes be allowed to kill patients. Naturally, that is not how the report is worded. It speaks of “medically aided death” and suggests that euthanasia is just another “part of the continuum of care” provided by doctors. So on some days doctors will deliver a baby, or remove tonsils, or treat cancer, and on other days they will deliver care by killing the patient.

This is an offensive notion, of course, and it must be opposed forcefully by society in general and by the federal government in particular.

By June, Quebec is expected to propose legislation to declare euthanasia is a medical procedure and therefore strictly a provincial matter beyond the reach of the Criminal Code or Parliament interference. Assumedly, the Quebec government has lawyers who feel confident in making that argument even though it strikes most reasonable people as far-fetched to claim killing someone can be equated with providing them with medical care.

This legislative end-around follows a resounding rejection two years ago of a private member’s euthanasia bill introduced by Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde. She lost that vote 250-57. The Supreme Court had rejected euthanasia in a 1993 decision. Two years after that, a senate committee concluded euthanasia should remain a criminal offence. Although euthanasia is legal in some countries, Canada, to its credit, has consistently rejected it.

Even Quebecers are unconvinced. The “Dying With Dignity” committee crossed the province for two years hearing submissions. Sixty per cent of people or groups opposed euthanasia. Many doctors are appalled that their oath to “do no harm” could be perverted to countenance killing.

“This act is abhorrent to us as doctors and should appall Quebecers who care about social justice and building communities that care about the most vulnerable,” said Dr. Catherine Ferrier, spokesperson for a group called The Physicians’ Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia.

Instead of writing laws to kill sick and suffering people, politicians in Quebec and across Canada should be increasing the number and improving the quality of palliative care centres. Euthanasia is a deplorable solution for old age, illness and infirmity. The focus should be on providing comfort and care, and building a society that treats all life with dignity and respect.