Deacon Larry Worthen Register file photo

Ordinary Catholics must rise up against MAiD

  • February 16, 2024

More and more, parishes have been enlightening Canadians and encouraging them to join in the fight against expanding MAiD (medical assistance in dying).

There has been a notable uptick of parishes across Canada in recent months holding anti-euthanasia film screenings and welcoming special guests to deliver educational presentations. 

On Feb. 8, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Sherwood Park, Alta., joined in, welcoming Deacon Larry Worthen, executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CDMA) and a leading figure in Canadian circles trying to bring an end to MAiD. Worthen, who serves in the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth, delivered a lecture and then sat for a discussion and Q&A session alongside Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith. 

Worthen said for the landscape to change, Canadians opposed to assisted suicide must shed their apathy and demand better supports that keep the patient living.

“The thing that always amazes me is how passive we are as Canadians,” said Worthen. “A palliative care nurse I was talking about in Calgary was telling me, ‘I have patients who are going to choose euthanasia because the government does not have enough money for health care, and if I’m gone there is more money for someone else.’

“The reality of that is just atrocious because the government will not put more money into these services unless we all stand up and demand it. If we are just going to sit back and let our services be eroded and allow more and more MAiD to be provided — that is a horrendous situation.”

The CDMA is guiding an organized push to demand better. Its No Options, No Choice letter-writing campaign has already sent more than 10,000 missives to lawmakers. These letters urge elected officials to support additional services that provide Canadians real options to live. 

“I’d be careful about making political statements,” said Worthen, “but we may have a change in government in our future. Will that government have the courage to claw back and put controls on euthanasia? The only way they will do that is if enough of you go to your MP and demand it. Once they realize there is political support for this, they will take action.”

Smith, acknowledging Worthen’s observation about Canadian passiveness, suggested Albertans might be an exception. 

“When you talk about Canadians generally being reticent, it doesn’t exactly apply to Albertans I’m finding,” said Smith. “I say this as a compliment. If it’s on the mind it’s on the tongue. We tend not to hesitate to let people know what you think. We have to take that inherent gift of Albertans and make it real. So, pick up the phone. Go knock on the door of the constituency office. If you see them in a drugstore, tap on their shoulder and say ‘we need to talk. If not now, when can I come see you?’ Write letters, yes, whatever it takes to be there in that Albertan way to say, ‘you know what? This is wrong.’ ”

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