Charles Lewis urges anyone who is still on the fence about euthanasia to fight against it even if it has been legalized. Photo courtesy of

Progressive nightmare and moral quagmire

  • October 5, 2016

The great Canadian author William Kinsella died Sept. 16 at the age of 81. He wrote terrific stories and was brilliant at merging baseball and fiction. His novel Shoeless Joe was turned into the hit movie Field of Dreams. He left behind a great literary legacy and a gaping hole in the hearts of baseball fans with a literary bent.

His many accomplishments were detailed in a Globe and Mail obituary that also mentioned, almost in passing, that Kinsella chose to die by “assisted death,” as was his legal right under new Canadian law that has legalized assisted suicide.

Imagine if Kinsella had died in this manner 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. A large part of the story would have been about the “controversial” way he ended his life. There would have been shock and debates, and experts would have been asked to comment. Many would have lamented that a doctor, whose job it is to heal, killed Kinsella. Some may have blamed his choice of such a radical option on the lack of proper palliative care in this country.

Things have changed. Some call it progress. I call it a nightmare.

We live in a new era. His death by assisted suicide was mentioned in passing, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

This should be setting off alarm bells for those who believe euthanasia is evil and even for those who may still be on the fence. A poll taken several months before the euthanasia bill was passed in June found that 70 per cent of Catholics supported euthanasia. That number should sicken anyone who cares about our faith and our defence of life. It continues to make my heart ache that so many Catholics so badly misunderstand their faith.

We are entering the most dangerous period in our country’s moral history. We now have legalized euthanasia and I fear we are accepting the new status quo — and with that attitude we will accept the death of our family and friends in this awful manner.

Just because it is legal does not mean any of us should opt for state-sanctioned suicide. Nor does it mean we should stand idly by. Euthanasia may be the law of the land but making something legal does not make it moral.

The tragedy of Kinsella’s passing, along with the estimated 150 Canadian who have to date used the new law to end their lives, is that it sends a distorted message. Think about those departed souls. They would have had wives and husbands and children and friends — and in the case of Kinsella, fans and admirers. So by choosing assisted suicide they have sent the message that it is good and normal.

The euthanasia bill that was passed in June was, on the surface, less dangerous than what the Supreme Court of Canada had proposed and what was recommended by a special committee formed by the Liberal government. The final legislation rejected proposals to allow assisted death for those with mental suffering and chronic pain. Also discarded was a proposal to consider allowing children to opt for euthanasia.

But the mere fact that these were proposed should make us fearful that assisted killing will morph into something far-reaching and more evil. One only has to look at Holland and Belgium where euthanasia is allowed for every conceivable ailment, including a general unwillingness to live. The web site Breitbart estimates that along with the thousands of adults who die each year “650 babies are thought to have been euthanized so that their parents don’t have to witness them struggle with disability or disease.”

In debates about tolerance in this country, we have always focused on religion, race and ethnicity. But what we are now seeing is a new form of intolerance. It targets the sick, the dying, those in pain and those who society sees as less than perfect.

It is anathema for Catholics to support euthanasia. For those on the fence, it is time to stand for your faith. For those who oppose euthanasia but did nothing to prevent it, now is your chance to fight back. For those who fought the good fight, drink a cup of something strong, dust yourself off and continue to fight against this evil with all that you have.

(Lewis is a Toronto writer and frequent contributor to The Catholic Register.)

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