Christ’s death on the Cross was a redeeming one. Euthanasia is not. CNS photo/Mike Crupi

Euthanasia rejects the Cross, Resurrection

  • April 6, 2023

Euthanasia is murder. And, it is not simply murder but State-sanctioned, State-abetted, and State-funded homicide. To call it anything else is to engage in a serious form of deception. 

The euphemism medical assistance in dying (MAiD) now in common parlance even among Christians is deceptive. It distorts what actually takes place when a medical professional injects the midazolam, the propofol and the rocuronium, or similar agents, and slowly, calmly, kills the patient. Before the Supreme Court of Canada in 2015 struck down section 241(b) of the Criminal Code, which made aiding or abetting suicide an indictable offence, it was generally understood that committing such an act was tantamount to murder. Now, it is refashioned as a recognition of a person’s supposed loss of dignity and actively recommended as a form of “treatment.” 

It is championed as a valid way of mercifully ending a person’s suffering by preemptively, consciously and willingly killing them. As Catholics, we must remember something being legal does not make it true, especially when legislation gravely violates the moral law. Every time we use the term MAiD we participate in the deception; we fail to tell the truth. 

It is the height of presumption because euthanasia makes the medical professional the arbiter over life and death. Ahh, but the argument goes, the medical professional is always an arbiter over life and death, especially when death is anticipated due to grave illness. Even palliative care, it is said, can hasten death. This is a fallacious argument that fails to recognize a difference in ends. The end of palliative care is informed by genuine compassion: to relieve a person’s pain until death comes naturally at a time that has not been predetermined. The end of euthanasia is entirely different: to kill the patient at a determined time and fulfill an act of the human masquerading as compassion. Hence the problem: we think we are God, that we are the origin of mercy.

But euthanasia in Canada is no longer just about ending suffering where death is fully expected. It has metastasized in the most malignant way possible to a viable option for ending any degree of physical or psychological suffering. This displays a deeply disordered understanding of the human person, and reveals a breakdown in human community. It is now considered more compassionate to quickly dispose of a life that is inconvenient in its pain rather than to comfort and care for the suffering through effective palliative care where a community lives out the virtues of perseverance, patience, hope, trust and, above all, love.

God permits suffering but He does not cause it. Suffering and death entered the world at the beginning when we first sought to become God, convincing ourselves in consorting with evil that we knew better. We still want to be God. We have forgotten that with those bites of the fruit of the tree in the garden suffering, corruption and death entered the world. 

We ushered it in. We became enslaved to those effects until God in His infinite love took on our human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. He joined Himself in the most intimate way possible to our suffering. Our Lord’s brutal, painful and lonely human death on the Cross is now linked to every brutal, painful and often lonely human death in a hospital bed. Yet, Our Lord died on the Cross before the lance was thrust into His side. His death was not hastened by a misplaced compassion. He had to die in the fullness of time. Indeed, He came into this world to die and to free us from our suffering. But, that was not the end just as when we die it is not the end. 

Christ died to rise again on the third day. As Christians, we are joined to Christ through our baptism and we are raised to new life in Him. Suffering has no power, though we feel its effects. Euthanasia is not a redeeming death. It sets our human will against the Cross. It denies the Paschal mystery. It rejects the Resurrection. If we are truly followers of Christ, if we have embraced His Cross, if we have entered the tomb with Him, then we shall rise with Him. If this is all true (and it is!) we must do everything in our power to rid our country from the evil scourge of euthanasia. 

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

(Rev. Andrew Bennett is a deacon of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada.)

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