(Vatican Radio) The unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn the country’s ban on physician-assisted suicide demonstrates the tendency in culture to “set individual rights over any other consideration,” said the president of the Canadian episcopal conference.
Archbishop Paul-André Durocher said Canada’s Catholic bishops are “very disappointed” in the decision of the Supreme Court, issued on Friday, to “open the door” to physician-assisted suicide.
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The Court said the prohibition limited a person’s constitutional right to life, liberty and personal security. It said that a fully consenting adult, who has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (such as an illness, disease or disability) and which causes them “severe and intolerable suffering” has the right to physician-assisted suicide.
“We were hoping the court would not go this way,” said Archbishop Durocher, describing the decision as “a road that we find most dangerous.”
“It certainly is the victory of individual rights over any other consideration,” said the archbishop. “So, it is an approach to law that considers the individual, independently of the social and community aspects.
“Of course, in our Catholic tradition, we are very aware, sensitive, to the social dimensions of any individual decision. We are not islands, separate from each other. We form a people and the decision of one affects all others. And so in this sense it is a vision of the human being that leads to this kind of decision.
“Ours is a different vision,” he said, referring to Catholic teaching. “And I think we need to keep putting this forward to our own people to help them to grow in the sense of the fact that we belong to each other and we need to stand together.”
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