Canada's Push for Euthanasia (Part 2)

Interview With Director of COLF

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MONTREAL, FEB. 22, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The so-called right to die could become a duty to die, warns the director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family.



In the second part of this interview, Michèle Boulva spoke with ZENIT about the growing pressure to spread euthanasia in Canada. Part 1 appeared Wednesday.

Q: There are people who claim the right to die in the name of liberty. What should one think of this?

Boulva: In our culture, personal autonomy has become almost an absolute. Every choice is considered valid as long as it doesn't harm others.

Applied to euthanasia and assisted suicide, this individualist attitude threatens the common good of society because it has consequences not only for the person who chooses to die, but for the whole society.

As the renowned Canadian ethics expert, Margaret Somerville, has written: "The legalization of euthanasia would be prejudicial to the important values and symbols of society which are based on respect of human life."

Our perception of the value and dignity of every human life would change. As a consumer product, human life would lose its value as its "expiration date" approaches.

The fundamental trust we place in doctors, in men and women nurses, in lawyers, knowing that they are opposed to the elimination of any person, would vanish.

Moreover, it would also be very difficult to prevent abuse. In our society which is aging, which must face the rise in the cost of health care, the so-called right to die would run the risk of becoming a "duty to die."

According to Christian tradition, God grants to human beings a certain degree of autonomy: Our intelligence and will allow us to make our own decisions. However, we are not proprietors of the gift of life; we are its administrators.

True liberty leads us not only to choose but to choose the true good that God reveals to us for our eternal happiness. Every exercise of liberty or every act of self-determination that contradicts God's plan for us, as individuals or as social beings, is contrary to genuine liberty.

Q: On the occasion of the World Day of the Sick, you published a leaflet entitled "Living, Suffering and Dying … What for?" To whom is this addressed?

Boulva: Although this publication is addressed in principle to Catholics, it will also be of interest to any person seeking happiness and the meaning of existence and suffering. We conceived it in the context of a de-Christianized society which needs to rediscover its roots.

The time has arrived to again propose Christian hope. Christ comes to give an unexpected meaning to our lives. Many find in him the source of their perseverance, of their hope, and also of their joy in adversity.

This reflection invites readers to contemplate one of the great mysteries of life: pain and suffering. It reveals their profound Christian meaning, inspiring in them a renewed sense of hope, courage and peace.

Q: On what points do you especially insist?

Boulva: We recall God's formidable plan of love for each one of his children on earth, his desire to enter into a relationship of friendship with each one of us, his dream of seeing us collaborate freely with him to build a more just and more human world, and how all this is realized in the ordinary, everyday life.

It is there where we can experience an extraordinary encounter with God: simply at work and in family life, in our free time and social commitments, to speak to God and offer him everything out of love.

For Christ wanted to give a divine meaning to our lives. Our crosses, big and small, united to his, find all their meaning in the Eucharist. It is there that Christ takes them and offers them at the same time as his so that we become co-redeemers with him. Can one imagine a greater dignity?

We address finally the question of solidarity, of palliative care and of the call to true compassion that Christ puts to us, recognized in the person who is alone, diminished, anxious and abandoned.

Each one of us is called at the same time to serve the suffering Christ and to be Christ the Servant who supports the other in his days of suffering so that he will keep up his courage until the natural end of his life.

This is what it means for a Christian to "help to die: to help to live until the other arrives naturally to the most important moment of his life, his passage to eternity and his face-to-face encounter with God."