May 9, 2023 – Today, in the context of the National Week for Family and Life, the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued both an Open Letter to the Government of Canada and a Message to the Catholic Faithful
on federal legislation which, by 17 March 2024, will permit persons living with mental illness to access euthanasia.
Over the years, CCCB members have consistently and repeatedly expressed their opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide, which was legalised in Canada in June 2016. As predicted in 2015, subsequent amendments to the legislation have allowed for an ever-expanding list of vulnerable persons to be made eligible for euthanasia and assisted suicide, including the most recent amendment permitting those whose sole medical condition is a mental illness to access euthanasia or assisted suicide (‘Medical Aid in Dying’ or ‘MAiD’).
As stated in both the Open Letter and Message, “Expanding access to euthanasia and assisted suicide for individuals living with a mental illness closes the door to any hope of recovery…undermines the universal and inviolable dignity of human life and harms the building up of society.”
Referencing our common dependency on each other in varying degress throughout life, the CCCB calls on the federal and provincial/territorial governments to allocate more resources and funding to mental healthcare as well as to palliative care.
The CCCB also encourages the faithful “to witness to life, to tend to and accompany the sick, to resist pressure to support or participate in ‘MAiD,’ and to pray that our law makers may see the harm in what they are permitting to take place.”Click below for the full texts:Message to the Catholic Faithful on Permitting Persons Living with Mental Illness to Access Euthanasia/Assisted SuicideOpen Letter to the Government of Canada on Permitting Persons Living with Mental Illness to Access Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide