Even though the Church cares deeply about alleviating the suffering of God’s people in the world, the Catholic Church still condemns and is strongly against Assisted Suicide.
Canadian Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa has warned Catholics that they will be barred from receiving the last rites of the Church if they seek to end their lives by physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia under their country’s new law.
Some critics allege that the Church is cruel because animals like dogs and cats are put out of their misery with euthanasia, so why not the same thing for suffering humans? This objection actually strengthens the Church’s teachings that human beings are intrinsically valuable and should not be treated like animals because human beings are made in the image and likeness of God not to mention the fact that the practice strongly violates the Fifth Commandment.
He reminded the faithful that an act of suicide is a “grave sin” which directly is a violation of the Fifth Commandment not to kill and that a person who chooses suicide doesn’t have the proper disposition needed to receive the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. If suicide is murder against the self, then “assisted” suicide is plain murder.
He told Canadian Catholic News that, “Asking to be killed is gravely disordered and is a rejection of the hope that the rite calls for and tries to bring into the situation also, asking your priest to be present to something that is in direct contradiction to our Catholic values would be unfair to the pastor.”
Traditionally referred to as Extreme Unction or Last Rites, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is administered both to the dying and to those who are both to the dying and to those who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious operation, for the recovery of their health and for spiritual strength.
“The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects: the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church; the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age; the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of penance; and the restoration of health.
A report published in Canada on Thursday 25th Feb. announced that all government heath-care institutions will be obliged to provide physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia.
The bishops of the province of Alberta recently released a joint statement on the World Day of the Sick condemning the participation of any Catholic in assisted suicide, calling it “morally wrong. …[N]o Catholic may advocate for, or participate in any way, whether by act or omission, in the intentional killing of another human being either by assisted suicide or euthanasia.”
Archbishop Jozef De Kesel of Brussels has publicly announced that no Church-run hospital or care home would permit euthanasia under any circumstance.