The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

22nd Sunday Ordinary “B”

When you hear the name of Jesus what do you think of? What sort of picture comes to your mind?

I know that when I picture Jesus in my mind - I often think of that man with a gentle face carrying a lamb around His shoulders.

For me, it’s a nice picture. A smiling, reassuring face. That is the Jesus I often think of. Or at least that is the way I prefer to think of Him. A gentle, compassionate, loving and forgiving God. And He is all that and more.

But the picture I get from today’s Gospel gives me quite a different picture.

I see Jesus talking to a large crowd and then suddenly confronted by the Scribes and Pharisees who hope to embarrass Him and make Him lose credibility.

How does Jesus handle the situation? Here we have a Jesus who seems more human that I want Him to be. He appears angry and not only that but He actually engages in some name calling.

When He was asked by the Pharisees and scribes “Why do your disciples not live according to the traditions of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?

Jesus said to them “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written “this people honours me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. In vain do they worship me”….

And then Jesus goes on to tell the other people who are standing there listening to this exchange - that there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile a person but the things that come out of a person are what defiles them.

For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come.

When we look at people isn’t it true that we often look at the success they have achieved in their lives rather than the good they may have done in their lives?

And here we can think of many movie stars and politicians whose personal lives and examples leave a lot to be desired but they are stilled admired by millions of people.

In education don’t we often attach more importance to the head than we do to the heart? Don’t we make more fuss over a smart child than we do over a good one?

A kid could be the best behaved and kindest kid in the world but isn’t it often the case that the child who has the highest grades – that’s the one who gets the most praise. That’s the child who gets their picture in the paper?

In the world of business and politics don’t we reward cleverness, political correctness and achievement rather than goodness?

And yet when you listen to the words of our everyday language we seem to acknowl­edge the primacy of the heart over the head. At least we seem to say that we know where our priorities should be.

For example, we judge a person by the heart.

One of the most damning things we can say about anyone is that 'he has no heart', is heartless, is hard hearted or that 'he has a cold heart'.

But then again one of the best things we can say about anyone is that 'he has a heart', or 'he is warm-hearted', or 'he is soft-hearted'.

We judge the degree of a person's commitment to something in terms of the heart. We say, 'his heart is not in it', or 'that was only a half­hearted effort'.

As a result, we’re thinking that he’s probably going to quit. Or we think that even if he stays, he will not put his best effort into it. He won’t put his whole heart into it.

On the other hand we could say 'his heart is in it', or 'his effort is whole­hearted'. Meaning that he most probably will not only persevere but will put his best effort into it.

It’s the same when we want to express sorrow and joy in terms of the heart. We say, 'her heart was broken', or 'she went with a heavy heart'. Or we say, 'her heart over­flowed with joy', or 'she has a light hearted way of speaking'.

We often describe burdens and wounds in terms of the heart.

A 'heavy heart' is the most wearisome burden of all and a 'broken heart' is the most painful wound of all.

There are many more examples that could be given. But, let’s just look at two more examples from today's Gospel.

The first example concerns the worship of God.

The most damning thing that can be said about someone's worship is that the person's heart is not in it. In which case it is mere lip-service, like that of the Pharisees.

And one of the best things than can be said about someone's worship is that the person's heart is in it. That their worship of God comes from the heart.

The second example concerns badness and goodness. A corrupt heart is the worst form of badness. It means to be bad at the very core of our being. A pure heart is the best kind of goodness. It means to be good at the core.

The Gospel places great emphasis on the heart, and we can see why. As Jesus says the heart is the source from which all our thoughts, words and deeds flow.

If the heart is clean, then all that flows from it will be clean, like water flowing from a cool, clear, pure mountain spring.

In the Gospel, the Pharisees paid more attention to the outside than the inside. They were more preoccupied with having clean hands than having clean hearts. Appearances rather than worshipping God.

What if Jesus came in person and talked to us today? What would He say about our worship? Do we practice what we preach?

Do we come to Mass every Sunday, greet each other sincerely, listen to the Word of God, receive Holy Communion and sing our hymns of praise to God?

Do we then leave this place this place of worship and share our heartfelt love and our life with our brothers and sisters throughout the remainder of the week?

Or after seeming to praise God do we leave this place and live our lives the rest of the week as though we had never heard of Jesus Christ?

Jesus says that it's the heart that matters. Where is our heart on the matter of abortion, the killing of innocent unborn babies? Does our silence condemn us?

Where is our heart on the matter of euthanasia and assisted suicide? The killing of the elderly, the depressed, the suffering?

What do you think Jesus would ask us to do about it – This Euthanasia, this so called mercy killing? This killing of fellow humans through assisted suicide??

Do you really think that Jesus would want us to start killing off our elderly, our misfits, our depressed, those whose lives we want to shorten because we think they are dying anyway and some of them are suffering terribly?

Don’t we love them too much to continue to just watch them suffer? Shouldn’t we just put them down in a humane way and end it all? Shouldn’t we do for them what God does not appear to be willing to do?

What do you think Jesus would do?

What do you think He is asking you to do about it?

We are all aware of Bill C-384. A Bill being introduced into the House of Commons to make Euthanasia or so-called mercy killing and assisted suicide, not only legal but easy to accomplish in Canada.

In the coming weeks we will hear more on this subject. We will hear all about how humane we would be when we end or help to put an end to someone’s suffering. We do it for dogs why can’t we do it for humans?

Don’t get me wrong. All of us have probably stood by the bedside of a relative who was suffering terribly in the last few days of their lives. If only God would take them now and end this suffering.

It’s hard for us to stand there and watch helplessly. We’ve all had these thoughts. And now this bill will seem to make it possible for all that suffering to end quickly and legally too.

But our chief Shepherd Archbishop Smith has addressed the topic in the latest issue of the Western Catholic Reporter.

If you haven’t read it – please do so. We need to know as much as we can about Euthanasia and assisted suicide. Archbishop Smith tells us what Jesus is asking us to do.

What does this bill really propose to do for us? We need to see it for the evil that it really is. We need to see the wolf hidden here in sheep’s clothing.

And then what we are asked to do is act on this information. We are being asked by our Archbishop to make our voices heard. And we can do this by writing a simple letter. A short letter.

All it takes is one little sheet of paper addressed to the Prime Minister or Blaine Calkins or both.

Simply telling them in one or two sentences that you do not approve of Euthanasia or assisted suicide.

No need for a long explanation. It will be the number of letters received that will count. Not the arguments for or against. A hand written letter is best.

Then simply sign your name and mail it. Postage free. You don’t even need an address – simply Blaine Calkins – House of Commons, Ottawa. It will get there.

My brothers and sisters if we say we are Christian then we must act like Christians. We cannot say one thing and do another. We cannot profess our faith and then deny it.

Our Archbishop is asking us to speak up on this issue and to speak up now. We mustn’t wait for someone else to do it –

How does that saying go “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

We always think of the gentle Jesus’ – the God of Love and compassion. But here in today’s Gospel Jesus’ use of such strong language sort of shocks us.

The use of the word hypocrite flung in the face of the Pharisees should give us a strong hint of what He thinks of hypocrites and Jesus is not afraid to speak up. Archbishop Smith isn’t afraid to speak up either. And neither should we be afraid.

My brother and sisters, only God can see what is in our hearts. And only God can change our hearts into what they should be.

Let us pray that many Christians today will act on what is in their hearts.

Let us not be hard hearted or heartless. We may not be able to change much by writing that letter but at least they could not then accuse us of being hypocrites, can they?

For we have acted on what God has written on our hearts.

Deacon Bernie Ouellette

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Homily from Father Joseph Pellegrino

21 Ordinary Time

Faith is a choice - Choices and the Only Choice

· Instaurare omnia in Christo" – Pope Pius X

Renovate everything in Christ

· The Eucharist is "the source, the center and the summit of the Christian life – Vatican II

· Ecclesia de Eucharistia vivit – Pope John Paul II

The Church is living from the Eucharist

· Deus Caritas est – Pope Benedict XVI

God is Love

"To whom shall we go: You alone have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are now convinced that you are God's Holy One."

There are a lot of people who say just as those Pharisees did: Who can believe in this nonsense?

In the first years of his papacy, Pope John Paul II made his first trip to the United States as the pope. Newspapers and magazines carried articles about the Church in the United States. Those bastions of spirituality, like Newsweek and Time, coined a phrase to describe American Catholics. They called us "cafeteria Catholics". By that they meant that many American Catholics pick and choose what dogmas to believe and what areas of morality to practice or to ignore. Those articles were offensive mainly because they contained a lot of truth. In those days of over-emphasizing positive self esteem, children and Teens were asked what something meant to them rather than what it was. So questions like, “What is the Eucharist? or What is confirmation? would elicit as many different responses as the individuals answering, few of which had anything to do with the truth of faith. The articles were also true when they spoke about morality, or the lack thereof. People would say, “I’m a good Catholic, but I don’t believe in marriage. Or, “I’m a good Catholic but I am pro-abortion.”

So there was a lot of truth to referring to American Catholics as cafeteria Catholics. Sadly, there still is. There are many people who want to simplify our belief system and our morality to make it less demanding and more in conformity with a largely pagan world. For example, many people have reduced the necessity to receive the Eucharist and end up putting the Eucharist on the same plane as a reminder of Jesus’ action, such as Holy Water. No the Eucharist is not a reminder of Jesus. It is Jesus. But this takes a leap of faith, a leap of trusting in the Word of God. Or on the morality side, many couples have decided that marriage comes after living together, not before living together. And I can assure you, they do not want to hear the statistics showing the elevated percentage of failed marriages for those who cohabitate, or that sex outside of marriage is a sin, and that cohabatation is a public proclamation of the sin. Morality also demands a leap of faith, faith that living as a Christian will give the rewards of Christianity.

“But all of this is so hard. Can’t we just tone down our faith, and our morality?” There is nothing new to this complaint. We just heard the disciples voicing it to Jesus. People were leaving because they did not want to take the leap of faith and accept the Eucharist. Couldn’t Jesus tone this all down? Jesus’ response was simple: are you going to leave too?

Truth has nothing to do with numbers. Truth has nothing to do with surveys. Truth is from Jesus Christ alone. As I often like to phrase at the beginning of Mass, His Truth gives meaning to the very concept, Truth.

Thank God, many of our young adults and Teens have rejected the concept of truth by numbers, and are fighting against the temptation to be cafeteria Catholics. Empowered by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, these people are demanding a following of Christ that some would call radical, but that in reality is merely adhering to the Truth. Their faith is Eucharistic centered. They are adamantly pro-life. And they are finding meaning in the Lord.

And those of us of the later generations, the former hippie generations turned conservatives, look at the young Moms and Dads, the young singles out of college, in college and in high school, and we see great hope for our Church and, consequently, for the world.

But we also know, that all of us, adamant young and determined less than young, all of us are still tempted to go by the numbers. So we are tempted to fall for the crock that there is a new morality. We mess up our lives by falling for the lies of the pagan society and experiment with drugs, with sex, or whatever, under the veil of “This is now acceptable. Or simply, everybody’s doing it.” The number of people who commit a sin, does not change the sinfulness of the action. The number of people who stay away from regularly receiving the Eucharist does not change the reality of the Eucharist.

If following Jesus means that we are radicals, then let’s be radicals. Isn’t it better to be part of a minority that has Jesus Christ in our lives than to be part of the crowd that compromises His Presence out of their lives?

Joshua in our first reading couldn’t be concerned whether the majority of the people of Israel would choose to live as pagans. He knew where he stood, “As for me and my family, we will choose the Lord.” Peter made his greatest profession of faith at the conclusion of today’s Gospel. When confronted with the possibility of leaving Christ, he proclaimed, “Lord, to whom should we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

It is all laid on the line for us. We have the choice. We can live meaningful, purposeful lives. We can possess Jesus Christ. Or we can join the numbers, be part of the survey the atheists take to degrade religion, and lose ourselves and our lives in that which is not the Lord.

Yes, there are times that it is difficult to follow Christ. Following Christ means taking up the cross. It means denying ourselves the passing joys of immorality for the eternal joy of living in His Presence forever. Following Christ means being different than most of society. Following Christ means being “holy”, for that is what holiness is–being different than all that is not God.

Back in 1925, the great English poet, T. S. Eliot, wrote about the people of his time who lived without God. He called his poem, “The Hollow Men.” That is what life is without the Lord, hollow. You don’t have to go back to 1925 for examples of hollow existence. The atheistic existentialists of the fifties and sixties, could find no reason for life. The reaction to society presently expressed by those who embrace Goth demonstrates the frustration of life without meaning. Many people live a shallow, hollow existence.

But, we are not hollow. We have Jesus Christ. He gives us all we need.

“Lord, where can we go? You alone have the Words of Eternal Life.” And we have come to know, to believe, and to experience the Presence of God.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

XX Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 16th, 2009

Proverbs 9, 1-6; Psalm 34; Ephesians 5, 15-20; St. John 6, 51-58

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy

Alexander, Caesar, and Napoleon established mighty empires by force.

Jesus began His Empire with love and service, with Last Supper and the gift of His Body and Blood. Theirs have disappeared. His remains.

Each week millions assemble to salute Him in the Eucharist. He spoke that last night to a small band of illiterate men as though the memorial ceremony would continue down through the centuries. History has proved Him correct.

This week we come to the climax of John 6. John 6 is about sustenance. It is about eating. It is about nourishment. It is about the Eucharist. "Who eats my flesh and drink my blood will have the eternal life."

It is not about eating like we normally eat. Normally, when we eat, we assimilate the food.

But that is not what happens when we receive the Eucharist. When we receive the Eucharist, we don’t assimilate the food, the Food assimilates us. When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus transforms us. Instead of the food taking on our life, we take on the life of the Lord. We just heard: “Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.”

Jesus didn't say: "Who eats the symbol of my flesh, or who drinks the sign of my blood" ..

The attraction of the Eucharist is dynamic. Jesus is dynamic. When we receive communion or when we come to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, we don’t just kneel before a static object. It is not a crucifix or a statue that reminds us of something. This is Jesus. The One Who Is. When we receive communion or come to adoration, we come before the dynamic, powerful Presence who speaks to us through the life He has given us. Eucharist is the same body, and the same blood given for the life of the world on the cross.

When Jesus gave us his Body and Blood the night before He died and when He gives us his Body and Blood every time we receive communion, the Lord gives us the total sacrifice of Himself to his Father. “This is my Body which shall be given up for you. This is the cup of my Blood, the new and everlasting covenant that shall be shed for you and for all until the end of time.” When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus is present as the Servant of God who in his sacrificial death is saving us all. Right here, right now. Today’s Gospel states: ‘The one who feds on my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal.” In the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist we receive Jesus saving his people.

If would like to simplify, to make this mystery more comprehensible, more logical and intelligible, if we refuse the real presence of the Body and Blood in the Blessed Sacrament, we finally refuse to recognise the reality of His passion and death. In today's Gospel Jesus identifies, means make the sign of equality between the bread of life and His Body. We cannot deny it, we cannot neglect this reality of the authentic presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

"The Bread that I will give you for the life of the world IS MY FLESH".

When we receive communion, we receive Jesus saving us now. We receive Christ strengthening us and transforming our joys and sorrows into prayers to his Father. Our union with Christ in the Eucharist is union with Christ in passion, death and resurrection. Sometimes we are full of the joy of the Resurrection, sometimes the sorrow of the Passion, but always we are strengthened by the one who gives us his body and blood. The Lord is always in action. His Presence is dynamic.

The Eucharist is "the source, the center and the summit of the Christian life. (CCC, 1324)

Is it really? Is it the Eucharist really a center of my life?

It is interesting how much time and effort we spend to maintain our physical body in good condition. How many hours we spend in gyms, on the health paths, at the doctor, in the solariums, on walking, jogging, exercising, choosing the healthy food, and so on, and so on, …………… and at the same time very often we don't have time or interest to come for Sunday for Mass, we don't have time to come for one hour or even few minutes of Adoration, we don't have time for prayers, we are to tired for worshipping the Giver of Life.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Cardinal Marc Ouellet Calls Out Brother Bishops for Lack of Support for Pope

By John-Henry Westen

PHOENIX, August 5, 2009 ( - In a short but stunning talk before some 90 Bishops, eight Cardinals and 1000 Knights, the Primate of Canada, Quebec City Archbishop Marc Cardinal Ouellet, addressed the subject of unity at the 127th annual Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus last night. Ouellet spoke of the "hard winter" Pope Benedict XVI had to "suffer" this past year as he was "harshly criticized both within and outside the Church and was not adequately defended by those who share his ministry."

The two biggest controversies that sparked criticism of the Pope in recent months from the liberal, mainstream media, and even from some in the Church hierarchy, were the lifting of the excommunications of the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, and the Pope's remarks against the use of condoms. Although Cardinal Ouellet mentioned by name only the Pope's "effort to bring back the Schismatic group of the Lefebvrists to full communion," he noted the Pope was criticized "for this and various other reasons."

Only one other controversy - that of the condom comments - caused an international outcry against the Pope, even from some within the Church. AIDS "is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems," the pontiff said to reporters aboard the papal plane on March 17 this year.

The comments were followed by heavy criticism from world leaders, including Catholic leaders, and even veiled criticism from bishops in Portugal, Germany, and Canada. Two cardinals, one retired and one active, were among those who were unsupportive.

While there were various cardinals and bishops that defended the Holy Father on the matter, the defense of the Pope was far from widespread.

"At every level of leadership in the Church, unity with Peter and solidarity with him has not been a great achievement in this past year," said Ouellet in his address.

In a rousing call for unity with the Pope and also an affirmation of his teaching authority, Cardinal Ouellet said: "It is fully time to take action and stand with our Holy Father who is himself so admirably peaceful and coherent in fulfilling all his duties. We are greatly blessed by the quality of his teaching."

The Quebec Cardinal congratulated the Knights on their theme for the convention: "We stand with Peter in Solidarity with Our Bishops and Priests."

"Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us all to give stronger witness to our loving loyalty to the Church and its Chief Shepherd, successor of Peter," he said. "Unity in the Church is the key to the realization of its mission."

The Primate of Canada pointed to dire hardships in the Church as the fruit of disunity with the Pope. "When there is a lack of unity within the Church we quickly see a decline in vocations and in Church attendance and disintegration of family life," he said.

Concluding, Cardinal Ouellet said: "Let us stand with Peter's successor, our Pope, at this challenging time courageously taking up our Christian duty of building unity and solidarity everywhere."

To watch the Cardinal's full address begin at 24 minutes in this video (place mouse in bottom of video window and video controls will show):

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Summary of Bill C-384

(Click here for Complete Analysis)

• Bill C-384 would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.
(For the purpose of the analysis, euthanasia and assisted suicide will be referred to as "intended death".)

• Bill C-384 does not restrict intended death to Canadian citizens. (The bill could make Canada a destination for Suicide Tourists and Suicide Clinics).

• The individual would need to be at least 18 years old.

• Bill C-384 does not limit intended death to the terminally ill and it does not define terminal illness.

• The individual may refuse appropriate treatments and still die by an intended death.

• Bill C-384 allows intended death for people who experience depression or other chronic mental conditions.

• Bill C-384 measures competency based on "appearing to be lucid". The term "appearing to be lucid" does not assure that the individual is actually lucid.

• Bill C-384 would allow intended death for incompetent people who stated their intentions while still competent.

• The language of the bill is not clear whether medical practitioners are the only individuals who can intend the death of an incompetent individual.

• Bill C-384 would require at least two medical practitioners to confirm the diagnosis in writing.

• Bill C-384 would require that all requests for intended death be made free of duress. ( However, no assurances are built into the bill)

• Bill C-384 would require the medical practitioner to inform the individual of all alternatives. (There is no requirement to try effective treatments).

• Bill C-384 would require the medical practitioner to provide confirmation of the diagnosis to the coroner. This is a form of after-the-fact reporting. The medical practitioner is only required to file a report after the individual has died. This is to protect the medical practitioner and not the individual who is dead.

• The definition of medical practitioner is not limited to a physician.

Complete Analysis of Bill C-384

An act to amend the Criminal Code (right to die with dignity)

On May 13, 2009 Francine Lalonde MP (BQ - La Pointe-de-l’Île) introduced Bill C-384: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (right to die with dignity).

Previously, Lalonde introduced Bill C-562 (June 2008) and Bill C-407 (June 2005). Bill C-384 is identical to Bill C-562 while Bill C-407 was very similar.

Lalonde’s husband Guy Lemarche is the communications director of the euthanasia lobby group - l’Association québécoise pour le droit de mourir dans la dignité (AQDMD).

Bill C-384 would amend subsections 222(7) and subsection 241(2) of the Criminal Code.

Euthanasia is a deliberate act undertaken by one individual with the intention of ending the life of another individual to relieve that person’s suffering, where the act is the cause of death. (Of Life and Death - 1995)

Bill C-384 legalizes euthanasia by amending subsection 222(7) of the Criminal Code. Section 222 is the homicide provision within the criminal code.

Assisted suicide is the act of intentionally killing oneself with the assistance of another who provides the knowledge, means or both. (Of Life and Death - 1995)

Bill C-384 legalizes assisted suicide by amending subsection 241(2) of the criminal code. Section 241 is the assisted suicide provision within the criminal code.

Bill C-384 amends the Criminal Code by adding to subsections 222(7) and 241(2) exceptions whereby the law is circumvented.

Bill C-384 states that the person must be at least eighteen years old. It may be unconstitutional because it limits what is determined by the bill to be appropriate medical treatment only based on the age of the individual. Since the constitution recognizes that everyone is equal under the law, it may be unconstitutional to limit the rights of individuals, based on age, without good reason.

Bill C-384 states that the individual is eligible: "after trying or expressly refusing the appropriate treatments available that they continue to experience severe physical or mental pain without any prospect of relief."

The bill states that an individual is eligible for intended death if they experience severe physical pain without any prospect of relief.

Physical pain can always be mitigated. Modern palliative care has substantially improved over the past 30 years. Medicine has not solved every concern with pain and symptom management, but the concept of experiencing physical pain without any prospect of relief is a sign of a patient who has not been appropriately cared for and not a justifiable reason for intended death.

Bill C-384 directly threatens the lives of people with disabilities and/or people with chronic conditions. People with disabilities and chronic conditions are often perceived as being without any prospect of relief. These same people will usually view their life experience differently from those who are making judgements on their quality of life.

The Bill states that an individual is eligible for intended death if they experience severe mental pain without any prospect of relief.

Chronic depression and mental pain are always treatable. One must question the concept of intending the death of an individual who experiences chronic depression or mental pain because you can never be sure that the individual is competent to consent. The bill states that you must only "appear to be lucid."

Bill C-384 does not require that medical practitioners refer individuals with mental pain to a specialist.

Since an individual is eligible if they have refused appropriate treatments that are available, how can a medical practitioner determine that the mental pain has no prospect of relief if the individual can refuse appropriate treatments?

The bill states that the individual is eligible for intended death if they suffer from a terminal illness.

Bill C-384 does not define terminal illness.

Many people live with a terminal illness but are not actively dying. Bill C-384 qualifies an individual for an intended death when they are diagnosed.

Bill C-384 states that the individual is eligible for intended death if: "the person has provided a medical practitioner, while appearing to be lucid, with two written requests more than 10 days apart expressly stating the person’s free and informed consent to opt to die."

The assumption that someone is competent when they "appear to be lucid" is questionable. To appear to be lucid cannot be considered an appropriate measure for competency. In other words, Bill C-384 would allow an intended death upon someone who may not actually be competent.

Making two written requests more than 10 days apart is designed to prove the lasting intent of the individual. It is an illusion because the individual who makes the request only needs to "appear to be lucid".

Bill C-384 states that if: "the person has designated in writing with free and informed consent, before two witnesses with no personal interest in the death of the person, another person to act on his or her behalf with any medical practitioner when the person does not appear to be lucid."

This means that an individual can have an intended death if they have made the request in a valid advanced directive.

It is unclear whether the individual who does the act of intended death of the incompetent individual must be a medical practitioner. Because the bill states that another person can act on his or her behalf with any medical practitioner, it is unclear whether or not the act referred to is the intended death or consenting to the intended death.

Bill C-384 requires that written confirmation of the diagnosis has been received from at least two medical practitioners. In the state of Oregon, people who are denied assisted suicide from their physician will seek intended death through Compassion & Choices. In 2008, 53 of the 60 assisted suicide deaths in Oregon were facilitated by the lobby group Compassion & Choices.

Bill C-384 requires "the medical practitioner to assure that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the written requests for euthanasia and assisted suicide were made under duress or while a person was not lucid."

This is designed to guarantee the that individual is mentally competent. It is an illusion because the individual making the request only needs to "appear to be lucid."

Bill C-384 requires that "the medical practitioner has informed the person of the consequences of the request for euthanasia or assisted suicide and of the alternatives that are available to the person."

This is designed to guarantee that the individual is aware of the available options. It is an illusion because the individual is not required to try effective treatments and there is no requirement to refer the individual to a palliative care specialist.

Bill C-384 requires "the medical practitioner to act in the manner indicated by the person and that the person may revoke their request at any time."

This simply means that a individual may change their mind at any time. It is an illusion because the bill allows for an intended death after the individual is deemed incompetent, as long as the individual had requested an intended death while being competent.

Bill C-384 requires "the medial practitioner to provide the coroner with a copy of the written confirmations of the diagnosis that were received from at least two medical practitioners."

This is a common "after-the-fact" reporting system that exists in other jurisdictions where intended death has been legalized. After-the-fact reporting is a safeguard for the medical practitioner and not the individual who has already died.

Bill C-384 defines medical practitioner as a duly qualified person by provincial law to practice medicine. The definition of medical practitioner is not limited to a physician.

Final comments

Society cannot legislate autonomy and choice in relation to acts that intentionally and directly cause death. No statutes that allow for intended can protect vulnerable people from the subtle pressure to "choose" death.

Legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide is always wrong because:

It directly and intentionally threatens the lives of the most vulnerable members of society. The lives of people with disabilities and chronic conditions, people who live with depression and mental illness, and others are directly threatened by intended death.

It establishes intended death as a treatment option for problems that are properly solved by effective and compassionate medical care.

It changes the trust relationship between the medical practitioner and the patient.

Canadians must tell their member of parliament to vote against Bill C-384.