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Justin Trudeau Seeks to Legalize Euthanasia in Canada

For several European countries—the Netherlands and Belgium especially—legalized euthanasia has increased, and by now, many of us are realizing that the same pattern may be in the cards for the United States and for Canada. As reported yesterday by the New York Times, Canada seems to have gone further down this road, and Canadian bishops and hospitals are very concerned about what this means for religious freedom.

Ten years ago, John Allen wrote an article about 10 Megatrends the Church is facing, and one trend he references is the Biotech Revolution. He writes:

As science expands its capacity to preserve life, where does the distinction lie between “ordinary” and “extraordinary” measures, between a necessary defense of the right to life and a needless prolongation of suffering?… All these questions, and scores more, bedevil moral theologians, lay activists, pastors and bishops, pulling Catholic debate into uncharted waters.

John Allen has certainly hit the nail on the head. The Church, as Servant (under the late Cardinal Avery Dulles’ book, Models of the Church, we are using for these commentaries), must engage the hardest questions of the modern world, and how she does this in the medical world is a trend for us to watch closely. This issue of euthanasia will have some impact on the religious freedom of Catholics in some countries, and the Church, as Disciple (another Models of the Church reference), will find herself proclaiming an increasingly countercultural vision of human life. We Catholics are called to be bold followers of Christ and servants of our fellow humans, and how we do that in this medical arena will carry no small consequence.