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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Canadian bishops to hear Dutch cardinal speak on euthanasia

When Canadian bishops meet in late September, they will discuss the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

Deacon Rene Laprise, communications director for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the bishops will hear about euthanasia in Netherlands from Utrecht Cardinal Willem Eijk, a moral theologian, ethicist and physician. The cardinal will address the bishops on 26th September, the opening day of the five-day meeting in Cornwall, Ontario.

The bishops will also discuss the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action that specifically targeted churches and faith-based organisations, reported Canadian Catholic News. The bishops will look at the commitments made by Catholic parties to show how they plan to bring their policies in line with the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and on the repudiation of the so-called ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ and ‘terra nullius’, which gave explorers the right to seize lands they said were empty, but belonged to native peoples. The calls to action also asked that Pope Francis visit Canada to apologise for Indian residential schools.

When Catholic entities and bishops responded to the calls to action last March, they pointed out Catholic policies are already in line with the UN declaration regarding indigenous peoples’ rights to self-determination, self-government, their own institutions, and their rights to their cultural traditions and customs, including spiritual beliefs.

At the plenary, the bishops will also hear an update on the transition of six former missionary dioceses under the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples to the common jurisdiction of the Catholic Church. These dioceses with large territories, which serve many indigenous communities, will now rely more heavily on other Canadians dioceses to support their parishes and missions. The bishops’ plenary will hear about the continuing outreach and reconciliation work being done with Canada’s native peoples.

The meeting’s workshops will include discussion of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation; Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical, Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home; and a reflection on Pope Francis’ postsynodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.

Picture: Pro-life supporters rally during the annual National March for Life on Parliament Hill on 12th May 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario. (CNS photo/Art Babych).