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October 20, 2014

The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) launched its national palliative care campaign Oct. 3 with the support of Canada's Catholic bishops.

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) president Archbishop Paul-André Durocher of Gatineau said the bishops were happy to support COLF's national campaign in favour of palliative and home care, and against euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The theme is Life-Giving Love.

The campaign includes a website in French and English that includes a downloadable brochure and links to various resources.

"Our modern world is so focused on wellbeing, on personal flourishing, that we no longer know what to do with suffering, sickness, disease, old age and death," Durocher says on the website's introductory page, which also includes a video.

Societal changes that include a tendency to "hide from suffering and hide from death itself" have increased the call to "legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide," the archbishop said.

"Until recently our legislators, who were formed in the Judeo-Christian tradition, resisted this call," he said.

"But the recent adoption of Bill 52 on end-of-life care in Quebec created an important breach in this resistance, a breach that could engulf the rest of Canada in a kind of tidal wave if it is not resisted."


The law, using the euphemism "medical aid in dying" represents a "crucial moment for all of Canada, a kairos, a time of decision, a time of choice, where our future is at play," the CCCB president said.

The campaign's goals include informing Christians about euthanasia, assisted suicide and palliative care, introducing them to the Catholic Church's teachings on these matters and preparing lay people to take political action to create "a legislative environment more hospitable to life."

Among the action items suggested in the campaign: gaining a better understanding of the issues, visiting vulnerable people who may be "lonely, depressed, elderly, ill, dying," and financially supporting groups promoting palliative care or opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide.


Other suggestions include contacting one's federal and provincial political representatives, signing petitions, and writing letters to the editor or phoning call-in programs on the radio or television.

The website offers a downloadable resource on Church teaching regarding euthanasia, suicide and the Christian meaning of suffering.

The document has links to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other sources as well as to suggested prayers and homily hints.