Canadian Pro-life Defender Mary Wagner sits in the maximum-security prison, Vanier Centre for Women in Milton, Ontario, outside Toronto, Canada. Her crime? Pleading gently with a mother awaiting an abortion to spare the life of her child. Now the gentle Prisoner of Conscience wants us to reflect on the consequences of the new law allowing euthanasia in Canada.
My Dear Christian Sisters and Brothers,
|Mary Wagner's trial is set for March 10, 2016|
If she pleads guilty she will be sentenced to six months
in prison. If not, she will get 9 months.
Toronto Catholic Witness correctly identified this as persecution
because violent offenders and child molesters are
receiving sentences under 30 days.
Photo courtesy of Lifesitenews
I recently had the blessing to speak with a wise Carmelite Mother. While sharing with her my concerns in the wake of the Feb. 6th, 2015 Supreme Court of Canada’s decision, she recalled that Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to exhort the faithful to rejoice in the gift of living in such difficult times, because they give us such an incredible opportunity to bear witness to Christ.
How are we to understand this mission with which Our Lord has entrusted to us? Fr. Ibrahim, who considers his own
Of this point, doctor-abetted suicide has not become institutionalized, as has the brutal killing of countless of our most helpless and littlest brothers and sisters. Our society, generally, still views suicide as something terribly wrong, an act of despair. This could change completely.
Consider a scenario in which you or I come across someone about to jump off a bridge: Who would not want to do everything they could to help that person- (not to end their life!)- to overcome their despair and receive the love and support they need to find their life worth living?
If this scenario illustrates our clear awareness that every life is worth fighting for, what would make us think differently when a suicidal person asks for “help” from a physician? Does our conviction that life is sacred change due to these circumstances? Does our responsibility for our neighbour diminish under the dictates of an abuse of power? Surely, they do not. The Court's attempt to bully Canadians into accepting suicide under certain conditions in no way justifies suicide, or any form of co-operation with its process. Again, as our government tramples on justice, are we not called, in our dialogue and encounters with others to reaffirm that every human life is sacred, not counting the cost to ourselves but trusting in God and listening to him?
Having read “The Proposal” to the Canadian Medical Association (offered by the Christian Medical and Dental Society and with the support of the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians Societies and Canadian Physicians for Life), I fear that these associations, despite their earnest desire to resist doctor-abetted suicide, have succumbed to defeatism. “The Proposal” expresses a willingness to engage in what I understand to be formal co-operation with a patient’s request for abetted suicide:
|Mary writes from prison, the Vanier Centre for Women|
In addition, the language employed feeds into the push to accept doctor-abetted suicide. Language matters. Not only in “The Proposal,” but also in Christian/Catholic media, doctor-abetted suicide has been replaced with such terms as “physician-assisted death,” “assisted death,” and “medical aid in dying.” Such language obscures the truth and will contribute to the acceptance of this evil. As Mother Teresa said, “words that do not bear the Light of Christ only increase the darkness.”
We are Christians. We know that God will not abandon us, even in death. No matter the circumstance, we are called to witness to the risen Lord with our lives. Our Brothers and Sisters are suffering terrible persecution elsewhere in the world, and Fr. Ibrahim says, “We don’t know when it will end… but it doesn’t matter when it ends; the important thing is not knowing how to save ourselves but to witness to Jesus Christ. We also need to think of a political solution - an action plan - but our first duty is to be witnesses of the Christian life, carrying the cross with love, forgiving, and thinking of the salvation of others as well…”
As Christians, however, we have received more than the hope of justice. We have the treasure of a Love unsatisfied with the fulfillment of duty alone. Christ, who laid down his life for us, calls each of us to share in his limitless gratuity: “Love
|Angel of Death passes over the reverant Jewish home on Passover|
where the blood of the sacrificed lamb marks the doorframe
Our suffering brothers and sisters in Syria, led by their shepherd, Fr. Ibrahim, are an incredible witness to a waiting world that love is stronger than death. Here in Canada, as we fight the darkness of death under other forms, let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us entrust ourselves, wholly and humbly, to the Light of Life, who alone can scatter the darkness. Let us pray for each other.
Mary Wagner January 23, 2016
|Mary Wagner in better days in Poland with her signature white roses.|