This year has not been a great one for those who respect the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.
In February of this year, the Supreme Court of Canada went against the expressed will of our Parliament and abolished a portion of our Criminal Code that prohibits euthanasia and assisted suicide. In other words, they declared a new constitutional “right” to suicide. The Court gave the federal government a one-year period to draft legislation to put this so-called “right” into the law books. Instead of invoking the Notwithstanding Clause that would have extended this timeline to five years, the federal government recently requested that the Supreme Court give an additional six months instead. Despite this, the government is unlikely to do anything more than hedge the right to euthanasia and assisted suicide about with some so-called “protections against abuse.” The example of countries like Belgium and Holland, and of states like Oregon, where euthanasia is already officially sanctioned, shows how weak these restrictions are likely to be. Already the government of Quebec, who legalized euthanasia in June 2014, calling it “a medical aid to dying,” have put pressure, through the Quebec College of Physicians, on doctors to falsify death certificates, in cases of euthanasia, to represent the cause of death as an underlying illness or condition, rather than say it for what it is, the deliberate taking of life.
Now, we have just elected as the government of this country, a party whose leader has expressly forbidden its members to vote against any of its pro-abortion and pro-same sex marriage policies. We face a renewed up-hill battle to get the issue of the sanctity of life taken seriously by the government and the country.
Despite these setbacks, I find incredible encouragement and hope from our Christmas story. This coming Sunday we will hear how John the Baptist, in the womb of his mother Elizabeth, leaps with joy at the presence of his Savior, Jesus, in the womb of Mary. In other words, here we have Scriptural proof that a child in its mother’s womb is sensitive to the presence of God. Already, in Psalm 139, we are told that God sees us when we are being “knit together in our mother’s womb.” There is a dialogue, a co-knowing, between God and the child in the womb. Then we will be told how king Herod, with all the forces of state at his command, seeks to destroy the new-born Christ. But God warns Joseph and they flee from Herod’s soldiers into Egypt, and remain there until the persecutor of this vulnerable new life is dead. We are being told here that God is the defender of all life, especially those who are most vulnerable to attack in our society.
“In the world, you will have tribulation,” says Jesus in John’s gospel, chapter 16, “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Despite all that comes against us, we who seek to protect life in all its forms will have the final victory.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our parishioners!!
- Please note that the next ‘Fr Bob Writes’ will be on Sunday January 10th.