Report: Bishops in Canada Say Those Planning Assisted Suicide in an Objective State of Grave sin. Priests Should Deny Catholic Funerals, Last Rites, Absolution in Confession for Those Obstinate

The bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have issued pastoral guidelines for clergy dealing with Catholics who are considering euthanasia or assisted suicide, which is now legal in Canada… The document specifically addresses the sacraments of reconciliation and anointing of the sick.

“In our day a priest may encounter a penitent who has officially requested physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia,” the document says. “The penitent has not yet been killed, nor has he/she committed suicide, but he or she has initiated the process, which is already a grave matter.


On the one hand, I applaud courageous shepherds. On the other hand, isn’t merely raising an eyebrow considered hate-speech in Canada now?


Yes it is. @ez3714


There is likely to be considerable blow back for this.

God bless these bishops!


Pray for the Bishops!


Deny absolution?!

So called “assisted suicide” denies the power, the purpose, even the blessing of suffering. It allows the Christian to avoid the cross.


Even questioning this abomination is hate speech in Canada? If so that’s scary. All the more to pray for these brave bishops.

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Yes. If a person is still totally intending to go through with assisted suicide they are not in contrition. To receive absolution it is necessary to have some intention of not committing the sin again. Saying “please forgive me for this sin I intend and am determined to commit and which I am not sorry about” cannot lead to absolution


The Bishops issued this more than three years ago. The predictions of ‘blow-back’ earlier in the thread appear to have been disproven by the date in the OP.


It will be heeded as well as Catholics who have committed mortal sin through the use of contraceptives, so not sure what good it will ultimately do.

I’d rather Bishops us more energy to convert and save souls than simply throw up their hands and condemn souls.

But converting and saving souls is exactly what is intended here.

If this letter dissuades one person from pursuing this evil course of action, then it has done its job.


But if they are about to die, shouldn’t priest hear whatever they want to confess and leave the question about firm purpose of amendment, genuine contrition, level of culpability, etc up to God? I mean… a person could realize while confessing that their planned deed really is wrong & their heart could change right there in the sacramental encounter with Christ! Why refuse them the chance to confess? Does it give scandal? If not, why hold back? I could see the priest saying that absolution is conditional based on whether they’re truly sorry about their plan to self-euthanize… but the denial outright seems like it could be missing a chance to help some folks repent at the last moment.

how do you absolve someone of an action they haven’t committed yet?

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I mean, you can’t. You can absolve them of everything else, though, and if they try confessing their plans it may cause them to actually repent of them!

Edited to add: also who is to say they are culpable for their choice to choose assorted death? They may feel under societal or familial pressure to “not be a burden” that would reduce culpability. How can the bishops judge an individual soul and refuse them the chance to confess before death?? Sure, the bishops can and should say it’s gravely sinful - all conditions for a mortal sin being met… but to just not hear a person’s confession before they die because “of course they are in unrepentant mortal sin” seems like an unfortunate leap in logic. Let the person confess! What remains on their soul afterwards is between them and God. God will sort it out with them very soon!

Really? Can you list those that have been charged?

I was asking if this was the case. I wasn’t claiming it to be the case.

No one is going to be charged with hate speech for criticizing assisted suicide laws in Canada.

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I think the problem is of public scandal to the faithful caused by assisted suicide. Likely to be local if not regional news.

Because we don’t want them to commit sacrilege, nor delude themselves about the state of their souls. If they wish to be absolved, they must renounce their intent to commit suicide.

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