The Bishops of the Atlantic region of Canada, the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly (Archdioceses and Dioceses of Antigonish, Bathurst, Charlottetown, Corner Brook and Labrador, Edmundston, Grand Falls, Halifax, Moncton, Saint John (NB), St. John’s and Yarmouth) issued a pastoral letter in November 2016 in which they veered towards sacramentalizing euthanasia… in the sense of giving a quasi-blessing to euthanasia by giving the Last Sacraments to those who intend to commit that form of suicide.
Get it? Suicide is a sin. If a person intends to commit a sin, she can’t receive the sacraments, even the sacrament of penance. Period.
Hence, as I wrote in a previous post on this,
“It is inconceivable to me that such a letter would have gotten past the rest of the Canadian Conference, or the Nuncio, or the CDF, or for that matter the guy who runs the gas station at the corner of Faith St. and Charity and who goes to Mass on Sundays. What were they thinking?”
However, please note that the bishops in Western Canada had already issued in September 2016 a pastoral letter in which they took a position that is clearly in keeping with the Church’s teaching on euthanasia.
So, it’s East v West. Did the Eastern Bishops purposely give their Western brethren the bird? How else to explain this? And this is one reason why I find the Easter Letter so confusing?
Given this confusion we have to ask hard questions.
Think about the (really bad) proposal of devolving the oversight of doctrine to conferences of bishops. We have already seen the circus that has resulted between the bishops of Germany and the bishops of Poland taking contrary positions about the objectively confusing notions in Amoris laetitia. Now we have two groups of bishops within the same conference taking opposite positions. What’s next? Bishops deciding what is sound doctrine within their own dioceses on their own authority without regard to their own conference? Isn’t that is where we started? And then what? How about the bishop deciding that the people in, say, Broward County can believe one thing and the people in Indian River County another? How about the parish of St. Ipsidipsy one thing and the “Engendering Togetherness Community of Welcome” another?
Hmmm… that already sounds familiar.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Canadian bishops had their ad limina visit in Rome. While they were there, they did a video with the clear cooperation of CNS, in which they doubled down on their position.