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Vatican official urges Canadians to work to reverse euthanasia decisions


  • A woman holds up a sign during a rally against assisted suicide in 2016 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. In a Toronto speech, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has urged Canadians to work to reverse euthanasia rulings. (CNS photo/Art Babych)
  • Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gestures in a 2013 photo at the Vatican. In a May 15 speech in Toronto, the cardinal urged Canadians to work to reverse euthanasia rulings. (CNS photo/Ettore Ferrari, EPA)

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TORONTO (CNS) -- The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled, Parliament has legislated and provinces have set up new systems. For most Canadians, the assisted suicide debate is last year's news story. But Cardinal Gerhard Muller, head of the Catholic Church's theological watchdog-agency, begs to differ.

"We shall prevail," Cardinal Muller told an audience of bioethicists, theologians, doctors and nurses at Toronto's St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica May 15.

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith called Canada's turn to legalized euthanasia "tragic."

"Euthanasia not only constitutes a grave wrong in itself, but its legalization creates toxic and deadly social pathologies that disproportionately afflict the weakest members of society," Cardinal Muller said.

The cardinal was in Toronto to deliver the keynote address at a Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute conference dedicated to the conscience rights of health care professionals. He urged members of the institute "to persuade Canadian citizens to take the necessary steps to reverse the dangerous legal error of your Supreme Court and Parliament and, in the meantime, to protect the rights of conscience of health care providers who refuse to take the lives of those that they have sworn to treat and comfort."

Basilian Father Leo Walsh, who heads the institute's branch at Assumption University in Windsor, Ontario, called the cardinal's address "dramatically important."

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