Hands of health care worker and patient

Speakers Bureau (Fr. Alfred Delp Society)

February 2017

A speakers bureau (Fr. Alfred Delp Society) has been established to provide talks on the topic of euthanasia/assisted suicide. Fr. Delp was executed in February 1945 by the Nazis for his anti-regime activities and his stance against euthanasia. Here is what he wrote in his diary: “A community that gets rid of someone—a community that is allowed to, and can, and wants to get rid of someone when he no longer is able to run around as the same attractive or useful member—has thoroughly misunderstood itself. Even if all of a person's organs have given out, and he no longer can speak for himself, he nevertheless remains a human being. Moreover, to those who live around him, he remains an ongoing appeal to their inner nobility, to their inner capacity to love, and to their sacrificial strength. Take away people's capacity to care for their sick and to heal them, and you make the human being into a predator, an egotistical predator that really only thinks of his own nice existence.”

Euthanasia became legal in Canada in June 2016. As of December 16, 2016, 744 Canadians have died as a result of euthanasia. At this pace we will soon see thousands die each year. The so-called safe bill passed in Parliament is not safe at all. The language is open to interpretation and a federal committee will soon study expanding euthanasia to “mature minors” and those suffering from mental illness. 

Our group is encouraging parishes to create committees to make sure that those who are sick, especially those who are alone, get home visits to make sure they have what they need and simply for the sake of companionship. We believe the combination of loneliness and pain could make euthanasia seem a good option for many who fall into despair. We encourage those attending our talks to lobby various levels of government to protect conscience rights of doctors and nurses and to keep lobbying for more palliative care, which is sorely lacking in our country. And to urge their priests to talk about this in their sermons. We believe education can save lives.

In order to make sure that good people aren’t trapped into thinking euthanasia is the only way to die with dignity, a speakers bureau has been formed to spread a message of hope and love as wide as possible. The group includes Moira McQueen, Director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute along with her colleague Bambi Rutledge; Dr. Josie Lombardi and Dr. Patricia Murphy, both professors of theology at St. Augustine's Seminary; Ephraim Radner, a professor at Wycliffe College, an Anglican Seminary at the University of Toronto; Dr. Christian Elia of the Catholic Civil Rights League and Registered Nurses, Shirley Christo and Helen McGee. 

Charlie Lewis, who will coordinate the group's activities, is a former newspaper journalist who was the religion reporter at the National Post. He now writes twice a month for the Catholic Register and serves on the board of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. If you need a speaker in the greater Toronto area (at no charge) please contact him at charleslewis@rogers.com