The Archbishop of Quebec has issued an open letter directed at those who may choose to end their life with medical assistance, stating the Church "firmly opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide."

In a lengthy essay published online, Cardinal Gérald Lacroix said the church "deplores that all the scenarios put forward by the federal government" would eventually allow "a growing number of people to ask to end their life."

The remarks come as the country wrestles with new legislation and guidelines that doctors must follow in providing medical assistance in dying.

Quebec became the first province in Canada to make it legal for terminally ill patients to choose to die with medical help. The law went into effect on Dec.10, 2015. 

At the federal level, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has pushed to get her government's own assisted-dying legislation through Parliament in advance of the Supreme Court deadline of June 6.

In his letter, Lacroix says his own experience in "accompanying people in end of life situations confirms to me that it is dangerous to allow permission to provoke the death of another person, even with his or her consent."

"We have the responsibility, the mission to accompany with gentleness and tenderness the life of our close ones who suffer, and that, without recourse to a law that promotes death. In this context, we are invited to prevent this suicidal mode by choosing to recognize the dignity of life."