Quebec bishops say they won't refuse funerals in assisted-death cases
'We will support people in all situations,' says vicar general of archdiocese of Quebec
Bishops in Quebec will not be following in the steps of their counterparts in Alberta and the Northwest Territories, where guidelines were introduced Thursday that say priests should refuse funerals in assisted-death cases.
In its most recent directives, the Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories categorized physician-assisted dying as a "grave sin" that contradicts the values of the church.
- Alberta, N.W.T. bishops issue guidelines that refuse funerals in assisted-death cases
- More than 100 Canadians have opted for assisted death since law passed
The announcement came during the annual plenary assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in Cornwall, Ont., and bishops across Canada are divided over the issue.
Most Quebec bishops said they would not refuse to perform religious funeral services despite the position of the Catholic Church that prohibits medically assisted dying.
"We favour accompanying people nearing the end of life and we prefer palliative care, but we will support people in all situations," Marc Pelchat, the vicar general of archdiocese of Quebec, told Radio-Canada.
Quebec Archbishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix also confirmed through a statement that he will not issue similar guidelines to push priests to turn down funerals for those who choose to die with medical help.
The same sentiment was echoed by Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine, who said he has a different way of tackling assisted-death cases than the criteria laid out by the Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
Lépine said he wanted to "support people" when it came to their personal choices "while still recognizing the value of life."
But others, like Noël Simard, the archbishop of Valleyfield, were more nuanced, saying priests must try to understand the motivation behind the patient's choice.
"Respecting someone's choice must also be in accordance with the Church's teachings," he said.
With files from Radio-Canada and La Presse Canadienne