Brett Salkeld

Brett Salkeld

May 4, 2015

REGINA – Assisted suicide as an end-of-life option may end the suffering of an individual but that choice has social and ethical consequences for society, says a local theologian.

Dr. Brett Salkeld, Regina archdiocesan theologian, said, "First, it is our duty to limit suffering as much as possible, and second, eliminating suffering is impossible.

"If our legitimate zeal to limit suffering fails to recognize suffering cannot be limited, we will cause a great deal more suffering."

In a talk at the University of Regina, Salkeld quoted French literary critic and anthropologist Rene Girard who said that euthanasia will make death even more painful.

"It will make death even more subjectively intolerable, for people will feel responsible for their own deaths and morally obligated to rid their relatives of their unwanted presence."

Once someone can choose to die, there is no avoiding the question of whether they should choose to die, he said.

"Consider the fights even relatively stable families have over inheritances. If we imagine those considerations will play no role in the pressure exerted on certain inconvenient people, we are naïve."

Using his grandparents living in a care home as examples, Salkeld spoke of how they are cared for and are not faced with having to decide whether to end their lives.

"They are free to live without counting the cost that their existence puts on their families and the health care system. The so-called 'choice' to die would take away that freedom."

great deal more suffering."