Cardinal Thomas Collins

PHOTO | CNS

Cardinal Thomas Collins

June 29, 2015
VIRGINIA BATTISTE
SPECIAL TO THE WCR

CALGARY – A battle to protect physicians' conscience rights must be fought to counter the militant secularism shaping today's society, says Cardinal Thomas Collins.

"Don't be misled by government who would allow conscience rights only if you are treating a patient of your own belief. That is not right," Collins told Christian physicians meeting here June 13.

"For the Christian physician, serving the sick means treating everyone and doing so in good conscience. It is done in imitation of the sacrificial love of Christ.

"This idea is increasingly alien in our society. A shallow world view would think people are disposable in this throwaway culture, especially when they are no longer useful to the society."

Collins, the archbishop of Toronto, spoke to more than 250 delegates from across Canada attending the first joint conference of the Christian Medical and Dental Society and the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies.

In striking down the law prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide, the Supreme Court got it wrong, Collins said.

"The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously got it wrong. You cannot condone their decision. You do not take human life, because it is not ours to take."

A CHILD OF GOD

Collins maintained the court failed to recognize the dignity of the person as a child of God. "We need to be careful to not get caught up in the world that rejects the dignity of the person as a child of God.

"Those who suffer are still gifts of God. They are not broken machines to be fixed, or discarded if they cannot be fixed. Bodies are not to be treated casually because our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. We are persons who are to be loved and to love."

Judgment of moral issues must be illuminated by both faith and reason, he said. "We go inward through deep prayer and reflection, through which we form our conscience.

"Conscience is the faculty for moral judgment. It distinguishes right from wrong, causes us to act rightly. Go deep in prayer and thought, into your deepest ponderings. Let that be your guide, the stars to steer by."

Once conscience takes a stand, that stand must be communicated to secular society, he said. "There can be people of good will who are misguided. Be kind and helpful, to assist them in thinking things through."

In the journey of life, he said, we move forward, but increasingly physicians will find themselves hemmed in by laws and policies that exclude compassion from medicine.