Bishop Hamilton also wrote against assisted suicide in the Canadian bishops' Lenten message to laity. In the Feb. 8 message he urged Catholics to be in communion with the Pope and the bishops and oppose assisted suicide.
The Catholic bishops of Alberta reflected on assisted suicide in a Feb. 11 message for the Catholic Church's World Day of the Sick.
"The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada makes legally permissible in some circumstances what is morally wrong in every circumstance: the taking of innocent human life. This is unacceptable in a truly just and ethical society," they wrote.
They said "no Catholic may advocate for, or participate in any way, whether by act or omission, in the intentional killing of another human being either by assisted suicide or euthanasia."
"When any life can be taken at will, the dignity of all lives is seriously eroded and respect for human life in our society as a whole is diminished."
They warned that the law will place some people at serious risk, including the disabled and the mentally ill. Purported safeguards are not effective, they said.
The Alberta bishops warned that some jurisdictions in Canada undermine the conscience rights of doctors and other healthcare workers opposed to suicide. To force a physician to assist in a suicide or euthanasia would "fundamentally redefine what it means to be a doctor," they said. "Killing is not medicine."
In October 2015, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada issued a joint declaration against euthanasia and assisted suicide. They were joined more than 30 other Christian denominations as well as 20 Jewish and Muslim leaders.
Photo credit: kiri11 via www.shutterstock.com