On the 27th of March, George (95) and Shirley Brickenden (94) died together in Toronto, Canada. What made this different is that it was a Doctor Assisted Death. Present with their family, this couple, married nearly 73 years, by their own choice received a lethal injection.
As disturbing as this is, what further upset me was the presence of The Very Reverend Andrew Asbil, Dean of St. James Cathedral, Toronto. He offered prayers as the Doctor Assisted Death was completed.
I don’t understand the Dean’s actions nor agree with them. As a Priest, I believe in the importance of life, but also of transitioning to the afterlife in an honoring and meaningful way. Doctor Assisted Death ends life prematurely.
For the Dean to be present and offer prayers contributes to normalizing this morally questionable act, but also abuses the authority of the Anglican church he is licensed to.
The Jesuit Priest, Alfred Delp says it well when he stated in 1945,
“A community that gets rid of someone—a community that is allowed to, and can, and wants to get rid of someone when he no longer is able to run around as the same attractive or useful member—has thoroughly misunderstood itself. Even if all of a person’s organs have given out, and he no longer can speak for himself, he nevertheless remains a human being. Moreover, to those who live around him, he remains an ongoing appeal to their inner nobility, to their inner capacity to love, and to their sacrificial strength. Take away people’s capacity to care for their sick and to heal them, and you make the human being into a predator, an egotistical predator that really only thinks of his own nice existence.”