Liam Farrer

MAiD and the Image and Likeness of God:

How Catholics’ Responses to Bill C7 Can Orient Them Towards Beatitude

Since the passing of the Senate Amendments to Bill C-7 by the Members of the Canadian House of Commons, discussions have arisen about how this will affect patients, physicians, spiritual caregivers, and especially those with mental illness and/or disabilities. This paper seeks to expand the conversation by proposing that, especially given the two-year window before the finalization of how the law will apply to the mentally ill, Catholics have an ethical responsibility to make known their objections to this Bill during the time frame. Furthermore, I will argue that doing so will advance their ability to live the good life on earth and aid them in the process of attaining deification in the next life.

I will begin by discussing the two critical aspects of the good life that John Paul II draws from Matthew’s Gospel in Veritatis Splendor, keeping God’s commandments to love God and love one’s neighbour as oneself and following Christ. Following this, I will discuss how the connection between love of God and love of neighbour is transformed through one’s incorporation into the body of Christ. Following Aquinas, I will discuss how mystical membership in Christ’s body not only calls the individual to walk the path of beatitude in order to gain their own divinization, it invites us through cooperation with the Spirit’s ultimate gift of charity to use these gifts for the good of the whole body. This, in turn, has a further transforming effect on the individual, whose cooperation with grace orientates them more closely to beatitude, and other members of the body, whom the individual can aid either proximately or remotely through their cooperation with God’s grace. I will then discuss ways in which this could be seen in the field of practical ethics in how ordinary Catholics could respond to Bill C7, namely by calling attention to how neurotypical Catholics may be able to use their gifts to accompany Catholic’s with mental illness in seeking justice, employing the concept of the joint wings of prayer and justice advanced by Bernard in his Lenten Sermons. Finally, I will discuss how the response to C7 must culminate in the Eucharistic banquet which is the mystical body’s ultimate act of communion and solidarity with it’s head and each other and how this communion further commissions us to stand up for the marginalized.