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Opponents of an assisted suicide bill rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, last June. The bill was later passed (CNS)

The letter offers a ‘pastoral reflection’ on the challenges the assisted dying law poses to the Canadian Church

A house near Zurich, Switzerland, where Dignitas operates (AP Photo/Keystone, Steffen Schmidt)

The number of euthanasia deaths in Switzerland rose by a third last year

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York (AP)

The Archbishop of New York says seriously ill people require doctors who are ‘fully commited’ to their welfare

A supermoon over the Statue of Liberty, 2013 (AP)

National and state-level votes suggest the hierarchy may be losing touch with its people

There were 262 reported euthanasia deaths in the first 7 months since Quebec legalised euthanasia (Flickr/ Alberto Biscalchin)

Anti-euthanasia campaigners believe assisted suicide is likely being underreported

Denver, Colorado (AP)

Colorado will allow doctors to prescribe lethal substances to the terminally ill

Dignitas in Switzerland run by Ludwig Minelli (AP Photo/Keystone, Steffen Schmidt)

A Christian nursing home in Switzerland must allow assisted suicide or lose its charitable status

Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec (CNS)

Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec said he would not follow in the steps of other Canadian bishops

'Modern medical advances have made pain unendurable and assisted suicide a human right' (PA)

In modern society, fear of God has been replaced by fear of death

Priest administers the sacrament of the sick to a man with HIV  (CNS/Barbara Fraser)

Bishops have issued pastoral guidelines for clergy dealing with Catholics who are considering euthanasia or assisted suicide