The Vatican has used its strongest language to oppose euthanasia, calling it an “act of homicide” which can never be justified or tolerated and “inherently evil”.
As more countries consider legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide, a document released today said lawmakers and politicians who support such laws are “accomplices.”
The Vatican has told priests they should provide spiritual support to those who have expressed a desire to end their days through assisted suicide or euthanasia.
But the document stated that the priests could not be present at the time of the euthanasia because “it could be interpreted as an approval of this action”.
The 20-page document, titled The Good Samaritan, was written by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the doctrinal office of the Vatican.
The Vatican has used its strongest language to oppose euthanasia, calling it an “act of homicide” that can never be justified or tolerated. Pictured: Pope Francis delivers his blessing while reciting the Angelus Midday Prayer from his studio window overlooking St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican on Sunday
It included earlier statements from the Roman Catholic Church on end-of-life issues, but used harsher language.
The document reads: “Euthanasia is therefore an inherently bad act, in every situation or circumstance.
“Euthanasia is an act of homicide that no end can justify and which does not tolerate any form of complicity or active or passive collaboration. “
The document takes into account medical advances, the advent of “do not resuscitate” orders and legal approval of assisted suicide, as well as new perspectives from the Vatican on palliative care, including for children.
One section singled out lawmakers, saying that if they approve laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide, they become “complicit in a serious sin that others will perform.”
Pope Francis (pictured Sunday) previously urged medics to ‘reject the temptation’ to facilitate euthanasia and assisted suicide
Euthanasia involves a physician who takes an active role in the end of a patient’s life, while in assisted suicide, the physician supplies the patient with a lethal substance to self-administer.
Both are legal to varying degrees in around 10 countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and nine US states, as well as Washington DC.
In February, Portuguese lawmakers approved bills that would decriminalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. They have not yet become law.
Spain, another traditional Catholic country, is considering legalizing euthanasia, while New Zealand is due to hold a referendum on the two in October.
Leading figures in the Catholic Church have consistently spoken out against assisted suicide, which is viewed as a violation of divine law.
While still a cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI wrote in 2004: “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinions even among Catholics on war and the application of the death penalty, but not for it. abortion and euthanasia.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis, who succeeded Pope Benedict XVI in 2013, previously asked doctors to “reject the temptation” to facilitate euthanasia and assisted suicide.
He described euthanasia and abortion as evidence of today’s “throwaway culture” in which the sick, the elderly and the disabled are seen as unworthy of living.
The document called legitimizing euthanasia or assisted suicide “a sign of degradation of legal systems”.
In a section addressed to Catholic health workers, the document said that their cooperation “must be excluded” because “we must obey God rather than men.”
The 20-page document, titled The Good Samaritan, was written by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the doctrinal office of the Vatican. Pictured: Rome’s skyline is seen from Saint Damaso’s Balcony in the Vatican on Wednesday September 16
Governments “must recognize the right to conscientious objection” of healthcare workers, he said.
The Vatican has supported the use of hospice and palliative care centers, including deep sedation to reduce pain.
But he said such drugs should never be used with the intention of precipitating death.
And he called for the expansion of “prenatal palliative care centers” to provide medical, psychological and spiritual care to parents and children with “life-incompatible” prenatal conditions.
Rather than resorting to abortion, the Vatican said, providing this assistance “helps parents deal with their grief and see this experience not only as a loss, but as a moment in the journey of love they have been on. with their child ”.