The Bishops’ Conference of Portugal (CEP) has taken a stand against several bills aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia, adopted at first reading by Parliament on February 20, 2020. The Portuguese bishops also supported an initiative to convene a referendum, so as not to let politicians confiscate the debate.
In Portugal, the debate on the end of life is raging: more than five hundred doctors and health professionals have signed a petition asking for its legalization, while a pro-life movement claims to have received more than 4,000 signatures by February 13, 2020 for a petition calling for a referendum against any decriminalization of euthanasia: an initiative supported by the episcopate.
The Portuguese bishops have reason to be worried: the left-wing coalition in power in Portugal has decided to place the question of assisted suicide on the agenda of Parliament on February 20, a maneuver that leaves a bitter taste in the minds of the Portuguese prelates who multiply the declarations in order to influence the policies. So, Msgr. Jorge Ortiga, Archbishop of Braga, said: “We cannot allow certain MPs who want to, to legislate on euthanasia when they have not presented this question in their electoral platforms.”
However, this position should not make us forget that the same diocese of Braga has just authorized “remarried divorcées” to access sacramental communion after a six-month period of “discernment”—difficult to defend a natural right to life when we have so little regard for the laws of God regarding the indissolubility of the sacrament of marriage.
For his part, Msgr. Antonio Luciano, Bishop of Viseu, warns: “killing someone is always a crime,” politicians must say “no to the culture of death.” For Msgr. Antonio Marot, Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, who is also vice-president of the CEP, it is rather “a question of palliative care, which should be the priority of priorities of the State.”
The bishops of Vila Real and Viana do Castelo deplore, in the current promotion of euthanasia in Portugal “the symptom of a comfort that invades society,” and the sign of a “compromise with a utilitarian logic.”
“We will not be able to allow people to be treated as disposable material,” said Msgr. Manuel Felicio, Bishop of Guarda.
Are the days of the timid declarations of an episcopate often judged conciliatory with the left in power for several decades gone? With the adoption at first reading of the five bills aimed at legalizing euthanasia, 2020 could mark a further decline in Christianity in Portugal. Freemasonry and atheistic socialism, which the Virgin of Fatima and the government of Salazar had fought in their time, have resumed their work of corrupting morals and consciences.