After the vote in Parliament on a series of motions going in the direction of legalizing assisted suicide, the Portuguese bishops spoke out against a bill which, if adopted, would be one of the most permissive in terms of euthanasia. It is once more up to the Head of State to decide its fate.
“The Conference of Bishops of Portugal (CEP) reaffirmed its opposition to any attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide and expressed its disapproval of the texts voted on in the Assembly of the Republic,” stated a press release published on June 9, 2022 by the Ecclesia news agency.
A few hours earlier, four texts had received the approval of the deputies: nothing surprising, given that the single chamber that constitutes Parliament is largely dominated by a progressive coalition.
More worrying is that, in its new version, the legislation to legalize euthanasia has dropped any reference to “fatal diseases” to justify the use of assisted suicide.
Moreover, the Portuguese prelates were not mistaken: “the approved bills represent an extension of the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide beyond situations of imminent death to also cover situations of incurable disease and disability, which will bring our legislation closer to the most permissive systems already in existence,” they denounced in their press release.
In order to remove the fallacies that justify assisted suicide in the name of patient relief, the CEP draws attention to the fact that “with euthanasia, it is not suffering that is fought but life that is eliminated.”
And the bishops recall that “whereas before the law of God, by the Commandment 'thou shalt not kill,' protected all men, the law of men now threatens them all.”
In January 2021, a first bill decriminalizing euthanasia had already been approved by Parliament, before being sanctioned by a presidential veto at the end of last year. The President of the Republic of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a practicing Catholic, criticized the internal “contradictions” of the legislation at the time.
The four proposals voted on last June 9 must be merged into a text which will be presented again to the Head of State within a few months. The question then is finding out how long he will be able to resist the growing political pressure against him.”