Congress Of Pontifical Academy for Life Spoke Up Against Pressures in Favor of  Euthanasia

Source: FSSPX News


Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Academy, said that the Congress meant to respond to the “strong pressures” which urge the legalization of euthanasia in the world. “Today,” he explained, “this new symposium is justified because euthanasia has entered the legislative domain. It has ben legalized in the Netherlands, in Belgium, in Oregon (United States), and there are strong pressures to carry further this legalization based on the patient’s right to self-determination.” The numerous and unexpected audience for this congress shows the importance of the topic, Bishop Sgreccia added. “We must react in the face of political and media pressures.” “We must define the legitimate and illegitimate terms of the end of life,” he concluded.

The terminally-ill patient “ not only has the right to refuse overzealous treatment; in some cases it may even be his duty to do so. In any case, to renounce overzealous treatments is not in itself a form of euthanasia,”  also explained Bishop Maurizio Calipari, a moral theologian of the Pontifical Academy for life and a professor of Bioethics at the John Paul II Institute for the Pontifical University of the Lateran’s research on marriage and the family. Indeed, in order to practice euthanasia, “there must be the intention to use adequate means to cause an early death. Euthanasia must not be confused with the indirect and non intentional result which may come from overzealous therapies.”

The Holy Father received the participants in the Congress on February 25. From the start, he recalled that “the earthly experience concludes with death, but through death full and definitive life beyond time unfolds for each one of us. (…) For the community of believers, this encounter of the dying person with the Source of Life and Love is a gift that has value for all, that enriches the communion of all the faithful.” For this reason, “no believer should die in loneliness and neglect.” Just as at the moment of birth specific rights are recognized to the parents, the Holy Father added, “similar rights at the moment of the terminal illness of one of their family members” should be recognized. “Greater respect for individual human life passes inevitably through the concrete solidarity of each and every one, constituting one of the most urgent challenges of our time.”

Benedict XVI then observed that “more and more lonely elderly people exist in big cities, even in situations of serious illness and close to death. In such situations, the pressure of euthanasia is felt, especially when a utilitarian vision of the person creeps in. In this regard, I take this opportunity to reaffirm once again the firm and constant ethical condemnation of every form of direct euthanasia, in accordance with the Church’s centuries-old teaching.”

The Sovereign Pontiff asked that be guaranteed “to every person who needs  the necessary support, through appropriate treatment and medical interventions, diagnosed and treated in accordance with the criteria of medical proportionality, always taking into account the moral duty of administering (on the part of the doctor) and of accepting (on the part of the patient) those means for the preservation of life that are "ordinary" in the specific situation. On the other hand, recourse to treatment with a high risk factor or which it would be prudent to judge as "extraordinary", is to be considered morally licit but optional.” (Sources: Apic/Imedia/VIS/Radio Vatican)