Troubling Advice from the President of the Academy for Life

Source: FSSPX News

Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, declared on December 10, 2019 that he would be ready to hold the hand of someone who voluntarily chose euthanasia, not seeing support for suicide in this gesture. An attitude contrary to Catholic morality.

The President of the Pontifical Academy for Life spoke at a press conference on December 10, 2019, opening a two-day symposium on palliative care, sponsored by the Holy See and a Qatari foundation, The World Innovation Summit for Health.

Responding to the question of whether a priest could be present during the assisted suicide procedure, Archbishop Paglia declared that he would be willing to do so, on the grounds that “the Lord never abandons anyone.”

“In this sense,” added the prelate, “to accompany, to hold the hand of someone who is dying, is, I think, a great duty that every believer should encourage..., even if we are against assisted suicide.”

This is a position which is opposed by the Swiss bishops. The Swiss bishops’ December 5, 2019 document indicates that pastoral agents must not be present at the death of a person by assisted suicide. Asked about this divergence, Archbishop Paglia affirmed: “The issue goes beyond laws” and we should “avoid getting stuck in ideological debates.”

This is a surprising answer from the president of a pontifical academy whose vocation is precisely to enlighten scientists using the rules of moral theology and ethical principles.

To clarify this subject, it suffices to mention the Catechism of Saint Pius X which recalls that the fifth commandment of the Decalogue forbids suicide, because “man is not the master of his life as he is not that of others. And the Church punishes the suicide by depriving him of ecclesiastical burial.” Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church published in 1992, which Archbishop Paglia is supposed to endorse, recalls this prohibition and also adds that cooperation in suicide is “contrary to the moral law.”

It does not take much reasoning to understand that the presence of a priest during an assisted suicide would create serious ambiguity, both in the patient wishing to die, and in his entourage, suggesting that the Church would tolerate this abominable practice.

Archbishop Paglia “counsel” is equivalent, if not to cooperation in evil, at least to a real scandal, which consists, as the Catechism of St. Pius X still recalls, in “every word, every act, or every omission which for others is an opportunity to commit sin.”