Follow usTwitterFacebook


22 Oct 2014 USA No comments

Religious freedom deteriorating, but don't despair, official says

Washington D.C., Oct 22, 2014 / 12:57 am .- Although religious freedom conditions around the globe are worsening, Americans should see this fact as a cause for …

Read more

15 Oct 2015 Middle East - Africa News Comments (1)

'It's truly a miracle' – kidnapped Syrian priest escapes from Islamic State

A Syrian priest who was captured by Islamic State militants in May thought he would die for his faith. Now, he credits the Virgin Mary and the help of a Muslim …

Read more

15 Sep 2014 Vatican Comments (1)

No plans to raise security ahead of Pope's Albania visit

Vatican City, Sep 15, 2014 / 09:40 am .- There are no plans to increase security for Pope Francis' Sept. 21 trip to Albania despite new reports of a potential t…

Read more

04 Mar 2015 Q&A Comments (6)

What does being baptized "on behalf of the dead" mean?

Full Question What does being baptized "on behalf of the dead" mean? Answer In 1 Corinthians 15:29, Paul writes, "What do people mean by being ba…

Read more

04 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (1)

How does someone become a Saint in the Catholic Church?

The process of documenting the life and virtues of a holy man or woman cannot begin until 5 years after death. This waiting period insures that the person has a…

Read more

20 Aug 2016 Q&A Comments (1)

What did St. John of the Cross mean when he spoke about the need for detachment from people?

Full Question When St. John of the Cross spoke of the need for detachment from human beings, did he mean we should be detached from our spouses and childre…

Read more

14 Sep 2014 USA Comments (1)

Young Catholics in America

The latest contribution to analysing the religious and spiritual lives of young adults in the United States the book, “Young Catholic America: Emerging Adults I…

Read more

14 Oct 2015 Middle East News No comments

David Cameron deplores ‘systematic’ persecution of Christians

The Prime Minister has backed a new report by Aid to the Church in Need into the global persecution of Christians David Cameron has given his support to a ne…

Read more

06 Oct 2016 News Comments (2)

Cardinal Sarah: Let’s end the ‘hateful divisions’ and ‘public humiliation’ over liturgy

The cardinal condemned the 'ideological clash of factions' over ad orientem worship Cardinal Robert Sarah has said the “hateful divisions” over liturgy must en…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

US bishops urge anti-suicide provisions in proposal for end-of-life counseling

A federal proposal focusing on health care counseling for end-of-life decision making needs further additions, including strong exclusions of assisted suicide, representatives of the U.S. bishops have said.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed rule to reimburse Medicare providers for advance care planning counseling sessions has several deficiencies, according to the U.S. bishops’ Office of the General Counsel. The proposed rule would incorporate end-of-life decisions and advanced care planning into Medicare.

The U.S. bishops’ Office of the General Counsel’s Sept. 4 letter to the HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services stressed the need for “concern for the well-being and freedom of patients” as well as concern for consistency with existing rules and laws.

The letter did not object in principle to the HHS proposal, but said several parts of the proposal deserve more attention.

The letter recommended that the final rules should not promote advanced care planning that relies only on pre-packaged documents that could be biased towards withdrawal of treatment. Rather, the rules should stress “the full range” of advanced care planning, including planning that relies on discussion and collaboration among family members.
The rules should caution patients about the need to read any document carefully before signing it, and should also inform patients of additional resources from their religious denomination or other sources of moral guidance, the counsel urged.

The bishops’ counsel said the final rules should treat counseling sessions as an opportunity for suicide prevention. The HHS rules should “completely exclude counseling and documents that present lethal actions such as assisted suicide or euthanasia as treatment options.”

The rules should also be committed to a standard of “equality of life” that upholds the inherent worth of persons with a disability or permanent impairment.

“We hold that each human life, at every stage and in every condition, has innate dignity, and that acts or omissions directly intended to take an innocent life are never justified,” the bishops’ Office of General Counsel said.

“We also recognize that the moral obligation to preserve one’s life has limits, particularly when the means offered for supporting life may be useless or impose burdens that are disproportionate to their benefits.”

The letter said the proposed rule is unclear “whether the government’s primary goal in promoting such planning is to enhance patient autonomy or to save health care costs.”

The proposed rule’s preamble is “confusing and inconsistent” in defining an advance care plan.

The proposed rule does not acknowledge or reflect important statutory guidance concerning federal laws about funding restriction on assisted suicide and other provisions regarding patient self-determination.

The letter cited the Church’s “long and rich tradition” on the boundaries for end-of-life decision-making.


Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories