Q&A

What does the Catholic Church say about Euthanasia?

In recent times, several countries have granted approvals for assisted suicide, albeit with differing levels of regulation. However, it is crucial for us to recognize that any involvement in this practice is considered a grave evil by the Catholic Church. Such actions directly contradict the inherent dignity of the Human Person and the fundamental truth that life is solely entrusted to God. Let us revisit some of the Church’s teachings on this subject to reacquaint ourselves with their profound wisdom:

Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.

Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. – CCC 2276-2277

This is not to be confused with:

Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of “over-zealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected. – CCC 2278

Furthermore, “ordinary care” for a dying individual is not to be withheld.

Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged. – CCC 2279 

Pope Francis:

We must accompany people towards death, but not provoke death or facilitate any form of suicide. I would point out that the right to care and treatment for all must always be prioritized, so that the weakest, particularly the elderly and the sick, are never discarded. Life is a right, not death, which must be welcomed, not administered. And this ethical principle applies to everyone, not just Christians or believers.

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