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Swiss bishop: no last rites for people planning assisted suicide

December 09, 2016

A Swiss bishop has told his priests that they should not provide the last rites for people who are planning to end their lives by assisted suicide.

“The readiness of a suffering patient to commit suicide with help from a bystander places any priest in an impossible situation if called to administer sacraments,” said Bishop Vitus Huonder of Chur. In such cases, he said, the priest should “offer a prayer of intercession and commend the dying to God’s mercy.”

In a message of Human Rights Day, Bishop Huonder took note of an increase in the number of people taking advantage of the Swiss law that allows for physician-assisted suicide. However common it becomes, the practice cannot be justified, he argued. “Suicide, like murder, contradicts the divine world order.”


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  • Posted by: feedback - Dec. 10, 2016 10:20 AM ET USA

    Thank God for wise and "rigid" Bishop Vitus Huonder! Giving the Sacrament of the Sick before suicide would make as much sense as giving it before abortion. There is an urgent need to establish clear, Church-wide discipline in this regard, I suggest: on one page with no footnotes.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Dec. 09, 2016 6:57 PM ET USA

    Good for this bishop, and may his action be joined by bishops around the world. What God has given, let no one take away. Our bodies are not our creation and they are not ours to destroy. Blessed be the name of our God who gives life to all his creatures, but it is we alone who are created in his image.