Euthanasia is always wrong, Pope insists, in message to Pontifical Academy for Life
November 16, 2017
In a November 16 message to a meeting on end-of-life issues, sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis emphasized that the decision to end extraordinary treatment is “completely different from euthanasia, which is always wrong.”
With the steady advances in medical treatments, the Pope said, situations can often arise in which a patient suffering from terminal illness might be kept alive by extraordinary means. Such treatments, he said, “are not always beneficial.” He remarked that doctors should avoid the temptation “to insist on treatments that have powerful effects on the body, yet at times do not serve the integral good of the person.”
In some cases, the Pope continued, the decision to end treatment can be a humble acknowledgment of “the limitations of our mortality, once it becomes clear that opposition to it is futile.” This decision, he repeated, cannot be equated with the deliberate effort to end a human life.
In his discussion of end-of-life care, Pope Francis also observed that costly treatments are generally available “to ever more limited and privileged segments of the population.” He said that the “systematic tendency toward growing inequality in heath care” must be addressed.
The Pope also said that when questions arise about end-of-life care, “the state cannot renounced its duty to protect all those involved.” Government should be particularly zealous of the rights of those who are most vulnerable, he said.
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- Message of the Holy Father to the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life on the occasion of the European Regional Meeting of the “World Medical Association” on “end of life” issues (Vatican press office)
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