News

Catholics Urged to Learn More About Euthanasia and the Threat it Poses to Society

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
15 Apr 2015

Good palliative care, not killing, is the answer to relieving pain for the dying.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference wants more people to know about the truth and myths of euthanasia.

The national body believes many people may not be fully aware of this life and death debate and has released a pamphlet called Real care, love and compassion - the alternative to euthanasia.

The Bishops are responding to a fact sheet released by the National Church Life Survey late last year, which found 22 per cent of church-going Catholics are neutral or unsure what they think about euthanasia.

"The Real care, love and compassion - the alternative to euthanasia pamphlet will help inform people about the dangers of legalised euthanasia", said Bishop Peter Comensoli, the Bishops' delegate for addressing euthanasia. "This will help people to appreciate why practices of respect and care are always the better option for the dying."

Bishop's delegate for addressing euthanasia, Most Rev Peter Comensoli

"Suicide is always a tragedy, and all people who are confronted by their mortality, whether or not they are mentally or physically ill, deserve our help and compassion, not a lethal dose. All people have dignity regardless of their health, age, disability, usefulness or other circumstance and deserve our love and support. A genuinely compassionate response will always look to dignifying the life of the person dying.

"Euthanasia is not just an issue of personal choice, because it always involves at least one other person. Allowing someone to cause the death of another is always an issue of public concern because it is a power that can so easily be abused. The evidence from countries that have legalised euthanasia, like Belgium and the Netherlands, is that some people are being given a lethal dose even when they have not asked for euthanasia.

"Catholic hospitals have a long history and expertise in offering high quality palliative care to people who are suffering. Palliative care helps people to manage their pain and distress, allowing them to make the most of the time they have, especially with those they love."

One person assisting the death of another is a matter of significant public concern because it can lead to abuse, exploitation and erosion of care for vulnerable people.

The pamphlet addresses six very common myths. They are: euthanasia can be legislated safely; dying with dignity; euthanasia is an issue of personal liberty and personal choice; it's worked well in other laces, like the Netherlands, Belgium and Oregon in the US; euthanasia should be legalised because opinion polls support it and euthanasia is necessary to relieve pain.

All these myths are clearly and concisely addressed in the pamphlet.

Real care, love and compassion - the alternative to euthanasia can be downloaded free from http://catholic.org.au/euthanasia. Paper copies can be purchased at http://catholic.org.au/shop or collected for free from Catholic parishes.