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Rome Reports

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Origins of position paper on euthanasia signed by monotheistic religions in October

The “Position Paper on Matters Concerning the End of Life” signed in October 2019 by the leaders of the three monotheistic religions has a backstory. 

In fact, the basis of the paper against euthanasia was created 10 months before, at a conference held in Qatar at Georgetown University with both Muslim and Catholic representatives.

This initial document produced at the January 2019 event was signed by both the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life and Qatar Foundation's WISH. Dr. Sultana Afdhal, CEO of WISH explained what the first declaration said. 

CEO WISH Foundation, Qatar
“The focus is really to understand and respect the rights of the patient, and also the families and also treat palliative care and the subject of end of life with as much sensitivity as we can. Incorporating religion has also increased Approaching the understanding that people have the right to choose. So that document was signed earlier this year.”

With it and their event in Qatar, both parties sought to unite healthcare policy leaders, scholars and religious representatives to discuss issues regarding life-threatening sicknesses and death. The first document offered the Christian and Muslim perspective, before it was lengthened to include the Jewish perspective also.

CEO WISH Foundation, Qatar
“The same document was then used in October as the positioning paper that was then expanded and is being used by Abrahamic leaders, signed by them and we hoping that it continues to do so. I know the Pontifical Academy for Life are planning to do that, to continue to create this network where people have the same beliefs.”

One concrete sign of that is a two-day conference held at the Vatican, Religion and Medical Ethics, involving Muslims, Jews and Christians. The three are open to dialogue and to find a moral solution to the end of life, that always respects the dignity of the person.  

Melissa Butz