The Vatican asks to clarify the cultural error at the root of euthanasia and assisted suicide, in other words, the concept of “dignified death” and so-called “compassion”.
It does so in this new document titled “The Good Samaritan.” It was published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
CARD. LUIS LADARIA
Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
“It's a type of compassion not accompanied by truth nor by respect for human life in all stages of its existence. This type of compassion is unjust, incorrect, and is incompatible with healthy criteria.”
MSGR. GIACOMO MORANDI
Secretary, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
“I think that if we only focus on emotional situations—even if they are important—we won't be able to undo the tangle. Many times, the expression 'show compassion' transmits and idea that tends not to show the truth.”
Pontifical Academy for Life
“Quality of life has gone from being a model toward which to work to being the criteria for anthropological discrimination. This criteria in reality only describes a quantity of functions, the full possession of physical and mental capacities, and it ends up condemning those who lack them because of illness or a serious handicap.”
Sub-secretary, Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life
“In sickness, patients desperately need help making sense of their tremendous suffering, going beyond mere human reasoning and emotions, with a perspective that encompasses the entire spiritual and transcendent dimension of the person.”
The text is very positive. It states that every medical act must be aimed toward healing, never toward killing the patient. It says that a deterioration in a person's health does not equal a loss of human dignity. It also promotes palliative cures.
The document also responds to practical problems hospital chaplains face.
For example, it says confession is valid when one repents of one's sins. That's why, it says, it is wrong to give the sacrament to people intending to use euthanasia or assisted suicide.
The document asks priests to offer spiritual help to patients who have asked for euthanasia, but not to be present in the final moment, as this could be interpreted as support for the decision.
It says that if a Catholic hospital practices euthanasia, it stops being Catholic.