Vatican has said that those who choose euthanasia as way of relieving their suffering from any terminal ailment are not worthy of any Sacrament of the Church. In his statement, the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis during his meeting with the heads of the Spanish bishops’ conference to express concern over a new bill to legalize euthanasia, put forward to Spain’s Senate, and published in the Vatican Letter of September, 22 2020 said such practices take the place of God in deciding the moment of death. According to the document titled Samaritanus bonus: the care of persons in the critical and terminal phases of life,” came out as numerous countries throughout Europe are considering widening access to euthanasia and assisted suicide.
The Letter stated that, “should the bill be passed, Spain would become the fourth European country to legalize physician-assisted suicide following Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. “As several countries throughout Europe move toward broadening access to euthanasia, the Vatican released a new document reaffirming its teaching on medically assisted death, insisting that it is ‘poisonous’ to society and stressed that those who choose it are unable to access the sacraments unless they reverse their decision.
“Just as we cannot make another person our slave, even if they ask to be, so we cannot directly choose to take the life of another, even if they request it,” the Vatican said in a new document released by its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,”it said. Published Sept. 22, the document, titled, “Samaritanus bonus: on the care of persons in the critical and terminal phases of life was signed by the Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, and its secretary, Archbishop Giacomo Morandi. To end the life of a sick person who requests euthanasia, the document said, “is by no means to acknowledge and respect their autonomy,” but rather disavows “both their freedom, now under the sway of suffering and illness, and of their life by excluding any further possibility of human relationship, of sensing the meaning of their existence.
” “Moreover, it is to take the place of God in deciding the moment of death,” it said, adding that it is for this reason that “abortion, euthanasia and willful self-destruction (…) poison human society” and “do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury.” In December 2019, the Vatican’s top official on life issues, Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, caused a stir when he said that he would hold the hand of someone dying from assisted suicide. In the Vatican’s new text, it was stressed that those who are assisting people who choose euthanasia in a spiritual capacity “should avoid any gesture, such as remaining until the euthanasia is performed, that could be interpreted as approval of this action.” “Such a presence could imply complicity in this act,” it said, adding that this is particularly applicable, but is not limited, to, “chaplains in the healthcare systems where euthanasia is practiced, for they must not give scandal by behaving in a manner that makes them complicit in the termination of human life.
” In terms of the hearing a person’s confession, the Vatican insisted that in order to grant absolution, a confessor must have assurances that the person has the “true contrition” required in order for the absolution to be valid, consisting of “sorrow of mind and a detestation for sin committed, with the purpose of not sinning for the future.” The letter went further to explain, “when it comes to euthanasia, we find ourselves before a person who, whatever their subjective dispositions may be, has decided upon a gravely immoral act and willingly persists in this decision,” the Vatican said, insisting that in these cases, the person’s state, involves a manifest absence of the proper disposition for the reception of the Sacraments of Penance, with absolution, and Anointing, with Viaticum.”
“Such a penitent can receive these sacraments only when the minister discerns his or her readiness to take concrete steps that indicate he or she has modified their decision in this regard,” the Vatican said. However, the Vatican stressed that postponing absolution in these cases does not imply judgement, since the person’s personal responsibility in the matter, could be diminished or be non-existent depending on the gravity of their illness. According to the Letter, a Priest could, they said, administer the sacraments to a person who is unconscious, so long as they received some signal given by the patient beforehand, he can presume his or her repentance.” “The position of the Church here does not imply a non-acceptance of the sick person,” the Vatican said, insisting that those who accompany them must have “a willingness to listen and to help, together with a deeper explanation of the nature of the sacrament, in order to provide the opportunity to desire and choose the sacrament up to the last moment.”