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.
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.
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Is the prohibition on Confession and absolution likely to cause those Catholics intent on ending their own life, to change his/her mind?