Catholic leaders are working to defeat a proposed "right to die" law in the Australian state of Tasmania, saying it is wrong to end a human life. They also warn that the bill will put Catholic health and hospice institutions at odds with their ethical standards against "euthanasia."
Archbishop of Hobart Adrian Doyle has written to Tasmanian parishes asking Catholics to do all they can to help lobby against the so-called Dying with Dignity Bill.
The archbishop said he will make a submission to the parliamentary inquiry examining the bill and wants other Catholics to do the same, ABC News of Australia reports.
Archbishop Doyle said that any direct intervention to end a human life is morally unacceptable. He added that politicians need to realize the importance of the decision they are to make.
"It's an enormous responsibility for people in parliament to be making laws that will affect the life and life-span and life ending of other people, it's an enormous responsibility," he commented.
According to ABC News, the Church believes the bill will compel Catholic health and elder care homes to act in opposition to Catholic ethics, which prohibits euthanasia.
Archbishop Doyle remarked that those who work in hospitals and aged care homes could also be put in difficult positions by the law.
"As a consequence of what they do, other people might be forced to act in a way that they don't really feel comfortable with, people involved in the medical profession, so they would be placing obligations on them as well," he said.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses euthanasia under the Fifth Commandment, "You Shall Not Kill."
"Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible," the Catechism says in Paragraph 2276. "Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons."
The Catechism says such action is "morally unacceptable" and "murderous." It also outlines the specific situations in which life-shortening pain relief may be used and the cases in which medical procedures may be ethically discontinued.