.- The President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, stated that for the Catholic Church so called “therapeutic cruelty,” or the unnecessary prolongation of life by extreme measures, is unacceptable and assured that the challenge is to distinguish these extreme cases from requests for euthanasia.
In statements from La Repubblica, an Italian daily newspaper, the Prelate referred to Italian government’s initiative in requesting the opinion of a team of experts regarding the case of Piergiorgio Welby, an Italian that suffers from progressive muscular dystrophy. For the past few months, he has made demands to disconnect his respirator.
"It is fair that in this dramatic case experts should be consulted to determine if this is a matter of ‘therapeutic cruelty’ or if we have a request of euthanasia," said Cardinal Lozano.
The Prelate reiterated that, "the Church will never be able to accept ‘therapeutic cruelty,’ an unacceptable practice, because it uses disproportionate and useless means for the care of the terminally ill."
Nevertheless, he indicated that the problem is, "to recognize if there truly exists a case of therapeutic cruelty."