Italy’s Council of Ministers, headed by Silvio Berlusconi, unanimously approved an emergency decree on Friday to stop the father of Eluana Englaro from killing her by removing hydration and food. However, this morning at the clinic La Quiete, where Eluana is staying, the process to end her life was initiated.
According to the newspaper La Repubblica, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi commented on his motivation for passing the emergency decree, saying, "I do not want the responsibility for the death of Eluana."
The decision of the ministers could become law, but still requires the signature of Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano, who is reportedly against the decree. Unless the decree is signed, Englaro’s feeding tube will be removed today, after which it will take two weeks for her to starve to death.
The Italian newspaper La Stampa reported on Friday that Prime Minister Berlusconi spoke with the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, but the Vatican "categorically denied" a phone conversation ever took place. La Stampa’s story was following the oft repeated accusation that the Catholic Church is trying to sway the political decisions surrounding Eluana’s case.