The president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, said this week reports that John Paul II requested to be euthanized are part of an effort to “legitimize” the practice.
The controversy broke out several days ago after Italian Doctor Lina Pavanelli—an anesthesiologist and professor at the University of Ferrara—said John Paul II was indirectly euthanized by having his feeding tube put in too late, on March 30, 2005, three days before his death. Speaking to Europa Press, Cardinal Lozano said John Paul II “never refused” food and water “nor any treatment” before dying, and to claim otherwise is “an immense falsehood.”
He noted that the medical team that cared for the Pontiff in the last stage of his life acted “in accord with their knowledge and competency,” providing food and water until the end and before March 30. According to the cardinal, the defenders of euthanasia—such as those in the case of Terri Schiavo, whose feeding tube was removed resulting in her death, or the case of Piergiogio Welby in Italy, whose respirator was disconnected—are trying to “adapt” John Paul’s case to their agenda.
Cardinal Lozano said the reports are merely “lies” that being used to deceive people and “demonstrate a false thesis.” Speaking to the Italian dailies Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica, the doctors who cared for the late Pontiff also rebuffed Pavanelli’s claims, pointing out that the Pope’s feeding tube was installed before March 30, although that was the day on which it was permanently installed.