Spain’s Archbishop questions concept of “quality” of life that excludes suffering

Referring to the ongoing debate in Spain regarding euthanasia, Archbishop Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain, criticized today’s false prophets who promote a quality of life that excludes suffering.

In a pastoral letter to be published in the coming days, the Archbishop denounced euthanasia and divorce, saying he was motivated solely by his Episcopal duty and not by any political reaction.

Referring to the movie, “Mar Adentro” (“Out to Sea,”) which helped trigger the debate on euthanasia, and which will compete for the Oscar to the best foreign movie,  Archbishop Cañizares stated that “the way in which the news was reported at the time…was confusing, enticing, and even sometimes harmful to people’s conscience and liberty.  For example, it is presented as if it were something ordinary, normal and heroic, when in reality it is a rare case and, with all due respect to Ramon Sampedro, not exactly an model of human heroism.”

After recalling that the National Federation of Associations for Persons with Spinal Cord Injuries and the Severely Handicapped has declared that the vast majority of the handicapped are opposed to euthanasia, the Archbishop said, “There are many false prophets of a ‘painless’ life who tell us not to put up with anything and to rebel against the smallest of setbacks.”

 “According to them,” he continued, suffering, endurance and sacrifice are things of the past, out-of-date customs that modern life has completely done away with.  Today a life of ‘quality’ would be a life without any suffering.”

“It is necessary for Christians, especially in these times, to announce and defend the joyful news of the value and dignity of the life of each individual,” he went on.  “From here I invite all the people of the Diocese of Toledo to be joyful witnesses and courageous defenders of life, and untiring and brave fighters for inalienable human rights, such as those of the dignity and life of each human being.”

Lastly, Archbishop Cañizares mentioned the “pressure that is being exerted upon public opinion.”  “There is no doubt that there is a large effort by powerful individuals who are determined to make this legal.  We must fight against it.  This is a setback for humanity.  This is an attack on man and his dignity, and no one should cooperate with it or give any consent to it whatsoever.  We are facing one the most alarming symptoms of the ‘culture of death’.”

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