Geneva, Switzerland, Sep 17, 2011 / 14:40 pm
The Catholic Church’s delegation to the United Nations in Geneva has taken “strong exception” to a reference to assisted suicide in a special report on the place of the elderly in society, despite its agreement with other aspects of the report.
“We strongly believe that life is a gift that no person has the so-called ‘right’ to end, that death is the culmination of a natural process and no person, even the elderly or suffering person himself or herself, is entitled to cause or hasten the natural process of dying through biomedical or any other means,” explained Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, head of the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations and Specialized Agencies in Geneva.
On Sept. 16 he spoke to the 18th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council about its special rapporteur’s study on older persons’ right to health.
Archbishop Tomasi’s criticism focused on a reference about “issues of patient autonomy in respect of deciding to end life,” though he acknowledged that the report’s author did not treat such issues “in the context of the present report.”