CNA Staff, Feb 1, 2021 / 07:30 am America/Denver (CNA).
Portugal’s bishops have expressed “sadness and indignation” after parliament approved a bill approving euthanasia.
The bishops spoke out after MPs cast 136 votes in favor of the bill to 78 against, with four abstentions.
The legislation will be presented to Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who was reelected in a landslide vote on Jan. 24. He has three options: giving the bill assent, sending it for review to the constitutional court, or employing his veto. Parliament can override a presidential veto by backing legislation for a second time.
If the bill is signed into law, Portugal will become the fourth country in Europe to legalize euthanasia, alongside the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Around 81% of Portugal’s 10 million population are baptized Catholics.
The country’s bishops criticized both the content and the timing of the bill. They were recently forced to suspend public Masses amid a surge in COVID-19 deaths.