“An assisted suicide law is extremely high risk. The consequences of error are deadly and irreparable,” the briefing concludes, urging Catholics to join Care Not Killing Scotland in its campaign to defeat the bill.
Similar assisted suicide legalization is also under consideration for England and Wales.
A bill currently in the U.K. Parliament sponsored by Molly Meacher, Baroness Meacher, would permit assisted suicide for terminally ill adults with fewer than six months to live. Lethal procedures would require the approval of two doctors and a high court judge.
The Assisted Dying Bill 2021 is set for its second reading in the House of Lords, with a full debate Oct. 22. It is the latest in a long line of attempts to legalize assisted suicide in England and Wales, and some pro-lifers believe that this bill poses the greatest challenge yet.
In September 2020, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reaffirmed the Church’s perennial teaching on the sinfulness of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Catholics should instead, the CDF said, support palliative care—medical care and pain management for the symptoms of those suffering from a serious illness, rather than the premature ending of their life.
However, while palliative care is "essential and invaluable," it is not enough, a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said.
"Palliative care cannot provide a fundamental answer to suffering or eradicate it from people's lives," the congregation said. "To claim otherwise is to generate a false hope, and cause even greater despair in the midst of suffering."
"Medical science can understand physical pain better and can deploy the best technical resources to treat it. But terminal illness causes a profound suffering in the sick person, who seeks a level of care beyond the purely technical," it continued.
"Palliative care in itself is not enough unless there is someone who 'remains' at the bedside of the sick to bear witness to their unique and unrepeatable value. Pain is existentially bearable only where there is hope."