Metuchen, N.J., Jul 30, 2019 / 15:00 pm
A New Jersey bishop has issued a renewed condemnation of assisted suicide as a new law making it legal in the state comes in to force this week. Bishop James E. Checchio of Metuchen described assisted suicide as “a grievous affront to the dignity of human life” that “can never be morally justified” in a letter to his diocese on July 30.
“Passage of this law points to the utter failure of government, and indeed all society, to care truly, authentically and humanely for the suffering and vulnerable in our midst, especially those living with an incurable disease as well as the frail elderly, the infirm and those living with disabilities,” said Checchio.
The Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act allows mentally competent New Jersey residents with a terminal diagnosis and six months to live to request medication to end their lives. The law, which comes into effect August 1, mandates that patients self-administer the deadly drugs.
Checchio said that even though the practice is soon to be legal in New Jersey, it remained gravely immoral, and warned that assisted suicide was a particular threat to the elderly who could “feel undue pressure to view this as an option to prevent being a burden to others.”
The bishop also warned that younger generations would come to view the practice of the elderly, sick, and disabled killing themselves as normal.
“With this law there will be a further desensitization of the value of human life,” said Checchio.
Catholics “are called to show a different approach to death and the dying; one which accompanies every person as they are dying and allows them to love and to be loved to the very end.”
The Diocese of Metuchen sponsors Saint Peter’s University Hospital, which is compliant with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs). The ERDs prohibit Catholic health care facilities from condoning or participating with euthanasia or assisted suicide.