Vatican City, Sep 2, 2019 / 06:13 am
Euthanasia is a way of treating the human person as an object; while it may appear to give freedom, it is really a rejection of hope, Pope Francis told an oncology association Sept. 2.
“The practice of euthanasia, which has already been legalized in several countries, only apparently aims to encourage personal freedom,” he said Sept. 2.
“In reality,” he continued, “it is based on a utilitarian view of the person, who becomes useless or can be equated to a cost, if from the medical point of view, he has no hope of improvement or can no longer avoid pain.”
“If one chooses death, the problems are solved in a sense; but how much bitterness behind this reasoning, and what rejection of hope involves the choice of giving up everything and breaking all ties!” he declared.
Pope Francis stated that medical technology is not being used for its right purpose, the service of the human person, when it “reduces him to a thing,” or makes distinctions between who is not deserving of treatment because of supposedly being “a burden” or “a waste.”
The contrary approach is a commitment to accompany a patient and his loved ones at all stages, trying to alleviate suffering through palliative care, or the family environment of hospice, he argued. This “contributes to creating a culture and practice more attentive to the value of each person.”
The countries with legal euthanasia are the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg, and Canada. Assisted suicide is legal in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany, and in the U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii, Vermont, Montana, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, California, and Maine (starting January 1, 2020).
Pope Francis spoke about euthanasia Sept. 2, to a group of about 150 members of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology, in an audience at the Vatican.