Spanish cardinal: Passage of euthanasia bill would be 'historic defeat' for society

Euthanasia Medical syringe Credit sfam photo Shutterstock CNA sfam_photo/Shutterstock.

The Archbishop of Valencia said Sunday that if Spain's euthanasia and assisted suicide bill is passed, it would be a "major and historic defeat for all of Spain, for Spanish society."

"It is a defeat also for humanity, for man himself, for the legislature to take up the bill on euthanasia, assisted suicide, and to reject other proposals on palliative care that improved the current legislation," Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera wrote Sept. 13.

The prelate also called the proposed euthanasia law "monstrous" and an "injustice."

Directly addressing the country's president, government officials, department heads, and legislators, Cañizares challenged: "Realize that you as a government or as parliamentarians should defend, protect, and guard the common good, based on fundamental rights and duties of the society you represent, the first of which is the right to life."

But in reality "you have become enemies, who oppose society, ready to defeat that society you represent and must protect, by advocating such a bill, which spreads and expands a culture of death," he said.

The Archbishop of Valencia pointed to the fact that the bill is being advanced through the legislative process amid the Covid-19 pandemic, so "what credibility can you hold on to in the face of that pandemic? With what moral authority can you address this people and ask us what is being asked of us? Aren't you seen as a sign of contradiction?"

The cardinal said there's still time left, and appealed to the authorities to make corrections to the bill, "as is so often done in government management or in parliamentary tasks and responsibilities."

Cañizares stressed that he's not "interfering in politics" but that his "responsibility as bishop and as a citizen doesn't allow me to remain silent."

The Archbishop of Valencia faulted the media for concentrating on unrelated side issues and giving scant attention to the euthanasia bill.

"Euthanasia, which does not constitute an historical defeat of a government, but a defeat of an entire state, and which is an infinitely greater and serious problem, even if you don't see it that way, and I respect you," he pointed out.

"Legislation like that doesn't make for a true fraternity of authentic brothers of a new civilization of love that builds peace and is capable of facing the pandemic," the cardinal concluded his exhortation.

The Spanish bishops' conference issued a statement Sept. 14 calling instead for a palliative care law because "there are no patients who cannot be cared for, even if they are incurable."

A version of this story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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