Pontifical Life Academy archbishop criticised for euthanasia comments

remarks on euthanasia

The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life has defended its president, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia (pictured with Pope Francis), against criticism for his recent remarks on euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Speaking last week at the Perugia Journalism Festival on “The last journey (towards the end of life),” Paglia stated that the Catholic Church did not provide a fixed moral code, but that its teachings were the result of ongoing dialogue and theological thought.

Archbishop Paglia said the Catholic Church “does not have a package of prêt-à-porter, a pre-packaged truth as if it were a distributor of truth pills.”

Instead, its teaching results from the idea that “Theological thought evolves throughout history in dialogue with the Magisterium and with the experience of the people of God in a dynamic of mutual enrichment.”

The archbishop also highlighted the Church’s current focus on achieving an ethical and legal framework for end-of-life decisions.

Paglia argued that a legal mediation for assisted suicide in specific circumstances, as mandated by the Italian Constitutional Court in 2019, was feasible and could be the “greatest common good concretely possible in the conditions in which we find ourselves,” while insisting that he would not practise assisted suicide personally.

Paglia’s comments generated significant criticism from some who believed that he appeared to support end-of-life legislation and that he was advocating for legal protection for euthanasia. Some also raised concerns about his comparison of the death penalty and euthanasia.

Paglia opposed to euthanasia

In response, the Pontifical Academy for Life released a statement on Monday, affirming that Paglia remained opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide and was in line with the Church’s teachings.

The statement argued that Paglia’s presentation had touched only briefly on the Constitutional Court’s ruling and that the context of his remarks had not been fully developed.

Italy’s current law dictates that anyone who assists another person in committing suicide may be jailed for between five and twelve years.

A 2019 ruling by Italy’s Constitutional Court partially decriminalised assisted suicide under certain conditions, including that the person be “kept alive by life support treatments and affected by an irreversible pathology, which is a source of physical or psychological suffering they consider intolerable, but fully capable of making free and informed decisions.”

The ruling also mandated that parliament pass legislation regulating assisted suicide. However, Italian lawmakers have yet to pass the required legislation, and the issue has become a source of ongoing debate and division.



CathNews New Zealand


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