Bishops From Germany, France, Switzerland Write Against Assisted Suicide

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 5, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bishops From Germany, France, Switzerland Write Against Assisted Suicide Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 5, 2006

Bern, Switzerland ( — In a combined pastoral letter, Catholic bishops from France, Germany and Switzerland condemn assisted suicide and say it is unjust for people who are disabled or dying. They wrote that people should respect the sanctity of human life and the rights of the terminally ill not to be pressured to die.

Archbishops Robert Zollitsch from Freiberg and Joseph Dore’ from Strasbourg, together with the Basel bishop Kurt Koch released their letter on Monday at an event in Basel, Switzerland.

While Switzerland allows assisted suicide, the grisly practice is banned in France and Germany.

The bishops said support for assisted suicide "was based on the false perception that humans should be independent, productive and healthy," a Deutsche Welle German news report said.

Freiberg’s Archbishop Zollitsch told the press conference where the letter was released that "at present, sick, suffering and dying people are seen as a burden to be disposed of."

Archbishop Dore’ indicated that the bishops do not favor artificially prolonging life and that stopping an ineffective medical treatment can allow people to "die with dignity" but he stressed that "death should not be caused, or supported by a doctor."

This is the second time the three bishops have sent out a combined pastoral letter. Four years ago they wrote on bioethics and scientific research issues.