Pope Benedict XVI: Catholic Pharmacists Should Avoid Abortion, Euthanasia

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 29, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pope Benedict XVI: Catholic Pharmacists Should Avoid Abortion, Euthanasia

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 29,

The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — Pope Benedict XVI had a clear message for Catholic pharmacists on Monday saying they should avoid any involvement in abortion or euthanasia. His words provide support for pro-life groups trying to protect the conscious rights of pharmacists with laws to allow them to opt out of dispensing drugs in such cases.

The leader of the Catholic Church spoke to participants at the 25th International Congress of Catholic Pharmacists.

He said that their respect for the dignity of human life should compel Catholic pharmacists to avoid practices that destroy human life.

"It is not possible to anaesthetise the conscience, for example, when it comes to molecules whose aim is to stop an embryo implanting or to cut short someone’s life," the Pope said.

The Pontiff also said Catholic pharmacists have a special “educational role” with their patients and must help them understand the “ethical implications of certain drugs” such as those “whose purpose it to prevent an embryo from implanting itself or to shorten a person’s life.”

"Pharmacists must raise awareness [in the public] in order that all human beings are protected from conception to natural death, and that drugs truly play a therapeutic role," he said.

“Moreover, no individual may be used thoughtlessly as an object to undertake therapeutic experiments," the Pope said. Such experiments “must be carried out following protocols that respect fundamental ethical norms.”

The Catholic leader insisted that governments should respect the right of pharmacists to object to dispensing drugs that violate their moral or religious beliefs.

Benedict XVI said conscientious objection “is a right that must be recognized for people exercising this profession so as to enable them not to collaborate directly or indirectly in supplying products that have clearly immoral purposes such as, for example, abortion or euthanasia.”

Finally, the Pontiff said Catholic pharmacists have a responsibility to “help young people who enter the pharmaceutical professions to reflect upon the increasingly sensitive ethical implications that their actions and decisions may have.”