Pope Benedict XVI Urges Catholics to Oppose Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 15, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pope Benedict XVI Urges Catholics to Oppose Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 15
, 2008

Lourdes, France (LifeNews.com) — Pope Benedict XVI reminded Catholics to oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide in a Mass he conducted in France on Monday. He urged people to accept death "at the hour chosen by God," rather than succumb to the pressure or temptation of taking one’s own life or that of another.

The message is important in Europe, where the Netherlands and Belgium have legalized euthanasia and Switzerland is tolerant of suicide clinics.

The leader of the Catholic Church urged people to rely on Goid’s help to get through troubled times, illness, or disease that may compel them to want to take their own life.

"Unfortunately we know only too well: the endurance of suffering can upset life’s most stable equilibrium, it can shake the firmest foundations of confidence, and sometimes even leads people to despair of the meaning and value of life," the pope said.

"There are struggles that we cannot sustain alone, without the help of divine grace," he said.

He said terminally ill patients should pray to find "the grace to accept, without fear or bitterness, to leave this world at the hour chosen by God."

Pope Benedict has consistently opposed euthanasia since becoming the pontiff and, in February, he addressed the other side of the assisted suicide con by urging doctors and other medical professionals to resist getting involved in the grisly practices.

Pope Benedict also called for "death leave" — whereby companies allow workers a chance to spend time with a loved one who is dying in the same way maternity leave is granted.

He said "similar rights should be accorded to close family members at the moment the illness of their loved ones is at a terminal phase."

"A united and humanitarian society cannot help but keep in mind the difficult conditions of families that, sometimes for long periods, must bear the burden of carrying out household tasks for gravely ill persons who are not self-sufficient," he said.

He called on society to support families caring for the sick, arguing "a humane and interdependent society" could not do otherwise.

"A greater respect of individual human lives inevitably comes from real interdependence of everyone," the pontiff said, saying helping the dying was one of the greatest needs at the current time.

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