Pope Francis blasts euthanasia as hopeless and lacking compassion

The Pontifical Academy for Life recently hosted a symposium on the importance of palliative care, and during it, Pope Francis spoke about the need to invest more in helping people at the end of their lives, and why euthanasia is never acceptable.

Participants in the symposium, titled “Towards a Narrative of Hope: an International Interfaith Symposium on Palliative Care,” were given a message from Pope Francis in which he stressed the importance of hope, which he said gives people strength to carry on in difficult circumstances.

“This is even more true when facing a serious illness or the end of life,” he said. “All who experience the uncertainties so often brought about by sickness and death need the witness of hope provided by those who care for them and who remain at their side. In this regard, palliative care, while seeking to alleviate the burden of pain as much as possible, is above all a concrete sign of closeness and solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are suffering. At the same time, this kind of care can help patients and their loved ones to accept the vulnerability, frailty and finitude that mark human life in this world.”

But euthanasia, he added, is “radically different” from the hope and strength provided by palliative care.

“[Euthanasia] is never a source of hope or genuine concern for the sick and dying. Instead, it is a failure of love, a reflection of a ‘throwaway culture’ in which ‘persons are no longer seen as a paramount value to be cared for and respected,'” he continued. “Indeed, euthanasia is often presented falsely as a form of compassion. Yet ‘compassion,’ a word that means ‘suffering with,’ does not involve the intentional ending of a life, but rather the willingness to share the burdens of those facing the end stages of our earthly pilgrimage. Palliative care, then, is a genuine form of compassion, for it responds to suffering, whether physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual, by affirming the fundamental and inviolable dignity of every person, especially the dying, and helping them to accept the inevitable moment of passage from this life to eternal life.”

Pope Francis has been an outspoken advocate about the importance of all human life, and decried what he has repeatedly described as the “throwaway culture” created by abortion and euthanasia. He has also pointed to world leaders, saying that developed countries have taken the wrong path on these issues. “To kill is not human, period,” he said in 2022. “If you kill — with motivation, yes — in the end you will kill more. It’s not human. Let’s leave killing to the animals.”

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