Humanize From Discovery Institute's Center on Human Exceptionalism

Vatican: No Sacraments for People Choosing Euthanasia

Wesley J. Smith
arroba Email

The Vatican has made it clear that euthanasia and the Sacraments are not compatible. From the Crux story:

When it comes to euthanasia, “we find ourselves before a person who, whatever their subjective dispositions may be, has decided upon a gravely immoral act and willingly persists in this decision,” the Vatican said, insisting that in these cases, the person’s state “involves a manifest absence of the proper disposition for the reception of the Sacraments of Penance, with absolution, and Anointing, with Viaticum.”

“Such a penitent can receive these sacraments only when the minister discerns his or her readiness to take concrete steps that indicate he or she has modified their decision in this regard,” the Vatican said.

The statement declares that such a denial is not a rejection of the despairing person. To the contrary:

Care, the document stresses never ends, even when treatment is no longer justified.

On that basis, the document issues a firm “no” to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“To end the life of a sick person who requests euthanasia is by no means to acknowledge and respect their autonomy, but on the contrary to disavow the value of both their freedom, now under the sway of suffering and illness, and of their life by excluding any further possibility of human relationship, of sensing the meaning of their existence, or of growth in the theologal life.”

“It is to take the place of God in deciding the moment of death,” the document says.

The spiritual/eternal consequence aspect of the Vatican’s policy is outside my purview. But if the Church’s statement about the inherent wrongness of euthanasia helps some people — Catholic or not — back off from the brink, and/or some doctors refuse participation, it will have served a tremendous societal purpose.