Inés San Martín Dec 10, 2019

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, is pictured after an interview in his office at the Vatican April 17. (Credit: Paul Haring/CNS.)

ROME – A leading Vatican official says he would “hold the hand” of someone who was dying from assisted suicide, even though he considers it wrong, because “no one is abandoned” by the Church.

Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia was speaking on Tuesday during the presentation of an upcoming symposium on end-of-life issues co-sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, which he heads.

“I believe that from our perspective, no one is abandoned, even if we are against assisted suicide, because we don’t want to do death’s dirty job,” the archbishop said, when asked about one bishops’

conference’s directive that a priest not be in the room if euthanasia or assisted suicide is performed.

“To accompany, to hold the hand of someone who is dying, is something that every faithful must promote as they must promote a culture that opposes assisted suicide,” Paglia said.

But regardless of a willingness to accompany a person through such a decision, the archbishop said Catholics should continue to fight against a “selfish” society that labels the elderly, the terminally ill and others as “not good enough” and a surplus to the world.

Suicide – in whatever form – is a “defeat” for the rest of society, Paglia said: “We can never transform it into a ‘wise decision’.”

However, he admitted he always celebrates the funerals for those who take their own lives because he sees suicide as “a great request for love that was not satisfied. This is why the Lord never abandons anyone.”

Paglia was speaking with journalists at the presentation of a Dec. 11-12 conference on Religion and Medical Ethics: Palliative care and the mental health of the elderly, which is being co-organized by the British Journal of Medicine and Qatar’s WISH foundation.

The archbishop told reporters that even though they were looking “for a rule,” the principle of never abandoning anyone is not a matter of law for him.

“In this selfish society, we don’t need new laws. We need a love supplement, a co-responsibility supplement,” Paglia said.

“We are all necessary, with no one to spare. A society that runs towards a perspective of justifying suicide or leaving behind those who are not ‘good enough’ is a cruel one,” he explained.

“For me, a person who takes their own life shows a failure of society as a whole,” the prelate insisted.

“But it is not a failure from God. We are each children of God. Can a mother abandon her son?”

Paglia noted that the Church says there’s no certainty that even the apostle Judas, who betrayed Jesus before killing himself, is in Hell.

“For a Catholic to say so, it’s heresy,” he said.

The bishop was also asked to share his thoughts about Italy’s growing anti-Semitism, where Senator Liliana Segre, an Auschwitz survivor and a member of the Italian Senate, now travels with a policse escort due to anti-Semitic threats.

Paglia said that a leap of conscience is important, so that the word “‘race’ is banned, and the words ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ are used instead.”

He said that open demonstrations of support for people like Segre from other Italian politicians are indispensable because “there is a surge of anti-Semitism. We see it almost daily, and the Internet favors its growth.”

Paglia also said that it’s important not to forget Pietro Terracina, one of the last Italian survivors of the Holocaust, who died on Sunday.

“Those who forget will repeat, and those who pretend not to remember, risk these tragedies being repeated,” Paglia said.


I agree with Archbishop Paglia. I too would hold a person dying like this in my arms. The infinite compassion of God and His Christ is everywhere.

Like abortion, suicide can never be affirmed as a GOOD. At best, is the lesser of two evils.

I can understand someone in extreme pain and and degeneracy choosing to end it all.

Some people have a very high pain threshold and others do not.

Some people’s faith can see them through a Calvary period and others cannot.

Only God can judge in the end.

We Christian’s are called to enter into all types of situations as signs of love and hope. Sometimes we bring our hope into situations of hopelessness.

But above all else we should bring the infinite love of God to everyone.

As a child of 4 the nuns in Carlow taught me this prayer I say everyday:

“Jesus Mary and Joseph I give you my heart today.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph assist me now and in my last agony.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.

Into your hands O Lord I commend my spirit.

Lord Jesus, receive my soul”.


Are these the same nuns that you allege beat you? The Archbishop is absolutely correct in his gesture of understanding, mercy and compassion. That is the correct Christ-like attitude to have. It doesn’t mean we agree with the reality of such decisions which people will more and more make, sadly under duress in some family situations. As with all real life painful suffering, hearts of mercy and kindness and a compassionate presence is the gospel response and one I believe God would want us to have. This pastoral response will be a challenge as our society moves towards assisted suicide.


As a Humanist I believe that this life is all I have, or will ever have, and that belief in some form of life after death is wishful belief promulgated ,fostered and foisted on us from impressionable childhood by combination of clerical vested self interest and emotional/communal naivety of cradle religiosity.
From this perspective I would certainly choose assisted suicide when life becomes unbearable, and meanwhile fully respect similar wishes of those making this choice while in full possession of their reasoning faculties.
Absence of belief in any form of afterlife gives great freedom, and a corresponding responsibility to make the best of this life for ourselves and others.


11.51: MMM: You are entitled to assertyour Atheism/Humanism with their certitude of black nihilism. Irrespective of any person’s religious or non religious beliefs, the reality of assisted suicide is acserioys moral andcethical issue that needs to be seriously discussed and not treated with the superficiality of your contribution, on the grounds that as an atheist (non religious belief) you shoukd, without any considerations, have unopposed access to assisted suicide. You may need to read of the Dutch and Belgian experiences where concerns are being expressed about assisted suucide, especially in Belgium where children are now allowed to make so huge a decision. I have a great faith system of beliefs – deep rooted which give me comfort, idealism, hope, meaning and spirituality for my life. I feel very free to make decisions which may go against my Catholic religious beliefs: I don’t feel at all restrained by my faith or beliefs. I enjoy an inner serenity and hope that in the face of infirmity or unbearable suffering, I trust will sustain me and help me in my darkness. I have a relative who is enduring incredible pain through cancer but, like her mother and sister before her, she too finds strength through her faith and prayer. To make snide, dismissive comments about cradle religiosity and suggesting that we hang on to something imposed from vested, self interest clerics is both arrogant and ignorant. This is bottom of the barrel stuff! Such arrant nonsense does not belong to the serious debate around the reality of assisted suicide. My faith has only deepened an already inate sense of doing the best for one another in this life. MMM: Faith and religious beliefs have set me and many millions free within. Rise above your narrow mindedness.


12:22: Your comment smacks of asserting that faith beliefs should take precedence over individuals informed free wishes. Typical RC imposition. My comment neither asserted or advocated anything.It expressed my personal choice in the matter.
So wind your neck in!


With deep respect, if your relative is suffering incredible pain through cancer, then there may be something seriously deficient with his/her palliative care. No one nowadays should have to suffer in this way with the standard of pharmacotherapy.
If you are right about their condition, and if their standard of care is wanting, the matter should be investigated with great urgency.


I, too, agree with Archbishop Paglia (though I expect the self-righteous at Church Militant to crucify him for his show of mercy should they catch wind of it).
As someone who considered suicide at a particularly and lengthy, emotionally low period in life, I understand better than some the escape suicide seems to offer from the experience of utter helplessness, hopelessness, and from the suffocation of despair. I passed the weeks thinking that if I couldn’t make it to the weekend, at least with a pretence of mental self-collection, there was always the option of ending my torment by gunshot. Ironically, it was both a terrible and a joyful time, knowing that the power to change my circumstances was mine, and that it could be exercised when I chose. But I always found that the thought, however joy-filling initially, ended chillingly for me: taking one’s life is no small beer. Whoever said that suicide is the coward’s way out could never have experienced the maelstrom of emotions that can drive a person to this point.
Being with someone resolute about their own suicide is not necessarily a sign of moral approval for what is taking place, but it is an assurance that love does not abandon, does not pick and choose whom to touch, and when; love, if its real, is not so arbitrary, so fickle.
That probably sounds the biggest load of tosh, and, at the time of my own trouble, I’d have described it in harsher terms. But I learned that love, God, wants to give more than it can, but the key to this is not just faith and trust that this is indeed possible, but actually, and eagerly, inevitable, for love, God, cannot and will not withhold help from its beloved.
Sadly, too many people (and I was one of them) have grown spiritually and psychologically flabby through lack of endurance, and a lack of willingness to endure. And there is such lack because there is corresponding lack of faith and trust in something, or someone, greater than the constraints of personal circumstance. Possessing these qualities in even the little troubles of life will prepare a person for the greater ones that inevitably come, not by divine will, but by our finite and imperfect world.


1.14: MC, many people will identify with your personal experience. Indeed I had one such period in mynlifevwhen I thought might be better off if I ended my life. I sought therapy eventually and over two years came through the darkness. Life can be very fragile at times and men in particular are slow to reveal their emotional turmoils. I learned through my experience the importance of careful deliberation and consideration we should give to any person we see to be in emotional and nental distress. The words we use matter a great deal: our capacity for listening and for empathy are essential for helping others to recover and having a sense of self-compassion is imperative for our own inner healing. That is why, even when tempted to dismiss, judge and condemn others, I stop, think and wonder if there is some unresolved issue at play here. That approach is necessary before we unleash our judgment. I have managed to prevent others from making life changing decisions out of my personal experience. My faith and prayer have been hugely deepened in the struggle of recovery and healing. MC, that you had this personal darkness and felt driven to such desperation, surely you should exercise greater discretion in your usage of nasty language when commenting on those intensely dislike. We never know for sure where the nasty words can lead someine! Compassion, tolerance, mercy, empathy, kindness of heart are infinitely better attitudes to have.


Magna Carta
Do you have any regard for the countless seminarians and priests that you have attacked on this blog, many of whom, may have been suicidal themselves?


3.02: MMM: You can’t be serioys with that cluched comnent? Magna will never be tempered by any hard challenges to be a merciful, kind, respectful or caring person. Never. He has proved all too frequently on this blog his capacity for vicious, personalised and horrible comment against priests. I have no sympathy for hate inciters. Down with them and their supporters. You should all be silenced.


As I predicted, Archbishop Paglia is being crucified (misrepresented) by Michael Voris on Church Militant for his compassionate stance on assisted suicide.

Watch today’s video by Church Militant for confirmation. (Don’t know how to make an internet link.)


And have they shown me regard?
You are mistaken if you think that clericalism, and sexual impropriety, among priests and seminarians deserve a pass because some of them MAY have suicidal tendencies.



They certainly don’t have any regard for you and your nasty spiteful behaviour. Your sob story won’t work either. Take some responsibility for your own behaviour before you look from pity from others.


6.59: Magna, your self pitying search for respect and kindness from others is a sham. You, by the nastiness of your hatred filled vitriol against so many may well have caused suicidal ideation. But do you care? Not an iota. If I thought your personal story was a genuine expresdion of your human vulnerability I might give you some emapthy, but your poisonous comments against other vulnerable, broken people (priests particularly) cancels any sympathy I have for you. Your own brokenness has failed to teach you compassion and mercy for others, sadly and pitiably.



I truly could not give the proverbial what any Christ-betraying-paedophile-Romanist priest-pimp thinks of me; nor would I, even in the bowels of Hades, seek pity from such parasitical, soul-murdering scum.

Is that clear enough for you, ‘Father’, you insignificant waste of human space?


8.40: Maggie, if we ever needed a verdict on your complete mental, emotional and spiritual dysfunctionality and bankruptcy, this obnoxious comment is validation enough of a serious, dangerous dysfunctionality diagnosis. Are you even safe in your own miserable, dying loneliness? You most definitely need prayers. As for your suggestion somewhere today that you find solace in a Novena of Surrender, is it satan you surrender to? Were your “surrendering” to be to the power of God and his Holy Mother, you’d not engage in such a vitriol of hatred. You degrade and diminish whatever humanity you have with this hate filled rant. But if it keeps you gin induced merrily, drunkenly happy, keep being the viperous prig you are. We, the good priests will pray for your inner peace. And I’m sure Pat will offer them for you too.


How nice to see Fr Passive-Aggressive back at 9:14pm. I really hope this is the same priest who told Magna he would offer mass for him and Magna told him where to stick it.
You see the trouble is the allegedly good priests are on here being passive aggressive. I’m sure the Curé d’Ars didn’t spend his days like that. But then I forgot, you’re not a good priest at all are you, for the simple reason that there is no such thing.


‘We, the good priests…? Ha ha ha 😅
If laughter proverbially is the best medicine, then you’ve left me with aching sides at that audacious porkie. Thank you. None but the reckless or insane would have offered the remark as anything other than tongue-in-cheek in today’s sorry, priest-plagued world.
Never in the field of human endeavour has so incredibly little been owed by so very many to the ‘good’ priests.
You cheeky so-and-so. Hah, hah, hah 😅😅


9.57: Very easy to wind up your hatred Magsy! What a sad person you are: rotting away in your self made swamp. God bless our many, many good priests…stay off the gin and you’ll be a much better human being.


A disgusting comment at 8:32. Be the bigger man and reach out and heal division. Day in day out you show us the real you! Sad!


8.32: Pat, no need for your nasty riposte! There are those who wouldn’t want an apostate near them on their death bed or in their dying. Fact. Take it. You are not everyone’s saviour.


I see your friends in the DUP are fucked. The tide is slowly turning politically. Even the gobshite in No. 10 is puting a border in the Irish Sea as we speak, they’ve been screwed over again. Welcome to reality DUP and your supporters.


Sinn Fein are on the run, SDLP standing aside (unforgivable in my opinion) is the only reason DUP lost that seat. Sinn Fein collapsed in Derry because this blog has exposed their connection to “Hi Brendan” of Maynooth.


“We should all take a moment to appreciate just how badly the DUP and their brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson have played the last year,… they now have a deal they hate and are powerless in Parliament.”


I want to thank Magna Carta for pointing out the necessity of seeing God as love, and the way that seeing that makes our lives meaningful and even joyous. The problem, though, is that so many of us are, as he said, psychologically flabby. We need encouraging. I’d appreciate it if Magna could give us some hints as to how we can make that step to turning to love rather than succumbing to despair.



By serendipity (or by divine design), I came across a prayer some years ago quite unlike any other I had ever prayed. And the words, with their consequences, began to change my outlook on personal trouble. The prayer is called ‘The Novena of Surrender’. You can find it on the internet simply by typing those words in a search engine.


Hopefully Nigel doesn’t contemplate assisted suicide in his moments of despair and rejection. Take courage Doddy. Pray to Our Lady of Ardoyne for strength.


3.13:MMM: Your atheism.beeds winding in! Have a happy ending whenever you decide to pack it in. It’s people of your philosophy – atheists and humanists – who are making greater noises about assisted suicide. Thank God there are your religious voices asserting their views and beliefs. We need balance. Your world view philosophy should not be the new extreme or fundamentalism! Enjoy your bar stool chat.


Jesus committed indirect suicide. Yes, he did. He knew, as he headed to Jerusalem for that famous last supper, that he was going to die. And yet, he eagerly welcomed the certainty of it. Satan knew this, too, which (according to the Gospel) he had Simon Peter remonstrate with Jesus to deter his going there.


Really? Is that so? At 10:11. He eagerly welcomed the certainty of it?
Indirect suicide is a contradiction in terms.
When you stray into the world of NT scholarship you are out of your depth.
‘Father, let this cup pass from me…..’ (Luke 22:42) indicates clearly where Jesus intent lay.
Then there is the problem of substantiating your claim that Jesus knew before going up to Jerusalem that he was going to die there.


You’re an idiot and an ignoramous, ‘Father’ (or ‘Father’-to-be). A rare achievement in anyone. I congratulate you on this double accolade.
If you had even a Year Five knowledge of Scripture, you would know that Jesus, from Old Testament pericopes alone (never mind from the religio-politics of his time), was aware what his fate on earth would be as the Son of God.
Right from the get-go of his ministry, his life was being sought: when Jesus preached in his home synagogue at Nazareth and identified himself as the figure in the Isaiahan text from which he was reading, the ‘good’ Jews among his listeners, on finally realising that Jesus was proclaiming himself the ‘Mashiach’ (‘Messiah’), tried to hurl him over a cliff to his death.
As for New Testament scholarship, were I you I should keep quiet about this specialism, since you clearly aren’t versed in it. Read Matthew 16: 21-23. If this doesn’t open any epistemological doors for you, then read Mark 8: 27-33.
Matthew has Jesus say: ‘From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he MUST go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.’
This was the final showdown between Jesus, and establishment Judaism, and Jesus not only knew it, and what its outcome for him would be, but was determined to go through with it nevertheless: ‘…must go to Jerusalem…’.
This may have gone over your head, so read what follows in Matthew: ‘And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.” ‘
Jesus was eager to fulfill the will of his Father, hence those strong words to Peter.
The moment of apparent weakness in Gethsemane (there are other interpretations of it) nevertheless triumphed in Jesus’ renewed resolve to complete his Father’s will.
As for the phrase ‘indirect suicide’, if you were better read (or perhaps just ‘read’) in Moral Theology, you would have come across the expression. It was used, for example, in relation to the deaths of soldiers who knew that they stood a very high chance of being killed in battle, but who nevertheless went forward to fight anyhow. The act carries no moral culpability.
In future, think before you cross swords with me, because you simply aren’t good enough.


The more you write the more you show yourself up as a ranter and a Ranter.

There isn’t a single well-respected NT scholar who doesn’t recognise Mark 8:27-33 (and Synoptic parallels) as a vaticinia ex eventu, that is, a post-eventum prediction. As such, it is not applicable in Historical Jesus research. Your looney logic is flawed methodologically.

As for OT ‘pericopes’ – you misuse this term – which point to a Son of God in any but the generic sense, let alone one that would be put to death, you are again out of your depth. Monotheistic Palestinian Judaism knows nothing of what you have cobbled together here.

Your ramblings at 6:10 and 11:43 indicate a predilection for fitful non-consistent outbursts.



‘Indirect suicide’ is a technical phrase from Moral Theology. It refers to allowing oneself intentionally to be killed by others. For example, soldiers who knowingly, and willingly, sacrifice their lives in battle. Jesus is the supreme example of this self-sacrifice.

The fact that Satan, through Simon Peter, tried to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem is all the proof needed that Jesus knew he would die there. Besides, Jesus expressly says as much beforehand. (Mt 16: 21) Jesus’ eagerness to fulfill this aspect of his Father’s will is evident from the harshness of his words to Simon Peter

Jesus’ moment of apparent weakness in Gethsemane (There are other interpretations of the event.) triumphed in his renewed resolve to complete his Father’s will.


You didn’t get beyond First Divinity Fundamental Moral Theology. It’s doubtful if you even began it.


You ought to learn the necessity of punctuation for clarity in sentence and clausal structure, not to mention that of initial capitals when full stops are being used instead of semi-colons.
Your misuse of the words ‘ranter’ and ‘Ranter’ is noted. (If you are going to resort to ad hominem, do so eruditely, otherwise the tactic will likely backfire (as it did in your post at 6.16).
No ‘well-respected’ New Testament scholar dismisses those passages from Matthew and Mark as sources for the historical Jesus; you clearly do. But then, what YOU think on the matter is exceedingly small beer. (I did advise you to avoid New Testament scholarship, since you were obviously devoid of any. And you are, assuredly, devoid of absolutely any.)
Speaking of scholarship (or more specifically in your case, its absence), the word ‘pericope’ does not necessarily refer to ‘a Son of God (sic) in any but the generic sense: on the contrary, it can refer to ANY short passage from the Bible. Once again, care with erudition helps pre-empt personal embarrassment through backfiring ad hominem.
Eisegetical reading is another sign of lacking scholarship, and in your case, a huge one. I did not say that Palestinian Judaism was cognisant of anything other than monotheism; I said only that the Jews in the synagogue at Nazareth believed that Jesus was proclaiming himself the ‘Mashiach’ (the ‘Messiah’). The ‘Mashiach’ was not expected to be divine, much less the Second Person of the Trinity.
Had you been smart, you would, in boxing parlance, have ‘stayed down’ when I knocked you down. But then, you’re not smart, are you?


The only knocking a sterile dilettante chancing his arm as a NT commentator but who doesn’t understand what a post-eventum prediction is is the type practised in brothels.


@9:39: No need to ‘sign up’ to anything. Just embark on the open minded road of viewing religious beliefs with an objective, impartial view of discerning to what extent there is any factual evidence for the assertions of religion. Cast aside all the unquestioned handed down assimilated beliefs from impressionable childhood to really consider the likelihood of the core assertions of religion. And by religion I only refer here to the christian faith belief that the one and only almighty supreme creator deity 2000+ years ago came to earth (just one of countless millions of planets), to permit Himself to be vilified and crucified, to in some mysterious way atone for how we, his human creation had ‘disobeyed’ His wishes!
You couldn’t make it up!
And then consider all the myriad of other faith beliefs against the background of humankind’s evolutionary development throughout millions of years.
There has always been “prophets”, “false prophets”, the susceptible, and a majority who cling to hope, any hope that helps them cope and make sense of the great mystery of our existence by aspirations for an enhanced state of “afterlife”.
The emotional, psychological and communal ploys of religiosity promulgating such shibboleths are best avoided


Magna at 7: 18
Thank you for introducing me to the Novena of Surrender. I find it very helpful.
We are all in this together. It can be a rough ride, but it’s made a little easier when
we encourage each other. Thanks again.


9.48: You and others use the phrase “passive aggressive” about those who point out truth andcwho offer different insights. I suspect none of you really know the meaning of the phrase. As for Magna’s behaviour – what kind phraseology would you use to define it? I could think of many but I won’t be nasty..


Lol and 11:21 is still being passive aggressive.
Look it up in a dictionary you idiot.
I will bet you came out very well in human formation in seminary, given you have apparently no self awareness at all.


Hi Magna. We clearly differ in our beliefs. It’s probably the case that intellectually and certainly educationally (both in general terms and definitely in relation to scriptural and RC matters) you’d “run rings round me.” I recognise that with no problem. But it’s clear to me that many others, especially those of the “good priest” and lay indoctrinated “cradle catholic” ilk cannot stomach it when you lay bare their limitations. They then often choose to attack you personally rather than debate the issues. Because they can’t! And I enjoy the way you tear them to shreds, especially when your ripostes, albeit sometimes delivered with more “passion” than necessary, are ruthlessly dismissive. You’ve been at your most effective of late. Keep it up.
PS. And for those who may consider now attacking this comment of mine by personalised criticism: what is it about your precious beliefs that you cannot simply accept the rights of others to hold different beliefs, defend them, and question yours? Do you really believe there is only “one truth”; that you possess it; and that all others must submit to your perspective?


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