CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY Staff
February 15, 2021
Catholic leaders and human rights advocates have expressed concern over a bill that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in Ireland.
The Dying with Dignity 2020 bill has received opposition from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, as well as the Council for Life and the Consultative Group on Bioethics at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
The legislation was introduced in September and has received support from Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats, and the Labour Party.
In January, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission warned that the legislation was missing serious safeguards that could lead to abuse. The commission said people with disabilities may be threatened by the legislation. It also called for an additional bill to enshrine palliative care rights in law.
Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney said end-of-life care touches on the right to life and the protection of vulnerable groups, including the elderly, terminally ill, and people with disabilities.
“These are fundamental human rights and equality issues and as such, the development of this proposed Bill must be scrutinised in light of relevant human rights and equality standards on these and related matters,” she said.
The bishops also expressed opposition to the bill. In a Jan. 26 submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, they warned that it would normalize suicide and undermine “protections against the non-consensual killing of particularly vulnerable classes of persons.”
“Assisted suicide reflects a failure of compassion on the part of society. It is a failure to respond to the challenge of caring for terminally ill patients as they approach the end of their lives,” the bishops said.
“While palliative care already provides assistance to those who are dying, this Bill provides for the medical endorsement and facilitation of suicide. Legislators need to honestly recognise the difference and call things by their proper name.”
They also said the bill fails to recognize the reality that many patients who participate in euthanasia likely already suffer from mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety. The desire for a physician-assisted death stems from fear, and those fears should be addressed, they said.
“We find it unsatisfactory, therefore, that the Bill, in section 8, gives more weight to the irreversibility of the condition than to treatments which, even temporarily, relieve the symptoms,” they said.
“Depression, anxiety, and ambivalence about dying characterize both medical patients who attempt suicide and those who request assisted suicide. When the physical and psychological sources of the desperation that underlies requests for assisted suicide are addressed, the desire for death diminishes and patients are usually grateful for the time remaining to them.”
The bishops also warned that the bill’s language is strongly utilitarian and treats human dignity as something that can be lost in suffering.
“Whatever our prognosis and however limited our capacity, our value as persons is rooted in who we are rather than in our life-expectancy or our ability to reach certain standards of physical or mental performance,” they said.
“Pope Francis recalls that ‘the current socio-cultural context is gradually eroding the awareness of what makes human life precious. In fact, it is increasingly valued on the basis of its efficiency and utility, to the point of considering as ‘discarded lives’ or ‘unworthy lives’ those who do not meet this criterion.’”
The only people to decide whether or not to introduce euthanasia into Ireland are the Irish electorate.
Private bodies such as the Roman Church are entitled to have an opinion and express it – just like the committee of a large golf club.
But the matter is for the people of Ireland – of all faiths and no faith to decide.
The Irish people should listen to the medics and scientists when deciding on the medical and scientific aspects.
They should listen to the lawyers on the legal aspects and the possibility of abuse of euthanasia.
The Roman Catholic bishops have lost ALL MORAL CREDIBILITY on all these matters as a result of the various forms of abuse and corruption they allowed to happen in Ireland since 1921. The Irish RCC is morally bereft on matters of public morals.
Like abortion, I personally fo not believe that euthanasia is a GOOD thing.
But it can sometimes be the lesser of two evils in some cases.
A number of years ago, a parishioner of mine, Rose, was diagnosed with Motor Nueron Disease – MND.
She went from being an elegant looking lady with wonderful cooking skills etc to being a skeleton drowning in her own saliva.
She woukd have liked to go before the worst of the MND came upon her but was disallowed by law.
Ireland is now a very diverse country and, thank God no longer under the spurs of the Roman church.
We are now also a country of atheists, agnostics, Muslims etc.
Currently I personally hold to the Christian belief that I should die when God calls me and I woukd hope to ride the bucking bronco to the end in companionship with Jesus Christ.
But I am totally opposed to one church, especially a totally corrupt one, imposing their doctrines on the whole people of Ireland.
In the drafting of an euthanasia bill I believe our government and their legal advisors should close every possible loop hole for abuse.
No citizen should ever feel they should have to choose euthanasia for family, economic, guilt or pressure reasons.
But those who do not to spend the last weeks or months of their lives in deep pain and distress should not be forced to do.
And Jesus does not want any of us to go through an ugly Calvary.
We believers know that Calvary has already been done on our behalf – and in a far more perfect fashion than we could ever do.
We already have partial euthanasia in the firm of morphine and other drugs administered to us on our death beds.
ARLENE’S ASH WEDNESDAY 😆