“Since we are stewards, not owners, of our lives, our faith allows us to avoid two extremes: first, to insist on ineffective or excessively burdensome medical treatments that merely prolong the dying person’s suffering; and second, to act or to deliberately withdraw life-sustaining treatments precisely in order to bring about the person’s death. The Catholic tradition generally agrees with secular healthcare ethics in seeking this middle ground between absolutely mandating the use of medical technology on the one hand and euthanasia or assisted suicide on the other. However, the Catholic position is based not on patient wishes alone (though autonomy has an important place) or on giving up on certain lives (though we do acknowledge the limits of medical interventions). Instead, it is rooted in two related convictions: that each person is of infinite value and dignity, and that life in this world is a preparation for a greater life to come.”  Fr. Tom Knoblach, Ph.D., medical healthcare ethics, Diocese of Saint Cloud

“Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.”
—CCC 2277

 

end-of-lifeBelow is a list of resources to assist you in learning more on the Church’s position on end of life issues.:

A Brief Ethical Primer on Medical Decisions Regarding Life-Sustaining Treatments  [PDF]

Pro Life Perspective: Caring for Loved Ones at Life’s End [PDF]

10 Quick Responses for Opposing the Legalization of Assisted Suicide

A Statement on Physician-Assisted Suicide from the U.S. Bishops

Articles from the USCCB Respect Life Program

Fact sheets citing primary sources on how existing laws on assisted suicide are really working and many other aspects of the issue

Website on moral clarity and guidance on the Church’s teachings regarding end-of-life decision making

 

 

This video from the USCCB gives the story of Maggie, whose testimony helped the Connecticut legislature turn away from physician-assisted suicide once again.

 

 

Another powerful video from a cancer survivor:

 

John’s Story: Beyond Independence