AUSTRALIANS must look to “a genuinely compassionate response” rather than support the “lethal dose” of euthanasia, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference urged Catholics today.
The Bishops requested Australian Catholics be educated on euthanasia “and the dangers it poses to society” with a new pamphlet titled ‘Real care, love and compassion – the alternative to euthanasia’.
Since 2014, the Australian Bishops have placed this moral issue on their agenda in response to the National Church Life survey, which found over a fifth of Catholics were unsure of their stance on euthanasia.
Broken Bay Bishop Peter Comensoli, who is the Bishops’ delegate for addressing euthanasia, spoke about the potential consequences of legalising euthanasia, and said countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium where the practice is legal are forfeiting the dying a choice to life.
“The evidence from countries that have legalised euthanasia, like Belgium and the Netherlands, is that some people are being given a lethal dose even when they have not asked for euthanasia,” Bishop Comelsoli said.
“Suicide is always a tragedy, and all people who are confronted by their mortality, wether mentally or physically ill, deserve our help and compassion, not a lethal dose.
“A genuinely compassionate response will always look to dignifying the life of the person dying.”
Bishop Comensoli also said palliative care was the best option to “help people manager their pain and distress” surrounded by loved ones.
“Catholic hospitals have a long history and expertise in offering high quality palliative care to people who are suffering,” he said.