VATICAN CITY (CNS): While the Catholic Church believes assisted suicide is murder, it is even more clearly the case when discussing patients under the age of 12 who, in no way, can be said to make an informed request for help in dying, a Vatican official said.
Bishop Elio Sgreccia, who is vice-president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, wrote a half-page article for the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, on September 3 condemning attempts to extend the Netherlands’ assisted suicide law to patients under the age of 12.
Italian newspapers in late August reported that a judge had authorised the paediatrics clinic at the University of Groningen to extend assisted suicide to children, something outlawed under the terms of the Dutch law enacted in 2002.
In his article, Bishop Sgreccia said he could not find a copy of the new ruling, but said the reports are, “unfortunately, believable”.
Spokesman for the Dutch bishops’ conference, Hans-Joachim Vits, told Catholic News Service on September 3 that no ruling had been made.
Bishop Sgreccia said children under age 12 are not capable of making an informed request, nor are they “capable of evaluating or defining ‘unsupportable’ suffering”.