Ahead of the July 1 start date for Western Australia’s euthanasia scheme, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has released a pastoral letter that outlines the Church’s position on the legislation. Source: The eRecord.
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act was legislated by the state’s Parliament 18 months ago. It will mean that a person, under certain specified conditions, can access medication which is designed to end their life.
“Important though questions of accessibility to VAD are, there is a more fundamental question of principle. Is it ever ethically permissible to deliberately end one’s own life, to ask another person to help you do so, or to intentionally assist another person to do so?” Archbishop Costelloe posed in the four-page letter.
Archbishop Costelloe explained that a recent document from the Vatican, Samaritanus Bonus: on the care of persons in the critical and terminal phases of life, reaffirms the Church’s perennial teaching with respect to the sacredness of human life.
“This conviction about the sanctity and inviolability of human life is one of the most foundational values by which we as Catholics live. We believe that every human life, from its earliest beginnings at conception to its final moments leading to death, is precious and sacrosanct.
“No-one has the right to “step in” and bring to an end a life that has begun under God’s providence and will come to its end under God’s providence,” Archbishop Costelloe continues.
He also highlights the need to support, through prayer and encouragement, all those who are engaged in the healing and caring ministry of the Church.
EXCLUSIVE: VAD Legislation a tragedy for our society, says Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe (By Jamie O’Brien, The eRecord)
Pastoral Letter – Voluntary Assisted Dying (Perth Archdiocese)