NZ bishops issue pastoral care guidelines

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New Zealand’s Catholic health professionals, chaplains and priests are being given guidelines and pastoral help to work with people who decide to die under the country’s euthanasia laws, which take effect on Sunday. Source: NZ Catholic.

Though the Church opposes the deliberate taking of human life, it cannot turn away those who choose “assisted dying” under the new End of Life Choice Act, said Hamilton Bishop Stephen Lowe, the vice-president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.

“Life puts before us many questions and choices,” Bishop Lowe said. “As a Church we try to help people look at these questions and choices through a Christian lens. Individuals often find themselves in complex places. In these times the Church tries to offer guidance to people as best as she can, but people make their own choices.

“Often, as a Church, we find ourselves caring for people dealing with the consequences of such choices. Our pastoral practice is always called to be a reflection of our God, who does not abandon his people.”

The bishops have written a pastoral statement and a set of guidelines for chaplains, priests and other Catholic professionals who care for the dying.

The Church in New Zealand opposed the End of Life Choice Act Referendum held at the 2020 general election. However the referendum was passed.

Bishop Lowe said “medically assisted dying” or euthanasia would not be offered in Catholic rest homes or hospices, just as many non-Catholic carers would not offer it.

FULL STORY

Catholic guidelines in NZ for those working with people choosing ‘assisted dying’ (By Michael Otto, NZ Catholic

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