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Catholic, Jewish, Muslim leaders reject euthanasia

Carol Glatz - Catholic News Service - Tue, Nov 5th 2019

Joint declaration at the Vatican comes amid a wide debate in society on end-of-life issues and policies.Catholic, Jewish, Muslim leaders reject euthanasia

Catholic and Orthodox churches and the Muslim and Jewish faiths have reaffirmed their clear opposition to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

In a joint declaration at the Vatican on Oct. 28, they promoted palliative care with comprehensive physical, emotional, social, religious and spiritual care for dying patients and appropriate support for their families.

Pope Francis had a meeting with the signatories, including representatives from the Vatican, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia, Muslim and Jewish scholars and leaders.

Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide “should be forbidden with no exceptions. Any pressure upon dying patients to end their lives by active and deliberate actions is categorically rejected,” the declaration stated.

The declaration comes at a time when there is wide debate on end-of-life issues and policies.

The declaration, prepared by the Pontifical Academy for Life, is titled, “Position paper of the Abrahamic monotheistic religions on matters concerning the end of life.”

The joint statement asked communities to support patients until the end of their natural life.

The declaration by three monotheistic faiths called upon all policymakers and health care providers to provide “the best care to dying patients and to their families.”

“We are committed to involving the other religions and all people of goodwill,” as well, it further said.

The joint declaration was mooted to the pope by Rabbi Avraham Steinberg, an Israeli medical ethics expert. Appointed in 2017 by Pope Francis, Steinberg and Rabbi Fernando Szlajen of Argentina were the first rabbis to become members of the papal academy.

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