Life is a right, death isn’t, said Pope Francis on the course of the General Audience on Wednesday, February 9 in regard to euthanasia. Words that should be sculpted in marble, not only because they were pronounced by the world leader of Catholics, by a universally recognized moral authority. First of all, they are words of good sense and profoundly imbued with humanity.
Minimum Protection of Life
Hence, the decision of the Italian Constitutional Court cannot but be received favorably. The Referendum is inadmissible, which was geared to decriminalizing the murder of the consenting party. In poor words, if the referendum was passed, anyone could kill a family member or a friend that, let’s say, in a moment of despair expressed the intention to die. It will be necessary to await the deposit of the sentence but, meanwhile, the Court has sanctioned the fact that there is a “minimum Constitutional protection necessary of human life in general, with particular reference to weak and vulnerable people.”
Enhance Palliative Care
It is an important step forward, a victory of life in dealing with that throwaway culture that sees in death the only solution. To die with dignity is something else. One who is in the conclusive phase of life needs to be accompanied, assisted on the human, health, psychological and spiritual plane. This is a dignified death and, on this path, there is still much to do, beginning with the enhancement of palliative care and therapy for pain. But also in the area of support to family members of the terminally ill. Parliament should commit itself on this front, investing energies and resources, not in the comfortable shortcut of an easy death, which is always a defeat.
The Battle Against Euthanasia Has Not Ended
Let’s not deceive ourselves: the battle has not ended. The promoters of the Referendum are ready to return to the charge. Hence it’s necessary to act and legislate positively, taking away arms and instruments from the proponents of euthanasia in all its forms. Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), expressed many times his concern over the Referendum. Now the Italian Bishops are not hiding their satisfaction over the Consultation’s pronouncement. “It is a very precise invitation never to marginalize the commitment of society, as a whole, to offer the necessary support to overcome or alleviate a situation of suffering or hardship.” Hence, it’s necessary to turn the attention, in the main, to those that, in conditions of frailty or vulnerability, ask to be treated with dignity and accompanied with respect and love.”
The commitment to the protection of life continues. It’s not an ideological war. It’s a task that goes forward as a genuine service to man and for the true dignity of one who suffers. Euthanasia isn’t the solution.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester