In light of the upcoming debate in the NSW Parliament over the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021, this question from an interview with Pope Francis and Spanish journalist Carlos Herrera on Radio COPE in September is relevant to reflect on.
Carlos Herrera: Your Holiness, in Spain, euthanasia has been legalized, on the basis of what they call the “right to a dignified death.” But that is a fallacious syllogism, because the Church does not defend incarnate suffering, but dignity to the end. How far does man have real power over his life? What does the Pope believe?
Pope Francis: Let us situate ourselves. We are living in a throwaway culture. What is useless is discarded. Old people are disposable material: they are a nuisance. Not all of them, but in the collective unconscious of the throwaway culture, the old… the most terminally ill, too; the unwanted children, too, and they are sent to the sender before they are born… In other words, there is this kind of culture.
Then, let us look at the peripheries, let us think of the great Asian peripheries, for example, to go far away and not think that we are just talking about things here. The discarding of entire peoples. Think of the Rohingyas, discarded, nomads around the world. Poor things. In other words, they are discarded. They are no good, they don’t fit, they are no good.
This throwaway culture has marked us. And it marks the young and the old. It has a strong influence on one of the dramas of today’s European culture. In Italy, the average age is 47 years old. In Spain, I think it is older. That is to say, the pyramid has been inverted. It is the demographic winter at birth, in which there are more cases of abortion. The demographic culture is in loss because we look at the profit. It looks to the one in front… and sometimes using the idea of compassion: “that this person may not suffer in the case of…” What the Church asks is to help people to die with dignity. This has always been done.
To read the full interview with Pope Francis and Carlos Herrera, where the Pope also reflects on Afghanistan, China and the reform of the Roman Curia, click here.
Members of the faithful in Western Sydney are being urged to reach out to their state MPs to oppose the introduction of voluntary euthanasia in NSW. To find out more information about contacting local MPs, please visit bit.ly/noeuthanasia-signup.
With thanks to Vatican News.