Monday, February 24, 2014

Pope Francis statement on euthanasia.

The following is part of the statement by Pope Francis to the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life (February 19, 2014)

Pope Francis speaks to
Alex Schadenberg &
Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick
on February 19, 2014
...It is a topic that is extremely relevant to our own day, and something likewise always very close to the Church’s heart. Indeed, in our society one encounters the tyrannical dominion forced upon us by a logic of economics that discounts, excludes and at times evens kills our elderly––and today so many fall victim to this. “We have created a ‘throw away’ culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised––they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the ‘exploited’ but the outcast, the ‘leftovers’ (EG, 53).” The social-demographic predicament of the aged is a stark reminder of this exclusion of the elderly person, and especially when he or she is ill, disabled or for any other reason rendered vulnerable. One easily forgets that the relations among human beings are always relations of reciprocal dependence, which manifest themselves according to different degrees throughout the life of a person and become indispensable in situations of old age, illness, disability and indeed suffering in general. This requires of all of us our offers of necessary help through interpersonal as well as community relationships, in an attempt to answer the present need of these persons in their respective situations.

At the root of any discrimination and exclusion there is, however, an anthropological question: how much is man worth and upon what does one base this value of his? Health is certainly an important value, yet it does not determine a person’s value. Furthermore, health is not in and of itself a guarantee of happiness––this is verified even in the event of unstable health. The fullness toward which all human life is oriented is not in contradiction with any condition of illness and suffering. Hence, the lack of health or the fact of one’s disability are never valid reasons for exclusion or, and what is worse, the elimination of persons. The gravest deprivation experienced by the aged is not the weakening of one’s physical body, nor the disability that may result from this. Rather, it is the abandonment, exclusion and deprivation of love.

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