A respect for life involves recognition of human dignity at every stage. Catholics have a responsibility to manifest the power of redemptive suffering as we face death or serious illness. Such a witness also comes from offering our care, support, and prayers for the sick and those nearing the end of life. Issues surrounding the end of life include artificial nutrition and hydration, euthanasia/assisted suicide, organ donation, palliative care, the completion of an advanced directive, and many other topics.
Please find below the links to important documents from the Church about end of life issues.
Advanced Directive for Health Care
Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2276
CHURCH TEACHING ON END-OF-LIFE ISSUES
- Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Euthanasia – Sections 2276-2279;
- Suicide – Sections 2280-2283
- Statement on Euthanasia, United States Bishops
- Declaration on Euthanasia – Vatican, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) web site
“Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2277
MATERIALS SUITABLE FOR PARISH DISTRIBUTION
- A Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decisions, the National Catholic Bioethics Center
- Life Matters: To the End of Our Days, USCCB Respect Life Program brochure
- What the CHURCH Teaches: End of Life Issues. Our Sunday Visitor or call Toll-Free 1-800-348-2440.