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Cardinal DiNardo, bishops issue first statement on physician assisted suicide

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As chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Houston's Daniel Cardinal DiNardo joined his fellow bishops in issuing the first ever joint statement on physician assisted suicide. Passed unanimously June 16, 2011 at their spring general assembly, the statement is entitled "To Live Each Day With Dignity".

The Catholic Church teaches as expressed by the Second Vatican Council,

"euthanasia and willful suicide" are "offenses against life itself" which "poison civilization"; they "debase the perpetrators more than the victims and militate against the honor of the creator" (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, n.27).

The Vatican Congregation of the Faith has said,

"nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying." Moreover, we have no right "to ask for this act of killing" for ourselves or for those entrusted to our care; "nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action." We are dealing here with "a violation of the divine law, an offense against the dignity of the human person, a crime against life, and an attack on humanity" (Declaration on Euthanasia, 1980).

"The compassionate way is to bring assistance to people," not to encourage their deaths, Cardinal DiNardo said. It is part of the American tradition that "when someone is in need, we come to their rescue," as when Americans responded recently with massive aid to those affected by the tornado in Joplin, Mo., he added.

"Compassion isn't to say, 'Here's a pill,'" the cardinal added. "It's to show people the ways we can assist you, up until the time the Lord calls you." (Quoted from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston website)

Catholics are called upon to reject the trending movement of assisted suicide in America. Families are asked to discuss issues surrounding the care of their terminally ill loved ones or even before they become ill.

See Assisted Suicide Fact Sheet here

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