“Helping a patient to die is one thing, making him or her die is something else”. Last Tuesday, Monsignor Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life addressed students at Gemelli Hospital in Rome on the subject of end-of-life care.
“Die with dignity but never anticipate death”, he reminded the audience, believing that euthanasia “erodes any justification for end-of-life treatment and results in the termination of an intolerable life”. The Prelate is concerned about “technical and economic subjugation to the idea of the eugenic selection of a life worthy of care”, emphasising, “the contradictions of a society which ‘technically prolongs life on the one hand, and politically promotes suppression of life on the other hand'”. Nowadays, “the change-over from ‘right’ to die to ‘duty’ to die is sometimes faster than we realise”.
Monsignor Paglia continued by stating that “the right to ‘die with dignity’ must be emphasised to the same extent as the right to ‘live with dignity'”. He explained that, ‘dying with dignity’ does not mean ‘anticipating death’, and potentially not ‘watching one’s own body deteriorate'”.