Ethics, Human Dignity, and Euthanasia: Moral Dimensions of Assisted Death
Euthanasia: An Overview and Global Stance
Pope John Paul II believed Euthanasia and assisted suicide were never acceptable acts of mercy. They always gravely exploit the suffering and desperate, extinguishing life in the name of the quality of life itself. Ending a person’s life to lessen their suffering is known as Euthanasia, usually referred to as mercy killing or a decent death. According to the School of Medicine, the patient given a deadly dose of medication is during active Euthanasia. Passive Euthanasia is where the patient passes away with artificial life support left on or without it.
As of writing, Euthanasia is currently legal in several nations, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, Colombia, Australia, the United States, France, and New Zealand. However, it is forbidden in the Philippines since it conflicts with religious communities. Even though some nations have approved Euthanasia as a peaceful death option, it must be illegal because it devalues human life.
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The Catholic Church and the Sanctity of Life
The Catholic Church, first and foremost, regards human dignity and the gift of life as sacred. Taking someone’s life or killing is a bad and forbidden thing to do. Furthermore, the Catholic Church believes that we all have equal value and we all have the right to life and to be alive. There is no such thing as a person who has no right to exist in this world. The Catholic Church also believes that we must all look out for one another in order to promote the good of our society and human dignity.
Religious Foundations Against Euthanasia
According to the Institute of Clinical Bioethics, Christians believe that birth and death are part of God’s creation and that we should respect that. Even if someone wishes to die, it is not our responsibility to end their life. No one has the right to do so, whether they are an elderly person, a sick person, or a dying person. It is also wrong to ask someone to kill another person, even for themselves, because it violates divine law and every individual’s dignity. It’s as if we’re rejecting God and His will for our lives. Those who request their death are sometimes misinterpreted as wanting Euthanasia; perhaps they simply want to feel love and longing for support.
Catholicism, Morality, and the Opposition to Euthanasia
The Catholic Church has always valued human life. We are taught that our lives are given to us by God, they belong to God, and therefore someday we will return to God. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consist in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.” So it’s obvious where Catholicism stands on the issue. Euthanasia is a sin and a dishonor to our Creator. According to, The Church teaches that as life is a gift from God, it should not be cut short. When our lives end is not something over which we have control. It is the decision of God, the Creator. God created man out of love with the intention of sharing that love with them. People were made to cherish both God and one another. In addition, God provided people with good labor to perform when He created them so that they would feel His kindness and reflect His likeness in the way they treated one another and the environment.
Additionally, as humans, we are always responsible for our actions. But there are things that can influence these actions. One such influence is concupiscence or, simply, passion. Passion is either a tendency toward, beneath, or away from dangerous or unpleasant things (Limayo, C. n.d.). One should not use his or her own emotions to cloud a person’s judgment. Even though Euthanasia is considered “mercy killing,” sadness or guilt of seeing someone suffer is still not a justifiable reason to end someone’s life.
- School of Medicine. Euthanasia.
- The Week. (2021, April 23). Where is euthanasia legal?
- Saunders, P. The Catholic Church and Assisted Suicide.
- Institute of Clinical Bioethics. Christianity and Euthanasia.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 2277.
- Di Camillo, J. (2013, February 11). Life Is a Gift.
- Pasley, M. (2019, November 22). The Theological Implications of Euthanasia.
- Limayo, C. Concupiscence: A Human Weakness.