PAV welcomes Italian Constitutional Court decision on euthanasia
By Lisa Zengarini
The Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) has welcomed the recent rejection of the referendum bid on the decriminalization of euthanasia in Italy.
On February 16 the Italian Constitutional Court ruled out a petition calling for a referendum to repeal an article of the Penal Code that punishes “murder of a consenting person” with up to 15 years in jail.
Its abrogation would have opened the way to the legalization of euthanasia. However, according to the fifteen High Court judges, repealing punishments in these cases would not safeguard the minimum constitutional standards governing the protection of human life in general, "particularly for the weak and the vulnerable.”
Bill on medically assisted suicide
In a statement released on Friday, the PAV says it “warmly welcomes” the decision, noting that future legislation on the so-called physician-assisted suicide will have to take into account this Court ruling. The bill is currently been examined in Parliament with centre-left parties generally in favour and centre-right against the proposed legislation.
In the statement, the Pontifical Academy for Life reiterates that the Catholic teaching on the value and respect of every human life is opposed to assisted suicide, as recalled several times by Pope Francis. It also stresses once again the importance of palliative care noting that the current law on this matter is little known and still remains scarcely implemented, “while it would be a concrete response to the suffering of so many people, giving real support and accompaniment."
In the General Audience on February 9, Pope Francis strongly condemned euthanasia and assisted suicide as an unacceptable deviation from medical ethics, saying death “must be accepted, not administered,” and that people suffering from a terminal illness should be accompanied towards death.