This week, in response to a media query on the Church’s pastoral teaching on caring for people in critical and terminal phases of life, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin and chair of the Council for Life of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said, “Terminal illness presents enormous challenges both for the person who is dying and for family members who are caring for that person. Church teaching is that there is no such thing as a life without value.
“The aim of the Church’s pastoral care, which is exercised not only by priests and lay chaplains but also by doctors, nurses, neighbours and friends, is to accompany people in such a way that they know they are loved by those around them, by God, and are supported in living as fully as possible until death comes naturally.
“Assisted suicide is the response of a society that has nothing to offer to those who are suffering from chronic or degenerative illness.”
Bishop Doran concluded, “the Church, both here in Ireland and universally, has addressed this sensitive issue in recent times. I would invite everyone to read and reflect on these publications in order to obtain a greater understanding of all of the relevant issues. Please see the following links detailing the Irish Bishops’ response to the Dying with Dignity Bill, when it was put before the Oireachtas in 2021, and also to the Vatican document concerning ‘care of persons in the critical and terminal phases of life’ that was issued in 2020: