End of Life

“But if the life of each of us is limited and fragile, we are consoled by the thought that, by virtue of our spiritual souls, we will survive beyond death itself. Moreover, faith opens us to a ‘hope that does not disappoint.’ ” – (cf. Rom 5:5)

 

Background

As Catholic leaders and moral teachers, we believe that life is the most basic gift of a loving God–a gift over which we have stewardship but not absolute dominion. Our tradition, declaring a moral obligation to care for our own life and health and to seek such care from others, recognizes that we are not morally obligated to use all available medical procedures in every set of circumstances. But that tradition clearly and strongly affirms that as a responsible steward of life one must never directly intend to cause one’s own death, or the death of an innocent victim, by action or omission. As the Second Vatican Council declared, “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). Statement on Euthanasia, 1991

 

Action

  • Fill out a Catholic Living Will and discuss your wishes with your family
  • Host a Living Will workshop at your parish
  • Volunteer at a local nursing home

 

Resources

 

Repeated Social Teaching

The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. All people are created in the image and likeness of God and thus all human life, at all stages, is sacred. This belief is the foundation and root to all the principles of our social teaching (Catholic Social Teaching or CST). In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia. The value of human life is being threatened by cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.