“Sadness and indignation”. The Portuguese Bishops’ Conference (CEP) strongly deplored the adoption by the Portuguese Parliament of a law legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide on Friday, January 29.
In a note from the Permanent Council of the CEP, the Catholic Church of Portugal assures us that their “sadness” and “indignation” are reinforced by the period during which this law intervenes. Indeed, the country of 10 million inhabitants is facing a deadly new wave of the Covid-19 epidemic and hospitals are on the verge of collapse.
Legalization at the heart of the pandemic
→ CONTEXT. Coronavirus: Portugal on the verge of rupture
The bishops point out that at this time “We all want to strive to save as many lives as possible, accepting restrictions on freedom and unprecedented economic sacrifices.” They consider that by legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide, the country is rejecting ” the lessons that this pandemic has brought on the precious value of human life, which the community in general and, in particular, health professionals are trying to spare in a superhuman way ”.
After the adoption of the text, it is up to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, to promulgate the law, to submit it to the analysis of the Constitutional Court or to oppose its veto, which would lead to a second vote of the deputies. For the Portuguese Church, the constitutionality of the law must be examined because, it would violate “The principle of the inviolability of human life”.
→ THE FACTS. Portugal: Parliament legalizes euthanasia
According to the bishops, legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide constitutes a “Unprecedented cultural retreat”, characterized by “The absolutization of the autonomy and self-determination of the person”. “The response to illness and suffering should rather be the protection of life, especially when it is the most fragile, by all means, namely, access to palliative care, of which the majority of the Portuguese population is still private “, they point out.
Defense of access to palliative care
In its reaction to the adoption of the law legalizing euthanasia, the Portuguese Church affirms its will “To accompany all the sick with care and love, at all stages of their earthly life and, above all, in their final phase”.
Words that echo the Pope’s constant commitment against euthanasia. In September 2019, receiving a group of Italian doctors, the Pope denounced the “Expeditious routes” faced with choices that are not there‘”Expression of personal freedom”, but rather a “False compassion in the face of the request to be helped to anticipate death”.
The Portuguese Catholic Church was not the only one to react, an interfaith working group “Religions-Santé” representing nine communities, including Muslims, Jews, Evangelical Protestants and Orthodox, also expressed its opinion. opposition: “Faced with what we consider a break in the dyke of life and a civilizational retreat due to ideologies of desire, we will strengthen our commitment to proclaim the values of life.”