Thursday, March 06, 2008

Pope Benedict addresses the Pontifical Academy of Life

Pope Benedict XVI yesterday reminded the 400 participants at the congress, organised by the Pontifical Academy for Life, devoted to the ethical and practical considerations of assistance for those with serious and incurable illnesses that all of our society is obliged to “respect the life and dignity of the seriously ill and the dying”. Doctors are required to respect human life in every moment of its earthly development, he continued. Stressing that “the firm and constant ethical condemnation of all forms of direct euthanasia, in keeping with the centuries-long teaching of the Church”, Benedict XVI denounced "the pressures in favour of euthanasia" suffered by "fragile persons and the poorest families", "in a complex society, which is strongly affected by the dynamics of productivity and the requirements of economy" in which a “utilitarian vision of the person" is insinuated. “Treatment and operations must always follow the criteria of medical proportionality” and in the case of treatment “with significant levels of risk or that may reasonably be judged to be 'extraordinary'' recourse there to may be considered as morally acceptable, but optional”, he continued.The Pope finally pleaded that close relatives caring for people in the final phase of their life be granted leave to do so, similarly to parents when a birth takes place. "Greater respect for individual human lives inevitably passes via the concrete solidarity of each and every one of us and is one of the more urgent challenges of our time”.

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