In a letter to clergy and lay faithful, Archbishop O’Regan said the importance of accompanying the sick in all stages of their illness and in particular in the critical and terminal stages of life, was “central to our Catholic faith”.
“No-one wants to see people suffer unnecessarily at any time, especially at the end of life, but the compassionate way to achieve this is through high quality, well-resourced palliative care,” he said.
“Assisted suicide undermines the fundamental principle of the equal worth of all human individuals by legally enshrining the idea that some human lives are not worth living.
“It legally enshrines the idea that these ‘lives-not-worth-living’ can be directly and intentionally ended with the aid and ‘blessing’ of the State.”
Archbishop O’Regan said humanity was at its best when people were involved in relationships of mutual love, concern and consideration, sometimes as givers and sometimes as receivers of such care.
“The law should foster such interactions, not undermine them,” he said.
“Maintaining current laws and improving end of life care will encourage a flourishing community in South Australia based on human freedom and human dignity, not introducing laws for assisted suicide.”
He strongly urged people of faith to contact their local MP and Members of the Upper House to express their opposition to “this dangerous bill and remind them of their duty to weigh the long-term social and institutional ramifications of this law”.
The pastoral letter can be found here.Jump to next article