Media and Communications Office
The Bishops of Victoria have issued a Pastoral Letter today, directed to the Catholics of Victoria, on the subject of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide.
Noting that there is a renewed push in Victoria for the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide, the four bishops, headed by the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, have called on the Catholic community to continue to commit to care for the frail, elderly, sick and dying at every stage of their life journey, and to ensure that they have ‘appropriate care, support and pain management’ at all times.
The letter continues by urging all Victorians not to abandon their loved ones but to continue to love and care for them.
The bishops, comprising Melbourne’s Archbishop Denis Hart, Bishop of Ballarat Paul Bird, Bishop of Sale Patrick O’Regan, and Bishop of Sandhurst Les Tomlinson, have reminded Catholics of Pope Francis’ comments recently, when he said, ‘The predominant school of thought sometimes leads to a ‘false compassion’ which holds that it is … an act of dignity to perform euthanasia. Instead, the compassion of the Gospel is what accompanies us in times of need, that compassion of the Good Samaritan, who ‘sees’, ‘has compassion’, draws near and provides concrete help.’
The Pastoral Letter states bluntly that ‘euthanasia and assisted suicide are the opposite of care and represent the abandonment of the sick and the suffering, of older and dying persons.’ It calls upon Catholics not only to pray but also to act, encouraging individuals, lay groups, associations, parishes and priests to step up their efforts in opposing euthanasia, in contacting their members of parliament, in contributing locally and powerfully to promote life and increase commitment to excellence in palliative care.
‘We should be clear – there is no safe way to kill people or to help them to their own suicide.’