Pope: "right to die" is without any legal basis

During his meeting with members of the Centro Studio Rosario Livatino, Pope Francis said that in some courts one can hear the idea that “the main interest of a disabled or elderly person” is “that of dying and not of being cured”.


Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis on Friday met members of the Centro Studio Rosario Livatino, named after an Italian judge murdered by the mafia in 1990. In his address, the pontiff reiterated his opposition to euthanasia, saying that the notion of the "right to die" upheld in some courts is “without any legal basis”.

Citing Pope John Paul II, he said that “On May 9, 1993, [. . .] mi predecessor, shortly before addressing to the "men of the mafia" the memorable and peremptory invitation to conversion in the Valley of the Temples, in Agrigento,” met with Livatino’s parents calling him "martyr to justice and, indirectly, to faith”.

“Livatino – for whom the diocesan process of beatification was successfully concluded – continues to be an example, above all for those who carry out the demanding and complicated work of the magistrate. When Rosario was killed, almost no one knew him. He worked in a suburban court: he dealt with the seizure and confiscation of property of illegal origin acquired by the mafia. He did so in an unassailable manner, respecting the guarantees of the accused, with great professionalism and with concrete results: for this reason the mafia decided to eliminate him.

“Livatino is an example not only for the magistrates, but for all those who work in the field of law: for the consistency between his faith and his commitment to work, and for the relevance of his reflections. In a conference, referring to the question of euthanasia, and taking up the concerns that a lay parliamentarian of the time had for the introduction of an alleged right to euthanasia, he made this observation: “If the believer's opposition to this law is based on the conviction that human life [...] is a divine gift that it is not lawful for man to suffocate or interrupt, so is the opposition of the non-believer, who is based on the conviction that life is protected by natural law, that no positive right can violate or contradict, since it belongs to the sphere of ‘unavailable’ goods, that neither individuals nor the community can attack” (Canicattì, 30 April 1986, in Faith and Law, edited by the Postulation).

“These considerations seem to be far from the sentences that are sometimes pronounced in the courtrooms, in Italy and in many democratic systems on the subject of the right to life. These are pronouncements for which the main interest of a disabled or elderly person would be that of dying and not of being cured; or which - according to a jurisprudence that defines itself as "creative" - invent a "right to die" without any legal basis, and in this way weaken the efforts to alleviate the pain and not abandon to themselves the person who is about to end his existence.”

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