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Houston hospital and Vatican council join in opposing euthanasia

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Catholics and Methodists come together on the "delicate and important" issue of palliative care

In a joint statement, Catholic and Methodist leaders reaffirm their strong opposition to “all forms of euthanasia” and underscore their commitment to palliative care, reports a statement from the Pontifical Academy for Life on September 17. 

The statement comes as part of a medical conference, which is being held September 16-18 in Houston, Texas, at the initiative of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and the Houston Methodist Research Institute.

It was organized in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, led by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is also the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

“In the name of the Gospel, we are committed together in the delicate and important area of palliative care,” says the statement signed by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and Methodist Bishop Scott J. Jones.

“The moral, material, spiritual and religious assistance” of people at the end of life, the statement said, particularly commits Christians to humanize the “last stage of human life.” That is why it is the “duty to the Church” and the “right of the sick” that patients be offered pastoral care.

Moreover, this statement strongly reaffirms its opposition to “all forms” of euthanasia, “rejected by Christian denominations.” The goal of palliative care is indeed to provide a “better quality” of end of life, so that “no one lives this moment, which is so important, alone,” said Archbishop Paglia. The last days must be accompanied by “love, closeness and tenderness,” he said.

The Houston Methodist Hospital, which hosts the meeting, is one of the largest American centers for research and care.

For the Pontifical Academy for Life, this conference continues in the line of the International Conference held in Rome on February 28 and March 1, 2018. It brought together nearly 400 experts on palliative care from around the world.

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